Oh, the world in which we live today.
Sadly, and pathetically (in some cases), it is filled with criminals pretending to have a social conscience, poseurs who missed out on the social activism of the Sixties, and people with no sense of shame.
This particular little excursion into the seedier side of humanity does not require time travel as many of my articles do (you see these people every day), so I won’t use my extra-cheesy, time-travel special effect inserted here . . .
Come along and meet some of the people I wanna smack around.
“Looting” used to go by its more dignified, Old World name, “pillaging”. It was the spoils of war expected by the conquering hordes – subjugate a people, then take their riches for yourselves. Empires were built on looting; the Mongol Empire accumulated vast wealth through such tactics as did the Catholic Church and Tsarist Russia. The cause may or may not have been noble or just, but looting a vanquished foe’s city was de rigueur.
Looting evolved into a more specific niche, that of removing a country’s cultural heritage. Adventurers and profiteers routinely ransacked Egypt (although grave robbing in Egypt was recorded as early as 1100 BCE). Greece and Italy were relieved of ancient statuary and other art works.
Looting was so rampant by the mid 19th century among the British middle class (technically equal to the American upper class today) that having plunder in one’s home was a status symbol. It was even better if, instead of merely buying an artifact, the owner had looted it himself or herself, going to Pompeii, for example, and picking up a piece of pottery to display on the mantel in London.
In Egypt’s case, it was also looted of more macabre artifacts, its mummies, and they were callously treated as a consumer item. They were stolen or sold outright from Egypt (having been poached). They were exported to England (and elsewhere), not as museum pieces always, but as curios. Mummies were ground up into mummy dust and sold at apothecary shops as aphrodisiacs. More horrifically, an English paper manufacturer in the late 19th Century bought mummies by the cord. He stripped the cloth bindings from them, and used the material to make a fine linen paper. The desiccated corpses fired the machinery as fuel.
On a microcosmic level, middle-class British held “unwrapping parties”. The wealthy bought mummies, and installed them in a parlor. Guests were invited. They sat around talking about Egyptology and antiquities, having a genteel luncheon or dinner, drinking and maybe smoking cigars. The culmination of such a party was the unwrapping of the mummy on-hand. It is unknown how much cultural and scientific information has been lost in this careless fad. [And it hasn’t only been mummies that have been treated so cavalierly. A group had recovered a woolly mammoth in Siberia. Although they cooked it and ate it (the animal had been perfectly preserved in the Siberian permafrost) they at least examined it (opened the stomach, recorded the mammoth’s last meal, etc.) before eating it. One sniffy “gentleman” commented that the meat tasted a bit “off”, and was not altogether pleasant. The chutzpah here is incredible: this man ate a woolly mammoth, something no human in written history could ever claim. And he complained about its taste? I sure woulda liked to have smacked him around!]
As has been discussed, looting of riches from vanquished enemies and looting of cultural artifacts were part of the social landscape. Today, in recognition of the dubious chain-of-custody of some artworks and antiquities, many museums are taking a second look at their exhibits.
Some foreign governments have petitioned for return of looted artifacts. In March 2011, for example, the J. Paul Getty Museum near Malibu, California, returned a 2400-year-old statue of Aphrodite to Italy. Although the seven-and-a-half foot tall sculpture had been legitimately purchased (in 1988 for $18 million) its origins were later proven as theft. An Italian man had looted it from central Sicily decades before and sold it.
The national shame of holding such stolen artifacts has led museums around the globe to repatriate over 100 precious objects to Greece and Italy with a total value exceeding a billion dollars.
But today, looting isn’t as dignified as to occupy the realm of black-market or smuggled artifacts and artworks. Instead, looting is associated with rioting caused by natural disasters or artificial disruptions. Anytime there is a major blackout in a major city, looters turn out in force to help themselves to consumer goods. They execute smash-and-grabs from jewelry stores, they break into electronics’ stores, and march away proudly with stuff they did not earn.
Looting in the face of any crisis is not a modern problem, though. In the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, looters and ghouls (those who stripped corpses of their valuables) were so rampant that martial law was declared. An edict was handed down by the city’s mayor that any looters or ghouls caught in the act were to be shot on sight, no questions asked. Several people were killed in this way (deservedly). And the looters and ghouls were effectively deterred.
Looting involves the criminal acts of robbery, burglary, theft by unlawful taking, vandalism, and destruction of personal property. Looters know no shame. During 2005’s Hurricane Katrina natural disaster there was widespread looting, mostly for food and clean water. That, perhaps, could be forgiven and would certainly be understandable. However, there were the maggots: beer and televisions were prime targets for many.
The worst form of criminal, however, is the one who couches his crime within the context of a more noble social condition. The 1992 Rodney King incident is a perfect example. The case involved police brutality against a lone black man, Rodney King (a construction worker who had committed a crime, by the way, albeit a picayune one: he was driving while intoxicated and speeding, then tried to evade police in a high-speed chase).
However, the physical assault by police when subduing King for arrest was so excessive there was no choice but to prosecute the officers involved. Unfortunately, despite having a videotape of Rodney’s over-the-top beat down, a jury somehow managed to find the white police officers caught on tape “not guilty”.
The city of Los Angeles exploded in the wake of the “not guilty” verdict. Yes, that jury was wrong. But rioting and tearing up Los Angeles did nothing but anger the rest of the country.
The LA rioters destroyed their community needlessly. Burning their neighborhood grocery stores (because they were owned and operated by “foreigners”, such as Koreans) left these idiots without a place to buy food.
People with no brains like to say poverty causes crime. It does not. Crime causes poverty. In crummy, crime-infested neighborhoods, businesses do not move in to bolster the economy. Thus, opportunities are restricted; more crime results, leading to more poverty as chances for economic growth find other places to set up shop.
In the end, the LA rioters had no just cause. It was a bunch of selfish people reacting to an undeserved sense of entitlement (just as any hipster, trust-fund slacker whose parents still pay his rent even though he’s in his late 20s would). Somebody owed them something, so they broke into shops and stole TVs, pretending they had some great social “right” on their side.
This Machiavellian thievery had nothing to do with Rodney King (he had no hand in that). And the destruction wrought was not worth the price paid – businesses were burned out and gone, and an entire community was left looking like a DMZ. “Tomorrow you’re homeless / Tonight it’s a blast.”
And if perhaps the US Government could see its way clear to legalize such actions across the board (as the mayor of San Francisco did in 1906), enacting a policy of shooting looters and ghouls on sight during a crisis might be just the smack-down such people need.
“Peace on You!”
The 1960s in America are unfortunately looked to with a tainted lens of rose-colored nostalgia. The Sixties weren’t all that great a decade, except for President Lyndon Johnson’s sweeping social reforms and civil rights legislation (that he personally pushed through Congress, the landmark Civil Rights Act being one of the first).
In that decade of social change (already in the air by 1962) a group of Baby Boomer kids were coming of age. These precious gems of Americana had been given everything by their overindulging, post-World War II flush parents. They lived in suburbia and enjoyed a generally high standard of living (thanks to their parents) that no other teenager and young adult in history had ever enjoyed.
Thus, many of these spoiled brats (centers of the universe thanks to their parents’ misguidedly giving them everything) developed a hedonistic “look-at-me” slovenly lack of direction and a fallacious, overinflated sense of their own importance.
They also felt a need to “be different” than the preceding generation; thus, hippies all non-conformed together in the worst ways.
They developed their own jargon, their own style of dress (a uniform of conformity whether anyone will ever admit it or not – I know my social science), and an unkempt, hirsute image.
Hippie chicks quit shaving under their arms, and they quit shaving their gams as well. Hippie dudes wore full, scraggly beards hiding things like food scraps (enough for a meal if he sucked on his beard in desperate times), his stash, and maybe his bong. [Hipsters are worse, though. The only thing a hipster’s soul patch and skimpy goatee hides is his heterosexuality and his sense of shame.]
Hippie hygiene was the worst, though. Hippies smelled. Badly. They spent so much time living rough, hitchhiking around, offering fellatio for rides in cars, and crashing wherever they could, they neither bathed nor showered regularly. Combine the unwashed hair and smelly bodies with the dirty clothes and the rampant gonorrhea, head lice, and crabs – yeah, that’s a bunch I’d like to emulate! But the hippies’ time came and went, and it was a good thing when it was over.
Unfortunately, the “romance” of the Sixties was revitalized in the mid 1980s to early 1990s. Now we suffer the existence of “neo-hippies”. These are teens and young adults born outside the hippie frame of reference who (like neo-Confederates these days) glorify a subverted and revisionist “history” .
Neo-hippies are actually worse than real hippies. Neo-hippies think they missed something (news flash: you didn’t, unless you missed showering and eating regularly). Also, neo-hippies try to take credit for things that happened before they were even fetuses. This is a paraphrase of a real life conversation with a neo-hippie:
Dillinger: “Hippies and their [expletive deleted] protesting accomplished nothing.”
Neo-hippie poseur: “We ended the war in Vietnam”
Dillinger: “What’s this ‘we’ [expletive deleted]? I was alive then, and I clearly don’t remember seeing you there!”
Neo-hippie whiner: “Well . . . ummmm . . . ”
Dillinger: “If protesting really worked, then the Vietnam fiasco would have been over in 1968 and not several years later in 1975. What do you do: protest, then when eventually what you want finally happens, you take credit for it? [Expletive deleted] that!”
How much sooner did our involvement in Viet-Raq come to a close because of “protesting”? After nearly 10 years of overseas’ deployment (with neo-hippies “protesting” on the home front all along) that foreign occupation did not end because of protesting. It only ended, and not one [expletive deleted] minute sooner than, when the US Government decided it was time to come home.
Attention neo-hippies: Your real hippie role models only accomplished things that worked for themselves as individuals. That meant they got to loaf around (like today’s hispters), pretend to be the nation’s conscience, freeload, and smoke dope. They did not change society in any meaningful way. Hippie subculture gave the world “psychedelic” music (how much of that do you hear today), and crappy jam bands like the excruciatingly overrated Grateful Dead (and their neo-hippie spawn, Phish). Hippies also gave us horrific, gauche fashion.
Hippies left the world with a sense that poor personal hygiene, an undeserved sense of entitlement, and sloppy dress and bad manners were all okay. Neo-hippies can’t recapture hippie glory because – and I know this may come as a shock – there was none! Neo-hippies already tried it in the 1990s with a Woodstock crap-fest that went horribly awry (mob violence, fires, physical assault, rapes). You can’t go back to a time that really never was.
“Peace on you, hippie!”
Occupy [Insert Place Name Here]
The “Occupy Movement” spawned in 2011 by a bunch of pukes with no agenda and apparently nothing better to do, began with the “Occupy Wall Street” squatters: random protesters (with no focus), neo-hippies, old hippies (longing for the “glory days” of righteous hippie protest), various slackers, and opportunists. They started by loitering, then living, on sidewalks in front of some of Wall Street’s most powerful financial institutions.
The Occupy goobers (unlike the sinister Tea Party Movement) do not have an agenda. None. At least the old-school hippies knew, when they marched in protest of the Vietnam War, what they were marching about. And, unlike today, there was a draft in force – any hippie dude could be called up to go and die for no reason at any time. So, yeah, maybe the hippies had a legitimate beef about ’Nam (not that they were effective, but their beef was legitimate).
Occupiers are just a group of “disaffected” crybabies and social misfits who think (because the world has not handed them everything on a silver platter) somebody owes them something. The “somebody” is usually “The Man”, a nebulous construct that hippies liked to term the “military-industrial complex” without ever really understanding exactly what that meant. It just sounded good.
For Occupiers, The Man is ripping them off. How, exactly, The Man is ripping off Occupiers is unclear. Also, since they have no agenda or cause except to annoy, it is unclear what they want. No leadership or spokesperson for this group of lay-abouts has emerged (hippies had faces to their “movement”, as did The Black Panthers, The Weathermen, et al).
Occupiers want “something”. What, exactly, isn’t clear. They rail about “The Economy” – ok, what are they doing to help beef it up? They claim they want good jobs. My questions are “What skill sets do you have?” and “When was the last time you actually looked for a job, submitted an application or résumé, or had a job interview?” The Man helps those who help themselves!
This faceless, amorphous, disordered, unskilled, waste of space now called the Occupy Movement (by the press) has actually done the opposite of whatever intent it might’ve had. The public is not sympathetic with these people blocking their streets and doorways – hey, they’re trying to get to work, slacker jackhole! In this respect, I’ll at least give hippies credit for making sense (sometimes) about what they were doing, and for sticking it out for the long haul (I’m talking about real hippies here, not neo-hippies).
It is a certainty that, in the end, all the riff-raff comprising the Occupy fad (with all their Twitter-sized attention spans and twitching, texting thumbs) will grow bored because nobody’s listening to their whining. Then, they’ll just go away.
Dillinger’s Slob Axiom: The type, quantity, and revealing nature and style of clothing worn by any Slob are all inversely proportional to the physical attractiveness of that Slob.
Dillinger’s Slob Corollary: The proper size, fit, and style of attire of any Slob is inversely proportional to body mass.
Take a look at these extraordinarily radiant and beautiful women from the late 1950s. Aren’t they gorgeous? So clean and neat, hair done just so, starched and pressed dresses, big smiles.
Now, have a look at these women from a different decade:
People used to care about their personal appearance. Personal hygiene was a sign of good breeding. Showering and bathing were important in people’s lives.
Then came “Mr. Natural” – the hippie – who felt bathing was a sign of oppression, and the slouchier and nastier looking, the better. Greasy, disheveled hair was a badge of honor (preferably with head lice). Full, nasty beards (with birds nesting in them) were considered entrée to the magical, wondrous world of hippiedom.
The result of that evolutionary slobbery is now this:
Worse, many of them smell of chronic body odor. This isn’t 15th century England when there was no such thing as plain soap. I dare say that 99.99999% of homes in America have running water and bathing facilities of some kind. There is no excuse for stank.
Where is the sense of normal human dignity and pride in appearance we used to have?
The mirror dates back to antiquity as polished bronze or other metal. Glass mirrors, with a dark coating on the back, first appeared in the 13th century (and for an astounding two centuries Venice had a monopoly on them since Venetians were the only ones with a burgeoning glass industry). The silver-backed mirror was first used in 1840; today’s version is coated with an aluminum oxide and not silver.
The mirror is ubiquitous; everyone should take a long, last look in one before leaving home.
But beyond mirrors, there are always other people around to help and advise. I’ll bet that the women in the nice dresses and the big smiles probably looked each other over before their picture was taken just to make sure everything was copacetic. One of them might have patted another’s hair in place or adjusted a collar for her.
Slovenliness is not one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but I could sure make a case for adding it as Number One (shoving all the others lower down on a list of eight). It is almost certain those beautifully poised African-American women in this section’s opening photo did not imagine their granddaughters would be morbidly obese and disgusting when seen in public. Similarly, the loaded Jewish-American Princesses in the cocktail-hour picture probably didn’t expect their sons or grandsons to go out in public with mucho crackola hanging out.
Societal prejudice against the obese is very great (it really is the last unaddressed prejudice in America).
Unless you happen to be one of the four people in the United States who are overweight because you truly are “big-boned” or “have a medical condition”, there is no excuse for being a disgusting slob, letting your lard flap in the breeze (occasionally revealing the migrant workers underneath, farming your body fungus).
When I was a wee sprout and a young adult, overweight people actually took greater pains than non-overweight people to dress well, be clean, and well groomed. They already had a strike against them from being overweight. They didn’t need to exacerbate their outcast status by being slobs as well.
There is no dignity left in humanity when someone can go out dressed as these people do and think they are not only acceptable, but exceptional as well. The level of self-delusion involved with these slobs is unfathomable.
Pollution, even in a visual form, is an annoyance. Just as I don’t have to see pictures of dead and mangled bunnies thrust randomly under my nose when I go to the grocery store, I also don’t need to be subjected to some “Super-Size-Me” diva’s deluded belief that her misshapen, lumpy, ponderous physique is arousing.
It’s okay and psychologically healthy – especially for younger women – to have a positive body image. Just be realistic about it! Put on something neat and clean that fits.
And take a shower!