Friday, November 21

No-Compete Friday



Gavin M. meets Goldberg Admiration Society treasurer Katie at Kaubki Village:

"But I waited…waited until I knew I would be in Manhattan for the day…a day when I could purchase it at the book store at Grand Central (making sure to ask the clerk where it was even though it was on a table in the center of the store…just because I knew it would drive the guy nuts) and could then carry it throughout my day of meetings."
Let’s look at this woman’s big day on the town. She created a multi-stage pageant out of buying a copy of Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism — a book devised as though on the spot at a cocktail party, as an insouciant one-liner from a half-drunk Jonah to some cornball editor he was trying to impress (Adam Bellow, let’s imagine), which was then delivered only after years of flop sweat, excruciating mental gymnastics, and probably genuine debilitating mental depression, because as Jonah knew at the time (and as he probably knows still during certain late nights and lonely self-encounters), while its concept is guaran-freaking-teed to make liberals hop-hop-hoppingly mad, it cannot stand as a serious book because it is premised on an absurdity. So here she’s like, “Tee-hee, my plan begins by loudly asking for this book at Grand Central Station, just in case there’s a liberal nearby to whom I’d be sticking it.” It’s like those Mexican guys in Los Angeles with the bouncy cars: On the surface it just looks silly, but then you consider the industry and determination on display — step by step from concept to technical execution — in installing custom hydraulic systems in order to bounce up and down in their car all pocketa-pocketa while scowling at you at a random stoplight, and it’s genuinely sort of terrifying. What sort of people would do this, and by God, what else are they capable of?


WE would just like to add, as a Public Service, that You can observe a lot just by watching. Supposing you would avoid crapping your pants except under the most ungovernable of circumstances, you might also take this to suggest something about your driving habits or political pronouncements, absent any evidence to the contrary. I'm always struck that people (including the author, apparently) consider Being There an indictment of Television mindlessness (which is like indicting somebody who was hanged a half-century earlier, innit?) when it's the simple knowledge gained from gardening that propels Chance into prominence. Maybe that's because I'm a feeble-minded gardener myself, but anyway: the fact that "Reality" does not instantly punish every instance of complete and utter bullshit that comes down the pike owes everything to the quantity of bullshit out there, not its quality. Every time a traffic light saves us from being crushed to death by a speeding dump truck we see the utter refutation of modern Republican Libertoonianism. Certainly, we might make a lot of money producing something like Liberal Fascism, and we might even do so under a nom de plume, thus keeping our shame a secret. But even if we managed to do so, every one of us can see, just walking down the street, that dying in unspeakable poverty is preferable to living as Jonah Goldberg.

Most of us, even some Republicans whose favored form of religious observance does not involve water moccasins and flaming jerrycans of white gas, do our own shopping. We are therefore capable of observing the attitude of most service personnel to the asshole Americanus in a natural setting, since if you're third in line or lower there's bound to be at least one in front of you, and if you're standing patiently in some formless line, at the Deli, say, and they're all behind you, at least one is sure to step in front when it's your turn. We could simply extrapolate from here; the average cashier or counterman must encounter fifty complete assholes and double that in brain-damaged twits in the average shift, and that's assuming the place doesn't serve alcohol. This means it's about as likely they bother him as it is that stepping in cowshit irritates a dairy farmer.

But let's go ahead and continue our field observations. How do such folk, in the main, respond? They don't. They don't give a fuck about you; if they did we're hear about one or two going postal every single day.

And I don't know, but I would suspect that people working in a bookstore, which, by its very nature, suggests literacy on the part of both employee and patron, pretty much have you pegged if you find it necessary to march up first thing and ask them where such-and-such could be found, whether it's Liberal Fascism, A Thomas Kincade Chanukah, or To the Lighthouse. There are enormous fucking signs delineating each section, lady. You've just announced you're too lazy or stupid to look for them, or else you're too self-important not to have The Help do it for you. It's hardly surprising, under the circumstances, that you're looking for Goldberg's shit sandwich. Aisle Six, on the (snigger) Left. Can I help the next asshole in line?

Yes, we said something about Public Service, and it's not to suggest to these people that they curb the junior-high slumber party antics before they deal with anybody who handles their food. Frankly, we hope they don't. It's that it's well past time to put this tired crap to bed and find a new routine. We'd like to suggest entering liberal bastions like bookstores, libraries, and daycare centers and brandishing a weapon at the employees, just to show your Second amendment absolutism.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cool, funny post, which provides me a non-existent segue to a question. Don't know if you could help me on this, but I was reading Nixonland recently, and he mentioned Vance Hartke as a liberal senator from Indiana in the 60's. Was that the take the locals had? Just curious about what the Indiana view was.

stringonastick said...

Having once been a service worker, and having read Gavin's story yesterday, all I can say is yes, you see these asshole every working day, and yes, the grand life-changing scenes they construct out of such encounters occurs only in their minds. They stick in the service worker's mind just about as long as it takes to count their change to them, after that, no.

Though I suppose I shouldn't clue them in to that fact, lest they decide they need to be, shall we say, more memorable in their antics. Service jobs suck enough as it is.

Mr Wonderful said...

A Thomas Kincaide Chanukah? That's inspired. It is, as you know, The Festival of Lights.

BTW, the reason your Rothko-by-numbers didn't click is, you have the wrong artist. Try re-branding it with Ellsworth Kelly By Numbers. You'll thank me later.

Sue said...

Let me see if I have this right: Kabuki Village went all the way to Grand Central to do an "in your face" purchase of a book that was so repulsive to the owners/employees of the bookstore that, not only was it in stock, it was DISPLAYED ON A TABLE IN THE CENTER OF THE STORE. Kabuki didn't pick up on that? I can only wonder why "the guy" didn't just have a copy waiting for Kabuki, having sensed K's smug-vibes from several blocks away and easily making the correct guess on what book would be requested.

duquesne_pdx said...

Back in the late 80's/early 90's, I worked for a large chain bookstore. When Rush's first book came out, he exhorted his dittohead minions to accost bookstore employees for his book because by claiming that bookstores were purposely hiding his book and refusing to sell them. I would tell the dittoheads that I would love to take their money in exchange for the book, but we were unfortunately sold out and would you like to special order that so that when we get restocked, we can call you immediately?

These were generally the same sort of person who would ask me how the fiction books were organized and would look confused when I told them "by color"...

dave said...

I was really worried for a while when I read reports of gun sales to wingnuts spiking, thinking that some kind of armed rebellion might be on the way. I'm just relieved to see that Kabuki Katie has found a way to bravely fight in the winger guerrilla insurgency without killing anyone...yet.

Kathy said...

Its really funny that she assumes a bookstore clerk would be offended or angry at seeing someone buy a Goldberg book, rather than simply contemptuous of her intellect.

I wonder if she takes it with her to restaurants to "offend" the wait-person, or to, say, to Macy*s to offend the salesperson.

And what does she imagine Starbucks barrista's feel about Goldberg. Are they liberals or neocons?

Mojo said...

I think she left out the part where the clerk handed her the purchase with the statement, "Here's your sign".

ciocia said...

As a public service person (librarian), such a request is not interesting enough to register, much less offensive. Maybe they are projecting, in that they think people who disagree with us are ipso facto insulting, when in fact they are just disagreeing. But until she asks a librarian to translate her speaking in tongues, or finding information about a person she discovered via ouija board, (both true stories) she is just a self-important bore.

Frank, Andrew said...

I would love to take their money in exchange for the book, but we were unfortunately sold out and would you like to special order that so that when we get restocked, we can call you immediately?

handdrummer said...

As a bookstore owner, now retired, I can honestly say I wouldn't remember this person longer than it took me to put her cash in the drawer.

Now the guy that once asked me for a copy of "Madame Ovary by some French guy", him I remember.