There will be no jobs in the future. Robots will do it all. That delivery boy who brings your groceries and adult beverages—he’ll soon be replaced. You’ll like that, because you won’t have to tip anymore. If you try to tip a robot a couple bucks, the robot will probably just make a grindy-sounding sneer, then eat it.
Your doctor and dentist. They’ll be robots too. The upside is they’ll make housecalls (and you won’t have to tip them, either). The downside is, no arguing with them. They know best, and when they refuse to write you a prescription for that really swell anti-depressant/painkiller everyone’s doing these days, you’ll just have to grin and bear it, and maybe find yourself a somewhat more expensive Dr. Robot-Feelgood.
Your cosmetologists and makeup artists will all be robotic. The Sephora chain is already planning for this, by staffing its shops with low-grade hominids. Sephora wish to find out the bare minimum of intelligence needed for working in the makeup field. The way things look now, your Sephora robots will be powered by two flashlight batteries.
All lawyers, judges, paralegals and court clerks will be replaced by robots. As with the medical trade, your excellence of service will be dependent on the type of robot-attorney you can afford.
Travel agents will be replaced by robots, too. Or they would be, if there were any more travel agents to replace. (When did you last call your travel agent?) But the real change in the travel industry will be replacement of travelers themselves.
Instead of spending a week on a business trip, or two weeks on a pleasure trip, a robot will do it for you. Every day they’ll email you memos and upload photos of exotic locales you no longer need to visit. If you wish, they’ll even drop you a postcard, to be delivered by your robot-mailman the old-fashioned way. “Having time, wish you not here, love kisses.” Only then will you realize how lucky you are, no longer having to pack your bags so the airline can lose them, leaving you to stroll down the Rue de Faubourg St-Honoré wearing magenta jeggings and a Université de UCLA sweatshirt from the airport souvenir shop.
It’s a hard life, but somebody has to do it. And since the robots are doing it so well, maybe it’s time to ring up that gilt-edged Dr. Feelgood automaton everyone’s using these days, and have him drop by with a vial of suicide pills. They’re vacuum-sealed for your safety. By robots.
Elsewhere I archived Stephen Serenelli’s early-2000s websites, and wrote some purring words of appreciation about his cancer diary. In so doing I had to slap myself down and force myself to avoid cruel mockery. (Archive link here.)
“A Journey Back to Health,” Stephen Serenelli subtitled it when commencing it in early 2003. This was just before he began a wacko course of naturopathic juice-drinking, in lieu of normal cancer treatments. Eventually his colon was completely blocked, and he had to have a colostomy (or rather, colectomy) anyway. Worse yet, by this point the bowel tumors had grown to the point where they were adhering to his pelvic wall and affecting his bladder. And oh, yes, the metastasis had invaded his liver too.
In his waning days Stephen blamed his naturopath for leading him astray. But this consultant, Ian Shillington, was never giving clinical care. Shillington was just a guy Stephen found on the internet, right after his diagnosis of bowel cancer.
And what a guy! Shillington was two thousand miles away, in Florida. He was a Scientologist, and his medical biases were doubtless influenced by that cult. And his medical management seems to have consisted of nothing more than a few e-mails. Shillington didn’t even bother to read Stephen’s online cancer diary.
How did Stephen Serenelli get into this situation? Obviously he was in a delicate way, a susceptible mood, after his diagnosis. He wanted to seek out some treatment that didn’t involve slicing and burning. We might also consider that he was “in denial”—ready to tell himself that drinking vegetable juice every day was every bit as valid a treatment as cut-burn-poison.
But mainly, I think he knew that he wasn’t long for the world anyway. He bothered with the naturopath nut because his new wife liked the idea and he wanted to keep her happy. Love covers a multitude of sins.
The owner of Stuff Black People Hate apparently thought better of this one, and made it private. But copied from the Google cache, the archive lives forever: http://archive.is/sPGNv . Herewith a sample:
Since you’ve been waiting 45 minutes, you gobble down four of these biscuits and, after drinking two glasses of water, you realize that you’re pretty much full already. Not only are you full, but you feel like shit because your stomach is now filled with a year’s worth of butter and garlic. You’re at Red Lobster, though, and there is no time for weakness. You open up the menu and behold how delicious everything looks – especially the beloved Admiral’s Feast: a breaded, battered, Neptunian heart attack in waiting that could be considered the most humane way to slowly kill a person. The Admiral’s Feast consists of a big ass chunk of fried fish, fried clams, fried shrimp, and fried bay scallops with a side order of your choosing that’s supposed to delude you into thinking you’re eating healthy. There’s nothing more ridiculous than someone ordering the Admiral’s Feast with a side of vegetables, which is akin to asking for a candle and romantic musing while getting raped in prison.
Red Lobster’s owners are aware of their popularity among blacks, but they prefer not to acknowledge it publicly for one reason or another:
Still, it is a well-known “open secret” that the casual dining chain ranks high on the dining-out lists of black people across the nation. Crystal Swiggett, who worked as a server in a suburban Cleveland Red Lobster for two and a half years, noted that black guests kept the joint jumping. The restaurant was located in Beachwood, Ohio, where the population is 87% white and 9% black, but the restaurant’s clientele was a complete flip flop of the town’s racial makeup.
“Ninety percent of guests were black,” Swiggett said. “It was the busiest restaurant I ever worked in. It stayed busy.” Though Swiggett no longer works at Red Lobster, she dines there regularly with her family. She has cut back on fried fish, saying, “Family health issues led me to start thinking more about that.” Her father recently died of congestive heart failure, she said.
A while back Joe Queenan tried to address the awfulness of Red Lobster in his usual wisecracking style, but he refused to take on the racial issue as he really wanted to talk about White Trash. So it was a limp takedown indeed. He even used this piece as the title essay in his next published collection. Significantly, you never see Joe Queenan cited when other people write about the awfulness of Red Lobster.
I avoided Red Lobsters after trying one in San Diego years ago and noticing the preponderance of negroes. I have nothing against negroes, I just don’t wish to be around them when I eat. Call it an eccentricity, or delicate feelings, if you wish. As SD is not a negrified location, this phenomenon came as a surprise.
For low-cost gluttony I thenceforth depended on a buffet restaurant called Soup Plantation, full of happy, plump white families driving down from Del Mar and La Mesa. It was many years before I ever stepped inside a Golden Corral, which has acquired a reputation that might be called Red Lobster squared. A typical description, from an online forum:
Well,here I go,trying to find a nice place to eat on a budget.I work out of town alot and I get tired of microwave dinners and the like….We have a place called Golden Corral around these parts…It’s a really good buffet type place with good food at good prices ($10.00 all you can eat).I found one close by were I’m staying and went in and sat down,making sure that there was not a nigger in sight. I had just gotten my tea and salad when,you guessed it,3 fat she-boons and their 4 niglets came in and sat right beside me…I had already paid for my meal so I hoped for the best..it was not to be…These nigger sows took off on the buffet like Grant took Richmond…add to that the 3 niglets and of course a newborn nigger and the carnage was complete…Golden Corral was niggerfied…..loud talking and cell phones going off and the she-boons bragging about their new cars….Damn,it was totally disgusting….But while I ate I did get to observe the feral nigger close up and so I would like to share some of my field observations…
#1 Golden Corral has a very good selection of food,seafood,roast beef,vegetables and a great steak place where you can order steak, cooked like you like it, straight off the grill..really tasty…Well with this vast selection of food do you know what the niggers got?…That’s right…Fried Chicken….every nigger bitch and the niglets got a big heapin’ order of yard bird…..I guess there is truth in the statement that niggers and chicken go hand in hand…..
#2…every nigger sow had on bright red lipstick and blonde hair….why,if niggers are so much better than us why do they copy everything about us?
#3…Every nigger sow got or made at least 5 phone calls while I was there…what the hell is so important?
#4…Niggers are truely animals…The niglets, after eating began to roam the aisles..being a bother to all of the well behaved white persons and only calming down for a second after a nigger mammy hollars so loud that the whole parking lot can hear..”Dontarius,you get your ass over hears or you ain’t gettin no ice cream!” You could see the whites rolling their eyes at the young nigger thugs…
#5.. Niggers aren’t poor..This meal alone costs the niggers right at $60.00 bucks…and these niggers paid right up…In fact,any time you go out to eat you will see niggers with brand new cars,new designer clothes and loads of cash………courtesy of the “white debil”……..
#6…….Niggers always trying for free stuff….of course before leaving the niggers say to the young Hispanic waitress that “Dey,not be eating all dey food,so dey be wanting “snoop doggy” bags for later”…Golden Corral, being a buffet does not have take-out unless you pay….Naturally a chimpout ensues and the manager has to explain about 10 times to the she-boons why they cannot take food home without paying…..And of course the young waitress doesn’t get a tip even after bringing,I know at least 4 glasses of tea apiece to each of the she-boons and wiping up at least 3 spilled drinks courtesy of the niglets…
#7…..niggers are simply disgusting and every white knows it….I know by the look on the white faces….when these niggers walked in,every white person was secretly wishing…”Please God, Don’t let these niggers sit next to me and my family.”
Well, that was my $10.00 niggerfied Golden Corral dinner…..I try to avoid places were niggers work or eat but,nowadays it seems,especially down here in the south, that you just can’t escape from the feral nigger anywhere…..unless you can eat at the high class places where the rich, nigger-loving liberals go when they want to eat out….niggers don’t like caviar or duck l’orange……
(NOTE: This draft has been lying about in the bin for weeks, but if it’s ever going to achieve near-perfection, it won’t be from fermenting in there. You can see the basic ideas, I just don’t have a hook to hang them on and give them perspective.)
FURTHER TO MY earlier essay about trade advertising in the 1960s and 70s, there was one other magazine whose trade-ad campaigns came at you relentlessly as you strolled through the railway depots and commuter stations, or thumbed through the NYTimes. That was Helen Gurley Brown’s Cosmopolitan, an aggressively low-middlebrow sex-and-makeup rag that came out of the Hearst Building. During its high-water mark of the late 60s, early 70s, its man-catching ethos was at fierce loggerheads with a much fresher and weirder bit of popcult, Women’s Liberation.
Cosmo seldom addressed this pop-culture war in its pages, so far as I know, nor did its trade advertising ever discuss how its sensibility contrasted with that of Women’s Lib. (Ms. magazine wouldn’t really be a thing till early 1972.) Cosmo readers and women’s libbers inhabited two different galaxies altogether and neither one ever acknowledged the other.
This is somewhat paradoxical, because both camps were selling a Career Girl persona that liked to imagine itself as “Fun, Fearless, Female”—to use a 1990s Cosmopolitan slogan. It was a rivalry that went much deeper than the magazines’ public personae. At the root was a culture war that neither could openly discuss.
It made for many amusing ironies. Ms. featured actress Marlo Thomas as a contributor in the early years. Her TV persona in the 1960s “That Girl” sitcom—chic clothes, flip-hairdo, man-hungry and marriage-focused—was basically the Cosmo Girl.
And Cosmo definitely leveraged off the Women’s Lib movement—though mainly in the same crude and clownish way that Virginia Slims cigarettes did (“You’ve come a long way, baby!”). For cigarette advertising, “women’s rights” meant that dames could now smoke 100mm cigarettes in public. For Cosmopolitan, it was all about young women being actively sexual—we’ve got the Sexual Revolution now, baby, and the Pill! This was supposed to put them on a par with men.
Sex equality, thus = sexual equality. There’s too much to unpack in that equation; we leave it for another date.
The split between the Cosmo camp and Ms. faction was essentially a political war between Women’s Libbers, one so deep and ideological that neither side even acknowledged the other’s existence. One was deeply rooted in the 1950s and 60s culture of working girls who used sexual wiles to gain power. The other was rooted in journalism, academia, and abstruse theorizing about social dynamics. The first was loud and sometimes coarse, the second was snobbish and priggish.
Of course didn’t take much snobbishness to sneer at Cosmopolitan. Its cat-in-heat crudeness was all over the place, then as now. Even in the 1970s it was giving its readers tips ‘n’ tricks on sex foreplay. Its raunch wasn’t quite at the level of Penthouse’s Forum, but it was extraordinary for a magazine aimed at the same approximate demographic as Mademoiselle and Glamour. Cosmo called it being sexually “frank,” but it was widely perceived as being merely lowlife and lurid, and as abjectly unintellectual as its cosmetics advertisements and decolletage covers.
This social and cultural divide that could never be breached. Many a teenage girl of this era affected a distaste for fine clothes and grooming, lest she be mistaken for a dim-bulb Cosmo reader. No doubt the horrors of Cosmo propelled others into disheveled lesbianism, or at least priggish spinsterhood. Better to die single and childless, the middle-class, educated young woman mused, than to hunt for a man like a JAP or a Cosmo floozy.
I would argue that Cosmopolitan did far more to ruin relations between the sexes than Ms. or Feminism ever did. It made the heterosexual dating game tawdry and distasteful. It made catching a spouse (and seeking a home and family) something anyone should sneer at, if her ambitions were anything above the level of stewardess or cocktail waitress. A whole generation of women were born and raised under this pervasive yet unnatural mindset.
I recall, in the 80s, being asked by strangers if I were seeking a husband or looking forward to raising a family. I would go into an absolute cringe. What did they think I was? The sort of bimbo who read Cosmopolitan?
Begins here a list of memory lapses, items I reach for mentally before drawing a blank. I am not counting things I forget because I was incapacitated. (E.g., stuff I buy on Amazon when drunk or sleepwalking.) I put an asterisk after anything I actually went and Googled, or otherwise hunted around for.
Stuff I Forget
- Name of resort town near Rimini, where I was for WMA in Sept. 2007. (Riccione*)
- That 1910s recording star and performer who sang ‘Over There.’ (Nora Bayes*)
- 18th century German homosexual art historian and Italophile. (Winckelmann)
- The bibulous ‘red brick don’ with mustache in ‘Tinker Tailor.’ (Roy Bland)
Stuff I Forget: Addendum, May 23, 2017
- 5. What was the number on my last mailing address in London? 305? 503? (405)
- 6. Chicagoland guy now in Oxon at SoftPress? Richard Morgan? (Richard Logan*)
Stuff I Forget: Addendum, June 15, 2017
- 7. What was the name of David Byrne’s singing group? (Talking Heads*)
- 8. What was boychik’s real name? (Leave this blank.)
Stuff I Forget: Addendum, July 14, 2017
Now, I’ve been collecting some at random for a couple of months and not putting them in here. But these are some of the best.
- 9. The gory Gore Vidal movie with Malcolm McDowell about the Roman emperor? (Caligula)
- 10. The James Bond after George Lazenby? (Timothy Dalton*)
- 11. Swedish actor who was in The Seventh Seal and Hannah and Her Sisters? (Max von Sydow*)
- 12. The Negro-Thai golfer, big in the 90s, on skids since? (Tiger Woods)
- 13. Simone Veil, Simone Weil, Edith Stein: who is who? (Veil’s the one who just died, Weil is the crazy philosophe who worked herself to death, Stein the one who became a nun and died in a concentration camp.*)
- 14. Pop novelist and Thatcherite pol who got convicted of some obscure crime years ago? (Jeffrey Archer…couldn’t come up with his name on a day in May till I shook my brain a little.)
- 15. Name of that Scottish c&w girl singer with the 2008 hit about the black oak tree?
(KT Tunstall — Big Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, actually, and the song is older, 2004. (This is about the third time in six months I was stumped, had to look up an e-mail I sent someone.
- 16. That quasi-3D kind of photo or illustration, like lenticular, but not lenticular? (Oh holograph. Took me a few seconds.)
Stuff I Forget: Addendum, August 19, 2017
- 17. The Alsatian bistro across the street from the Café de Flore. (Brasserie Lipp. It’s mentioned in Hemingway and a Maurice Chevalier song but I gave up after ten seconds and Googled.*)
- 18. Jewish lawyer and Harvard LS professor who was always on TV and who defended Claus von Bulow. (Alan Dershowitz. Really drew a blank on this one. You can search for, Whom did Ron Silver play in Reversal of Fortune, but that works only if you know the other pieces.*)
- 19. Word for when someone is older than one ought to be. (Superannuated.)
- 20. Who was the gourmet popcorn man? Oscar Fliegenheimer? Oscar Redenbacher? (Orville Redenbacher.)
- 21. French Jew operetta composer who did Orpheus in the Underworld? (Offenbach.)
Stuff I Forget: Addendum, December 2, 2017
- 22. Ludwig II ‘Sleeping Beauty’ castle. (Neuschwanstein.)
- 23. Nobleman with eyepatch who ran off with Marie-Louise when Napoleon went to Elba. (Neipperg*)
- 24. The dotted wire-photo process. (Halftone*)
- 25. Duchess of Cambridge, maiden name. (Kate Middleton*)
- 26. Upscale shoe chain with $800 over-the-knee boots. (Stuart Weitzman)
- 27. Name of Jewish communists who disappeared into Czecho, late 40s, while searching for a relative. (???)
Stuff I Forget: Addendum, April 2, 2018
- 28. Floyd guy caught in Crystal Cave in 1925. (Floyd Collins*)
- 29. Harvard math teacher and comedy songster. (Tom Lehrer)
- 30. What is this familiar tune:
Thought maybe G&S, but no: Kander & Ebb. Had to whistle it into Vocaroo before I got it. (“Tomorrow Belongs to Me”)
- 31. Who played Don Barzini in The Godfather? He was in a Rat Pack movie too. (Richard Conte)