Monthly Archives: August 2017

You God Damn Millennials are Killing All of America’s Shittiest Businesses

fabsofNot pictured in foreground: Anything that actually does anything even remotely beneficial for your laundry.

Earlier this evening, Comrade Levine helped ease the pain by sharing this article to his Facebook wall, an otherwise routine piece of hysteria about Those Damn Millennials and all of the ways in which we are unacceptably changing society. Strangely, most of these articles seem to limit the purview of their juvenoia purely to the consumer realm, and this Business Insider shit show is no exception; it surpasses other articles waxing idiotic about The Kids These Days only in its wide assemblage of consumer examples.

Here are the industries this article says are failing because of disinterest from millennials, along with a brief overview of why I think these industries suck, for I have no job, no current classes, and nothing better to do with my time than try to waste that of others. My hypothesis: Maybe we’d stop murdering all of their beloved businesses if all of their beloved businesses weren’t total garbage.

Casual dining chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee’s: The food at these places is worse for you than fast food and is every bit as factory-cooked-and-frozen halfway across the country and microwaved in the “restaurant” as fast food. (I’ll have the #WordSalad as an appetizer, thank you.) Instead of getting your food at a dystopian counter in what feels like a mess hall, you are served at a sticky table in poorly-lit, beer-reeking, butt rock-blasting shithole with decor furnished by the nearest bottom-shelf antiques shop.

Beer: Tastes like dirty laundry smells, doesn’t get you drunk if you can hold your liquor. Pass.

Napkins: A napkin is cloth and you launder it. These are shitty little pieces of miserably flimsy paper that no sensible person should use in a world where paper towels are just as readily available.

“Breastaurant” chains like Hooters: When your business is failing, whatever you do, do not look into the politics of your youngest target demographic. That would not be rational in the least.

Cereal: I mean, I never cared for the stuff much, probably haven’t had a bowl in over a year. Not having it because you have to clean things afterward is asinine, though. Heartless Industry 1, Millennials 9,682.

Golf: Ah, yes, I’ll just have my driver take me and my caddy over to the cart rental in the Rolls Royce and we’ll cease our murder of this industry forthwith!

Motorcycles: Loud, obnoxious, dangerous, famously associated with violent criminals, horribly bigoted ones in particular. SEE: “Breastaurant” entry.

Homeownership: Hahahahahahahahaha are you fucking kidding me?

Yogurt: Anyone’s guess is as good as mine on this one.

Bars of soap: And I quote, “Almost half (48%) of all US consumers believe bar soaps are covered in germs after use, a feeling that is particularly strong among consumers aged 18-24 (60%), as opposed to just 31% of older consumers aged 65-plus.” Who are we, Howard fucking Hughes? Heartless Industry 2, Millennials 9,685. At least they didn’t try to spin this one to imply that we’re unwashed.

Diamonds: SEE: “Breastaurant” entry again. Literally involves the dismembering of small children and vicious wars.

Fabric softener: “According to Downy maker Procter & Gamble’s head of global fabric care, millennials ‘don’t even know what the product is for.'” Stupid millennials, not knowing what a pointless product is for. There’s an incredibly apt metaphor in here somewhere, but I’m too busy looking at my smartphone to notice.

Banks: I mean, I’m pretty sure I haven’t heard about millennials stuffing their cash in the mattress en masse, but perhaps this includes business lost to people who are joining credit unions that won’t gamble with their deposited money and nickel-and-dime them with fees and charges. Pah! Credit unions! Why would anybody ever join such a foolish thing?

Department stores like Macy’s and Sears: “Who could possibly want to order goods directly to their door?” ponders industry giants who made themselves into what they are by aggressively circulating mail-order catalogs. Why would I rifle through wrinkled clothes and struggle with store employees who are paid so little that it would come off as offensively desperate if they were helpful?

Designer handbags: Forget it, it’s Chinatown! If you need a magnifying glass to tell that a mainly-cosmetic item is counterfeit, then it is, for all intents and purposes, not counterfeit.

Home-improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s: SEE: “Department stores.”

Football: I won’t go into it at length here, but having read a shit-ton in the last year about the state of football’s popularity, I can say with confidence that this entry is entirely bullshit. Surely they could lament something more specific about football and of which there is more evidence of the uselessness of millennials, like not buying jerseys that cost over a hundred dollars or something.

Oil: SEE: “Breastaruants,” yet again. Also smells bad. Is hard to clean off of plants, wildlife, and out of earth and water. Continued combustion will literally make the Earth uninhabitable for humans. Procurement is ecologically harmful as well. Should be conserved as it is otherwise needed for plastics, of which advancing technology and growing populations will presumably only increase demand for.

I find it curious that all of the articles like this use an active word like “killing” to describe a trend which is defined by a lack of the relevant parties doing anything at all, in this case, engaging with these various businesses. Why, oh why, won’t the best-educated generation in human history, which is also simultaneously the worst-paid generation in the last century or so of American history, exchange money they don’t have for goods and services that make them sick, exploit others, and/or are mainly pompous, ostentatious displays of consumerism?

How can anybody seriously wring their hands in confusion at what is happening here? Businesses that don’t sell things people want aren’t logically supposed to exist in the free market, right? Well, then.

Fuck ’em all.

Looking for Black Civil War Veterans in Rahway New Jersey

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Rahway is an ancient town in New Jersey with an ancient cemetery. According to the website of the “Merchants and Drovers Tavern” (an inn dating from the Revolutionary War that has been turned into a museum) there are almost three hundred Civil War Veterans buried in Rahway Cemetery, twenty nine of whom were black.

Rahway Cemetery is the final resting place for many famous people from history. Famous burials include; Abraham Clark, A Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Walter Bramhall, a Civil War Officer, John Cladek, a Civil War Colonel of the 35th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry, Carolyn Wells, a noted mystery author, and The Unknown Woman who was brutally murdered in 1887. We also have over 29 members of the United States Colored Troops, 299 Civil War Soldiers, and 70 Revolutionary War Soldiers.

Since I ride past the Merchants and Drovers Tavern and the Rahway Cemetery every day on the way to work, I decided to spend the morning of my day off exploring. There are many, many graves of Civil War veterans in Rahway Cemetery, but they’re not always easy to find. Most are very old, and covered by grass or weeds. The trick is to look for United States flags. The groundskeepers plant them near the graves of all veterans, but there are flags on the graves of the veterans of every war the United States has been involved in, from the American Revolution to Vietnam (I haven’t seen any for Iraq). At some point, after turning away in frustration from dozens of graves marking veterans of World War I or World War II, I finally found the general area in Rahway Cemetery that dates back to the United States Civil War.

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The typical enlisted man in the Union Army was 19 or 20 years old. James Van Benthuysen was 55 when he died in 1862, probably at the Battle of Antietam. I doubt he was black with a name like “Van Benthuysen.”

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Jacob Stark was another middle-aged Union soldier, 41 years old in 1862 where he, like Van Benthuysen, probably died at the Battle of Antietam. Was he black or white?

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John R. Rowland, by contrast, was a very young man in 1862. He survived the war and made it into the next century.

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At this point, I started to get a bit frustrated. There was certainly no shortage of New Jerseyans who enlisted to fight for Lincoln, but I had no idea if any of them were black or white. The majority were probably white.

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Another New Jerseyan killed in 1862.

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At long last, I come to the grave of a man I can be sure was black, since someone added a headstone to the original grave marker specifying that he served in the Third Regiment US Colored Troops. Mahlon Edgar would have been in his early 20s during the Civil War. He lived a long life, finally dying at the age of 75 during the First World War.

I don’t know what battles Mahlon Edgar fought in during the United States Civil War or what he did when he got back home to New Jersey. But it’s reasonable to assume that he was a prominent enough citizen to get his own individual grave marker in what would have been a largely white section of Rahway Cemetery in 1915. Many of the tombstones of the black Civil War veterans in Rahway are part of a reclamation project since some of the remains had been buried in a common grave until they were transferred to their own individual plots.

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And just a reminder of why they enlisted. At one time New Jersey was a slave state.

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Space Seed (1967)

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While people sometimes remark that the first interracial kiss on American television took place between William Shatner as Captain James Kirk and Michelle Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura on November 22, 1968, it’s not even the first interracial kiss on Star Trek. Whether or not Ricardo Montalbán would have been considered “white” in 1967 — and he probably would have since he had a long career in Hollywood as a “Latin Lover” unaffected by California’s anti-miscegenation laws — is beside the point. His character in the classic Season 1 episode Space Seed, the genetically modified superman Khan Noonien Singh, is certainly a man of color. More than that, he does more than kiss Lieutenant Marla McGivers, a “ship’s historian” played by Madlyn Rhue. It’s clear that before they lead a mutiny against Captain Kirk and briefly take over the Enterprise, they fuck each other’s brains out.

Nevertheless Space Seed is not socially progressive. In fact, it’s probably the most reactionary episode in the whole series. “Every woman adores a Fascist,” Sylvia Plath remarked in her poem Daddy, and Marla McGivers is no exception. After Khan Noonien Singh, a Twentieth Century fascist dictator with the seductive powers of an Adolf Hitler, wakes up from his two hundred year hibernation, he quickly begins to plot his coup. Like all fascists, he takes advantage of the openness of a liberal democratic society. Kirk gives him access to the ship’s technical manuals without thinking and welcomes him as a guest, not as a potentially dangerous criminal. Yet the key to Khan’s takeover of the Enterprise, the weakest link in the utopian society of Federation of Planets, is Marla McGivers, the silly woman with a soft spot for the “bad boy.” Mr. Spock, by contrast, the unemotional intellectual, is the only member of the Enterprise’s crew completely unaffected by Khan’s “charm.”

The idea that women, and womanly sexual desire, are the key to understanding fascism, is, of course, nonsense. There were no women involved in Hitler’s takeover of Germany or Mussolini’s takeover of Italy, and Franco was a very traditional, patriarchal Catholic. Gene Roddenberry was simply an MRA decades before his time, the male geek who feared that the abusive jocks were getting all the girls. Nevertheless, the decision to cast the Latin Montalbán as the fascist Don Juan instead of a blond, blue eyed Aryan, as the shows producers had originally intended, was a stroke of genius. Space Seed expresses a very real anxiety many white liberals felt during the 1960s. Until William Shatner’s stunt double beats the crap out of Ricardo Montalbán’s stunt double at the very end of the episode, the usually dominant Kirk, a liberal alpha male in the style of John F. Kennedy, simply fades into the background. He seems dull, insignificant, “inferior” as Khan remarks. He doesn’t get the girl as he does in so many other episodes. He doesn’t even come close.

1967 was the very height of the counterculture, the year that the liberalism of the early 1960s was giving way to the radicalism of the late 1960s. Khan’s character is a tyrant who physically abuses his lover Marla McGivers, and uses torture against Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura, but I don’t think the screenwriters Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilbur are afraid of another Hitler. The source of their anxiety is the rising third world, the idea that people of color might not be inferior but superior to white men, and that white liberals in the form of James T. Kirk might simply become irrelevant. The fear underlying Space Seed was not so much a fear of tyranny, but, rather, the fear of a brown planet.

Ricardo Montalbán would return in the The Wrath of Khan. Though it’s usually considered the best of the Star Trek movies, The Wrath of Khan loses all of the political nuance and sexual politics of Space Seed. Montalbán is no longer a sexually menacing South Asian, but, rather, a white haired maniac in command of a crew that looks like they had just been pulled off their surfboards on a beach in Southern California. Marla McGivers is nowhere to be seen. She’s been replaced by Kirstie Alley as a young female vulcan and Bibi Besch as Kirk’s ex lover Carol Marcus, a scientist who surely would have found the original, bronzed, black haired Khan ridiculous.Women in 1982 were a lot more liberated than they were in 1967, and that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t necessarily make for better science fiction.