Meritocracy and Idiocracy

I love how we’re all just living our lives as if Kamala Harris is a perfectly reasonable person to be on the public stage, and doesn’t need to be chest-kicked into some kind of enormous Sparta pit.  I was watching her grill, or attempt to grill, Amy Coney Barret in a little clip last night.  These hearings have been more of exactly what I’d expect from 2020 but somehow still surprising.  Anyway, Kamala was like, Do you agree that Covid-19 is transmissible.  ACB: yeah.  Kamala: Do you agree that smoking causes cancer.  ACB: alright sure, where is this going.  Kamala — the camera panned to her for a second and — god, she has this effect, it’s like Mean Girls meets Medusa.  Like, I wonder when’s the last time anyone remembers her saying something honest, or feeling an actual emotion.  Spiritually sick sick sick.  How do you get that way?  She’s really fucked up.  

Anyway, so the camera pans to her, and she’s working the expressions on her face the way I worked the controls on a bulldozer, the one time in my life I got to drive one.  20 minutes of heaven.  I was unfamiliar, so I was really overshooting and then over-correcting, spinning all around and lifting the blade up and down with various tilts at the same time.  (Nick and I just kept rewinding that part over and over.  “Look at her FACE, babe!  Look at her face!”  We’d watch it again and both of us couldn’t resist pointing directly to my phone screen in amazed dismay, every time the camera went back to her face.  “What IS that!”  She’d obviously be a beautiful woman, if she had a soul transplant, so it’s not her face per se but what’s coming through. Straight up demon shit or something.)  So Kamala’s just *taching out* the jalopy of her facial expressions, exactly like the bitchy prom queen would in a high school movie, right before she gets her comeuppance.  The only thing, though, is in these high school movies, even the stupid bitchy prom queens are intelligent enough to recognize their comeuppance when it hits them in the face; but Kamala has received numerous comeuppances, most lately from ACB, and she somehow still thinks she’s winning because she’s blissfully unattached to any kind of consensually shared reality.  It demands competing analogies.  It’s…riveting.  

Anyway, where was I.  So the camera pans to her horrendous confabulation of slithery expressions and words, and then ACB (who looks composed and pretty weary) is like, yeah sure, that seems to be established based on the warnings on nicotine products.  Then, exactly like my cousin Eric at the family reunion card game, slapping down his big winning hand while misunderstanding that he just one-upped his own teammates, who were all set to collect the round anyway and he should have saved that hand for when it was actually needed, Kamala can barely contain her own excitement at, she presumes, putting the noose around ACB’s neck: and do you agree global warming is a big fucking deal and threatens the air we breathe and the water we drink?  

I mean, this is seriously some used car salesman 101 level shit here, people.  Get the customer to say “yes” to two or three questions and then sneak in there, So, you wanna drive home your new car today?  Like, who falls for this?  Not ACB, and probably not anyone at a used car lot either.  So ACB is like, look bitch: you ask me this series of entirely non-controversial questions and then try to sneak in this WHOLE ISSUE like it’s a simple yes/no answer (that’s the other thing Kamala does, she demands yes/no answers of people on complex issues because she’s always flexing) and it’s not.  ACB: Global warming is being discussed and critiqued and evaluated in an ongoing way, at multiple levels, and as a judicial interpreter of the US Constitution it’s not appropriate for me to weigh in on that in this fashion.  Lol.  So of course then Kamala’s like, Ok so you deny it’s real, good to know.  

Is anyone fooled by this?  But see, that’s been my question all along, this year, and the answer keeps being, disconcertingly, yes.  It’s so transparent, all of it, but somehow here we are.  Here we keep ending up, acting like this is a conversation and not simply a prelude to chest kicking Kamala et.al into an enormous Sparta pit.  Obviously not literally but figuratively.  I mean, I’ve said before, I come from a fine arts education background, okay?  And think what you want about that, but it’s a meritocracy.  If I wanted to get up in front of everyone, at my weekly classical guitar masterclass, and play a piece, I had to work on that piece for weeks, months, drill it into some semblance of coherence.  If I had a recital coming up, I was living and breathing and sleeping and eating that repertoire.  The clock was always ticking: no matter how well or poorly I spent my time, preparing, I knew there would come a moment when I would walk on stage, take a bow, sit down with my guitar, and be completely fucking exposed for the next hour and a half, relative to whatever level of skill I’d achieved.  

My friend Julie was saying a similar thing about bikini fitness competition prep, back when she was dating an Italian who tended to host lavish, high calorie dinner parties.  She would sit on her hands, because she knew: whatever decision I make today, and every day, about food, there is a clock ticking, and when that clock runs out, I will be on a stage with a micro bikini glued to my ass, and there will be absolutely nowhere to run or to hide the results of my choices.  

I mean, there are things in this world that merit being meritocracies; where it’s all on display and you better fucking bring it.  And I know you think I’m gonna say “politics ain’t one” but I see politicians, and non-politicians who are forced by circumstances to function politically, being just mind-blowing badasses all the time.  Like, my hair blowing back: wow, how are you so good.  How is that humanly possible.  I can feel the alignment of your heart, your mind, your rhetoric, your education, your experience, your god force, all working in tandem in this moment.  There’s a lot of that happening right now.  And somehow those people are sharing a stage, a national stage, with these fucking amateurs, and we’re all acting like they’re in the same weight class.  

A thing like this *actually happened* at Nick’s bodybuilding show, last October.  It’s so funny, and so tragic that I just have to describe it, and it’s kind of mean, but I’m sorry I can’t help myself.  My usual commitment is to be as kind as possible in my blog, especially relative to specific people — not Kamala, she’s out there asking for it — but I gotta break my own rules sometimes.  

Okay, so we moved to Albuquerque.  Nick has a false start with his first job because they hired him before they called his references, and one of his references overtly ran him down, when they finally did call and ask.  This was outrageous to us, as you can imagine.  This guy was his manager at his last job and in hindsight, what was Nick thinking even using him as a reference — he’s like this deeply resentful, mostly ineffectual pseudo-alpha beta male.  You always know they’re betas when 100% of their energy is committed to making you think they’re an alpha.  I wish all betas everywhere would stop doing that, and just be betas, which would ironically shift them towards alpha status in itself.  I mean, therein lies the problem.  

So, Nick was really excited about this job, and we were both really excited about any income, any fucking income, because my job that I moved there for had fucked me over so we were just living off my bitcoin, which was sad because it was down right then and I’d be a lot richer right now if I could have left that store of wealth alone, as I intended.  Anyway, so it was a job with autistic kids, and Nick is phenomenal with both kids and crazy ass addicts, so we had every reason to suspect he’d be good with this population.  So he’s hired, he’s getting a credential, and they finally call his references, and this ex-manager ass pirate is like, “Nick displays a strong trend of verbal aggression and volatility” etc lol.  

Nick was like ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.  And it’s not that it was entirely untrue — he worked in residential rehab and they’d get these absolutely shite wigga kids from rich, toxic nuclear families where dad was absent one way or the other, and who imagined themselves thug life as all getout.  They’d straighten up into wonderful young men, in many cases, and often due in large part to Nick’s influence — no exaggeration — but they’d start out as these truly unbearable, like, pseudo-ghetto Little Lord Fauntleroys who’d never been told no, let alone physically prevented from having their retarded way, ever.  They’d throw their minuscule weight around and frankly scare the staff at the rehab.  Like this ex-manager of Nick’s — he’d just go back in his office, like “carry on”, making sure he didn’t have to do anything about it.  Nick is like me: he’d rather die than see a bully get their way.  And additionally, in the context of rehab, it’s not *just* a bully — it’s an entire addiction persona that simply must, must be corrected or else this person will very likely go on to kill themselves, after making their own life and everyone else’s a living hell.  I mean, it’s rehab.  It’s $10k/mo rehab.  It’s where you go to straighten up.  

So Nick was physically threatened and, in one instance, almost pushed off a cliff on a hike, by one of these guys, and these guys were chronic.  I mean, as soon as one batch straightened up, a new batch would come.  And Nick was like, loving and committed to their journey of sobriety, obviously, but he was also like, If me pounding you into the ground needs to be part of your sobriety, I’m ready and available.  The buck had to stop somewhere, and due to Nick’s nature, it stopped with him.  It never had to happen, but that’s the whole point — these guys had to finally encounter someone who was willing to escalate one step above their own escalation, for the first time in their lives.  He’s great friends with many of them (who haven’t OD’d) to this day.  

So ex-manager nursed his micro-penis wounds about all this until the moment he could strike back, in the form of a mildly negative reference, and me and Nick were just like, wow — how much bitcoin is left?  And he’s in a tailspin because he’s got a criminal record and incarcerations, etc, and his family will think he’s getting high if he doesn’t report having a job soon (I don’t know that for a fact, it was just his fear at the time), they’re already weirded out by him moving to a new city with a much older woman he just met, all that.  Tightening the screws of stress.  

So he gets this job at the gym we go to, under auspices of being mentored into personal training by the owner.  The owner totally sucks at fitness himself, and looks like a sack of shit, but he was hot stuff back in the 80’s and the whole place, plus his entire line of mediocre products, are emblazoned with these images of him from thirty years ago looking good in a speedo.  Nick is like, whatever, it’s a job, and immediately commences out-lifting everyone at the gym, to include the owner’s pet mini-me, a guy who fancies himself a trainer and is on the fast track of just avoiding the whole personal peak phase of things and going straight to telling other people how to accomplish goals he’s never achieved, which is basically the unofficial job description of the entire personal training industry.  I’ve just started lifting at this time, and am out-squatting this guy within six months, incidentally.  

Anyway, you’d think this guy — we’ll call him Ty —would realize he’s outgunned by Nick on every level and, maybe, I don’t know, like ask for advice or something.  But quite the opposite.  He was literally always — and I mean literally always, because I witnessed it — drifting over and telling Nick to not do what he was doing, and to do some other retarded thing instead.  And Nick is a nice guy, and was kind of flummoxed by the whole thing, and so would just kind of indulge him but shoo him off like a fly.  But the fly kept coming back.  It was weird.  Ty would tell me what I should be doing instead, too, and was of course “personal training” his own girlfriend, and I was like, “Yeah but I’d kill myself if I looked like her OR you, so…”.  Just very strange.  

Nick had zero interest in bodybuilding per se, at the time he got this job, and was much more focused on pure strength and powerlifting.  But the culture at this gym — confusingly — was very oriented to bodybuilding, and Nick got a little intrigued despite himself.  It had seemed like an unattractive and possibly unattainable goal, when he’d considered it before, but he was like, “if y’all can do it, then for god’s sake it must be easier than I thought”.  

Things didn’t work out there, of course, ultimately.  The owner was a crazy wounded narcissist who self-sabotaged at every turn and thought everyone was out to get him and you had to be either “with” him or against him.  His wife just drank, obviously.  And there was a lot of proselytizing about Jesus while sneering about Nick’s veganism and just the whole predictable gamut, including the owner’s desperate cardiovascular disease.  There were a lot of dick pills in circulation at this gym.  I found some pills in Nick’s gym bag, once, and I was like wtf is this, and he was embarrassed.  “They gave me some and I didn’t want them but I finally just put it in my bag be be polite.  For when we go on vacation or something, they said.”  I was appalled — we had 99 problems but dick stuff wasn’t one, and it all just made so much sense with the whole vibe of that place.  I mean, it was this arena of men with enormous spiritual wounds who thought they could avoid addressing any of them by taking dick pills.  It made perfect sense, actually.  

So he left employment there and started his own strength coaching business and it immediately succeeded all the way up to COVID, long story short.  But in the early stages of his new business, he’d decided to go ahead and do this upcoming show.  It was a large national bodybuilding event, held in October at the casino outside of town.  Nick thought, hey — why not.  Could be a good ramp into offering competition prep services for particularly motivated clients, you know?  And a great personal ethos move, regardless of outcome.  If you’re gonna be a strength coach, what better way to help people manipulate their bodies towards desired goals than to demonstrate you can, and have, personally?  

So he does this show, as an amateur, and wins his class, plus another class, and gets third overall, in all the classes.  I mean, he just slayed.  But the real point of my story is that, when all the men’s classic physique competitors walked out on stage for the first time in their tiny black undies, I could immediately see there was stiff competition for Nick, and just the whole smattering you’d expect of a little better, a little worse.  I mean, one guy was an absolute *hoss*, could probably throw not only all the horses in a barn but the barn itself, into the Grand Canyon, BUT he hadn’t done his cut well enough and had too much body fat on.  There were other guys that were cut af but didn’t build enough of a base of muscle to compete with Nick.  There were some that were clearly going to give Nick a run for his money.  I was in probably the third row, with Buffy of course, and was startled to observe this one guy who did not, remotely, belong.  He was really going for it, with his flexing and posing, and he had the requisite spray tan, but I genuinely wondered who let him on stage.  Was he hired to “throw” the show?  To make everyone look better by personally looking worse?  I mean, isn’t there some kind of basic quality control?  He had some muscle on his frame, admittedly, but even with how hard he was sucking his stomach in and up, it was still threatening to hang over his undies.  If I was at a public park and that guy took off his shirt to play some frisbee, I’d think, “yeah dude, just put it back on”.  NOT competitive, not in the same universe as everyone else on stage.  And he got last place, of course.  

But what I didn’t realize, until later, is that that guy was Ty.  He’d done a major change with his head and facial hair and wasn’t wearing glasses, and I’d only seen him in baggy clothes before.  Actually the gym owner was there too, I realized later, seated in my same section.  He had two competitors in the show, a male and a female, and they both won last place in all their events, and the owner left halfway through, like a dick, as if he wasn’t at least partially responsible for the slaughter taking place onstage with his lambs.  It was a slaughter.  I felt bad for the gal — she had a great physique, although not a ton of definition, and would have probably done okay in the bikini class, but he’d advised her to enter as women’s figure, and she didn’t stand a chance against those gals.  And she’d been Ty’s star client, with a lot of social media posting, and quite a few performance enhancing drugs on board, just to get that far.  He always had her doing stupid accessory shit, and she simply had not built the base of muscle she needed, in order to be competitive or even truly strong.  And it showed.  

Ty himself, on the other hand, could not have been competitive in any class.  It was sad.  It was awful to see.  And I wondered: why do the show?  I mean, you train and train for that date, but if that date comes and you’re *that* not ready?  You gotta not do the show.  That’s just it.  Postpone.  If he didn’t have the smarts to pull out, his coach should have gotten over his own ego enough to advise him, at least.  But of course we know his coach had no way of getting over his own ego, as there wasn’t anything else of him left.  

So it was a bad deal for Ty.  And a very triumphant day for Nick.  We ate some protein pancakes when we got home and the next day the glycogen from those things popped him out even more, and I bet he’d have taken home second overall, if we’d been more experienced with the timing of his diet stuff.  When you’re vegan in bodybuilding, you just get mixed signals from everyone.  He did well, but could do it better next time.  

Anyway — that was a long rabbit hole, but I’m reminded of the story because it’s probably the most dramatic example I’d ever witnessed of people sharing a stage who should not be sharing a stage — until 2020.  Kamala going up against ACB, in that clip, was like Ty going up against Nick.  The big difference being, everyone in the audience of the bodybuilding show knew what was up.  You just looked, and knew.  But we’re living in the time of the emperor’s new clothes now, I guess.  We’re all like, “Oh, what a sassy badass she is.  Look at that smirk.  The smirk is black women’s superpower.  Pence needs to stop mansplaining to her.  She’s such a strong, independent woman of color, and I know that by how hard she’s smirking.”  This is like Ty trying to smirk his way into placing at this event.  Not a fucking chance.  

The interesting thing is, as much as I feel triggered by the nonsensical depravity of Kamala, Pelosi, et al, I know that’s exactly what others feel in the throes of TDS.  They just can’t handle it; they feel inspired towards physical violence.  I can’t attack Trump, so let me go ahead and attack this young child in a MAGA hat lmaooo.  And I’m no better, frankly.  Not only would I like to punch Kamala in her smirking face, I feel it would be in some sense good for her.  So I have Dem Derangement Syndrome, I suppose.  I’ve been suffering from it for a while.  I mean, I watched a lot of footage of unhinged people screaming self-contradictory things into the faces of public servants and innocent diners and bystanders, this whole fire season, via my phone.  My reaction is very much like, I want to hit you.  Or I wish someone would hit you.  And then I’m appalled at the tendency to embrace and valorize violence, from the Left.  I know that’s contradictory, I know that’s hypocrisy.  I know that violence is not the answer, usually, except…when it is.  That’s the dangerous time we’re all living right now, in fact.  We all know violence is not the answer, except when it is, and we seem to be in terrifying agreement that this might be, you know, the time.  The exception to the rule.  At least that’s one thing we can share haha.  

I really don’t have anything insightful to add; it’s just odd for me to have impulses towards at least mental violence at all.  For Nick to have impulses towards violence is, like, a daily occurrence lol.  For me?  Hardly at all.  I don’t like that I feel that way, but I don’t think anything’s wrong with me.  It’s just some kind of medulla oblongata hardwired thing, almost.  Like, my fist wants to hit anyone who makes that particular sequence and combination of expressions and tonal offerings.  I don’t want grown ups to be sharing our national stage with emotional and ideological toddlers and us all pretending that’s normal.  And again, I know — TDS victims feel the same way about Trump.  I get it.  The guy is a troll extraordinaire.  He opened the door to political trollery, so we really can’t complain when a bunch of others walk through it.  

Fortunately I don’t suffer from TDS — he reminds me of some good bosses I’ve had, actually, who get to be that way because they’re good at their jobs, which is all I really care about in that department.  I do suffer from KDS, and a couple others.  It’s like a bypass of all my more rational responses.  Is anyone writing about this?  I mean, is this just me?  It fucking concerns me.  I’ve been fortunately sequestered on fire camps all season, and am now sequestered in a major moving and CDL training operation.  I just worry that, if I were to find myself embroiled in the wrong-enough combination of triggering-enough circumstances, I would, ah…accurately assess the situation, you know.  I don’t really like that being a response that feels so available.  But even worse if it wasn’t.  I’m just blue collar bubba enough to accept it, but just academia white chick enough to critique it.  

I still appreciate vlogger Michael Jaco.  Stay in love, stay calm, send golden bubbles — all this from a guy who can obviously kill people with his bare hands.  I still appreciate Jordan Peterson.  Harmlessness isn’t truly moral unless and until the ability to do harm is at least on the table.  Anyway, ACB’s totally got it, and the police have totally got it — gah, those poor fucking officers.  Whatever crime spike surrounds the election, they’ll bear the brunt of it, as usual.  I mean, if I was a cop right now, I’d be really cultivating my TKO mindset, which is an unfortunate inevitability of these times.  What you resist persists.  

So yeah.  It’s all above my pay grade, thank goodness, but feels interesting to comment on sometimes.                                         

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