Why We Write
After my latest lengthy lambasting of Nick Coleman yesterday, I was left in a bit of a funk. What was the point anyway? How many times have I pounded on this worthless bastard in the last few months (please don't remind me)? How many hours have I spent dissecting his pompous pontificating? As Saint Paul likes to say, that's time we're not getting back.
Shouldn't I be doing something more productive? Something worthwhile? Something that would mark my all too short time here on earth for the good? Is this really all there is?
And then this morning I checked my e-mail. From Tom:
I read poverty pimp Nick Coleman today before I went to work (by myself) in my V-8 SUV. It was not a normal day for this "office job" person, but then it never is when you are responsible for incomes beyond your own. The day begins early and ends when the work is done and not when the whistle blows or the bus is scheduled to come by, but I digress.
Part of the day, okay a very small part of the day, I worry that The Elder has cancelled his subscription to the Stribune (Star & Sickle, Heh) and didn't read poverty pimp Nick Coleman's piece and won't be giving Nick a good, well deserved Fisking. Arriving at my home in suburbia, I check the web...newsites, Drudge, the Lord of the Lazy Link Dump (HH). I check fraters...RELIEF. My man Elder has gotten out the hammer, and is nailing Nick to the post in no uncertain terms.
Poverty pimp Nick Coleman is the most shameless, prejudiced, judgemental person this side of a paper you have to pay for. My first reaction...Hey, Nick...you're making 6-figures (by pimping poor people), why don't you come from YOUR hip and BUY these poor folks a paper. You probably get a discount, you work for the paper, #%*#@**it! Second reaction...Yeah, Nick, you're right. We're all just trying get by here in George Bushes' Amerika, but the big cheeses (does anyone really talk this way still?) are just keepin us down. Thank goodness you are here to bear witness to the awfulness of our plight. Third reaction...Is Nick Coleman as prejudiced in other areas as well? Does he think Scottish people are thrifty? Does he think only Jewish people make good lawyers and accountants? That Irish people are drunks and British men are effeminate? His column alleging that our Gopher girls use their superior Northern European genes to be harder working than the other players on teams in the final four like that Eye-talian girl from UConn or those shiftless black girls from Tenn. told me how he thinks about those groups. But, what do I know?
Well, I know this much. I may not boycott the paper for their editorial page silliness, but for damn sure I'm boycotting the bigot named Nick Coleman. It's time for the white liberal to stop getting over with his prejudice. It's the not so soft bigotry of low expectations and a white liberal getting away with making judgements based on looks. He'll pay no penalty and probably win an award (like Kent Brockman) for pimping someone elses pathetic life for a living. You make me sick, Nick.
(sniff) Thanks Tom, you made my day. But wait, there's more. David adds:
We had something of an uproar here in Pittsburgh a few months ago. For several years now, bus fares have gone up and ridership has gone down. You might think that the Port Authority of Allegheny County would have spotted the obvious cause-and-effect relationship between what people have to pay and how many people are actually paying to take the ride (and I mean that both literally and metaphorically). But of course, the municipal and transit authorities are blind to the reality of the situation. Rather than lower fares, the Port Authority began reducing the number of runs per day on nearly every route. Eventually, they began eliminating some routes entirely. (At this point, one might imagine some Colemanesque journalist to hang out at the bus stop until someone who was unaware of the route elimination came along to provide him with a full column's worth of material.)
The last time a public meeting was held for riders to express their concern over the proposed service cuts, a nice big color photo appeared in the paper showing who attended the meeting. It was just what you would expect: people in wheelchairs, "minorities", and the elderly (if you'll pardon the expression). One of my co-workers took a gander at the picture and commented on how terrible it was that these people were going to have "a basic human right" taken away from them -- after all, they need to get to work somehow. I just about tore out my hair when she said that -- what sort of document, I wondered, exists that posits a ride on the bus as a "basic human right"? Is that in the US Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence? Perhaps the Magna Carta? Does it come from the Sermon on the Mount, or go back to the laws of Moses and Hammurabi? I decided not to ask out loud, as it would only make things worse.
My place of employment, you see, is the University of Pittsburgh. Like most universities, it is a repository of unreconstructed Marxists of the sort who hang Soviet flags and pictures of Marx and Lenin. This particular colleague of mine is an Italian-born beauty who could certainly give Monica Bellucci a run for her money. Very disturbing, then, to find that she has a tattoo on her lower back. I'm not too fond of tattoos in general, but hers is worse than most -- it was the face of Che Guevara. Kind of telling when you learn more about a person's worldview from their backside than from their face.
Not that cuts in bus service would be much of a bother for anyone who works at Pitt. For about ten years now, the University has funneled loads of money into the Port Authority so that anyone with a Pitt ID can enjoy unlimited bus rides on any route in the system. Of course I take advantage of this benefit every day that I go to work, and will continue to do so as long as it exists. After all, this is an annual deal and there was talk two years ago that the contract would not be renewed. When that happens, a lot of unhappy people are going to have to buy a bus pass, perhaps for the first time ever. Will that bother me? Of course it will, for a while. Until I can get another job to which I can drive, and that pays more money. Gainful employment is no more a "basic human right" than the means to get to work, regardless of what Marxist academia or elitist journalism might think.
Sorry to go on for so long -- I am a frustrated blogger-wannabe with a full-time day job and four times as many kids as James Lileks -- but I just want to call attention to one line in Nick Coleman's extended whine that puts me in mind of one of your Fraters colleagues:
"The sidewalk in front of the bus shelter was splotched with vomit and sprinkled with cigarette butts."
Based on what I have been reading over the last few months, it sounds like Nick Coleman missed running into Atomizer by just a few hours.
Positive reinforcement of my Coleman bashing and a zing at Atomizer? It really doesn't get any better. Thanks guys. You are the wind beneath my wings.