The immigrant class

 

I have alluded here several times about how my morning and evening bus commutes are a haphazard, frenzied anthropological survey of Los Angeles’ Hispanic population, and to a lesser extent, White, Asian, Black, and maybe even a little Russian/Armenian thrown in for good meaasure. But it’s public transportation in Los Angeles, for chrissakes. This city is still, will always be, the great inhospitable host to public transportation. In this city of stars and glitter and conspicuous displays of ego-fueled bling, taking public transportation, if you are a resident, is akin to snubbing the great social jewel of this city: the automobile. Our most prized possession. To consciously choose to take public transportation reduces your expected standing in this regard. Use of public transportation in Los Angeles generally denotes that you are either blue collar, a Minor dependent, mentally ill, physically disabled, old or poverty-stricken. Those who wish to surmount the blemish of taking public transportation can normally do so by travelling in suited, professional groups of briefcase-waving hordes that move in unison toward the splendor of downtown L.A. There is a power and urbane disavowal of the car culture in drowning in such public transportation groups which simultaneously exempts you from shame. Everyone else on the train is just poor or a lunatic. I think I fall into the lunatic bin, because I am not poor. Conversely, I’m not wealthy, but my choice to take public transportation about 3 times a week is indeed puzzling to some people I know.

 

Ultimately, this is an examination of publicly transported class, not race. I’m not interested in race as much as I am in class. In the United State, race differentiates but it is frequently trumped and leveled by class. It seems that most ethnicities in America, upon attaining certain economic markers, blur together and the span between them narrows, blurs and becomes bland. Black and white becomes a murky, nearly unintelligible mix within the folds of the swollen pocketbook. On the other hand, as the economics plunge toward poverty, the races once again take a common turn for the worse in terms of behavior, outlook and ethics. Granted, it’s quite defensible to argue that certain races of a certain economic destitute class still behave worse than others, however the point is, that I find class a more discernible predictor of general behavioral traits.

 

What then are my class observations of a typical bus ride?
The bus is different from the train or the metro line in the respect it is usually local and municipal. It is the cheapest and the most “prole” of public commuting. You just walk to the corner and catch the bus. You don’t drive to a park and ride. The bus literally comes to you as opposed to you making an exerted effort to board a train platform or descend into a station. The bus line usually has more local stops and takes you closer to where you need to go which is usually court, the doctor’s office, a lawyer, or the day care. The passengers in my neck of the woods are typically on the poorer end of the income spectrum. Consequently, most are dressed in “Big Lot” casual. Mismatched and utilitarian clothes lacking in style or definition but which get the job done which is namely to cover that fat ass. This is minimalist personal presentation. There is nothing exquisite or unique about it. The typical man might wear some outdated baggy jeans and a very large t-shirt that hangs dubiously over a distended belly and they frequently will wear some tan-colored heavy-duty type of shoes with steel toes. The women wear usually have that “garment factory” look. Simple blue jeans, sneakers, a non-descript t-shirt and usually their hair is tied up in a bun. Everything is cautiously and plainly unsexy, unremarkable. This is the class I observe. A lot of men are usually big and heavy. Obesity is a curse of the lower class. Those who can afford least to overeat manage to do that. Skin color seems to dim proportionately with the level of economic need. Why is it skin tone seems to lighten as the economic class advances? In addition to being relatively dark, the poorer people frequently look the least unclean and their clothes never seem quite washed. Men are generally darker than the women, probably owing to manual outdoor work.

 

Which was curious this morning because four people boarded the bus. Two couples, really, an older and a younger, but they looked obviously Mexican. They struck me as “higher” class because their style of dress was more trendy, more socially aware. Their hair and expressions were confident, assured. I’ve seen Mexicans like this from the old country, usually the younger kids. Their hair is put together, their manner of dressing is not at all ghetto. It is understated, perhaps even a little European. The girl in the group was slender with black hair, relatively light-skinned with thin facial features. The older woman was darker, more mestizo-looking, but dressed in a nice youthful but conservative HGTV style which was the antithesis of the blue collar class. Both men wore casual jeans and shirts but carried a natural confidence which made them seem very comfortable in their skin. These weren’t poor Mexicans who just dressed up for a special event. You can tell when people who aren’t used to dressing the part try to dress the part. It looks unseemly. The effort usually falls short because the ensemble doesn’t flow or looks piecemeal. The people I saw this morning looked very natural in their clothes. There was nothing forced. Listening to their Spanish (I turned down my Ipod to listen), I thought perhaps they were from Baja California because they had a distinctive Spanish “drawl” (for want of a better word) that I’ve heard when my Baja relatives speak. These four people exuded a type of refinement that seemed timely in comparison to the rest of the bus which I found interesting considering much of the bus was probably Americanized Mexican. The class factor is important and it’s not often you see Mexicans of this style because they have generally tolerable lives in Mexico when compared to the bus turmoil they experience when visiting here. They were not the immigrant class.

 

 

The Willful Ignorant

Not all ignorance is created equal!
Ignorance in any form is human tragedy. Ignorance is waste, it is squandered potential. Ignorance is a void, it is a negative quantity, an absence. But it is not all the same.

There is the most common ignorance, the Incurious Ignorance. It is an ignorance of apathy. Many people simply do not care to know or to learn. Knowledge as a lofty goal does not arouse their mind. They are absorbed in the detailed minutiae of trivial crap. They concentrate on that which is the most effortlessly accessible and digestible. They do not relish nuance; they do not even appreciate nuance. Nuance is a hindrance for these people. It is a sense of mysterious confusion best avoided and circumvented rather than confronted and untangled. When your distaste for ambiguity dispels all curiosity, you will lavish yourself with the easily comprehended antics of others and society. As such, you do not seek a higher road, a more circumspect mode of life. You avoid these things and wallow in the superficial plane of fruitless knowledge and lackluster amusements. This is the ignorance we commonly understand as such. I used to spare my wrath for these people. But when I think about them, how can they possibly anger me? They do not pretend to know anything or more than they can. They do not pretend knowledge is their blessing. Their offensive ignorance is not disingenuous. Why concern myself with actions and thoughts of people whose inherent characters are based on an unrecognizable lack of concern?

And there is a more discreet form of ignorance, one I find more abhorrent. I find it so because unlike Incurious Ignorance, these subjects know better. For any number of reasons such as laziness, fear, apathy, they ignore the subterranean glimmer of knowledge they are conscious exists there but they persist in turning their back to it in the distracted pursuit of their normal life’s distractions. Rather than acquaint themselves with the niggling bits of knowledge that are scattered about the circumference of their half-hearted efforts, they are content to live their life knowing that this easily accessible knowledge is there for them to discover and act upon, but instead, they allow it to exist in the limbo state of unknown but perceived knowledge. These are the Willful Ignorant. Their empty potential rings hollow. These people cannot cry ignorance for their affront is one greater than apathy or unconcern. It is complacency and disrespect. To deprive oneself of knowledge is to deprive others of the same. It is a duty shirked. The Willful Ignorant presume to value knowledge, unlike the Incurious Ignorant. And still…their valuation of knowledge is a facade that serves no purpose other than to propel them to the next bouquet of sweet intellectual promises. The Willful Ignorant betray knowledge, the greatest intellectual transgression of all.

Today I visited the Garden of Eden

Solvang is a small Danish community, slash village, west of Los Angeles. It is nestled in the hills northeast of Santa Barbara. It is one of those common outings most Southern Californians seem to have experienced at least once. I never had prior to today. I’ve avoided it not because I never had a chance, but simply because the idea of frolicking through a small replica of Amsterdam never quite got my blood pumping. I’ve seen photos. Windmills, bakeries, Danish restaurants…not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, today I broke my Danish cherry. I visited Solvang for the first time in my life as part of a brief apple picking expedition. I’d never been apple picking before, either. I’ll gladly do it again. In fact, I’ll take up the offer many small SoCal farms extend to clueless urban dwellers to pick other fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, etc.

Solvang is very nice. It is quaint. It is clean. It is White! From Wikipedia:

The 2010 United States Census[46] reported that Solvang had a population of 5,245. The population density was 2,161.6 people per square mile (834.6/km²). The racial makeup of Solvang was 4,326 (82.5%) White, 38 (0.7%) African American, 59 (1.1%) Native American, 72 (1.4%) Asian, 1 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 611 (11.6%) from other races, and 138 (2.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,530 persons (29.2%).

Which perhaps explains what it was about Solvang I enjoyed most, and the thing I love in general about most upper crust heavily Anglo portions of Los Angeles: the cleanliness and immaculate flawlessness of the neighborhood presentations. Look at these photos of the predominantly White and Dutch-rooted California village.




Magnificent.

There a pleasant and high-minded gentility about this little Dutch retreat. This is not how streets look in East L.A. or Compton. White people of a certain mind keep their neighborhood and living arrangements in this style of arranged orderliness. Everything down to the potted plants and dustpan seem laid out with the utmost precision and recognition of design. There is a preordained expectation to this environment. Nothing is haphazard, nothing has been allowed to simply fall into chaotic disuse by attrition. This is the type of immaculate existence that proliferates when life is accounted for and planned with full cognizance of one’s environment.

Feng Shui is not only about creating a mentality and ambiance of linearity and synchronization. It is also about allowing the deliberate soul to express itself in the manifest layout of your physical habitat. Even though this applies popularly to the individuastic notion of one person, it also applies to the communal psyche of a homogeneous people and their village, town or city. Or neighborhood. Essentially, by examining the physical domain of a population, you can tell everything about their thoroughness and mentality. When I see a community such as Solvang, it’s obvious these people have their lives and shit in order. I don’t care if they are rich or have spacious homes. All that matters is the fact that they have an orderly sense of existence and it expresses itself in the tiniest nooks and crannies of the shaded alleyway behind a public building. There is a sense of cohesiveness. Go to any economically depressed White or minority area and everything is in utter disarray. There is a lack of pride and mindfulness which is discernible (or graffitied) in the pervasive disconnect between an environment and its dysfunctional inhabitants. The spirit of the man designs or destroys his community.

Outside Solvang there is a small apple orchard where I was able to pick my own apples off trees for $1.75/lb which is higher than many stores but whatever, it’s about the experience. The fruit is pesticide free (organic) which is quite apparent as you traverse the dusty course through swarms of bees and other winged fruit scavengers. I don’t mind apples with one hole, but I shied away from the pieces that had more than that. Apple divots don’t bother me, but before biting, I make sure to scoop out the surrounding areas where holes appear in order to make sure I don’t consume any insect flesh.

Some apples that laid on the ground had transformed into alien fermenting bodies of rotted fruit flesh and played host to many hungry bees.


The scene made me think of Adam and Eve. Did Adam need to swat aside flies, bees, spiders or dust, in order to find the perfect red crunchy specimen for his lovely? My illusion of the Garden of Eden is that of Solvang. Pristine, orderly, emptied of dust and carnage. Fruit awaits patiently and invitingly. Mother nature is the ultimate housekeeper and nothing is disordered about her fields of living. But today’s apple orchard told the truth, didn’t it? Nature is not Solvang and man is not orderly. In order to rise to godliness, man must leave himself behind.

I doubt Adam relinquished the apple, for he was greedy and curious.

Death of the Soul of Man

 

Gulp.

 

I’ve been blacklisted by the Ruler. His Game Majesty!

 

Roissy, Chateau, Heartiste…whatever he’s called today. When I try to join his legion of commenters, my comment goes directly into the pending approval bin and never makes it to the site. I realize this is not something considered boast-worthy in the blogosphere. Doing so risks publicly impaling yourself with the indisputable wisdom of those who have traveled before. It is akin to denouncing the church. My utterances may be heresy or just meaningless. I cannot get a word edgewise at the temple of Game.

 

Sucks, sorta. Well, not really.

 

I enjoy Heartiste’s writings. He most nobly explains the tightly-wound intricacies of gender relations with that uniquely nuanced narrative. He is a skilled manipulator of the English language. If he would only close his comments I might not shudder every time I visit his page. Heartiste commenters represent the uproarious din of disgruntled and bitter helpless man-itude that I simply cannot bear. Heartiste’s writings are high-minded gems. However, his commenters should attempt to venture out into the wild planet and cultivate some aged seasoning before they commence each tiresome mission of keyboard jockey-dness.

 

Yesterday Heartiste posted Game Trumps Looks, a fashionable and excruciating blood-letting of hope from the hearts of deprived men who would piss their pants if a woman smiled at them. Mankind’s greatest enemy in this primordial sliver of 21st Century time is his own indecisiveness and hesitancy. This sickeningly unmanly outlook expresses itself as modern urban meekness and compliance when it comes to dealing with women. Rather than offending or disagreeing, modern man has been ingrained to behave like a sick dog. He must put his head down and allow his master (pussy) to beat him over the snout with the folded newspaper of foiled masculine aspirations. The problem here is that the boys most likely to benefit from Heartiste’s wisdom are the moste immature and helpless, and thus, in need of the strictest guidance. Heartiste is only a blogger. He can only lead the way. Leading is inadequate because most of these young men have no clue where to begin the journey. The Soul of Man was swept away long ago. Men born today have not the slightest generational memory of masculinity. They read of it, they try to recreate it and fashion a rudimentary working model from the written word. They act a part without the script. Heartiste does a wonderful service, but it’s not enough. Most PUA’s have good intentions, but they neglect the nexus of the problem. They are turning men into a cast of actors and puppets. They haven’t rehearsed the lines; or read the book. They are merely mimicking.

 

Today’s Heartiste post is illustrative of the predicament modern man faces. Ostensibly, the post is about “ugly” or “unattractive” men succeeding with women, but as Heartiste advised men about the archetypal 1st coffee date, “you don’t want coffee to mentally stimulate her recall of her 463 bullet point checklist.” What this means is that for most modern, urban women, they can always, and I mean always, spit up reasons a man is not good enough. 463 sounds like an exaggerated figure but it’s probably spot on. Women, empowered by the hollow draped wizard of pop culture, don’t believe there is anything malicious or counterproductive about holding mankind to the fire when it comes to their own personal fantasies. When your fantasy becomes reality, you are fucked. And…women are fucked. When the next global calamity strikes us down in all our presumed civilized glory, women will once again face their womanly burden. Meaning that civilized society is no longer there to catch them or decorate their kitchen.