I was hoping that I could have some dignity in my life

A dog who hears a car driving by and confuses it for arriving affection

A lot of people ask where I get the art I use for Hell World and it’s usually from old out of copyright biology texts from like 1875 and I was just searching through some when I came across that image above and my heart skipped a beat because it was some of the coolest shit I’ve ever seen. Look at that prancing nightmare boy. The book in question in this case is called Osteographia or the Anatomy of the Bones published in London in 1733.

Thank you for reading this shit I am the happiest I tend to get right as I’m about to hit send on this newsletter because maybe it will be good and people will like it I think to myself and then if people like what I wrote that means that I am also by extension good. On the other hand the most useless I feel is the day after I send one out because I’m like ah fuck I can’t send one out again so soon and so I sit here gunning dukes and reading Twitter all day thinking I am the World’s Least Essential Man.

Still it would be nice if more of you got paid subscriptions :)

Sometimes when I get out of my car and I have my keys in hand and I’m walking over a sewer grate I think fuck fuck fuck don’t drop your keys in the sewer grate and it seems unlikely I am going to do that but I still tense up like it’s an inevitability and I guess that also describes how I feel about life in general.

Ok here’s the newsletter.

A graduate of Bedford County, Virginia’s Liberty High School was returning to his alma mater as the school’s new resource officer ABC 13 News reported back in 2012.

Daniel Clark who was twenty six at the time said he wanted to encourage students to study hard in school.

For some reason I don’t like the way numbers look on here when I write someone’s age so I type the words out i.e. twenty six instead of 26 but I guess I don’t feel that way about rendering the year in numerals due to 2012 seems fine but writing two thousand and twelve out would be psychotic.

“I want to show them that after high school their goals can be attained. I'm a law enforcement officer, I attained my goals. I want to lead by example that you can do it,” he said.

This next bit takes a dark turn which probably isn’t a surprise if you’re reading this newsletter but just in case maybe skip it if you don’t want to read about sexual assault.

The reason Clark was taking over was because his predecessor Ernest Grubbs had been fired and arrested the year before for having a sexual relationship with a freshman girl at the school. Grubbs was forty seven at the time and then while he was out on bail he absconded with the girl. He was eventually caught and charged with five counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor and abduction but he made a plea deal and was ultimately sentenced to only thirteen months time served. Pretty good deal.

“The girl’s mother testified she had always taught her daughter ‘the men and women behind the badge’ were to be trusted,” according to The News & Advance.

“They’re supposed to catch the bad guys. They’re not supposed to be one of the bad guys,” she said.

Anyway Daniel Clark the guy who took over for Grubbs recently plead guilty to having an indecent relationship with a student of his own.

In an Affidavit obtained from the juvenile and domestic court in November, the plaintiff wrote ‘Daniel said this year that he loved me and if I was 10 years older that I would be his girlfriend,’’ according to ABC 13.

Those circles over the i’s man.

“Clark pleaded guilty to communicating with her by text, calls, and visiting with her at the school in his office, lunch room, hallways, gym, and parking lot. On October 10, 2018, Clark texted the teen that he would be home alone that weekend and he would like to be with her, saying they could ‘snuggle all day and just chill.’”

Under the terms of his plea he will have to undergo counseling and remain on good behavior for a few years and that’s pretty much it.

Here’s a little bonus short Hell World post I didn’t email out but posted the other day if you somehow find yourself in the unlikely position of not having enough content from me in your life.

Here’s a tweet I did about Neil Young last night that is intended as a reminder that everyone should listen to more Neil Young.

Did you read the Hell World from the other day in which I collected a bunch of stories from readers about their own experiences treading through the infernal crawfish boil of capitalism hell? Since then I’ve gotten a lot more and will publish those soon but one comment I got I thought was pretty astute:

“The worst part of these stories, IMO, is the refrain of ‘I don't have it so bad’ or ‘I really can't complain.’ If we're living in Hell World, then this is what living in Hell World has done to us--make us second-guess our own pain and feel guilty for timidly raising our hands and saying ‘Um, excuse me, I was hoping that I could have some dignity in my life, if that's okay, and if not no problem, I'll get back to work now.’”

Thank you for helping me reach this important milestone by the way.

I keep cable news on for a good part of the day at home like an illiterate submissive pervert in bondage gear and every time they lie and announce “Breaking news!” coming up I turn my head up to look only to be disappointed over and over again all day never learning like a dog who hears a car driving by and confuses it for arriving affection.

I wrote this piece for the Guardian yesterday about how Fox News has been having a real normal one dealing with the impeachment story.

“The strength of Fox News, and much of its appeal to its viewers, is in its monolithic presentation of the news, particularly when it is favorable to Donald Trump.

But as the president faces the looming shadow of an impeachment inquiry, the channel’s unified front appears to be crumbling.

Some of the news anchors are reporting that there does appear to be something to the Ukraine scandal, while Fox News’ more colorful personalities have been squabbling back and forth on air. Meanwhile, reports have emerged that management may be considering the possibilities of a post-Trump future.”

If you only know me from reading this newsletter it’s probably weird to see me writing in that voice right? Unnatural-like.

I usually don’t make a big stink about the way they edit me to sound more dispassionate at the Guardian because it’s usually straight newsy stuff and it’s not worth going to battle for “voice” in those sort of pieces but one thing I put my foot down for in that piece was that I didn’t like it that they edited out “relatively speaking” when I referred to Shep Smith a reliable journalist and that’s because praising some of the “journalists” at Fox News as such is buying the company line that their presence somehow balances out the hyper partisan psychos like Tucker and Hannity. See we have real news too is the preemptive defense embedded into the Fox News lie and accepting it is playing ball on their terms.  

I don’t care if you read that piece read it if you want that’s not the point and anything written about this impeachment shit is almost instantly redundant the second it’s published. The point is that for whatever reason Al Jazeera called yesterday and asked if I would come on some program that airs in London to explain what is going on at Fox News and with the impeachment business and I said fine and they sent a camera guy to come to my apartment to film me talking and it was weird and uncomfortable. Most of the time when people ask me to do that sort of thing I say no because it’s not worth it but this time I said yes for reasons known only to god.

The point I wanted to make is that whenever I go on the radio or a podcast or TV I speak in this voice that is alien to me it is so far from the voice I was born with the disgusting Massachusetts townie accent that is my birthright and curse and I feel like a class traitor whenever I speak in that other professional voice. I don’t know whose voice it is. It feels like the voice I would use to arrest myself if I had an identity break and lost track of reality.

When I was younger I guess around college I made a concerted effort to try to lose my accent because it was such a cliche punchline on TV and in movies and I thought people would think I was stupid if I sounded like that. Now I want it back but I can’t find it any more it’s gone.

Unless I’m drunk or talking to my sisters. Hoo boy do they have it sill god bless them.

Sometimes Michelle’s accent will come out and I love her for it.

There’s also some Freudian sexual attraction trigger for me whenever I hear some orange broad with a shitty squawking South Shore accent and I guess that’s because all of the ones who were around when I was first learning how to get horny as a teen sounded like that.

I saw this quote shared today on Twitter and I don’t know maybe it tells us something about the current moment vis a vis the president’s weaponized corps of dissembling dunces.

And then I just went and read some more of it and here are some other things Arendt had to say:

“In order not to overestimate the importance of the propaganda lies one should recall the much more numerous instances in which Hitler was completely sincere and brutally unequivocal in the definition of the movement's true aims, but they were simply not acknowledged by a public unprepared for such consistency.”

“Totalitarianism is never content to rule by external means, namely, through the state and a machinery of violence; thanks to its peculiar ideology and the role assigned to it in this apparatus of coercion, totalitarianism has discovered a means of dominating and terrorizing human beings from within.”

Sometimes when people are in the hospital and they’re coming out of a coma or out of anesthesia or whatever or after someone gets a concussion someone will go what year is it or who is the president and then if the person knows that’s how you know they’re ok. I don’t know if that actually happens to be honest but it’s what happens on TV so it’s real enough.

Anyway you’ve just awoken from a coma and here’s the first thing you see:

I’ve mentioned before that the only reason we’ve been able to stay in the apartment we’ve lived in for the past thirteen years is because the nice old landlady downstairs has always liked us or liked Michelle rather lol and we’d help her out with things and generally check on her and she’d bake us Armenian Easter bread and it was all a sort of glitch in capitalism in that someone wasn’t trying to extract every last nickel of profit out of people trying to stay alive just because they could. For years she barely ever raised the rent and sure she never fixed or improved a single thing even the window we have in our shower that won’t shut which is very pleasant in the Massachusetts winter but it was ultimately worth it until a few years ago when her health started to decline and her daughter took over and I don’t think I need to explain what happens when someone’s daughter takes over.

To be fair to the daughter who has raised the rent every year for the past few years it is still decidedly lower than what it could be via market rates which is the magical incantation landlords call upon to justify their avarice but she has also refused to fix anything like for example we will say to her once or twice a year ah how about that shower window and she’ll go ah well it’s so hard to find good contractors and we’ll go ok I guess we’ll just go fuck ourselves.

She told us recently that she wants to sell the house as soon as her mother dies and so there’s a sort of deadline hanging over our heads to get the fuck out of here and we’ve been looking at condos in wherever the fuck around Massachusetts nowhere good anyway and while we’re not what anyone would consider poor in terms of being able to clothe and feed ourselves in order to purchase even a modest ramshackle home in Massachusetts that isn’t collapsing into the earth in some Fall of the House of Usher type scenario or isn’t next door to an asbestos and lead paint factory you need to be able and willing to take out a loan of like $500,000 which is something that makes me very nervous!

So we’ve been looking at places and it feels like a morbid game show called like Navigate the Perils of Capitalism Before a 92 Year Old Woman Dies and god bless her she seems to not want to die just yet so prayers up for the nice landlady.

We looked at a place in Malden yesterday which is a city north of Boston and it was a condo on the third floor of a triple-decker with rotting porches like an addict’s teeth and they were asking $389,000 for it and for some reason it made me really depressed just to be in there and I felt like the dude in the Poe story like “I know not how it was—but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.”

Something about the place instantly transported me back fifteen years to a time when I would be walking up to the third floor of a place exactly like that in Somerville at 2 am. Some guy was who was high enough to invite everyone back to do coke in his shitty kitchen with the peeling vinyl tile floors who I would be high enough to think was my good friend would be like be quiet walking up here my neighbors are asleep and then no one would be quiet because it’s very hard to be quiet when you’re ripped out of your mind on cocaine and then we’d listen to Interpol or whatever and keep being loud until we got depressed enough to be quiet.

Another thing about Malden which was rated “Best Place to Raise Your Kids” in Massachusetts by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2009 is that my biological father’s family lived there like sixty years ago before they moved to Hanover, Mass where I was born and grew up and I guess they probably thought they were moving to the suburbs to have a better life or something and now here I am thinking we’d have to have a million dollars to buy the type of house in Malden they were probably running away from.

I don’t think my father or any of his brothers and sisters who are all dead ever worried all that much about disguising their accent.

I just saw a story that Kim Shattuck of the nineties punk band The Muffs died and I guess she had been battling ALS. I don’t know if a lot of you remember or have ever heard of that band but basically every young band around now thirty years later looks and sounds like she did and I guess nothing ever really changes.

“My whole life is a drag. Baby listen to me. When I go away will you care? I feel naked and weird. Do you see what I hear? Maybe one day I'll die, who cares?”

Here’s a poem I just saw let’s all read it.

The Raincoat

Ada Limón

When the doctor suggested surgery
and a brace for all my youngest years,
my parents scrambled to take me
to massage therapy, deep tissue work,
osteopathy, and soon my crooked spine
unspooled a bit, I could breathe again,
and move more in a body unclouded
by pain. My mom would tell me to sing
songs to her the whole forty-five minute
drive to Middle Two Rock Road and forty-
five minutes back from physical therapy.
She’d say, even my voice sounded unfettered
by my spine afterward. So I sang and sang,
because I thought she liked it. I never
asked her what she gave up to drive me,
or how her day was before this chore. Today,
at her age, I was driving myself home from yet
another spine appointment, singing along
to some maudlin but solid song on the radio,
and I saw a mom take her raincoat off
and give it to her young daughter when
a storm took over the afternoon. My god,
I thought, my whole life I’ve been under her
raincoat thinking it was somehow a marvel
that I never got wet.

lol look at that jaunty little boney fellow. Stumpy old fancy bitch.

Remember that shit from the beginning of this newsletter about the sex creep school cops? A reader sent me those stories and a whole bunch of other instances of school resource officers being arrested for various shit and here are a few of them. It doesn’t make for great reading and will not make you feel particularly good so if you want you can just skip the rest of this one. There are no more jokes or meandering anecdotes the rest of the way.

1.) Goochland County School Resource Officer charged in Powhatan with assault and rape

A Goochland County sheriff’s deputy who had been working as a school resource officer was arrested Monday and charged with assaulting his wife and raping another female, according to the authorities and court documents.

2.) 'You were sworn to serve and protect': Ex-LPD officer sentenced for sex assault of 3 girls

LANSING — A former Lansing police officer who sexually assaulted three teenage girls in his Eastern High School office or in his patrol vehicle will spend one year in jail and serve five years probation.

3.) Smithfield High resource officer arrested, charged with sexual assault after student complaint

Isle of Wight County, Va. - An Isle of Wight County Sheriff's deputy working as a school resource officer (SRO) has been arrested after an investigation into a complaint made by a student in January.

4.) Former Police Officer and School Resource Officer Arrested

STAUNTON -- A former Staunton police officer is in Middle River Regional Jail.

John Nuckolls was arrested on Sunday by his former co-workers. Investigators say Nuckolls was online talking to who he thought was a 14-year-old girl, when in fact, it was a police officer. Police say the conversation turned sexual and Nuckolls arranged to meet the fictitious girl.

5.) Principal, school resource officer arraigned in assault cases

A Shenandoah County principal and a school resource officer were arraigned Thursday morning for allegedly assaulting a child.

Former Ashby Lee Elementary school principal Stephen Povlish III and former Shenandoah County Sheriff’s deputy Tabatha Baker-Whitacre appeared at the Shenandoah County Juvenile and Domestic Relations court for their charges of assault and battery against a 5-year-old student.

6.) Ex-Dumfries police officer convicted in more sexual assaults

Ruhren was arrested in 2012 when a then 27-year-old man came forward and told police that Ruhren sexually assaulted him several times between 1996 and 2001, when he was between 12 and 16 years old.

According to court records, the man told police the victim met Ruhren when Ruhren was a school resource officer at Graham Park Middle School and the victim was a student there. Ruhren befriended the boy and his family and eventually the boy began spending the night at his house, according to the court documents. Police say Ruhren would give the boy alcohol and, on several occasions, engaged in sexual acts with him.