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Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
Fatwah / August 18, 2009
By John Dolan


I came to extreme poverty late in life, and did very badly at it. I should have done some kind of crime. But what kind? That’s what I couldn’t figure out. What kind of crime can you actually do, if you aren’t a lawyer and don’t understand computers?

There were certainly plenty of people who could have offered me some advice on the matter. We were living on a boat, moored in a skuzzy little harbor full of small-time criminals. The one guy who went off to a job every day was a figure of awe and mockery, a freak. Everybody else scavenged or stole to buy their booze and weed.

But crime didn’t pay, at least for these guys. They were as poor as we were. Poorer, because they needed a lot of cash for their chemicals, and we stuck with free government Prozac.

They talked a good game, crime-wise, but their lives were more than just bad—they were ridiculous. Horrible, stupid things happened to them on a regular basis.  Like Chris, who failed to notice that his boat was resting lower in the water every day. It finally sank right under him. I hear he’s living in his van now. Then there was Mike, who used to ride with the Angels and still had a classic Fu Manchu, maybe the last on the continent. He was dropping prawn traps, drunk as ever, when he managed to wrap a rope around his legs and found himself zooming to the sea floor, a big screaming mass of live bait. He was proud of having cut the line and made it back to the surface, but everybody else was so sick of the story they wished he hadn’t had his knife with him when he took his dip.

Those people forced me into something like a partial revaluation of my values. There was no honor among these thieves. I mean, you think you know that already, but in the early winter months, when our murderer friend rowed over through the sea ice with a propane heater and shared it with us—with us and his pale young friend Benny—we were deeply moved. You’d have to have been through what we went through, begging the respectable people of British Columbia first for jobs, and at last simply for shelter from the first blizzard—and getting not just rejections but loathing, utter disgust that we might need help. At least Johnny-the-double-murderer, fresh from 17 years in Collins Bay, a venerable medium-security institution in Ontario, didn’t despise us for needing help. He was proud to help us, and that counted for an awful lot with me and Katherine. We still talk about the night of the first big snowstorm, when we begged for shelter at the thrift store, then the public library, and got nowhere—but when we rowed over to Johnny’s boat in desperation, he just said, “Go over to your boat, I’ll be right over!” and rowed over with his propane heater. That night Johnny and his catamite lay in their sleeping bags a few feet from us, all warmed by that blue sunflower of Propane. We wanted badly to believe that they were our friends; there were no other candidates.

We learned soon enough that even murderers can’t be trusted. We fled the boat in mid-winter, with the sea ice grinding at the hull, and by the time I made it back to collect our stuff it was all gone, pawned by Johnny. He had every intention of paying me back, he explained, and that was the last I heard of it.

In fact, that was the only crime that seemed to pay out on the boats: talking newcomers out of their money by offering to do repairs, or befriending them in a heavy-handed prison manner. That worked, at least on us, but the trouble is, you end up with what Flann O’Brien succinctly described as “paupers impoverishing each other.” There’s got to be a better, braver, more honorable form of crime than that.

We went over the possibilities many times, sitting hungry and cold on that damn boat. Not that crime was our first thought. You don’t want to know how hard and long I tried for every job in Canada. The locals have all the teaching jobs well wrapped up, though. Like Limonov said, “In America, every profession has its mafia.” Nice legal mafias. That’s the apex of the crime pyramid, and it soon became clear it was as closed to overeducated immigrants as the Sicilian original would have been.

Then we panicked and just tried for a job, any job. You can’t get “any job” these days, though. You may think you’re being very flexible, but McDonald’s doesn’t actually want a fifty-year old, slovenly, slightly crazed academic taking orders. You’d be surprised what snobs they are. Call-centers didn’t want me answering their phones with my expensively trained voice. Inuit villages hundreds of miles inside the Arctic Circle didn’t want me teaching English to their kids. It was astonishing; it seemed improbable, excessive. Until you got back to the boat in the evening with no food and no propane, sleeping two-to-a-mummy-bag for warmth.

When you’re literally out in the cold, in the middle of thousands of nice warm houses, you think about home invasion first. It must be some Pleistocene brainstem connection: Me cold…Them got warm and foodzez…beat them heads in and take foodzez.

That was the only sort of crime that came naturally to me, arising naturally from the long cold walks past rows of warm, well-stuffed houses full of smug, stupid householders. You start to wonder, how hard would it be? Just knock on the door with something, anything, a tree branch, a piece of pipe.

You’ll never do it, at least I’d never do it, but you sort of wish you could. I had a more practical version that made a little more sense: find a house occupied by a single aged recluse, somebody who kept totally to themselves. Knock-knock, bang-bang, and spend the winter there, leave in the spring.

It was a comforting notion, no more than that. As Nietzsche said about suicide, it got me through many a long night. But it did nothing about the fact that we were utterly broke, poorer than I thought it was possible to be in North America.

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Add your own

  • 1. Eren  |  August 18th, 2009 at 9:54 am

    We get it buddy, the system doesn’t work, competent and once-ambitious people such as yourself are disillusioned. Quit your yapping and lets start the revolution already.

  • 2. mikey  |  August 18th, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Let me know how to send you a buck.

  • 3. khakjaan  |  August 18th, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I know an ex-porn writer who uses his blog to solicit donations when he has trouble selling articles. You’d be surprised. During a few months of emergency, he collected about $500/mo. I’d drop off some cash for him at the bar (I know, it sounds like corny beat-reenactment, performance art) and the jackass would peel off some bills and pay his tab. Then he’d buy me a drink!

    As long as your admirers don’t know you’re wasting their donations on bar tabs (when every good drunkard knows to drink at home and swill icewater at the bar), I think you’ll be fine. Of course, breaking into the goodwill piggy bank would diminish your self-esteem, but hell; if freezing is preferable to adding another anecdote to your personal legend, tally ho then.

    Look at it this way; in the bad old days, you’d seek a patron. You’d have to swallow his horseshit and hope you don’t gag on it. You’d be proud to debase yourself to a single authority. How then is asking for donations any different? Instead of juggling, you craft an appeal for help (like in this article) and pass the metaphorical hat around (paypal). This leaves you free to write the compositions that matter to you– the ones that will also (in your eyes) replenish your reserves of goodwill.

    I thought you believe in your pathos: you have a chance to be a hunger artist– take it. I’ve begged before; it’s debasing– but ah, afterwards, one is free. Be free Dr. Dolan. Ask for donations and then insult your patrons. If you have a chance to be feral, be feral; don’t be a goddamned church-mouse about it. The micro-rebellion of backbiting is for beetle-shaped men.

  • 4. ggg  |  August 18th, 2009 at 11:24 am

    such a bum. he’s fired from every job he’s ever had but it’s canada’s fault?

  • 5. Stefan van der Schitterende  |  August 18th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    I spent awhile on the streets when I was younger. No big sob story, I just couldn’t stand living at home.
    I stole new books from department stores then sold them to used book stores. They especially loved travel guides. Eventually I could smuggle out 14 Lonely Planet guides in one hit.

    Things got bad and worse, but I ended up finding some respectable work as a toilet cleaner. There is a spectacular buddhist calm that encapsulates you when you’re forced to clean toilets for a job. At first you think ‘toilets are icky, I’m not touching that’, but in the end you lose your sensitivity, and you feel so very serene for awhile.

    Apart from that it was shit.

  • 6. JEO  |  August 18th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Yeah, the paypal guy is right. You have enough of a fan base to at least get some groceries. Oh, another tip for the broke and bored. You know that shit you spray into your lawnmower when it won’t start? That’s a dirty form of ether. Spray it on a rag and let the good times roll.

  • 7. slaqdog  |  August 18th, 2009 at 1:26 pm


  • 8. jo  |  August 18th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I hear you on the paradoxical joy of cleaning toilets. It’s weird but true.

  • 9. Rickey Bobbey  |  August 18th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I’m too much of a fucking zero to have lasted something like that, and written about it like Dolan does. I guess I’ll always be an anonymous commenter.

  • 10. V for knowledge  |  August 18th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I really really really wish the eXile would do something about the comments. Letting fucking morons publish their pointless babble under these great writers fucking ruins the enjoyment of the piece.

    @Eren Fuck off you aren’t worthy of wiping Dolan’s ass, never mind lecturing him or assuming the great writing here is in the service of your “revolutionary” delusions of grandeur/psychological problem.

    At least use a Gawker style comment policy where only smart or witty commenters get access, and hold frequent purges. The technology for doing it is free and easy to implement so there’s just no excuse for these fucking shitheads on here.

  • 11. Gaucho  |  August 18th, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    You made it John. You are legit now. As legit as all the great writers who destroyed themselves. More legit than all the tenured profs ever dreamed of being.

    Too bad there’s no prize.

  • 12. Hrodger  |  August 18th, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Great writers, lol… great writers like Monbiot?

  • 13. TacoBob  |  August 18th, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Confusing. You’re a smart guy Dolan, why didn’t you approach poverty better? I’ve been in this same position and the first thing to do is simplify your life: head south. Head anywhere warm so at least freezing to death is off your list of worries.

    If you’ve got a car then finding places to sleep is way easier, but in warmer weather finding sneaky outside places to sleep is still less worrisome.

    Then it is time to fake religion for a bit of food now and then. Many of the bigger churches you can just doze through the service and get a meal afterwards. We’re not even talking the homeless programs because those can be clusterfucks.

    After that you at least have some basics before you start pursuing something to get you through the mind numbing boredom of being abysmally broke. Booze is cheap, but you also have public libraries for part of the day.

    I’m waiting on a drug test for a job so I can stop this crap. Here’s the funny thing: I’m completely clean but I failed the first one. Life’s just a mother fucker.

  • 14. kalashkova  |  August 18th, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    So you have to read Monbiot articles in Canada. He is that influential..?

    Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes disagree.

    Monbiot is a sanctimonious and parsonomious prat in the best English upper class tradition. Went to an elite private school, top univesity, now telling us to consume less, preaching and hectoring like an Anglican priest.

  • 15. svensvenson  |  August 18th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    eat the rabbits at uvic. tasty and will also piss off everyone in the english department

  • 16. Fissile  |  August 18th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    This article illustrates why you can’t have a revolution in America. Yes, I know this happened in Canada, but for practical purposes Canada is the 51st state. You can’t have a revolution these days because everyone, and I mean everyone, is so dependent on the system, they would be unable to survive for more than a few weeks. I know/knew dozens of people like the ones in this story. Despite all the outlaw pretenses, most of them survived on SSI, disability, section 8, food stamps and the like. Ames can agitate for revolution all day long, but it ain’t gonna happen, and Like he pointed out himself, all the guns are just pacifiers for the Fudds.

  • 17. wall  |  August 18th, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Christ Dolan, I’m sorry you had such a hard time of it up here in Hoserland. I’ve been reading “The Exile” since 2004. I’ve lived in my van for months – too proud to ask for help. Living on canned food from the homeless shelter. My job became obsolete. Computers, Data collectors and G.P.S turned it into a low skill job. I’m doing O.K now at construction. I’ll survive.
    That being said, “Exiled on Line” asks for donations to stick around. I’ll send money to you. Money order. I have no credit card. This is not charity. I owe you. I bought your book, and Ames’s book too. I really liked them both. Ames is doing well for himself. You need cash. I won’t give you my name, and I don’t want thanks. I’ve been reading your stuff for years for free, now it’s payback time. It won’t be a lot. I’ve never offered to pay for stuff I got for free. Take the offer.
    P.S. Next time you have to come to Canada, try the other coast. It’s better.

  • 18. RedBastardGod  |  August 18th, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    I hate my job too. The thing is I’ve been working for almost 40 years now and every job I’ve had I eventually end up hating. Mostly because of office politics. That career mafia you speak of is nothing more than a chain of cock suckers – from the newly hired douche bag all they way up to the douche bag running the show. People of the worst character get to be in charge and fuck things up for everyone else. Some call it initiative and drive and see it in a positive light. I call it being a total fucking asshole.

    You’re too smart and too talented to be unemployed. You can get a job when you decide you want one but you’ll have to be willing to put up with all the shit and baggage that gets dished to you. That’s gotta be better than freezing and starving. I hope you get work soon.

  • 19. Sin Fronteras  |  August 18th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Are the PayPal suggesters being illiterate or ironic?

    “Want us to stick around? Donate to The eXiled.”

  • 20. adolphhitler  |  August 18th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    @10…hey V, if only the smart or witty get to comment i guess we won’t be seeing much of you

  • 21. Etienne  |  August 18th, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Having had the misfortune of teaching at UVic I can assure John Dolan’s readers that “smug and sanctimonious” describes the University population there to a T. I would add a few more adjectives: self-righteous, hypocritical, incestuous, pompous and incompetent being the milder ones describing the professors, and lazy, whining, cheating and suffering from an inflated sense of entitlement inversely proportional to their knowledge and intelligence being the milder ones [granted, the last item on the list is not an adjective] describing the students. Indeed, the worst thing I can say about either group is that they deserve the other.

    I hope Dr. Dolan will believe me when I tell him that not all of us Canadians are like that –I think a city like Montreal (my hometown) would be far more to his taste than Victoria (which, as a fellow Montrealer told me once, would be a perfect place if its population were exterminated or deported and replaced by Montrealers). I remember your “Ode to the Metro”, on the Moscow subway in the wintertime: I suspect the Montreal subway and winter would be as congenial to you (both being Moscow-like, if your article was any guide) as the city’s culture and inhabitants (us francophones especially).

    @svensvenson (# 15): cute though the rabbits on campus were, I understand that there was so much insecticide on the grass the rabbits fed on that eating any of that rabbit meat would have been (and still would be) quite literally life-threatening to a human being (Hmm. Perhaps such rabbit meat could be used to exterminate the population of Victoria, thereby ridding the world of two infestations in one stroke).

  • 22. Poor guy  |  August 19th, 2009 at 4:21 am

    Did you at least get free healthcare!

  • 23. Nolan  |  August 19th, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I happen to agree with Etienne that British Colombia, especially Victoria, is probably the worst place in Canada for someone like you…well better than say Calgary, but you can definitely get away with a lot more in Montreal, if the winter doesn’t kill you first.

  • 24. Eren  |  August 19th, 2009 at 7:29 am

    “Eren Fuck off you aren’t worthy of wiping Dolan’s ass,”

    Ha, ha, no need. Apparently he’s already got someone for that.

  • 25. Expat in BY  |  August 19th, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I found the title of this article somewhat humorous. Victoria BC is hardly Arctic. My suggestion? Go to the real Arctic.

    I know, the suggestions here point to eastern Canada and someplace warm. But, Dr. Dolan, check out and see if there is anything opening at the University of Alaska. Granted, you have to put up with Palinistas out in town, but in the Humanities departments of either the Anchorage or Fairbanks campuses (or the Southeast Campus at Juneau), they are hardly represented. I recognize at least one or two of the anti-Palin bloggers from the liberal arts departments in the UA system from when I was up there.

    And if you get a fairly loyal following like you have here online, you have a reasonable chance of your students standing up to protect you. The engineering students of both UAF and UAA managed to reverse the decision to reject tenure on a popular pre-engineering professor by holding simultaneous protests about five years or so ago. Academic freedom isn’t completely dead, at least in the far north.

  • 26. svensvenson  |  August 19th, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Etienne – lots of people eat those rabbits; they feast and live, but are somewhat crazed.
    Montreal has managed to blow its own horn enough that now all the scumbags from around the world want to live there! the only affordable place left to live is st. henri and once they build that freeway most of it won’t be there anymore.
    the only hope are places no one wants to live in, like Nelson, bc

  • 27. Zipperfish  |  August 19th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    John Dolan said: “I hated the smug, stupid law-abiding Canadians so much by this time I wasn’t even going to ask.”


    Smug–definitely. Law-abiding–probably. Stupid? Well, who was the one freezing in the dark? 🙂

    I’m from BC. I’m sorry you had a bad experience here. (But, hey–what about those mountains!) Would I have helped you out? Probably not. I live in Vancouver, and I get accosted at least a dozen times a day for money. “Accosted” maybe isn’t the right word, because many of these people have stories of enormous sophistication. I used to get taken pretty regularly, until I saw the same guy spinning the same tale to some other schmuk the next day.

    So, which one out of those dozen asks I get daily is the actual down-on-his-luck regular guy, the one who isn’t a crack or meth addict? I don’t know. I can’t tell.

    After a while they just become like a loud TV in another room; the indistinguishable, omnipresent drone of the poor and the afflicted. I wouldn’t say I’m happy or satisified with my selfish view of things. What can I say? It’s a coping strategy. What I find depressing is how easy it is to tune out suffering.

    FYI, it is not legal in BC–or anywhere else in Canada–to grow any pot plants for your own consumption. But the chances are that you won’t get too much hassle because the cops are more interested in large grow ops run by organized crime than by a couple for personal supply.

  • 28. Nosuchthingasshould  |  August 19th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I can understand how someone deeply rooted in the academic reality of the modern system, or allmost any other part of that system for that matter, can find themselves completely helpless when ejected from it.

    Still, at least as long as he had the car and the boat, especially the boat, he was not a truly poor man, he just didn’t have a plan. He had resources which could have been put to good use.

    With such resources, there was no need to go hungry or cold.
    When you have a boat you can sail it up river or down the coast, to some unpopulated area. I’ve heard they have those in Canada. I’ve also heard that they have trees. And that’s your firewood sorted. Now you only need to get yourself a simple woodburner out of some junk, designs available on the web, even youtube, free of charge, an academic shouldn’t have a problem doing some research on that. No need to buy propane, rely on the mercy of a loser killer on a cold night, or steal wood from a potentially guarded building site.

    Now for food. Again, you have your boat. You may be aware that there exist entire communities living of sustainance fishing. Enjoy.

    Should you tire of fish, you have a car. Go for a drive in the countryside one evening, see what grows where, come back after dark with a pitchfork, that’s your weekly, perhaps monthly, groceries sorted.

    With time you may learn poaching.

    You still need some cash. The car burns oil, unless you convert it to holzgass which is a specialist job, things may need fixing, you may need new clothes, tools etc. Mr. Dolan writes for the Exile, which perhaps doesn’t pay very well, but if he limits his food & heating bills it should stretch further. The advice to go begging, online or in real life is not a bad one either.

    But for a truly independent income nothing beats moonshine. Designs for a still available on the web, again all you need is some junk. Steal enough potatoes/sugar beets to make a first batch, sell it to your loser neighbors, use the cash to buy more input (or buy to begin with if you have some cash). Buying is less fuss and you can probably buy more than you could steal, thus earning you more.
    You effectively become a go to man for cheap booze for all the other local losers. You may even go up-market, start making cider or plum vodka, etc.

    Over time you will end up with a migratory pattern estblished, with fishing & smoking, veggie ruslin’ & poaching, and moonshining, all with their own places in the callendar and on the local map.

    So to sum-up, if anyone wanders what crime to go into in this type of situation, it’s non-violent, rural crime. If all those homeles guys had the brains to leave the city they could be better off, and possibly even on the mend, self-respect wise.

  • 29. rustbeltjacobin  |  August 19th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    My housemates recently bought a cheap used sailboat off craigslist. So last week the bunch of us were cruising around lake eerie, trying to brainstorm some possible criminal money-making schemes so we could buy some unemployed steelworkers’ jetskis. So this article really was a great treat to read. Incidentally, we ran up against the same conundrums as John— although, for the record, the way to proceed in this situation is to find profitable legal grey areas. To wit: in a college town a small investment of a hundred bucks can buy you enough fliers and a burner cell phone to run an after-hours beer & cigarettes delivery service. That sort of shit.

    One sggestion: I would really suggest setting up an additional paypal donation account. I know there’s already one for the exile and not enough people contribute and yada yada yada. But it’s simple internet moneymaking— a paypal account specifically to keep John in good groceries, blankets and drugs at the end of his articles (esp the poverty ones) would probably bring in six or seven times as much as the regular exile one would. You can still split the dough up with the exile, whatever; the point is, your readers are passionate about what you write and some of them have money lying around. Make it easy and compelling to give it to you and they will. Seriously man, the greatest essayist alive today may have to wallow in obscurity for while he’s alive, but there are already enough Dolan fanatics sincerely eager to ensure their precious Nerd doesn’t catch pnuemonia and die prematurely, screwing us all out of a good nother 50 articles or so.

  • 30. captain america  |  August 19th, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    yeah, see what happens when you don’t donate to the exiled?

  • 31. Kavuye Toon  |  August 19th, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    It’s going to take another few years until the rest of the country is suffering the way you are now. This country is too comfortable to overthrow anything but the coach of a sports team who doesn’t win enough playoff matches or whatever.

    Please just kiss some ass and pretend you don’t need a job so you can stop worrying about dying of hypothermia in your sleep.

  • 32. hyperbolus  |  August 19th, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    If by “Dumb Dipshit Commentor” you mean Me, or thereabouts, then you’re right. So let me give you my two dumbshits worth: You really need to learn some basic survival skills, like camping, fishing, map-reading. Weren’t you in the boy scouts? Didn’t you have a father?

    At least as an intellectual man of letters, you should have known better than to live among the lumpenproletariat, the scum of the earth. It’s good that you’re not fit for their company, nor for the company of the bourgeoisie (and what is a university but a factory (re)producing the bourgeoisie, bourgeois ideology, “professionalism”?). What’s left is communism.

  • 33. Andrew  |  August 20th, 2009 at 12:31 am

    With his teaching credentials Dolan could get ESL work abroad anytime he wants. The Koreans will front you a ticket to get over there as a matter of course. I even managed to talk some Turks into it. ESL isn’t the most glamerous or best paid work in the world but it is work and they do pay you.

  • 34. Tam  |  August 20th, 2009 at 8:47 am

    @27 Zipperfish

    A reliable way of distinguishing between the smackheads / alcoholics and the ‘deserving poor’ is to ask them what they want the money for.

    If they say food or travel, tell them, you won’t give money, but you’ll buy their food or travel ticket. The addicts will get uppity and self righteous at this, but the guys who need it will have no problems with these terms. If they’re prepared to walk with you towards the shops without making excuses about why they’d rather you gave them the money then you can probably trust them with the money

    Not that I have don’t sympathise with people who need money to buy alcohol or smack but they’re not doing it with my fucking cash…

  • 35. paul cripps  |  August 20th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    hey john iwish you had broken into my house so i could give some one like you who has had so many oportunities compared to 99percent of the worlds population/i would do to you what my friends and myself are going to do to the man who beat and robbed my 70 year old blind mother inlaw in her own home.people like you make people like me vote for people we despise…

  • 36. We_salute_the_Master  |  August 20th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Juxtapose, Master. Juxtapose.

    “It takes a very clever rat to get out of the maze.”

    ‘The United States _is_ a narcoeconomy’. $500B gets laundered on Wall Street every year. What does that do for the ownership of US corporations? How long does it take until it is all owned by the narco-criminals? Compound interest guess – 47 years – by one calculation. From 1963. What happened in 1963? Which of the Property Party are still in power, from 1963 until a year ago; or to today?

    Solari Rising, by Catherine Austin Fitts, November 15–22, 2001, –
    Is Catherine Austin Fitts a truthteller, gatekeeper, disinformation or a ‘limited hangout’? Is what she says likely? To any degree? Is it usable?

    Is it not wisest to avoid psychopaths and psychopathic behaviour? Will one be left in peace, or does one have no choice but combat? Can one choose covert over overt?


    How does one use the methods of the Neocons against them, while not losing one’s soul? Can one find a similar source of compound interest returns to counteract theirs / loss (or legal, or illegal, theft) of one’s assets? In a jurisdiction that won’t have you joining the 7 million involved in the US criminal justice system? (Gore Vidal). Ask Watermelon girl.

    Watermelon girl – The Union movie –

    The prohibition is political? We are shocked. Shocked to find gambling going on. What happens to political power if there is a large grass-roots source of income that cannot be controlled by the narco-criminals that (apparently) own the US state? Independent proles? So we would expect a ferocious, completely unreasonable draconian effort to destroy them and enforced ‘assistance’ to do so, along with particularly virulent targeting of their public leaders. Is there such an effort?

    Hard? Difficult? Dangerous? A lot of trouble? ‘Life is trouble. Only death is no trouble.’ Sometimes the options are fighting and dying. Or waiting to be killed. Or waiting to freeze to death. Does that suck? Oh Yeah.

    But is it possible?

    “If someone wants to join (the group) I pop Never Cry Wolf in the vcr and get to the bit where the Beaver’s engine quits while flying over a glacier in the Arctic North and Brian Dennehy’s character climbs outside the plane to chip away at a frozen fuel fitting. He was asking how those in the lower 48 survive the boredom, sitting all day in front of their TV screens. From outside the plane, he turns and yells “Adventure. That’s how you cure boredom. Adventure”. If that appeals to them, then they can be considered.” – Kenny ‘Hawkeye’ Gross – Entertainer of armchair fantasists. ‘Don’t try this at home, kids’.

    ‘If you want to start a revolution, don’t grab a gun. Get to work and do what we do; to help people’. ‘It’s a hell of a lot easier to educate them than to change them’. Stan Ovshinsky, NiMH battery inventor, Who Killed the Electric Car star and all-round ‘good egg’. Paraphrased.

    ‘Be like a rabbit. A scared little bunny rabbit’ – Kenn Abaygo.

    Don’t let the Neocons have _you_ for lunch. –

  • 37. Stray  |  August 20th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I was homeless in my youth. And did it extremely badly as well. In the winter I learned to jimmy the door in apartment laudromats. The door that gets you access behind the dryers. I used to sleep on the dryers hidden out of site. Kept warm that way.

    For money I used to fence stolen goods by trading it for pot. Then sell the pot.

    At times abunch of us homeless would pool our meager amounts and get a room for the night. I had a clean ID with no warrants on me so would rent it in my name and get the coveted bed spot. Shared with whoever was cleanest. Smellier folks got the floor.

    Me and my girl shared a room with a hooker for a while. We scavanged while she did tricks at night. We all slept during the day.

    ahh the memories.

  • 38. yabadabadoo  |  August 20th, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Why would anyone leave NZ for a shithole like Moscow?

    And that shithole there in BC?

    Whats up with that?

    But if shitholes are to your liking, North Dakota needs people. Google job openings there.

    There was a big article abojut that in Wapo recently.

    Good luck.

  • 39. wall  |  August 20th, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    There are different degrees of homelessness. If you are carrying your belongings in shopping bags, looking for an unoccupied overpass to get out of the rain, then you are well and truly fucked. I had a van and a new job, so I considered myself almost blessed. Dolan is an academic; those thrift instincts that come almost naturally to me when I’m broke were probably never taught him. Like an animal returned to the wild, he could not cope.
    He has a wife with him. I can not even begin to understand the sense of hopelessness, rage,and dispair he must feel. I can tough it out by myself; if family is in the equation, the desperation factor is much greater.
    Some tips for the newly destitute. Keep clean at all costs.I mean scrubbing and shaving and brushing and flossing. Truck stops have showers and toilets and cheap laundry facilities.Be a fanatic about it.
    Librarys are friendly places, and you can while a whole day there without trouble if you look like you belong.
    The police wont bother you if you look presentable. Stay away from the lowlifes. Don’t make any new friends in low places, no matter how lonely you get. Valu Village has good stuff for really cheap. If you can get a little money together, a rooming house could be a place to start feeling human again. You’ll really appreciate indoor plumbing when you haven’t had it in a long while.Don’t trust your neighbours in a rooming house. I live in one now. Trust me on this. Start saving your money for a possible setback. In other words, live well below your means like a refugee. I learned my lesson. I only wish I had learned it at an earlier age. Got to go. My rooming house neighbour is knocking on the door looking for money, or a beer, or a cigarette ,or a ride, or to borrow my toaster, or trying to sell me some stolen meat, or…..
    I’m out of here soon. Never to return. I hope.

  • 40. Flozzi  |  August 20th, 2009 at 9:15 pm


    What are you doing in overpriced B.C.? Move east! If minimum wage jobs are not beneath you, you can always find a barista position at a hipster café somewhere in Montreal, for example. Everybody working there already has a degree in English literature – you’ll be god to them. $500 is all you need to pay rent and you’ll meet plenty of characters worth writing about. Plus a new cultural experience.

  • 41. hyperbolus  |  August 20th, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Oooh! I’m a moron! I’m a little insect! How disappointing! I know! I use the same kind of cheap chickenshit righteousness as the academics/bureaucrats you revile… I’m not even sure why you eXiled Gods even let me dirty your beautiful website space with my lowly, idiotic ramblings… And yes, I agree, a herpes sore on a gay man’s crusty sphincter has more character and joie de vivre than I do.

  • 42. .  |  August 21st, 2009 at 3:39 am

    Great article. But can you go into more detail about your firing? What exactly did you bring up about Monbiot? Was it along the lines of #14 or different? I think your criticisms are always well-written and able to hit a special nerve, so I’m interested in what you said this time.

  • 43. LIExpressway  |  August 21st, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Very good article and brought me back to my younger days. I was homeless more or less from my teenage years until I would say my mid 20s. I think suburban NY is a little harsher than most places in the north due to the huge amount of vicious class conscious hatred which resides in most New Yorkers. It’s a heaven for Pirate capitalist, and you are hated and ostracized if you are poor.
    I got out of it similar to the way Wall @ 39 did. Renting rooms sucked. I got burglarized many times, but at least I was clean.

    1 Stay clean, and sanitary.
    2 Don’t get a car! They are money pits and attract the police.
    3 Save! Save! Save!
    4 Take any job you can get.

    Over the years I have learned there are only 2 ways to be a decent human being and still be financially secure in America.

    1) Learn math/technology/science/engineering, and lots of it. In other words your English Lit Degree is useless. All it does is set you up to be an expendable office slave at best. Anyone can get a literature/English/humanities degree, you just need the cash for tuition, and to show up. MA’s in such degrees are a joke.

    Those degrees used to ensure good white welfare jobs in the boom years, but that’s all over in the face of our new global outsourced realities. A rock monkey in Pakistan is smarter, much cheaper, and harder working.

    An engineer on the other hand can edit blogs, and read the classics on the side, as well as well as design a bridge or computer chip. Ultimately Math is the universal language.

    2)Start you own Business. You need to be the Boss. Your current Boss is only interested in his/hers bottom line. I know this isn’t easy, but that’s life in America.

    This is what Nietzsche meant when he spoke of war in that oh so famous misunderstood tract in Thus Spoke, not some fucking France vs Germany bullshit.

    Use this experience the build yosef back inta shape. Then go get the muthafuckas who did that shit!

  • 44. Fissile  |  August 21st, 2009 at 12:58 pm


    Engineering may have been a good gig once upon a time, but it’s now just as much a victim of outsourcing, or worse, H-1B’s. I know a dude who worked on the inertial systems for the Space Shuttle. Today he’s just a grunt engineer with an environmental firm — straight wage, no retirement or health benefits. My BIL has a degree in chemistry. He recently got shit-canned, and has very hope of finding a job that pays anything near his old salary.

    The only secure, well paying, jobs with benefits around these parts is cop or tenured public school teacher. Cops in suburban NJ earn over $100K after 6-7 on the job.

    The only other sure way to riches is being a Wall Street swindler.

  • 45. fightback  |  August 21st, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Can we blow up this crap planet yet? Seriously, a few hundred million megatons would really improve things in this neck of the solar system.

  • 46. Karl Kroop  |  August 21st, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    @Etienne: Isn’t Montreal the worst place for any immigrant/expat in Canada, because of the assimilation pressure from the frankophones? Like, I’d probably enjoy reading a Dolan’s piece on QC university killings, but, you know. Powetry seems quite safer thing than that, for getting experience for a writer. 🙂

    @all the good advisors: The article is just great piece of literature. It seems that patriots of all kinds come here for their “last refuge”. Parsing the text for keywords: – he said Canuck stuped we aint stuped u stuped; – he said he needs money, lets patronize him with our smart advices.


  • 47. Flozzi  |  August 21st, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    @Karl, although you are partially right about giving advice to a person who wrote something that didn’t exactly solicit any, still, one doesn’t contradict the other – one can read the article as a piece of “literature” as you say, and yet the Editor’s note at the end puts it all in the context of a real life of a real human being (one would hope – unless this is all made up) and the natural inclination of other human beings is to respond – and not necessarily with a paragraph of literary criticism.

  • 48. Mads Mikkelsen  |  August 22nd, 2009 at 9:28 am

    There is nothing that an American can do that can’t be done cheaper by some foreigner, but don’t worry, the age of Americans being outrageously overvalued is coming to an end. Soon Americans will be riding jitneys to work and will be able to compete with Indians on a fair wage basis.

    Not sure what’s going to happen to those 100k suburban cops. They are probably going to die to some tea party lynch mob.

  • 49. catamaran guy  |  August 23rd, 2009 at 5:06 am

    As a live-aboard on Vancouver Island the article hit home.yeah the are a lotta lowlifes inhabiting the tideline here,like anywhere I guess.

    Scary thing is…I think I know some of the people…or more than likely they repeat drearily harbour to harbour.

    But..I know a Johnny and Jimmy…and a Chris who’s boat was always sinking,whos now in his wern’t in brentwood bay were you?
    Thing is with boats…if you don’t like your neighbour moving ain’t a big deal.

  • 50. Karl Kroop  |  August 23rd, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Down with Monbiot and the academia! The description of the latter , esp. Canadian, is quite accurate, so I dont think it is “all made up”. I dont have the arts degree, being not “white caucasian”, so I can’t discuss properly what “all made up” might mean wrt to the literature piece. The artists’ truth sometimes can be more “true” than a “factual documentary” truth, I think. Or there can be fake things like Frey, that I think cannot be helped even if they’d told “true stories”.

  • 51. BlottoBonVismarck  |  August 23rd, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    46, @ Karl

    First sentence
    > I should have done some kind of crime. But what kind? That’s what I couldn’t figure out. What kind of crime can you actually do, if you aren’t a lawyer and don’t understand computers?

    As a typical Exiled reader I reserve the right not to read beyond the first sentence before rushing to assist my hero. Short attention span? Who? Moi?

  • 52. Spikey  |  August 24th, 2009 at 1:21 am

    Dolan – you dumbass. LeVine is living in a MacMansion, and you’re freezing your ass in BC? Dude, ask LeVine, or use eXile money, to fly to LAX and join LeVine.

  • 53. Spikey  |  August 24th, 2009 at 1:24 am

    “But how will he get from LAX to Victorville” – geez, it’s a fucking two hour drive, I’ll drive his ass.

  • 54. Nicolai Ceske  |  August 25th, 2009 at 4:01 am

    Google “daves esl cafe” and find yourself a job teaching in nearly any country in the world.

    Private teachers in Siberia make $100/hr. In Slovakia I made $35/hr to talk about movies and traveling with already fluent students. In Bangkok they hire any a-hole that speaks English, even as a second language.

    You can probably get a paid plane ticket to Korea or Japan and an apartment if you do a one year contract.

    Then again, I got the feeling that this was fictional writing anyways. If thats true then I take all my advice back and say good job in creating a believable story.

  • 55. Osho Honjaku  |  August 26th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    What is this? As usual Dr Dolan’s story serves as a lesson to younger folk. But it is hard to take this particular story very seriously.

    The problem is that people have far too many choices. Unless you have some ability to handle them more choices won’t make you happy, they just give more ways to be miserable. Everyone wants only the good parts of anything, no one is prepared to accept things in their entirety. Today you are here you like this but you don’t like that. So naturally it must be better there, so you go there where you again like this but dont like that and so on and so forth.

    What is Dr Dolan doing still looking for positions in academia? Has he not written of the appalling squalor that is the academic world? But is he not also looking to sneak in himself? What does he expect? A profession where everyone sneaks in and gets jobs for life and yet one where there is firesome honest debate, integrity, brilliant work and grand recognition for everyone? How is this possible? And when you get your sneaky academic job you insist on wrecking it in order to prove you are ‘right’? This is destructiveness at its worst. Your employers hired you to do a particular job, why should they be interested in what you think is ‘right’, that you think Monbiot is a sanctimonious twit? To bite the hand that feeds you is just dumb.

    Night must follow day: everything has its positives and negatives. Yet there are things that fit our natural temperament better than others. Has not Dr Dolan written about being an anglophone? Then what is he doing in British Columbia of all places, the most anglo of anglo lands? Is he a masochist? You want warmer people, go somewhere where there are some. Even there you will have to work, do some job, and there will be things you dont like. You hate anglo lands and academia, yet you want a position in academia in an anglo land? Where are you lost?

    This too is the human experience. We make patterns of behavior and repeat them even if they cause us misery. But what one sees here seems to be a strong sense of privilege: why didn’t life go exactly as I want it, why are my words not the center of everyone’s attention and why isn’t everyone completely preoccupied with my problems? Some of this comes out of people going to schools like Berkeley and the ivy league. People who graduate from these places simply cannot countenance that they are in the end just like everyone else and will suffer all the problems that others suffer too. They can’t countenance that others may be as ‘right’ as they are; everyone must have the same opinion they do, and everyone must know they are right. This is lame.

    Only meditation can save you. You will become aware of the patterns you are engaging in and learn how not to repeat them, to make new ones. You will understand that the grand opinions you have, what you think is ‘right’, is really just the noise of your silly ego. And you will learn acceptance and the sense of wholeness that comes with that; taking the good and the bad without reservation. Ordinarily for anything we do we get used to what is good and only notice what is bad. But this is not hard and fast, we can learn how to accept the bad and be aware of the good.

    This of course depends on whether you want to heal. If you have no desire to heal, if you have a death wish then no one can help you. Look carefully and you will see that entitlement and death wish are two extremes of the same thing. Entitlement turns into death wish when the title does not come or does not fulfill. It does appear that this sad sack has something of a death wish, some bad destructive streak. He doesn’t want to do well, he doesn’t want to he happy. After all if he is happy what will he have to complain about? How will he live if he is not hating something or the other? Or perhaps he is happy hating.

    The death wish is a strange thing. We tend to see the world through our childhood patterns and this destructiveness often manifests itself unconsciously then: for children with unhappy family lives or the adolescent who is not on the top of the social totem pole and experiences the great let down that sex love and relationships initially are, who knows that his fantasies will have to be adjusted, that they may never be fulfilled.

    Please go find that meditation center.

  • 56. Whatever666  |  August 27th, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Dr. Dolan – Couldn’t all of this have been avoided, if you’d simply been an enthusiastic supporter of Monbiot when you taught your first-year comp classes?

  • 57. Thuggin  |  August 29th, 2009 at 11:49 am

    it’s fucking ludicrous that people try their luck, homeless in the frozen tundra. 90% of the world’s bums, freeloaders, tramps, and scumbags head south for the winter.

    really, tho, I’m surprised it took you this long to find out how most people are. maybe that’s what happens when you are forced outta the pseudo-Berkley hole that is BC. people with money and needs met, can afford to pretend.

  • 58. russ  |  August 30th, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    From having a car, I would assume you had a driver’s licence.

    If you a have a driver’s license, you can work as a cab driver.

    I know it sounds outrageously downmarket for a college professor. But hear me out. In every city in the world they are ALWAYS hiring cab drivers.

    It is job that is open everywhere no matter what your immigration status.

    The reason is the way the cab companies set up the job. They lease the cabs for 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. You pay the lease in advance.

    This works out to having to pay to take a day off, so drivers don’t. They quickly become burnt out and quit.

    Huge turnover, that’s why they are always hiring.

    But for me it is a blessing, because I can gut out 40 or 50 days in a row, then cruise, and when my $$ runs down I just buy back into a cab lease and gut out another run.

    You don’t even have to know the city you drive in. 95% of your customers know where they are going and are happy to direct you. After a while you get it down and end up knowing the city better than the locals.

    Just a tip.

  • 59. Thuggin  |  August 31st, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    dolan’s a ratty bum, he’d nevr work a gig lik that.

  • 60. o-ren ishii  |  September 2nd, 2009 at 10:29 am

    First rule is “don’t shit where you eat”. Dolan made his employers wrong, they returned the favor by making him very wrong. Dolan wasn’t prepared to take this all the way to its reductio ad absurdum.
    Second rule is not to hang around lowlifes.
    Third rule is not to loan to lowlifes (or even leave accessible) any stuff you don’t wish to see broken or disappeared. He violated this one repeatedly.
    Since he had the boat, I’m wondering if he knew how to properly sail, since pulling up away from loser-land would be first on my list of priorities.
    In any event, I think the best out would be to teach ESL classes. A change of culture is always refreshing.

  • 61. Otis Driftwood  |  September 7th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    When I was a kid (16), I could hit more than $300 bucks working my confrontational “spare change?” shakedown on Hennipen avenue in MN on lunch hour.
    Back then 200 bux a week was good money, I did over a thousand a week and didn’t have to change clothes or take a bath.
    It was a great job.
    After I had a stake I headed back down south and became a Straight John small business owner.
    But I guarentee you if you can’t make more bumming than working you should just buy that last big shot and die, cause you are too goddamned stupid to live.

  • 62. ldhf  |  September 7th, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    crazy. I live in Vancouver, and read the eXile until Putin shut it down. lot’s of people I knew read it regularly. Didn’t know John Dolan was teaching at Uvic let alone living with hobos in Victoria. Commerical Dr in Van is full of anarchist nutbar academics who have private library’s or bookstores they would’ve let you live in temporarily until you got a job.

    I bet any of the private english schools around Seymour St in Vancouver with all asian students would’ve hired you in a flash to teach english. Not exactly huge money, but enough to cover the bills while you write a book, or apply to other universities.

    Craigslist and the canada job bank are also full of building manager jobs. they are always looking for older responsible couples just to take rent and perform very light maintenance. this is a shitty job, but you do maybe 3hrs work a day and get a huge discount on rent in exchange to a salary. Then use your spare time to write/whatever. Idk

  • 63. more  |  September 8th, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    In soviet Canada we have things called welfare, employment insurance, GST refunds, emergency ‘hardship’ cheques and other handouts you can easily get. Even an American that just moved here can still get a hardship cheque. We all pay into it so there’s no shame in collecting. This is what you talk about with the local junkies living around the beach: how to use the system to get money. I’m sure they’re pros at it by now.

    get food/money, find jerbs:

    – go to money mart and get a loan. I used to make up paystubs in windows paint and print them out. I even edited my bank account information easily by saving the web page to online banking and adjusting everything. Receive $300-1,000 instantly (pay it back whenever, who cares they’re loan shark scum)

    – has a ton of writing jobs that pay immediately for blog work.

    – scour craigslist for one day jobs, like being somebody’s personal assistant, being paid $50 to wait in line at the passport office, editing something, ect.

    – walk into an employment head hunting company and show them your freaking PHD. Walk out with job teaching english to Koreans on student visas for $40k/yr plus benefits. Mon-Fri 10am – 3pm easy work, your hot wife could do it too and you’d both pull in near 80k. Then you can spend time finding a position you want to do instead of being desperate and taking anything (like this ESL job)

    – The Vancouver Olympics need anybody who can speak a second language. I assume you speak Russian, and probably French. This guarantees you a job right now.

    – Sikh temples have free food for anybody. No mandatory preaching first, just walk in and eat. There’s also the food bank, countless shelters serving actual food and you can receive food credit slips from any of them to buy your own food.

    – Dozens of homeless advocacy job placement, residences and lawyers exist. Use them for $0.00 (also if you were supposedly fired, you can sue in Canada and get at least a 3yr settlement. Talk to an employment lawyer).

    – The farther north you go, the more desperate they are for teachers. John Ralston Saul sometimes teaches in Iqaluit while writing his books. He always writes them up north for some reason.

    I just spent all of 3mins searching for faculty jobs in British Columbia and found over 300 of them. UNBC is hiring P/T instructors right now for the English dept, History, everything. Yeah Prince George sucks, but cost of living is nothing and you can rant endlessly from your fortress of solitude on this site and in print in your spare time. Ignore all this if you already found a job and no longer live in a van down by the river.

  • 64. Paul Perkins  |  September 29th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    To give you an idea of the character of John Dolan, I offered to send him five hundred dollars several months ago — based entirely on my enjoyment of PLEASANT HELL, but he politely declined it.

    I read “Hunger” by Knut Hamsun, when I was a kid, and I remember the starving writer who refused to pawn his friend’s blanket to buy food.

    John Dolan is that character — alive still.

  • 65. Charles brooks  |  December 17th, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Often we forget the little guy, the SMB, in our discussions of the comings and goings of the Internet marketing industry. Sure there are times like this when a report surfaces talking about their issues and concerns but, for the most part, we like to talk about big brands and how they do the Internet marketing thing well or not so well.

  • 66. Allen  |  December 31st, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    What kind of English department assigns students to read George fucking Monbiot articles?

    I nearly ended up at UVic once upon a time as a student; I’m glad I dodged that bullet.

  • 67. fuck you #27  |  January 3rd, 2013 at 12:38 am


    Really? Screw those crack/methheads, their need isn’t real? A fine benevolent citizen like you only gives to the “deserving” poor?

    Fuck you. Fuck you a thousand times and a thousand ways you sanctimonious piece of fucking shit. I hope to fucking God you end up homeless, jobless, and huffing the most life-shortening vile shit imaginable to make the hell of your existence marginally less horrific.

    You are a stupid, ignorant cunt.

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