Weekly Roundup: Payton’s Piece Of Mind And The Bigoted Bike Shop Edition

“Sampling has turned Hiphop into the deformed child of a mother who’s been fucked by her own son.” Not what you’d expect to read in a modern music-review thinkpiece, but with Nicholas Payton it’s more or less par for the course. Payton, who along with Roy Hargrove was promoted as a “young lion” of a revitalized traditional jazz thirty years ago, has long since gone his own way, and chosen his own opinion, about everything from his record label (he’s self-published now, because he doesn’t want to hear other opinions) to his take on the “N-word” (it is related somehow to the Sanskrit naga, which means snake, so if you are Black then saying the word is a sort of prayer, or spiritual self-activation).

Some of Payton’s written work proved even too hot for a self-employed musician to handle, but you can still find it on archive.org, most of it related to Robin Thicke and the “Blurred Lines” lawsuits with Marvin Gaye’s estate. I assume that at some point some attorney told him that repeatedly offering an opinion that differed from the one published by the trial court, and being rather personally offensive with it, was going to get him sued next.

Nicholas Payton hates me — not me personally mind you, but me as a generic idea, a German-American human being and jazz fan. He doesn’t think “jazz” exists, preferring to include it in his umbrella of #BAM (Black American Music). And he doesn’t think whites have any business listening to or playing it. In fact, he’s kind of down on the whole idea of white people. I can only imagine what he would think if he walked in on my and my son practicing the Metheny and Pastorius parts of “Bright Size Life”. Something along the lines of “two crackers stealing the music of two other crackers who stole the music,” most likely. And yet I have no trouble buying his music, reading what he writes, and supporting his efforts in general. I’m not going to apply a litmus test of political and personal conformity to everyone with whom I do business. That would be insane.

Not everyone feels that way, of course.

Back in August, when my son and I drove across the country on our two-week cycling adventure, we stopped in Northern California to pick up a new bike for him. This was a Norco Rampage 24-1, a so-called “dirt jumper”, which means it’s basically a single-speed mountain bike with BMX-ish geometry. At the time there was literally one of them in the whole country, and this place had it. They took my money, held the bike for a month, then set it up for John in their parking lot when we got there just a few minutes before closing time. The next day, one of their techs swapped the tubeless tires on my Guerilla Gravity. In both cases, the price was more than fair, the service was first-rate, and the shop itself was very nice — an upscale-ish place in an area where gas was four bucks a gallon and there was just one fast-food restaurant in ten square miles because everyone was too rich to eat that stuff. Not “the real world” in any way, shape, or form, however. Nice place, nice people.

Yesterday, the shop owner went on a TRUMP FOR PRISON rant on the shop’s Instagram page. Which is his right, of course. He then doubled down with a tirade about “rural whites” who were “naturally ignorant” and were genetically disposed to believe lies. As is commonly the case in these situations, the things he wrote would have caused him real and unavoidable trouble had he written, say, “urban blacks” or “illegal aliens” instead of “rural whites”. I responded to his post, asking if he had any personal acquaintances with rural whites. He explained to me that these people were trash and they all had guns and they had to be “dealt with” by the government immediately. When a few other customers argued with him in stronger terms, he simply deleted their critical comments along with my question and his response.

I’ve met this guy, albeit briefly, and I assure you that were you to strip him of his protective coloration (Patagonia vest, $8,000 Chinese mountain bike, Subaru Forester) and drop him in a trailer park, you would be hard-pressed to distinguish him from a “rural white”. There’s something about his little rant that really pisses me off. Maybe it’s because he makes a six-figure living selling Chinese stuff to rich people in an area that is about as disconnected from reality as one could imagine. Maybe it’s because he so clearly hates a group of people with whom he has little to no experience — I’d have the same reflexive distaste for an actual “rural white” who repeated hateful and unsupported statements about Bolivians.

In the end, I unfollowed him, I pulled the bike shop sticker off my son’s Norco, and I decided that we will simply never deal with him again. If we’re on a mountain near him and we need a part, we will drive an extra hundred miles to deal with someone else. He can stew in his hatred without my substantial assistance in the future.

Keep in mind that this fellow and Nicholas Payton have almost exactly the same opinion about “rural whites”, even if Payton expresses it with more style and humor. So why am I content to deal with Payton but not Mr. Bike Shop Owner? This has bothered me for the better part of a day and at the end I’ve decided on this answer: I don’t think Payton himself has much of a legitimate beef with whites. They’re the majority of his customers, and always have been. They support him at full price in everything he does. If he really had to survive on the custom of African-American buyers, he’d be flat broke. And yet… he’s a Black man in America, which means his experience isn’t mine and I’m not qualified to pass judgment on how and why he feels the way he does.

Bike Shop Dude, on the other hand, was born in Jersey, like my brother. He made some money in finance, then he went to NorCal and opened a bike shop selling Chinese stuff to rich people. I don’t think there’s anything tremendously profound about his life experience that should give him leave to dismiss 40% of the United States as beneath contempt or worthy of forcible elimination by the government. If he’s ever actually suffered at the hands of “rural whites”, or if anyone in his family has, he certainly hasn’t bothered to mention it in the course of perhaps 5,000 words about the pure evil of TRUMPTARDS.

Alternately, maybe this is a SlateStarCodex type of situation where I actually feel closer to Nicholas Payton than I do to Bike Shop Dude. I guarantee you that Payton and I could probably talk about music and New Orleans and whatnot for hours on end, and that we would often have the same opinions about things. Much of what he has written about hiphop and sampling directly mirrors how I feel on the subject. So Payton is my “ingroup”, even though he hates me, and Bike Shop is my “outgroup”, even though we were born twenty miles apart and probably have quite a few similarities in our lives. For Payton, both Bike Shop and I are outgroup. For Bike Shop, Payton is ingroup because he is a Democrat-leaning minority, and I’m outgroup because I’m a populist who doesn’t feel superior to other white people just because of where they live.

If there is anything that will preserve this country from bloodshed in the years to come, it might just be that our ingroup/outgroup relationships are too complicated to perfectly resolve into a binary civil war. If I ever run into Nicholas Payton, I hope he will forgive me for what I am as Johnson eventually forgave Boswell, despite their rocky beginning:

[Boswell:] “Mr Johnson, I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it.”
[Johnson:] “That, Sir, I find, is what a very great many of your countrymen cannot help.”

* * *

This week, I reviewed a supercar, chased a similar supercar through Tennessee in a Honda Accord, and considered a far-from free Radical.

37 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Payton’s Piece Of Mind And The Bigoted Bike Shop Edition”

  1. AvatarJohn C.

    I enjoyed your Accord story and that you dubbed it the Marysville Meteor. The story reminded of those GTO vs GTO stories from the sixties. Right down to seeing a modern Smokey Yunick about what could be done with tires and brakes. I suppose I should include some sneer of the American car turning Japanese but am too happy to because the the exotic metal seems to have turned British.

  2. AvatarTomko

    A fractured America, turning angrily against itself in some kind of proto-civil war, benefits neither the American people nor their ancestral allies in the Anglosphere nor those of the post-WWII Bretton Woods era.

    So the question becomes what countries – or more specifically who in those countries – benefit from this period of American sectarianism and internecine warfare?

    The lessons of history teach us that we need look no further than the person who struck the match that lit the metaphorical fire. As well as their agents who gave the fire fuel and dissuaded others from putting it out or even sounding the alarm.

    • AvatarDisinterested-Observer

      Note-this is a reaction to your post, not a statement directed at you. The mental gymnastics one must go through to simultaneously scream about Russian interference in the 2016 election, yet deny that they or the Chinese have anything to do with fomenting the unrest we saw this summer is astounding. If there is one thing the Chinese of the Chángzhēng are, it’s patient. If the full story ever comes out it will not surprise me in the least to learn that they have been working on this since Nixon visited.

      • AvatarTomko

        I concur.

        But we will only know the full story in ~50 years or so. By then it will be history. A history written by the victors.

      • AvatarJohn C.

        Interesting you thought he was talking Putin when he should have been talking about the Chinese. I assumed he was blaming the Jews. Lots of boogymen out there I guess. Tonka, could you be more specific as to your villains?

        • AvatarTomko

          I posed the question: “what countries – or more specifically who in those countries – benefit from this period of American sectarianism and internecine warfare?”

          After sober reflection your answer was to presume to blame a group of people based on their religion?

          Let me give you a clue: Religion is not a country.

          Furthermore, there has been no country that has done more for the Jewish people over the last 100 years than the United States. They do not benefit from American sectarianism and internecine warfare: They loose.

          • AvatarJohn C.

            “Who in those countries benefit…..? sounds like something wrote by Andrew Anglin. Now that I think about it, his website is now out of China. The observer who poorly observes my reading skills may have a point.

          • AvatarDan

            I find it increasingly difficult to juxtapose a lifetime of almost entirely positive personal experiences and attitude towards Jews with the absolutely overwhelming number of coincidences in the leadership of every front of the leftist wars on decency.

            On the other hand, those coincidences seem about as eager to give Israel back to the Palestinians as they are to plow this country under.

            Smart people get fat and comfortable and fat comfortable hands are the devil’s.

    • AvatarDan

      Crediting foreign actors with striking the match, already a stretch, skips right over where all that kindling came from. Xi didn’t publish 1619. Putin doesn’t write your TV scripts. Your next President, the one who just said that they have the right to give your eight year old estrogen injections and eyeliner, is 5th generation American.

      The termites in this house are heirloom homegrown.

      • AvatarDisinterested-Observer

        Putin literally does write the TV scripts. Look at the Mitrokhin Archives. This is a bit of a tangent but I will come back to the point. Do you know why there are so many lawyer shows on TV? Because it takes funding from investors to get a pilot seen. If I am a screen writer it behooves me to write a lawyer show, because I can then call my brother/cousin/whatever who happens to be a lawyer and ask them to fund my pilot and they will be more disposed to do so if it is something they are interested in. By the same token, if I am a foreign power bent on destroying the US, it makes sense to provide funding to shows like those on Nickelodeon and Disney where adults are disrespected or non-existent, and shows where children are horrifyingly sexualized like Cuties or Toddlers and Tiaras.

  3. AvatarJohn Van Stry

    I lived in NorCal for over a decade, just left a couple of years ago to move back into a rural area. Mind you I grew up just outside of the NYC limits and I even lived in NYC for a number of years.

    That being said, I have run into that opinion of ‘rural whites’ from people in California a lot. As long as a decade ago. About everyone in rural America being a loser and not being able to cut it, etc. Which honestly? Has ALWAYS been my opinion of everyone in Northern California (I grew up working in NY, and you have to hustle if you want to make any money and keep your job. People in California? I don’t think they know the meaning of the world ‘hustle’. Nobody ever works hard there.)

    Most ‘rural whites’ are actually richer than the average person in NorCal. They definitely work a lot harder. A lot of this is because the cost of living in NorCal is high. So for all that you’re making ‘lots of money’, you’re paying almost all of it just to live there. In Rural areas you may not make as much, but the cost of living is less, so at the end of the day, you usually end up with more. Yeah, my Silicon Valley friends were making almost half again an hour what I was, but I had a house on waterfront property on five acres and six cars.

    I now live even more remotely than I used to back then, and I’m still making six figures (because I’ve set myself up so I can work from anywhere in the world) but I don’t have to deal with insane costs of living, traffic, and annoying people who can barely pay their bills telling me how people in rural America are all losers.

    Losers who are never broke, are always happy, get lots of time off, have no problems buying what they need, and who aren’t mortgaged up to their eyeballs with crippling debt and high taxes.

    Yeah, I’ve lived in NYC, Portland, Seattle, Sacramento, San Jose, and I’ve lived in ‘Rural White America’ (which really isn’t as white as these people seem to think – you want white? Move to Portland). I’ll take rural America every time, hands down. Because among other things, I don’t have other people telling me how to live – because the folks in rural America are a lot LESS prejudiced and don’t give a damn about your private life and don’t waste their time telling you how to live it. Notice it’s always the people in cities who can’t mind their own damn business.

  4. AvatarDan

    “If there is anything that will preserve this country from bloodshed in the years to come, it might just be that our ingroup/outgroup relationships are too complicated to perfectly resolve into a binary civil war.”

    The first rule of civil unrest is don’t have it.

    Failing that, the second rule of civil unrest is that you don’t get to pick your team. The opening move isn’t a conversation about your shared hobbies and outgroup relationships. The opening move is a brick, machete, or firebomb.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      That was certainly true 40 years ago but now all of this stuff is coordinated online before it happens.

      • AvatarDan

        Online coordination is strategic, not tactical, and strategic planning is bigger than individuals. When the mob arrives we’re now tactical. Mobs don’t talk.

    • AvatarScottS

      Yes, the first rule of civil unrest is peace through strength. On the face of it one would think that the relatively unarmed coastal progressives would keep silent in the face of the heavily armed “rural whites”. But we are not dealing with two opposing factions. What we have in reality is Coastal Progressives + Government vs Ignorant Rural Whites.

      This is recipe for certain disaster.

      • AvatarJohn Van Stry

        Ignorant, right! 🙂

        According to some friends from my mil days, they war gamed the government vs an insurrection in the US last year. They do stuff like this fairly often, though I don’t know how often they do that particular scenario.

        The Government lost. People were not pleased.

  5. AvatarJohn Van Stry

    But those foreign actors are now supply weapons, training, advisors, and money.
    Haven’t you noticed all those shiny norinco guns they’re carrying?
    Or those encrypted radios that the ‘lieutenants’ are wearing as they rally the ‘troops’?
    Or the logistics being employed to move people hundreds of miles to arrive on time to protest?

  6. Avatarhank chinaski

    If you used that litmus test you’d probably never turn on the TV, watch a current movie, read a newspaper, play most new video games, or buy most consumer goods from most retailers.

    And that would not be an entirely bad thing.

    It’s the geographic relationships that are complicated….urban/exurban. If it was easy North/South we’d be at war much sooner.

  7. AvatarCliffG

    Ah, tribalism. Dates back around 390,000 years ago or about the time a son in law got tired of his in-laws and moved to the other side of the mountain. Evolution is a beast. The N. Californian bike shop owner has chosen his tribe, and yet if you tried to point that out to him, he would deny it. Rationality and education and all that other stuff you know… The oddity of America is this narcissistic view that we aren’t out there choosing (or having it chosen for us – different argument, different day) our tribes, and other countries are better from that standpoint. But it is lot more gratifying to choose victim status here and pretend bad things aren’t going on in other places. Try being an indigenous Mexican and breaking into the Mexican soap opera business. What’s the old saying: There is no idea so stupid that an intellectual won’t believe it? Meet our betters folks.

  8. AvatarGene

    Perhaps it’s my middle class middle aged naivete but I continue to be astonished by the hatred openly spewed by the so called “decent” Left. At least local business leaders in the KKK had the good sense to put a mask on.

  9. Avataranatoly arutunoff

    in 1921 my father was in Berlin, age 28, having escaped the Russian revolution with my mother and infant brother, who had remained in Constantinople. while arranging financial matters to begin his company in Germany, he was invited into what you could call an international absolutely top-level conspiracy–by accident! too long a story for here–although I probably told it to your lovely Grace. the “octopus” is out there, and has been for well over a century

    • AvatarJohn C.

      Sounds like a cool story Anatoly, no doubt chock full of mysterious Russians, Jews, Germans, and Ottomans. Disinterested was wondering how the Chinese fit in. You see for some of us it is not our type of conspiracy if it doesn’t include those who really get our goat

    • AvatarJohn C.

      My point is that it sounds like an interesting story. Out of work Monarchists who had just been delivered the stab in the back are right up my alley.

  10. Avatarstingray65

    I think there are a few charts in the link below that might explain your bike shop owner’s attitudes. The 4th and 5th charts from the bottom of the post shows the Leftist dominance among university faculty (80+% rate themselves far Left and Strong Democrat) where this man was probably brainwashed of all common sense and empathy for any Republican or white male. The chart that is second from the bottom shows that those on the far Left are also about 2.5 times more likely to be mentally ill than those on the Right.

    If we need further proof of his likely insanity, we only need to look at the the fact that he moved from NY to California to set up a business to confirm he is mentally ill. But if he wasn’t already insane when he arrived in the land of fruits and nuts, he has almost certainly gone looney from living in a state that thinks they can single handedly stop global warming by converting to electric cars when they don’t have enough electricity capacity to power air conditioners during a heat wave, and has the highest taxes and regulations in the country (unless you are illegal or a BLM protester then regulations and taxes don’t apply) to fund the worst government services, infrastructure and schools, and yet keeps voting for the same party that gave them all these “benefits”. It also makes perfect sense for the insane to wish for national election results that will give the entire country California “values” and policies.


    • AvatarJohn C.


      The bike shop guys background was finance. If his finance education was like mine, he was taught by angry Korean men with a slim grasp of English and no love for Americans, urban or rural, democrat or republican.

      What would be insane is to try to sell $8000 Chinese bikes into a market where nobody had $8000 to spend on a bike. Some how that fairly obvious point is missing in your trickle down world. Hint, a no tax opportunity zone is no opportunity if the neighborhood is Somali.

      • Avatarstingray65

        John – business schools are among the most ideologically balanced places in a university – about 50-50 Left-Right, except for economics which is totally Leftist at most schools, but I assume the guy was also forced to take some courses in the social science and humanities to have a “well-rounded” indoctrination during his college years.

        You could also take you example and flip it – California costs are so high that the only way you you can scratch out a small profit selling bikes is to sell super expensive $8,000 models that are made in China and probably wholesale for $500. California crime rates probably also helps his business model that many of those $8,000 bikes end up getting stolen or vandalized and hence need to be replaced on a regular basis. Still doesn’t make it a sane place to live.

        • AvatarJohn C.

          You should remember that the bike guy is probably our generation. The most political prof I had was an old Georgia guy who started his first strategic management lecture with ” Anybody who looks at human anatomy can see that one’s digestive parts do not belong with another’s reproductive parts”. All the guys grinned and thought this class will be fun and about half the girls had heart palpitations and couldn’t wait to blab to the dean. His class was indeed useful with a great man view of Georgia business and how it could be copied by the next generation.

          There is also the issue of finding the buyer who has $8,000 to spend and doesn’t care that what he is being offered is inferior Chinese. That means you are dealing with fool and his money types and California with all it’s vibrancy, cocaine and freshly printed money in suitcases is truly a prime stomping ground.

    • AvatarNewbie Jeff

      “If we need further proof of his likely insanity, we only need to look at the the fact that he moved from NY to California to set up a business to confirm he is mentally ill”


  11. AvatarTony LaHood

    I think the rise of so-called “identity politics” deserves most of the blame for the current state of the nation. When people are looked at first not as individuals but as members of a group, victimization mentality sets in; the members of a “victimized” group will invariably blame their opression on members of a specific race, faith, or ideology, sweeping each of them into a confederacy with the broadest of brushes.

    It’s sad but not surprising that now most Americans define themselves not first as Americans, but as (insert race, faith, ideology, sexual orientation, etc.) who have the misfortune to live in a country they perceive as systemically preserving their victimhood. Granted, there has been no shortage of mistreatment of more than a few groups throughout our history; it is shameful, and remedial action was justifiably taken. Now it has been taken to extremes in the form of political correctness that has made it virtually impossible to express an opinion–indeed, even an observation–without being deemed a hater whose behavior is worthy of public shaming only because mprisonment is not (yet) an option.

    There will always be prejudice; after all, you cannot force others to like you. What’s more, there is no constitutional right, expressed or implied, not to be offended. When free thought and free speech do not belong to everyone, they belong to no one.

    Well, America, at least you had a good run.

  12. AvatarVTNoah

    It’s easy to generalize any population. Makes it more efficient to be a human when you don’t have to think about the diversity of thought and opinion in the other tribe. It takes a true renaissance man to understand that “We’re more the same than we are different”. BTW the last two dudes I knew from NorCal were absolute shitheads. One moved out to VT as my neighbor with the attitude you describe and summarily was drummed out of town. Everyone hated the guy. Another was a member of friend’s slack group. He kept insisting we kill the rich and overthrow the government. Wouldn’t participate in our conversations when we challenged his beliefs and rage quit the group. He also drove a late model 4Runner. Not exactly the ride of the proletariat. So… in summary, fuck NorCal.


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