Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Bougie Lives Matter

Not being aware of the existence of garbage disposals or what they are used for is a sign of unworldliness.

By now, you've seen the video of Alejandra O'Leary-Cow where she freaks out to find out that her new "Bougie" luxury apartment (that they forced her to rent) in Washington, DC, has this big scary garbage disposal in the kitchen that makes noises.  At first, people thought she was joking about it, but apparently she is serious.   She didn't know what a garbage disposal was.

“OK everyone, I need your help because I just moved into this apartment a few months ago and I just flipped a switch and it made that noise and it scared the daylights out of me,”
“This D.C. apartment is bougie and has things I’ve never seen before. " 
“Like what is a garbage disposal really for? Is it better or worse than throwing something in the garbage? More importantly why is it so loud and yelling at me?”  
And of course, the pundits and politicos jumped right in.  The left-wing media defended her ignorance, pointing out that in New York City, they passed a law against garbage disposals, as the aging plumbing easily clogs there.   Even though the law was repealed in 1997, few New Yorkers have garbage disposals.  So, the media argues, it isn't unusual or ignorant of a 29-year-old to freak out when they first see one in person for the first time.

Maybe so, but this also means she has never left New York City - not even to explore Long Island - in her 29 years of existence on this planet.   Even if you never had a garbage disposal in your own home, surely you must have visited a friend from college who had one, right?   Or seen one on TeeVee?  Or read my blog entry about them?    Something!

The right-wing press jumps in to denounce her for being ignorant and stupid, of course, and you can't blame them for that.  I mean, garbage disposals?   It shows a sign of unworldliness about Ms. AOC.  By age 29, I was working for the United States Government (like Ms. AOC) but had already worked for General Motors, United Technologies, United Parcel, Planned Parenthood, and even Domino's Pizza.   I was salaried, hourly, and even a union member (Teamster).   I had traveled to a number of States as well as Canada, and had held driver's licenses in four and had voted in three.   I knew what a garbage disposal was.

Sadly, a lot of people never leave their hometowns, and they expect the world to be brought to them, whether it is a job (unless it is Amazon, of course) or a new Wal-Mart (well, not in the Bronx, please!).   They also assume the rest of the world is like their hometown.   And that is the problem right there.   Since she doesn't understand how other people live, and merely assumes everyone is like folks from her hometown in the Bronx (well, actually Westchester, but we won't go there) and that everyone in the country must think like she does.

But what is more disturbing (other than her nails-on-the-chalkboard voice and how everything she says ends in a question mark) is the language she uses.   Words tossed around like "Bougie" and "Woke" and "Spook" are more than a little disturbing - it is the sort of languagifaction that our President uses in a bigly way.

"Bougie" is some sort of hipster slang for Bourgeoisie, which is a neat Molotov cocktail to throw at anyone you don't like or think makes too much money.   You know, those elitists with garbage disposals, for example.   What "Woke" and "Spook" mean, I don't know, or really care to, anymore than I need to learn gaming slang.

The next day, two friends of ours who live in The Villages stopped by on their trek North.   We get some snowbird traffic in our guest room, which we enjoy, as it allows us to catch up with old friends and talk to other people who, you know, might have opinions different than our own.   They might actually own garbage disposals, too!   You know, bougie people.   

You know the type - the folks who spend 30 years or more going to a job every day, working hard, saving money, paying their taxes, putting their kids through school.   After years of hard work, they want to retire to somewhere safe and quiet and live out the remainder of their lives in peace, financed by their years of hard work and scrimping and saving.    Of course, some folks on far-left of the political spectrum think such hard-working folks are evil, and should just hand over their money to the non-working class as "guaranteed annual income" and then slit their wrists.  Damn bougies!  

The bougie fever, it's going around.

Anyway, they brought with them the Villages newspaper which had a cover story about economics of The Villages.    What struck me was that the average income for a married couple in the Villages was $68,182 (as of 2017) which isn't really that far above the median income in the United States (hovering around 50 grand) and close to the average income in the USA.   In other words, these are not "Bougie" people, but rather merely middle-class Americans.

Of course, this is a little more than the average income in the Bronx ($62,453) and less than the salary of a US Congresswoman ($174,000 - quite bougie!).   But it sort of shatters the stereotypes of retired people being "rich" and having high incomes.   It would seem that the folks in the Bronx have a lot more in common with the folks in The Villages than one would think.

But so-called "progressives" decry things like garbage disposals and "ticky-tacky" tract homes, even as other people covet them.   For some reason, the very nature of civilization - the desire to have nicer things, live better lives, and to rise above mere existence - are shouted down as bourgeois.   It is more "authentic" we are told, to live in squalor and to do without.  Striving to live in a safe, clean neighborhood, with low crime rates and tidy lawns is somehow wrong.

Or is it?   It is human nature to want - to want food, clothing, and shelter.  And once you have these things, it is human nature to want nicer food, better clothing, more elaborate shelter.  We rise above those living in the muck, and this is not a bad thing, unless you are a "progressive" - which is an odd name for people who actually want to regress to a more primitive state.

The Villages aren't quite like this...

Maybe The Villages is a little plastic and inauthentic, and the people who live there will be the first to tell you that - that it is like Pleasantville or something out of the Stepford Wives on occasion.   But it is also something they choose to live in, for a number of reasons - the main reasons being it is affordable, the weather is pleasant, the crime rate is low, and the streets are clean and the houses neat.

And no, there are no gangsta' rappers on the streetcorners, or gang members selling drugs or dismembering high school kids.   There are no garbage strikes or run-down tenements or slumlords. Of course, there are few ethnic restaurants, too.   And few people of ethnicity.   But there is no barrier, other than financial, to anyone wanting to live there - and you can live there in a house that costs less than the average house in the United States - so the financial barrier to entry is pretty low.

But of course, a lot of people would rather not live there - and that is their choice.   But others do want to live there - in "bougie" heaven if you will.   And if not there, the hundreds, if not thousands of similar communities across Florida, Arizona, or indeed, anywhere else in the United States.   Funny thing, but people like safe and clean communities.

And that is their choice - a choice that, it would seem, others resent and want taken away.  It is one thing to mock plastic places like The Villages without ever having visited there.  It is another to imply that people shouldn't be allowed the choice of where to live or how to live, or to imply that a life in a crime-ridden ghetto is somehow better or more authentic.

Sadly, this seems to be where a big chunk of the Democratic field is going these days.   Many on the left are falling all over themselves to embrace criminals and criminality.  We all saw a TV show about how some guy was innocent (he wasn't) and wrongly convicted (he wasn't).   So we should let all the felons go free and let them vote - even from jail.   This is a weird demographic to be courting - and one that turns away the larger potential voting pool.

You see, in order to win elections - outside of the Bronx - you have to appeal to these "bougie" people, like the working-class people in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and the other "flyover" States where people actually work and live.    Turns out, such folks dream of having nice things, including houses with evil garbage disposals.   And there is nothing wrong with that, if that is their choice.   They aren't hurting anyone in the Bronx with their lifestyle, but perhaps the opposite could not be said.

Extremism is never the answer.  And sadly today it seems we embrace either extremism on the Left or extremism on the Right.    The vast majority of people in this country - the ones that Ms. Alexus O'Hara dismisses as "bougie" are neither right-wing or left-wing.   Many are compassionate people and many actually will vote Democratic, but are not quite yet prepared to vote Socialist.

We are in for four more years of Trump, it is sad to say.  And the Democratic party is driving the bus right off the cliff.

To be fair, Jed Clampett didn't know what a garbage disposal was, either.  Granny thought it was a meat grinder!  But they weren't from the Bronx, of course.  Bougie Hillbillies!

UPDATE:  It occurs to me that the reason why Miss AOC is decrying her garbage disposal is that she is now making the vaunted six figure salary as a representative and living the cushy lifestyle in a luxury apartment in Washington DC, the latter of which was a choice of hers, not a mandate. She could have chosen to "live with the people" in Southeast Washington or in a more plebeian apartment, such as the one I own, in Alexandria.

I think this garbage disposal video is her way of rationalizing her choice to her constituents. She doesn't want these luxury features, such as they are, but she's forced to have them now that she's living in the big city. And she's keeping it real with her constituents by showing how ridiculous garbage disposals are. Or at least I think that's what her intention was.