People With Plastic Faces Are Not to Be Trusted
By Ben Bartee - May 17, 2024

Originally published via Armageddon Prose:

“You can’t trust these painted-faced whores,” my colleague and hardened expat in Thailand, Bryan, once crassly admonished me in the context of a particular breed of fast, notoriously seductive and wily Thai women who hunt Western men (by no means representative of all Thai women, who are otherwise lovely), as relayed in my memoir, Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile — the kind whose faces have been so altered by powders and surgeries and injections that perhaps their own mothers wouldn’t recognize them in uniform.

Bryan turned out to be right on that front, as he was on many others, a lesson I learned the hard way, as have many naïve and starry-eyed farang expats who came before me.

In the same vein, on the domestic front, we turn to South Dakota governess and Trump vice presidential candidate hopeful Kristi Noem, whom you may have caught in the media lately due to a passage in her (ghostwritten) book, No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward, in which she gleefully described shooting her puppy named Cricket in a gravel pit because she “hated it” before grabbing the family goat, which she said was guilty of smelling bad, and leading it to slaughter WWII-POW-style by the same weapon in the same gravel pit for good measure.

According to the account, which not only appeared in the book but which Noem actually read in her own voice in the audiobook, her grade school-age daughter was delivered home from school on the bus shortly after Cricket had been dispatched from this world, at which point she asked about where her dog had gone.

The chapter with the above animal slaughter anecdote, appropriately titled “Bad Day to be a Goat,” it went over with the public and media the way any non-psychopathic political advisor might have told her it would have, which is not well at all — even taking friendly fire from Fox News.

(She also apparently manufactured out of thin air a Biden-esque tale about “facing down” Kim Jong Un mano-a-womano, an encounter she won because she had experience submitting the “little tyrants” in her Sunday school class. But that’s the kind of mundane lie politicians tell in their memoirs constantly that usually go fully excused. It was the puppy-killing that really did her in.)

Noem ended up cutting her disastrous book tour and VP audition short and returning to South Dakota, by all accounts purged from the VP shortlist for her abysmal political calculations.

So, what went wrong?

It is well-documented, epistemologically, that politicians are disproportionate psychopaths relative to the general population. This is not only palpable fact that anyone not in the K-Hive can see with their own eyes but demonstrable reality.

The Noem entity, guaranteed, decided that bragging about executing her dog would endear her to the MAGA base by making her look like a no-nonsense tough guy with the balls to do the dirt that needs to be done for the greater good.

She also further calculated that she could write off whatever blowback she might get (which probably ended up being much more intense than she anticipated) by denouncing the liberal media class and coastal elites as out-of-touch, effeminate weaklings who don’t appreciate the hard-nosed farm life, who don’t have huevos to shoot a puppy in a gravel pit like John Wayne would have done.

Extravagant tales of puppy killing is what we get as the result of cynical image-making mixed with a pathological insecurity.

The moral of the story here is the same one Bryan imparted to me years ago.

“There is an idea of a [Kristi Noem], some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there. It is hard for me to make sense on any given level. Myself is fabricated, an aberration. I am a noncontingent human being. My personality is sketchy and unformed, my heartlessness goes deep and is persistent. My conscience, my pity, my hopes disappeared a long time ago (probably at Harvard) if they ever did exist. There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it, I have now surpassed. I still, though, hold on to one single bleak truth: no one is safe, nothing is redeemed. Yet I am blameless. Each model of human behavior must be assumed to have some validity. Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this — and I have countless times, in just about every act I’ve committed — and coming face-to-face with these truths, there is no catharsis. I gain no deeper knowledge about myself, no new understanding can be extracted from my telling. There has been no reason for me to tell you any of this. This confession has meant nothing.”

-Bret Easton Ellis, ‘American Psycho’

Ben Bartee, author of Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile, is an independent Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs.

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