…And Here We Go Again, Again

From the Comments on my post about the alt-Right comes this:

Splendid Isolation indeed. Young white men today certainly won’t be enjoying any splendid isolation as they grow older. They’ll be lucky if they can find any isolation at all, splendid or not. And they won’t be staring vacantly off into space, their backs turned on a world they would rather ignore, choosing not to look at what they don’t want to see. No, reality will get in their face and force itself into their space, like it or not. Nor will they be getting any ice cream, shit-topped or not. They’ll be getting a full shit sandwich, courtesy of a system their fathers and grandfathers have either supported, acquiesced in, or “opposed” with little more than impotent whining. And if you want to know who they really hate, it’s not blacks or even Jews, but smug, clueless boomers who claim to be fighting for truth and justice, for Western Civilization and against liberalism, but who reserve their utmost condemnation for the only movement that speaks for them and their interests. And I say that as a boomer myself. If you want to argue against the Alt-Right, you should deal with the actual positions they hold and arguments they make, rather than with the strawman caricature you’ve constructed only to demolish. Countercurrents and the writings of Greg Johnson are a good place to start.

I get it: I don’t know what I’m talking about, because I just haven’t studied the issue enough, or haven’t read this or that which explains it perfectly.

Here’s the beauty of age: you recognize silliness when you see it, because you’ve seen it so many times before at first hand. Add a small dose of historical perspective (such as I possess), and it’s clear that you don’t need to eat a whole egg to know that it’s rotten. People who try to justify silliness like the alt-Right are like the vicar in Punch magazine, talking about eating a rotten boiled egg: “I assure you, parts of it are excellent!”

The good part of splendid isolation is that I get to pick who my allies are, and like I said: I know who you are, I know your philosophy, I know where you’re heading, and I want no part of you.

And one last thing: if you think I’m reserving my utmost condemnation for the alt-Right, then you’re not too familiar with my writings. You probably missed the one, for example, where I suggested that I’d like to tie Senator Ted Kennedy to a chair and beat  him to death with a lead pipe. Or maybe it was Chuck Schumer… there are so many options when it comes to liberals. Compared to pricks like them, the alt-Right gets barely a mention.

You see, Mr. Expatriot, I’ve been hating liberals since before most of the alt-Right were born, and I don’t need to get lectured by some suddenly-aware Baby Boomer about the evils of liberalism and socialism and where they’re taking us. There is an answer to this problem, and the alt-Right ain’t it.

You Asked For It

I hate to harp on the importance of appearance yet again, but this little temper tantrum has caused me to have an even bigger one:

She is a bestselling author with a healthy bank balance, but Chocolat writer Joanne Harris found herself shunned by sales staff at Harvey Nichols in London – because she wasn’t smartly dressed.
The writer, 52, whose novel was turned into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche, took to Twitter this afternoon to blast the retailer, saying she’d encountered ‘intense snoot’ from staff ‘unused to contact with people in hoodies’.

But it gets better.

She added that her ‘elegant Parisian aunt’ had taught her that an establishment with true class never judges its customers on appearance.

Listen, you classless idiot: did you ever stop to wonder why your Parisian aunt is “elegant”?

It’s because appearances matter, you fucking slob. Let me take this woman’s attitude apart, piece by piece.

I’ve been to Harvey Nics many, many times — it was always Connie’s first stop in London because of their amazing cosmetics department — and we never, ever encountered any “snoot” from the polite, helpful and attentive staff. Know why? Because we were always well-dressed and (in the case of The Mrs., anyway) looked as though we were the type of people Harvey Nichols wanted as customers. One older sales assistant even remembered Connie from an earlier trip. “You’re the lady from Beverley Hills with the delightful children, aren’t you? Welcome back to London.” (I guess they just don’t get that many six-foot-tall redheaded American women from Beverley Hills shopping there.)

Here’s a clue for Joanne Harris. The staff at Harvey Nichols are very, very accustomed to customers wearing hoodies in their store; generally, that’s because said hoodie-wearers are career shoplifters. If you go into a store looking like the average criminal then how, exactly, do you expect the staff to react to you? “It shouldn’t matter how you look!” Well, welcome to the real world, sweetheart, and guess what? How you look does matter.

In fact, judging other people by how they look is not “trained behavior” created by Harvey Nichols management; it’s trained behavior as a result of many thousands of years’ genetic conditioning, where judging appearances is not a matter of “snoot”, but quite often is a matter of life and death. The oldest human instinct is probably a subconscious warning of “Predator!” so the instinct, in other words, is already ingrained. Then add experience (hoodie = possible shoplifter) which fills in the rest.

It’s time for my Parisian restaurant story (and to those who’ve heard it before, sorry but it’s relevant). The scene: Paris between Christmas and New Year, i.e. full to the brim with people. It’s also pouring down with rain, and tit-freezing cold. Dramatis personae:  la famille du Toit, having just quit standing in a seemingly-endless line at an art museum because bullshit. We are well-dressed because when we travel, we are always well-dressed: no jeans, sneakers, tee shirts nor (duh) hoodies; rather, it’s dress slacks, decent shirts / blouses, shiny dress shoes and silk scarves under cashmere coats.

We walked into a nearby but packed restaurant, and I fought my way to the maître d’hotel‘s stand. I apologized (in French) for not having a reservation, explained our predicament, and asked if it would be at all possible for the restaurant to seat a party of six (we had an “adopted” child with us), and no, we wouldn’t mind waiting. The headwaiter looked at the rest of us and clearly saw how we were dressed. He sat us at the bar counter, moving people down to give us room, gave us complimentary bottles of sparkling water, and told us please to be patient, and he would seat us shortly. About five minutes passed; then he came back, and apologized profusely that he hadn’t been able to get our table ready, and would Monsieur please excuse him? In vain did I protest, and repeated that we were the ones imposing on him. No matter: he raced off, and in another five minutes showed us to our table, apologizing again, showed us the glasses of complimentary vin blanc on the table, and six waiters pushed our chairs in as we sat down. It is generally regarded by our family as one of the best meals we’d ever eaten, both for the quality of the food and the service.

Now here’s the kicker. While we were waiting for our table, two couples came into the place separately, looking like members of the International Backpack Set — and the headwaiter shooed them out, telling them the place was full, even though there were a few empty tables-for-two right there in the bar area. He did not want their business. Why? Because backpackers are a waste of seats: they order the cheapest stuff on the menu, stay far too long (in a city where dawdling over a cup of coffee is not frowned upon), they generally tip badly, and because they’re scruffy, they bring down the whole tone of the place — and remember this last part, because we’ll be getting back to it. I agree, it’s not fair. But once again, that just happens to be the reality we live in. (By the way, the meal was expensive — as I recall, about $100 per person, excluding the service charge — but we did drink about five bottles of wine and a few liqueurs and cocktails, as well as ordering dishes like patê de foie gras and terrine rustique de Provence. Not, in other words, the kind of fare ordered by yer typical hoodie-wearing backpackers, so the maître d’hotel‘s instinct was correct.)

Which brings me back to my point. It’s not fair — actually, I think it’s perfectly fair, but let’s just grant the point for the sake of argument — that in a classy establishment, someone dressed like Grace Kelly will get better treatment than your average hoodie-chick:


Imagine that. (And lest I be accused of bias, that’s a model in the second picture and not yer typical street skank.)

I also know that in oh-so-egalitarian America, we don’t put up with class and airs, so it really shouldn’t matter. Uh huh. You’re quite welcome to think that, but in return you have to tell me the color of the sun on your imaginary planet.

And in any event, the woefully-dressed Joanne Harris was “snooted” at Harvey Nichols, which is one of the classiest stores in the world, let alone London, and they make no bones about the fact that they cater to people of wealth and class — how the sales staff are dressed should give anyone a clue. Just for being so dense and clueless, Harris should have been tossed out of the store on her ass, let alone snooted.

At the heart of her snit, by the way, is a kind of arrogance: “I’m smart! I’m classy! I’m a writer! I’m famous! I have a healthy bank balance! And you should know all this and should defer to me, even though you have no idea who I am, and despite the fact that I look like a street slapper!”

Bullshit.

And for the staff at Harvey Nichols: you may have lost this classless harpy as a customer, but I for one promise to visit you the next time I’m in London, and buy something from you because — guess what? — I like the idea that the staff discourages hooligans from frequenting their wonderful store. It makes for a better shopping experience, for me. And I too am a customer, and one moreover who won’t look like he just got off the bus from some council block in the East End.

Patsy (from Absolutely Fabulous) would quite possibly stop shopping there too, but because “Harvey Nics lets just anyone shop there these days, sweetie-darling. Even those dreadful hoodie-types.”

At Harvey Nichols, Patsy’s type is in the majority, not Joanne Harris’s, and the store runs their business accordingly. Good for them, say I.

“Dear Dr. Kim”

“Dear Dr. Kim,
I recently discovered that when we were still married, my ex-husband was having sex with our child’s nanny. He got her pregnant and paid her a huge sum of money after she had an abortion. What can I do to feel better?”

Mel B, Los Angeles

Dear Mel:
I’m a little confused: are you upset because your husband fucked the nanny, or that he paid her 300 grand that he should have spent on you?
As for feeling better about the whole shambles, there’s not a lot I can say which will help you. However, I can make it easier for this situation not to reoccur in the future, by offering you this advice:

1. don’t let your next husband hire the nanny, and
2. when you hire a nanny in the future, try to hire one who looks like this:

…rather than one who looks like this:

You blithering idiot.

— Dr. Kim

Interesting Situation

Here’s an interesting situation:

A widower who lost his wife to cancer was accused of being a paedophile by Travelodge staff because he booked a double room for him and his daughter.
Craig Darwell, 46, was taking Millie, 13, to visit Thorpe Park and was forced to book the double room in Chertsey, Surrey, because there were no others available.
But when he checked in, suspicious staff demanded that he show them his daughter’s ID.
Mr Darwell, who lost his wife to leukaemia when Millie was just four, explained that he did not have ID for his daughter and instead showed staff pictures of them together when she was a baby.
But even after seeing them, staff called the police and he and his daughter were forced into separate rooms and interviewed by a police officer.

Needless to say, the daughter was traumatized by the whole thing,

Here’s why I think this is an interesting situation. I know, hotels should MYOB and all that: the days of refusing to let rooms to unmarried couples and such are long past, and we have Moved On.

However: pedophilia is a crime after all, and the hotel  staff has every right to be suspicious — they could be held culpable if they allowed a criminal act to be perpetrated on their premises when there was evidence that such a crime might be committed.

Where this hotel screwed up was involving the Filth (sorry, but it’s a Brit story) right from the get-go, instead of taking the father to one side, quietly explaining their concerns, and letting him have his say. The problem, of course, is that 13-year-olds don’t have ID, and proving paternity for a man (like this unfortunate guy) could be problematic. Nevertheless, having baby pics (as this guy did) is prima facie evidence, I think, that he’s just a proud dad and not Chester The Molester, and the hotel should have apologized and let the matter drop. I bet the guy would even have thanked them for their concern — I probably would have.

The reason that this story resonates with me is that it could quite easily have happened to me. Back when the Son&Heir was a youngin, we lived apart — I in New Jersey, and he with his mother in Chicago and later, Texas — and I used to fly down to spend weekends with him every month. And of course, we’d check into a local hotel as our base of operations. So had the above chain of events happened to me, it would have been unpleasant, to say the least, and proving my paternity equally problematic.

As I said, I can see the hotelier’s concern, but I am excoriating them for their insensitivity and clumsiness, and I am especially angry at the fucking police for treating this guy like a criminal when it was so obvious that he wasn’t. It’s a transparent case of bullying someone because you can, and not because it’s justified. The whole matter could have, and should have been handled discreetly and sensitively by both the hotel and the cops, but clearly, both sets of bureaucratic fools possessed neither characteristic.

Do you realize what would have happened to this man (and his daughter) had some bastard cop decided to arrest him? Court cases, legal fees, sex offenders list etc,. etc., etc. And don’t tell me that this couldn’t happen, because if we’ve come to learn anything in today’s 1984 society, it could.

I am generally loath to involve The Lawyers, and because this happened in Britishland, not much can be done because Britain. But these amateur Sherlocks need to get their pee-pees whacked, and this should be actionable, if for no other reason than that the man’s daughter was traumatized by their blundering actions — yeah, why not show concern for a young girl’s well-being post facto?

Grrr grrrrr grrrrrrr….

So Lemme Get This Straight

A bunch of people of the LGBTOSTFU persuasion had a little “gay” dance party outside Ivanka Trump’s house the other night. (That’s not the slant of the story, but stay with me here.) I guess this event was supposed to be “provocative” or “daring” or “Resist!” or whatever, you know, what with Trump planning to stick homos into concentration camps and all that [eyeroll].

The only problem is that the Trumps weren’t at home. In terms of relevance, therefore, the gesture makes about as much sense as this one:

…but maybe I’m just reading this all wrong.

Only In Cambridge

From The Englishman comes news of this atrocity:

A development of luxury homes in Cambridge has been daubed with graffiti – written in Latin, of course.
Vandals spray-painted the new five-bedroom river-front houses with the words Locus in Domos Loci Populum.


Locals have said the messages, which appear to be a protest against the development, could “only happen” in the university city.
The homes, in Water Street, Chesterton, priced from £1.25m are on the site of an old pub.
Cambridge University Professor of Classics, Mary Beard, said: “This is a bit hard to translate, but I think what they’re trying to say is that a lovely place has been turned into houses.”

Oh, good grief, it’s not hard to translate at all. What the graffiti actually means is “Private homes from public land.”  (What makes her mis-translation worse is that it’s a classical — i.e. republican Roman — sentence construction, and not Byzantine or European Medieval, so it should be well within her wheelhouse.)

Sometimes I fear for the fate of Western culture, when graffiti-protesters know more about Latin than do university professors. Or when I understand Latin better than Mary Beard, for that matter. They must have had a special deal on Classics degrees at Tesco the day she got hers.


Update: I got an email from a Brit Reader who says that the real atrocity is labeling those houses as “luxury”. I agree.