The Last Word

Issue #500

When lawsuits end at the
county line
After President Dukakis breezed into
the White House, I amicably withdrew from
Bishop Brossart High School, while local
police arrested a gang of hooligans who had
earlier chased me into traffic on U.S. 27. Soon
after, an ill-conceived bill in Kentucky that
would have discriminated against students in
poorly performing school districts by revoking
their driver’s license for bad grades was
soundly defeated. From that era on, all law
enforcement, prosecutors, and politicians in a
3-county area acted with competence,
fairness, and honesty in all that they did. In
response, I published an underground
newsletter showering them with unending
praise.
Wait, that’s not how it happened.
People wonder why we can’t trust any
arm of local government or various public or
private agencies, and it’s because they’ve
actively earned our mistrust. Day after day
was a tragedy of errors. Day after fucking
day! I can’t think of a single thing these rightwing extremists did right over a span of years
—until recently.
It looks like Campbell County might
be getting better, but Boone County sure as
shit ain’t. Since cool people read my works,
and you’re a coolster, you know that I filed a
small claims suit in October against a woman
who conducted a cancer scam. I also named a
man as a defendant, because I was “repaid”
with checks from his account that bounced.
Sued ‘em plumb to court, I did. Of all the
people I’ve ever had legally actionable
disputes with, you’d think this duo would be
the easiest to catch and win a judgment
against. I don’t relish suing them, since other
people and organizations (like Google
AdSense and the aforementioned Bishop
Brossart High School) deserve to be sued
more, but suing this pair would seem to be as
easy as shooting fish in a toilet in comparison.
But this lawsuit has also turned into a
mind-numbing tragedy of official errors. After
my suit languished for months on the
Kentucky court system’s website with no trial
date, I ran out of patience and called the
Campbell County Courthouse (ohhh!) and

June 2016

asked what in the Wide, Wide World Of Warcraft was going on. The courthouse peeps said the case got a
continuance after I showed up for the first trial date and the defendants didn’t. I do remember that the trial had
been rescheduled for December after that happened, but it was soon pulled from the docket with no explanation.
When I called the courthouse recently, they said I should have automatically won the case by default last fall
when the defendants didn’t show. They said that’s what always happens, and they don’t know why it didn’t
happen this time.
Wow! Someone was almost held accountable for something wrong they did to me! Miracles never cease!
I remember someone almost being almost held almost accountable once back in 1989.
The courthouse peeps said I could just have the papers served again, and they’d set a July trial date. I
didn’t know exactly where the defendants moved to, but I knew where the man works. You probably think this is
like an episode of Scooby-Doo, where I slink around with a talking dog, collect clues with a magnifying glass like
the smiling detective in the WCLU logo, burn Increda-Bubble wrappers with the magnifying glass, and let the
system work its magic. But it’s not like that. This is a tough case with many dead ends. So I tried to have the man
served at his workplace. I checked Google Maps and determined the workplace was in Kenton County even
though it had a Florence mailing address.
Confused? I explained this to a family member, and they were confounded that a Florence address could
be in Kenton County. To see how that can be, you gotta understand how mailing addresses work. Streets that cross
each other can actually have addresses in different cities. When I went to the courthouse, they assumed the man’s
workplace was in Boone County, since that’s where the business pays its taxes. They said they’d have the papers
served in Boone County, but if the business turned out to be in Kenton County, they’d serve the man there. This
confusion is understandable, and I’m not blaming Campbell County for it. The confusion doesn’t justify Boone
County’s reaction.
I sent in the check to
cover the service fee. After
Boone County received it
and cashed it, the Campbell
County Courthouse called
me back and said Boone
County refused—that’s right,
refused—to
serve
the
summons. Boone County’s
excuse was that the man’s
workplace has 2 entrances—
one in Kenton, one in Boone
—and that the man enters the
building through the Kenton
entrance. Boone County
authorities didn’t even leave
their office to figure this out.
Somehow, they already
knew, as if they’d already
scuttled earlier attempts to
serve the papers on this case.
If that wasn’t enough to
make your life miserable and
complete, Boone County
refused to refund the service
fee that they already cashed
despite
knowing
they
wouldn’t serve the papers.
Now we’re relying on Kenton County to act right. In the meantime, we have to ask: Why is Boone
County so determined to botch this case? There was already significant evidence that Boone County was
intentionally botching it, and the latest development is a smoking gun.
An Internet peep said local government’s uncanny knack for seamlessly somersaulting from crisis to
crisis is easier to understand when you stop thinking of the modern Republican Party (which hogs most local
offices, especially in Boone County) as a real political party—and start thinking of the GOP as an organized crime
gang. After all, the GOP already established itself as the party of wire fraud in the 2014 midterms when it set up
websites under the names of at least 16 opponents—which included forms that appeared to let people donate to
said opponents but which actually sent money to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

By Kentucky law, if I win my lawsuit—even if I’d otherwise win only $1—the defendants will be
required to pay me all the court costs including the service fees. Maybe they should sue Boone County if that
happens.

I didn’t get along with the Get Along Gang
I think I may have found one of the seminal elements in Team Tyranny’s propagandistic program to mold
American society in their image: the Get Along Gang.
Growing up in the early 1980s, I used to watch the afternoon block of cartoons on Channel 19, and the
despair associated with the Get Alongers was a pivotal factor in my declaration that “I’ll go back to Sesame
Street!” Channel 19 preempted my toonies so much that I threatened to regress to the Ses in their place. (It rains a
lot here.) One of the “specials” that my cartoons were preempted with centered on the Get Along Gang—a posse
of animal characters created in 1983 by American Greetings. The pilot episode of the GAG’s animated series was
syndicated to TV stations all over this fine land. Just my lousy luck that Channel 19 happened to be the station
that picked it up in Cincinnati, and that they aired it in a slot that would inflict maximum constipation.
Now I have more appreciation for artistic works. However, reading about the Get Along Gang now, we
see that its origin may not have been as noble as it might appear. I didn’t actually watch the Gang’s cartoons, but
the 10-year-old me thought the very name of the series made it sound wimpy. The Get Alongers were alleged to
be about friendship and teamwork. Who can argue against that? But more recent critics have said the series was
actually about blind conformity. Examining the politics of the era, it all makes sense. The Get Along Gang
appears to be just another cog in a vast right-wing conspiracy to indoctrinate America’s young.
America in the early ‘80s was riding a right-wing wave. It wasn’t as militant as the Contract With
America of the ‘90s or the Tea Party of the 2000s, but it was a movement of control and regimentation like the
others. Some in the Reagan regime wanted control over what people could watch on TV or what music they could
listen to. I’m all for TV stations carrying more children’s programming—but nothing that was wrong with kids’
shows at the time was solved by the GAG. Surely, some older cartoons had some content that made them
unsuitable for a modern audience. Racist jokes were a very real plague on some old cartoons. Violence wasn’t—
for cartoon violence wasn’t realistic. Jerry making a tennis racket out of Tom’s pancreas only to see Tom pop back
up like in a Whack-a-Mole game was so comically unrealistic that nobody mimicked it in real life. Just as bad as
bemoaning animated violence though was the attempts to instill unquestioning conformity.
Conform the Get Alongers did.
In 1997, a website looked back on the Get Along Gang with unfondness. The piece said the GAG was
developed by consultants eager to yield to the censors. The article said the message of the GAG was: “The group
is always right...the complainer is always wrong.” Other critics of the show also said its storylines enforced
groupthink and gaslighting—and encouraged young viewers to blindly go along with what everyone else was
doing.
Sound familiar?
Does this sound like a
certain policy I’ve fought
against
for
years?
Namely, school uniforms.
The
Get
Alongers’
groupthink
probably did much to
enforce acceptance of the
right-wing idea of school
uniforms. It probably did
just as much to coax
support for right-wing
political candidates and
causes
in
general:
Surveys
that
show
stronger
right-wing
support tend to be
highlighted more by the
media, and dissenters—
influenced by the media’s
message of conformity—
start questioning and

abandoning their own views. Gaslighting—the process by which one is deceived into doubting their own real
experiences—is related to this. When I was a teenager, the CPH cult that I’ve discussed attempted to practice
gaslighting by denying that I had been harassed at school and telling me I was “crazy” for claiming it. That didn’t
work, because I knew what I saw. In the 1990s and 2000s, the media employed gaslighting by denying the
economic recession—which, make no mistake, was very real. Apparently, many who suffered under this recession
actually believed the media instead of their own experiences. Did they yield to this manipulation because the
conformist message of the Get Along
Gang was still tucked away in their
minds?
The GAG was short-lived—
except that the Pax network still
showed reruns as late as 2001. I’m sure
that by then it was a highlight. Several
years later, American Greetings
announced it was bringing the Gang
back. This time, the series was to
include a dog named Reagan—in honor
of you know who. I swear I’m not
making this up. But this revival never
came to be.
Thanks to YouTube, now I can
watch the Get Along Gang in the
discomfort of my own office. I found
one of their episodes, and got so bored
after the first few minutes that I
couldn’t stick around long enough for
the lesson—so maybe the series had no
effect on society after all.
The Get Along Gang. Were
they innocent fun or part of something
far more insidious? Naming a positive
character after Ronald Reagan isn’t a
good sign.

Sad, sad robot
In your face, 1%!
Technological unemployment
—job loss caused by the introduction of
new machines—is a very real ill that has cost America good jobs. But what about when the jobs that are lost were
terrible? I hate job losses too, but I’m having a hard time shedding tears over this story, because it should utterly
ream a gaping cannonball hole through one of the bulwarks of the economic elites’ incoherent ravings.
My theories in this article will make steam shoot out the Far Right’s ears. I’ve learned this the hard way.
If you’re not part of the Far Right, you may still disagree with what I say here. That’s your right—but I want you
to hear me out. I’m usually not a guy who says a glass is half-full over half-empty, but we have to look on the
bright side when we get a chance to squelch the 1% like this. Trust me.
Usually, any job is better than no job. My desire for work versus sloth is ingrained. But there are glaring
exceptions—and fast food is one of very few careers I avoid as if my life depends on it. I have no doubt it’s one of
very few legally permissible fields of employment in modern America that makes life worse for those it employs.
We need good jobs. Perhaps some folks—maybe you—truly enjoy working at a fast food restaurant. Again, that’s
your right. But I’m going on 43, and I didn’t go to school for 18½ years for it.
My stance isn’t driven by privilege. It’s driven by the values of populism, equality, and justice—a goal
that I invite other workers to share. This is a fight for many—not just me. But from a personal standpoint, I’ve
been beaten down so much that it’s a stance I can’t afford not to have. Early death would be certain if I caved.
It’s not like it was when I was a high school kid sitting on the floor next to the stereo listening to Alice
Cooper and Jude Cole records. In those days, the oldsters had every right to unplug the turntable and utter those 3
words I was sure to obey: “Get a job.” I didn’t apply at the friendly neighborhood Ron McDon like they wanted,
but I found work elsewhere—just not in fast food. My first job was a challenging but overall positive experience.
I argued with the oldsters a lot about it. They seemed to think I was cut out for fast food. But if it wasn’t true for

me then, it’s certainly not true for a 43-year-old with the equivalent of at least a 4-year degree. (I don’t actually
have a degree—but I went to school long enough for one, and schools around here are tougher than in most
places.)
Nobody has any business demanding that someone of my age and experience go work in fast food. But
occasionally, some spoiled right-wing loudmouth will still tell me I should. The people saying this refuse to work
in fast food themselves—and never have. Donald Trump has never worked in fast food. Why should anyone else
have to unless they want to?
A lot is wrong in the world—and the lion’s share of it is caused by economic exploitation. Instead of
whining that the working class should work even harder with no chance of advancement, the 1% should clean up
their own act and do something about injustices that already exist and not create new ones. I have far less money,
power, or resources to do anything about what ails the world than the 1% does, yet I do more to fight economic
inequality in a month than the entire 1% does in a lifetime.
These days, new realities threaten to lay hulk to our overlords’ shrill arguments. Restaurant chains like
Wendy’s and McDonald’s are replacing workers at many locations with self-service kiosks—robots, if you will.
Or if you won’t. But I will.
I cannot bring myself to be saddened at this news—as hard as I’ve tried. It’s not because I want people to
lose their jobs—because I don’t—but because this development completely demolishes the argument that
everyone (except the rich) should work in fast food. I feel like the burden of the Right’s psychological warfare has
lifted. Soon, if someone tells you to go work at Wendy’s, you may be able to honestly tell them you can’t because
you’ve been replaced by a robot. If you work in fast food now, this may be the best news you’ve ever had—even
if you don’t know it. Unfortunately, the fact that there are some decent people saddened by this news shows how
everyone has been bullied into accepting a life of fast food employment.
The America of my youth was one where we were taught we could choose our profession—not kowtow
to a corporate power structure that obstructs pay increases, busts unions, and whines about everyone being lazy. In
my day, when grownups asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, we didn’t reply that we wanted to
work at minimum wage flipping burgers until we were 75. That’s ridiculous. The freedom we thought we had is
what was supposed to differentiate us from Russia.
With the rise of robots, don’t worry about not getting the low-wage work we typically associate with the
quick service eatery business. Remember,
somebody has to design, build, and program
the robots that are taking these jobs. That
could be your future—and it’ll pay more.
Elites use arguments that contradict
each other. In addition to telling people to
take jobs that no longer exist, one of their
refrains is that “hippies” should “get a job”—
this is their golden oldie—even while they
praise companies that “don’t hire those filthy
hippies.”
These elites also believe in mob rule
by the 1%—but I’ve squelched them in that
regard too. At the height of the Occupy
movement, they’d spam news websites with
comments that Occupiers should “get jobs.”
This was a Karl Rove-like technique of
attacking people by twisting their best
characteristics into a negative—in this case,
calling them lazy even though they worked
very hard. My response was always the
same: “So where’s your book?” Got ‘em on
that!
If you seriously believe I’ve got it better than you by not surrendering to a state of permanent recession,
keep in mind this isn’t a contest to see who has it worse. You and I may have both been at a point where we were
better off dead, and surely there are people who are just as unfortunate who have languished. If you or someone
you love has it that bad, heed what I said in this piece. I repeat: This is a fight for many—not just me.

When I didn’t visit Cincinnati Milacron
I’m trying to think of why all this talk of robots lately triggers my memory. The trigger isn’t purely

positive or negative, but it seems to be instructive of what laid the foundation for my adult life.
In 6th grade at Donald E. Cline Middle School, I was among a handful of students required to take a class
for gifted kids that seemed designed mostly to impress parents—not to benefit students. We had a lengthy unit on
robots that lasted for months. This unit was right after the 1984 election, when the teacher threw an absolute
skizzum because everyone in the class waited until election night to do their election project. Anypoo, as part of
our unit on robots, we were going to go on a field trip to a company called Cincinnati Milacron. The teacher said
they had robots there.
Beep a boop boop beep!
For me, it was not to be. On December 13 of that year—just before the field trip—some kids at school
ganged up on me and attacked me, and I ran out of the building to get away from them. The assistant principal
suspended me for 4 days for leaving the building—but of course didn’t punish the attackers at all. You’ve heard
this story a centillion times before.
Because of this, I missed school on the day of the field trip and didn’t get to go. And the school refused to
refund the fee my parents paid for the trip.
Years later, Cincinnati Milacron’s sign was clearly visible along Interstate 71. Every time we drove past
it, I recounted this story.
Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.