So the politically correct “high”-efficiency top-loading Samsung is now history, replaced by a new inefficient, water-guzzling, irresponsible right-wing-crazy Made-in-America Speed Queen agitator-driven washer.
Just took the first load out. The Speed Queen took exactly 30 minutes to run a medium-sized load on a cycle that took the hateful Samsung an hour and ten minutes to complete. The clothes look clean. They actually got wet, if you can imagine, without my having to pour a pailful of water in on top of them. And they did not come out in a wad or in a braid.
That is to say, the inefficient, water-guzzling, irresponsible right-wing-crazy Made-in-America Speed Queen agitator-driven washer works the way a washer is supposed to work: it washes your clothes, gets them clean, and does it in a reasonable amount of time.
Yesterday while I was sitting here waiting for the repairman to show up to fix the oven (again!), so that it can be turned off (again!) at the breaker switch and left that way permanently, so that if and when I want to sell this house or I croak over and my son decides to sell, the house will have a working double oven and will not require a $2,500 replacement before the place can be put on the market, it occurred to me that Americans have pretty good reason, overall, to be mad enough to sweep out the old, endlessly politically correct regime, even if the new regime is led by a narcissistic bigot who has no clue what he’s doing.
The choice is bad; the reasoning is….not altogether unreasonable.
There I was, after all, sitting in an (expensively) paid-off house that had no functioning oven and no believably functioning clothes washer. Stumbling across a brand of washer that is made in America with American-made parts felt like some kind of freaking miracle. Discovering rave consumer reviews of the things made me feel a) beside myself with joy that I may(!) have found a washing machine that works and b) mad as hell that I got suckered into buying the useless (exploding) high-(in)efficiency Samsung.
And I thought…god damn it! Here I am in the (supposedly) greatest country in the world, sliding into Third-World conditions. If I want to bake a loaf of bread, I’ll have to do it outside over an open fire in the grill. To get my clothes clean, I have to wash them by hand — all of them, including jeans and T-shirts. I might as well be washing the damn things in the Ganges. And for the privilege, I’ve paid through the wazoo. What’s next?
Much as I believe Donald Trump is not the man to do the job, nevertheless I could in theory buy into the idea that it’s past time for a change of direction.
• We have politically correct foreign-made wash machines that take almost two hours to not get our clothes clean;
• we have household appliances with, across the board, life expectancy of seven years (if you’re lucky);
• we’ve seen toilets that don’t flush and faucets that take half your lifetime to dispense a potful of water and showers that don’t shower, all in the name of environmental correctness;
• we have health insurance that costs a king’s ransom and covers nothing;
• we have Gloria Vanderbilt jeans made in African countries with pants-leg lengths that don’t match;
• we have bras made in China whose Dixie-cup design fits no one (and NO OTHER CHOICES in any store you can find);
• we have clothing made in China that falls apart within a few weeks or months;
• we have trade agreements that have allowed greedy, socially and environmentally uncaring US corporations to send jobs and production overseas to countries that have no safety regulations and no quality control, where a skilled carpenter thinks he’s lucky to earn $7.50 a day;
• we have copper plumbing that comes from the seller with pinhole leaks in it, made in China;
• we’ve had dog food that poisoned our pets, no matter what the cost and purported quality, because all brands are made in the same few Chinese factories;
• we’ve had toothpaste that poisoned its users, made in China;
• we have high-end, brain-bangingly expensive air conditioners that work no better and last no longer than the cheapest model, because they’re all made in the same place, China…
Don’t worry, be happy, we’re told: Americans whose highest and best skills qualified them to work on assembly lines can land great jobs in IT and medical care!
Then we have the nanny-state effect:
• wherein we can’t buy a package of Sudafed without signing for it, lest we decide to turn it into meth (does it occur to any of our Governmental Parents that maybe people who choose to consume meth deserve what they get?);
• we can’t buy a bottle of cough medicine lest we decide to drink it and get high;
• we can’t get a bottle of anything, from cough drops to cleanser, that doesn’t have caps that are impossible to open, so that we end up having to leave most household products sitting in our cabinets with no lids on, or else transferring everything to other containers;
• we can’t open the lid on a running washing machine lest we stupidly stick our hands into the spinning tub and mangle our arms;
• we can’t start a car without our seatbelts on, unless we wish to be bonged at nonstop;
• we can’t order a steak at a restaurant without being told eating rare meat could make us sick;
• we surely can’t order a plate of sushi without hearing or reading the same dire warning;
• we can’t buy a bottle of wine without being told the risk to a pregnant woman’s fetus is so dire she probably should go to jail for even thinking about swilling a glass of Beaujolais with dinner;
• and speaking of fetuses, children are no longer allowed to walk to school or play in the neighborhood park lest they be kidnapped by bogeymen; dare to let yours do so and you’ll be arrested for neglect and child abuse…
And then we have the oppressive political correctness, in which Those Who Are Our Betters tell us what we are and what we are not allowed to say, since we’re such ill-mannered troglodytes we don’t know how to function in polite society.
You know, I consider myself a civil grown-up, and so I have no objection to welcoming people of all genetic and ethnic persuasions into the human race; I do not go around calling homosexuals and lesbians nasty names (nor do I concern myself with their bedroom life); I do not care what your religious calling is, as long as you don’t foist it on me. And so most of the politically correct bullshit doesn’t apply here.
But…there are moments.
The moment when I lost patience with political correctness came some years ago, when I was teaching full-time at the Great Desert University’s westside campus. This was before I migrated to the main campus to found and operate an editorial office.
It was coming on to Christmastime when a memo came down from the Dean of Liberal (heh) Arts, informing us that we were not to utter the words “Merry Christmas” when exchanging holiday greetings in the office. We could say “Happy Holidays.” We could say “Happy Kwanzaa.” We could even say “Happy Chanukka.” But we were not, absolutely positively NOT to say “Merry Christmas.”
Furthermore, we were not to exchange greeting cards that had any kind of religious imagery on them. No babies dozing in mangers. No angels singing. No old guys traipsing across the desert following a star. No haloes. None of that. And of course, no “Merry Christmas” emblazoned upon any such greeting card. Acceptable: peace doves, wintry landscapes, and the “Happy Holidays” slogan.
You think I exaggerate?
Academia can get ridiculous. But this took the cake.
Eventually the oven repair guy showed up. He’s an independent contractor, has his own business…not an employee of Sears. He turned on the breaker and discovered…lo! the control panel was working. I explained that it was showing the F7 error, which Sears had twice told me meant the control panel was shot and had to be replaced, to the tune of $500.
Quoth he: not quite so. It also can indicate loose wiring somewhere. Wiring can work loose, he said, through expansion and contraction caused by the heating and cooling inside the oven.
He took the panel apart, tightened all the wiring, pulled the oven out of the wall and checked to see that the fan was working (if not, he suggested, the heat could be damaging the control panel), found the fan was working fine, put the thing back together, and charged me $81.
He did agree that the control panel on these ovens has a limited life expectancy, and he confirmed that the part is no longer made. And he did suggest that if I didn’t want to buy a new oven ($2000+) in the near future, I shouldn’t use it at all.
No wonder Sears is going out of business, hm?
So the oven is returned to its best and highest use: holding pots, pans, and cutting boards. But at least now I have a washer that works. For the time being.