(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Midwestern Kids Are Alright Edition

“I can’t do it.” Earlier in the morning I’d seen this boy clear a ten-foot double jump, arrogantly hanging the back wheel out motorcross style, without breaking a sweat. He would go on to win his race that day by more than ten yards, bunnyhopping the finish line in a display of exuberance mixed with outstanding fitness even in the ninety-degree heat. But now he was trembling as he clutched the flagpole. “I’ll drop it. I can’t do it one-handed. The flag,” he whispered, “could touch the ground.

His mother, standing by the ground next to the tabletop jump on which her son was vibrating with fear and concern, pointed her finger up towards his face. Her tank top fell away from her shoulder and I could see the faded Technicolor of a half-dozen different philosophies in tattooing. One of them was a man’s name in cigarette-ink blue, followed by “USMC”.

“You,” she snapped, “can absolutely do it and I don’t wanna hear no excuses neither.”


So the boy turned away and began riding down the backside of the jump as a recorded version of the National Anthem started playing. As is my long-established custom at BMX races, I sang along in my weathered tenor — but this particular version was done in a hyper-countrified style that defied my attempts to stay with the words. A long procession of children on bikes followed the boy, Pied-Piper-style, up and down the rocky hills of the Kettering, Ohio BMX track. Most of them were twelve years old or younger. A tiny girl on a “mini” slipped her pedals and tumbled backwards down the face of a five-foot tall double jump. Her friends came to a halt and helped her stand again. I heard the distinctive “click” of her SPD pedals as she backed up for another run at the jump’s steep face, then I saw her wobble to the top like Beck Weathers in the snowstorm on Everest.

My son had been late to the assembly area for the parade but by the last straight he’d filtered through to the front. He takes the American flag seriously. The school in his mother’s neighborhood tries to fill his head with the usual garbage about diversity and multiculturalism, but although the teachers are a monolithic mass of second-rate state-school education graduates with snakes and feels in their amygdalae the kids themselves are an embassy-school mixture of Indians, Pakistanis, Somalis, and every other country which has sent its middle class to America so that they may surf the H1-B wave of prosperity that has washed over our own citizens and left them perfectly dry. The excitement these kids have about being in America is contagious and they are on a mission to become as American as humanly possible. John tells me that their knowledge concerning the provenance and value of various basketball shoes verges on the encyclopedic.

I try not to think too much about the contrast between the new Americans of my son’s school, with their new-build four-bedroom homes looming over temp-tagged Toyota Avalons in the driveway, and the gritty, deployment-scarred parents of my son’s competitors at this Midwestern BMX track. I will say this, however: they are both raising children who are profoundly interested in patriotism. This devil’s bargain where Midwestern kids lose their legs so kids from Hyderabad can own rental property on the main streets of small-town Ohio appears, strange as it may be, to satisfy both sides.

My own son seems comfortable in both venues. He makes polyglot friends at school and he chatters after his races with the Appalachian-accent children of plumbers and sandwich artists. If Vox Day and some of the other writers out there are correct, he will eventually be forced to choose a side. I’d like to think that Vox is wrong. I’d like to think that we will eventually settle on a concept of America that satisfies both the people who built this country and the people who would like to come here and build something of their own. My crystal ball is too cloudy to know for sure. I will say that there was a thought that came unbidden to me as I watched the flag parade this past Sunday morning. I saw a lot of children who were strong and competitive and not particularly afraid of being injured. I noticed that they formed up effortlessly behind their flag and that they exercised a sort of spontaneous discipline once they were in their ranks. I saw the young man who had worried about carrying that flag beam with pride once he realized that he had succeeded in his task. At the end of the race, they went home in trucks covered with stickers. The stickers said: Browning. Colt. Glock. United States Marine Corps. Trump/Pence 2016.

While you’re teaching your son how to be a feminist, these kids are learning how to march behind a flag and wipe the blood off their faces between motos. Right now they are just children. They won’t be children for long. If they ever decide, en masse, that they can’t live with the way this country operates, you would be a fool to bet on the other side.

* * *

For TTAC, I reviewed a Benz sedan, At R&T, I discussed the rise and fall of the purpose-built club racer.

Brother Bark reviewed the Evora 400.

54 Replies to “(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Midwestern Kids Are Alright Edition”

  1. Josh Howard

    “If they ever decide, en masse, that they can’t live with the way this country operates, you would be a fool to bet on the other side.”

    And that, right there, is why the other side will fail. In the end, it was the colonists who refused to line up and be shot one after another on a battlefield due to some arbitrary rules of engagement. If there ever is another war, it will certainly be the urban folk vs the fly-overs. And you know what, the fly-overs are going to want it more. They’re going to want it feverishly because they’ve been raised to understand what hard work and sacrifice is. There are decades and decades of soldiers that enlisted voluntarily in these communities believing it was the right thing to do, not because there was a draft to put them there. The other side? Not so much. They’ll do what it takes to ensure the survival of their own beliefs and those that come after them. The first thing I’m doing in this situation is throwing the rule book out the window.

    I think you’re son is growing up to read people. The different mix of those around him is going to make him stronger… even if he picks a side.

    Reply
    • Baconator

      FWIW, the “urban folk” think exactly the same thing with the nouns reversed. Internet stereotypes seldom survive actual contact with the human beings on the opposite side.

      Vox Dei is a bitch-made fool (grandiose pseudonym being sufficient, but certainly not the only, evidence) who has developed narcissistic supply by blogging those thoughts that whip a certain bunch of keyboard jockeys into a white froth. He/she/it can’t actually predict the future.

      Reply
  2. JMcG

    The guy who just bought that 1963 Ferrari GTO for 70 million is Dave McNeill, the Canadian born founder of Weather Tech, the floor mat folks.
    He was a big Trump supporter, but according to Politico, announced last month that he will not support any candidate who doesn’t help restore DACA.
    It seems he has employees who might be affected.
    Apparently our Made in the USA floor mats need illegal labor to help keep them so cheap. Or at a high enough margin to keep our betters in vintage Ferraris anyway.

    Reply
    • scotten

      How do larger companies get away with employing illegals? I understand how the Mom & Pop businesses of American pull it off but the last time I started a job: I had to show my citizenship with solid/ironclad documentation.

      Reply
      • JMcG

        Asplundh Tree Service is a Giant privately held tree company that does tree trimming for utilities. They were fined 95 million by the feds in 2018 for knowingly hiring illegals.
        The Mexicans knew a bar in Texas where they could get fake social security numbers. They would pass them on to the next guy when they were done with it.
        Basically, big companies only care about what they care about.

        Reply
        • tresmonos

          JMcG,
          Do tell me how large and small companies alike can stop it? if your SS# passes E-verify, you must be employed or you can sue the employer.

          The feds have their own database in which they track suspicious SS #’s. They don’t share it with any business as that would just take away another large useless piece of government’s revenue. Pull your head out of your ass and stop making stupid blanket statements.

          Reply
          • JMcG

            There is no need at all for insults. I don’t comment often. In this case I know some of the people involved. Asplundh would hire a guy who presented a legit social security number. He’d go home for Christmas and another guy would show up in January with the same SSN and get right to work with it. Over and over again. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. Remember, they were fined 95,000,000 last year for their hiring practices.
            I’m not surprised that e-verify is so easy to game, it was probably intended to be from the beginning. Money talks.

          • tresmonos

            Sorry for the insults. The only way businesses that I know who hire people in these geographical regions / demographics can combat this is combing their insurance company’s database for duplicate SS#’s. It’s pathetic.

    • David Florida

      Thanks for sharing. Good to know that I can buy the cheapest alternative when I next shop for deep mats.

      Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I have to disagree with you there.

      The economic impact of MacNeil floormats is still net positive even if you have a percentage of illegals working there. The alternative is a Chinese floormat made in China using Chinese materials in a Chinese building, paying Chinese taxes and funding Chinese healthcare.

      You can’t let the best be the enemy of the good.

      With that said, Coco Mats (www.cocomats.com, I think) are USA-made in small batches.

      Reply
      • everybodyhatesscott

        My gf works for a staffing company that recruits for weather tech. From what I’ve heard, most of the people they staff from her are black guys. I dont know their entire demographics but I wouldn’t instantly write them off

        Reply
      • David Florida

        On the gripping hand, my spouse is a newly Naturalized U.S.citizen from Chengdu. We try to split the loyalties with an eye toward value. I’ll look into the Coco mats nonetheless, and thank you!

        Reply
      • JMcG

        I don’t disagree. I own several sets of floor mats and a set of mud flaps from weathertech. They are a great product. It just stings a little to get beat over the head with my own money. If DACA becomes law, chain migration will finish the job.

        Reply
  3. Robert Harris

    “…the teachers are a monolithic mass of second-rate state-school education graduates with snakes and feels in their amygdalae…”

    The striking brevity and insight of that statement…Damn. I’m going to steal it.

    Reply
  4. Edp

    Neither the children at that BMX race nor the spawn of published writers are necessarily representative of their areas. The “fly-over” states whine that the coasts don’t understand them, but they, in turn, don’t really understand the coasts. The blogs, Hollywood, hipster hangouts, and beaches are far from representative of what California really is. There are more registered Republicans in California than in almost every state of the Union. Agriculture remains a massive player in California. The reality of life in California is more complex and subtle than trite soundbites, and no one is served by this ridiculous concept of “red” vs “blue”.

    If you truly are patriotic, if you truly love America, now is the time to drop divisiveness and look for the things that bring us together….

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’ve spent almost half a year out of the past decade in California, much of it in places like Barstow, Bakersfield, Eureka, and the Inland Empire. I understand very well there’s a conservative California. But you’ve gone from being the silent majority to being the silent minority. Get that “New California” thing worked out, or maybe that State Of Jefferson. You’d have a voice then.

      Reply
  5. -Nate

    Agreed that California is far more Conservative than many elsewhere realize and to me, this is a good thing as it balances out in the end .

    It’s so good to see Children learning about America and what it means to be allowed to be here .

    -Nate

    Reply
    • stingray65

      If there are so many conservatives in California, how come there are no Republicans holding state-wide office and only 14 of the 53 US congressional seats are Republican? How come idiots like Brown, Pelosi, Feinstein, Harris, and Newsom keep getting elected – usually by handsome margins? How come California has the highest taxes in the country, and yet still has 3rd world schools, roads, and dams? Are they afraid to vote or too busy packing the U-haul and bound for Idaho, Nevada, or Arizona?

      Reply
      • CJinSD

        The number of non-English speakers at the polls in my beach community might have something to do with the answer. The Baja California license plates in the pickup lines for neighborhood schools where the only illegals you see when they aren’t voting or commuting to public schools are blowing leaves or working in restaurants is pretty eye-opening. I made a joke about the ‘diverse’ makeup of the class my ex-gf taught and she positively beamed as she said, “Yes! We have 100% diversity!” Her students could have all been siblings.

        Reply
  6. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Good read. Can’t fault the kids for what their parents have, or haven’t done.

    On a side note, I went to TTAC and noticed the most recent post was from Saturday. Problems?

    Reply
    • DeadWeight

      I nominate you most likely to go down on both Jack & Mark, in some run-down, back alley (pun?) behind a pawn shop in Ohiossippi or Kentucky’s, because you’re a hero-worship pleaser.

      There’s not a single opinion of Jack’s (whose writing is total shit lately) or Mark’s (whose writing has always been total shit) that you don’t find totally agreeable and compelling.

      Make sure that you at least get a reach around.

      Reply
      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        You’re back.

        Thank God.

        Still all about the gay sex, too. In this era we need your contributions just for the sake of diversity.

        Reply
        • DeadWeight

          I check in on this shitty blog, with its approximately 1 shitty essay per every 2 days, for strictly entertainment purposes.

          This blog represents a peek into the mind of batshit crazy Trumptards that are so fucking resentful, anxious, insecure, and mainly, sadly, hopelessly confused about the ways in which the world is changing and how that change threatens their very self-identity, that they are willing to LITERALLY pledge allegiance to the biggest piece of shit criminal (again, literally a criminal, surrounded by a core group of fellow career criminals) to have ever held such a high-level office in American Government.

          You have a bunch a real winners hanging on your every word, Jack….real winners.

          Congratulations to you.

          Reply
          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            Well if you’d be willing to click on an ad then you’d be a genuine asset to the blog despite your only tentative connection with reality.

      • arbuckle

        “in some run-down, back alley (pun?) behind a pawn shop in Ohiossippi or Kentucky’s”

        C’mon man. I bet Jack and Mark would at least spring for a nice Kimpton room.

        And you’d get a $600 Shinola-branded towel to kneel on.

        Reply
      • Brawnychicken

        Never has there been a screen name that so perfectly summed up a person’s existence as yours DW.

        Have you considered a career as a ship’s anchor? Ballast on a wheel? Or maybe a sandbag in a truck bed?

        Reply
        • Dirty Dingus McGee

          I think in the past DW alluded that he was an attorney, so I guess any of those career’s would be a step up for him.

          Not that ALL lawyers are bad, it’s just that 99% of them give the rest a bad name.

          Reply
          • Brawnychicken

            I’d imagine he sits in his house reading (the former website known as) Gawker posts and shaking his incredibly limp fist at the wall.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Yeah there’s something going on. I’m not running the show any more and the current leadership is non-technical so I’m not surprised it’s taking a while to fix.

      Reply
  7. Duong Ngyuen

    Please write an article about Mark Reuss crashing the pace car…. I’ve read several articles saying the traction control was off. Why?

    Im pretty sure the actual Indycars don’t ever turn off the traction control.

    Reply
    • john marks

      My young friend–you beat me to that question!

      I am legally blind in one eye, but I make up for it by not seein’ so good out the other; yet I could have gotten around that track without a guide dog (but, with the driver aids engaged).

      Cheers,

      Johnny Puddles

      Reply
    • Doug

      The way he was spinning the tires as he spun out leads me to believe you are correct about turning off the TC. That was quite the funny situation to have the crash before the race started.

      Reply
  8. stingray65

    Its very interesting that the political left often looks back in great fondness to the 1930s because of the great expansion of the welfare state under Democrat FDR, and the 1950s because of the very high marginal tax rates, all-time high union membership, and record low income inequality, but the major reason these things came to pass was because immigration was cut off to virtually nothing from the 1920s until 1965 when Ted Kennedy reopened the spigot. During that 40 year period, the Italians, Polish, Japanese, African, Swedish, etc. that were already here became part of the great American melting pot in large part because there was no refreshing of the old traditions and culture (including language) from a constantly fresh and large supply of immigrants. The fact of the matter is you won’t get public support for big welfare states or high taxes or strong unions unless there is a true sense of community in the nation, and you can’t get higher wages on the low end of the scale if there is a constant new supply of cheap labor. Bernie Sanders likes to point to Sweden and Denmark as models for an American welfare state, but the only reason those countries have been reasonably successful is because they have had until recently very homogeneous populations that share the same Protestant work ethic culture and good genes, which are all eroding with the huge influx of refugees that don’t share the same values or have the same capabilities, and are swamping the Scandinavian welfare state. Multi-cultural societies don’t work, so if you want the colors of the rainbow to live in peace, you can only let selected new colors in a few at a time and spread them out so they are forced to adopt the “native” culture. It would also help if most of the country’s teachers and professors weren’t lefty loons that teach their students that American culture is terrible and needs to be destroyed by open borders.

    Reply
    • Mopar4wd

      Bernie Sanders oddly enough while supportive of DACA has actually said we need to limit immigration much to the chagrin of parts of his base.
      http://time.com/4170591/bernie-sanders-immigration-conservatives/
      I kind of believe there should be a limit to ensure the melting pot works correctly etc. but I don’t have an issue with DACA. I also think there should be a path to citizenship if you came here didn’t abuse the system. There are a number of undocumented immigrants that never use our welfare systems and even pay taxes seems kind of silly not to offer them some way to stay.
      Of the things you mentioned looking at trends over time the unions seem to have the biggest effect much more then taxes and immigration. Thou I think it’s not just as simple as the unions it also comes down to who the laws were looking out for employers vs employees.
      The effect of immigration gets a little weird. On the low end non native born workers for sure get paid less then native born which has a big effect. College educated immigrants actually make more then native born. (this seems to line up with the top 10% of the country doing fine with wage increases while the middle stalled). But Immigrants start new business at much higher rates then native born and actually have a higher rate of employment. which means they tend to be good for the countries economic growth but not for the individuals economic growth.
      Which brings us to who supports mass immigration. Well it’s an odd mix of the vocal (your stereo typical bleeding hearts) and quiet money greasing the wheel. Financial conservatives, chamber of commerce conservatives. Basically the GOP never Trumpers that make up the majority of the conservatives on the East coast. They are in the GOP for financial reasons only and mostly don’t give a damn about the social side.
      This side wants to ensure a supply of cheap labor (which is also why Germany started letting in so many people) The reason it actually happened wasn’t he bleeding hearts (our gov is pretty good at ignoring them) it was the money from their own side that really opened the flood gates.

      Reply
  9. Mopar4wd

    I think midwest teachers are not the same as what we east coast elites get. My kids go to an OK (by Connecticut standards) school district. Almost all the teacher have at least a masters from a tier 1 state school and some have one from the near ivys. I kind of shake my head that’s alot of education bucks to make 60k a year. That said they do still lean left.

    Reply
    • Ken

      OK by CT standards (I was surprised to find) is phenomenal by many other states. My prior company moved a main office to FL. Those who wanted to stay moved and to the most prominent towns in FL, with the best public schools available. Best in FL = OK in CT. The children of my co-workers… mid-range students in towns like Newington, Rocky Hill, and Wallingford – practically tested out of their grades. Several families came back to CT (for varying reasons, including education.)

      Reply
      • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

        Unfortunately, Florida is infamous for poor schools. One of my relatives had the misfortune to graduate from a Tampa high school as valedictorian; she couldn’t do any better than Emory when it came time to go to college. She ended up being general counsel for AOL so it didn’t derail her permanently.

        Reply
        • Daniel J

          As someone who grew up in Florida and graduated high school in Florida, it has less to do with the crappy schools but more to do with the high level of competition and the large number of people in Florida. Florida also uses a weighted system and most colleges in Florida use that system however, going out of state, most colleges only accept the unweighted grade.

          For example, I graduated with a 4.5 GPA (valedictorian had 4.65) which got me free tuition just about anywhere in the state and some room and board. Keep in mind I was competing with students who managed 4.9 and 5.0 GPAs from many other florida high schools. This only translated to a 3.7 unweighted GPA outside the state which made it extremely difficult to get any sort of scholarships to out of state schools. Luckily I did very well on the ACTS so that I could go out of state.

          While the overall K-12 is pretty bad in Florida, a student can easily excel if they take honors and AP courses, and most high schools in Florida offer those class and if they don’t, most larger cities have city or county college prep public highschools that have huge waiting lists.

          Reply
          • hank chinaski

            Most of native Floridians were not big money, the transplant retirees are notoriously tight fisted with regards to anything but themselves, and revenue hasn’t caught up with the population growth (now #3 ahead of NYS). As long as there are tourists to fleece, they won’t pass an income tax, and the homestead exemption is a thumb on the scale of property tax through real estate booms and busts.

            That said, if I was a teenager channeling my inner Van Halen ‘Hot for Teacher’ , I’d go to FL in a heartbeat.

  10. Ronnie Schreiber

    There’s a local orthodox Jewish day school here in town, the most chareidi (look it up) of the the bunch. I’m friendly with the couple who started it and one of the faculty members is a good friend. I’ve sold the school embroidered apparel. I respect the folks there a lot but unquestionably the secular curriculum is there because the state of Michigan says that it has to be there. The fact that math and English are considered secondary (no pun intended) to the religious studies in the school is a given, unapologetically. However, the kids are still expected to do well in their secular studies.

    Nowadays, though, I think the kids there get a better secular education than the kids going to public schools. The public schools (and our universities) have been thoroughly corrupted by the Gramscian march through our institutions. At least at Yeshivas Darchei Torah, they are explicit about secular education being secondary to religious indoctrination. The public schools are not as honest, but they are indeed making education, gaining skills and knowledge, secondary to ideological indoctrination.

    My oldest grandson attends one of the other yeshivas in town. He’s just finishing up kindergarten (or Pre 1A as they call it). He’s starting to read one and two syllable words in English and can handle multi-sylable words in Hebrew, a completely different alphabet.

    The public schools, the unions that run them, the ed schools who produce their third-rate teachers (education majors have the worst test scores but the best collegiate GPAs, which tells you something about how poorly the education establishment evaluates success), and the textbook publishers may not have actually conspired together, but they’ve produced a system that virtually guarantees than Jane can’t think for herself and Johnny is made to feel like he’s some kind of defective girl.

    Maybe things are changing, though. I thought that the cultural left went for a bridge too far in “gamergate”, when the SJWs tried to wage a public relations war with guys who play networked war games for a hobby. Gamergate and the subsequent Sad Puppies / Rapid Puppies pushback against the SJW takeover of the science fiction and fantasy publishing industry may not have been victories by the forces of liberty, but they at least stalemated the left and exposed them. Now, though, Jordan Peterson is selling out halls across North America, the UK, and Australia and there are a couple of developments in the culture wars that I think are significant, and they both involve free market capitalism going around the cultural gatekeepers (Peterson too). They involve comic books and comedy.

    Using YouTube and Patreon, Richard Meyers (aka Diversity & Comics on YouTube) and Ethan Van Sciver, who has worked for 20 years for Marvel and DC, have been able to cultivate audiences and monetize their appeal. Recently, though, they’ve taken it up a step and launched IndieGoGo campaigns to self-publish some comic books. In the case of Meyers, who is a bete noire to the SJW contingent of the comics world because of how he calls them out in his YouTube videos, there have been active, actionable conspiracies to keep his books out of comics stores and a distributor was intimidated into dropping their planned distribution of his Jawbreakers graphic novel.

    After a little more than a month, Meyers has raised over $335,000 and in just a few days Van Sciver has raised $146,000 for his Cyberfrog project. That’s way more profitable than working for even DC or Marvel and in this case, they own the rights to the characters and stories. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or both of them end up with movie and licensing deals.

    Owen Benjamin is doing similar things in comedy. When SJWs in the comedy world blackballed him and his agent dropped him over politics, he started booking and promoting his own shows. When YouTube suspended him, he moved to Vimeo and used PayPal for donations from fans instead of YouTube’s “superchat”, discovering that PayPal takes a much smaller cut that YouTube’s 30%. . When Twitter banned him, some fans created a chat app.

    Use capitalism to go around the gatekeepers. Home school your kids or send them to parochial schools to go around the inept educrats.

    Reply
  11. rambo furum

    I can guess why you refer to Gramsci and not the Frankfurt School, which literally infiltrated American education, but otherwise agree.

    Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      You could guess but as with most things, you’d be wrong, though the reason for your own preocupation with the Frankfort school is water clear.

      It was Gramsci who proposed that the long march through institutions was a more successful way of bringing about socialism than through revolution.

      Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the preeminent orthodox rabbi in the U.S. in the second half of the 20th century, and members of the Frankfort School both came to the U.S. in the 1930s. What makes you think that R’ Feinstein and the Frankfort School shared an overarching agenda?

      Reply
  12. tyates

    Commenting to say that I really enjoyed Bark M’s TTAC piece about driving a Lotus Evora through Kentucky & Georgia. Interesting & well written. Only thing to add is that I wish you had gone more into the market implications – i.e. do you think the Evora will tempt 911 buyers.

    Reply

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