Sunday, October 29, 2017


I get a kick out of Salena Zito, America's foremost White Working Class Whisperer who made her bones reporting that the talking points of Pennsylvania Republicans were Why Trump Won. But lately her columns have been a little off -- because, I'm guessing, even in Pennsyltucky people are discontented with So Much Winning and she's had trouble finding an alternative to her usual "Here in Konigsboro local entrepreneur Ima G.O.P. Operative tells us why plain folks like her love Trump" shtick.

Witness a recent Zito column about a Bulgarian immigrant who when he came to America "only knew two words in the English language: 'Pepsi' and 'pizza,'" yet thrives and is one of "the folks who help make Chicago Chicago... builders and construction workers, artisans, business owners, and professionals." That was my first tip-off -- a conservative writing abut Chicago as something other than a black-on-black crime scene? Then she says, "Every immigrant in this country is an echo of all of us" and I'm like, okay, what's going on here? True, like nearly everyone Zito ever talks to, "Yoni" is a Republican ("When I first came to this country, I thought the Democratic Party was the party of the people..."), but if you want to keep your cred as the Head WWCW in Charge, praising immigrants seems like a weird move. Plus Trump is never mentioned! Finally we get to her closing:
The next time we complain about the Metro or the barista or how offended we are by the outrage of the moment – think about the Yonis of our country and try to imagine what it is like to appreciate what we have instead of believing we are entitled to what we have.
Son of a gun -- she's telling native-born Americans to suck it up and be like this hard-working foreigner instead of demanding he be thrown out of the country! And earlier she did a column about how technology is shaking up the American workplace and...'s hard to imagine many people are ready for the impact that is going to have on their lives and their communities; industrial revolutions create and destroy, if we are better prepared for the one we are experiencing now, our country's temperament will stabilize.
Am I getting this right -- we're supposed to learn new job skills instead of just mining more coal and making Mexico give back our jobs? This populist victory isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Maybe someone talked to Zito, because in her latest column she's back on Trump ("the majority of his voters were inspired by his aspirational message, Make America Great Again. I’m With Her? Not so much") and back to bashing the elites ("most of the decision-and image-makers in this country — in culture, politics and power — live in the 10 wealthiest counties in the country"). But she clearly felt a big gesture was needed right off the bat to let the people know Salena is back, baby! So she starts off with an anecdote about an international firefighters union event in D.C. in 2015. Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and Jim Webb were there, testing the Presidential waters. Zito was in the press gallery:
There was a fraternity of connection among the big-city journalists. They traveled together, socialized together at cocktail parties and shared the same cultural touch-tones.
Cocktail parties! Drink! ("Cultural tone-tones," though? Maybe their phones played hardcore rap, as elitist devices will.)
I, on the other hand, was from the Paris of Appalachia.
Poor little coal country mouse! She nervously smoothed her gingham dress and took notes on a coal scuttle with a piece of charcoal when suddenly --
About halfway through Cruz’s speech, one of the reporters sneezed. Out of courtesy and habit I said, “God bless you.” I instantly felt a chill in the room as everyone looked toward what seemed to be my direction. I looked behind me to see if something terrible had happened. It was clear that nothing had. 
A few minutes later, after Cruz was done speaking, an aide to one of the candidates, whispered to me, “We don’t say that around here.” 
I wasn’t sure what he meant, so I asked what was the “that” that we don’t say around here. 
His answer: Blessing someone after they sneeze. 
While the young man was perfectly pleasant, it was clear I was being scolded.
Obviously I'm hanging out with the wrong liberals because "God bless you" when someone sneezes is not in my experience the least bit controversial. And ain't I a elitist? I've thought about this and can imagine only three scenarios where her story is remotely credible:

1. The aide was kidding.

2. A Cruz aide, tipped off to Zito's availability, ran up and whispered, "Listen: I'll tell you 'we don't say that around here,' and it'll make a great story for when Ted is President. Just leave my name out of it."

3. Zito screamed "God bless you" so loud it set off the sprinklers.

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