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Eleven year old Jeff Greenaway is in love and on the loose in Manhattan circa 1962.
This book will crack you up.
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We Are All Ninja Turtles Now

W ith lakes, swimming holes, rivers, and pools beckoning, I went to a sporting goods chain store at the mall — where else? — seeking a new bathing suit (pardon the quaint locution). The store was curiously named Dick’s. All they had were clown trunks. By this I mean a garment designed to hang somewhere around mid-calf, instantly transforming a normally-proportioned adult male into a stock slapstick character: the oafish man-child.

This being a commodious warehouse-style store, there was rack upon rack of different brands of bathing suits, all cut in the same clown style. I chanced by one of the sparsely-deployed employees and inquired if they had any swimming togs in a shorter cut.

“What you see is alls we got,” he said.

Even the Speedo brand had gone clown — except for the bikini brief, which I wore back during 30 years of lap-swimming, but which I deemed not quite okay for an elderly gentleman on the casual summer swim scene. So I left Dick’s without a new suit, but not before having a completely unsatisfying conversation with one of the managers.

“In the old days,” I explained, “bathing suits were designed to minimize the amount of cloth one dragged around in the water. These clown trunks you sell not only make a person look ridiculous, but they must be an awful drag in the water.”

“That’s what they send us,” he said. “It’s alls we got.”

The Fourth of July rolled in just in time to celebrate the disintegration of Iraq following our eight-year, three trillion dollar campaign to turn it into a suburb of Las Vegas. Me and my girl went over to the local fireworks show, held on the ballfield of a fraternal order lodge on the edge of town. The fire department had hung up a gigantic American Flag — like, fifty feet long! — off the erect ladder of their biggest truck, in case anybody forgot what country they were in. Personally, I was wondering what planet I was on. It was a big crowd, and every male in it was dressed in a clown rig.

The complete outfit, which has (oddly) not changed in quite a few years (suggesting the tragic trajectory we’re on), includes the ambiguous long-short pants, giant droopy T- shirt (four-year-olds have proportionately short legs and long torsos), “Sluggo” style stubble hair, sideways hat (or worn “cholo” style to the front ), and boat-like shoes, garments preferably all black, decorated with death-metal band logos. You can see, perhaps, how it works against everything that might suggest the phrase: “competent adult here.” Add a riot of aggressive-looking tattoos in ninja blade and screaming skull motifs and you get an additional message: “sociopathic menace, at your service.” Finally, there is the question: just how much self-medication is this individual on at the moment? I give you: America’s young manhood.

Does it seem crotchety to dwell on appearances? Sorry. The public is definitely sending itself a message disporting itself as it does in the raiment of clowning. Here in one of the “fly-over” zones of America — 200 miles north of New York City — the financial economy is mythical realm like Shangri-La and the real economy is somewhere between the toilet and a rat hole. Under the tyranny of chain stores, there really is no true local commercial economy. The few jobs here are menial and nearly superfluous to the automatic workings of the giant companies.

I don’t have the statistics but I suspect a lot of the males around here are on federal disability payments, and probably in the psychological categories including “depression,” “learning disabilities,” “ADHD, and so on.” In such a situation, wouldn’t a person benefit from presenting himself as child-like, with a dash of menace? And wouldn’t it be advantageous to look that way all of the time, in case one was unexpectedly visited by a government employee?

Down in Brooklyn, a world away, the young men go about in their hipster uniforms: Pee Wee Herman cut casuals. They’re still role-playing “the smart kid in the class” even though they’ve been out of class for a decade. Their computer dreams of IPO glory are formulated with the tunnel-vision of science fair projects. Left out are the realities of the greater unraveling.

Women are not at the center of this story. Theirs is another story. Let some woman tell it before I get to it.

Never has a society entered an epochal transition with such unpreparedness.

Never has a society appeared so childishly decadent.

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

291 Responses to “We Are All Ninja Turtles Now” Subscribe

  1. RobH July 7, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    In a time when it doesn’t matter what people look like, it only matters to those from a time when it did!

    A new time will bring new challenges, and new clothes

    Sagging pants won’t work well on a bike, or digging… and if oil is dear, warm clothes will be to the fore

    • hineshammer July 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

      Sagging pants also do not/will not work well if you’re running for your life.

      • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

        True. You can tell a lot about what a man does – or has done – by the cut of his clothes.

        Personally, J H K’s sartorial comments have mapped to my own observations 100%… Call me “crotchety” too, if you want to, but that might be awkward.

        Cheers Hine’sHammer!

        • Karah July 7, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

          check out kunstler’s fashion statement on facebook.

          he is sporting green socks.

          most guys look to their “girls” for fashion hints, if they want to attract girls from the ghetto. the point of fashion has never been practicality. people do not literally swim anymore. they flap around in the shallows like turtles coming into spawn. they stroll while hunting for the perfect hoochie mama. they show off their girls.

          if kunstler wants real swim trunks his girl knows where to find them.

          • CancelMyCard July 8, 2014 at 12:41 am #

            Today’s “girlz” know nothing more than the “boyz” they latch onto.

            To state that the female gender is somehow endowed with a certain fashion knowledge superior to the male predilection, is to state the complete ignorance of one’s point of view.

          • Karah July 8, 2014 at 2:13 am #

            i want my profile picture back!

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      Funny how necessity dispenses with ‘self-styling adorn’… Well said Rob, Cheers!

  2. Being There July 7, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    Well JHK,

    Let’s just say that lots of the trappings of what we had when we were a strong economy 40 years ago and diminishing ever since is disappearing.

    One example is the lack of choices. In the Neoliberal doctrine, that Margaret Thatcher exemplified was TINA (there is no althernative).

    This applies to how to save and grow your money, so instead of savings accts, CD’s that once was a safe FDIC-backed way to grow your money, there is only the tyranny of the Mahhhhket.

    In the stores there are few styles to choose from made in the inverted communist model, the low wage markets of Asia. We are service, military and finance–(that’s all, folks) But our economy is doing so swell, that now the manipulators are saying that unemployment is at 6.1%.

    Yup, keep on lying about everything, but the proof of the pudding is in the world we actually live in.

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

      “Let’s just say that lots of the trappings of what we had when we were a strong economy 40 years ago and diminishing ever since is disappearing.”-BT.

      Yes, they used to sell clothes to people who had jobs. I think JHK’s hypothesis about why toddler-chic dominates is not only interesting, but probably true.

      Cheers!

  3. djc July 7, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    Actually todays blog makes me feel rather well as its proof that not only small-town NE Ohio is filled with clowns like this. The rot is pandemic.

    djc

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

      It’s all across the US from what I’ve seen. We’re in this, and up to our eyelids in it, ‘together’…

      Cheers djc!

      • hineshammer July 7, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

        And not just the style of dress. I have the displeasure of working with a few of these dolts, dread-heads as I call them due to the nappy hair and the really shitty music they listen to, bands called Stick Figure and Bag of Toys, made up of white, suburban California kids doing their crappy versions of reggae . While not necessarily wearing the clown clothes, these dread-heads are adorned with the requisite tattoos, more than enough to cover a sizeable portion of their bodies. Their speech is awful. Any pretense of grammatical cohesion is quickly dispensed with and replaced by a Jeff Spicoli-type language-“Whoa dude, that’s like so fucked up and shit, yo.” Each useless utterance peppered with the word “like”. Cringe-worthy, for certain.

        I get wanting to live your life outside the mainstream as these pissants aspire to, but dos this mean that you try to appear as though your IQ lies on the far left side of the bell curve.

        This is the future and it scares me.

      • BeeLady July 8, 2014 at 12:49 am #

        Men’s clothing is infantile and women’s clothing is whorish. Try a stretch shirt over a stretch shirt over a stretch shirt, and layer it over more stretch clothing, but be sure that each layer is shorter so that it looks like your undershirt is sticking out. Or, wear it short so that your tramp stamp shows. Sweaters and jackets don’t even make it half way down the torso. Women don’t even care if their belly gut is enhanced by this garb.

        JHK, I sympathize with your frustration with clothes shopping! Sensible women are equally frustrated.

  4. seawolf77 July 7, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    Your experience is not unique or even unusual. The retail experience in America stinks and has for some time now. Whether it be a surly bartender who is certain he is doing you a favor serving you to a moot faced salesperson or clerk at any store you care to mention to the Government zombies at the DMV who gets everything wrong every time so their jobs don’t disappear, the face to face business experience here is awful, and since everyone wants to be America, it is spreading to the rest of the world. I can’t remember the last time I went to a mall, and I don’t miss at all. As for your commentary on the future of America based on the youth you see, well look at it this way: We’re the ones who left them a complete and utter mess, not the other way around. When we let them get away with JFK, we opened the door to 9/11. I shudder to think what 9/11 will lead to, but it ain’t gonna be pretty.

    • gnarly July 7, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Yes, how true…they did get away with JFK…and RFK too. How badly we were duped. Anyone who still believes Oswald did it needs to do some basic research. How different things might have been…out of Vietnam, no more CIA. All leading to the various poor excuses for president we have had since, spending money we never had. Can anyone blame kids today? The price of housing is just stupid..blame the inflation tax we all pay, and the low interest rates that punish savers and reward the banksters.

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

      “As for your commentary on the future of America based on the youth you see, well look at it this way: We’re the ones who left them a complete and utter mess, not the other way around.”seawolf.

      Thanks for saying that.

      Cheers!

  5. devon44 July 7, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    The machine doesn’t work with differently shaped cogs. That’s one of the reasons we’re seeing the death of masculinity (and femininity). Even the gender differences are too much for the machine to accept.

    But the good news, JHK, is that a new movement is afoot. The Crumbleheads are building a civilization that will last 10,000 years, even while our current system is falling. Permaculture is a big part of it, but our belief system has political, economic, and spiritual aspects as well.

    We’re aware of how difficult this will be, but we won’t give up. We’re aware of how far gone our culture and civilization are, but we must succeed if the human race is to survive. No system can truly fall until there is another to take its place.

    Welcome to the Crumble, everyone!

    http://www.facebook.com/afterthecrumble

  6. luke July 7, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    The scariest clowns in the USA are wearing neckties and those stupid American Flag lapel pins…

  7. Kim Fahey July 7, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    …Long time no see. Been in jail for my illegal tree house, PHONEHENGE….While in the Twin Towers jail I found out first hand how far down the rabbit hole our society has gone. The first thing they do when they process you is to take photos of all your tattoos and gang affiliations. You stand nude then turn and twist so they can get them all down. When it was my turn I had only my hernia scar. They got a big laugh out of that then let me shower….Jail is completely segregated. No sharing food with other races. No card games or showering. You can only use certain toilets, phones, areas. Since I’m not on any medications they tossed my out of the elderly protection blocks from over crowding into a three hundred man general population lock down. Just try and find a decent conversation. If your found guilty of any jail infraction your beat down by your own race. This solves racial outbreaks. The Lts. of the other races meet with yours to figure out what sort of beating you require to ‘tow the line’….One thing that really knocked me for a loop were the amount of injuries every race had that had healed without any medical attention. Shot gun holes to zig zag scars from who knows what. These guys live to get tatt’s, workout and give each other shaved heads in between arrests…When released I’m back in my farmer John bibs. Everyone getting dressed to hit the streets are attired just as you pointed out. Half pants, wife beater shirts and sideways caps. Boy, did you hit the nail on the head….

    • nick charles July 7, 2014 at 10:37 am #

      Any pictures of the tree house? Just axeking.

    • Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

      So would you rather go back to the old way where Whites had no power structure in prison and they were shaken down, humiliated, assaulted, raped, and murdered at will by Blacks and Browns?

      Why do you think White Gangs came in to being? To fulfill a need. To not respect the reality and put White newbies in with Blacks is cruelty beyond measure. Sounds like “your” prison authorities were down with the new culture.

      Whites didn’t create the system. Nor did the Wardens. They responded to ethnic terrorism by “minorities” (they aren’t in prison).

      • Roger July 8, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

        Yeah, you’re right.. There is no history of white folk hurting or harming “minorities”. White folk never strung up, made a slave of, wrongly incarcerated a negro or “Browns” in the history of human kind.

        But you are wrong about one thing: Whites DID create the system.

        • Karah July 8, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

          Read John Grisham’s Sycamore Row!

          A compelling novel about the Mississippi legal system, geneological research and southern minority oppression! If you liked A Time To Kill, you will love Sycamore Row!

          available at all the usual trading places…

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      I like reports from the trenches (especially unfamiliar trenches).

      Thank you for this, Kim.

      Cheers!

  8. Neon Vincent July 7, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    Jim, what you’re complaining about today and have been complaining about for years, is something The Archdruid talked about two years ago, the shifting of the attention of the internal proletariat’s attention away from the people at the top of their own society toward what Greer citing Toynbee called the external proletariat. He pointed to the same fashion phenomenon you did to support his thesis, writing “just as young Romans in the fourth century adopted the clothes and manners of Visigoths, it’s not unusual to see the children of white families in the suburban upper middle class copying the clothing and culture of inner city gang members.” They’re doing that because they no longer see the rich and successful as worthy of imitating. There’s no future in it. At least the hipsters are still thinking of themselves as upwardly mobile, even in their ironic way.

    Greer’s invoking the barbarians who sacked Rome was not an accident. He wrote that the next stop in the decline and fall of the American empire would be the same as it was for Rome, when “the internal proletariat turns on the failed dominant minority and makes common cause with what Toynbee calls the external proletariat—the people who live just beyond the borders of the falling civilization, who have been shut out from its benefits but burdened with many of its costs, and who will eventually tear the corpse of the civilization to bloody shreds—that civilizations make the harsh transition from decline to fall.” If Greer’s right, you should be more frightened than disgusted.

    Look at the bright side. At least they’re not dressing like ISIS.

    • Neon Vincent July 7, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      “The Archdruid talked about two years ago”–oops. Greer talked about the failure of the respectable upper class to inspire imitation* in “The Broken Thread of Culture” two weeks ago, not two years ago. This is what I get when I heat up last night’s decaf instead of making real coffee.

      As for my Fourth of July experience, I marched in the local 4th of July parade as a volunteer for a political candidate. I didn’t see as many young men in what you call “clown suits” (to my mind, the only clowns they would be imitating in that garb would be the Insane Clown Posse), even the teens who were begging for candy. Everyone was wearing red, white, and blue, and that doesn’t make for the same ironic juxtaposition of grim and silly that black does.

      As for the candidate I was passing out candy and campaign literature for along the parade, I had intended to do so for the only major party candidate I’ve ever seen take peak oil seriously–Nancy Skinner, who is running for Congress against “Bad Santa” Bentivolio. She is doing so as part of a push to fight climate change by shifting us to renewable energy. Her campaign video on the topic is at the link.

      http://crazyeddiethemotie.blogspot.com/2014/07/marching-in-clawson-4th-of-july-parade.html

      That’s the kind of candidate I can believe in.

      Unfortunately, she didn’t show up until after the parade stepped off, by which time I had decided to help a local school board member who was campaigning for state senate. At least my time wasn’t wasted and I got to march in the parade.

      *Of course, there is much about the current rich that is not respectable, but that’s a subject of another essay.

      • dweebus July 7, 2014 at 11:13 am #

        Interesting that you mention ICP. One thing about the Juggalos- They are intensely loyal to, and supportive of, each other. If we, as a society, cannot maintain a community, people form their own.

      • CancelMyCard July 7, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

        You are really a complete idiot, no?

        Your essays absolutely signify a human being in the process of losing their mind.

        Please take the meds your doctor prescribed, and cease posting on this blog.

        Please.

    • mdhaller July 7, 2014 at 11:16 am #

      Neon,

      They’re not dressing like ISIS…yet.

      Actually, I think a scarf covering the face while holding a machine gun might be the next new, new look.

    • St. Roy July 7, 2014 at 11:31 am #

      NV:

      I like the term “visigoth fashion” for the Lost Generations’ dress and appearance. JMG has a penchant for describing the present in terms of the past, and that’s what we have going now. Neovisigoths getting ready to ransack the dominant minority with the DHS preparing to defend the status quo.

    • beantownbill. July 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

      You can assign some of the blame to TV and the movies for glamorizing ghetto cool. Most young people face a life of drudgery and boredom, with a questionable financial future. No wonder they try to identify with those in a constant state of struggle. It’s much more interesting than what goes on in their own lives and fends off the horrors of anomie.

      As far as the ISIS look is concerned, it’s only a matter of time.

    • Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

      And who are the new barbarians? Germans, right?

      • CancelMyCard July 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

        No, the new barbarians are clones of Neon Vincent.

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      “He wrote that the next stop in the decline and fall of the American empire would be the same as it was for Rome, when “the internal proletariat turns on the failed dominant minority and makes common cause with what Toynbee calls the external proletariat—the people who live just beyond the borders of the falling civilization, who have been shut out from its benefits but burdened with many of its costs,”-Neo.Vin.

      Nice. Utilizing this scenario, who are the “external proletariat” in our case? Answer: The people that the power elite in this country have been using for leverage against the erstwhile middle-class.

      B T W, I’m not anti-immigrant or foreign-worker at all. The POV of the ‘external proletariat’ is one of striving for self- and group-betterment, etc. We’d do no different in their shoes (assuming…). However, survival is what it is…

      Several historians have observed that by the time the barbarians were sacking Rome, the Roman 99% were in no mood to stop them. Why should they have? By that time they had no stake in it.

      Cheers!

      • BigT July 7, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

        I watched some of “The Sand Pebbles” (Steve McQueen China Gunboat of the 20s based flick).

        Just kind of wondering, if the roles would be reversed with the US being the turbulent China of the past and Beijing sending one of
        its gunboats patrolling the turbulent ports of the “Big Missisup?”

        That would be the fate of a strife torn US in lieu of the Visigoths that sacked Rome.

        • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

          Strange… I had he same thought – same movie reference and river-patrol scenario – a while back.

  9. Arn Varnold July 7, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    Well James, if it’s any consolation; even here in LOS it’s the same. So I just bought the lightest, plainest, pair of shorts I could find.
    Not as good as decent trunks, but they sufficed…

  10. Paulo July 7, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    The tatoos are what actually confuse me. My son is thirty, doing quite well working in the patch with a river front home, etc…but his friends really confuse me. If you saw them on the street you would cross to the other side. Tatoos, rough clothes, or on hot days the clown suits. A few have links to some local biker gangs including the infamous red and white. But when you talk with them they are actually very good people. Funny and polite, they are unfailingly helpful. They borrow my canoe for fishing. One steals me welding gloves and files from some big ‘ironworker’ job. They are always always polite and well spoken, but then again I don’t hang out or party with them having an extra 30 years of life in the bank. But the tatoos, I just don’t get. I listen to them describe them and they have definite opinions as to what is good and bad in design and colour. Their girlfriends are smart and well educated. Some have tatoos…actually most do. They peek out from places old guys shouldn’t look at.

    My son does wear baggy shorts but has no tatoos. Thank God. I think it might be from dear old dad telling him about indications of class and first impressions somewhere along the line. I also told him about how no one had tatoos when I was a kid beyond the occasional retired sailor or marine, or the goof who picked one up at the fall fair when drunk.

    It is just a generational thing, Jimbo. All these ‘kids work. They make good to excellent wages. I remember when I was a kid we saw some long haired guy who had dreads….long long before it became stylish and hip. He was just a dirty guy who lived on the beach and didn’t wash or comb his hair. He walked by us while we were waiting to get on a BC ferry. I dad remarked, “if I had a kid like that I would put gum in his hair”. meaning, I suppose, he would then have to cut it off to get the gum out. I think it is just generational.

    Good luck with the bathing suit. We just swim naked here when no one is looking…or in gitch (underwear). Boxers look a bit like suits, that would probably work.

    I do understand your rant. I don’t understand the culture anymore, either. And you know what? I don’t want to understand it. That says it all.

    Paulo

    • Kasserine July 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

      Agreed. Personally I feel that the tatoos are the last medium in which young people can broadcast to the world that they are unique. In a society of relentless pressure to conform, of cookie cutter subdivisions and retail jobs, it is the last common denominator now.

      It is very common now to see heavily tattoed employees in all walks of retaildom. Whenever I see one of these people, I always wonder if they ever even imagined they would end up as cashiers at BestBuy back when they thought it would be cool to get a tatoo for the first time.

      • CancelMyCard July 7, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

        Yes.

        Tattoos are the last markers of the dogs walking around the neighborhood placing their urine wherever it will lie.

        Show us your tribal insolence.

        And let us be impressed.

      • Karah July 8, 2014 at 12:03 am #

        even the people who strive for non conformity all end up looking the same. from a distance all tattoo “art” looks the same, dirty blobs of ink.

  11. Warren July 7, 2014 at 10:33 am #

    You really do judge people by how they look. For example last week while my 81 y/o mother was sitting out in the back yard this “dude” drives into my yard he wanted to sell us some “Steaks” I asked him to leave. He got angry at me and left in a huff. Mom asked me why I was so rude to him. I said beside the fact that he drove on our property uninvited I did not like the way he looked. He was as Jim described, Shorts down to his tattooed covered calfs and the ridiculously long t shirt.
    As I was taught that only two types of people have tattoos, sailors and criminals and he did not look like a sailor I wanted him to leave and take his bogus “steak” with him.

    • CancelMyCard July 7, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

      Of course people have always judged others by how they looked.

      It was/is called tribalism.

      If they don’t look like you, they are probably suspect, and possibly enemy.

      This is new?
      This has never been imagined before?
      What, are you all deranged?

      This is human reaction to outsiders. This is something new?

  12. swmnguy July 7, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    I think you’re hanging around with the wrong people, Mr. K. I went with my family to see a 4th of July parade in an exurb of Minneapolis. It was exactly what I expected, and would have seen in my youth 40 years ago. Sure, plenty of the clownishness you describe. I noticed it and reflected on it; the style of clownery was different 40 years ago, but it was there. Lower-middle-class American males were pretty ridiculous then, too.
    I was most impressed to see a 4 year-old boy playing with a life-size, inflatable M-16-style assault rifle toy, festooned in red, white and blue stripes and stars, with the entirely unnecessary label “USA” on it to complete the decor. That, I hoped, is an item only available in America.
    Then the politicians came by; mostly Republicans pandering to the magical thinking and nostalgia for a time that never existed so vital to the exurban zeitgeist; Shriners on Harleys, and the reason we had come in the first place; a marching pipe band a friend of ours has joined to play the bass drum and get a little exercise as she gets into her 50s and needs to keep active to keep the weight down and maintain bone density. And it’s fun for her, so it was worth the trip out there to see it all.
    There were a few Democrats out there too, but they were a sad and lonely group of too-earnest folks who are really concerned I’m sure, but exactly the sort of folks I’d never rely on for anything more than tips on making bread by hand, or tomato plant ailments. Valuable things to be sure, but on a much smaller scale.
    In general, most Americans are very sensible on that level. If you ask people about things in their everyday purview, they love to help you and give you their acquired knowledge, and it’s usually pretty wise. It’s a symptom of our overly-complex and overly-connected global apparatus that people start to have ludicrous opinions about things they know nothing of. And when those opinions inevitably fail to square with observable reality, the cognitive dissonance causes pain and people respond by playing the clown.
    Mass retail? Forget about it. When I find something I want, I tend to buy 3 of them, as 1 will fall apart immediately, I’ll use the second, and the third I’ll keep until the second one wears out because if it’s useful, I’ll never find it again. Try finding a solid-color, button-front/button-color men’s Oxford shirt with a 16.5″ collar and 35″ sleeves on a regular basis. You know, the most common-sized men’s shirt in a style that hasn’t changed since before most people had telephones.

    • lsjogren July 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

      Dress shirts are another thing. I used to go to Nordstrom Rack periodically to look for a nice dress shirt cheap. Once in a while I found one.

      Now everything on the rack is the “trim fit”. Even if I were skinny I wouldn’t want to wear one of those straitjacket style shirts. But that appears to be all that’s available now. Fortunately I am retired and almost never need to wear a dress shirt.

      • lsjogren July 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

        Another ridiculous fashion trend but this has been around a long time:

        White collars on dress shirts. What a clownish looking piece of attire!

      • rollie July 7, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

        And how about “size creep?” Where a large is now more like a medium, and if you wore an XL as I did, you have to buy an XXL? No, I’m not getting fatter, and I stopped growing years ago, but here I am buying what I always considered a fat man’s size.

        So is it just the fact that less material = lower manufacture cost, or is it “shifting demographics”?

        • hineshammer July 7, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

          Rollie, is it not apparent that Americans are getting fatter and fatter?

        • Karah July 8, 2014 at 12:09 am #

          it has to do with the manufacturers originating in countries where the stock is rather diminutive; korea, Malaysia, Philippines, taiwan, india. their large is large to them but to an average american its a medium. blame it on our protein rich diets.

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

      “Sure, plenty of the clownishness you describe. I noticed it and reflected on it; the style of clownery was different 40 years ago, but it was there. Lower-middle-class American males were pretty ridiculous then, too.”-swmnguy.

      Certainly the economic-bracket of the crowd you gather with makes a difference.

      Working-class men have always had a ranges of unsatisfactory choices to make the best of to be sure, but I’ve noticed over the decades that the tide of clownishness has risen.

    • rollie July 7, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

      Oh man, I hear you loud & clear here. I still have an aging supply of simple, nice, cotton button-front shirts from, that’s right, K-Mart — the only store where apparently such a thing isn’t an affront. Though it turns out you can’t even get them there anymore, so I’m glad I stocked up.

  13. devon44 July 7, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    I think there is more to the tattoos than we realize. On the part of some of my generation (I’m in my mid-30s), I think it is a desperate attempt to connect with our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who had stronger communities, spirituality that made sense, and who didn’t destroy all living things.

    It’s no coincidence that the common arm-band tattoos that we see are called ‘tribals’.

    Now, if you asked most of them that question, I doubt you would get that as an answer, but I think it is part of why they are doing it just the same.

    As for me, I have no tattoos. But I’m not quite so ready to pass judgment on those that do have them. Many of my closest friends have them and they are solid Crumbleheads. I have no complaints there.

    • SteveO July 7, 2014 at 10:54 am #

      My step daughters (21, 24, 27) are all covered with tattoos. I asked the middle one why, and she said the she gets bored with how her body looks and wants to change it.

      I don’t get it, but I’m not a vain millennial with body image issues.

      • the blame/e July 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

        When I am asked why I don’t have any tattoos my reply is that I like my slate blank. Does that translate into “rasa tabula”?

  14. nativewaters July 7, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    JHK, thanks for putting a name to the hipster fashion, Pee Wee Herman Cut Casuals. I was trying to put my finger on it, why the too tight shirts and pants looked familiar somehow.
    The other day I visited a friend at one of the Google X companies here in the bay area. The engineer boys and girls were running around in jeans and tee shirts as usual and then out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of some older people, late thirties perhaps dressed in what used to be called office casual a decade ago, that is, they wore shirts and pants with creases and leather shoes. Apparently these were some sort of management people on a visit of the site. The suits have been downgraded to shirts.
    We are going to a wedding this week. My wife tells me that the groom and his posse wanted to wear shorts to the wedding, but the mother of the bride prevailed and they will be wearing long pants. oh well.

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

      “JHK, thanks for putting a name to the hipster fashion, Pee Wee Herman Cut Casuals. I was trying to put my finger on it, why the too tight shirts and pants looked familiar somehow.”-nativewaters.

      Seconded. That was a little bit ‘o’ brilliance, right there. I like the deeper-level connotation as well: onanistic self-gratification.

      Cheers!

      • Karah July 8, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

        we live in an increasingly polarized society, politically and privately.

        technology is a big factor in creating the chasm in many ways because of the wealth concentrated by the sales of millions of gadgets, the services to make them appear magical and the new intangible cyber culture spawned out of the average man’s desire to get out of wherever he is now. the richest man we know is in control of a phone company in one of the poorest, heavily populated and corrupt countries in the world.

        the cell phone is a fashion accessory as much as it is a practical tool in certain circumstances. it has unified people as far as the tattooed rebel and the peewee repressed cubicle renter all have one. it is an illusion of cohesion and assess-ability. we all know these groups want nothing to do with the other.

        jhk could have saved himself a lot of frustration and time if he trusted the internet more as regards shopping for clothes, but he is old fashioned person in that he wants to feel it and try it on for size. those days are gone! stores are not going to keep shorts in stock for a few people who like them and only buy them once every 5 – 10 yrs. the perception that the trend in fashion has lasted a long time is warped by our little lives when the peak of forming our tastes in whatever retail outlet is about five or ten yrs in our teens and twenties. yes, kunstler is shopping with his twenty yr old eyes still. i am guilty of that too because i do not want to accept how much older and fatter i have become and how everything in the store is not my oyster!

  15. George July 7, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    “Never has a society entered an epochal transition with such unpreparedness.”

    True, but given the context of out of control technology speeding everything up to warp speed, that shouldn’t be unexpected.

    ISIS and Immigration Reform

    At first glance it would seem that there’s little in common between ISIS, Immigration Reform and epochal transition but there could be.

    As for ISIS, it has come into prominence at precisely the perfect time. It arrived in the wake of the so-called “Arab Spring” which was promptly replaced with an overwhelming chaos from which there seems no escape. The so-called sovereign nations of the realm were arbitrarily drawn up a century ago by European aristocrats to facilitate their still lingering late nineteenth century colonial ambitions. As geopolitical entities, they are no longer needed by the long-gone colonialists and given the tribal complexity of the region, cannot begin to serve the indigenous populations politically. Something else is preferable, both to the indigenous populations as well as a few of the especially well-heeled post-colonials outside the Middle East.
    Enter ISIS and its leaders’ grand ambitions for an Islamic Caliphate organized in accordance with Sharia Law. Understand that this Caliphate is not going to have very much of what some westerners refer to as democracy and it’s doubtful that any of the regions within the Caliphate will be referred to as republics, at least not for generations, but my sense is that the last century and a half of events has all but guaranteed the emergence of this Caliphate. For the vast majority, disenfranchised by forces that are far beyond their control, this Caliphate is may seem their only chance to save and ultimately advance civilization.

    As it becomes established, the Caliphate could quickly become THE force to be reckoned with. The Caliphate’s 5-year plan to span from Andalusia to Bengal may seem ambitious, but simply by occupying Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the Gulf States (GCC which includes the KSA), they’ll effectively control from between 60-70% of the world’s proven conventional petroleum reserves in a territory slightly bigger than the state of Nebraska. Once they’ve secured what’s left of Syria and Iraq, a process that could take less than a year given that many of the indigenous population are likely eager to join forces, they’ll quickly take over much of Lebanon. From there they’ll have an easy springboard to eliminate Jordan and occupy the GCC within another year given the common discontent in the KSA and the effete decadence prevalent throughout the remaining realms of the GCC. At that point, less than two years hence, they could be in a very powerful position and the West (which includes Russia by the way), for all practical purposes, no longer has the means to stop them. Much of the North African chaos will probably be absorbed soon thereafter once the Egyptian military kleptocracy’s been ousted. And to anyone who thinks they should just be “Sent Home”, think again, they’re already “Home” stupid!

    Immigration Reform?

    Why is this an issue? Why is this “front and center” and why isn’t it going away?

    The simple answer (and this is just a pet theory of mine that I’ve had for decades): There are no longer enough “Boy Scouts” around to keep the Empire of the 1% viable. Oh, hence forth please indulge me as I’ll refer to it simply as the Empire. OK?
    This so-called empire is not new. It’s been around since colonial times. The so-called “Founding Fathers” were part of what we now refer to as the 1%. The republic they founded was based on a Constitution, which despite all the Enlightenment gobbledygook written into it, was and still is basically a means to ensure, but not necessarily guarantee, that the realm would be ruled by those who owned it, namely the 1%. That realm has grown since the founding and now includes vast territories outside the United States. Since the Spanish-American War, these territories included much of Central American, the so-called “Banana Republics”, and until 1959, Cuba. Since the end of WWII, the list of territories controlled has grown to include most of the rest of the Americas and the resource-rich regions of the Middle East. The so called Department of Defense should more aptly be termed the Empire’s Enforcement Agency as the military actually serves more to project the Empire’s power than it does to actually defend the USA. And where the military isn’t necessary, there’s an eager cadre of investment bankers who, until recently, had ample means at their disposal to maintain control.

    The problem, as stated above, is that there are no longer enough “Boy Scouts” to keep the Empire viable. What follows describes some morbid thinking on my part. But here goes. If there’s a shortage of Boy Scouts, what’s an empire to do? Why, outsource Boy Scouts of course! I cringe at this thought, but the simple truth is that there are a lot of disenfranchised young people in Latin America who really want to become “Gringos”. If conditions are bad enough, they’ll do whatever it takes to come here. Come here and do what? Well, when given the choice between deportation and joining the military or even some variety of fascist homeland security force, what do you think they’ll do?

    It’s actually not such a bad fit. Firstly, just to get here proves that they’ve got the “Right Stuff”. And secondly, unlike most of us, they still value honor. At the time of the founding honor was held in high regard, but in the intervening two plus centuries, it’s lost most of its luster. Only within the military to some degree and criminal gangs to an excessive degree, does honor yet serve as a guiding value. Yet in Latin America, where democracy was never really established, honor is still held in high regard. So, in a North America where republican democracy no longer serves the needs of the Empire, there is, with this recent influx of young Latin Americans, a population of eager and honor-valuing Boy (and Girl) Scouts ready to serve the Empire. As for those of us who may be under the under the impression that this country is ours, think again and don’t forget to look over your shoulder for the eager Boy Scouts from the near abroad who are about to take your place because the simple truth is that you’re probably “in the way”, likely a political and a financial liability because you’re dressed like a clown and hence expendable.

    But to what ends does the Empire need these eager new recruits?

    Why to secure the “domestic” realm and battle a more simply defined “enemy” in the form of the soon-to-be-realized Caliphate. Remember that later-day Enabling Act otherwise known as the Patriot Act? You didn’t really believe that all that malarkey about rag heads in remote caves in Afghanistan actually posing a credible threat to the USA? Or did you? Yes, they did put on a pretty darn convincing show what with the spectacular events of 9/11, didn’t they? Well, if the Port Authority WTC hadn’t been hit and therefore “raised”, it was about to become, what with a 17% direct vacancy rate and a 22% indirect vacancy rate, a slum property similar to an abandoned shopping mall that would have likely taken much of Lower Manhattan along for the ride.

    Sorry folks, that’s where it ends for now. Tune in next week and maybe I’ll have thought this out a little more.

    http://www.thesisa.org (Nothing new there, don’t bother)

    • Being There July 7, 2014 at 11:27 am #

      Yeah, but where’s the honor in fighting for the banksters and liquid wars? Maybe if the American people weren’t so abused in the Vietnam era, they wouldn’t have called for a volunteer army to begin with.

      This isn’t coming out of a vacuum. This global neoliberalism is a re-capitulation of FDR and the Keynesian model of Capitalism. That’s gone(except the QE “stimulous”) and in it’s place is the Free and unfettered market that serves a tiny cadre of people. The rest of us can enjoy neofeudalism as the result.

      • godozo July 7, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

        The folks coming from South Of The Border don’t know that. They just know that this land is (still) the land of milk and honey and that Uncle Sam is at least promising that they won’t be booted out while they’re in the Armed Forces.

        The big question will be, of course, what happens when they do “domestic” duty and find, like the Germans and Vikings and Janissaries and Hessians and all those other forces that were brought into a land to subdue it and found themselves in a position to take title (to at least their own portion, if not to the land itself).

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

      “As it becomes established, the Caliphate could quickly become THE force to be reckoned with. The Caliphate’s 5-year plan to span from Andalusia to Bengal may seem ambitious, but simply by occupying Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the Gulf States (GCC which includes the KSA), they’ll effectively control from between 60-70% of the world’s proven conventional petroleum reserves in a territory slightly bigger than the state of Nebraska.”-George.

      I like the focus on high-level analysis. We could use more of this sort of input around here. Thanks George.

      Cheers!

  16. HomeAgainJog July 7, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    Being of the practical persuasion, I feel as though I must help you with your swim trunk conundrum by letting you know that L.L. Bean and Lands End both have the swim trunks you’re looking for.

    • James Howard Kunstler July 7, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      LL Bean does not. I looked there. Only more “conservative” clown pants.

      • HomeAgainJog July 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

        “Conservative clown pants” that’s a hoot! It should be an oxymoron but I can see what you mean.

        Maybe? http://www.orvis.com/store/product.aspx?pf_id=80LX

        or? http://www.landsend.com/shop/mens-swimwear/-/N-fzzZfn6?cm_re=bnr-_-mns-_-swim-_-052314

        • Andy July 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

          Thank you for starting the trend of solving some of this problem.

          Let’s all pray this spreads past the comments section and starts a fire storm of common sense in the world!

        • Petro July 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

          I had this same exact thing happen to me just a week ago! Every swimsuit I looked at might just as well have been a pair of baggy slacks. WTF? How can you swim in these, I thought? I pondered whether my wife could shorten and hem them, but she wasn’t with me and I knew that some of these space age petroleum fabrics could be tough to deal with… so they stayed in the store. My daughter found a photo of her and me wading in a lake when she was a toddler 23 years ago, and she thought my swim suit (much shorter than current styles) was very funny and cute.

          Those Orvis trunks? $50! And they’re not even made here in the U.S., which might justify (?) the price. They can stick’em.

        • CancelMyCard July 7, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

          No.

          First Stop.

          WHY DO YOU NEED SWIM TRUNKS?

          That is the first question.

          Who the hell are you trying to impress?

          With your near-naked IronMan body?

          Do you need to seem like a GQ model?

          WTF?

          Jim, just lighten up a bit, OK?

      • TimBloom July 8, 2014 at 11:53 am #

        Jim,
        The Kohl’s in cosmopolitan Wyoming MI had a pair of Nike swim shorts for me. Black with a couple stripes. Not too long or too short. $40. They are holding their basic black color, too, and don’t chafe. Kohls.com has no hint of them however. In “Men’s Swimwear” the best I found were Speedo “Volley Shorts”.

        Good luck there. I have a contract up here and joined a sports club with a nice lap pool so I felt what you did when looking through the racks of retrograde knickers. But yet I did not feel compelled to harass the store’s manager. If you got any emotional reaction at all, it was probably similar to that of a kicked dog who just doesn’t understand why he was kicked. Sometimes I enjoy kicking the chickens but mostly I just wonder what’s in the water (flouride, arsenic, lead, bpa’s etc).

        If you ever get tired of dreaming up new ways of expressing just how stupid most Americans are, try watching the movie Idiocracy.

        But in defense of the simple idiots who believe and mimic thier idols on TV, idiots did not create atomic weaponry or gear up our industrial economy to trash the planet. Idiots did not start the world wars, regardless of their nostalgia for them. Idiots did not build Auchwitz or the walls surrounding Palestine. Idiots did not screw up banking. If you want to truly wretch and weep, behold the clever among us.

        Me? I’ll smile politely at someone’s new tatoo. But I’ll laugh in your face when I see you in a Hummer.

        • CancelMyCard July 8, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

          A truly FABULOUS image . . .

          . . . . Jim Kunstler driving a Hummer through the ex-urban ghettos of Up-Staat Nu Yawk!

          Priceless!

  17. dweebus July 7, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    *shakes fist* Aaaaaeeehhhhhh…get off of my lawn!!! :)

    At least in the modern context, every young generation has their rebellious fads, then they get over them. There was a time when I had hair down to my arse (now I wish I just had hair :'( ), torn jeans, concert tees, an earring (God forbid!), and the obligatory jean jacket with Eddie the Head airbrushed on it.

    Then I went to school, got a job, got married, had kids, and plumb grew up. I wonder if the young folk feel that their future has been foreclosed upon.

    I see educated young people in their late 20s and early 30s still living with Mom and Dad. They should have started careers, bought starter homes, had babies. No job, beaucoup student loan debt, living in your old room. Damn, that’s sad.

    My best friend never went to college. He is an OTR truck driver and mechanic and makes a good living. Nowadays the company my wife works for hires new grads from vocational school as HVAC techs at $12/hr. That is not a living wage.

    So why abandon your baggies, get a haircut and a real job, when their ain’t no real jobs? Of course, it begs the question, which came first, the chicken or the tattoo?

    BTW, you might find more suitable swimwear at an estate sale. :P

    • Beryl of Oyl July 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

      That 12 bucks is considered a gift from God by some. There are tons of jobs out there paying just above minimum wage, and the worst thing is, you work three hours one week, ten the next, you might work the late shift one day and then have to be there at opening the next day, etc. These aren’t entry level jobs if there aren’t any jobs to move up to. Forget weekends, forget holidays, forget combining two part time jobs because you never know what hours you are going to have to work.

      • dweebus July 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

        So because there are shittier jobs than $12/hr., if you land one at $12, don’t worry, be happy? Still can’t pay the fuckin’ bills, much less qualify for a car loan or a mortgage. If the min. wage had been indexed to inflation it would be $16.33/hr.

        Trust me, I know all about the two job routine.

        http://15now.org/

        • Beryl of Oyl July 7, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

          Just expanding on your post. That twelve bucks that isn’t enough to live on IS one of the higher wages being offered out there. It is worse than people think.
          I didn’t say it was anything to be happy about.

          • dweebus July 8, 2014 at 10:35 am #

            Ah, gotcha. Apologies.

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

      “At least in the modern context, every young generation has their rebellious fads, then they get over them.”-dweebus.

      I’m not so sure this is an example of that age-old phenomenon (the ancient Greeks complained about it).

      In the American context, each successive generation post Mid-20th Century gets more detached from reality.

      “So why abandon your baggies, get a haircut and a real job, when their ain’t no real jobs? Of course, it begs the question, which came first, the chicken or the tattoo?”-dweeb.

      Indeed. People exhibit the panoply of traits that we associate with being ‘grown up’ when they HAVE to.

      In my experience, most of the self-disciplined, level-headed and clear-thinking people I’ve met have not been from the USA.

      As the economy cavitates, the infantilization increases.

  18. selaretus July 7, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    Jim,

    Perhaps it’s because I am old like you, James, but I agree that the clownish ‘gangster’ look is ridiculous. Everybody wants to dress like a……rap muscian. (How the terms ‘rap’ and ‘music’ ever got together is beyond me, because music it is not). Even the stupid NBA ‘shorts’ look silly. So anyway back to the finding of actual usable swimming apparel….I simply go to the local thrift store and pick up a couple pairs of actual swimming trunks in new condition because the ‘gangsters’ certainly don’t want them. Same with casual shorts; plenty there to pick from that are not to be confused with pants that come well down below the knee.

    • Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      And what’s wrong with that? Blacks set the cultural tone. To have a problem with that is racism.

      • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

        And yet Spanish is the de-facto language of the street-trades in much of the US now…

      • CancelMyCard July 8, 2014 at 12:31 am #

        Y’all raciss, dat’s wot!

        Exactly.

        Anything that contradicts the prevailing swoon over — how anything anti-white must be politically correct — will be denigrated . . . well, it just goes to say, you MUST be pathetic to mention it.

        Sickness.

    • Farmer McGregor July 7, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

      “How the terms ‘rap’ and ‘music’ ever got together is beyond me, because music it is not…” –selaretus

      No kidding. Decades ago I liked to joke that the phrase ‘Country Music’ was an oxymoron along the lines of ‘jumbo shrimp’, ‘military intelligence’ or ‘marital bliss’, but there is no joke about the self-contradiction in ‘Rap Music’.

  19. St. Roy July 7, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    Jim, you seem to have had a bad holiday weekend. I look forward to your Monday posts, but this one didn’t start my day. Yes, the X/Y or Lost Generation is definitely lost but what is to be expected with civilization in steep descent? Please, more meaty stuff next week.

    For bathing suits, I recommend the Speedo Rally for a gentleman your age (see link). It’s conservative and quality made. Confirm your size, color and shipping address and I will have one sent to you.

    http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-mens-rally-volley-9031/

    • James Howard Kunstler July 7, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      These are way too baggy. I’d put them in the clown pants category.

      • the blame/e July 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

        “I grow old … I grow old …
        I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled. ”

        “I can’t find any rolled trousers!” H. Kunstler?

        T.S. Eliot. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

        • CoalMineCanary July 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

          Love this! Good one, the blame/e.

      • St. Roy July 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

        Jim

        I have met you in person and know your body size unless you have lost a lot of weight. I don’t think you will find the Rally suit too baggy. Hey, what’s to lose for a free trial or should I just donate to your suite? I do buy all your books and admire your work.

      • HomeAgainJog July 7, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

        Jim, have you considered learning to sew?

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

      “Please, more meaty stuff next week.”-St.

      Fluffy this week, I agree. Needed however, it was…. ;)

  20. AKlein July 7, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    The more the talk, the less the reality. Such it is with self-esteem. That’s why the young walk around in ridiculous clothes and get tattoos. Why the need to call attention to one’s self? No self-esteem, so attention getting serves as an ersatz. Key observation: such attention getting requires zero real effort. Buy ridiculous, functionally inappropriate garments and decorate yourself with permanent markings and painful piercings to make a “statement.”

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

      “Key observation: such attention getting requires zero real effort. Buy ridiculous, functionally inappropriate garments and decorate yourself with permanent markings and painful piercings to make a “statement.”-AK.

      It’s what’s known in the biz as “cheap signaling”…

      Cheers!

  21. schwerpunkter July 7, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Having come from Upstate New York and moving to the city while still living Upstate part-time, I think there is something wrong with the water. Nothing makes strange like the boonies and failed cities of Upstate. I will gladly take my hipster in a vintage suit and Chuck Taylors over the Yobs of Albany. I am not sure this is a culture that is everywhere, and if it is, there are many others out there not dressed like clowns so they are not the entire crowd….

    • membersince July 8, 2014 at 12:15 am #

      Have to agree about Upstate NY. Was just in Oneonta / Cooperstown visiting wife’s relatives, and visited several convenience stores, gas stations and public gatherings. There is definitely a bigger vibe of stupidity and pointlessness among the yobs than there is in neighboring PA or New England.

      As a ,matter of fact, the Otsego County Fair is coming up the first week of August, near Oneonta. I went to it 20 years ago and my wife refuses to let me go back. 20 years ago the line of cars to go into the demolition derby was all black head-banger band t-shirts and jeans (this was before baggy pants on white kids), and I shudder to think what it must be now.

      By the way, if you are truly a sicko, the first day of the fair (Thursday?) is usually the day that the local institutions bring their inmates for an outing. A line of folks crapping themselves gives the place a real edge.

  22. Peter VE July 7, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    I’ve watched the same evolution in oxford shirts. Stores which used to cater to the middle class used to carry shirts in multiple sleeve lengths have switched to more brands in fewer sizes, making it impossible to find a shirt that fits well. The sleeve is either an inch too long or an inch too short for me. The illusion of greater choice has actually given me only the choice to wear ill fitting shirts. The next step is to sew my own shirts…

    • Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

      When I was younger, I wore 32 length pants. Then fairly quickly, 32s went down past my shoes. Either I shrunk a lot, or the clothing industry did.

  23. thomriddle July 7, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Odd clothing is not unique to current youth. Looking different, just like your friends, has always been a characteristic of youth anywhere in any time abject poverty was not the norm. I recall pointed shoes, duck tail haircuts and skin tight jeans (pegs) in my youth.

    Yesterday at Rite-Aid I was waited on by a truly gorgeous young lady with tats all over her right arm from shoulder to wrist. She was polite and spoke correct English. This morning at the UPS store I was waited on by a young man with even more tats. He was cordial, well spoken and very efficient.

    The stupid tie and suit uniform I was expected to wear as an engineer is just as conformist as any current or old “fashion”, but far more persistent and pervasive.

  24. retired guy July 7, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    Jim. Great article, as always. I too, share your frustration with the swimming trunks on sale today. I loved the old Dolphin brand running shorts, which I also used as swim trunks. And I agree with your observations of how they look on the wearer. “Clown shorts” is a great title for them. Jim, you have a way with words. You ought consider a career in writing.
    I also don’t understand the urge to cover one’s body with tattoos. They don’t even make one “unique”, any more. Every insecure fool has them covering their body. The message one gets from a heavily tattooed person in clown pants is not positive. It says, “I’m a fool and a loser. I’m in your face. Notice me. Look at me. Be wary or scared of me. I have no future. I have given up on pursuing a productive life.”. Unfortunately, tattoos are not like the latest ugly style in clothing. You can take your old unwanted clothing to Goodwill or toss them in the trash. Tattoos are there forever, even after you grow up or come to your senses. Jim, I look forward to reading about your thoughts on young women and what their life styles mean for the future. But hey. It’s all good, right?

    • hineshammer July 7, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

      “Jim, you have a way with words. You ought consider a career in writing.”

      That was a joke, right?

  25. lumbricina July 7, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    oh yes, Iraq, formerly known as Mesopotamia, things starting to wind up where it all started. But you know, when civilization has to tolerate bad swimwear, maybe it has been a good run. Bless the next generation, heaven knows what swim attire they may have to endure.

  26. the blamee July 7, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    “Never has a society entered an epochal transition with such unpreparedness.

    Never has a society appeared so childishly decadent.”

    Enjoyed your attempt not to date yourself. Sometimes I feel that I begin and end my day try to avoid the same fate, and that I have been doing so for a long, long time.

    I felt the same way toward the end of the 1960s. All the great cultural icons of my youthful society were reflecting themselves back to me in what was called then “camp” — a form of mockery of the medium. It was like the laugh track was being replaced with the hysterical track and that was all you were ever going to hear again.

    You just knew everything you ever knew and ever loved was about to go away. “Bad moon rising.” And all that.

    And every time you thought you had made some sense of things you hadn’t. Kind of like actually taking the adult’s advice: “You should have been a doctor” and becoming one. But then you find out that it is all about the money, now more than ever, and you’ll never make enough no matter what. I think this must be how the kids of today must feel, too. Just worse. You can’t just be anything anymore meaning falling somewhere in the less than nothing department.

    Anyway, nice piece. I know how you feel.

  27. consultant13 July 7, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Everyone under 30 is waiting for the their parents to solve all the major problems that face us.

    That’s how f’cked up our situation is.

    Peak Oil (yes, it is happening) and global warming are bigger than a WW II type event, but we are not even close to being prepared for it.

    Physically, we’re a wreck. Small farms? Garden in your back yard? I suspect 1/3 of Americans have a difficult time bending over. Getting up from a chair. And here I’m talking about people under 40. How many of this group can walk a mile in 15 minutes?

    Psychologically, we’ve checked out. From top to bottom, most don’t want to deal with “problems”. Young people are bent on thinking “positive” thoughts. They can’t and therefore don’t want to deal with negative thoughts, which they associate with “problems”.

    This attitude stems from the “me” thinking culture that took hold in the middle to late 1970s and has since become a DEEPLY ingrained part of our culture.

    We’re not living in Orwell’s 1984. We are living in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. A world where pleasure and serving yourself is king.

    We’re screwed.

    • JL Eagan July 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      This one really hits the head square, about something fundamentally important.

      JHK refers to it with the mocking of the “it’s all good!” kinds of platitudes.

      I’ve been thinking about it frequently, and it’s on my mind as I’ve pecked away a little on a new note for my own little blog, having done a bit earlier, and getting back to it sometime later today, about the holiday we just passed.

      Basically, the problem is that any attempt to consciously, rationally, and objectively get a handle on any of a large array of serious problems on our hands these days is superficially and instantly disregarded and dismissed as “negativity”.

      Never mind the idea that maybe a basic part of being positive is having some confidence about being able to figure something out and make it BETTER.

      Never mind that, in any kind of problem solving process, whatever that might be, the most fundamental basic beginning is to gather information and define the problem as clearly and accurately as possible.

      Nope. Just think happy thoughts and say happy-thought stuff. There. All good. Problem? What problem?

      U! S! A!
      U! S! A!

      JLE

      • consultant13 July 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

        Yep. You’re right. It falls in line with Jim’s “it’s all good” line.

        If everything is everything, why do anything?

        I think cultures, if they are successful in meeting essential needs, evolve to a point where a critical mass believes all is okay (even if it isn’t) and so the status quo is where it will stay.

        Maybe this is what happened to the city of Pompeii. No one did anything, even when Mt. Vesuvius blew its top.

        • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

          “Maybe this is what happened to the city of Pompeii. No one did anything, even when Mt. Vesuvius blew its top.”-consultant.

          In their case they had no chance to do anything except panic momentarily, then die… Nature can be harsh.

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      “Psychologically, we’ve checked out. From top to bottom, most don’t want to deal with “problems”. Young people are bent on thinking “positive” thoughts. They can’t and therefore don’t want to deal with negative thoughts, which they associate with “problems”.” -consultant.

      Barbra Ehrenreich examined this ‘positive thinking will save the world’ phenomenon from multiple angles, humorously in many cases.

      In my experience, a desperate insistence on ‘staying positive’ is strongly associated with things going to ‘gehenna’ in a big way…

    • lumbricina July 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

      Ya think?!?!?!? Check out McPherson new book, How to Live with Death in Mind. It has been very nice being in civilization with all of youse. XO

  28. ozone July 7, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    Jim,
    Apparently (just by looking at funding allocations for fireworks displays) there’s still plenty of stuff to be commodified, sold and promptly pissed away. But, as Being There pointed out, the concentration of what passes for a social structure/way to occupy ourselves in this joint is quickly trending toward: “…service, military and finance–(that’s all, folks).”

    Even the peripherally aware have to agree with your observations, which loudly proclaim that the end is not here, but we can surely smell it coming from this vantage point. (Yes, it’s what said clownishness means for the future.)

    I guess that the shape of the “rough beast” that now slouches and shambles toward us should be of some concern. (One thing I’m certain of, it won’t be “kinder, gentler” or even seemingly cuddly.)
    Perhaps we’ll get some glimpses as the goodies dwindle and baseball caps are not something to waste any energy or resources on.

  29. K-Dog July 7, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    Fifty feet of red white and blue cloth draped over a fire truck. You could have made a hundred swim trunks out of it to cover your fundament with cloth left over.

    And it would have been a far better use of the cloth because there was little to celebrate this independence day unless you can deceive yourself into believing that this is still a free country with a future.

    But that’s not so hard to do. If people can deceive themselves into believing that the United States can become and oil exporter and energy independent based on nothing more than wishful thinking and the murmurings of authority figures why not pretend we are still a free country, home of the brave, and that golf-36 isn’t everywhere on the internet diluting and misdirecting blog conversation to push forward the milk and toast two party political wank. Blow something up and make it so, your free! It blowed up so that means you are free right?

    Canned childish opinions, the only acceptable way to think in the new FS of A and if you think otherwise you may soon be ‘unexpectedly visited by a government employee’; clown outfit or not. You can figure out what the ‘F’ stands for. And when it happens to you don’t forget to vogue a good ninja pose.

    Heeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.

    You fellow mutants.

  30. Superfishal July 7, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    Jeez Jim,
    Have you forgotten how to cut off a old pair of jeans? Alot of this rant wouldn’t have happened if you just used a pair of scissors….I tell my kids just continue to remain and stay “normal “by old school standards. You will do well because there is no competition out there..Superfishal

    • James Howard Kunstler July 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

      Heavy and draggy in the water,

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

      ” Alot of this rant wouldn’t have happened if you just used a pair of scissors….”-superfish.

      Funny… tnx!

  31. mdhendler July 7, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    Fashion is an important manifestation of a civilization.

    I remember the late 50s and early 60s when children dressed like children and grownups dressed like grownups. Beaver and Wally wore shorts, while Ward wore slacks and buttoned shirts. It wasn’t just on Leave it to Beaver, is was how my family dressed, and my friends families.

    When I look at vintage reels from the depression, even hobos dressed with some dignity. I guess they still had some hope that FDR and the New Deal was looking out for them. The dust bowl subjects in the WPA photos were dressed in what appeared to be normal clothes, even it a bit worn and ragged. But they weren’t clown clothes. These were serious people.

    • AKlein July 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

      Yes, mdhendler, you bring up a very good point; Those poverty stricken by the dust bowl may have dressed in very worn clothes, but not clown clothes. There were, as you say, “serious people.” And that hits the nubbin. When I look at old photographs of people – just average people – from many, many decades ago – I am always impressed at how serious they appear, no matter what their station. As JHK would say, they were earnest people. They American people were an earnest people at one time. No more. Just look at most of the ads on TV. People in the ads are often portrayed as imbeciles. This is supposed to pass for humor. More likely it’s a playscript to follow.

      • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

        ” The dust bowl subjects in the WPA photos were dressed in what appeared to be normal clothes, even it a bit worn and ragged. But they weren’t clown clothes. These were serious people.”-mdhendler.

        They had to be.

      • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

        “They American people were an earnest people at one time.”-AK.

        There was every reason to be.

        ‘The Masses’ may not be articulate, but they know what BS sounds like, even when they’re playing along with it.

  32. BackRowHeckler July 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    And here’s what childishness in thought and appearance lead to:

    6 people shot between midnight and 4am sun. morning in Bridgeport CT, 2 dead, 4 wounded, in 3 different incidents.

    What happens to a civilization when all standards of behavior dissolve, when anything goes, when nothing matters, when life itself becomes meaningless?

    –BRH

    • Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

      What race(s)? Based on what you said before, you may have a California type situation up there where the Hispanics are cleansing the Blacks.

    • hineshammer July 7, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

      Jesus, BRH, why’d you go and do that? Now we get to hear from Vlad.

  33. consultant13 July 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    Collapse.

  34. lumbricina July 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    Try Walmart, Dick’s is a subsidiary.

  35. ghostlimb July 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    Insane Clown Posse variants have been the mode of dress in strip-mauled America for well over a decade now.
    Second in line is the “always in pajamas” look – with sweats, tights, and various elastic or draw-string pants worn perpetually – sleep, awake, somnambular – anytime wear… projecting an image of,
    “I’m so terminally casual I might be asleep.”

    • consultant13 July 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

      Lol. So true.

      There seems to be no separation between public and private dress. People walk around in what looks like underwear. People wear what looks like club or party dress into more formal places. I guess there aren’t anymore formal places.

      I get it. I don’t particularly like it. But I get it.

    • Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

      Well let’s face it, comfort should be a factor in clothing. From that point of view, the suit and tie are an all time low. A man wearing a tie is a slave with a collar. But this kind of physical and spiritual asceticism is expected of the mandarin class. They work for people who don’t have to dress that way.

  36. lsjogren July 7, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    I would say, however, that the uniforms that professional basketball players wear are more tasteful than those skimpy outfits they used a couple decades ago.

    • Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

      Yes, and the European bathing suits for men are indecent. That’s the Gay factor but like our baggies show the Black influence.

      • Helen Highwater July 8, 2014 at 12:43 am #

        I was really hoping that just for once I wouldn’t have to read your nasty comments about Blacks and Gays. Give it a rest, why don’t you?

        • CancelMyCard July 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

          But wait . . .

          . . . you haven’t heard him yet on the topic of . . . Gay Blacks.

          Just hold your breath! It will be sweet!

  37. GoldRetriever July 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Enough about the guys in their clown suits – what’s wrong with the women who are attracted to these clowns?

    I live on Restaurant Row – 9th Avenue in Manhattan – and there is no shortage of beautiful women on the tattooed arms of thugs. I just don’t get it.

    Could It be that the women are caving to what the media and society tells them, that they should be attracted to the “bad boy” thug types? Must be.

    • Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

      Maybe they like feeling superior to their boyfriends? When girls enter adolescence, they often develop an interest in large animals. So perhaps this phenomena is an adolescent fixation – kind of like the rash of women teachers hitting on their high school students.

      • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

        “Maybe they like feeling superior to their boyfriends?

        When girls enter adolescence, they often develop an interest in large animals.

        So perhaps this phenomena is an adolescent fixation – kind of like the rash of women teachers hitting on their high school students.”-Jan.

        Stripped of fascist connotation (and context) this is the funniest thing you’ve ever posted, Janos. Good on ya’!

        Cheers!

  38. edward4432 July 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    I have discovered that one must shop online for a decent selection and checking Land’s End catalog they show several of the sort of bathing trunks you probably were after: sitting at the waist and extending several inches below the groin. They have many more that are preferred by the younger crowd that sit below the navel and extend to a couple of inches above the knee. As for speedos. Cape May in New Jersey passed a law outlawing speedos for all males above the age of 13!

  39. San Jose July 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    Our family of four just returned from Paris and Munich. I decreed that no one was allowed to pack shorts of any kind. Also, no white sneakers. My daughter and I wore skirts and Levi pants when it rained.

    The Europeans dress nicer than Americans. You could tell the Americans in Paris because they are loud. American teenage girls stuck out like sore thumbs because they wore extremely short denim shorts.

    San Jose Mom

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

      San Jose Mom: I’ve noticed precisely these same things.

      On the scale of ‘discordance’ they lie somewhere between group-tourists from China or Aussies anywhere outside of Australia, and Israelis on R&R from their national service.

      Cheers!

  40. ozone July 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Jim,
    As much as I hate to promote an “Amazon” anything, as an example, I think these type swim togs are more in keeping with what you couldn’t locate in an actual, physical retail outlet:

    http://www.amazon.com/Original-Penguin-Micro-Gingham-Short/dp/B00GY05X2K/ref=pd_sim_sbs_a_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0EVW9Q8ECGWK3XE3XSXQ

    (And these are called “micro”. lol)
    But, nearly 70 bucks???? You’ve got to be kidding me! Time to go with some cheapie slimmer cut surf shorts and hem the bastards up… or, fuggit and wear a breechcloth just to say, “Nope, couldn’t find a thing that appealed to my taste and comfort, so I’m forced to go extremely anachronistic.” ;-)

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

      “As much as I hate to promote an “Amazon” anything,…”

      Amazon delivers… Even to remote ‘developing’ countries and combat zones.

      Not promotin’… Just sayin’…

      ;)

      • ozone July 7, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

        MD,
        Oh, I don’t have any problem a’tall with the quality of their service or the massive variety they can provide, it’s just that it squeezes brick and mortar establishments out of the picture and uses a huge amount of resources to do it. This cannot continue for long…

        Does the public demand clownsuits for anyone without computer access and a credit card? Someone should run for public office on that platform. “…Clown-clothes and sleepwear within stumbling distance for all my fellow Americans at low, low prices!!”

  41. vengeur July 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    Yes , I ran into the same thing recently, searching for a swimsuit here in Tucson. I finally went to a local used sporting goods store, where I was lucky enough to find ONE pair of light weight, fourteen inch length black swim trunks with a liner . For ten bucks. ONE pair on an entire rack of big, bulky, heavy clown pants-trunks.

  42. lumbricina July 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    it’s always like this at the end, you know:
    – men will be lovers of themselves, boastful and proud
    -the hearts of many will wax cold,
    -bad swimwear
    -men will lack natural affection-right now plethora of pedophiles on file according to justice department
    -people will be abusive
    -bad poets
    – nation will rise against nation
    -men will be lovers of money
    hmmmmmmm

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

      “-men will lack natural affection-right now plethora of pedophiles on file according to justice department”-lumbricina…

      Does there seem to be a plague of _Craven_ sexual appetite in the gen-pop lately?

  43. Raindogs July 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    Patagonia has got some tighter fitting, shorter inseam trunks in their webshop.

    A little spendy, but included in the price is walking around the for the rest of the day knowing that by consuming you’re also helping save the planet.

    The LL Bean mention reminded me of the great Onion bit… “African-American boycott of LL Bean entering 80th year”

  44. CoalMineCanary July 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    Interesting observations, JHK! Seems the illusion of having a “choice” applies everywhere, even in the “choice” of apparel. There is no real “choice”, just scads of ugly variation on the clown theme. Just as there is no real choice in politics, which usually boils down to the razor thin difference between “the evil” and “the lesser of the two evils”.

    How innate and powerful is the herd mentality, that nearly every citizen is willing to sign up to dress like a clown without a second thought? What does that say about the possibility for true individualism in this country?

    As for tattoos, I wonder if the tattooed ever think about what they will look like at age 70, with all that “ink” loosely hanging? My theory is that they instinctively know they won’t have to worry about it because they won’t be around.

    • AKlein July 7, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

      Your theory is wrong. They live in the moment; no concept of future. But lest you mistake them as Buddhists, they also have no sense of decorum.

      • Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

        I read about one Western hippy who became a Buddhist monk in S.E Asia. He hated the uniformity and painted his begging bowl with psychedelic colors. What a schmuck. What a sad little show so much of so called individuality really is.

        The real Masters, the ones who have achieved Stream Entry, are almost invariably strong and unique personalities. As Christ said, he who loses his life will save it.

  45. JL Eagan July 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    Another note.

    Jim’s note of the day leads off into a variety of different possible paths of discussion, some of them already being explored in the comments.

    One thing it makes me think about is the most simple and obvious. It’s about the kinds of “consumer choices” available in a society that has become all about CONSUMING and all that goes with it.

    Basically, it can be boiled down to this: often finding loads and loads of vast arrays of “consumer choices”, and yet somehow managing to find yourself shit out of luck in finding something GOOD that actually WORKS.

    I’m still finding myself with a problem in one department. Simple basic athletic shoes. My requirements are simple:

    1. basic simple neat appearance, preferably all solid black color
    2. minimal thin pliable soles, with slightly rounded edges and no overhang

    Damned near impossible to find. Shoes fitting the criteria in the past have inexplicably disappeared from the market, so forget buying another pair of those.

    Instead, what I find, everywhere, are ridiculous things that generally fit a pair of characteristics:

    1. comically stupid gaudy design, not just in form (e.g., like including various useless and inexplicable bits of molded plastic) but in colors, as well

    2. big thick wide clunky soles that would look like something on a pair of work boots, if not deranged by problem item #1

    You could simply say that this is a problem of fashion over function, but even that’s a mystery to me, as the “fashion” part is so often completely fucking ridiculous.

    There’s another one that might seem really petty and trivial, but, again, it’s such a simple thing that the failures are baffling, and it’s a simple practical functional thing.

    That is, shampoo.

    I’m a simple guy in many areas. This is one. I’m not a walking greaseball, but in my opinion, I have hair that is far too oily. I can’t stand the feeling of greasy funky hair, even now, as I’m keeping it pretty short (over periods of my life it has been pretty long, when this really matters a lot more).

    So I want a simple thing: shampoo that thoroughly degreases hair and washes away and leaves hair simply CLEAN; no grease, no funk, no residual gunk from the shampoo itself.

    What could be simpler?

    But what I’ve found, for years now, is the repeating cycle of finding something that works doing this, until, one day, that stuff disappears from stores, and I begin a new hunt.

    What happens then is that I find that you can go into variius stores in America, turn into an aisle, and find an array of literally hundreds of varieties of shampoo, and search and search trying to find something that works for my simple needs, with the probability of being suitable maybe indicated by a label saying “for oily hair” or something like that.

    Instead, you’ll find endless rows of “consumer choices” that all have some shit about “moisturizing” or about making hair “silky” and “smooth” and “shiny” and so on, with the bottom line being that all of it will basically turn out to be as if you’re coating your hair with liquid car wax or something.

    Endless varieties of crap… you’re hosed if you want something that does a simple thing and just works for the intended purpose.

    I take all that as a sign of bigger problems well beyond the immediate matter at hand.

    JLE

    • K-Dog July 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      The perils of the ten thousand mile supply chain. The longer it is the more impersonal it becomes. And when the ends lie in countries that don’t have a common language or culture; good luck finding what you want.

      Something to contemplate while perusing the isles of your local dollar store. Perhaps after chowing down on a 3000-mile Caesar salad from the San Joaquin Valley at whatever table you are at in America. Swilled down with some South American coffee, perhaps that will bring things into focus.

      Endless varieties of crap soon to be replaced with an endless homogeneity of nothing. The problem you see has to do with oil; but not the oil in your hair.

      • Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

        Perhaps gentlemen like this are part of the solution. Their oil must be harvested just as we used to do with the whales. If they will not step forward, we must volunteer them.

        • K-Dog July 7, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

          You’ve enough snake oil to solve all our problems.

          • CancelMyCard July 8, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

            HA . . HA!

            Excellent observation!

            Sit! Stay! Behave!

            And then you’ll get a nice treat!

            That’s a good doggy!

    • Karah July 7, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

      you are looking for “clarifying” shampoo sold in dollar stores by suave or some other old company that has been bought out by india or france.

    • Ricechex July 7, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

      JLE,
      Go to Sally Beauty and get a “clarifying shampoo.” Leaves your hair super clean and without residue.

    • MikeMoskos July 8, 2014 at 3:19 am #

      Try K-Swiss for the shoes and Dr. Bronner’s for the soap.

      Your local health food store (or even grocery store) probably has Dr. Bronner’s. Try a small bottle (you usually dilute it heavily). If you like it, buy it by the gallon as it will become the cheapest soap out there. I love the stuff. Be careful with the peppermint version; it can sting your privates until you get used to it.

    • stelmosfire July 8, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      Just use Ivory soap. 99.9 % pure. Fat and lye and that’s all ya’ need.

      • Karah July 8, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

        yes, ivory now has a soft soap version with good smelly stuff like aloe! wonderful stuff.

  46. v4l July 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Mr. Kunstler,

    I believe the bathing suit ‘clown shorts’ you encountered are called board shorts. They are made for surfing and their long-in-the-leg tailoring is designed to prevent rash while you straddle your board. For surfers–especially us cold water folks who are often in wetsuits rather than board shorts–they are worth looking the part of the clown to save the skin on your thighs.

    Happy surfing, JHK

    • The foundation of style is functional. Today’s milieu is to look functional. Where I live in winter you should like you are going to scale Mt. Everest. In the summer, straddle a surfboard. Never mind you are not really capable of, or going to perform, those actions.

      I predict in the future people will simply wear the out-and-out costumes of public life. Ie, dress like a ninja, cop, witch, sailor, etc. Everyday will be halloween.

      • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

        “I predict in the future people will simply wear the out-and-out costumes of public life. Ie, dress like a ninja, cop, witch, sailor, etc. Everyday will be halloween.”–Truthiness.

        This is already the case in the affluent zip-codes. I like the way you write, btw.

        Cheers!

      • ghostlimb July 7, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

        Take a walk sometime on Sunset Blvd. near Grauman’s (TCL) Chinese theater. You’ll see costumed superheroes, Disney characters and a few others – all a bit worse for wear, all pan-handling in one form or another.
        If you look at Mickey & Minnie’s sleeves, they’re a bit soiled and frazzled and Mickey’s likely out back in the alley from time to time taking a nip from a bottle in a brown paper bag.
        The whole spectacle is quite amazing to behold as the caricatures hit up tourists for a few dollars while playing out real-life indigence.

  47. There are a few reasons clothes today are so baggy.

    The main one, I suspect, was the departure from the skill and art of tailoring. Most people 100 years ago regarded clothes and raiment as an investment, something that was a symbol of one’s station, self-regard, culture, etc., as well as a part of oneself.

    People had their clothes tailored to fit. Most women and not a few men knew how to do these things. Many made their own clothes. As the global capitalist experiment went fossil-fuels hyperbolic, these skills were lost and cheap mass produced raiment became the norm. After a while, no one bothered with clothes, which had become inexpensive and standardized. People didn’t physically work in their clothes- they didn’t encounter the inconvenience or impediment of a too long hem, or suffer the too-short shirtsleeve, as their new indoor jobs didn’t expose them to the elements or interfere with feats of dexterity.

    I recall a survey not too many years ago that found that many people were wearing the wrong size shoes. You don’t need a survey to simply observe the wrong size hat, shirt, pants, etc. We became a nation of Lebowskis.

    The baggy look went crazy starting about 20 years ago. I hear its because the adult men regularly reappearing in urban areas, fresh out of prison were issued the clothes they were wearing on release, that they were wearing when incarcerated. The weight loss on prison dieting and exercise routines gave them their signature look. And since we are mostly a monkey-see monkey-do species with an inclination to imitate the visible aggressive male hierarchy in our vicinity, this meant that the urban community would go full on baggy, and the mass pop culture would follow suit, being terrifically impressed as they are with the antics of clownish spectacles of transgressive male ‘artists’. Nothing is as impressive to young morons as the rapid-fire delivery of babbling word-salad. I recently watched in amusement as a young African american tried to formulate a simple question about routes and timetables to my bus driver after I watched him bop with his headphones and pantomime a rap babble for 5 minutes while smoking a cigarette.

    “Hi, um… can dis… um, like, take me to, the uh, mall or….?”

    • Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

      Good points. Instead of looking up towards an Elite who are visible, accessible, and sympathetic – we now look down and imitate the lowest members of an alien race.

      Completely by accident? The new Elite, the media masters, spread the poison of rap far and wide. They don’t want to be our models since they hate us and want us gone. That’s why they opened our borders using front men like Kennedy.

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

      ” Most people 100 years ago regarded clothes and raiment as an investment,”–GreatandInfernal.

      The concept of Investment is the key… Despite all the insistence on ‘positivity’, profuse b*llsh*t, bravado and scared whistling in the dark, the public senses that there’s no point in ‘investing’ in a party they aren’t invited to…

      Call it ‘Cake-Is-A-Lie’ syndrome…

      Cheers!

  48. Janos Skorenzy July 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    Go to a goodwill store where you can take in the whole store with one glance. Note the difference in size between the men’s and the women’s section. The latter is much larger. Now how does this fit in with the so called “war on women”?

    Women are the big consumers. And pop culture caters to them accordingly. And everything is pop culture now: politics, religion, and academia. So when she says, Darling will you take out the trash or mow the lawn – realize that you are seen as a servant.

  49. Beryl of Oyl July 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    That blogger from Saratoga who got arrested claimed that young people tattoo their bodies because it’s the only thing that’s theirs.

    • K-Dog July 7, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

      An interesting statement. The idea of inking oneself from lack of self identity and esteem. Something to think about. And I assume you are talking about this guy? You didn’t give much to go on.

      Saratoga blogger John Tighe

      Well he’s better off than Joseph K in Kafka’s “The trial”. He knows what the charge is. An older white guy, what else could it be but child porn. His guilt is obvious to all. As intended. Unleash the mechanical hound on this Guy Montag.

      Another link

      • Beryl of Oyl July 7, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

        Yes, that’s him. Or that was him.

  50. Veronica July 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Jim, I echo the others–Lands End, LLBean, and, surprisingly, JCPenney. Those are pretty much your last hopes to not feel like an idiot when wet.

    Female fashion?! Oh, this is a fun can of worms you’ve opened, for sure. I am sure everyone who ever went to design school knows for a fact that:

    1) No one looks good in chartreuse. No one ever has. And yet–every few years it’s back.

    2) Very few people have the budget, patience, and style to put together outfits in multiple diaphanous transparent layers. And yet–here they are again.

    3) The older the wearer is, the stupider graphics can seem. So why are women of a certain age presumed to want their clothes festooned with an array of–literally–cartoon characters in the form of flowers, kittens, or Disney icons? Unlike stylish, attractive adult clothes, these suckers NEVER leave.

    Any astute shopper can list at least twenty of these unending stupidities, no problem. Women’s trips to the mall to find something halfway decent for a job interview or any other grown-up purpose resemble even more of a death march.

    I know readers are going to say, “If you don’t buy it, they won’t make it.” But there’s a clear sense that “they” don’t have to care, for some reason that’s not supposed to be true under capitalism but somehow happens anyway. The same junk in slightly different versions has been filling racks for decades.

    In real life, shopping is much less fun and much more work than big box “abundance” implies.

    • Beryl of Oyl July 7, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

      Every season, the stores fill up with clothing suitable for adolescent girls, and every season, the clearance racks are filled with the cartoon clothes. Supply and demand or whatever it is doesn’t faze the manufacturers in the least.

      • Veronica July 8, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

        Too true! After a work change several years ago, I was able to shop during the day for the first time in decades.

        What a shock! The stores were all moribund, the cartoon clothes did indeed abound on the clearance racks as you noticed, and the “stated price” on the tag, even for regular merchandise, is always marked down at the register.

        I wonder still how general apparel retailers stay in business in the echoing caverns of American malls. The sickening thought has come to me more than once that the cartoon inventory was made by children in a sweatshop for pennies, and that’s why it doesn’t matter than the junk is barely mobile at 85% off.

        • Karah July 8, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

          me too. especially when everyone carries the same stuff!

          my best edumacated guess is that our society has been conditioned to consume. there is something like a hormone surge firing off in my brain when i can search racks for that one thing i like that also fits and “save” money while spending it. like it was waiting just for me. maybe scientists would call it the rekindling of my ancient hunter gatherer instincts.
          maybe the rows and rows of clothes imitate the ripe harvests of a field under cultivation…being turned over every season.

          we know all shirts, like strawberries, vary only slightly in color and shape. yet we yearn for that perfect new experience. its a ritual. great american pass time. like food, we always need fresh clothes.

    • Karah July 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

      i look great and get tons of compliments for my chartreuse ensembles.

      • CancelMyCard July 8, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

        Please post pics.

        • Karah July 11, 2014 at 11:29 am #

          my post is awaiting moderation…

          i do not know why…

          i only posted three links to pics on the internet NOT of myself.

  51. carstars July 7, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    How true this is. Saw the same image this past weekend. A black pickup truck filled with kids. Skull decals on the back window forming the big dipper from the heavens. A barefoot clown father on the passenger side – likely can’t drive due to losing his license while his wife/girl friend drives. All the while ALL of the signs at the rest stop had been shot out by guns. We wanted to take some photos of all of this but were fearful of the other folks around us.

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

      “3) The older the wearer is, the stupider graphics can seem.”-Veronica.

      Good point.

    • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

      “A black pickup truck filled with kids. Skull decals on the back window forming the big dipper from the heavens.”-

      There’s the story, clear as day… Another 21st Century pictograph.

  52. d-_-b July 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    For the swim trunk try American Apparel http://store.americanapparel.net/search/?N=396360272&Nr=AND%28P_Locale%3Aen_US%2CP_Site_ID%3A1%29&Ntl=en&Ntt=swim+suit

    Made in the USA!

  53. rollie July 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Tattoos are the new normal. So much so that they don’t even work anymore as a signifier of “individuality” — not when everyone’s got one. In fact by not having a single tattoo I might be the weirdest-looking freak out there. Anyway I’m glad I resisted the urge in the 90s when it first became a craze — actually scratch that: I never had an urge. Never saw the point. Never found or thought of any image that was so important to me that I wanted to see it on myself every day for the rest of my life. Bad enough I have to look at my same old mug in the mirror!

    • BackRowHeckler July 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

      How about Tramp Stamps? There is something to be said for Tramp Stamps.

      –BRH

      • BackRowHeckler July 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

        That is, a nicely designed one.

        • MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

          Agreed. I don’t mind a nicely decorated ‘sacrum’ myself… :)

          Cheers!

        • rollie July 7, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

          I like the tramp a lot better than the stamp!

          • Karah July 8, 2014 at 12:18 am #

            hickies are still cool around here.

  54. BackRowHeckler July 7, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    On the other hand, myself, I’ve never been much of a clothes horse. A pair of khakis, a clean white T shirt, that’s pretty much been the uniform all these years, Good enough. One thing I can’t abide, tho, is mature grown men going around in sneakers or athletic shoes. For Gods sake, get some leather on those feet!

    –BRH

    • Karah July 8, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

      interesting…you identify with the personnel of world war two pearl harbor military and high security mental health wards. you never want to be noticed!

  55. Florida Power July 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    If everybody had an ocean
    Across the U. S. A.
    Then everybody’d be surfin’
    Like Californi-a
    You’d seem ‘em wearing their baggies
    Huarachi sandals too
    A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
    Surfin’ U. S. A.

    “Wearing their baggies.” Released in 1963. Brian Wilson and Chuck Berry. The heart of don’t-worry-be-happy American rock and roll. We were at the beginning of the good times, the endless Summer, that is until November of that year. The 45rpm single photo shows very young Beach Boys wearing matching plaid shirts arrayed about a vertical surf board. Nothing suggestive here, no Freudian implications, just young fresh faces lucky enough to be born at the inception of the electrified popular music culture and frankly, talented too. Their fathers probably worked for aerospace and defense contractors while their mothers listed “homemaker” as occupation.

    Fast forward fifty years and the baggies are still there but exaggerated and maybe betraying sinister signifiers. There can be found plaid shirts now covering tracks on tattooed arms. The defense contractors are still there, residing comfortably within the Deep State, Eisenhower’s warning having been ignored. But the homemakers are all gone, June and Ward divorced, Wally dead of an overdose, and the Beaver militantly gay.

    • BackRowHeckler July 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

      Nice one FP

      • Florida Power July 7, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

        Why, Thanks BRH. I appreciate your from-the-mean-streets updates from the Nutmeg State each week having had the good fortune to have survived New Haven. I wonder how Greenwich remains within the state. Have they erected checkpoints yet or do all the residents just take their helicopters to the Hamptons?

        • BackRowHeckler July 7, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

          Funny you mention Greenwich, FP. My nephew is a police officer in Greenwich. Alot of stuff happens there you don’t hear too much about. Big thing is DUIs. But the wealth in that town attracts criminals from all over the east coast, ‘specially nearby Bridgeport and the Bronx.

          –BRH

          • Glitch Mobiliou July 7, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

            “The most absurd apology for authority and law is that they serve to diminish crime. Aside from the fact that the State is itself the greatest criminal, breaking every written and natural law, stealing in the form of taxes, killing in the form of war and capital punishment, it has come to an absolute standstill in coping with crime. It has failed utterly to destroy or even minimize the horrible scourge of its own creation.”
            ~ Emma Goldman

            “The police have always been thugs, but they have traditionally been thugs in the service of elites. The crises of the 1960s produced an outbreak of police hooliganism directed against the citizenry… and a revolt against their own commanders and the civil authorities.
            The police, in short, became self-conscious political actors seeking to defend their own interests, advance their own agenda, act under their own authority, and increase their already substantial power…” ~ Kristian Williams

            The Beach Boys presumably created their craft under the context of the money-profit motive, and, as such, was a less pure form of art.

            Of course this all feeds into Jim’s concerns for the bleak landscape blights, both in and of the minds’ and thoughts’, as well as the landscapes of people’s bodies.

    • seawolf77 July 7, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

      All true but what’s with the long sleeves?

      • Ricechex July 7, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

        The Navy used to have short sleeves for the summer uniform. About a decade ago, they changed to all long sleeved uniforms presumably because many of our young sailors have so many tattoos. Even in the summer heat in San Diego, our sailors wear long sleeves.

  56. BackRowHeckler July 7, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    Eighty two (82!!) people were shot in Chicago over the 4th of July weekend, which can only be described as the Battle of the Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes All Against All. Uniforms these street soldiers are wearing: baggy pants worn down around the buttcrack, White Sox Jerseys, bandanna blue or red based upon whatever gang affiliation, $300 sneakers, Glock 9mm, $200 sun glasses.

    Its safe to say nobody is going to be in GQ Magazine.

    –BRH

  57. Farmer McGregor July 7, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    The tattoo craze may well end up haunting a generation where environmental toxins are ubiquitous in food, air and water — add electromagnetic radiation saturation and radio isotopes to produce cancers of many forms at epidemic levels…

    There are people having to get tattoos removed (along with mercury amalgam tooth fillings, etc.) in order to stabilize their runaway endocrine system and recover some of their natural immunity that’s been destroyed by all the synthetic poison we can no longer avoid.

    Nanoparticles in Tattoos May Cause Cancer
    (This article provides references at the end.)

    Chemicals in tattoo inks face scrutiny

  58. Glitch Mobiliou July 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    Hi guys…

    Jim,
    With regard to your swimsuit thing, I agree with the bagginess and utter drabness of the stuff in the links, and the stuff at the American Apparel link made me wince. (I can’t get into their stuff in general.)

    I would respectfully suggest considering bike shorts and doing a Google Images look at them. They’re tight, might look good on you without making you look dated or like you’re wearing women’s panties, and can be adaptively-reused for the bike, to boot.

    Another idea is to maybe consider men’s underwear, some of which look less like underwear and more like what you might be able to get away with as a bathing suit.

    Oh and feel free to let us know what you decide on and even to post some self-portraits in them. ;)

    How’s Duncan doing these days, by the way? Maybe he might have some ideas too.

  59. dolph9 July 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    It’s not too difficult to figure out JHK.

    What remains of the white middle class, and aspiring asian immigrants are busy maintaining their standard of living and pretty much huddle amongst themselves. You can’t blame them, given the situation.

    They are leaving behind millions upon millions of white, mexican, and black working class people who have no future other than low pay service and maintenance jobs. The young people of this class know this intuitively, so they’ve given up. This too, is the correct call.

    There was once a contract in this country, that the working class would have decent jobs and benefits, but this has been broken.

    As such working hard for this system no longer makes sense for many people. The most you can do is kind of tread water until the collapse.

    • barbisbest July 7, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

      yah, what she said, tread water until collapse. At least be nice to your peeps. bless us every one.

  60. ZrCrypDiK July 7, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    Choices, we have so many of them, but most are insignificant/irrelevant. In fact, most times it’s not even a choice (lesser of 2 evils?), not in the true sense of that word. Most people’s choices today seem to consist of getting into a sub-20MPG gas guzzlin’, 2-ton-death-metal-coffin, and traveling literally in circles, going nowhere and accomplishing nothing (other than further depletion of remaining vital resources).

    Speaking of guzzlin’, I’ve been researching getting a new motorcycle, since ’07. My ’81 Honda CM400 has done a fine job as the workhorse, for a good 31 years – alas, she’s pushing 25k miles now (recent annual estimates of ~250 miles per year, at ~45MPG). She used to get a good, solid 68MPG back in the “heyday,” but it’s nearly complete overhaul time now (engine/carb/tranny[heh]). The ’07 Kawasaki Ninja 250 looked like a nice match – 2 cylinders (most 250’s are a single cylinder), 70+MPG (carb), lots of power, and $cheap$ ($3K brand new). However, there didn’t look to be any way to modify it into a work bike – no real way to mount a luggage rack (bungie to passenger seat/saddlebags/helmet trunk). And all the other 250cc bikes in a reasonable price range ($3-5k) looked even worse in all categories. It seems the market simply views motorcycles as “fun summer sun playtoys,” rather than vehicles of transport.

    7 years later, and nothing’s really changed, other than the prices seem to have doubled, and the MPG has gone way down (preference for speed/horsepower). Same thing really with most cars – they’re still focusing on the monster 3-ton SUV/Trucks, and most don’t seem to mind that sub-20MPG on brand new $35+k monsters. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best bet is to get an old, sturdy 250-400cc bike from the late 70’s/early 80’s, rebuild the engine/carb/tranny, and break it in using the new (secret?) engine methods for the first ~500 miles, then switch over to synthetic oil for the next ~100k+…

    There’s so many choices we need to get onboard with, at this point in our trajectory, that it’s almost insane! I mean, who really wants to dwell on all that negativity, like an outcast pessimist. These choices seem to be so hidden by the politics/MSM of our mainstream economy/society, that they’re essentially entrenched/etched in stone (subconsciously?). Good choices? Bad choices? I think there’s merely good choices, and abuse of said-same into bad ones. You can always take something good and tarnish it into a bad thing – But you can never take a bad thing and make it good, somehow. You can only remove all traces of the bad, and hope good comes back in its place…

    As for “short shorts,” I think you need to look into the “volley” wariety of trunks. I used to wear nothing but speedos in the early 80’s, 3 hours a day for 3 years “strait,” in high school. I always worried about poppin’ a boner back then, but the cold water/public fear factor managed to keep that in-check (heh).

    • BackRowHeckler July 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

      Hey Zip that’s the longest most lucid post you’ve ever written.

      ***where all the crazy***^^^s

      Harleys come out with 500 & 750cc bikes for 2015, made not in Milwaukee but in Kansas City and Chennai, India. Reviews have been good and the price is low (relatively)

      –BRH

      • BackRowHeckler July 7, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

        And speaking of Horsepower, new Dodge Charger: 8 speed, 707 Horses under the hood like its 1969 all over again.

        BRH

    • MisterDarling July 8, 2014 at 12:16 am #

      Hey ZerCryptic, WTF duder?

      You can write something coherent when the mood takes you, can’t you? Thinking about bikes settles you down, doesn’t it?

      Like it.

      Have any thoughts about diesel motorcycles?

    • stelmosfire July 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      Howdy Zip, The bimmers got 168,000 and counting. I’m worried about the oil slingers though. There”s no oil filter, just a centrifugal slinger which eventually gets filled with sludge. A known problem with these 68’s.

      • stelmosfire July 8, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

        As a side note ,I travelled and worked from coast to coast in a 1970 Ford Econoline E-150 straight -six 240 single barrel carb and I would get honestly 26-28 MPG all day long. This was in a full size van set up as a camper . Try to get that out of a new van. Good luck.

  61. HaroldWang July 7, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    Lots of millionaires running around in NBA in clown shorts that used to be tighties. Everything changes in styles/fashion.

    BTW: Do board shorts, which have been around for decades, fall into your “clown” category?

  62. barbisbest July 7, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    For the fourth, I took my guy to a pole dance club nearby. Talk about decadence and How to Live with Death in Mind! (see McPherson’s new book) Be kinder.

    deliver us from the attention seeking struggling commoners pullleasseeee

  63. bettybarcode July 7, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    For a wider range designs in men’s swimming trunks, haul yourself over to your closest second-hand store. You will find all of the trunks that guys discarded when they bought the knee-length kind.

    • mastman July 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

      suck it up Jim and go to Walmart they still have real man trunks. Or Kmart or Target or Khols

  64. Darkvisions July 7, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    It’s been obvious to me, for some time, that the human species is reverse engineering itself, especially in the U.S.A. Either when god created this morbid creature or if aliens plucked us from trees to serve as slaves in some distant time I have come to a conclusion that it will only be a matter of time before this change becomes geometric in nature. I see a future where the “Duck Dynasty Clan” will form a nation in the south east where all men will have to have beards and conversation will only be conducted using duck calls. In New York, close to New York City, the natives there will speak in TEXT. OMG, WTF, AAQ, ACC and other acronyms will become their words of communication. I the far west where the Buffalo roamed, a massive heard of HONEY BOO-BOO’s will roam freely supping on GMO plants that ooze double the fat Mayonnaise. Then there will be the Tattooed hoards roaming the nation on motorcycles fitted with pedals since gas will be scarce. They will be like nomads, attacking villages and tattooing people with their tribal symbols and totems. Considering the childish nature that exists, there may even be a cluster of nation states in Florida where Disneyland and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will form an alliance creating the great “Floridation”, the national anthem. “IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL”. Yes, the future looks bright for the legion of lunatics in America.

    Check some of my political/financial cartoons on website below.

    http://commonsense2.com/author/sheldon/

    • K-Dog July 8, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

      Nice cartoons Sheldon. I liked the recession is over, but now we enter the dark pit to oblivion. Dank and dark the pit is with a tang of decay in the mephitis. Our mortification progresses towards oblivion. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world” But it is a nice day and I’m going outside.

      That web-mag you are in is good. I dropped a copy in K-Dog’s Reading Room it’s under the Common Sense Two tab.

      • Darkvisions July 10, 2014 at 2:24 am #

        Hi K-Dog, Thank you for the reply. As ominous as that drawing is, at this point I believe it’s going to be even worse. Every day they prolong this Matrix, it builds more and more layers. All I do is try to enjoy every moment as possible.

        I like Newton’s Third law: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.

        When this goes, unlike all the manipulation that has accumulated over years, I think this will unfold within days, if not hours.

        I checked out the tab on your website, thanks! Common Sense 2 was good, but the locals interested in the history unfolding around them is very limited.

  65. Pucker July 7, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    JHK wrote: “Women are not at the center of this story. Theirs is another story. Let some woman tell it before I get to it.”

    I’m not sure that the condition of American men and American women can be separated as one is a reflection of the other?

    A couple of years ago, I overheard 2 middle-aged American blokes having a conversation on a bus while travelling in a 3rd world country. They were both financing their travels with their Social Security Disability money. One bloke unabashedly declared to the other bloke that his goal was to marry an American woman with a good job who would “take care of him.”

    I know of a strong American woman who recently married a young American bloke. As soon as they got married, the bloke quit his job “…because he didn’t like it.”

    One would think that in this economy that one would try to keep one’s job unless there was some rather compelling illegality, or life-threatening situation involved?

  66. mastman July 7, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

    Jim be great full the man children are wearing anything. Most of them are glorified servants to a females who call the shots and make the money. It seems that the new generation white males in particular have lost all their identity and purpose that is is conflict with the genetic make up of the human male. You can thank political correctness, the feminist movement and the absolute hatred by minorities of the perceived white male dominance.

    The public schools have demonized the white male to pander to the herds of immigrants that have arrived and told they were all victims of white colonists in the past. Black slavery teaching in-particular has lead this rewriting of history to suggest they were only made slaves by the white devils. They forget that this country was first started by whites who were themselves indentured servant to the elite.

    They also omit the fact that all the black slaves were sold to the white traders by tier own races in Africa. Not to mention all these rich liberals who spout these lies are beneficiaries of the same systems that they say they are against. Think Rockefeller family and others who made billions on the backs of the underprivileged peoples all over the world. And more modern day robber barons like Bill gates who has been the leader in bringing in foreign cheap labor to do his tech work for half the cost of the USA labor force.

    Just look at the current clown in the white house. The country is in the crapper no jobs no hope for some and he and his wife have spent already 44 million tax payer dollars on vacations alone. The producers in this country are feed up with Corporate America, Banks and and dishonest greedy politicians

    I think the time is getting real close for something big to happen here in the USA. Maybe this year. The defeat of ERIC CANTOR out of nowhere is a message that something big is smoldering under the daily dose of feel good lies that we are all being force feed daily.

  67. MisterDarling July 7, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    ‘Witch of Hebron’ Log Entry #4:

    Just finished Chapter 17. Barbara’s house sounds rather nice. I thought that this exchange was interesting:

    “What were your friends still doing there?”

    “Waiting for things to return to normal.”

    “I knew people like that back in Boston…”

  68. Poet July 8, 2014 at 1:16 am #

    JHK–

    Your posts about the dilapidated culture and infrastructure of your chosen hideaway, upstate NY, makes me never want to get close to the place. Regarding the tatoo/sloppy dress/ clown suit swim wear, you need to discover the Internet and stay away from brick and mortar stores.
    Below is a link to the men’s section of a web site selling swimwear. Notice that virtually all of the styles (except for wet suits for serious surfing) are above the knee. They have the stylish bikinis of your ostentatious youth, as well as square cuts, and a whole host of colors and patterns that are not in goth style.
    Your shopping kvetch is about a nonexistent problem. Better to focus on the clown posse of political candidates who re coming out of the woodwork like so many cockroaches looking for a midnight snack.

    http://www.swimoutlet.com/mens-swimwear-c9260/?utm_source=newsletters&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=cp14074&subscribe=Y

  69. MisterDarling July 8, 2014 at 3:23 am #

    Egypt hits the wall:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-07/egypt-raises-fuel-prices-78-overnight

    78% hike overnight. Imagine paying $3.95/gallon, then $7.03/gallon 12 hours later… *That* would kill some demand ;)

  70. Greg Knepp July 8, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    Ilargi’s July 7th article ‘Overshoot Loop’ on theautomaticearth.com is absolutely kick ass! NTBM.

  71. dweebus July 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    “That twelve bucks that isn’t enough to live on IS one of the higher wages being offered out there. It is worse than people think.” -B of O

    You betcha. It is far, far worse than people think. A real world example: As a result of the airline BRs and mergers- service in the small cities has been offloaded to to regionals. Whilst regionals always had a place (flying to little towns such as Pueblo or Santa Fe) they now service routes like Des Moines-Chicago, which is a 737 route. The regionals pay far less.

    This process was then put of steroids. The majors now “bid out” routes and ground-handling, to the cheapest company. This is called “resetting rates” Once a groundhandler has been in a location for 5 years or so, and the employees are pushing $10-$15/hr, they replace them with a new vendor, and everyone is put back to a starting wage $8-$9/hr. Rumor has it SGF now starts them at 7.25/hr.

    Now the training required takes months (security/HazMat/safetyticketing/ground equip/etc.) If you fuck up in this business, it can have catastrophic consequences. Your safety is in the hands of a part-time, $9/hr. “clown”. Feel comfortable yet? So when you check-in in ALB, and your bags are loaded by a baggy, tattooed Blinky, this is why: profit is the only goal. Committing labor arbitrage and fucking with people (bag fees) is the only way to maintain it in the $100/bbl environment. We are cannibalizing our own working class. So again, why cut your hair and get a real job, when there are none to be had?

    A Weird Experience at the Dollar Store:

    The clerk there is a gal in her late 50s or early 60s. She has multiple tatts, a nose stud, and wear hers hair in pigtails. Bizarre.

    • Janos Skorenzy July 8, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      She’s just a chick. Why don’t you axe her out for a date or something? You’re not an Ageist are you?

    • K-Dog July 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

      And you said if the min. wage had been indexed to inflation it would be $16.33/hr. Here in Seattle the $15/hr minimum wage has a legion of haters shouting it down like it’s going to be the end of the damn world.

      Perhaps Jim does not understand the modern design of the swim suit. The modern swim suit must accommodate a nation which blithely swims around with their heads up their asses. I hope your inked clerk is paid enough to buy things at the dollar store she works in. If she’s not I’d say the economy is not working and we are all on borrowed time.

      Was she a good clerk or a distracted eater?

  72. rollie July 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    Had another thought on this last night: Quality, variety and quantity of consumer goods is clearly on the wane, but every day I can still buy food easily is a good day!

  73. volodya July 8, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    At the risk of sounding like a purse-lipped Puritan overly adept at condemnation I’m going to do exactly that, point out failings that, to me, look like the original infection from which spread the societal flesh-eating disease that Kunstler chronicles week in and week out. Including clown suits.

    You ask wtf am I burbling on about. Well, I look at the difference between my own behavior along with that on my generational cohort and contrast it with that of my parents and their contemporaries ie early 20th century. What defined the old-folks? Self discipline, self sacrifice, self control, self denial, self respect. What characterizes us younger folk? The opposite.

    I know, I know, the usual suspects will scoff and sneer, especially the university indoctrinated and especially those of a certain ideological affiliation. They’ll say that the world I look back on never existed, that families were festering hell-holes of wife-beating and child sexual abuse, stds, drug addiction, adultery, fornication, racism, sexism, intolerance, hypocrisy. Look, they’ll say, they have the “data” and “facts” and “studies” to prove it all. Sure they do. They’re the ideologues you can trust.

    IOW my lyin’ eyes were lyin’ like hell, my memory is playing tricks, what I saw was a facade, a Disney-fied mis-representation of reality, that school principals, those supposed pillars of the community, were screwing the daylights out of the female staff, the little girls, half the boys and not only them but the mothers that went to PTA meetings.

    And friendly local bankers where the old-folks got the mortgage were low-down embezzlers, car dealers were two-bit con-men, butchers sold bad meat, police chiefs were mobsters. And on and on. And let’s not even mention the clergy.

    Whatever. The ideologically motivated can use whatever justifications they like to excuse their own miserably bad behavior, that is to say, that whatever misdeeds they commit are no worse than those of earlier generations.

    But they fool only themselves because reality is a bad tempered, results oriented bitch that doesn’t accommodate excuses.

    • Farmer McGregor July 8, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

      “…and contrast it with that of my parents and their contemporaries ie early 20th century…” –Volodya

      With you 100%. I remember my first generation Catholic German immigrant grandparents working their arses off well into their seventies; started out hoeing sugar beets after they first arrived, having fled Nazi tyranny. They were fastidiously clean and diligent in all their ways. And they were happy people in spite of very hard lives of grueling poverty.

      I enjoy reading Gene Logsdon’s reminisces of farm life as a child, and his parents’ generation. He scolds against the commonly popular notions that those hard-working folks were miserable, that life really sucked in their hardscrabble world. He asks: if life was so bad, why could you nearly always hear someone singing at the top of their lungs while they worked?

      His books (collections of essays) are a joy to read.

      If, Volodya, your “lyin’ eyes were lyin’ like hell”, then you’re certainly not alone. Thanks for speaking out.

      • stelmosfire July 8, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

        The good old days were a myth, People lived hard cruel lives. We actually have it made in this country at the present time, most people are just whiners. Watch ” Game off Thrones” on HBO and get back to me. Or just read the Bible. Can you say “Black Plague”?

        • Janos Skorenzy July 8, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

          That’s one of the great paradoxes of human life: hard times often create good people and easy times corrupt. But the hard times wont create good people without a viable culture – and that means religion. And you have a hard time with that. But you see, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong….

        • seawolf77 July 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

          The good ole days were good because you could make a living doing something that a machine or technology would soon replace. Today those jobs are gone forever and more will soon follow. Think Realtors, insurance agents, librarians and a host of others. People have to choose a career or a job that ahs a future.

        • Greg Knepp July 8, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

          You’re right about the Bible. The Old Testament, in particular, is about one hellacious struggle after another. It is, in fact, the chronicle of humankind’s earliest experiments with the institution we call civilization…such experiments having too often gone terribly awry.

        • Karah July 8, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

          “there are no airings within the next fourteen days” – tvguide.com

      • Janos Skorenzy July 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

        And if those Germans just happened to be Negroes, would it have made any difference?

        The Allies purposely used French Africans to guard the Sudentland after WW1. Of course there were lots of rapes and “relationships”.

  74. Janos Skorenzy July 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    The people of future years will visit Murietta California just as they visit the sites where the first American Revolution began.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-California/2014/07/07/Protestors-Keep-Third-Round-of-Illegal-Alien-Buses-from-Murrieta-Border-Patrol-Station

  75. Janos Skorenzy July 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    And the Truth shall set you free.

    http://thegeneralreport.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/what-the-founders-really-thought-about-race/

  76. Veronica July 8, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    I AM curious, though. What swim trunks did you end up with, given the retail wasteland?

  77. Janos Skorenzy July 8, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    A Mirror for Witches – and a Hammer. Odin wants this one beside Him during the Fimbul Winter.

    http://www.barnhardt.biz/2014/07/06/the-one-about-wherein-ann-unloads-on-feminists/

  78. BackRowHeckler July 8, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    Eric Hoffer wrote about how good it felt to be going to work in the morning on the docks of San Francisco in a new set of work clothes. It might have been in ‘The True Believer’, I can’t remember.. What did longshoremen wear in the 1940s and 50 on the west coast?. Probably khakis and a solid pair or workboots, leather gloves shoved into a back pocket. True egalitarian that he was, I wonder what Hoffer would think of work clothing available in 2014? I wonder what he would think of San Francisco in 2014?

    BRH

  79. communities July 9, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    Seriously crotchety.

  80. BeerBarrel July 9, 2014 at 2:42 am #

    Seems it’s the Corporations and the Chinese that try and make us who we are. Indeed, we are what we eat and buy. Now they’ve transformed us into clowns.

    There is in this world a famed camera tripod company, GItzo, who several years ago wanted to try and let the Chinese manufacture their tripods and make a few bucks with their ability to create carbon fiber tubes at a fraction of the cost at home. Well constructed carbon fiber tripods have the property of being able to dampen vibrations quickly allowing photographs to be sharp.

    Gitzo provided a specification to a Chinese marketing firm that then went and had created a carbon fiber Gitzo copy – complete with a little compass on the top assembly – the same one you found on those stupid Rambo survival knives with the screw-open handles.

    I imagine the Gitzo executives, when seeing this first prototype, looked at each other and thought the same thing – I imagine they got real scared, and ran and didn’t look back. Gitzo, consequently, continues this day to be a top-tier supplier of camera tripods today – but had they not seen wisdom, Gitzo would be but a shadow of their former selves.

    Meanwhile, the prototype went on to be the Induro and Benro (and whatever else, such as Brunton) line of tripods. I’ve had several pass through my hands (all with the stupid compass), and they’ve all been very nice looking, but poorly performing copies of the original Gitzo they’d been contracted to copy. I’ve found they don’t work like they’re supposed to – their construction might as well be pot metal.

    “But it’s Carbon Fiber! See? Neeheehee” – I can hear them guffawing right alongside the other companies who also copy other goods that required much R&D but manage to capture with their junk the imagination of the dumb consumers who are oblivious to the degraded quality because, after all, the product satisfies all the marketing buzzwords.

    It’s a sick, sick world. I’ll leave you all with this neat lyric by Leonard Cohen.

    “The Future”

    Give me back my broken night
    my mirrored room, my secret life
    it’s lonely here,
    there’s no one left to torture
    Give me absolute control
    over every living soul
    And lie beside me, baby,
    that’s an order!
    Give me crack and anal sex
    Take the only tree that’s left
    and stuff it up the hole
    in your culture
    Give me back the Berlin wall
    give me Stalin and St Paul
    I’ve seen the future, brother:
    it is murder.

    Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
    Won’t be nothing
    Nothing you can measure anymore
    The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
    has crossed the threshold
    and it has overturned
    the order of the soul
    When they said REPENT REPENT
    I wonder what they meant
    When they said REPENT REPENT
    I wonder what they meant
    When they said REPENT REPENT
    I wonder what they meant

  81. MisterDarling July 9, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    At a certain point, you have to ask yourself:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2014/07/07/cia-played-role-in-german-spy-debacle.html

    … “why?”

    This preceded today’s outing of another German spying on the German government for the CIA.

    Of course it’s no coincidence that the US is planning on financially punishing Commerzbank for sanction-breaking, just like they did with BNP (of France) a couple of weeks ago.

    All of this comes on the heels of the French gov’t backing away from mutually assisting the US (b/c of the BNP dust-up), and of Russia and China being shoved together ( b/c of ham-handed maneuvering in Ukraine).

    End Game scenario… I hope they enjoyed the ride, while it lasted.

    • Florida Power July 9, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      MD – I presume “they” in the final sentence refers to the USA/CIA?

      It is astonishing not only the rapidity with which signal events are taking place but the apparent abject stupidity of the wise leaders in the USA. I say apparent because who knows? Killing the Dollar may be the only move left.

      So far Putin has not taken the bait and invaded Ukraine, which theoretically would cement the North Atlantic Alliance and disrupt the budding Eurasian Alliance. As Jim Willie observes: all Putin has to do is wait and the degeneracy of the West will reveal itself in Ukraine. USA bullying of France and Germany adds fuel to the fire.

  82. Cold N. Holefield July 9, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

    For those of us who are more modest about our massive manhood, we prefer the new style. It allows you to be discreet and assured.


    Swimsuit Shopping In Dubai

  83. BackRowHeckler July 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    These tens of thousands of kids from central america crossing the southern border? No big deal? Just a straw mas cooked up by the right wing? Its hard to get a handle on it. The US media is no help as JHK pointed out last week. why does everything take Obama and his people by surprise? Does he not have a massive intelligence apparatus keeping him informed of world events. (Incidentally, hows Kerrys middle east peace initiative going??) Benghazi,IRS, VA, ISIS, border crisis, don’t know nothin? How many LBGT/DNC fundraisers can one man attend? Time for this dude to pull his head out of his ass and do the job he was hired to do. It might be time for whitey to start closing ranks; even you Big Libs, if you have kids and grandkids, have to be getting a little nervous. Maybe not. I know i know you’re building a fukkin utopia and eggs got to broken to make an omelet. i read all about this bullshit in the New York Times, Harpers and Atlantic Monthly.

    –BRH

  84. Orrin_A July 9, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    Mr. Kunstler,

    Is it possible you are just not in the target market for this establishment, and therefore they aren’t worried about carrying a product that you’re interested in?

    Is it also possible that you have projected your own expectations about what should be available at this establishment, when in actuality what they carry has nothing to do with you at all?

    Also, why do you make statements that must by definition be inaccurate by using extreme descriptors (e.g. “We Are ALL …..”)?

    Also, how is it that you are able to amazingly grok the collective intent and mindset of an entire population composed of millions (e.g. “The public is definitely sending itself a message disporting itself as it does in the raiment of clowning.”)?

    And why do you place a value judgement (apologies if I have assumed too much) on how others peacefully express themselves in their swimwear? Have you attained some form for perfection in your own style of dress that establishes you as the gold-standard?

    And why in general are you so concerned with how others (for example, hipsters) live their lives? If it were out of compassion, heart-felt giving, and forgiveness, it would make sense to me. But this is not the tone I interpret from your posts (I estimate I have read about 30). Rather, there seems to be an aura of judgement, derision, disgust, and mockery. If the patient (humanity) is indeed in critical condition, can you explain to me how this sort of tone and treatment will lead to healing and rejuvenation (or is that not your intent)?

    • Karah July 10, 2014 at 12:39 am #

      mr. orrin,

      you correctly outline the tones of new york citizens as well as that of the college educated across the union.

      please read kunstler’s bio page to get the full scope of his unique perspective on life amongst one of the most privileged societies in history of man.

      thanks for your comment.

  85. michigan_native July 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    I am reminded of a picture I have on my FB wall. It was a picture of the marquee of a once popular strip mall of some 12 stores, now reduced to three. From top to bottom “Kohls, Staples, Dicks”. Ouch, I never had any reason to go into Kohls anyways. If only the top was Walmarts, then the second one “Eats”, it would have gone viral.

    Fourth of July. “Independence day” from the British empire, to morph into the US empire, to decay into something that most cannot even fathom. If the recent headlines are indication of how the US will respond to its collapse, it will be a dog eat dog nightmare. Homeless spikes. Shutting off drinking water from the poor people trapped in that hellhole/war zone/breeding grounds for scabies, bed bugs, rats,poverty, malnutrition, etc Detroit (who the hell needs drinking water, anyways?). Slashing veteran’s benefits, food assistance programs, taxing pensions, the cops shutting down tent cities and shanty towns that are popping up in wooded areas on the outskirts of town all over the US. That is, when they are not killing homeless people for “illegal camping” or savagely beating them with closed fists, well aimed kicks to the face, or grand slam style strikes with a night stick, for merely walking along the freeway (the recent video of one of LA’s finest pummeling an unarmed, defenseless homeless woman). Too bad youtube videos cannot be used here, there are hundreds of instances. The same video cameras that the “forces of law and order” thought were so neat to have at their disposal is proving to be a double edged sword.

    Having re-entered the iron triangle (a job, a car, and a house) after being off work for several months and forced into bankruptcy, working in the metro Detroit area, I can tell you that minorities are taking notice that most of the victims of police and state sponsored violence and brutality are usually brown and more frequently black. They are also taking exception to what they perceive as an assault on Obama, saying its racial in nature and becoming increasingly pissed off about them “not letting him do his job”. While the racial allegations may be true of certain mindless right winged religious whack jobs and the toothless wonders from the south, the flag wavers complete with nose mining habits and drooling problems from centuries of inbreeding, Afro Americans are like so many others, in denial, failing to realize the real reasons why their world is collapsing, namely resource depletion/peak oil/energy and unsustainable debt. Electing another president will solve nothing, and we would probably have been at WWIII by now if Mitt Romney were elected.

    Hitlery Clinton vs Jeb Bush in 2016, if there is even an election in 2016. We should all vote for the one we hate the most, and the one with the fewest votes wins. Did anyone see the video of that bitch after we killed Kaddafy for trying to trade Libyan oil in gold backed, Arab dinars instead of the US petro dollar? “We came, we saw, he died” and then cackles like some kind of witch on mescaline. Again too bad youtube vids or at least links can’t be used. Those 11 seconds of video say an awful lot about that wench. Check out Dmitry Orlov’s “3 wicked witches of the west”. She is one of them.

    Locally, my city didn’t have any fireworks display this year. The excuse I am told is that they felt it induced violence, although that didn’t stop all the neighborhoods from getting stoned and lighting off their own pyro technics. I am thinking the real reason is because they are broke and couldn’t afford it.

    So I ventured back to my old hometown on the pennies I could scrape from under the couch cushions to put gas in my shitty little Aveo which seems to break down every 10,000 miles to see a fireworks display in the “down river” area (cities that are literally going down the river from Detroit). I hadn’t been there in a few years, it was always depressing to see some new “development”. The woods I played in and built a tree fort in torn down, now with condos and ….stop me before I kill….lawyer’s offices. The park I played gutted so they could build a total of two houses during the housing “boom”, which, after collapsing, the swine that bought the park from the whores that run the city went broke. Then that once popular strip mall with a Kiddie Land, a Farmer jacks, a non chain pharmacy store, a Dunham’s sporting goods (no Dicks there), a Chinese restaurant that once had people lined out the door, a nail and hair salon, and a video arcade (the local police had that shut down first, after all, us 16-20 something year olds that would smoke a joint or 2 or 6 or whatever and go play centipede or space invaders were little terrorists that were going to destroy their city).

    I notice a pattern. The non chain stores go first, the non essential stores second, and the last hold out is always that Chinese restaurant. I don’t know how they stay open with few if any sit in customers and maybe 20 take out orders, but some damn good places (Chinese, and even better, Thai) have bellied up. They are the last to go. This last trip on the 4th, I saw that the whole strip mall was razed to the ground. 15 years ago, the lot would be filled with thousands of cars. All gone, the concrete chipped, trees and growing between the cracks.

    Not far from that, McClouth steel, closed, rusting, and silent. HV steel, closed. Vulcan mold, closed. The collapse they wiped Detroit off the face of the map is fanning out to the suburbs which I live in now and grew up in. Like each time I drive to work, eat a decent meal, or partake in some “holiday” festivity, I always wonder when it will be the last time. Enjoy what’s left while you still can, the window seems to be shrinking at an accelerated pace to me, reflected by actions at home and the insanity of US foreign policy abroad

    • michigan_native July 9, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

      What I was getting at when I mentioned the defensive mode I see Afro Americans taking when it comes to the cops on steroids/increase in police brutality (and militarization….I noticed an armored vehicle in the lot of my local police station) and with taking exception with their perceived persecution of Obama confirms one of the worst case scenarios I envisioned. Racial conflict and race wars that will break out across the country and make the LA/post Rodney King verdicts look like a picnic. Millions of people with nothing left to lose. The level of hatred, finger pointing, and resentment that is swept under the carpet will boil over and the media will no longer be able to distract people with hair coloring for men, teeth whiteners, and their everything is just peaches and cream world of denial that they continue to play in.

      • BackRowHeckler July 9, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

        As long as the section 8 vouchers, snap cards, welfare checks, free cellphones, and WIC payments keep flowing I doubt there will be any racial conflict. Why bite the hand that feeds you?

        –BRH

        • michigan_native July 10, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

          Where will the money come from to fund austerity programs, when most people are either out of work, can’t drive to work, and will need a military escort to get to and from their jobs, which will likely only pay food and utility vouchers? And if those who don’t work get these things for free, then the people that do will have no incentive to slave away at their largely defunct jobs.

          There were 2 stories I caught on face book last night. One was about some woman who exchanged her 13 year old daughter for food in a “sex for free groceries” transaction. The other featured this toothless woman who along with her sister, left two children alone at home. The house caught fire and the children burned to death. When interviewed, the aunt said she didn’t regret leaving the kids alone, but was worried about her purse with her food stamp card in it. Meanwhile, they shut off water to the poor in Detroit and yet another video of an LA cop pummeling a homeless with numerous closed fist blows for the crime of walking along the freeway.

          I have always imagined, when I projected the likely outcomes based our past and current events in the US, that the 5th stage of collapse (cultural) would be breached, and from other readings, believe the 6th stage will be reached (extinction)

          There is very little going on both in the US and around the world that would make me doubt my conclusions

          • ozone July 11, 2014 at 8:24 am #

            m_n,
            A grim, but not at all unreasonable conclusion, as very few seem to be invested in making the necessary changes to mitigate the current trajectory. (To paraphrase more than one pithy saying, if we don’t take care of our society, our society will most certainly “take care” of us!)

      • stelmosfire July 10, 2014 at 11:10 am #

        Man, you’re brutal! How can ya’ sleep at night. Beautiful day here, 80’s and nothing but sunshine. Move to the Berkshires, you’ll be glad you did. We had a dry spell but it rains most every afternoon these last few days. My spread is not low crime. My tenants call it NO crime. I leave stuff out all day and night and don’t bother locking my house or car doors. Of course the dogs have eyes on the back of their heads so that might help :o)

  86. Being There July 9, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    This just in…..
    I just received this email from Paul Craig Roberts featuring an interview with Michael Hudson interview With RT on Information clearinghouse.

    At Issue Is Who Shall Rule The World:
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39034.htm

  87. BackRowHeckler July 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    Still trying to figure out why these tens of thousands of Central Americans are coming here to the English speaking US, the Great Satan, land of imperialists, the 1%, racism, white supremacy, income inequality (you know the litany) and not the socialist utopias like Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, and Chile.

    Maybe luminaries like Sean Penn, Danny Glover and Michael Moore can explain this.

    –BRH

    • stelmosfire July 11, 2014 at 10:12 am #

      Mornin’ Marlin. Could all the freebies and gov. giveaways have anything to do with it? I have plenty of inlaws, all from New Britski, I don’t think any of them work, Food Stamps, disability, housing, etc, etc. Such is the US nowadays. Me I worked for 45 years , sometimes 30 days non-stop. I’m retired but still put in a ten hour day. My only complaint is it gets dark at 8:30 PM. Shit I already howed the garden and picked a s–tload of raspberrys I was up with the hounds at 4:30. I worked on the sister-in-laws car for 5 hours yesterday. Her 33 YO couldn’t even change a gotdamn brake line. Pathetic.

  88. pkrugman July 11, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    Marlin and BRH, undocumented immigrants pay taxes so they should get some benefits. Undocumented immigrants pay taxes every time they buy gas, clothes or new appliances. They also contribute to property taxes—a main source of school funding—when they buy or rent a house, or rent an apartment. The Social Security Administration estimates that half to three-quarters of undocumented immigrants pay federal, state and local taxes, including $6 billion to $7 billion in Social Security taxes for benefits they will never get. They can receive schooling and emergency medical care, but not welfare or food stamps.

    In any event what poor brown people get does not compare to theft by the 1% … (Mostly legal theft of course), by corporations, and by fraud, theft (unpunished), waste, and malfeasance of government agencies like the Pentagon… Which goes into Trillions of dollars.

    • BackRowHeckler July 11, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

      Wondering if these most recent 3rd world arrivals have brought enough money to tide them over until they get jobs and become self supporting.

      Are they coming with the expectation they will be taken care of by state and local govt? Is there enough money in local and state welfare budgets in the US to take care of all the indigent peasants from Latin America who can manage to break into the country? There are maybe 4 billion people in Asia, Latin America and Africa who would vastly improve their lives by emigrating into the US and qualifying for a SNAP card. How many are we obliged to accept? Is there enough money in the whole world to take care of these people?

      –BRH

      • stelmosfire July 12, 2014 at 9:41 am #

        I kinda doubt it. Just keep workin’ and pay your bills. “The tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” will always be on board for that gig. Why can’t we just close the borders? I’m all for immigration. Just send me some people who work! We have millions of armed troops returned from the hellholes of Iraq and Afg. never mind the 700 bases all over the world. Line ‘em up and I bet you would have a guy every 10 feet. There already on the payroll so it would not cost us a penny. Ah. common sense does not go far these days.

      • Being There July 12, 2014 at 11:03 am #

        I understand the frustration of the Americans living in border states, BRH,

        But….

        these children don’t have money to tide them over till they’re of working age.

        Their desperate parents sent them here for safety having much to do with our war on drugs that the banks make a killing on.

        AND (drumroll, please….W signed the bill that gives them a chance to be processed.

        Remember, they are just children, most likely they will be sent home for obvious reasons

        —-OK?

        • stelmosfire July 12, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

          Hello BT, Let me fill you in. The “War on Drugs” was a waste of TRILLIONS of dollars. It doesn’t work. I have first hand experience.I can go to any corner in my small town and get whatever i want, not that I would. Half ( if not more) of the under thirty, tattooed crowd are on this shit. They start with Oxy’s and when the Oxy’s get to expensive they move on to the big horse. It is only getting worse by the week. In Vermont they are calling it an epidemic. This country is F####d!!

        • BackRowHeckler July 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

          Apparently some of these Central American countries are in a state of total collapse, in the hands of violent street gangs. Honduras, for one, leads the world in murder. This is probably something our vaunted media should have reported on every once in awhile, and made us aware of.

          If it was up to me I wouldn’t send anybody 16 or under back to those hellholes under any circumstances. Meanwhile they must be taken care of. I was just wondering where do we draw the line. One of the themes of this blog is that real wealth and capital are growing short. How much of the 3rd world can we afford to take care of?

          –BRH

          • BackRowHeckler July 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

            BT I think that bill you mention that Bush signed was to deal with human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. Nobody is arguing that wasn’t a good or unnecessary law.

            –BRH

  89. Karah July 12, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    Atlantic City: popular bathing site is suffering

    “The news is the latest in a cascade of setbacks for Atlantic City’s gambling market, which until just a few years ago was the second-largest in the nation after Nevada; Pennsylvania has now taken over that spot. Analysts have long said that the casino market here, and in the Northeastern United States, has been oversaturated, and that some casinos need to close to ensure the survival of others.

    On Jan. 1, Atlantic City had 12 casinos. By the end of September, it could have eight.”

    trump casino, costing 210 million in the 80s to build, is shuttering in Sept because its bringing in less than 75$ million a yr. wow. they were swimming in the coin but trump says they were misinvesting the money out of state. probably all those thousand mile ceasar salads and salmon on the menu along with thousands of square feet of refrigerated air. i suspect they project their electricity bills to be too high leaving nothing to deal on the table in sept, the beginning of fall when they have toheat all that air.

    the reason people swim anywhere is to cool off in hot weather. if you had a choice between swimming with tattooed oafs or staying inside an a/c theater with tons of food and various amusements….which would you choose?

    • stelmosfire July 13, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

      Hi Karah, I’d take a beach chair and a striper pole, Although my daughter is against killing fish. I don’t really see a shortage of striped bass and I maybe land a half dozen legal size in a year!

      • Karah July 13, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

        hi elmo,
        that would be good enough for me, too, but is boring to most youngins and does not bring in much revenue for city/state or county.

        “Anyone age 16 and older must have a valid license (see Exceptions) to fish the fresh waters of New Jersey with handline, rod and line, or longbow and arrow. This includes privately owned lakes and other waters. New Jersey does not require a general saltwater fishing license but there are a limited number of saltwater licenses and permits required.”

        http://www.nj.gov/dep/saltwaterregistry/index.html

        fishing licenses and boat docks are not enough unless they put these casinos on the water in titanic cruise ships travelling to and from europe.

  90. cryincrawdaddy July 14, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    Ahhh, go ahead and wear the Speedo bikini. Older men wear them pretty much everywhere in the world EXCEPT for in the United States. As a bonus, it will keep clownish people from bothering you.

  91. Frankiti August 11, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    A truly enjoyable post. One does contemplate whether one’s cantankerousness is a direct result of age (à la the late Andy Rooney) or a justifiable reaction to being in the midst of societal disintegration. Although the Hipster does enjoy being the more refined buffoon of the two described above, they are probably the more pitiful. The hipster thrives on irony and the inauthentic. They do not believe in earning anything or demanding a bona fide pedigree from their pirated stylistic accoutrements. They did not earn their maritime tattoo ripped from the Sailor Jerry flash nor do they possess a modicum of the raw masculinity that it takes to wear a beard without a wink to its blatant absurdity. They are a pastiche of stylistic cues ripped from the very authentic generations that preceded them. They stand for nothing. They represent nothing. Beware of a uniformed counter-culture that is all style and no substance. Hippies arose from a generation begat by victors of the great war, only to be cursed with a promised birthright to a peaceful future that was only to be stolen by a draft into an unpopular war in Southeast Asia. They evolved from the beatniks before them-the artistic avant garde- into a more politically active and vocal group that demanded substantive (real) change. And the hipster? He/she was raised by over-involved parents that made sure their son or daughter was over-educated and indebted only to become under-employed… instead they embraced the epicurean zeitgeist of the age of decadence and they became chefs and “mixologists” with tattoos of carving knives or, on a more positive note, farmers with tattoos of beet bunches… complete with a monochromatic fixed-gear bicycle and a predilection towards Pabst beer (they liked it before they knew it was awful). What exactly does it mean when the bare/pristine fleshed stand-out from the crowds of look-at-me inked? As for the other clown-suited juveniles and stunted adults, and at the risk of sounding all H.L Mencken, they represent the reality that almost 90% of the population is irrevocably ignorant.

    • Steven W. Maginnis August 30, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

      I just lost a 1980s-vintage swimsuit at my local pool when I left it behind in the locker room. I want back the next day after realized my mistake but it was already gone. Now I’m facing the same dilemma – clown trunks or nothing! You have to pay a premium at L.L. Bean or by vintage swimwear on Ebay for what you used to be able to find in Bamberger’s. Hey, whatever happened to Bamberger’s? :-O

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