December 01, 2004

And I Want a White Picket Fence And Someone Lend Me 2.3 Kids, STAT

UPDATE, December 29, 2005:

Is there an Avon conference going on today or something?--I am getting search hits from all over for "Avon World Sales Leader." Anyway, that's this woman's mother. Avon and world sales are two things I have absolutely nothing to do with, and the phrase comes up in this post only incidentally, in an excerpt from one of Dooce's posts.

You people are like a damn swarm today with this Avon business. You're scaring me, frankly.

There was a time I could cherish the contrast between the suburbs and the city, a time when I could appreciate each nearly equally-- and that time is passing real, real, real super-fast. We can thank my most favorite class of humanity, the perpetually sanctimonious, for that:

Suburban life is a perverted response to the perceived problems of the city, where urban unpredictability and diversity are supplanted by the Olive Garden and visits to the biggest mall in the country. Suburbanites drive downtown for work--occupying jobs that rightfully should go to city dwellers--but then they and their earnings hightail it out before sundown, presumably when the human sacrifices begins. They may return in the evening every once in the while for a showing of Riverdance, but only with the car windows rolled all the way up.
That's merely one paragraph plucked from a mountain of idiocy and man, people, you know I hate to fisk. I don't even like using the word fisk. It's jargon, and I'm against jargon on principle; also the activity itself is overdone. Still, it's seriously hard for me to get even nine words into this, into this one paragraph, without wanting to tell the author to just grow up already.

In other words, to hell with it. Let's fisk.

Suburban life is a perverted response to the perceived problems of the city

The perceived problems, not the real, tangible problems, which either don't exist or are all the fault of suburbia, you decide. Anyway, an experiment: Next time someone holds you up outside a downtown dance club with a 12-gauge--as happened once to a guy I dated--try just changing your perception about it.

(Incidentally, seeing as how the author of the article is dead convinced that suburbanites flee the cities out of an irrational fear of the black man--don't make me quote you that part, you're grown, you can read it yourself--would I be out of line to note that the holdup victim in this instance was black himself? Would it be out of line to note that he hailed from the suburbs? Or would the author just call that guy an Uncle Tom and me a Klan apologist?--Who knows? I do know that none of this helps solve the real, tangible problems of large urban centers, like for instance the real, tangible problem that YOU COULD GET MUGGED DOWN THERE.)

And that's just one problem I "perceive" about life in the big city. We haven't even got to the minor annoyances like shitty road quality, traffic jams, urine in all manner of places urine is simply not supposed to be--I didn't even get to things like tiny apartments that cost more than a 4-bedroom house in the suburbs, did I?

You know, it is f-i-n-e fine with me if you don't consider these things "problems." Feel free to alter your perceptions about them, honest. If you choose to see them as part of the charm and grit of the city, if you believe with all your heart that they give the place drama and vividness and color and flair, it is totally cool with me that you take that view. It's that view that keeps New Jersey in its place as the eternal butt of jokes by New Yorkers, which is right and just.

But screw you for making the leap from your love of grit and grime to my hatred of black people. The one does not imply the other.

where urban unpredictability and diversity

Your unpredictability and diversity is my missed train and eight different encounters with guys who need a couple bucks for "a bus ticket." (You know, and I give those guys the couple bucks, even when they're asking for it right outside the liquor store, so don't start on me with the heartless-Rethuglicans thing.) What I'm trying to say is for a lot of people, the "unpredictability" and the "diversity" get old after awhile.

If the author had put even a spark of thought into this piece, she'd have realized that the suburbs versus the city is just the same old story, same old song and dance--only she's singing the wrong song and she's got two left feet. The story of the exodus to the suburbs is the story of getting old.

You know who starts to miss the feel of grass beneath their feet, the smell of exhaust fume-free air in their nostrils, the contentment of having more than 512 square feet to call home? OLD PEOPLE, you dingbat. I don't mean seniors. Maybe I should just say "older." No, let's tell the truth here for a minute: People my age, okay? People my age have either got a couple kids already or are about to, and weirdly enough it does start to occur to them that maybe they should bring up the tots elsewhere--somewhere Crazy Freddie can't sidle up to them to see if they can spare a buck or two "for the bus." Somewhere Mommy and Daddy can afford to put away that buck or two for college later on. Somewhere Mommy won't have to explain what "XXX triple penetration hardcore!" means until Johnny's at least 10 and can find out on the internet his own self--in the privacy of his own room, not at the public library PC three seats down from Drunk Bob.

In fact, let's see what Dooce had to say about why she and her husband moved from LA to Utah:

. . . I present to you the following reasons why Jon and Heather need to move back to Utah: -Heather wants to have a baby and if there ever were a place on earth where people know how to have babies that place would be colonized by Mormons. - Chuck needs a backyard and the average price of a backyard in Los Angeles is $480,000. - Jon and I are down to our last couple dollars and a gallon of milk in Utah costs less than a couple dollars. - My mother, the Avon World Sales Leader, lives in Utah and can give us free shampoo. - They have weather in Utah.
I know Her Dooceness is more liberal than I am--by miles--but those look suspiciously like the reasons my parents bailed out of New Jersey way back when. Plus, I've read her list over six times now, and I still can't find anything about fearing unpredictability or diversity. What's up with that?

Oh hell, I didn't even make it to the end of the first sentence and look how I've rambled on. Can we skip the part about the Olive Garden? I hate the Olive Garden, for what it's worth, but I think I hate the law that all good progressives must equate a love of Olive Garden with Republicanism (and thus, evil) even more. That did get signed into law, didn't it? It must have, because they all do it. Can't you pick on Chili's for a change? Applebee's--yeah okay, I see you got some people on that one already. Never mind.

Suburbanites drive downtown for work--occupying jobs that rightfully should go to city dwellers
Because . . . because . . . what? Why? The hell? Because you live there, so . . . so . . . so businesses should give you preferential treatment in hiring or the government should automatically issue you a nearby job or--I mean what exactly is going on here? Because it certainly isn't actual thought.

This is one you could attack from so many angles it's impossible to just pick one. If you say businesses should make more effort to hire locals, well, sorry, but that's discrimination, number one; number two, given two candidates of equal merit, but with one of them down the street and the other 20 miles away--look, I know who I'm hiring for that one, because now I can really justify making him work nights and weekends, and he better never be late with the excuse that he was stuck in traffic; number three (and I think I mentioned this already) but why? Why should those jobs go "rightfully" to city-dwellers?

And how much do you think taking the nose ring out before you get to the interview might aid your hireability there, Miz City-Dweller? Businesses are notorious for loathing unpredictability, and whether they admit it or not, their view on diversity is that there is no "diversity" in "TEAM." Try actually "thinking outside the box" in a corporate environment sometime and be amazed by how much business respects diversity of viewpoint. Maybe these are the kinds of things those squares in suburbia have already figured out?

(Hands up who's grateful I didn't try to dissect the entire article? That's what I thought.)

but then they and their earnings hightail it out before sundown, presumably when the human sacrifices begins [sic].
The human sacrifices, and the perceived muggings. Hey, but don't discount the appeal of human sacrifice to suburbanites. If you could work out free parking for it, I'm sure at least a few of us would show up.
They may return in the evening every once in the while for a showing of Riverdance, but only with the car windows rolled all the way up.
It keeps the urine out, okay?

Look, my grandmother raised three children in a one-bedroom apartment near 144th and Washington--she lived and worked in Manhattan, and not the nicest part of it, for a long time. She loves the city. No one loves that city more.

And yet I've never gone there with her, even once, when the first thing she said to me upon entering her beloved city wasn't "Make sure your door is locked. Is your window up?--Roll the window up."

Because why? Because people who've really lived in the big cities--versus spoilt arty shitheads who move to them in search of vicarious thrills they couldn't find in the suburbs--don't kid themselves about how big cities are. They're noisy, they're dirty, and they're dangerous. They are no less loved for that, but the flaws are real, not perceptual. Papering over those flaws with euphemisms like "unpredictability" and "diversity" only invites one to take this author for a peabrained moonbat--which she is.

And if you won't take my word for that, and you have some migraine medication nearby, why, just read the rest of the article. Maybe then you can see how I could get so much mileage out of one particularly bad paragraph.

(I almost forgot: This aneurysm brought on by Swirlspice--not that there's anything wrong with that. Applebee's article link pilfered from Esmay.)

Posted by Ilyka at December 1, 2004 04:51 PM in i don't know you tell me

Wholy shit. Darkie chased whitey out of the city and now whitey has poisoned the good liberalism of the city with recitations of the Republican manifesto.

What a maroon.

Nice fisking, though!

Posted by: Jim at December 1, 2004 05:29 PM

Ilyka is an old BBSer. We were doing that with our QWK readers (I used Bluewave) long before some blogger called it "fisking".

Posted by: Rob at December 1, 2004 07:05 PM

Oh, forgot to mention. She couldn't be more right. I love New Orleans but I cannot afford to live anywhere but the most dangerous areas of that city. I like my five acres in the country. It's quieter, safer, cheaper, and the air is cleaner.

Posted by: Rob at December 1, 2004 07:14 PM

Rob is right. I absolutely adorrreee Ilyka for this lovely fisky thing she does so very well.

And it's my humble opinion that Ilyka, in leaving off phrases like "steaming pile of syphllitic yak dung" unlike most of the BBS'ers/NoosFroopers I've encountered, has raised the bar for what constitutes a righteous fisking.

How can you tell a fisking has been done righteously? When all you can say is "YEAH, BABY" when you're done reading.

Posted by: Margi at December 1, 2004 08:40 PM

I wouldn't live in downtown Richmond for any sum of money. One friend of mine got knifed(thankfully, he was across the street from a hospital at the time), one got mugged and another got carjacked. This was over a grand total of 3 months. But it's all perception, right?

Posted by: physics geek at December 1, 2004 08:46 PM

My parents moved from LA to Albuquerque some twenty-six years ago to escape those dreaded "dark people." Being dark people themselves, however, they moved in a mostly black neighborhood. (Yes, those do exist in ABQ.)

Posted by: Juliette at December 1, 2004 09:33 PM

Rob, I had completely forgotten about Bluewave until you said that. Now I can almost see the little ASCII wave they used for a splash screen.

You're right, too: Technically that's what started that form of argument/mockery/derision.

Margi, I never used "steaming pile of syphilitic yak dung," but I used cliches that were either knockoffs of it or just plain every bit as bad in terms of dumbness.

Posted by: ilyka at December 1, 2004 10:06 PM

Oh, Ilyka -- don't get me wrong. There's a time and a place to call someone a "sticky cumwad stuck between the couch cushions of life," but it would just detract from your overall message.



Posted by: Margi at December 2, 2004 04:35 AM

The chucklehead whose opinions Ilyka so blithefully trashed should take a look in his public library for books on "Black Flight" from the urban centers. It's not the people who are the problem, but the problems people create that drive "good people" from the inner cities.

Posted by: John at December 2, 2004 06:25 AM

Damn. This chick would hate my (suburban !) neighborhood. My neighbors include 1 elderly couple (one of whom is bi-polar & the other crippled), an older black couple with several grown children, an hispanic couple with young kids, and a houseful of iraqis (literally), all surrounding a currently active church of christ building. She just might have a coronary or something...
The part of Nashville in which I live is quite proud to be one of the most ethnically diverse in the state, let alone the city. You name the ethnicity, we have several families. Somali, Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian, Iraqi, Turkish, Spanish, Mexican (there is a HUGE difference), Kurdish, Sudanese, Hungarian, German, .. pick your country & there is probably a restaurant on Nolensville Rd serving its cuisine.
Lord preserve us from idjits like the one who has written the article being fisked... she can't see past the end of her own nose, she's got it so far up in the air. I proudly voted for President Bush in the last election because I do not trust Kerry as far as I could throw his sorry ass. Most of my neighbors did the same and for the same reason.

Posted by: pulchritude at December 7, 2004 03:59 AM

We lived in NYC for almost one year and I loved it but I've lived most of my life in the suburbs or a small town. Nine years ago we finally followed our dream and moved to a place out in the country. My suburbs were always populated by seriously annoying neighbors so I'm very glad to be out here where I can step outside my house without having someone waiting 20 feet away to ask me what I'm doing then tell me how to do it, which is what I lived with for 12 years in Chesapeake VA. In NYC neighbors were usually not a problem because most people minded their own business but it was a little bit lonely because I wasn't part of the community. I felt like an alien the whole time I was there.

The suburbs can be a good place to raise a family; it just depends on the suburbs. There are good neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods whether it's city, suburbs or country. I like privacy so of all the places I've lived I liked the suburbs the least but that's just me. Like they say, 'different strokes for different folks.'

Posted by: Lynn S at December 7, 2004 02:26 PM