Why Old, Rich, White Guys Are So Pathologically F’d Up

Issue 240

And other musings from our advice columnist.

Reverend Billy Talen Oct 9, 2018

Hi Billy, watching the Kavanaugh hearings and all those Republicans defend him, I found myself wondering why old, rich, white guys are so pathologically f’d up? Maybe they’re just born that way. Any insights?

— Krystal, Harlem

Let’s not blame all of society’s ills on the old rich white guys.

It does seem reasonable, though, to strip them of their $3,000 suits, their Senate seats, their guns and their pornography. Let’s not stereotype these poor souls, but they really should scream in the agony of humiliation as they kneel for hours before gigantic statues of Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford in the center of Times Square.

And there is a basic common decency in the idea that, as their bank accounts are emptied, that we should begin to laugh at them, the laughter building until it rings up the avenues and down the streets. A laughing city! Free of Chuck Grassley and Lindsay Graham and Mike Crapo.

Let’s not stereotype these poor souls, but they really should scream in the agony of humiliation as they kneel before statues of Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford.

Then again, am I guilty of self-loathing? I’ve managed to not be rich but the white part and the guy part do persist. The old part I’ve put off till next Tuesday. All I know is that right now, Krystal, we’re in some deep shit. We have to save each other no matter who we are.


Hey there, Rev,

I’m planning a trip abroad next month. Whenever I go overseas people always ask me, what is wrong with America? Why are you Americans always starting wars? Why can’t you give people health care? What do you have against immigrants? I get a lot of that kind of thing. It makes it hard to make friends. What should I tell them?

— Brian, Crown Heights


Our America is with the citizens of Earth who were here first and the Africans who survived the Middle Passage. As I write this, I feel the America of thousands on Capitol Hill who — by the whole-soul commitment of their protests — are bringing survivors’ stories to the light of day. 

Brian, are you looking for friends in the wrong places?

America isn’t the bankers on Wall Street or the paramilitaries that pry families apart and put children in privatized concentration camps. America is not the old white guys who pay the media to portray them as leaders of their “great nation.”

America is two continents of love, work and hope. It’s a vast place that reaches around the planet and has received the faith of so many. 

Don’t give America to those who betrayed that amazing name, which translates universally into the destination of dreams. There are millions of people wandering today, dreaming of a home across a militarized border. May they all reach their America, wherever it may be.

Reverend Billy is an activist and political shouter, a post-religious preacher of the streets and bank lobbies. Got a question for Reverend Billy? Just email: and unburden your soul.

Rep. John Cornyn (R-TX). Credit: Glenn Fawcett/U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

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