Gradually, over the decades, spring break…

… which this blog has long covered, has morphed into a military-grade assault on American municipalities. Even the grossest, most self-serving of locations – places like Myrtle Beach and Panama City Beach – have begun wondering whether it’s ultimately… advantageous to them to be associated in the public mind with open-air rape, open-air drug dealing, street riots, and incessant gunfire. A lot of people seem to think these conditions aren’t family friendly. A lot of people in these localities are trying to unload real estate.

Throw in covid and you get Miami Beach, another notorious spring break location, and one that in recent years has really struggled with epically disgusting behavior. Unable to cope with this year’s fusillades, the city has imposed severe, weeks-long, curfews.

“I believe it’s a lot of pent-up demand from the pandemic and people wanting to get out,” David Richardson, a member of the Miami Beach City Commission, said on Sunday. “And our state has been publicly advertised as being open, so that’s contributing to the issue.”

This Spring Break, it’s the turn of South Beach Fla. to be shocked, shocked, that…

… beachy municipalities with wall to wall bars and little law enforcement attract really big vicious crowds. As one traditional spring break town after another says enough to the carnage, larger and larger groups of drunk fucks concentrate in smaller and smaller spaces, to the point where South Beach, and the handful of other still-certified SB locations, are absolutely choked with traffic jams police stops drugs guns fights biker gangs and open-air rapes for as long as two months. Residents seem to think this isn’t the best way to welcome in the spring, and even the merchants who in the past haven’t minded the grossness because it brings in so much cash have begun to respond to the city council’s pleas that they close up early or stop feeding infinite liquor to everyone who shows up or whatever.

UD wonders, though. Bestiality will have its way, and our enterprising country should be able to produce one or two cities/towns willing to make a name for themselves as crapulous destinations of last resort. I’m putting my money on Myrtle Beach.

University Diary’s 2018 Spring Break Open-Air Rape Mass Bloodbath Watch

With high-profile calls for university students to boycott the state of Florida for this year’s upcoming Spring Break, a fascinating situation is developing, which we will follow here on University Diaries.

Panama City is by far the most popular Florida spring break destination, boasting open-air gang rapes, up to seven shootings a night, and so massive and sudden an influx of drug dealers that from March 10 – 18 the earth is knocked off its axis.

PCB’s sheriff sets up a spring break jail on the beach. Panama City Beach wears its perennial Trashiest Place in the World crown proudly.

So assume the Panama City Beach boycott – a protest against legislative inaction on guns in that state – succeeds. The gunniest NRA gunnies are going to stage a backlash (they’re already striking back at commercial boycotts of the NRA) which will certainly involve many of them choosing desperately gun-friendly Panama City Beach for their spring break.

This will mean that despite PCB’s post-2015 (year of the biggest atrocities) efforts to sanitize itself (no liquor on the beach; closing hours for bars), and despite confident statements that “Panama City Beach will never be what it was during those times,” that city now faces a kind of ethnic cleansing situation: Everyone who doesn’t conceal carry has been purged, and everyone who does carry is on their way to PCB as we speak. Given all the post-Parkland unpleasantness, the carriers are in a foul mood, and they plan to drink their sorrows away.

All in all, a fraught moment for Panama City Beach. Expect the National Guard to be out in force.

We’ll keep an eye on it.

We’ve enjoyed following family friendly, spring break friendly, gun massacre friendly, Myrtle Beach on this blog.

Latest headline:

Three shootings in 8 hours. Eight wounded. Some tourists say they won’t be back.

Others, however – bikers, boozers, gunnies – are beginning to think their usual vacation spot – Panama City Beach – lacks the je ne sais quoi of the pride of South Carolina.

Ladies, UD can’t think of a more perfect synergy than taking your semesters at rape-friendly Baylor (located in biker-friendly Waco) and your semester breaks at pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-POPPIN’!!! (watch that way-viral video NOW – start at 1:44 to go RIGHT to the fun stuff – for the amazing spray of bullets!) Myrtle Beach.

Or you could skip the long trip and just attend Coastal Carolina University.

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“We’re gonna send a message to do everything that’s humanly possible to stop this violence in our city,” [the city’s Mayor] said.

But you’re not going to, are you? Because the simple stuff you have to do in order to stop attracting large numbers of violent criminals to your beach involves getting merchants to stop pandering to them. But this is America, and we don’t fuck with the free market.

“[A] multitude of ads [in Myrtle Beach] tout the excitement of shooting machine guns in nearby Conway…”

The thing you do, which is turn the city into a police state during the warm months, doesn’t seem to be interrupting the flow of bullets.

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WOW! Myrtle Beach managed to find time to squeeze in a fourth shooting on Sunday night!

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SUPER wow! A fifth one!!

After a fifth shooting Monday night, Gov. Henry McMaster also asked State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel to meet with local law enforcement and address the spate of violence.

With five, you get a concerned governor thrown in.

Spring Break: The Agony and the Ecstasy

After last year’s broad daylight beach rapes, confiscation of huge numbers of illegal fire arms, and mass shootings, Panama City Beach was finally shamed into enacting some liquor and crowd control laws.

“People are falling off balconies, going home dead, going home paraplegic. Is that the community we want to be?” [one resident] asked. “Panama City Beach had depended for decades on this revenue, and to [enact new laws] overnight, that’s a big thing to do. But how do you continue when people are getting raped, shot, killed?”

The obvious answer was for Panama City Beach to think of spring break in a new way… To think of it as like a demolition derby or like the climbing of Mount Everest: Of course there will be … some… unpleasantnesss… but no great and noble enterprise is without its risks.

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But no. PCB went ahead and outlawed drinking on the beach and lots of other stuff that makes crowds of people murderous. And this year spring break at PCB barely exists. Everyone’s gone somewhere else.

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And that’s the ecstasy part! If you’re Daytona Beach, take a bow!

Spring Break in Panama City Beach.

It’s all over but the rhetoric.

Unfortunately, hosting families there is also over, at least for awhile. There’s something about mass shootings, rapes on the beach, and the confiscation of large numbers of fire arms that seems to put families off.

I hate it, but I’ll say it. It’s time for us to bring the madness of Panama City Spring Break to a halt by staying away. Parents, if you allow your children to go into that snake pit then you are simply contributing to the problem.

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Shame on Panama City Beach for letting itself devolve into what it has become,” said Nicki E. Grossman, now president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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“We’re in chaos right now,” says resident Wes Pittman. “This Spring Break and the way it has evolved over the last couple years has become a blight on the entire community.”

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UD finds it fascinating in a Lord of the Flies way. Allow certain ingredients to be put together in a concentrated way in a specific location, and you can actually destroy civilized life.

Bidding a fond farewell to another beautiful Spring Break…

… in Panama City Beach.

Next spring: Open-air beheadings.

Note to Panama City Beach Spring Breakers: Conceal the Concealed Weapons.

And bury the brass knuckles.

There’s a crackdown on beach toys this year.

“For McKeithen and some others watching Spring Break, there had been a fear that it was only a matter of time until violence erupted due to the proliferation of people coming into town with guns.”

Hey – you’re not gonna fuck with our gun rights, are you? Guns and spring break go together like lilacs and crocuses.

****************

Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst said business owners informed the council that banning alcohol from the beach, where tens of thousands of revelers gather, would devastate business.

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Having multiple college student gunshot victims in your town can make the locals petulant. Panama City, site of the latest mass shooting, called an emergency town council session.

The meeting was contentious almost from the beginning, with [one council member] asking [another] what was the purpose of an emergency meeting and [getting the reply], “We have blood on our hands, and so do you….”

Later, after [a council member] said he didn’t want to see knee-jerk reactions to a shooting that “surprised” everyone, [another] challenged that statement.

“The shooting last night was a surprise to you, sir? … Can you honestly say that?”

“Of course it was a surprise; I was not aware of it until this morning,” [he] answered.

…. “We’re dealing with some of the worst of the worst of the worst [elements] in all of the U.S.,” [one townsperson] said. Some of it can be fixed, but the difficulty in solving the problem is “amplified by the fact that y’all hate each other.”

Here’s the deal, Panama City Beach-wise: What’s good for getting kids shot up is also, as it happens, good for business. You take the good with the bad in life.

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Shoot and the world shoots with you.

Saturday’s shooting was the sixth firearm-related call of the night, authorities said.

La Kid, Paris, Spring Break.

At the Café Maure de la Mosquée.

With friends. She’s the one with
blond hair and glasses.

La Kid, Spring Break, Paris

“… We went to the Café Maure de la
Mosquée de Paris and got lots of
peppermint tea and smoked a little
bit of hookah and we felt very authentic.
It was really fun. We just sat and talked
for two hours. We saw the Arc de Triomphe
last night which was awesome and tonight
we’re going to the Eiffel Tower and getting
dinner by Musée d’Orsay. We got a really
yummy dinner last night at a restaurant
called something Odéon and then we
just wandered around St Germain…”

“This assault is a worst-case scenario, but women being assaulted at spring-break destinations and other large gatherings for partygoers isn’t uncommon or new. At the events I’ve been to or, better, used to go to—note the past tense—I always felt that there was an undercurrent of sexual violence, an assault waiting to happen.”

Lots of stupid commentary has been generated by the events at Panama City Beach. This is the first smart opinion piece UD has read.

Scathing Online Schoolmarm Scathes through an Opinion Piece that Perfectly Expresses What Must, Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak, be Called the Suicidal Acceptance of Any Mindless Cult that Calls Itself a Religion.

“You can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you’ll just get yourself called Reverend” remarked Christopher Hitchens of the founder of the only university in America that’s about to reopen. In an extraordinary opinion piece about perverse pockets of resistance to self-isolating, Candida Moss duly notes this country’s raving reverends, its potted pastors, the flagellants at the journal First Things; she mentions too the South Korean cult at the heart of that country’s epidemic… She fails to mention the sometimes violent ultraorthodox cults in Israel, Europe, and the United States, but we need to throw them in…

She lists all of these disease-spreaders with respect, with the understanding that of course all such people and groups qualify as upstanding Christians and Jews, our brethren, part of the beautiful world (as a word in her headline puts it), of “faith.”

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Since we need to stop fanatics from killing us, let us examine precisely how ethically dense people like Moss help make this life-saving goal unreachable.

This week, as stores, restaurants and other businesses shuttered their doors to help stem the spread of coronavirus, a number of conservative Christians chose to frame their response to the pandemic in a different way: as an opportunity to choose “faith over fear.”

The rhetoric of that last phrase – an opportunity to choose – recalls Jack Gladney’s response to his wife’s choice, amid the “airborne toxic event” in White Noise, to regard the disaster as “a good time to cut down on fatty things.” To which Gladney responds:

I think it’s interesting that you regard a possible disaster for yourself, your family and thousands of other people as an opportunity to cut down on fatty foods.

Of course, the people Moss has in mind don’t really choose anything; they are proud submissives, majorly into suffering and dying for the lord or the chief rabbi or whatever. To them, the virus represents an opportunity to manifest submission. They’re not like hedonistic spring breakers; they’re compelled to prove something.

We’re talking snake-handlers here, many of whom die venomously while under the protection of the holy spirit – and I’m pretty sure Moss would extend the same ecumenical courtesy to snake-handlers that she extends to the Falwells.

Hers is a category error, not to mention a catastrophic mistake for humankind.

While religious activity may be an essential part of people’s lives, the assumption that social distancing equates to spiritual estrangement is up for debate. Should religious freedom be allowed to put the lives of the many at risk?

Religious; religious; spiritual; freedom – how kind of Moss to honor the kinkiest among us with these epithets. How kind of her to frame the problem of what to do with destructive masochists as a “debate.” Here are some better word choice suggestions from SOS: cultic; criminally negligent (I mean, let’s also honor with words like faith Christian Scientists who kill their kids: Or is Moss reserving judgment of isolation-resisters until they too kill family members?); stupid; socially toxic.

In her last paragraphs (how many readers will get to these?) Moss finally says the right stuff:

What is most frightening about these latest expressions of “religious freedom” is not just that they threaten to place others at risk, but that religious conservatives form a substantial part of Donald Trump’s voter base — his plan to reopen by Easter may be well timed to speak to them.

Now the phrase religious freedom gets the quotation marks it deserves; but Moss still considers fringe groups (think here of the Mormon church’s endless efforts to disaffiliate itself from backwoods polygamists fucking fourteen year olds for the lord) “conservative Christians.” Call them what they are, lady – disturbed reactionaries who damage the legitimate religions they parasitize, and who now threaten the health of nations.

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The attitude of religion to medicine, like the attitude of religion to science, is always necessarily problematic and very often necessarily hostile. A modern believer can say and even believe that his faith is quite compatible with science and medicine, but the awkward fact will always be that both things have a tendency to break religion’s monopoly, and have often been fiercely resisted for that reason. What happens to the faith healer and the shaman when any poor citizen can see the full effect of drugs and surgeries, administered without ceremonies or mystifications? Roughly the same thing as happens to the rainmaker when the climatologist turns up, or to the diviner from the heavens when schoolteachers get hold of elementary telescopes. Plagues of antiquity were held to be punishment from the gods, which did much to strengthen the hold of the priesthood and much to encourage the burning of infidels and heretics who were thought—in an alternative explanation—to be spreading disease by witchcraft or else poisoning the wells. We may make allowances for the orgies of stupidity and cruelty that were indulged in before humanity had a clear concept of the germ theory of disease. Most of the “miracles” of the New Testament have to do with healing, which was of such great importance in a time when even minor illness was often the end. (Saint Augustine himself said that he would not have believed in Christianity if it were not for the miracles.) Scientific critics of religion such as Daniel Dennett have been generous enough to point out that apparently useless healing rituals may even have helped people get better, in that we know how important morale can be in aiding the body to fight injury and infection. But that would be an excuse only available in retrospect. By the time Dr. Jenner had discovered that a cowpox vaccine could ward off smallpox, this excuse had become void. Yet Timothy Dwight, a president of Yale University and to this day one of America’s most respected “divines,” was opposed to the smallpox vaccination because he regarded it as an interference with god’s design. And this mentality is still heavily present, long after its pretext and justification in human ignorance has vanished.

Spring’s First Bud!

Er, I mean blood.

Spring Break is quite the American tradition. We bring to it our nation’s own very special way of celebrating the renewal of life.

In the Spring, UD’s Thoughts Turn to…

… anything but happiness.

On the matter of happiness, she’s with Adam Phillips, a British psychoanalyst. Here are some Phillips snippets:

Sanity involves learning to enjoy conflict, and giving up on all myths of harmony, consistency and redemption… A culture that is obsessed with happiness must really be in despair, mustn’t it? Otherwise why would anybody be bothered about it at all? It’s become a preoccupation because there’s so much unhappiness. The idea that if you just reiterate the word enough … we’ll all cheer up is preposterous… The cultural demand now is be happy, or enjoy yourself, or succeed. You have to sacrifice your unhappiness and your critique of the values you’re supposed to be taking on. You’re supposed to go: ‘Happiness! Yes, that’s all I want!’ But what about justice or reality or ruthlessness – or whatever my preferred thing is?”

“The reason that there are so many depressed people is that life is so depressing for many people. It’s not a mystery. There is a presumption that there is a weakness in the people who are depressed or a weakness on the part of scientific research and one of these two groups has got to pull its socks up. Scientists have got to get better and find us a drug and the depressed have got to stop malingering. The ethos is: ‘Actually life is wonderful, great – get out there!’ That’s totally unrealistic and it’s bound to fail.”

“Darwinian psychoanalysis would involve helping you to adapt, find a niche and enable you to reproduce. Freudian psychoanalysis suggests that there is something over and above this. There are parts of ourselves – that don’t want to live, that hate our children, that want ourselves to fail. Freud is saying there is something strange about humans: they are recalcitrant to what is supposed to be their project. That seems to me to be persuasive.”

“One of the things I value about psychoanalysis is that it acknowledges that there are real difficulties in living, being who one’s going to be, and that no one’s going to be having a lobotomy. There isn’t going to be a radical personal change, which doesn’t mean that people can’t change usefully, but really that psychoanalysis is against magic. Ideally it enables you to realise why you’re prone to believe in magic and why you shouldn’t, because to believe in magic is to attack your own intelligence. [S]uffering is not essential. It’s just unavoidable. All forms of suffering are bad but some are unavoidable. We need to come to terms with them or be able to bear them. …[Y]ou really did have those parents, you really did make of it what you made of it, you really did have those siblings, really did grow up in that economic climate. These are all hard difficult facts. Redescribed, they can be modified, things can evolve. But it isn’t magic.”

Happiness is fine as a side effect. It’s something you may or may not acquire, in terms of luck. But I think it’s a cruel demand. It may even be a covert form of sadism. Everyone feels themselves prone to feelings and desires and thoughts that disturb them. And we’re being persuaded that by acts of choice, we can dispense with these thoughts. It’s a version of fundamentalism. [H]appiness is the most conformist of moral aims. For me, there’s a simple test here. Read a really good book on positive psychology, and read a great European novel. And the difference is evident in one thing — the complexity and subtlety of the moral and emotional life of the characters in the European novel are incomparable. Read a positive-psychology book, and what would a happy person look like? He’d look like a Moonie. He’d be empty of idiosyncrasy and the difficult passions.”

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All of which is why reactions to the decades-long Harvard Grant Study, which followed a group of Harvard undergraduates throughout their lives in terms of their happiness, have been like this:

♦ The lives were too big, too weird, too full of subtleties and contradictions to fit any easy conception of “successful living.”

♦ Their lives were too human for science, too beautiful for numbers, too sad for diagnosis and too immortal for bound journals.

♦ Education, marriage, moderate alcohol intake, and exercise are fairly reliable predictors of happiness; so are certain “mature adaptations” taken in responding to challenges, such as maintaining a sense of humor and channeling aggressive feelings into more healthful channels like athletics. As for offering any definitive answer as to how to live the good life, no convenient elixir is forthcoming. To deny the Grant Study its ambitious objective to pinpoint the causes of happiness has a whiff of the wet blanket about it. But there’s something even more miserable about thinking that our happiness can be defined by the jobs we choose, or what we eat for breakfast, or how many miles we run each week. Freud himself pointed out that the only thing normal is pathology, which makes applying a bell-curve-style prescription for joy more than a little reductionist. Even if all the indicators in our lives point to success, a craving for something indefinable may persist.

Here’s an example of how weird, strange, disturbing, and difficult we are:

[P]eople tell psychologists they’d cross the street to avoid someone who had given them a compliment the previous day.

In fact, [explains one of the Harvard Grant Study researchers], positive emotions make us more vulnerable than negative ones. One reason is that they’re future-oriented. Fear and sadness have immediate payoffs — protecting us from attack or attracting resources at times of distress. Gratitude and joy, over time, will yield better health and deeper connections — but in the short term actually put us at risk. That’s because, while negative emotions tend to be insulating, positive emotions expose us to the common elements of rejection and heartbreak.

To illustrate his point, he told a story about one of his “prize” Grant Study men, a doctor and well-loved husband. “On his 70th birthday,” Vaillant said, “when he retired from the faculty of medicine, his wife got hold of his patient list and secretly wrote to many of his longest-running patients, ‘Would you write a letter of appreciation?’ And back came 100 single-spaced, desperately loving letters—often with pictures attached. And she put them in a lovely presentation box covered with Thai silk, and gave it to him.” Eight years later, Vaillant interviewed the man, who proudly pulled the box down from his shelf. “George, I don’t know what you’re going to make of this,” the man said, as he began to cry, “but I’ve never read it.” “It’s very hard,” Vaillant said, “for most of us to tolerate being loved.”

Amen, brother. Some of UD‘s most difficult moments in life involve her confrontation with extremely high appraisals of UD.

Don’t get her wrong. She wouldn’t trade these beautiful appreciations — often written as if after lengthy consultations with UD‘s most embarrassingly grandiose narcissistic fantasies about herself — for the world.

But since she knows herself to be much less impressive and much more unpleasant than what she’d like to think she is, part of her responds to beautiful appreciations with fear. “If you only knew,” she wants to say to the writers. “If you only knew, you’d be so bitterly … so vengefully? … disappointed.”

I think that’s why we cross the street.

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