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Monday, October 07, 2019

America as Chinatown

Thanks to President Trump, Maureen Dowd just noticed that the USA is corrupt:
Forget it, America. It’s Chinatown.

Washington, once the guarantor of American values, is a crime scene. This capital of white marble is now encircled by yellow tape, rife with mendacity, cowardice and corruption. It’s Chinatown on the Potomac.

Robert Towne, the screenwriter of the 1974 classic “Chinatown,” wrote the movie as a eulogy to great things that were lost. He said that he was not conjuring a place on a map but a state of mind: the futility of good intentions.

Or, as Raymond Chandler, the premier chronicler of Los Angeles noir, once wrote: “We still have dreams, but we know now that most of them will come to nothing. And we also most fortunately know that it really doesn’t matter.”
This is hardly news to Generation X, let alone Generation Z. But it's interesting to see that Baby Boomers may be finally losing their childlike faith in The System. Regardless, Baby Boomer columns like Dowd's are increasingly out-of-touch, referencing as they do former cultural touchstones like 45-year-old movies that are completely foreign to the three younger generations, to say nothing of the immigrants and children of immigrants.

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59 Comments:

Blogger CarpeOro October 07, 2019 8:33 AM  

While I enjoy the film noir classics, I have to thank the NYT for not letting me waste my time on the link (used up my three free views). Just the title alone of the piece makes it clear that once again Dowdy is setting the standard in reliability - just about literally the opposite of what she says is the correct take.

Blogger Felix Bellator October 07, 2019 8:39 AM  

Granted it is a 45 year old cultural touchstone. But I am trying to think of a more recent film that makes the same point of corruption, incest, etc. Nothing immediately comes to mind. Then just about everything Hollywood cranks out comes to mind. It's not just one thing, it's everything. It's all corrupt. It won't last.

Blogger Dave Dave October 07, 2019 8:40 AM  

The boomers will live long enough to see their fortunes go down the drain, but not long enough to change their shitty attitude.

Blogger David Ray Milton October 07, 2019 8:50 AM  

But the Devil Mouse told me that dreams come true? Oh boy... I’m sadddd.

Yesterday, my toddler ripped up a Mickey Mouse book that his boomer grandparents had given him, you know, because he’s a toddler.

I smiled.

Blogger The Lab Manager October 07, 2019 8:52 AM  

Like most shitlib women, she probably cheered or voted for every expansion of government power whenever possible and then wonders how it can be so corrupt. Concepts like cause and affect elude many people.

Blogger Andy Evick October 07, 2019 8:56 AM  

"Touch of Evil?" Really? How hip. Let's play a game.
To use another Orson Welles movie to describe the NYT: "F for Fake."
Or an Almodovar movie for the MSM and normies: "A Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown."

Blogger Brett baker October 07, 2019 9:01 AM  

The disturbing thing is, people will think this is news.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan October 07, 2019 9:08 AM  

Warms my cold black heart to wake up on Monday to another Boomer busting thread, and I'm a Boomer. And I would like to throw the Boomer LARPing GenXers under that bus as well.

There is an old unPC joke about how to stop a group of black men from raping a white woman, it is throwing them a basketball to distract them. It's funnier if you change it to how to stop a bunch of Boomers from noticing corruption, start a conversation about aircraft carriers, this never fails to rouse their "kickin butt spirits." If Biden, Warren and the Minions would start talking about aircraft carriers Trump would take the bait and Ukraine/China would disappear in a tweetstorm of "Trump wants Yuge new carriers."

Blogger Wraithburn October 07, 2019 9:11 AM  

If you have to add a date, it's not a cultural touchstone that the average reader is aware of and at some level Dowd knows it.

Blogger sammibandit October 07, 2019 9:34 AM  

Pretty rich to hear a Chandler talk about the American Dream, like they don't specialize in destroying children's dreams.

Blogger Scuzzaman October 07, 2019 9:35 AM  

Washington, once the guarantor of American values...

Really?

In which parallel universe was this ever true?

Blogger Damelon Brinn October 07, 2019 9:38 AM  

The disturbing thing is, people will think this is news.

Nah, just Boomers.

Blogger Barbarossa October 07, 2019 9:49 AM  

@2 Concur. The ironic thing is that the Boomers swooned over stuff like Chinatown (and it is a legitimately great movie) as proof of how corrupt the System was, yet spent the rest of their lives silent as the real corruption set in. And why? Because that corruption benefited them.

Blogger Cloudswrest October 07, 2019 9:49 AM  

Just saw this on Twitter. Kind of funny.
----------------------------------------------

⭐L A W C O P ⭐


@allahliker

my 13 year old kid and all her friends are hanging out and calling each other boomers every time one does or says something stupid

10:57 AM - 6 Oct 2019 from Brooklyn, NY

Blogger cheddarman October 07, 2019 9:52 AM  

This is what happens to a formerly decent culture that rejects it foundation. Christianity to be specific.

Blogger Silent Draco October 07, 2019 9:57 AM  

Chandler's detective novels are better cultural touchstones. "Chinatown" was an overblown movie attempt to weaponize LA of the '30s as Muh Watergate again. This was business as usual since -- what -- 5550 BC, Garden of Eden, or first time Chief Ogg saved best antelope for him and hunting buddies, not share tribe?

Modo Dodo bad writer, no Pulitzer.

Blogger pyrrhus October 07, 2019 10:36 AM  

In my group of Boomers and Gen-x chess players, "it's Chinatown" has been a well worn expression ever since Slick Willie got himself elected...

Blogger dienw October 07, 2019 10:37 AM  

And I would like to throw the Boomer LARPing GenXers under that bus as well.
They are the ones wearing commercial tie-dye t-shirts.

Blogger Iron Spartan October 07, 2019 10:44 AM  

Scuzzaman wrote: Washington, once the guarantor of American values...

Really?

In which parallel universe was this ever true?


Every progressive boomer believes they are only one law away from from legislating in perfection.

Blogger Roman Daoist October 07, 2019 10:45 AM  

Just to make your heads spin, The Terminator was released... 35 years ago. As was Police Academy (1).

I still automatically think of Pulp Fiction as a 'cool new movie' but it's been 'new' for _25_ years now.

The Matrix is 20. Twen! Ty!

There are people around who don't know who Bill Murray is!!!!!

Damn it, i was gonna have some wine and chew bubblegum, but I'm all out of bubblegum..

I mean people stick to what formed meaning for them... Besides, Boomers were living some of the best years earthly civilisation has ever produced. Hard for them to be too critical when everything is (was) improving for everyone. Better for us to learn and make different than to blame and trick ourselves into thinking we've figured it all out, doing nothing. Who's got plans to enter politics?

Blogger Stephen October 07, 2019 10:49 AM  

my 13 year old kid and all her friends are hanging out and calling each other boomers every time one does or says something stupid

Q: Why are they not referring to GenXers?
A: No one refers to GenXers.

GenXer: SHUT UP BOOMER!!!
Boomer: Oh. Nah.

Blogger VFM #7634 October 07, 2019 10:49 AM  

Calling a corrupt place "Chinatown" is meaningless to me.

"Former Soviet Union" would make more sense. Or "Ukraine", come to think of it.

Blogger Lazarus October 07, 2019 10:51 AM  

I had no idea that link was to an anti-Trump screed. Did Dowd get caught eating a baby?

Blogger FALPhil October 07, 2019 10:52 AM  

The clue for the boomers should have been the election of John Kennedy in 1960. It was neck-and-neck between him and Richard Nixon, and there was a question about voter fraud in the Chicago precincts (big surprise). Of course all the ballots were destroyed before the recount could take place. The Greatest Generation was OK with it, so they share some of the blame. They accepted it because by that time, they had internally digested all the corrupt shenanigans from FDR. The message to their boomer children was pretty clear.

It's been Chinatown since before Chinatown. The axiom is that you cannot have a large central government without the attendant corruption. This condition is exacerbated by the fact that the primary purpose of bureaucracy is to perpetuate itself.

And so, we end up with $23 trillion in debt. At some point, future generations are going to realize that (A) they had no say in how that debt was incurred, and (B) they no longer want to honor that debt since they receive no benefit from it.

Too bad I won't be around long enough to enjoy that.

Blogger Stephen October 07, 2019 10:56 AM  

13 year old kids goofing on white-beards and blue-hairs?

Never happened before in the history of History.
Must be an Omen.

Blogger Borsabil October 07, 2019 10:56 AM  

Trust a boomer to reference a convicted pedo to make a lame point. Why not name check True Detective? Hidden occultist conspiracies with no conclusion, that's much closer to reality.

Anyhoo we all tired yet? The GE, may he rule for a thousand generations, announces that the United States is pulling out of Syria and, I assume, with an Afghan pull out to come shortly. This is a sign that he's tripling down against the neo cons and clarifies why the swamp decided to launch it's latest gay op against him. Not only is it morally right it's also strategically brilliant. Let whoever they choose to run against him in 2020 argue for a re-engagement in the middle east, see how that goes over with the voters.

Blogger James Dixon October 07, 2019 11:15 AM  

> Too bad I won't be around long enough to enjoy that.

If you're under sixty, you may very well be.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl October 07, 2019 11:17 AM  

"Everything is improving for everyone."

Serious question-do you huff gas??
Nothing is better for everyone, andit hasn't been for the last 5+ decades, at the very least.
The only people thriving in the Current Year hells cape are the elite and their minority pets.


Blogger HouellebecqGurl October 07, 2019 11:18 AM  

You should stop posting if you're actually this retarded.

Blogger justaguy October 07, 2019 11:19 AM  

I do not think that any of the values that Maureen Dowd has are anything that this Boomer wants anything to do with. She has always been an elitist progressive who basically wants to enslave us for our own good. That there are two very different sets of values that have been fighting for over 150 years openly in this country, and for as long as man has been around as I read the scripture is no surprise.

The only thing I find amazing is that today's crop of Gen Z are openly admitting their views instead of the Dems previous hiding as a moderate. I think that they think the current generations agree with statist BS now instead of freedom.

Queue the "hate Boomer crap" and other off topic stuff.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl October 07, 2019 11:25 AM  

No, you selfish ass, but my kids and grandkids will be. Try to stop thinking only of yourself. I've never heard anyone from any other group use lines like "Too bad I won't be around long enough to enjoy that, "
have all been Boomers.

Blogger StrongCoffee61 October 07, 2019 11:27 AM  

Washington, the guarantor of American values?

Leave it to a myopic swamp creature to make such an idiotic comment.

The guarantor of American values is an overwhelmingly Christian heritage European population in a land of great natural wealth.

It's this combination that created the freest, wealthiest, most self reliant, and proudest human population in history.

It's this combination that is the enemy of Leftism and globalism which why they're doing their damnedest to destroy it with mass 3rd world immigration.

Blogger Damelon Brinn October 07, 2019 11:27 AM  

The Matrix is 20. Twen! Ty!

Is that the last great movie? I think it might be.

Blogger Roman Daoist October 07, 2019 11:28 AM  

Serious question-do you huff gas??

Maybe I should have wrote "Hard for them to have been too critical when everything was improving for everyone." - Meant from the Boomers perpective in Boomer times. When everyone had a job. Everyone knew the rules. People were becoming 'liberated' (sic) from all the old fuddy duddy stuff... How many people - in that situation - would say that things _weren't_ generally awesome? It's easy to poke in hindsight. and nothing wrong with that but on its own it's just entertainment..

Blogger Crush Limbraw October 07, 2019 11:32 AM  

Been thinking about this for some time - DaBoomers were raised by DaGreatestGeneration!
Wars have a way of producing a loss of morality, culture and civilizations.
As a silent, our kids are X'ers and our grandkids are Z's.
My impression from the commenters here is that we have a large percentage of X'ers, as Vox himself is one.
The irony is that I am more in tune here with X'ers than in the company of DaBoomers - they're hopeless!

Blogger Doktor Jeep October 07, 2019 11:36 AM  

Maybe the ploy is to get more boomers on our side so we end up having to spend time and energy putting up with them.

Blogger Up from the pond October 07, 2019 11:36 AM  

"they think the current generations agree with statist BS now instead of freedom"

Maybe the current generations have had it up to here with left-over Bushy and Reaganaut talk about "free trade," which in their lives has meant only usury, wage collapse, and endless Middle Eastern wars.

If anyone can take entire generations and turn them off to "freedom," it's (((neocons))). While crying "statist," they destroyed America's blood and treasure.

Blogger FALPhil October 07, 2019 11:50 AM  

"No, you selfish ass, but my kids and grandkids will be. Try to stop thinking only of yourself. I've never heard anyone from any other group use lines like "Too bad I won't be around long enough to enjoy that, "
have all been Boomers."

Guilty.

But that doesn't mean I don't have sympathy. And, NABALT.

Blogger Up from the pond October 07, 2019 11:53 AM  

"At least I won't be around to see it"

Après moi, le déluge.

Blogger dienw October 07, 2019 12:10 PM  


Après moi, le déluge.
Now that is modern conservatism.

Blogger Duh-ave October 07, 2019 12:14 PM  

The common retort to anti-socialists in the 80's was "Has it been bad for business?" None of us had an effective answer to that. All we had was our Capitalist dogma to fight against a seemingly invincible foe complete with a 'fun' lifestyle.

Blogger LAZ October 07, 2019 12:29 PM  

"The clue for the boomers should have been the election of John Kennedy in 1960."

The oldest Boomer was 15 at the time, moron. No 15yo is into politics besides crisis actors.

Blogger FP October 07, 2019 1:29 PM  

@8

" And I would like to throw the Boomer LARPing GenXers under that bus as well."

Can I get your definition of such larpers? That or how do you tell the difference between those genuinely larping and those who play the game because thats often the best way to deal with Boomers?

Asking for a friend.

Blogger tublecane October 07, 2019 1:30 PM  

Speaking of Chandler, Red Harvest was published in 1930. That's a book about a town controlled by rival gangs. The gangs took over because the Money Power brought them in to deal with labor hooligans. As is common in noir detective stories, the main character is a lone wolf (well, he works for an agency, but he's mostly on his own) navigating through a world where no one can be trusted and everything's a lie.

He doesn't come to town to participate in the joys of orderly civic procedure. He stirs up trouble and starts a gang war. Mz. Dowd would probably have it that the detective who just came to town was the cause of corruption, if he had orange hair.

Blogger tublecane October 07, 2019 1:37 PM  

@16- To be fair to Chinatown, it was going for something a bit more tragic than Rich Man Misappropriates Water. The context of the "it's Chinatown" line is that a man is going to get away with murdering his daughter (and incestual lover) because he essentially owns the police in that area. He's far more villainous than Nixon.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash October 07, 2019 2:18 PM  

tublecane wrote:Red Harvest was published in 1930. That's a book about a town controlled by rival gangs. The gangs took over because the Money Power brought them in to deal with labor hooligans.
Now I have to read it to see if it's a metaphorical tale of political parties.

Blogger Dirk Manly October 07, 2019 4:59 PM  

@25

"13 year old kids goofing on white-beards and blue-hairs?

Never happened before in the history of History.
Must be an Omen."

It is for Boomers.

You see, before Boomers were old enough to have sex... nobody had EVER had sex.

And now that Boomers are over the hill, bigger-idiots-than-normal (because unlike most people, they stopped learning around the age of 15), this is THE FIRST TIME young people have EVER ragged on old people!(*)

(*) for the set {old people} which is precisely congruent with the set {Boomers}.

Blogger Tanjil Bren October 07, 2019 5:05 PM  

"No 15yo is into politics besides crisis actors."

I'm afraid I was (at that age), even if it was just the first slow dawning of the depths of its corruption. I distinctly remember how appalled I was when that light first winked on.

Blogger Dirk Manly October 07, 2019 5:38 PM  

@35

"The irony is that I am more in tune here with X'ers than in the company of DaBoomers - they're hopeless!"

That's because the Boomers despise both you and us. Ah, well.

Blogger Larry W. Chavis October 07, 2019 5:38 PM  

There is a lot said here about boomers, and I agree with almost all of it. But this 67-year-old boomer lost his faith in The System 'way back in his teens.

Blogger Dan in Georgia October 07, 2019 6:29 PM  

Heh. Seeing Slick Willie and Chinatown in one sentence together had me reading elected as “erected”.

Blogger Newscaper312 October 07, 2019 6:31 PM  

In my family seems we're all on the generational borders.
Deceased father was born in November '29 (I can imagine that was bit of an Oh Shit re Depression kicking off), was 15 when WW2 ended. So I guess that makes him an early Silent.

I'm an early Gen X (1965), in HS during Reagan years, we all hated what we knew of the late 60s and 70s other than some good music. Last place I worked threee years ago, felt like I had far more in common attitude-wise with some of the guys 15+ years younger than me than with the handful of guys who were maybe 5 years older.

Son is an older Gen Z, born in 1998 and now a college senior. Yes he has on occasion busted my balls by saying I'm acting like a Boomer to get my goat.

Blogger SciVo October 07, 2019 6:42 PM  

cheddarman wrote:This is what happens to a formerly decent culture that rejects it foundation. Christianity to be specific.

I maintain that the mainstream of American culture is a pack of intellectual mules, unable to reproduce themselves due to rejecting the wisdom that they received -- especially the Bible -- and refusing to pass it on.

Blogger SciVo October 07, 2019 8:33 PM  

Duh-ave wrote:The common retort to anti-socialists in the 80's was "Has it been bad for business?" None of us had an effective answer to that. All we had was our Capitalist dogma to fight against a seemingly invincible foe complete with a 'fun' lifestyle.

Well, now you can quote me, that Socialism is all about sex, death, and power.

Blogger justaguy October 07, 2019 9:02 PM  

There are many many schools of thought on how revolutions occur, although I don't know if they are taught anymore outside of military post-graduate schools. One item common to several of them is the idea that "the trains must run on time" which really means that basic stuff must work for most of the population. If people can see a way to get ahead or at least be okay-- then they don't rebel.

With the elites ignoring more and more reality in favor of their ideology-- less and less of the population sees things working normally. For America-- that seems to be a chance at the house with a white picket fence and yard. As the elite policies push the bottom 50%-60% down farther with replacement from third world countries and a larger and larger portion of the population lives in "unamerican" conditions-- they become resistive and easily swayed to absurd ideas promising hope.

Unfortunately, today's dramatically technology shifts the weight of power to the government and as long as it maintains legitimacy for a percentage-- it can maintain power. China sees this and has been taking steps for a decade. It has moved to shore up its legitimacy with a small % of the population by getting rid of the children of corruption-- or at least some of them.

The US equivalent is quite different and involves belief in an ideology that is pervasively taught from age 4 or 5 through age 22. It is quite prevalent above with all the fury at the conditions-- but never at the elite progressives who cause them. Ms Dowd is a preeminent member of that elite who has brought much of the misery on us-- but instead-- Boomers....,

Blogger Ominous Cowherd October 07, 2019 9:15 PM  

LAZ wrote:"The clue for the boomers should have been the election of John Kennedy in 1960."

The oldest Boomer was 15 at the time, moron. No 15yo is into politics besides crisis actors.


You don't have to be in politics to get a clue.

Blogger Dirk Manly October 07, 2019 10:20 PM  

LAZ wrote:The oldest Boomer was 15 at the time, moron. No 15yo is into politics besides crisis actors.

To the contrary, we have photographic proof that grandma-lusting Jelly Butter Peanut was a voting delegate at some Canadian socialist party's national convention when he was 14.

Jelly Butter Peanut may be an actor of sorts, and he's certainly in crisis, and crisis-inducing. But he's not a crisis actor.

Actually, lots of teenage boys pay attention to world politics and the like. My dad & uncles' collection of Mad Magazines had a some comic books mixed in. There were a few Disney products(*), a couple "Black Hawk" books, and 3-5 (I forget now, it's been decades since I last perused through the box) of "War Comics"... all of which featured stories set in the Korean War.

Boys naturally know that, whether they want it or not, war COULD BE a part of their future, because a draft can always happen if the fight is big enough. And for that reason, most boys pay at least SOME attention to international politics, and therefore size up most presidential candidates on the basis of two areas:
1) Is he the kind of guy who would get us into a war in a stupid manner? The kind of guy who would avoid fighting a war when one is called for (i.e. is he a surrender monkey?

2) Is a good leader who people would trust if there was a war. Is he the kind of guy who won't be eager to start a war, but will make damn well sure he finishes one if it comes to that?

Bush the Younger's true failing was in getting us into a war in Iraq rather than using limited military force to exact compliance with the cease fire agreement, and then failing to finish both Afghanistan and Iraq in a timely manner by changing the mission from "punish the offending regime" to "create new allies in a government run on popular elections" in two countries with absolutely ZERO history of any of the sorts of institutions, or even philosophical foundations for any mental model of self-governance and cross-bloc cooperation as in western Europe. There is no Iraqi or Afghani equivalent of a Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, or Jean-Jacques Rousseau.


(*) All of the traditional variety with nothing but Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, and Daisy Duck and Donald Duck and all of his nephews and uncles and other duck relatives... and of course, the Beagle Boys trying to get into Uncle Scrooge's vault.

Blogger FALPhil October 08, 2019 8:14 AM  

"...this is THE FIRST TIME young people have EVER ragged on old people!"

They actually did stop learning around age 15. In fact, the stupidity of boomers was grossly evident in the late '60s, when they began realizing their demographic impact. They even made a movie about it, "Wild In The Streets", where the rallying cry was, "Never trust anyone over 30!" It was a very popular movie among teenage boys and girls alike. Some say it gave momentum to the general air of protest sweeping the generation.

"Unfortunately, today's dramatically technology shifts the weight of power to the government and as long as it maintains legitimacy for a percentage-- it can maintain power. China sees this and has been taking steps for a decade. It has moved to shore up its legitimacy with a small % of the population by getting rid of the children of corruption-- or at least some of them."

Hence the writings of Martin van Crevald. Revolutionaries will have to get smarter. The good news is that, for the most part, generals plan for the last war. The bad news is that sociopaths are always looking for new ingenious ways to satisfy their urgings. But keep in mind that revolutionaries are always a minute percent of the population. Most everyone else will attempting to eke out a living and protect their loved ones.

Blogger rumpole5 October 08, 2019 9:09 AM  

"Boomers were living some of the best years earthly civilisation has ever produced." Wrong, if you are talking about our physical experience. Everything physically was dirtyer, duller, and more drab. Anything you wanted to do was harder, took longer, or was not possible at all. It was much harder and more expensive to travel. Cars lasted 3 years or so and required constant maintenance. Motel/hotel rooms were worse than Motel 6. Our homes were little Levitt town junk. There was less variety in every store. If you went out to eat, the food was local American (Molasses in Georgia, Maple in Ohio) or Chinese. That was all there was. It was impossible to communicate directly as we can do now by smart phone. It was barely possible to make copies to communicate. You had to use carbon paper or a weird process called mimeograph. Getting from one place to another was harder because Google maps did not exist. If you got sick of cancer, heart disease, or many other conditions you would probably die. If you were going blind or deaf, there were no treatments.

If you are talking about personal relations you have a point. We HAVE experienced a great decline in morals and personal standards of appearance and behavior, It is almost painful to see the degraded appearance and behavior of most people in public now a days. It is like a scene from the movie Idiocray, but, In every way the average person has better health opportunities and more choices at lower real cost now than in the "good old days".

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