08.31.16

“American Exceptionalism” and the High School Training Camp for Bootlicks

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism, Shoeshine, The Corporate Bund at 1:42 pm by George Smith

Hillary Clinton spoke in front of an American Legion audience today. She gave a special shout out to its Boys Nation thing:

“You help raise the next generation of American patriots. I want to give a special shout out to Boys Nation, which meant so much to my husband when he was growing up.”

And it was a small part in a longer pep talk about American exceptionalism and an extended pandering to military service (which the Clintons like the vast majority of Americans including myself had and hve no part of) and patriotism. This goes hand and hand with the America never stopped being great meme. which from the vantage point of the Clinton class, the wealthy and their still employed enablers, is all true. You see, America is always great, never stops being so, shame on you for thinking it, you must want American Hitler to be President.

“[When] Vladimir Putin, of all people, criticized American exceptionalism, my opponent agreed with him, saying, and I quote, ‘if you’re in Russia, you don’t want to hear that America is exceptional’,” Clinton continued. “Well maybe you don’t want to hear it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.”

I’m not from Russia. But the exceptionalism shtick is drivel. But it is surely tailor-made for HRC’s kind of audience.

I was dragooned into attending the American Legion’s Boys State/Boys Nation thing when I was in high school. I did not care for it. But it was a great thing for budding fascists, bullies and bootlicks, though, so it makes sense to me that the Clintons would think highly of it. It was probably perfect for them, being real American “meritocracy” stuff.

You’ll surely get a kick out of my tribute to it, too, so here’s a reprint/dredge-up from about a decade ago.


JUNE 2007 — [Summer camps] must be about pain and embarrassment. It’s also important they be totally useless. It’s a bonus if they’re scarring, too.

Boy Scouts of America summer retreat in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, was good for all three decades ago. You went, more accurately — were sent — to be physically purged and have a week gouged from your summer.

It reliably meted out punishment to those who had committed no crime.

If you slipped up in even the pettiest way — made the biscuits wrong — you had to do push-ups in front of the troop leader, a thirty-something man with an icky fondness for watching his charges do physical training with their shirts off.

On a par with Boy Scouts of America summer retreat was Keystone Boys State.

Keystone Boys State was a one-shot, eligible to you only when you were between junior and senior year in high school.

This year’s Keystone Boys State is at Shippensburg College (Shippensburg State Teachers, originally), running between June 24-30. (That was for 2007. -ed) Perhaps Keystone Boys State campers will Google this essay and be persuaded to threaten their parents with reprisals should they be forced to fulfill their commitment later this month.

Kids, don’t go!

DD is giving it to you straight. Keystone Boys State is not the Army but you’ll get a little dose of it later this month. Except you won’t be able to drink heavily, shoot guns or patrol foreign boulevards for prostitutes. You won’t be made Army Strong.

Naturally, DD did not volunteer for Keystone Boys State. I was drafted by irresponsible vainglorious parents and members of the local American Legion who thought of me as a utensil, an honors student at Pine Grove Area High School, something to be offered to the state Legion leadership. In a small town like Pine Grove, kids didn’t have the luxury of snubbing their noses at “gifts” from the local American Legion-VFW. Parents wouldn’t have it.

My Keystone Boys State was held at State College. It is a tribute to Penn State University that the American Legion sponsored operation wasn’t capable of bringing out a loathing in me for all things Nittany Lions. I remain a fan of the college football team and Joe Paterno.

Indeed, it’s astonishing that Penn State University would have allowed the use of its facilities to an organization and operation which determinedly obstructed any efforts by campers to enjoy Penn State, or even get to know about the school.

You see, attendance at Keystone Boys State didn’t give camp-goers much of a glimpse of the university.

When I attended, Boys Staters were restricted to two dormitories, a nearby cafeteria and attached playing fields.

How Keystone Boys State managed this in the Seventies was nasty business.

Upon arrival in State College, campers were separated into platoons, with each platoon being assigned a nominal city, named after some Pennsylvania government functionary.

DD was assigned to “Bethman City.” Each city resided on one floor of a dorm. Each city’s adult minders were from the active ranks of the US military. Bethman City’s minder was a USMC man from Parris Island. I’ll call him Gunny, although that was not his real name.

Gunny was a power drunk with a talent for cussing, neither of which DD thinks could be any liability in the Marines, although it was momentarily surprising to see him lay it out so plainly within 60 seconds of arrival.

The first thing Gunny told us about was screening at Parris Island. He was specific in his description of a Marine Corps recruit found with a rubber dildo in his rectum. Why this was important to tell a bunch of high school boys, other than it being an X-rated shaggy dog story, was not immediately obvious.

More pressing, Gunny said, was that we campers recognize we were to stay within the bounds of Keystone Boys State. Under no circumstances were we to take walks to downtown State College, described as a potentially dangerous place.

At this point, DD’s high school eyes rolled, having already been to State College a number of times to see Saturday football. Since I was in the back, Gunny did not see the contempt in which I held him and his developing tale. If he had, perhaps I would have been ordered to do some push-ups without my shirt on.

Gunny explained that there were women who were pros in downtown State College and they were eager to take advantage of us. It was such an outrageously stupid story, a few of us assumed he’d been told to tell it by someone old and weird and higher-up from within the American Legion.

The current website for Keystone Boys State advertises it as “non-military.”

Whether this is true now I don’t know, but in the Seventies the claim was utter horsecrap.

The camp was functionally administered by US military men. Every morning there was inspection — the kind in which a military man examined your bed and opened the drawers of your empty desk to see if there was any dust in them. If there was dust in an empty drawer, it was scooped up and put on your bed or on the top of some of your property to teach you a lesson. Whatever miscellaneous lint or dirt was found during inspection was always deposited on your belongings or personal space. This kept up until our military counselors realized we’d stopped giving a shit about what they thought and did, around mid-week.

How well a Boys Stater’s city did in inspection determined in which order you would eat lunch during the day. Bethman City always did poorly and, as a result, we always ate lunch last or near to last.

In late afternoon, after some worthless class on state government and a round of compulsory softball in the sweltering heat, the camp retired to the drill field to practice calisthenics, marching in formation and pass-in-review. During the exercises, each city was judged on its form and ability to follow orders snappily. That determined in which order you ate dinner.

Bethman City, you guessed it, often finished last.

By mid-week, Gunny had reported in for Keystone Boys State duty drunk or with savage hangover too many times. He was dismissed and the slack taken up by an USAF man.

At that point, the boys of Bethman City made the decision to stop paying attention to cleaning up bathrooms, sweeping rooms atomically clean and making beds quarter-bounce-worthy for inspection. Then we always finished last.

Being snappy on the drill field went out, too. On the last day of camp, when all the thugs from high-school football teams and their assorted camp lackeys had been “elected” leaders of Keystone Boys State and allowed to go into the reviewing stand as the elite who watched the rest of the lumpen pass-in-review, we dropped our pants while trudging past the bleechers. We ate last.

The people who ran my Keystone Boys State liked nothing better than to order around teenagers, mostly for what appeared to be the sheer sake of it.

“A week at Keystone Boys State condenses what might take several months in real life to less than 168 hours,” informs the official KBS website. “This compressed simulation helps people learn lessons about the actions and consequences of leadership in a very realistic way.”

Yes, one thinks learning to suck up, march in formation and follow pointless orders does teach something about life but one ought not to ask teenage kids to give up a week of summer to learn it. The current website seems to indicate Keystone Boys State is big with those junior ROTC operations which haven’t yet been run off public high school properties.

“The effort to get everyone involved at [KBS] manifests itself by having every ‘citizen’ elected, selected, assigned or appointed to leadership positions throughout the week. Each citizen also is provided with text materials based on organizational science and personal development exercises. Much of what we do is a spin-off of the Stephen Covey text, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective [People],” the boys camp proclaims.

“All citizens should become familiar with parliamentary procedures, ‘Robert’s Rules of Order’ and Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – NOW ! ! !”

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” wasn’t required reading when DD attended Keystone Boys State, probably because it hadn’t yet been written.

It is another in a long line of publications from the self-help industry, filled with the kinds of slogans and advice people used to following orders and doing pointless institutional or corporate busy work for work’s sake think will help them improve their attitude so they can earn a quick million dollars, get promoted and exit the logjam of daily life.

Some of its tenets: Think Win/Win! Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood! Synergize!

Adoption of such a thing indicates the Keystone Boys State experience is, more than likely, an even more annoying and brainwashing experience in 2007 than it was in the Seventies.

It was true that every “citizen” of Keystone Boys State had to hold a “political” position by the end of the week.

This meant that as the inner core of apple-polishers was exhausted during the awarding of positions of “leadership” within the quasi-state camp apparatus, other positions were handed out on the basis of an ad hoc cronyism until, by the end of the week, everyone had one. It was mandated that everyone hold a public office.

I was made Bethman City dog catcher on the last day of formal camp operation. It didn’t require a vote.

For kids stumbling into this, if you must go to Keystone Boys State (and you SHOULD NOT if possible), I recommend you take a musical instrument, even if you aren’t in the high school band. Campers with instruments got to be in the Keystone Boys State community band. Perks were associated with it, like getting out of marching-in-formation and being allowed to eat ahead of everyone else, regardless of how badly your city did during inspection.

In the weeks following Keystone Boys State, I was able to make productive use of the camp one time and only once.

Everyone from Pine Grove High School who attended KBS was required to attend an American Legion dinner at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars banquet hall. After dinner, the campers would be asked to speak about their experience at Keystone Boys State.

I had no interest in attending and told my parents that if they forced the issue, like they’d forced KBS, I would tell the Legion dinner audience exactly what KBS was like. I would start with Gunny and his stories about a Marine recruit with a dildo up his ass and hookers patrolling the streets of State College looking for fresh-faced young boys.

That was all it took, really. When Mom and Dad asked what they should tell the organizers of the dinner, I told them to say I was at … another camp for the week.


Now that it one hell of a story, isn’t it? Real gonzo journalism. There ain’t nothing the Clintons could put down on paper to top it.

Anyway, moving on, about halfway through her speech today, Clinton gave a little spiel on computer security for the 1 percent. Computer security for the 1 percent is the years old story of China stealing all the intellectual property of America’s wealthiest companies, particularly it’s arms manufacturers

More recently, Russian hackers have taken their place. Worse, from the meritocratic and all-knowing point-of-view of the Democratic Party, Russia is attacking the DNC in cyberspace and possibly setting up to jigger the vote so as to throw the election to Trmp.

HRC is on the case:

We’ll invest in the next frontier of military engagement, protecting U.S. interests in outer space and cyberspace. You’ve seen reports. Russia’s hacked into a lot of things. China’s hacked into a lot of things. Russia even hacked into the Democratic National Committee, maybe even some state election systems. So, we’ve got to step up our game. Make sure we are well defended and able to take the fight to those who go after us.

As President, I will make it clear, that the United States will treat cyber attacks just like any other attack. We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses. And we’re going to invest in protecting our governmental networks and our national infrastructure. I want us to lead the world in setting the rules of cyberspace.

If America doesn’t, others will. So in short, we have to be ready to win today’s fights and tomorrow’s.

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