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Before its rents became astronomical, I lived in CenterCity, so frequented McGlinchey’s and Dirty Frank’s. Now, I walk into Frank’s and hardly recognize anybody. Uncle Moe, Tommy Hackett and Skinny Dave are long dead, the last from an OD while in his late 30’s. Others have moved away. Last week, though, I ran into Rick, whom I hadn’t seen in 13 years.

Reminiscing, Rick pointed to a booth, “I proposed to my wife right there.” Then, to another booth, “That’s where a woman grabbed my dick. I went home with her, but didn’t cheat. I only ate her out, and she only sucked my dick. We didn’t have intercourse.”

“I don’t know how you could stop at a certain point,” I marveled. Then, “Oral sex is not cheating?”

“No, it’s not.”

“You never cheated on your wife?”

“Another time, I did sleep with a woman. I dated my wife for ten years before we got married, so it’s only twice in 40 years, if you count the blow job and eating pussy. That’s not bad.”

“You’re like a saint, man! Maybe your wife has cheated a little, too. What if she sucked a guy’s dick? Would you consider that cheating?”

“Yeah.”

“But not the other way around?”

“You do have a point.”

“Would you be pissed if she cheated twice in 40 years?”

“Definitely!”

“Shouldn’t it balance out?”

“You do have a point.”

Rick’s two lapses don’t quite constitute a double life, but who knows what he’s hiding? Even the most candid don’t confess everything.

News of high school teachers having sex with students have become blasé. Often, these are married women with children. Sobbing, a 37-year-old explained to the judge that she habitually mounted her charge because of “self-esteem issues,” a perfectly valid reason. It seems like everybody is sneaking some on the side.

If lowly schmucks are already like that, can you imagine all the inconvenient truths crammed into the closets of the super ambitious? The larger the appetite, the greater the propensity for transgressions and lies, and since this applies to entire societies, you should expect the most hubristic to commit the greatest crimes, accompanied by the grossest lies.

The shining city upon a hill is a projection, but with a real basement containing torture chambers, false flags and lots of pizzas. Fumbling through the stinking dark, one steps on corpses or zombies, discussing politics.

Even Christ may be a horny hustler, according to Cigar Tim, a drinking buddy. At Friendly Lounge, Tim said of a celebrity, “He must get more pussy than Jesus!”

Innocently, I replied, “If he gets laid once, that’s one more than Jesus!”

“So the Bible tells you,” Tim snarled. “If you’re God’s son, you’d be at every party, and you’d be, like, ‘You know who my dad is? I’m just saying. This guy’s dad owns a dealership. Guess who my dad is? My dad is God! Yeah, that’s my pop!’”

So even the greatest news may be fake. Me, I just think that behind a lie is usually another lie, is another lie, and tranquility rests on mountains of lies.

Just now, a two-star general, David Haight, is exposed as having an 11-year affair with an American military contractor he first met in Iraq. Into anonymous sex with multiple partners, they visited swingers’ clubs in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia and elsewhere. Though she targeted and pursued the married father of four, 49-year-old Jennifer Armstrong now laments to USA Today, “I gave him the best years of my life.”

This longish preamble leads us to Rose, not her real name, whom I’ve met but twice, both at Friendly. Two years ago, Rose told me she’s from Chicago and had studied acting in college. “Three Sisters” and “The Lower Depths” were her favorites. Though the plays I had seen could be counted on two hands, or maybe just one, I had seen and read the Chekov, and read the Gorky 30 years ago. We also talked about Tennessee Williams.

One afternoon last week, Rose reappeared as a different woman. The bar owner and I heard her long before she barged into the nearly empty joint. Rose was that loud.

Slurring when not raving, Rose talked with me or her lover, Thomas, first on the phone, then in person when he showed up. With his crew cut, trimness and bomber jacket, Thomas came off as ex military, and he’s old enough to have fought in Vietnam. Rose is around 40 and perhaps three quarters white, a quarter black.

Sitting together, she did most of the talking. Awaiting his treat later, he was comically meek. The old man gladly tolerated his lover’s stream of abuses because here, right next to him, was someone of his daughter’s age. Like so many others, Thomas was cheating not just his wife, but time, God’s medium of universal punishment. Whatever guilt he felt from the first was more than drowned out by the deep, calming pleasure of the second.

Where it most mattered, this relatively young woman had accepted, forgiven and salved Thomas, so who cared if she was shooting her mouth off? Though Rose was a horror, frankly, he probably thought I was envious. Adjusting his wedding band, Thomas grinned.

At Friendly, the jukebox periodically plays by itself. Roughly five minutes after Thomas’s appearance, Tina Turner belted out “Private Dancer”:

I’m your private dancer, a dancer for money.
I’ll do what you want me to do.
I’m your private dancer, a dancer for money.
And any old music will do.

Such synchronicities are as good a proof of God’s existence as any, I believe.

For obvious reason, I couldn’t take photos of Rose or Thomas, and though the below is too brief a record of her voice, it’s still a clear enough portrait, I think.

My job? Which one?! It is very, very temporary. Ushering and ticketing. It is what it is. It ain’t no glamorous position. C’est la vie!

Yes, Thomas, how are you? I’m sorry, I don’t speak Mexican. Speak English to me! I ain’t got time for that shit. Fuck, yeah!

The rain has stopped. Here’s when the angels come back, but not at ya!

Silence, si vous plait! I talk to myself. Language is never a nice thing.

Yes, Thomas. I’m inside Friendly. Where are you? I just ordered us food from next door. Can you come inside, please. Thank you. Bye!

I don’t have a PhD, but I have a bachelor’s. I’m dating a married man, right now, the guy that’s coming in. I shouldn’t be talking, see, because I’ll get all cocky, socky.

I do love him, though. We’ve been seeing each for years, and years, and years. Just him and me. Well, apart from his little Mexican wife. Good for her!

My name ain’t Becky Quick. So, figure it out, but don’t ask me what I’m doing with a guy like that.

Next door, the sardine sandwich is the best! Aaaah! If I were to go for pho soup, I either go to 11th and Washington, or I go two doors down, but, sardine sandwich, that bitch got it figured out.

Thomas, where are you? Yes, but driving is the first fuckin’ problem! I’m not moving, from this seat that I’m in. I’ve got you a spot, OK?

Where are you at? Come meet me. I ordered food, and half of that is for you, dumb ass! You little fuckin’ German bitch! You better come to 8th and Washington and pick me up.

Oh, you’re on 8th? All of a sudden, homie is on 8th! 8th and what?! You could be at 8th and Jesus Christ!

You’re at 8th and Montrose? Well, you better keep it shipping! Keep it moving! You’re on your way, boo boo.

This is Thomas. He had a hard time parking, so I’ll act as if that’s the reason for his ignorance.

Isn’t this nice? This is one of the few smoking bars left in town. OK, what do you want? A Yuengling, please!

No, I’m not going to fuckin’ meditate! Ooops, what language! Ha, ha!

I don’t need you talking from 1966. I need you to not talk! That’s what I need you to do. That would be wonderful, if you could indulge me by, like, silence [French pronunciation]!

I’ve known this devil for a year!

I’m worried about Tina Turner chasing some cash right now. I’m not worried about you, Thomas. Shut up, and let it play! How about not talking? Thank you. Shut up!

Don’t talk. Why do you keep talking? Somebody asks you not to talk, don’t talk!

 

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Poverty 

I live a block from the Italian Market, see, and its ecology is more complex than anything I could ever aspire to describe, but better something than nothing, so let me give you a little tour of the Eyetalian Market.

Italian Market, 2014

Italian Market, 2014

There are lots of restaurants on 9th Street, so naturally, there are tons of Mexicans, and since they don’t go for the dark Irish bar ambience, they congregate at the Stab and Grab, not its real name. At this Korean-owned, neon-lit oasis, all these cooks, busboys and dishwashers just sit at brutal, lonely tables to stare at each other’s shell-shocked mug nonstop, so no wonder fights sometimes break out. I’ve witnessed a couple, cholo, and I hardly ever go there.

Lisa at Friendly Lounge, December 2016

Lisa at Friendly Lounge, December 2016

Speaking of grabbing, a white waitress told me she’s been grabbed a couple of times by drunken Mexicans in this neighborhood. We all need love. I witnessed another Mexican tried to chat up a Friendly Lounge bartender. Though his English was good, he wasn’t too charming, as evidenced by these doofus lines, “Are you shy? Do you want me to buy you a shot? A soft drink? Why won’t you shake my hand?” To be fair, I’ve heard much, much worse from the native-born.

In the free ESL classes, flirting lessons should be mandatory. We must catch up with the Germans, for they’ve long offered sex tips to immigrants. “Achtung! This is how you screw the natives!”

Half a century ago, the Stab and Grab wasn’t a semi nuisance bar but butcher shop. Undercutting all competitors, this guy sold three pounds of ground beef for just a buck, but what it was was mostly fat mixed with blood, so when you cooked it up, it shrank to almost nothing. The sly one advertised his bargain with a loud speaker until, one afternoon, another butcher blasted it with a handgun.

Once, there were many hucksters here, but now, you won’t hear anyone shout, “Don’t squeeze the tomatoes, lady! Go home and squeeze your husband’s balls!” It is a crying shame.

Drunken Man on Sidewalk, Italian Market, 2015

Drunken Man on Sidewalk, Italian Market, 2015

Now walk with me, buddy, down Washington Avenue, but don’t make eye contact with that miserable broad, Typhoid Mary, for if you show the least interest, she’ll tail and hound you. I have no idea what Mary’s on, but her eyes are always turbid yet searching. She wants to do somebody, anybody, the same favors.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mary is learning Spanish. “¿Quieres una mamada, señor? Chingar? Why not chingar?! Come back! Come back! Barato chingar!”

The first time I met Typhoid Mary, she was with a bald man who boasted, “We just got married! We spent two days in AC for our honeymoon!” In her late 40’s, with dark hair, dead eyes and mouth ajar, Mary looked as if she had trekked through a lifetime of disasters, with her soul smoldering at the bottom of a trash-strewn gully. Fleeing everything, she’s a permanent refugee. Her “husband,” it turns out, has three kids with another prostitute, this one black and currently in jail.

Now, the cashier at this bakery seems wholesome enough, but she has loosening teeth, worse nightmares, suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides, nothing in her fridge and, don’t ask me how I know this, no menstruation for two years, so do you think she’s on Xanax? Benzos? She can’t afford even a gram of blow a week.

Though she herself dealt coke recently, she’s on nothing but painkillers, actually, thanks to one raging boyfriend, a car accident and a childhood fall from a tree. To make ends meet, the young lady often sells her script. Many among us do this. “I just wanted to die,” she moaned.

When I was failing out of college, you could only sample maybe six drugs, but now there are hundreds to numb or jack up those suffering overwhelming anxiety, fear, stress, despair, pain or just plain emptiness. What are you on?

See that small, dark man contemplating a bag of carrots at Giordano’s? He fought in Cambodia for four years, then escaped Vietnam by boat. While others slept, he baled water, “to save the young ones.” Starving and exhausted, they miraculously reached Bidong. Now, the dude calls himself Jack, drinks Bud and works in a cardboard box factory. Jack married, divorced and has lived with the same white man, rent free, for over twenty years. He says they’re just friends.

A karaoke fiend, Jack can instantly pick up any song in three languages, Vietnamese, Chinese or English, so he claims. “I can sing better than Elvis, ah, what’s his name? Yes, Presley. I can sing better than Elvis Presley.”

Lin, Chinese, weaves in and out of businesses to sell pirated DVDs, including porn titles such as “The Squirt Locker,” “Texas Big Booty Brigade” and “Dr. Ava’s Guide to Prostate Pleasure.”

The middle-aged, pudgy owner of this restaurant used to be married to a handsome Syrian. She found him in Greece. When I met Johnny, not his birth name, he claimed he was just Greek, period. Johnny said he divorced her because she gambled all their money away, but listen, man, even a blind fool could see that that marriage wouldn’t last. After getting his citizenship, Johnny bolted. The frump wasn’t the first one to be dumped. Before her, an Icelander had flown Johnny to her cold, windswept village by the sullen sea. After one endless winter, Johnny belched, “See ya!”

Free, Johnny went to AC, mastered several table games, worked at casinos, bought a condo and, predictably, snatched a stunning, loving girlfriend. The suave, mustachioed playa had to make up for all those repulsive nights in Philly! Just thank God you never had to whore to become an American. After a while, though, Johnny also gave his lover the heave-ho, for it was time to return to Syria to find a traditional, virgin bride half his age.

Lottery Tickets in Italian Market

Lottery Tickets in Italian Market

Now, we come to this metal shack of hope, for all day long, fools will petition, against all odds, to be transposed to a much sweeter arrangement. “Mr. or Mrs. Hindu, please save my ass.” The lottery ticket-dispensing couple are recent immigrants, with the husband also working at Dunkin’ Donuts, and the wife, Subway. Robert, not his birth name, has never drank a drop and only ducks into Friendly to deliver lottery tickets, cigarettes or use the bathroom.

Tilt your head and you’ll see, inside the hope shack, 74-year-old Angelo. No employee, he’s just there for its space heater, for it’s 20 degrees outside. Each night for the last five years, Angelo slept inside a rusty lemon, with the engine running in winter, but last week, the groggy Calabrian crashed his mini home on wheels. Luckily, no one died. After selling the wreck for a 100 bucks, Angelo couldn’t help but head straight for the off-track betting parlor. Till death, he’ll insist that some galloping mare will solve all his problems.

Charlie the Plumber was like that, an old man slowly dying in public. His problem was he couldn’t stop drinking. Drunk, Charlie would sometimes sit at Geno’s and rave on about his killing days as a chopper gunner in Vietnam. Moved, many tourists would buy him cheesesteaks, and Charlie could eat three in a row. Charlie died on a park bench.

Alamo Club in Italian Market

Alamo Club in Italian Market

At 9th and Ernest, there was the Italian American Laborers Social Club. Reacting to Mexicans moving into the neighborhood, it posted two small signs out front, “ALAMO MEMBERS ONLY PRIVATE CLUB,” then it sold itself to, what else, a Mexican business.

Just off 9th Street lives an indolent young man who spends his days half-watching movies or porn. In summer, he sometimes waxes his Porsche, which is practically brand new, for it’s almost never used. There is no place Nick has or wants to go. Though with the same woman for six years, he’s never hinted at marriage, and she lets it slide for fear of being ditched. Petite, Tina suffers in silence and shops for Nick each week. How many times have I seen the still pretty lady carry all those heavy bags up to the second floor by herself? Nick’s father, an immigrant from Sicily, is a 71-year-old doctor who still works each day and owns several houses. Naturally, he hires Mexicans to fix them up.

Though it wasn’t too long of a walk, it’s very cold out, so let’s stop at George’s for a pork or tripe sandwich. Notice the witticism on the sign, “Don’t divorce your wife because she can’t cook. Eat here and keep her as a pet.” Now, that’s old school.

For over a century, the Italian Market has absorbed waves of immigrants, but there’s a group that’s causing everybody tremendous anxiety. Wealthy Chinese have plans to develop several large plots into condos and upscale shopping centers. Already, most folks who work in the Italian Market can’t afford to live here.

To most people, immigrants imply destitute illegals and desperate refugees, but the super wealthy are also coming. If they target your city, you can quickly be priced out of your home. Just think of London, Sidney, Auckland, Vancouver or the San Francisco Bay Area. Advocating for open borders, the nose-ringed crowd don’t know they’re hankering to be homeless, and not just underpaid.

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Immigration, Poverty 

A bar featuring $2 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon should never be empty. Granted, it’s a crap beer, but I’d guzzle dish water for two bucks, as long as it had some alcohol in it. So I was in The Dive for more than three hours, and during that entire time, only two other losers stumbled in. One, 30-ish, exiled himself to the furthest corner to stroke his laptop. I ended up chatting with Chris, the bar manager, and listening to his extensive playlist.

Ideally, a pub should be free from all electronic molestations, so no TV, jukebox, video games or even cellphones, say I, your next dictator. In 2012, I blundered into the Evening Star in Brighton, England, and it was paradise, I tell you, for all I heard were human voices. Lubricated by heavenly hops, intellects and dumbshits alike were spilling tales, and it was absolutely lovely. What more do you want? Our civilizational unraveling can be pinned on our increasing inability to hear each other. In 2015, I returned to the Evening Star only to discover they had installed a sound system spewing tunes nonstop.

Chris’ music did trigger a few sparks in my pickled brain. Quiz time: What do Cock Sparrer, Die Antwoord and Hank Williams III have in common? Here are some clues. From the Oi! pioneers’ “Take ‘Em All”:

We worked our way up from East End pubs
To gigs and backstage passes,
Ex boxing champs, West End clubs.
Americans in dark glasses,
Driving ten grand cars, they drink in hotel bars.
They’re even making money in bed.
They wouldn’t be no loss. They ain’t worth a toss.
It’s about time they all dropped dead.

Take ‘em all, take ‘em all,
Put ‘em up against a wall and shoot ‘em.
Short and tall, watch ‘em fall.
Come on boys, take ‘em all.

Die Antwoord’s “Rich Bitch”:

I was a victim of a kak situation,
Stuck in the system,
With no fokken assistance.
I know it sounds strange
But I used to count change
On the counter at Pick ‘n Pay
Or Shoprite Checkers.
No butter on my broodjie.
[…]
But then I got my game on.
[…]
Now I’m a rich bitch.

Hank Williams III:

Well, I was raised in a holler.
I grew up eatin’ mud,
And in my baby bottle,
It was filled with beer and blood.

Well, I got relatives here.
Some of them just don’t look quite right.
A couple of ‘em only got one eye,
That I heard that they lost in a fight.

You know why?
You got any idea, boy?
Do you know why?

Whiiiiiite trash!
Whiiiiiite trash!
Whiiiiiite trash!
Whiiiiiite trash!

Though from three different countries, England, South Africa and the U.S., and employing diverse musical styles, these acts are all expressions of the white underclass. How truly white trash are Hank Williams III and Die Antwoord is debatable, however.

With their Walmart fashion, oversized full-bodied hoodies, print boxers, discount bras, mullets, bad tattoos, coexistence with rats and toilet paper shortage, Die Antwood’s celebration of white trash stereotypes constantly verges on parody, but since they’re so defiant and cool with their white trash looks, I don’t think you can equate them with, say, Flavor Flav and his in-your-face nigger ostentation.

Likewise, Hank Williams III makes white trash hip, and I envision a day when black, brown and yellow kids will become white trash wannabes instead of posing as ghetto gangstas. It won’t happen soon, though, not with the way our mainstream media operate.

The term “white trash” started as a black vernacular in the American South. British actress Fanny Kemble explains in an 1833 journal entry, “The slaves themselves entertain the very highest contempt for white servants, whom they designate as ‘poor white trash.’” In early America, poor whites had a shorter lifespan than black slaves, and they were often hired to perform tasks deemed too dangerous for slaves, a valuable commodity.

Is there any group so mocked and caricatured as the white underclass? Though disenfranchised for generations, they’re routinely depicted as the very worst of white power. Working three jobs and on food stamps, they’re somehow oppressing the affirmative action college graduated people of colors. Downing Bud after a 12-hour day, they turn on TV to see themselves portrayed as Mama June and Honey Boo Boo. If unemployed, they can watch their similars humiliate each other nonstop on Jerry Springer, with an unctious lecture at the end on how to live.

Entire states, such as West Virginia and Tennessee, for example, are said to be inhabited by nothing but repulsive white trash, though I’ve been to both and encountered only gracious and warm individuals. To many Americans, the entire South is white trash, with some even viewing all flyover states as festering with white trash. For my Postcards book, I crisscrossed this country several times, and I always gravitated towards the cheapest drinking joints, for they suited my budget and taste. Over and over, I was welcomed.

Of course, if you keep carousing with drunks in strange towns, shit may happen, but the only time I nearly had my skull cracked was in Norristown, right outside Philly. My three harassers were two blacks and one white. Not so much trash as paranoid assholes, they thought I was a cop. Perhaps that bar was overrun with guys skipping bail or dodging a warrant, meth and coke were being dealt and the faded lady by the payphone was tricking, but, in the name of hops and barley, man, would any police department be dumb enough to send in a 5-6 Vietnamese undercover with a huge camera bag?!

Anyway, to Manhattan snobs, white trash nation begins with New Jersey, no doubt, if not Staten Island. To our coastal elites, all but themselves are trash. Further, contempt for white trash is often only thinly disguised hatred of white culture, period. These days, no white man can even whisper “white heritage” without someone nearby screaming that he’s a Nazi! Of course, only a Neo-Nazi would take pride in Erasmus, Rabelais, Rembrandt, Earl Scruggs and Milan Cathedral, etc.

Who needs Luther when you can have Martin Luther King and Luther Vandross? Who cares about Bill when you can groove to Robbie Shakespeare?

Deplored, incorrect whites seethe, but mostly discreetly or anonymously, online. Few can risk venting like the Angry Aryans:

Your Cadillac doesn’t mean a thing to me.
A bloodthirsty savage belongs overseas.

Civilization you cannot comprehend.
You cannot exist in a world of white men.

A white woman by your side,
You’re still a nigger!

A devoted life of crime,
You’re nothing but a nigger!

Uniformed in blue,
You’re still a nigger!

A lackey for the Jew,
You’re nothing but a nigger!

Of course, there are also black musicians with anti-white lyrics, but what’s different is that their race hatred is not just confined to the fringe. Take Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money.” In the video, a rich white blonde is kidnapped, stripped, hung upside down, forced to drink vodka and inhaled pot, knocked out cold, submerged under water and generally humiliated nonstop by Rihanna and two sidekicks, a Hindu and another white woman, the last inserted to blunt, not too convincingly, the song’s anti-white thrust. An idiotic, leering white cop also appears, and at the video’s end, the kidnapped blonde’s blonde husband is tied up and stabbed to death.

As knife enters flesh, you can clearly hear, twice, sick wet sounds. This murder is apparently so erotic, Rihanna executes it in a see-through top, and when it’s all over, the “sexiest woman alive” is completely naked and covered only in much blood and a few dollar bills.

Some will argue that it’s only about class, but this extremely violent video is primarily an allegory about racial reparations or revenge, I insist.

So, who want this most deplorable of situations? Who benefit?

[If you appreciate these articles, do consider buying a signed copy of my new book. This will help me to roam around and, of course, pay my bills. Thanks!]

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog.

 

An American president has become a cartoon hero or villain. Like Obama, Trump is an inconsequential yet lurid target for worshippers and detractors to unload emotions. As we rejoice or rage at this figurehead, the Military Banking Complex will continue to serve the elites at our expense.

Our economy will keep cratering, and our poor won’t stop killing and dying in foreign lands on phony pretexts. Trumping Trump, Obama promised such a sane and peaceful future, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. As he cynically presided over eight years of continuous war on multiple fronts, killing hundreds of thousands, Obama’s fans never flinched. Though no servant of Israel can ever deliver peace, Trump will really stop war, the Trumpians insist.

Trump’s inauguration is merely hours away. Wearing a hoodie to keep warm, I sit at my kitchen table typing this. Should I be finished by dawn, I may reward myself with a trip to Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar, just down the street. It opens at 7AM to serve those who have worked all night. Walking in, I may see hospital, restaurant and factory workers, those most likely to have voted for Trump. It’s quite a sick irony that our economic bottom is drawn to a self-aggrandizing billionaire, with his uber rich cabinet.

Since Philly is such a Democratic city, Trump supporters tend to be discreet. Right after he won, however, 56-year-old Maria marched into Friendly Lounge to celebrate, “Of course I voted for Trump. I like a man with cojones! Many of my Dominican friends also voted for Trump.”

Maria’s ideal politician is Rafael Trujillo. Before he was assassinated, Trujillo killed more than 50,000 people over 30 years. Maria also condones torture as punishment. Watching television news in Friendly, she’d sometimes prescribe the most ghastly penalties for criminals. “She should have a red hot poker shoved up her vagina!”

Though John also voted for Trump, he’d rather not talk about our new president. In Friendly, John is always glued to the video blackjack, and practically nothing, not even a woman in heat, can pull the stolid man from his machine.

“How old are you, hon?”

“Fifty-eight. Too old for you.”

John is retired and does not seem short of cash. Sometimes, he’d buy the entire bar a round. I think John stays mum about Trump mostly to avoid aggravating Vernon, the black Vietnam vet. Just hearing the name makes Vern lose his composure. Even Melania is not spared.

“I’m going to hate this First Lady more than shit itself! She’s a bitch! She’s a piece of shit white trash! Supermodel my ass! She ain’t my fuckin’ supermodel! She ain’t my fuckin’ First Lady.”

When not apoplectic over politics, Vern is extremely kind. For example, he regularly brings TV dinners to Angelo, a man who lives out of his car and is always broke.

Peter, très gay, also voted for Trump. At Friendly, he’s always the loudest and most emotional. Sometimes he’d even weep into a paper towel. The hurt in Peter’s voice can erupt into a feeble rage that’s more comic than threatening. Beneath the abrasiveness is a soft, sweet man.

I’ve been with the same food service company for 22 years. I used to make $25 an hour, but now it’s down to 16.10, and they fuck you up the ass too!

I got so sick of it, I applied at just about every restaurant in CenterCity, but who would you hire, me or some 19-year-old?

I was living with this slum lord for seven years. I shared a house with four other people. I paid $400 a month. My room was the size of a napkin.

My housemates were filthy. When I went into the bathroom, I was afraid to step on the floor. The ceiling tiles were falling down. The wall tiles were falling out. It’s gross in there!

The kitchen was gross too. No one ever washed the dishes. I never used the kitchen. I had a little refrigerator in my room.

Last year, my landlord told me I had two days to get out. Luckily, a lady took me in, and the rent was reasonable. I’m so thankful for that.

I was two inches away from sleeping in the gutter. I was scared to death. I’m sixty-years-old. I don’t need this crap.

I knew a woman who lived with her three kids in a jungle gym in a park. Is this America?

I used to live on South Street. That was nice, but it’s gotten way too expensive. I lived next to the sneaker store. One day, I came home late and saw maybe 20 black guys trying to break into the sneaker store. They were really chimping out, you know. They were just black people acting like black people. It was like the Philadelphia Zoo! They were niggers, basically.

Sorry to be using the N word, and my best friend is black too, but these guys were niggers. I didn’t want to open my door and have them fuck me up the ass, so I called 911.

I used to hang out at the Westbury, and the bartender would come out and say, “Don’t stand there!” It’s because people would jump from the Parker Hotel. When I was 21, a guy landed on my boyfriend’s car. “Oh my God, there’s a dead guy on my car!”

When I was 57, I had a buddy who was 24. We did a lot of drugs together, but that’s all. He did more drugs than I did. He was writing a book, At Twenty-Four. I said, “If you keep this shit up, you won’t see 25,” and I was right.

When my dad died, I inherited an old car, but I didn’t need it, so I just parked it on the street. I didn’t even keep it locked because I didn’t want anybody to break into it. I knew people slept in it, though, because I found condoms.

You’re lucky to have somebody to go home to. I always had a lover, a boyfriend, but I haven’t had anybody in eleven years. And it’s not the, you know, but the support. I can’t just go home and say to somebody, “Bitch, I love you!”

Have you seen The Purge? In this movie, you have twelve hours once a year to do whatever the fuck you want. You can kill or rape anybody you want!

I think people have underestimated Trump. I’m not sure, but I really think something good will come of this. I think he’s going to use his global power to do some good. He might be good for this country. He can’t be any worse than what we’ve got right now. Personally, I’m bothered that I don’t have dental care. I’m being screwed over by Obamacare, and I don’t have any say in the matter. I work hard for a living. I’m doing the best I can to make ends meet. Yeah, I’m pissed off, but who am I going to call? Republican buster? Democrat buster? Nobody cares.

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Poverty 

I last saw Vietnam in 2001. Back then, Saigon had no American fast food joints save a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Long-term foreign residents were few, and mostly confined to the Phạm Ngũ Lão area. There were no foreign stars in the just-established professional soccer league.

Now in Saigon, there are 20 KFCs, eight Burger Kings and six McDonald’s, with one across the street from where I used to lived, five miles from downtown.

In December of 2007, an Afro-Brazilian soccer player, Fábio dos Santos, changed his name to Phan Văn Santos and became Vietnamese. This, in a country where millions had risked death or imprisonment trying to get out not too long before. In 2008, Santos was on Vietnam’s national team in a friendly match against, um, Brazil! Santos on his new status:

I am very happy to become Vietnamese. The new citizenship will help me greatly in my career and maybe help the national team as well. I have been living and working in Vietnam for six years. I think my decision was the right one, even though it was very difficult. To my surprise, my parents support my decision. When I return to Brazil in the future, I will be a guest, not a citizen… Sometimes I felt sad because I had to give up my Brazilian citizenship. But my becoming Vietnamese is God’s idea.

Since 2003, the leading scorer in the V.League each year has been foreign, with Nigeria, Argentina, Brazil and the Republic of Congo all represented. Nigeria-born Hoàng Vũ Samson became a naturalized Vietnamese in 2013, the year he won his first scoring title. Samson still has very intimate ties to his homeland, however. In a 2016 article, Thanh Niên [Youth] relates:

A surprising thing about Hoàng Vũ Samson is that he has two wives, one Nigerian and one Vietnamese (living in Ho Chi Minh City). Fortunately, both of his wives get along. Many times, his Nigerian wife has come for a visit, and Samson takes both of his wives, plus his many children, out. They all eat and drink happily to together.

Netherlands-born Danny van Bakel is now Nguyễn Van Bakel. Serendipitously, “Van” is a common middle name in both Vietnam and Holland. The star defender for Thanh Hoá has just one wife, a Vietnamese.

Nigeria-born Maxwell Eyerakpo has become Đinh Hoàng Max, thus instantly heaping sporting glories onto the mostly slow-footed, muscle-deprived and vertical-leap-challenged Đinh clan. Thanks a lot, bro! Max made headlines recently for apparently abandoning his Vietnamese wife and their three children.

Vietnamese-language proficiency is clearly not required for citizenship, for neither Hoàng Vũ Samson nor Đinh Hoàng Max can speak Vietnamese. Palestinian Saleem Hammad, however, can handle the language almost like a native, with a solid Hanoi accent. Arriving in 2011 on a university scholarship, Hammad has become a familiar face on television, having co-hosted several episodes of S ViệtNam, a popular domestic travel show. Viet Nam News quotes Hammad:

Việt Nam was a strange country for me at that time. After my family knew that I would have an opportunity to study here, everybody encouraged me. They told me that it was a country where its inhabitants worked very hard and they were very courageous. They had won against invaders to bring independence to their country. It is also the dream of the people of Palestine.

Handsome and tall, Hammad has also found regular work as a model. Foreign models are huge there. Though white skin and blonde hair are especially in demand, Yeannie Maya Aitkins of Sierra Leone has also landed a few gigs.

On TV and in advertising, then, the foreign has become a regular feature. In 2014, an overweight and listless Kelly Clarkson waddled through “A Moment Like This” to an indifferent audience at the Miss Vietnam pageant. Many Vietnam Idol contestants sing in English. South Korean soap operas and K-Pop have been popular since 2000.

Saigon now has a budding black neighborhood. On December 31st, 2015, Vietnam Express reported that in Gò Vấp, there’s an apartment complex with many Africans, up to ten in a room. A handful of restaurants were frequented by Africans, and there’s a nightclub that had become notorious for loud music late into the night, with fights erupting sporadically. Natives of Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria and Cameroon, etc., many Africans in Saigon were illegals. Most were poor. Vietnam Express quoted a Vietnamese waiter:

I’ve worked here for three months already. They spend very modestly. I’ve never been tipped anything by these foreigners. Even with change of 1,000-2,000 dong [4-8 U.S. cents], they won’t leave it.

Mostly poor, ignorant of the language and without many social contacts, how do non-soccer playing Africans survive in Vietnam? Some buy factory rejected, irregular clothing to sell back home. A few marry locals and open businesses. An allAfrica article from 2009 reveals another mean of survival:

Government of the Eastern Asia Socialist Republic of Vietnam has embarked on a serious crack down of Nigerians resident in the country following a wave of anti-social and criminal activities reportedly being perpetrated by Nigerian immigrants.

This echoes reports from neighboring countries. In 2013, there was this Nigerian Monitor article, “[SHOCKING] 20% of Nigerians in Thailand are in jail,” with most of the 400 locked up for drug offenses. In 2011, the head of the Nigerian Association of Cambodia, Okere Ugochukwu Emmanuel, was busted for drug trafficking. On a more positive note, the head coach of the Cambodian national basketball team is a Nigerian. Despite Austin Abayomi Koledoye’s tireless and patient instructions, however, the double dribblers from the Land of Angkor still rank among the worst in this galaxy. We’re not all born to slam dunk.

With its American fast food joints, foreign models, black star athletes and the beginning of black neighborhoods, Vietnam is looking more multicultural and progressive (in the American sense) by the day.

This transformation also includes annual gay parades, of course, with the first in 2012. The Atlantic, Guardian, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, NBC, BBC and CNN have all praised Vietnam’s progress on the LGBT front. A Hanoi photographer, Maika Elan (real name Nguyễn Thanh Hải), won a World Press Photo Award for her series depicting gay couples at home, and a Saigon transgender bodybuilder, Kendy, was profiled by Narratively. Hanoi’s Kênh14 now has an annual feature, “Ten Most Beautiful Homosexual Relationships of the Year.”

When I left Saigon in 2001, rap music had no currency, but now there are dozens of prominent rappers, with “Secret Shows” popping up suddenly on the streets, as organized through social media. During those sinister days of hardcore Communism, there was no way the police would have tolerated this.

In Vietnam Under Communism, 1975-1982, Nguyễn Văn Canh paints an entirely different society:

In the South, soon after the communist victory, the party officials and military commanders on the spot declared open season on the previous regime’s culture. Gangs of young enthusiasts were secretly ordered or incited to destroy as much of this culture as they could. Early in May 1975, Communists burned every book in the libraries of the Saigon University Faculty of Law and Faculty of Letters; the books, they said, came from a “decadent culture.” Circulation of all other books, as well as art works such as music tapes, records, films, and even paintings, was prohibited. Communist youths went from door to door to search out and confiscated books and materials considered antirevolutionary.

Among the banned cultural products was “Golden Music,” love ballads, with lyrics often by well-known poets. Just for listening to this stuff, you could be locked up. Consider the case of Hanoi’s Nguyễn Văn Lộc. After the Communist takeover in 1954, Lộc and a small group of friends would gather in private homes to sing these ballads to each other. In 1968, this ballad-loving ring was finally exposed, with the entire seven-member gang arrested. First kept in The Furnace, better known to Americans as Hanoi Hilton, they were finally put on trial in January of 1971, with three men slammed with sentences of 15, 12 and ten years.

With “clemency,” Lộc served eight. Waiting patiently all this time, his girlfriend married the stigmatized man when he finally got out. After decades of struggle, Lộc now owns a café named Lộc Vàng [Golden Lộc] on the edge of Hanoi’s Western Lake. His friend Toán wasn’t so lucky. Broken and destitute after prison, the man died homeless in 1994. Lộc:

I marvel at how bitter my life has been. For doing nothing but loving music, I ended up in jail. Now, this kind of music is revived, and these songs are sung on TV. When I hear other people sing them, tears gather in my eyes.

Beneath this veneer of sidewalk hip hop shows, gay parades and transsexual bodybuilders, Vietnam is still very much a totalitarian state, however, for many people, priests, monks, journalists and bloggers, etc., are still imprisoned for thought crimes. Influential blogger Điếu Cày, for example, was locked up for 6 ½ years on trumped-up charge of tax evasion. He was kept in filthy, dark, solitary cells and beaten up. In 2003, Phạm Hồng Sơn was slapped with a 13-year-sentence for translating and disseminating “What is Democracy?” an article he found online. Sơn ended up serving 4 ½ years. Last May, dissident Father Nguyễn Văn Lý was finally released after eight years in prison.

Wealth in Vietnam also flows straight to the top, for its fattest cats are senior Communists. Gorging on graft, they own the swankiest nightclubs, send their kids to American universities and jet around at will to splurge on this world’s pleasures. With no free press or independent judiciary, corruption can’t be checked, so cops shake you down, professors sell grades, doctors demand tips before treatment and officials of all ranks sell favors and extort.

But isn’t the United States itself an oligarchy that’s seemingly free and superficially tolerant? Of course! Like China, Vietnam has learned from the U.S. on how to run a 21st century totalitarian society. Instead of banning pop culture, they’ve realized it’s the state’s best ally, for the more sexy, decadent or trivial this pop culture, the more it’ll tranquilize people as the elites rob them blind. Drunk on protean porn, the hip-gyrating plebes won’t even notice they’re being cornholed.

The United States has also been studying the Communist playbook, for it’s now legal to jail or even kill a citizen on the most nebulous charges. American laws are already totalitarian.

Linh Dinh’s novel Love Like Hate covers Vietnam in the 20th century. His Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Globalization, Multiculturalism, Vietnam 

John Kerry’s speech of December 28th, 2016 is an eye-opening indictment of Israel. Though prolix and padded with platitudes, its meat is a long overdue j’accuse.

Much of the world has long viewed the Jewish state as a serial landgrabbing killer. Indirectly, Kerry converged with this near consensus, “the settler agenda is defining the future of Israel. And their stated purpose is clear. They believe in one state: greater Israel,” but this settler agenda is the very definition of Israel, for it was founded on stealing other people’s land and killing them.

Unchecked, it will gobble up even more of its neighbors’ territories. Eric Margolis points out, “Israel may look small on the map but it’s a giant of a country, filled with very smart people who know just what they want and how to get it.”

On November 29th, 2012, the United Nations voted to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state.” 139 countries assented, 41 abstained and only 9 said no. The sulkers were Israel, United States, Canada, CzechRepublic, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama. The very next day, Israel announced it would build 3,000 more homes for Jews in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Screw the world, responded Israel.

Kerry quoted Shimon Peres to tell us that the 52% of Palestine given to Jews had ballooned to 78%, as of 2014. Kerry:

I don’t think most people in Israel, and certainly in the world, have any idea how broad and systematic the process has become. But the facts speak for themselves. The number of settlers in the roughly 130 Israeli settlements east of the 1967 lines has steadily grown. The settler population in the West Bank alone, not including East Jerusalem, has increased by nearly 270,000 since Oslo, including 100,000 just since 2009, when President Obama’s term began.

As Kerry said, stealing land from Palestinians is systematic and ongoing, but without systematic, bloody land theft, there would be no Israel at all. Stealing land is Israel’s core and DNA.

To most Americans, however, the Jewish homeland is a sacred, eternal victim that must be defended till the end (time). Jewish scripture is routinely evoked to defend Jewish larceny. Considering this most unnatural nation “God’s outpost,” Pat Robertson believes Jews must own it all. He cites:

I am going to give all this land to you and your offspring as a permanent possession (Genesis 13:15)

O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? (II Chronicles 20:7)

Influential blogger Michael Snyder believes God has punished the US ten times for not kissing Israel’s tush enough. When Bill Clinton met with Bashar al-Assad in 1994 to discuss the possible return of the Golan Heights, Yahweh retaliated within 24 hours by slamming California with the Northridge Earthquake. When Clinton failed to show enough love to Netanyahu at the White House in 1998, the Monica Lewinsky scandal spattered onto newsprint that same day. When Bush fils set August 23rd, 2005 as the deadline for removing Jewish settlers from Gaza, Hurricane Katrina took aim for New Orleans. The fact that it only caused minimal damage to the Bahamas and Cuba shows how excellent of a marksman God is.

Obama must have gotten a kick out of having a Jew, Kerry, shame the Jewish homeland. This affront won’t be shrugged off. What’s in your closet, Barack? The sex-slave island set up by mysteriously-funded Jewish billionaire Jeffrey Epstein ensnared some the world’s most powerful, but Obama never went there, apparently. Did he, however, order pasta and ice cream from Besta [Bestia, Beast] Pizza?

Israel’s defenders have lambasted Kerry’s speech as shameful, reckless and destructive. I asked my Palestinian friend, Tahseen al Khateeb, for a response. He emailed me from Amman, Jordan:

The only good thing about Mr. Kerry’s speech is that this is the first time we hear such blunt words from an American diplomat! Kerry’s rebuke of Israel is warmly welcomed all over the Arab world, but what’s really going on? I don’t believe the American administration’s conscience is suddenly awaken. The Obama Administration did nothing to help the Palestinians build their own free independent state, and nothing to prevent Israel’s war on Gaza. They did nothing to stop the building of settlements. So why now, in their final days in power, are they talking about Palestinian rights?!

In the near future, nothing will change with this US pivot, but symbolically, we’re living in a new world, one where Israel is universally seen as criminal in essence, a fact that’s reinforced each day it refuses to abandon its +130 illegal settlements.

Speaking to leaders of Muslim countries in 2003, Malaysian President Mahathir Mohamad described the founding of Israel as Europeans dumping their “Jewish problem” onto Muslims, a situation they had to swallow due to their weakness. After abusing Jews, Christians made Muslims pay to eternity. Thus:

There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right. They believe that things can only get worse. The Muslims will forever be oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and the Jews. They will forever be poor, backward and weak.

Backing Israel has only discredited and immiserated the US and its Christian allies, however, and that’s why they’re starting to wash their hands of this nightmare. Leaving office, Obama can finally afford to pipe up some truth. Coming in, Trump is prostrating himself most abjectly. He’s showing his true colors. To defend this deeply despised nation is to go against the world, truth, justice, common sense and America.

Another apartheid country, South Africa, had to remake itself after becoming delegitimized and universally condemned, so the end of Israel is within sight. Without this endless font of strife and mendacity, the world will be a much better place. Amen.

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America will be published by Seven Stories Press in January of 2017. Tracking our deteriorating socialscape, he maintains a photo blog.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine 

Few cultural traditions are as charming, beautiful and unifying as the German Christmas Market. For about a month, the center of each German city or town becomes a festival ground, where folks can eat, drink and enjoy each other’s company. The offerings of gluhwein, wursts, flammkuchen, fish stew, handbrot, cinnamon stars, carved figurines and tiered pyramids with propellers, etc., allow one to be surrounded by such a lovely people at their most radiant. I’m blessed to have experienced Christmas Markets in Leipzig, Halle, Munich, Bozen and Berlin. Strolling through one, you feel embraced by life itself.

On December 19th, 2016, a truck plowed through a Berlin Christmas Market, killing 11 innocents and injuring 56 others. Though the driver fled the scene, it’s claimed that he left behind his ID, miraculously. Not only that, his biography was immediately available for broadcast worldwide, then Anis Amri was expediently tracked down in Milan and shot to death, precluding a trial.

Trump and others are calling this an attack on Christians, and I certainly agree, but I don’t blame Muslims, here or in the larger scheme, for they are merely pawns in the systematic deformation of not just Germany, but Europe.

They’re not the ones destroying Muslim countries, insisting that even non-refugees be allowed into Europe, branding white nationalists as racists and spectacularly amplifying, with false flags, Muslim crime. Muslims have made none of the decisions behind this worsening crisis.

My friend in Frankfurt has given us two previous reports from Germany. Here’s his latest:

Welcome to the madhouse, a country suffering from dementia and denial, and therefore poised for big, big trouble…

With Berlin, we just had the first major terror attack in Germany (after several small ones: a guy with an axe tried to chop a Chinese family to pieces on a train near Würzburg; a suicide bomber killed himself and wounded ten people at a concert in Ansbach; in Hamburg, somebody stabbed a teenager to death while ISIS claimed responsibility; at a Munich shopping center, an Iranian shot and killed ten people, but he was aiming for foreigners because he hated them, he said, so perhaps this was a right wing attack? Everything is possible these days…).

Back to the topic: a 16 year old girl rammed a knife into a policeman’s throat, having been inspired by the Islamic state; a guy in Reutlingen stabbed a Polish woman to death with a knife; we had several failed attempts to plant bombs by loony Jihadists, the last a 12-year-old boy who tried to blow one up at the Christmas market in Ludwigshafen. One of the bright future kids of Germany? I doubt it. Now, we had the attack in Berlin, where 12 people were killed.

As for murders or attempted murders of foreigners by these evil Nazi scums we’re constantly warned about: none for 2016!

It doesn’t take a genius to predict that 2017 will be much, much worse… I guess we will see terror attacks with hundreds, maybe even thousands of deaths, but people will do nothing against it, because, as I said, the German psyche is suffering.

Like a patient in a mental asylum, Germany is not able to see and therefore to get things straight. Having been told for decades that foreigners are good and nationalism is bad, Germans can’t come to the conclusion that open borders serve not only trade, but also terrorism.

Caveat: we always need to consider the possibility of the secret services’ involvement when it comes to terrorist acts. We now know that several past attacks were instigated by various secret services. There is a great journalist in Deutschland, Wolfgang Eggert, who is an expert on the topic. For example, he debunked the official story of attacks by the National Socialistic Underground.

NSU was a rightist extremist organization held responsible for the murders of nine Kurds in Germany between 2000 and 2006, and also for the killing of a female police officer in 2007. While we’re constantly told that it was the NSU, and that there is such a great danger from the right, Eggert could show, in several articles and interviews, that the official story just stinks.

Of course, you’ll only find this truth in the alternative media. In a few decades, the mainstream press may reveal it, when it won’t matter anymore. Same with the Red Brigades attacks in Milan in the 60′s. Now, we know that a NATO secret organization named Gladio was responsible.

Thanks to a whistleblower, we also know that the Munich Bomb attack during Oktoberfest in 1980, blamed on Neo-Nazis, was actually instigated by the German Secret Services.

But hey, that was 36 years ago, so it doesn’t really matter anymore, does it?

With the recent terror attacks, we can assume that at least some of them may not have happened quite in the way we are told. For example, the police informed us recently that an identification paper of the Berlin suspect was found inside the truck!

Funny how such documents are often found to identify the suspects. A passport was found in the rubble of 9/11, a passport was found in the truck after the Nice terrorist incident in 2015, and now an identification document is also found in the truck in Berlin. Damn stupid, these whacky terrorists, leaving traces everywhere!

So back to the situation. We have, still, open borders and “refugees” pouring into the country by the thousands. Mostly young men, they come from different cultural backgrounds and have totally different mindsets in regards to women, violence, the state and work, etc.

Reassuring us that all is well, our media keep claiming that events like Berlin cannot be prevented, should not lead to racial hatred and have nothing to do with Islam or massive immigration.

Funny, an Israeli expert on terror said on German TV that Germans should get used to these attacks. The audience and TV host nodded in agreement.

We know that the majority of these refugee men will never contribute to the German labor market (as I laid out in my last report). Slowly, this also dawns on the press.

We have reports about Christian refugees being hassled, beaten and threatened by the Muslim majority in the refugee centers.

We still have thousands or maybe even hundreds of thousands of refugees who were never registered, who just slipped into the country and disappeared.

We have the police telling us that in the last three years, the number of people who are deemed willing to instigate Islamic terror attacks in Germany has risen from 500 to 8,500.

We have countless incidents of sexual harassment, violence, theft, rape, etc., involving refugees, but we are still told that the refugees are no more criminal than Germans. As the government dismisses the problem, however, the number of security personnel has increased dramatically, so now you’ll find security guards at supermarkets, Christmas markets, public swimming pools and discotheques, wherever refugees go.

But no, we should not connect dots. We really shouldn’t.

Recently in Austria, the Interior Ministry provided these statistics about rapes, so now we know that although refugees only make up roughly 2% of the population there, they account for 15% of the rape suspects during 2015.

Who should be indignant about this? Our feminists scream bloody murder when a politician says to a female journalist that she “could easily fill a dirndl,” implying she had big boobs. Oh, the outrage! Sexism! Condemn him! But funnily, our feminists are dead silent when it comes to all sexual violence committed by refugees.

Remember Cologne? Real pussygrabbing in the thousands? Shhhh….. better be silent.

I would have really thought that was sexism, but apparently I am wrong.

It seems nobody in Germany knows Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian feminist who has interesting things to say about Arab men and their attitude and behavior towards women.

And nobody remembers studies like the one telling us, in 2013, that 99.3% of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment, most commonly unwanted touching.

No, no, no, let’s look the other way. We recently had the rape and murder of a German student in Freiburg by a refugee from Afghanistan. Getting back to the statistic from Austria (unfortunately, there are no German ones available): With 180,000 Germans and 35-40,000 Afghans in Austria, there were 10 German rape suspects and 55 Afghan ones in 2015, but please move on, there’s nothing to see!

Freiburg is a leftist town full of “Refugees Welcome” supporters. Its number of incidents involving refugee violence is growing, and so is the unease. There are groups of young refugee men who are on the streets constantly because they have nothing to do.

But a change of thinking? A questioning of beliefs? Nah, let’s buy pepper spray instead! Boohoo! We know from brain research that the vast majority of humans live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance, so debating or discussing the obvious will not help. People will have to experience the consequences of their actions and decisions, and they will.

In Bochum, an Iraqi refugee raped two Chinese students. The Chinese Consulate gave a travel warning for Chinese visitors. Our authorities told us to not generalize these incidents.

When a German man tells a German woman that she’s a little cutie (süsse Maus), it might be bad! Oh, condemn the sexism! But when a Kurdish man ties his wife to his car and drags her through the streets of Herne, almost killing her, there is just silence. It seems that this behavior is not sexist at all.

Or when an African man pours gasoline on his wife in the street, then lights her on fire, causing her death, there is, again, silence. That’s not sexist either.

Like I said, we have an insane policy of welcoming foreign men who will cling to completely alien mindsets and form ghettos to live apart from Germans. Most will never be integrated into the workforce, and some will do the most horrible things here.

Islam will be integrated and Sharia law will be officially accepted as equal to the Grundgesetz (the German constitution). This is not so farfetched as one would think. We are already constantly told that Islam is a religion of peace, that Sharia law is fine, that child marriage is not so bad as it seems, etc.

When a private Sharia police began patrolling the streets of Wuppertal, talking to people and telling them to stop drinking alcohol, etc., the authorities put an end to this, but the Sharia policemen were NOT found guilty of anything! Quite interesting.

The judge declared that the orange vests of the Sharia Police didn’t have an “intimidating or militant effect,” and since they weren’t similar to real police clothing, there was no violation of the “Uniformverbot,” a German law which prohibits people to wear uniforms as a sign of a political attitude. Charges were dropped and the Sharia policemen left the court as free men.

Funnily enough, in 2008, some Germans had done a similar thing and walked the streets of Dortmund. They wore T-shirts with “Die Rechte Stadtschutz Dortmund” on it. It roughly translates as “The Right’s Urban Guard of Dortmund”. They were from a right wing movement and talked, for example, to homosexuals to warn them against AIDS, etc.

Guess what? In 2014, a court ruled that they had violated the Uniformverbot. I don’t see a difference to the Sharia Police, but maybe I need to learn that two and two equals five, if I’m told that it equals five.

On the eve of the next depression, which should happen next year, this sort of migration policy is completely insane. I suspect there is a deliberate plan to fragment and weaken society so that we will accept all security measures from above. The same people that have put us into this precarious and increasingly dangerous situation will offer to save us!

This is perfect Machiavellianism. Fool the plebs, then make ‘em pay while you stay in power and have your way! Hurrah! Do you want more surveillance? Ja! Total surveillance? Ja! Do you want to eliminate cash to fight terrorism? Ja!

In the end, it all has to do with the collective mindset. Germans (or rather West Germans) have been told for decades that, ABOVE ALL THINGS, a new Third Reich has to be prevented! So all aspects of nationalism or even patriotism are bad, because patriotism can lead to chauvinism, which leads to Fascism, which leads to Auschwitz, and Auschwitz must never happen again! It’s nearly a religious cult we have built around the Third Reich.

Whenever somebody is to be destroyed (socially), you must only hint that he’s thinking or saying something which was also said in the Third Reich. Very effective! A German writer once called this behavior the Nazi-Keule, the “Nazi bludgeon.” If you criticize Jews, Israel, foreigners, immigration or if you say that German policy should focus on Germans, etc., you will get clubbed with the Nazi bludgeon.

This cult of Nazis, Auschwitz or the Third Reich is NOT to be critically debated! It is a taboo and, funnily enough, just like in a primitive society, everybody knows and fears the taboo while pretending it doesn’t exist. Interesting.

So the feeling of national unity has been erased, and completely absent in younger people. Germans would rather let their society slip into chaos than accused of being Nazis.

Mindfucked, we are submitting completely to avoid trouble, just as Germans submitted to Hitler back then.

Hmmm, maybe Islam really is a part of Germany, as one of our presidents said. Submission here, submission there…

Well, they couldn’t avoid trouble back then, and they won’t avoid trouble now. Even more bizarrely, Germans are so brainwashed and scared that this mindset will harden even more. I see it in discussions with people. With fervor, they cling to their beliefs. We will have multiculturalism at any cost because nationalism is bad!

And we will succeed, meaning that every city in Western Germany will soon have its own ghetto, that many people will be scared all the time because of muggers, rapists, terrorists and drug pushers, etc.

Life will go on but it will be tougher, with some areas resembling Brazil or Nigeria. I once was in Nigeria on a business trip. You can do great business there, if you have money, but life in general is tough. Make these fairly obvious observations and you will be accused of “hate speech,” or maybe “fake news.”

Don’t worry! Help is on the way! Our Minister of the Interior is thinking about a new law to imprison people up to five years for disseminating fake news, but what are fake news? Well, that is for the experts to decide.

And hate speech must be banned! What is hate speech? Well, that is for the experts to decide. And Germans must also integrate! No joke, a journalist demanded that Germans must integrate into a multicultural society.

According to another expert, they should also consider learning Arabic! And be more “culturally sensitive” towards others, as advised by a panel of immigration experts.

What Germans will do is keeping their mouths shut. They will take their children to school by car, or transferring them to other schools, if the percentage of immigrants is getting too high, and their kids get hassled for being German. They will move to another neighborhood, and make their house safe against burglars. They will buy pepper spray and hope that the situation will improve, which it won’t.

We’ll deny that we are in trouble until the very end. We’ll throw our freedom away, hoping that we’ll keep our security, only to lose both.

2017 will be just another year in the process of turning Germany into a perfect prison, a prison of the mind, and a real prison too.

Personally, I think we’ll either have a brutal and dangerous multicultural society in 15-20 years, or civil unrest, even war. Keep in mind that civil wars usually start because of economic troubles, and the economic troubles just ahead are huge. Should the social payments stop one day, all hell will break loose.

Already 70% of the children under five in Frankfurt have an immigration background, so it’ll be either total submission or civil war. I suspect it will be the latter, and that it will start in Eastern Germany, in conjunction with a movement towards secession.

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America will be published by Seven Stories Press in January of 2017. Tracking our deteriorating socialscape, he maintains a photo blog.

 

My patron saint is Martin de Porres. Wikipedia describes him as “the patron saint of mixed-race people, barbers, innkeepers, public health workers, and all those seeking racial harmony,” all of which is news to me. I had always known Saint Martin as just some black guy, which is curious enough. What was my father thinking?

Born a bastard in 1579 in Lima, Peru, Saint Martin was half Spanish, half black. Barred from entering a religious order because of his African blood, Saint Martin was only allowed to dwell with the Dominicans as a servant. He was so conscientious with his menial duties, the friars nicknamed him “the saint of the broom.” Less charitably, a novice dubbed the dark man “a mulatto dog.” Saint Martin could levitate, be in two places at the same time and miraculously heal the sick, often with just a glass of water. Duly impressed, the prior finally permitted him to become a brother. Always drawn towards the most shunned, Saint Martin assisted the poorest and sickest, comforted slaves and sheltered stray animals. In paintings, he is routinely depicted with a broom and a plate of food for a dog, cat, mouse and bird. To lift the convent from debts, Saint Martin even offered to be sold as a slave.

At the time of Saint Martin’s death, the pope was Urban VIII. A vain, greedy man, Urban VIII enriched his entire clan and fought wars to expand his power. He commissioned Bernini to sculpt marble busts of himself, one of which was destroyed by a mob at his death. Urban VIII is best remembered for his persecution of Galileo for saying the earth rotates around the sun.

Giving lie to the dogma that each pope is infallible, there were many grasping, horny or outright evil “holy fathers.” Innocent VIII pistoned out as many as 16 (free) love children, accepted 100 Moorish slaves from Ferdinand of Aragon and sanctioned the slave trade since it lassoed Africans into Christendom. Alexander VI had kids with his mistresses openly. As homosexuals were being castrated or burnt alive for sodomy, Paul II freely enjoyed plenty of Greek loving in Rome and is said to have met his maker while being rear ended by some page boy. Another gay pope, Leo X, was hounded by a contemporary ditty, “Florentine, hustler, blind and a passive homo” [“fiorentin, baro, cieco e paticone”]. Pope Benedict IX was accused by Saint Peter Damian of sodomy, staging orgies and even bestiality, and he was charged by Pope Victor III of murders and rapes. Which pope is lying? Stand-ins for God, they can’t say or do anything wrong, one must remember. For the right fee, several of these creeps could even hoist your loved one out of purgatory.

322 years after his death, Martin de Porres was canonized in 1962, the year before I was born, so it’s likely my father got the idea from the news. In any case, it hasn’t been an inappropriate choice, considering how much time I’ve spent in “inns,” and though no saint with a hoover, I cleaned houses for several years. In my own way, I’m also a bastard, a bastard of Western civilization.

In Saigon, I went to La San Taberd. Jean-Baptiste de La Salle (1651-1719) was a rich man who housed and fed poor teachers, gave his inherited fortune away and saw his life mission as making education useful and available to all. His influence has spread worldwide. Founded in 1874, my Lasallian school was shut down by the Communists in 1975, so I was among its last students.

In 2000, I returned to find its playground comically much smaller than in memory. Ignoring its basketball hoops and ping pong tables, I had spent most recesses testing my kung fu and judo techniques, for nothing made me happier than to knock some serious sense into someone. Quite often, though, it was me who got the pounding end of an inarguable truth. The body teaches nonstop and limits sober.

Thanks to the chopsockies and, well, soldiers and tanks on the streets, helicopters overhead, martial music on radio and TV, and body counts in each newspaper, each morning, violence was always in the air, so it’s no wonder we kids just wanted to kill each other. Between punches, kicks, knees, elbows and throw downs, I did manage to gain a solid academic foundation from the friars, however, for years after the airlift, I would score in the top percentile in math for my SAT, this despite being completely indifferent to numbers by then. Living in a DC suburb, I was engrossed by painting and jazz.

In college, I became quite enamored with myself, a most pervasive sin in any culture, though increasingly more pronounced here, I must say, and to a grotesque degree. The inevitable result was a dark night of the soul lasting a couple of years, and I certainly deserved that roundhouse kick to the head. The very definition of madness, self-infatuation won’t just make one blind but hostile to the rest of the world. Self-worship is the worst idolatry. Swedenborg:

The evils of those who are in the love of self are, in general, contempt of others, envy, enmity against all who do not favor them, and consequent hostility, hatred of various kinds, revenge, cunning, deceit, unmercifulness, and cruelty.

All of the above are plentiful here, for this strutting and bombastic culture abetts the crassest vanities. According to Swedenborg, each man crafts, with his thoughts and actions, his own inferno or paradise, thus becoming a unique demon or angel. Very often, a man will mistake his most elaborately-built hell for heaven, but never vice versa. Obviously, an entire society can also suffer this delusion.

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America will be published by Seven Stories Press in January of 2017. Tracking our deteriorating socialscape, he maintains a photo blog.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Christianity 

Years ago in McGlinchey’s, a Philly dive, I overheard a female voice, “I don’t know how anyone can get married, I don’t know, before they’re 45. I mean, hello!” The woman was in her mid-20’s.

In 2014, I was at the Golden Cicada in Jersey City when a karaoke session broke out. The participants were a group of three gay guys and two single women, plus a straight couple. In metropolitan New York, one often hears women complain about the dearth of straight men, so it’s no surprise to see these young ladies enjoying a night out with their gay buddies.

As for the couple, she was Indian and he, Italian. We talked. Staring lovingly at her boyfriend, she cooed that they were engaged. He showed no emotion.

As the increasingly boisterous singers howled, “No one knows what it’s like / To be the bad man / To be the sad man / Behind blue eyes,” I thought of India-born poet Reetika Vazirani. She had a child out of wedlock with Yusef Komunyakaa. I’ve had dinners with Yusef in Philly and New York, but I never saw Reetika face-to-face. We exchanged some emails.

On October 15th, 2002, she sent me:

After a long time. Wanted to say hello and say where I am with little Jehan who is nearly two. We are well.

Sending you the best.

Reetika

On March 25th, 2003, she wrote:

Dear Linh,

It has been so long since our dialogue in The Literary Review. I would like to stay in touch. Here is my number: 757-565-1810. I’ll be moving at the end of April. Can we speak before then?

My best, and many thanks for the messages,

Reetika

This request for a phone chat was a bit odd, I thought. Emailing back, I explained that I was in Italy. Though I was warm and solicitous enough, I never phoned Reetika. I dislike talking over the phone.

I received one more email from Reetika in May, then in July, words came that she had stabbed her son to death before committing suicide. Reetika and Jehan never lived with Yusef, but rented a house near him in Trenton. During her final months, she reached out to many people. Surely someone could have said something to save the 41-year-old woman and her baby?

One should recall that Jehan is the name of that man who loved his wife most enduringly, for after she died, he commissioned 20,000 artisans over two decades to conjure up that “dream in marble,” the Taj Mahal.

Since the poetry world is small, I know another of Yusef’s girlfriends. Savvier, she didn’t expect too much from their relationship. In her mid-40’s, this poet wrote a humorous newspaper article about online dating, then managed to get married soon after.

Though you can’t count on sampling endless partners before settling down at 45, this culture dopes us into thinking we can be young forever, with all options open until that cremation chamber. Just before we turn to ashes, we can have that last botox implant, face-lift and buttock augmentation. Men ape Hugh Hefner, and women, Madonna. Bring on the fresh meat!

A young Augustine bargained with God, “Give me chastity, but not yet.” We of the 21st century don’t care for checks to our appetite. Just give us protean sex! Chastity still comes, however, as too many of us find ourselves unmarried, loveless and compulsively molesting our forlorn, nether parts while ogling chaturbate. Boy, that felt good!

In 2013, I met three women in Oakland. They were in their early 30’s, cool, smart, attractive and fairly miserable. Three or four nights a week, you could find them sipping cocktails outside the Make Westing bar on Telegraph Avenue. It’s a hipster hangout, with two bocce courts inside.

Let’s call our three graces Splendor, Mirth and Good Cheer. Raised in Oklahoma, Splendor moved to San Francisco to have better access to art, knowledge and decadence. She lived in the Tenderloin, where a whore climbed through her window via the fire escape. Relocated to Oakland, Splendor was teaching 6th grade history and English in a public school.

After marrying without much conviction or a wedding, Splendor found herself mostly alone. “We have an open marriage. Charlie leaves when he feels like, and comes back when he feels like. He can disappear for months of a time. I don’t want to stand in the way of my husband’s freedom.”

Mirth was finishing a PhD in biology at Berkeley. For nearly three years, she was in a relationship, but each time her man proposed marriage, Mirth said no, thanks. It felt enough like marriage since they were living together and even bought a car together. When Mirth won a six-month fellowship to study in Paris, she finally agreed to get engaged. This way, her boyfriend could be assured she would come back and not shack up with some French beau.

Settled in Paris, Mirth decided she would jog each one of its streets, so for a month, her map filled up with red lines. She would conquer Paris, alley by alley. Her giddiness was torpedoed when friends in Berkeley emailed to say her fiancé was regularly seen with another woman. Mirth flew back to confront him, but the cad refused to meet. Dodging Mirth, he even left their apartment when she moved her stuff out. He kept their Chevy. Just like that, their relationship had turned into a public joke.

Trying to get even, Mirth kept raw fish in a jar on a balcony, in the sun. She planned on pouring the rotted slime into her ex’s carburetor. “That car would stink forever!” All that happened, though, was Mirth getting on all fours to clean up the shattered, splattered mess after seagulls knocked the jar over.

Good Cheer was also doing a Berkeley PhD, but in literature. Since her live-in boyfriend was a star poet among her crowd, Good Cheer cherished all of his intense emails. She was his muse and confidante. An aspiring poet herself, Good Cheer would be a Sylvia Plath to his Ted Hughes, but minus the suicide. Without hints or explanations, however, he dumped her. Good Cheer took it in strides and still considered her boyfriend of three years a close friend.

When I met these lovelies, they were certainly alluring enough to score transient boyfriends or at least bed partners. Sadness was creeping in, however, and Splendor even admitted, “I have two cats because, well, it gets lonely.” She showed me self-made ceramics that resembled mangled uteruses, frankly. Resisting a primal urge to sniff them, I merely grunted, “These are nice.”

Two months ago, I profiled a young Philadelphia woman, B.B. Growing up in post-industrial and crime-wracked Camden, she suffered through a turbulent childhood spent mostly in foster homes and even jail, simply because the state had nowhere else to house her. Her dad died from work exposure to asbestos. Her stepfather sexually molested her.

At 32, B.B. got engaged, only to break it up when she found her man cheating. They fought. After B.B.’s fiancé accused her of stabbing him, she was jailed for 10 days, but the charge was tossed.

Again, B.B.’s life was in turmoil, with the only stability her two-days-a-week job at the Friendly Lounge, my local dive. Since B.B. said she had always wanted to write, I gave her tips and even an assignment. Tailored for B.B., it’s a 1,000-word story called “Creeps.” As an attractive bartender in an old man’s hangout, she certainly didn’t lack material.

Welcoming this challenge, B.B. thanked me repeatedly and gave me a drawing of a rabbit, with thread stitched into the paper. She promised me another rabbit, personalized. “You’re my only audience,” she confessed.

I showed B.B. a poem, published in Harper’s, that’s derived from my years as a house cleaner. It begins, “Belonging to the lower class, you’re expected / To cater to the upper class’ lower bodily functions.” Her work experience matters, I kept telling B.B., and of course her layers of wounds. She has overcome so much.

Each Thursday, I brought my laptop to the bar so B.B. could type out a draft, but there was nothing. She couldn’t focus. I read in her notebook an old account of a dream with a dead goose.

Listen, I have no illusion about writing as a career or vocation. As a public overture, it’s mostly pathetic, if not bathetic. So futile, most writers are lucky to have one attentive reader, counting the writer. As a meditation on self and the world, however, it can never be useless, for writing is just thinking made concrete. Writing is a deed to one’s experiences.

B.B. texted me:

it’s difficult to articulate but, it’s as though despite all i have and want to say, all I can see, all i can think about or even write about, are the issues I’ve been going through an trying to deal with in my personal life.. i know I need to get past it if iam to go anywhere with my life, let along my writing. i just don’t know how to go about getting past it all, it’s as though these problems have consumed me, and there is not even a “me” anymore… in the vacancy of where i was, are the problems and heartache that caused me to disappear.

Most alarmingly, B.B. spoke of suicide on two occasions. She said she didn’t know how to live, and just wanted to end it all. I tried to comfort B.B., cheer her up. I told her she needed time to heal, and surely she would heal.

Since suicide is the ultimate blasphemy, many of those who failed at the attempt speak of experiencing the darkest terror during their brief death. It is a paradox that one of the most devouts ever, Simone Weil, was a suicide, but of course, so was Jesus. God killed a third of himself. He also had a get-out-of-hell card. We don’t.

On Thanksgiving, the Friendly was closed, so B.B. lost half of that week’s wage. She ended up dumpster diving. Hunger-weakened and with carpal tunnel syndrome, B.B. had to strain to lift each heavy lid.

This week, along with my laptop I brought B.B. a story I published in 1997. Since it has a bar setting and a character from Camden, I thought she might be inspired by it. One of the dialogues is lifted straight from a conversation I had in McGlinchey’s. “You hear crazy shit like this all the time, so use it!” I was going to tell B.B.

When I opened the door, I saw a brand new bartender, however, and the place seemed darker than usual. It was dead. There was but one customer, a middle-aged woman with wiry, uncombed hair and a shabby jacket, hunched over an ashtray and her High Life.

“B.B. is not working today?”

“Nope!”

“Do you know when she’ll work next?”

“I don’t think she’ll be back.”

“She got fired?!”

“I don’t know.”

Home, I texted B.B., then called to make sure she was OK. Receiving no answer for two days, I feared the worst.

One of B.B.’s tattoos is “XXIII,” meaning she only found love, sort of, with her 23rd boyfriend. Sex hounded B.B. constantly. Men of all ages propositioned her daily with dinner, cash, coke or weed. Of course, she longed for love. Another ink of hers is “DIE BITCH.”

Many people talk of killing themselves, but how many have it etched into their skin? Years ago, a Friendly Lounge bartender became a massage therapist, then got busted twice for prostitution. Boozing in Friendly, she flirted with Don, its owner, then slurred that she wanted to off herself. Calling her bluff, Don laughed, “Can you lend me $50 first?” The 42-year-old overdosed on Seconal within a week.

Editor Frank Wilson told me he spent three long evenings talking a friend out of ending her life. The night she finally did it, this smart, accomplished woman had a dozen close friends over. The dinner was a feast. An hour later, the lonely woman was dead. “If they really want to do it, there’s nothing you can do.”

In the early 90’s, I served in Philly’s City Hall Art Council with Ella King Torrey. She would rise to become President of the San Francisco Art Institute. Ella was tall, well-liked, never married, childless, in a field she loved, financially secure and with a spectacular career trajectory. In any room, Ella always had the biggest smile. She collected African-American quilts, drove long distance to see Cher’s Farewell Tour. Hillary Clinton invited Ella to the White House. At 45, she killed herself.

From Cleveland, Elizabeth Hayes sent me a most harrowing account of her attempted suicide, “Why I Jumped off the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge.” The key reason, in my mind, is her ill-considered marriage. Elizabeth:

When I was 19 somebody asked me, “But don’t you want to get married?” I said, “If I’m gonna get married, it will have to be 1) some autistic guy and 2) someone who is gone a lot.” By autistic, I meant somebody who would leave me alone and be incapable, and disinterested, in figuring out what I’m up to, as long as I’m fairly discrete. At 33, I decided I really wanted to have a child, so should find someone to marry, and none of the guys I’d been hanging with would think of having a child with anything but horror, and would have gotten pissed at me even bringing the matter up. And don’t give me this nonsense about how single motherhood is the way to go.

Then I met Malvin, appropriately named as it turned out (bad wine, get it?), a jazz musician (flute and sax) who had a steady job as a bureaucrat at Welfareland. At 45 he wanted to finally settle down, and get this, beyond his stupid bureaucrat job, he gigged at least three times a week! That fulfilled criterion number two, and Mal’s mood variations were nil, any intuitive powers lacking, which fulfilled criterion number one. Therefore, I decided I’d get a baby out of him.

In 2014, there were 41,143 American suicides, as compared to 16,108 murders. We hate ourselves and each other more than the citizens of just about any other First World nation. We are also the champs of drug taking and porn watching.

In practically any other place or time, a woman like B.B. would be a wife and mother, but here, now, sex is divorced from love, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. In this context, declarations of love are often cynical ploys, but better love sans sex than sex sans love, I’d say, though perhaps not yet. Soixante-neuf, mon chéri?

The ultimate poem, the marriage vows should outlast all others, “I take you to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

Declared at a wedding, in front of practically everyone one knows, the vows are made not just to one’s spouse but the entire community that one will be a responsible adult, at last.

For a century, we’ve been reeducated about the evils of marriage, however. In 2013, youngish Canadian feminist Meghan Murghy reminded us:

Marriage has been an institution within which women have suffered abuse, rape, murder and forced reproduction. It’s an institution that guaranteed men a maid and someone to bear and raise their offspring.

That’s why Murphy wanted no part of it, although she’s interested in “a monogamous, love-type relationship” with, eventually, “a life partner.”

Most Western men born after WWII actually welcome such a rejection, for it means many booty calls and intimate relationships that can be ditched at will, even without pretexts. Feminists’ disavowal of the traditional family means much more variety for these horndogs.

Growing up among “church mouses,” my drinking buddy Marty was liberated by feminism to pounce on 140 sniffable, lickable and squeezable trophies, while blowing up five marriages along the way.

Encouraging heartlessness and dishonesty, this freedom to fornicate breeds cynicism, wrecks home and traumatizes children, but who wants to hear that? Sex is fun, rejuvenating, soul shaking, revenge, raid, exploration and carthasis, dude, while marriage anchors and delimits. Since husbands and fathers can be such tyrants, let’s just have playas. Pork and run is cool.

In my defense of marriage, I raved to the three Oakland graces, “To love is not to embrace a beautiful body but a decaying, aging person, practically a corpse.” Invite me to your next party, eh?

Alas, B.B. is not yet a cadaver. She just texted me. Like many among us, she will put on a brave face and slog forward. Tailed and cornered by creeps, she may even pretend that she is loved.

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America will be published by Seven Stories Press in January of 2017. Tracking our deteriorating socialscape, he maintains a photo blog.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Feminism 

Within the shadow of 920-year-old Norwich Cathedral squats the 767-year-old Adam and Eve Pub. Both are spooky, inevitably. A decade ago, I was minding my own business, nursing a pint of Old Peculier, when the mugs above my head started to rattle, the ashtray flew off the bar and Lord Sheffield whispered in me ear, “Spot me a whiskey, mate?” “Sam,” as the ghost is now known, was mortally wounded in 1549 by a butcher during Kett’s Rebellion. At 28, he croaked in the Adam and Eve.

In the US of A, it’s rare to find any building that wasn’t built last week, but there’s plenty of history here too, and even my shithole of a neighborhood bar, the Friendly Lounge, has its lore.

It’s owned by two brothers, and their father was the legendary Felix DiTullio, better known as Skinny Razor. He showed Little Nicky Scarfo how to slaughter. Many Mafia targets were last seen being ushered into the Friendly, never to reappear. Maybe they have a centuries-old well in their basement too, just like the Adam and Eve?

Now, the Friendly is a scandal-free establishment, with nothing more exciting to happen recently than the appearance of ex-Phillies Garry Maddox.

“He must have some broad in the neighborhood?” someone whispered.

“No, Garry ain’t that kind of guy.”

Maddox ordered an eight-dollar drink, left a ten-dollar tip.

A year after Lord Sheffield’s death, John Skelton’s “The Tunnyng of Elynour Rummyng” was published. No priss, the Diss native didn’t shy from an ale and piss splattered portrayal of contemporary life, and his Tunnyng gives us a rare glimpse of plebian carousing in 16th century England. (Another East Anglian, Robert Greene, born 1558, bequeaths knowing tales of hustlers, thieves and blackmail artists.) Check out these lines:

She breweth noppy ale,
And maketh therof port sale
To trauellars, to tynkers,
To sweters, to swynkers,
And all good ale drynkers,
That wyll nothynge spare,
But drynke tyll they stare
[...]
And as she was drynkynge,
She fyll in a wynkynge
Wyth a barlyhood,
She pyst where she stood;
Than began she to wepe,
And forthwyth fell on slepe.

Elynour Rummyng “lerned it of a Jewe” to thicken her ale with chicken shit, but that entire passage must be fantasy.

While others are disgusted, such good, solid types having such a great time makes me want to get pissed also. We’re only here to stare at each other and palaver. Let’s head to the Friendly, then, and b.s. with Marty.

Don the hunter died without saying goodbye, Felix is hobbling along after his foot operation, Tony got fired for allegedly stealing, Manon landed a better job, the sad Eagles just choked away another one and Marty, as you shall see, will be on the first stool as you walk in. At 74, the raspy-voiced man works even on Thanksgiving, and he downs a few each evening.

When Marty speaks of gravy, he means marinara sauce, by the way, and “managut” is a South Philly word.

I’ve repeatedly urged Marty to visit Sicily before he keels over. “Go next week, then come back and tell us about it. You’ll bawl like a baby, man, soon as you land!”

Once, Marty showed me on his cellphone a beaming, bare-breasted lady sitting on her living room carpet. “Would you leave this?”

Just a few days away from his New Jersey lay is out of the question for Marty.

I was born in 1942. I was raised in the 50’s, when all the girls were church mouses.

I’ve been coming to Friendly Lounge on my own since 1962. Prior to that, I’d come in with my dad on Saturday, because of the spare ribs. They had the best spare ribs in the city. Even the Chinese would come here to get them.

This place wasn’t a go-go bar per se. Around 1970 or so, we started getting dancers on Friday night. They would dance on top of the bar. There was also a little stage. One girl used to shoot ping pong balls out, and puffed a cigar.

I’ve done plumbing and electrical work for 50 years.

I had uncles who were in various trades, so I started hanging with them. One of my buddies, his father used to come in here. He was a master plumber, so that’s how I learned plumbing.

I work every day. I’m a one-man band. I do everything myself. I’ve never met anybody who can do it as good as me, and I can also do it quicker. I don’t want to get a call in the middle of night, “Hey, your guy who was here. The faucet is not working right.”

I’ve always had a voice like this. I can’t make obscene phone calls. I went from a little boy, to this voice.

I’ve been married five times. I’m just a guy that’s not happy. I got them home. I know they’re there. I’m back out at the bar, looking for another one.

You’ve got to remember, guys my age, we grew up at the beginning of free sex, drugs and rock and roll, and I tried to take advantage of it. We opened the door for free sex.

Ah, many, many women took on the attitude of guys, back in the day. They wanted to be out there and get laid also.

I’ve probably been with 130, 140. No exaggeration. That’s probably cutting it short.

I’m the very first person in the world to admit, if there’s anybody in the world who should have gotten AIDS, it should have been me.

As far as unplanned pregnancies? Everyone of them!

Yeah, I got three inches cut off, so now I’ve got an even nine.

I have seven children, by three women. I have 19 grandkids, and seven great grandkids. I’m in touch with my kids every day. I don’t want to hear from them, but one or the other will call. I’m good friends with them all.

Financially, none of my kids, none of my ex wives will ever say I was bad. I was a good provider, horrible husband, good boyfriend, and probably a better father to kids that weren’t mine. I was their father figure.

I’ve always had girlfriends. I just married one off last month, in Florida. I’ve got one in upstate New York. I’ve got one over in Jersey. I still do pretty good as far as pussy.

I don’t use Viagra, or Cialis, or any of that other shit. How do I do it? I stick it in.

I’m not like I was ten years ago. That’s why they’re safe across the country now.

Some guys get nothing because they try too hard. I’ve never, ever in my life chased the cherry. I let them come after me.

Back in the day, people like Marco, Joe Mazz and all the pretty boys would try. The girls would look at Marty and think to themselves, Why isn’t he trying? What has he got? I had a wife, at home. I got nothing. That turned girls on. I didn’t lie to them and say I was single. I told everyone I was married. The girls wanted the forbidden fruit, too.

I like very petite women, with long hair. Very skinny. I’m not a titty guy. Big boobs look good in swim suits and sweaters, and that’s not my playground. I’m a butt guy.

If they’ve got a little butt, they’re tiny and they’ve got long hair, they’ve got it going.

If they’re not my type, I don’t bother with them. I have no curiosity or interest at all.

I have this set of rules that I’ve followed all my life. I’m not a guy who walks around horny. Ninety percent of the time in my life, I had a wife at home. If I left the bar by myself and went home, I’ve got a piece of pussy at home. If a girl turned me on, I fuck the old lady thinking of the girl that turned me on. A dick has no conscience.

I’ve turned down more pussy than you can think. I have a set pattern. Every one of my wives, turn them around, other than the color of their hair, they all look the same from the back.

I’m very specific. Ask anybody who knows me. My first wife was Irish, black hair, 4 foot 9, very white skinned. Every one after has been under 5-3.

It’s not that I have a philosophy. It’s something that I’ve found that works for me, and when you find something that works, you tend to use it. I’m not saying it’s right, wrong or politically correct, but it works for me.

Each of my kids resents me for one thing or another. I’m not perfect, and I’ve never claimed to be. They’ve all got their issues with me, but as far as being their father, I’ve always been a very good provider, but I was always on the move.

I’ve always provided for my family. I’ve made a good living in the course of my lifetime. Money was so easy to make in the 60’s and 70’s, and rent was cheap. My first apartment was $75 a month, and Patty and I had a really nice apartment, at 6th and Wharton. This was in ’63, ’64.

I’ve done everything I wanted to do. I bought cars, boats, motorcycles. I’ve had about eight boats in my life. I lived in Florida for 27 years. There’s no sense living in Florida unless you’ve got a motorcycle and a boat.

I’ve lived in California. I’ve been to Canada, England, Mexico. Me and one of my wives, we were going to go to Rome for my 62nd birthday. I like biblical, religious stuff. I wanted to see the pyramids, the catacombs, stuff like that. But she died on me, and I didn’t go. I lost all interest.

I have a hard time speaking English, let alone various languages.

Timmy Cigar and I got into an argument with Adrian one night over the word “irregardless.” I never knew it was not a word, and I’ve been saying it all my life.

I lived in south Florida for 27 years. The only thing I know of any Hispanic language is “si.” That’s about it.

I’m a very one-dimensional person. I’m a creature of habits. I eat primarily Pat’s Steaks, after work. It’s not so much cheesesteak any more. It’s a pork sandwich with cheese on it.

When I want variety, I go to the Chinese restaurant at Broad and Federal, Mui Chung. I just call, they hear my voice and they know exactly what I want, and it’s ready by the time I get there.

I listen to all these people with the health food, and I’ve watched all the health food gurus, and the exercise gurus, died!

My teeth didn’t fall out. There is a perfect reason why I have false teeth. I had a bad motorcycle accident back in ‘74.

I had beautiful bottoms and fantastic implants, but my gums have shrunk over the years. Had to get rid of the implants. Now, I have big fuckin’ teeth.

When I go home with a chick, I pop my teeth out, I pop the eye out and I pull off the wig.

I’m not Italian, I’m Sicilian. The reason I’ve never been there is because there’s nobody I know. I’ve got family there, but I don’t know them.

To go back and see how the world was built, in old world traditions, that’s pretty amazing. I watch National Geographic every now and then, and I see how modern people are existing and dwelling in cities that are centuries-old, and how they’re adapting. I find that fascinating.

People today, their houses have a bathroom for each kid. I’m sure my Sicilian ancestors, there were probably four or five families, with three or four kids each, all sharing the same outhouse. Unless you’re extremely wealthy, there was no such thing as a 2,000-foot-square house. Only Americans need that much space.

South Philly was all Italian. You had your Irish on 2nd Street, and other types on 30th, but in between, it was all Italian. There were fights or disagreements between different factions of Italians, whether they be Sicilian or Calabrese, or whatever. That’s what made South Philly so interesting.

The way my mom prepared her pasta and meat dishes was totally different than other Italian sects would do it.

We always had a secure area here, in South Philly. We had our own market, on 9th Street. It was just a fantastic place to grow up.

The 9th Street Market started out around 1915. South Philadelphia around the turn of the century was primarily Jewish. The Italian influx didn’t really come until around 1915 to 1925.

When I was living with my parents, I grew up eating fresh vegetables, freshly killed meat. I never ate anything frozen other than ice cream.

Good Italian cooking is dying off. It’s not the same. You go to Villa di Roma when Kaiser and his kids ran it, it was good, it was fantastic. And there was Big Ralph’s and various Italian eateries. It doesn’t appear that it has changed, to new newcomers, but people who grew up here, they know the difference in the way things are made today from 50 years ago.

Today, they use convectional ovens, microwaves and not the old wooden ovens or the gas-fired appliances.

It’s the ingredients. A pot of gravy, I guarantee you, if you go to Villa di Roma, he still makes a pot of gravy the exact same way he did when he was twelve-years-old, but the ingredients have changed, therefore the results have changed. That’s why you don’t see too many old mom-and-pop Italian restaurants anymore.

With governmental regulations, you can’t have this, you can’t have that and expect it to taste like 50 years ago. I like deep red gravy. Most gravy today is pinkish. It’s not the restaurant owners that are cheating. It’s the FDA governmental regulations saying you can’t eat tomatoes raised in pig shit.

My mom and dad raised me strictly on Sicilian food. Until my mom died at 93 in 2000, she was making her own pasta, making her own gravy, every week. My mom would make gallons of gravy every Sunday morning, and she would put it in pails and refrigerate it, until the kids came over. “Come over and get your half gallon of gravy. Here, grab a couple pounds of ravioli, or meat balls, roasted pork, this, that, spaghetti, whatever it is that you like.” My mom used to make it all herself.

A couple weeks before she died, she was up at 3:30, 4 O’clock, Sunday morning, making gravy.

She’d roll out her dough, and by the time she went to church, then came back, it’d rise. She’d make managut. It’s a long shell, stuffed with cheese. My mom would bake it, then put gravy over it.

My grandfather came to visit us from Sicily. He stayed here for three or four weeks. My father must have cooked him breakfast, because I can remember daylight behind the old man.

The only regret I have in my life is that my father didn’t live long enough. He died when I was 19-years-old. My dad worked a lot. I didn’t know him as a man. I only knew him as a father.

You can go out and have a beer with your old man when you’re 23, 24 years old. You don’t have to sit around the couch and listen to him moan and groan about work.

My father was in the funeral business. We had a funeral home. I did that for many, many years, into my 40’s. I’d do my other work in the daytime, do bodies at night.

A funeral in Europe is a celebration of somebody’s life. It’s not that they have died or expired, or got killed, it’s a celebration of their life.

In Europe, they put the grandkids on the body of the deceased. It’s your granddaddy. Say goodbye. Give him a hug.

America, they sweep it under the rug. Oh, that’s bad, he died!

Only in America do they hide death. They make death into something evil, but it’s not. Everyone of us, unless you’re an astronaut, is going to die on this planet. You’re going to need a funeral director.

The rest of the world celebrate the deceased’s life at a funeral. They talk about all the good shit the guy did, what a nice guy he was, or what a prick he was.

I’m very jaded when it comes to death, but I’m very respectful.

Party while you can. You’ll throw a seven before you know it.

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America will be published by Seven Stories Press in January of 2017. Tracking our deteriorating socialscape, he maintains a photo blog.

 
• Category: Economics 
Linh Dinh
About Linh Dinh

Born in Vietnam in 1963, Linh Dinh came to the US in 1975, and has also lived in Italy and England. He is the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). He has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. He is also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. His writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and he has been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US, and has also published widely in Vietnamese.