Tokyo Damage Report

Not The Black Panther Review You Were Expecting

One of the themes of the movie is, obviously, role reversal: What if America and Africa’s position in the world order was reversed? So we see King T’Challa opening an ‘educational center’ in a third-world-looking part of Oakland. We see Buggin’ Out, I mean Killmonger, when HE was king, unilaterally attempting to liberate America.

Let’s expand on this, not because you didn’t get it, but because it’s fun:

T’Challa is American Exceptionalism the way we are taught it is:  “We’re helping liberate the oppressed and spread freedom and democracy! We’re going into Afghanistan to rebuild their culture so they love gays and are tolerant of different points of view, and let girls go to school! We’re building schools and hospitals. They’ll embrace us because we’re so obviously more technological and morally advanced!”

Killmonger (and can we take a second to laugh at how the movie-going public is debating the nuance and moral complexity of a guy who sounds like he was named by an 11-year-old boy?) represents American Exceptionalism the way it actually is: “We’re the world police and we’re going to bomb you motherfuckers until you stop fighting each other. We’re going to rain death from above until you assholes love freedom and democracy. We’re going to bomb some democracy up your ass so we can enrich our arms industry. America, bitch!”

But my take is, the whole role-reversal is based on a false premise. American Exceptionalism never worked in the first place. Like, either way! So the question, “What if Africa saved the world instead of America?” doesn’t make sense, because America didn’t save the world. Even at its most benign, American Exceptionalism is, like, funneling billions of dollars to some crackpot dictator who maybe, after he buys weapons from us and steals most of the $$$ to give to his extended family, might build a school or two.

Black Panther is a superhero movie, so I can buy aliens, and ray guns, and people miraculously coming back from mortal wounds. . . but I can’t buy the idea that any country with the best economy, the best technology, and the best weapons is gonna not be corrupt as fuck and boss everyone else around.

My favorite moment was when King Buggin’ Out – same hairstyle, same overly-woke belligerence, re-watch Do The Right Thing if you don’t believe me – enters the throne room. The camera looks past the back of his head at the horrified Wakandan politicians, who are all asking themselves, “How did this maniac get the throne? He came out of nowhere and he’s obviously undeserving!” And the camera’s upside-down, to emphasize their sense of disorientation and shock, like the whole natural order of things is out of whack.

And the General is like, “Well yeah he’s a creep but he won fair and square, so we have to King him. We’re the victims of our own traditions and sense of fair play!”  . .. it was a pretty good cinematic reaction to Trump.

And the Trump angle was definitely intentional, right down to the emphasis on the illegitimate new leader’s hairstyle being the biggest thing in the frame. The shock isn’t just that Killmonger is a bad person, with bad policies, but that specifically he’s flouting the Wakandan decorum, and he’s insulting the dignity of the office with his brash ways.

And this is how a rich Hollywood person probably does see Trump: they think he came out of nowhere, because trump voters (including the Rust Belt voters who, let’s not forget, voted for Obama but then switched to Trump rather than vote for Clinton) don’t exist in Hollywood. And because Hollywood doesn’t have a problem with awful pro-rich-people policies and endless war . . .they have a problem with the vulgarity of the President. Pro-rich-people policies and endless war was cool when Obama was doing it.

But who cares? The idea of combining Trump and Buggin’ Out into one single character is . . . *kisses fingertips*. It’s FUCKING GENIUS AND HILARIOUS. If only all movies were that creative!  It hits my sweet spot of, ‘random as fuck but backed up with carefully constructed, internally-consistent analogies’.

I mean, how did anyone even get the idea to connect those two dots? Let alone persuade Hollywood to make a movie about it? I was so flabbergasted that I couldn’t concentrate that much on the second half.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

Stan Lee’s cameo where he is stealing money is pretty on-point though.

Vibranium is also a very American wish-fulfillment fantasy: a technology which provides power in harmony with the earth, with no pollution, radiation, or global warming.

I appreciate how the movie asks moral questions rather than saying, “I have all the answers and I’m going to scold the audience!” Back in the 70s, even very anti-establishment, dystopian paranoid films knew how to use ambiguity and ask questions rather than lecture, which is something Hollywood seems to have forgotten in all the virtue-signalling.

One criticism: I get that the movie is going deep on inventing a whole civilization and culture, and trying to be respectful of the traditions of a made-up country, but the sheer length of all the call-back scenes really slows down the film. They’re doing the same ritual to the one guy that they did to the other guy, I get it. If it was me, I would have “Requiem For A Dream”-ed all the call-back scenes.

I also get how the ‘CIA is the good guys’ angle is not super cool, but I could just ignore it so I’m not going to complain about it. Probably because the CIA guy looks like a harmless little elf. They should have cast Jeff Sessions. Can you imagine?

Finally, 2 meta-beefs: not with the film, but with the hype about the film.

One, why is Oakland getting no love? Even the positive reviews that are super smart and use words like “Afro-futurism” and “pan-African diaspora” don’t mention that the USA part of the film is set in Oakland BECAUSE THAT’S THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE ACTUAL BLACK PANTHER PARTY. If it was me, I would have gotten rid of Kendrick Lamar and had the soundtrack be actual Oakland music: Too $hort, The Coup, Saafir, and can’t forget Paris, whose AKA was literally, “The Black Panther Of Rap.”

Oh, and here’s another Black Panther Party reference in the film, which the critics missed:   his super-suit gives him strength in proportion to how hard you hit him first.

His whole superpower is a damn reference to Stokley Carmichael’s 1966 explanation of why the B.P.P. chose the Panther as its symbol.

“We chose for the emblem a black panther, a beautiful black animal which symbolizes the strength and dignity of black people, an animal that never strikes back until he’s back so far into the wall, he’s got nothing to do but spring out. Yeah. And when he springs he does not stop.”

Step it up, critics.

Two, woke-clickbait headlines like “Black Panther’s Real Heroes Are Women So In Your Face You Stupid Men!!!” are super dumb. Where did Huffington Post type people get this idea that gender equality means men have to lose? That’s exactly why men are so slow to embrace the idea of gender equality in the first place. Jesus. Everybody benefits from gender equality . . . in this case by getting a better, more fun movie. But if guys think that they’re going to be preached at and scolded the whole time, they won’t give the film a chance.

Also, Boots from The Coup should direct the sequel.

In conclusion, Jack Kirby up, Stan Lee down. Kendrick down, Too $hort up.

 

P.S.: T’Challa is Huey, and Killmonger is Riley.

Oh shit: imagine if Riley wrote all the headlines for Huffington Post.

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another rant re: how being online subliminally messes us up

I was thinking about how the “how dare you put broads in my star wars!!!” people and the “this is offensive and I’m triggered!!!” people have so much in common. Of course, older generations also had that same type of person – maybe an angry bible-thumping grandma who was only happy when she was outraged, or a weird uncle who only wanted to talk about one thing all the time.

Every generation has a certain amount of that type of person, I’m saying, but the WAY those people express themselves is different, because every generation’s influenced by its technology and media environment.

What does the technology/media environment have to do with the sudden rise in popularity of what you might call the “This Thing Is Objectionable And Harmful And People Who Like It Are Irredeemable” contest, where everyone competes to see who can be more outraged; who can make a bigger mountain, out of a smaller molehill, with the most panache?

And then I realized that quietly, the whole time, behind and below all the on-purpose controversial speech and outraged tweets . . . . without any big leader or controversial celebrity or self-help guru actively championing it, a new idea has taken root in all our minds, on all political sides: that we’re entitled to entertainment that has nothing at all disagreeable in it; entitled to content made specifically just for us.

Another, related idea: you can’t enjoy the good parts of something but tune out the bad parts. Why even bother. That’s not where it’s at anymore. If something is even 1% bad, it’s bad, right? It’s been POLLUTED BY THE OTHER SIDE is why!!! Aieeeeeee!!!!

A third example, again pretty bi-partisan: You can’t just say “I don’t like this. It makes me uncomfortable, it’s not for me.” To the extent that you want to be taken seriously as a political thinker among your online followers, you have to make up some BS deep political reason for every petty judgement or aesthetic choice. As if you’re helping save the world by liking this movie more than that movie.

These are, to me, pretty fucking huge departures from the way people thought about stuff even 10 years ago. But while we were concentrating on the small controversies, very big things were slipping into place with zero controversy!

What happened?

It’s the tech!

Both the “angry gamer” people and the SJWs share the 3 assumptions I outlined above, and both sides use the same tech – maybe the only thing they agree on!

Who has the balls to demand entertainment designed just for them, forever? Nonstop 100% unproblematic content, 100% perfect pandering?

People with access to unlimited free content, that’s who.

And when did we get unlimited free content online? About, ummmm, exactly the same time that we all started having this new sense of entitlement!

People live their lives on platforms which sort and rank them, assign them to silos or demographic cells in a spreadsheet. Surely if you’ve been in that environment for years, it’s gotta somehow influence you to think in those same terms  – that people not only can but SHOULD be thought of in terms of labels, tags, and statistics. That people can be summed up neatly by a few labels, and nothing is lost by discarding the parts of people which can’t be labeled.

(This is as true of advertising as it is true of “I saw a screencap of a tweet from 4 years ago and you’re Clearly One Of Them, so fuck you!”)

That’s a very Orwellian overlap between the idpol crowd and the silicon valley overlord crowd.

Let me look at another example:

When we want movies, games etc tailored specifically for us, with zero percent anything offensive, that’s good; that’s moral; that’s what we demand!

But the idea of political campaigns being run the same exact way – where ads and comments from political bots posing as online friends – are tailored to the individual, and we have no idea what kind of political information our friends and neighbors are even seeing – is kind of a scary anti-democratic nightmare, no matter what party you support.

The thing is, both these scenarios are using the same process – siloing users, isolating them from others and grouping them with like-minded people –  based on demographics and spying on user data. That technology promises to treat us like the unique people we are, but we wind up with a society where everyone’s in these little bubbles, and  nobody can even agree on basic facts.

Or maybe it’s 100% coincidence that identity politics, a philosophy based on sorting people into categories of relative privelege (a sort of moral spreadsheet!), comes to national prominence at the same time that big data companies are treating us all with that same approach?

Why is it so hard to say, “OK that tweet or game or movie sucked but the real culprit is the system which incentivizes that sort of thing”? Why is it hard to separate the medium from the message?  I don’t know!

Maybe because the messages are getting so effective at riling us up that we don’t have any ‘spare’ attention to pay to the platforms?

Why is it so easy to talk about the diversity of actors in a film, but so hard to talk about the diversity of the studio CEOs who decide which movies get made and which don’t?

Why is it so easy to screenshot ‘problematic’ things people say online, and so hard to screenshot the ‘problematic’ ways in which social media manipulates us?

We operate in the lane which we were assigned: the consumer lane. We write words and then get mad at the other person’s words.We see the surface.

We don’t get the deeper POV of our betters, our digital masters, who don’t really give a FUCK about the surface content. To them, all the shit we’re fighting about so hard doens’t matter – it doesn’t matter if you’re clicking because you’re ironic or because you really like it, or because you really hate it. The bottom line is you clicked! They get to look deeper at the structural way social media incentivizes certain behaviors and discourages others.

At the tradeoffs.

 

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IN BEATS WITH SATAN – VENOM MEGAMIX

17 beats, all with VENOM samples. For hip-hop or metal nerds.

Stay tuned ’til the end for a plot twist!

 

oy

 

 

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Rebranding the NRA as a Terror Group

I’d like to begin this rant with an October 2 tweet from Chuck D:

 

The NRA IS now a Terrorist Organization in The UnitedStateOfAmerica.

The FACT here is White Males will not identify White Males as terrorists

  —  Chuck D @MrChuckD 

 

———————–

 

I whole-heartedly agree that it’s ridiculous (white) mass-shooters are treated better than (Muslim) terrorists. The government and media should treat them both as harshly. But I was against the lib argument of, “Let’s make it equal by calling BOTH groups terrorists!”

Why? Because, why would you ,as a liberal, take the same anti-terrorist institutions like DHS, and CIA, the same institutions in charge of unjustly spying on, and harassing, innocent Muslim-American communities for the past 15 years . . .  why (of all people) would you trust THEM, and give THEM more power, and beg THEM to save us, please save us from the guns?

 

Wouldn’t it be better if we got equality by having BOTH jihadi-style violence AND spree-killer violence handled by civilian courts, so as to preserve the due process rights of ALL Americans, and all that Glenn Greenwald shit?

 

But I’ve since thought of a rhetorical gimmick to own gun nuts, a gimmick which is so effective / audacious, that it has changed my mind on the issue of “declaring mass-murderers terrorists too.”

 

Here goes:

The NRA is itself a traitor, terrorist organization, and – far from being of a bunch of unexplainable lone-wolfs, all the mass-shooters collectively compose the NRA’s armed insurgent wing.

 

Just as groups such as Sinn Fein and Palestinian National Authority are the “respectable, diplomatic” faces of the IRA and Hamas militants, the NRA is just – and always has been – ONE HALF, the VISIBLE HALF of the Gun Maniac Movement, and the maniacs themselves being the “direct action” half. But both the NRA and the Maniacs work hand-in-glove behind the scenes with one simple goal: making it easier for maniacs to get their hands on the best weapons possible.

 

This framing answers the usual rebuttal to the “psycho shooters are terrorists!” argument: “But terrorists by definition are organized, and have a specific political goal. Psychos are by definition lone nuts intent on nothing more than a high body count. Therefore psycho shooters can’t be terrorists.” 

 

You don’t have to be a gun-nut by any means to take this position; like it or not, it’s widely-held.

 

Here’s how I prove that “lone-wolf, apolitical maniacs” are actually an “organized group pursuing political goals”:  focusing not on the NRA’s law-and-order rhetoric, or their gun safety training, or the right to hunt, or even on the second amendment. By instead focusing narrowly on that particular set of specific issues where the interests of spree-killers and the “respectable, pro-law-and-order” NRA overlap 100%.

 

How?

Well, even if we accept the NRA’s framing that each individual maniac has totally private, psycho motivations, who cares? No matter why they kill, the common denominator is, they all want to kill more people with better guns! So by definition Lone Wolfs all share the exact same opposition to regulations on sales of firearms to psychotics, so in that narrow sense they DO move as a unit, and have specific policy goals!

 

And since the NRA shares the same exact position on the same exact regulations, they’re in bed with maniacs.

 

And to the extent that responsible gun-owners threaten rebellion if those same regulations are enacted, then responsible gun owners are linked to maniacs BY MEANS OF the god-damn NRA: they’re by definition part of the same nationwide organization, and they share explicit political goals of getting more unrestricted access to deadlier weapons – the OPPOSITE of apolitical lone-wolves.

 

Ergo, illegal Maniacs and the very legal NRA are just two wings of the same terrorist organization!

 

(Plus, you know, you could make the argument based on the effects of the NRA’s policies on America, in terms of deaths. The outcomes. If it walks like a duck, and etc.)

 

The reason the gun-regulation side hasn’t made progress isn’t so much that they’re out of touch elites: the reason is they’ve been fighting each head separately, as if they weren’t joined at the hip. It’s fucked up the strategy.

 

Once you see the NRA as the equivalent of the Sinn Fein or the Palestinian National Authority, then you can see that it’s been intimidating and extorting the rest of the country, in the same way as Hamas or the IRA does (i.e. through threats of  a nationwide uprising; threats which are made credible by the constant ‘lone wolf’ shootings)

 

It’s the same exact game as, “If you don’t deal with Sinn Fein through the normal political channels, you’ll have to deal with wave after wave of IRA bombings. You choose, suckers!

 

Once the terrorist framing is in place, we can start talking about how many bodies the gun maniacs catch yearly, versus how many American civilians are killed by jihadi terrorists yearly.  Once you establish such an ‘apples-to-apples’ comparison, it’s easy to see where the Government’s resources and money should go.

 

After all, what politician wants to be soft on terrorism?

 

Here’s the benefits of focusing narrowly on only those issues where the NRA takes the side of maniacs over the safety of average gun-owners: it drives a wedge between the NRA and ‘good guys with guns’, in 3 ways at once:

 

1)    Instead of the NRA giving Congresspeople a ‘report card’ based on how well the Congresspeople vote the NRA party-line, what if SPREE KILLERS THEMSELVES gave the NRA a ‘report card’ based on how well the NRA supported the SPREE KILLERS’ INTERESTS in Congress???  What God-fearing, flag-waving, Heartland American could support an institution which gets an “A+” from Dylans Roof and Klebold??

2)    My framing doesn’t just use the NRA’s own logic against it, but it does so in such a way that leads the listener inexorably to the conclusion that the NRA itself is a terrorist organization which must be abolished by whatever Federal or local measures are used to abolish ISIS training camps and recruitment offices on US soil! I don’t even think I’ve ever heard gun-regulation people demand that, since it’s such an advanced idea. But this provides the legal pretext for just such a put-em-on-the-defensive-for-once maneuver!

3)    This takes the focus off of “Do you broadly support the Second Amendment in general? Or do you want to BAN ALL GUNS EVERRRRRR?????” which is always gonna be a losing question for gun control people. And it shifts the focus where it belongs: why does the NRA fight against gun regulations which even a lot of gun owners support? And what specifically ARE those gun regulations, anyway? My argument relies on publicizing the many different options for regulation: The more options we talk about, the more examples we can give people of how the NRA gets an “A+” rating from spree-killers with each and every example.

 

Wedge issue, I’m saying.

 

Not just verbal Judo, but a Judo which pits one fundamental Conservative principle (the Second) against a whole CLUSTER of OTHER Conservative principles: (Anti-terrorism, patriotism, anti-crime, etc).

“Surely you can support just one of these regulations, if only to not be completely a maniac supporter, right?”

 

For each reform or regulation which the NRA and its partners (the Maniacs), say:

HERE’S THE KILLERS’ POSITION.

HERE’S THE NRA’S POSITION.

WHAT’S YOUR POSITION?

 

As a bonus, this framing leaves the hated ‘Coastal Elites’ out of the debate altogether! Instead, it emphasizes that, far from being a beleaguered resentful Middle American minority being lectured by Elites, it’s about ordinary Americans making up their OWN minds, about WHICH conservative principles take priority over other conservative principles.

Keep it simple:  killers’ position, NRA’s position, YOUR position.

 

Despite my reservations about expanding state power to combat terror, I find this tactic persuasive for two reasons:

1)    Even if banning the NRA altogether is too far-fetched to be practical, if this talking-point becomes famous enough to get any MSM attention it would benefit us by moving the ‘Overton Window’ hella left!

2)    Even if it’s too far-fetched to be practical, it’s still a darn good troll.

 

USING THIS TACTIC AGAINST GENERAL MAINSTREAM PEOPLE:

 

Why is it a good troll? It attacks the NRA not on their weak point, but on their strong point: their Heartland, Middle American, Silent Majority-type Cred.  That’s where they get their power from – not just the guys with 100 rifles, but those guys’ families and friends who also vote.

 

It takes the narrative: “Even if you don’t own hella guns, we’re YOUR people in DC – we represent the broad majority of normies who believe broadly in the Second Amendment!”… this tactic takes the very narrative which the NRA itself has spent so much effort in promoting, and JUDOS that shit back against the NRA, beating them with their own Heartland Values cudgel!

 

This is accomplished by means of an ingenious two-for-the-price-of-one-pivot maneuver of my own Machiavellian design:

 

It reframes the narrative away from:

“Look how different we, the NRA, are from coastal elites! YOU DON’T WANT TO BE ONE OF THEM, DO YOU? ”

 

And judos the narrative like so:

 
“Look how close we, the NRA, are to the maniac murderers! YOU DON’T WANT TO BE ONE OF THEM, DO YOU?”

 

(making this point particularly juicy: the NRA’s unwavering and oddly specific support for the right of PEOPLE ON THE TERRORIST NO-FLY LIST to BUY MORE GUNS (provided it’s bought from a gun show or other no-Federal-background-check-type purchase!).  It’s crazy this hasn’t already sunk them, since it flies in the face of their all-American rhetoric which their own fanbase laps up!)

 

Instead of, “do you want to be on the side of the CONSTITUTION? Because that’s the side of the NRA!” it’s now,

“Do you want to be on the side of the MANIACS? Because that’s the side of the NRA! Do you want to support a two-faced organization which OPERATES JUST LIKE HAMAS?!?!?!?”

 

Instead of, “Look at how far the Coastal Elites are from Middle America!” it’s now:

“Look at how far the NRA (in its support for the Maniac Agenda) is from Middle America!”

 

HOW THE TWO PIVOTS WORK:

First, this scenario takes the ‘playing field’ that the NRA itself promotes to the world: “We’re over here politically, and they’re over there!”… but rather than the distance between NRA and Coastal Elites, my shit focuses on the distance between the NRA and the killers!

 

Second, and more powerfully, it then DELETES THE COASTAL ELITES FROM THE SCENARIO ENTIRELY, by pivoting from “NRA vs. Elites” to “NRA vs. YOU, the Middle American who doesn’t want to be on the side of maniacs.”

 

That way, I take the adversarial relationship and resentment in the existing NRA narrative (the whole divisive, “Vs.” part) and substitute the NRA itself in the bad guy role formerly occupied by Elites.

 

We keep the resentment, but instead of lecturing people like, “Admit you’re wrong! Be more like us, the condescending elites,“ we rock it like this: “Precisely because you’re Heartlanders who are not terrorists, you have to ask YOURSELF if you’re really living up to your own values if you’re supporting the NRA’s peculiar views of the Second.” 

 

That’s another level of judo: turning it from a lib-conservative fight, to a fight of Conservative Principle Vs. Other Conservative Principle.

 

(I’m dictating this while driving: it occurs to me that it would be hilarious if in my distraction, I fatally ran over a bicyclist, because I was so engrossed in my anti-gun rant!)

 

PUTTING THIS ARGUMENT INTO PRACTICE AGAINST THE RIGHTEOUSLY HARDCORE 2ND  AMENDMENT PERSON:

 

Any time you hear an anti-regulation talking point, answer, “Isn’t that exactly what [name of mass shooter] would say? And how does  it make you feel, being on that side? Surely you’re in favor of some regulation, just to be able to say you’re not taking the same exact policy position as maniacs?”

 

ANOTHER WAY: THE ONE-TWO TRAP

YOU: Why are you taking the maniacs’ exact policy position if you’re not pro-maniac?

THEM: That’s blatantly unfair! I want to STOP bad guys! We’re on OPPOSITE sides!

YOU: Ok, opposite sides. (thinks) So, why are the MANIACS so eager to take YOUR position on gun regulations?

The cool thing is, there IS no ‘third position’ for the other person to argue and weasel out of it – since they literally ARE taking the same policies as maniacs!

Owned.

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hollowing of the middle class

An interesting development in 2018 will be, the ideological hollowing-out of the middle class. (more paranoid version: the middle class is already hollowed out, and they’re just going to start SHOWING IT next year!)

It’s commonplace to speak of the middle class as being hollowed out economically.  As in, there are literally fewer of them. As in, families who are now broke but still clinging to middle-class norms and rituals, as if these have magic properties to ward off the medical or stock-market emergencies which will inevitably make them homeless in the end.

OK, so far so good.

What I’m proposing is that, under the surface of these middle-class norms and rituals. . . .there’s no unifying ideology anymore.  While pundits, pols, and Tweeters alike were all concentrating on the sexy radical margins, and on the economic aspect of hollowing, they were overlooking something even bigger, something that’s always gone hand-in-hand with economic hollowing: ideological polarization!

In other words, it’s not a problem of ‘fewer middle class, middle-of-the-road people.’

Instead, it’s a problem of, the middle class isn’t middle-of-the-road anymore, period. There’s no longer anything behind the norms and rituals (except the normie tendency to conceal one’s true feelings, for fear of looking fringe).

Think I’m just fucking around? Remember the 2012 Greek elections (when they were getting fucked up by the EU and Germany, basically). The results shocked the world: hella ‘normal’ Greeks were voting for straight-up communists, and nazis too.  And how we laughed! “Stupid Greece! Commies AND Nazis? Make up your mind! That is adorable!”

Now they’re laughing at US. Or probably not since we have nukes, but still, the shoe is on the other foot. And that foot proves what I’ve been saying all along: if you hollow a class economically, you hollow it politically as well.

 

A SHORT METAPHOR

The suburban lawn eroded from below by ideological rot (structural inequality, rigged economy, corruption, eroding legitimacy of all institutions, etc.). It continues to look very proper, until suddenly, you fall through a paper-thin lawn into a huge, yard-sized GLADIATOR PIT below, where combatants clad in polo shirts, and pony tails strung through baseball caps, execute each other, Thunderdome style.  Probably there will be poisonous spikes coming up from the floor also.

 

THE REVOLUTION THAT HAPPENED WHILE NO ONE WAS LOOKING

Despite everyone’s hot takes about how America is falling apart (and who to blame!), people from the most radical to the most beltway types all continue to assume the middle class is haplessly chilling. That it continues to be super normal and middle-of-the road.  Based on what, though? Why would we assume that, after pundits got all proved wrong by the election, and radicals never know what to do about normies anyway? So why would we ever in our freaking lives assume normies are chilling passively, awaiting someone (pundits? radicals? the gummint?) to save them?

As the suburbs have been getting more poor, more precarious, more short-term and more at the mercy of the same few giant multinational dorks… we’ve been quietly, privately getting more extreme, choosing sides, quietly drawing lines in the sand: “If things get worse than XYZ, I’m going to flip out, and bring my friends with me!”

(and if you ask me, the structural causes of street violence are: the economic instability, unpredictability, short-term-ism, and precarity of modern life. These things already govern our ‘legit’ poitics, job schedules, healthcare, and increasingly, friendships.  It’s no coincidence that the groups DOING the violence model their tactics on those same things: instability, unpredictability, precarity. A hundred tiny groups that coalesce and then vanish. A mask and knife in the back pocket, ready to turn a peaceful protester into a fearsome maniac)

In an era when nobody – even the radicals themselves-  knows which, or how many, of the ‘peaceful’ marchers is 5 seconds away from wilding out. . . who is to say that Soccer Mom #1003948 isn’t going to be one of the ones fucking shit up?

It’s not that I’m UN-concerned about 700 nazis in Charlottesville. It’s just that, I’m more concerned with the 7 million SECRET nazis that might be out there, waiting. Or the 7 million SECRET commies that might be living right next door to the secret nazis, but not know it yet!

 

BLUE STATE VS RED STATE = BULLSHIT OVERSIMPLIFICATION.

“But wait,” you say. “All the conservatives are in the heartland and South, and all the libs are on the coasts, right? So there’s no suspense which state is gonna go which way, right?”

I’d like to remind you that the whole blue-vs-red state thing was dreamed up by political consultants, futile-ly trying to simplify the masses to fit their bullshit marketing models. Plus as the 2016 Sanders/Trump drama showed, both parties’ base is alienated from the leadership.

I predict if this middle-class revolution goes down, it’s going to be more like the balkans: house-to-house fighting, not state-vs-state.

 

THE FORMER MIDDLE CLASS LEARNS TO WEAPONIZE ITS ONE REMAINING ASSET

So the middle class has lost its lifetime employment, its expectation that the kids will do even better, and most of its retirement fund.  What does it have left? Respectability.  Because it doesn’t cost the oligarchs money to let normies have respectability.

 

But what happens when the middle class loses everything else? They will take their one remaining asset, and weaponize it, in hopes of regaining their other shit:

More than their punching or shooting skills, respectability is the biggest asset that normies bring to a fight.

How? Huh?

Check it out: cops will harass ANYONE before they harass middle-class, clean-cut parents. Never mind people of color: if they’re bored or nervous enough, cops’ll harass white single moms, rich teens, weird old people, anyone. On the other hand, if they don’t let Mom and Dad Dockerlegs into the state fair, there IS no state fair.

So once a huge faction of normies secretly decides to all wild out at a particular event, they’ll be able to smuggle in hella weapons. They’ll be able to come in huge numbers (compared to if they were protestors). They’ll be able to push cops around (as we’ve already seen in Charlottesville, and those guys weren’t even respectable!).

Plus small-town suburb events aren’t policed as heavily as other events to begin with, because of respectability. Making them juicy targets!

And all of this won’t be lost on radicals, either: radicals will start deliberately targeting the middle class for the same reason they already target active-duty military people:  they bring assets to a fight which college kids, career felons, or homeless drifters don’t bring.

 

WHAT THAT WILL LOOK LIKE

I look forward to a future where common suburban rituals take on the ominous significance of Northern Irish religious festivals, or Middle East funerals, or Turkish soccer games.

We’re going to be living in an era when the most beloved, unifying, socially acceptable, Middle-American pastimes (Thanksgiving parades, Xmas lawn decorations, high school football games, etc.) erupt in well-organized violence as one faction or another unleashes their wrath upon a scapegoat.  I’m all for anything that makes average people dread these  things as much as I always have. That’s my high-minded political take on it.

“Is the high school reunion going to be an old-fashioned one this year, or a riot-type reunion like 2 years ago? No one knows what to wear!”

“Is the ‘County Fair Fun-Food Drive Charity-Blues Jam’ going to be bombed by the ‘Junior Varsity Football Incident Martyr’s Brigade’? Or will it be a normal charity blues jam? Either way you’ll need earplugs.”

Etc.

 

LEFTOVER PARANOID VIGNETTES

Grandma’s Book Club will study JG Ballard to learn strategy.

The Friars’ Club will view DAWN OF THE DEAD and other suburban-combat movies, for tactical tips.

And finally, at long last, suburban rappers will scare people.

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THE ONLY WAY PEOPLE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT IDEOLOGY

If you ask anyone (from commies, anarchists, nazis, technocrats, to religious crazies [and even the Vanishing Endangered Liberals!]) to describe their ideal society, I guarantee they’ll all start off with abstractions:

You’ll first hear broad, ‘who-doesn’t-like THIS?’-style abstractions, such as FREEDOM! JUSTICE!  LIBERTY!  OPPORTUNITY!

Plus some more, uh, ominously specific ones like HERITAGE! or INTERNATIONAL STRUGGLE! Or, even more terrifying: INCREMENTAL METRICS-DRIVEN SOLUTIONS!

Only later (if at all!) will you get specifics.

This tendency towards putting the nice-sounding abstractions first is so universal, so common, we’re fooled into thinking that’s the only way to discuss ideology. Not only are there other, better ways, but the ‘abstractions first’ style of speechifying is one of the worst, most manipulative ones! That’s why it’s so common: ideologues of all stripes are basically advertisers.

 

THE BULLSHIT

If I’m trying to convince you the moon is made of green cheese, and I just say, “It’s made of green cheese!”, I sound like an idiot.

But if  I begin by saying, “Our great civilization is built on the ancient Greek principles of Democracy, Free Speech, and Equality. . . . which is why the moon is made of green cheese!”  Then I sound really smart (ancient Greeks!), plus when I pivot to green cheese, it sounds more convincing, because I’ve already got you on board by appealing to your love of equality, democracy, etc.

Abstractions have a hold on us: even decades after the results of trickle down economics became obvious, we still discuss it using the same optimistic abstractions, the same framing, that was used to sell it to us:  jobs, innovation, opportunity, freedom from big government, rising tides for all.  

It’s hard to win a debate on those terms, even if the results are clear to anyone who opens their window and looks out. Because, who doesn’t like innovation and opportunity?

 

 

THE SOLUTION TO THE BULLSHIT

Everyone with a political agenda should be required to FOCUS GROUP it. The government should pay for this. “Ideological Focus-Group Member” should replace Jury Duty as the #1 civic thing you get out of work for.  Here’s how the focus group would work:  An aspiring demagogue picks 4 adjectives which describe their ideal society (freedom, justice, ethnic cleansing, whatever the case may be), and writes them down on a card, for later.  Then they give a 10 minute speech to the focus group.

 

The rules:

1) NO MENTIONING THE 4 ADJECTIVES

2) OR ANY OTHER ADJECTIVES LIKE ‘FREEDOM’ , ‘DEMOCRACY’, ‘LIBERTY’, ETC.

3) The entire speech has to detail what everyday life would look like in the ideal society.  Not the everyday life of politicians, generals, etc. The everyday life specifically of everyone in the focus group.  If some people in your focus group would wind up in internment camps or ‘collective reeducation mines’ because of their backgrounds, you’d have to tell them that. Which specific people in your audience would be better off, and who would be worse off?

3a)  Start with getting out of bed, and work through everyone’s day until it’s bedtime. Do we sleep in private dwellings? Communal barracks? Medieval but environmentally sound lean-tos?

4) You can be as utopian as you want, as long as you follow the first 3 rules; we’re just measuring how well you can SHOW your abstractions as opposed to TELLING them. It’s up to the audience to judge if you’re too unrealistic or not.

 

After the speech, the audience has to write down the first 4 adjectives that come to their mind.  (“What kind of society did the speaker describe?”)

 

After THAT, government workers will see how much overlap there is between the abstractions which the speaker intended to convey, and the abstractions which the audience perceived from the speech.

This overlap (or lack of same!) will be tabulated as some neato chart, and made public for all to see (and laugh at !).

 

This should be the only way ideology is sold.  No short-cuts. No framing the issue in advance. “Show, don’t tell,” as your writing instructor said.

Plus it would be hilarious to see the dominant ideologies get housed by eccentric cranks, just because the dominant ideologies are so used to talking down to the audience, and hiding behind abstractions.

END OF FATWA

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MISSING FROM THE FREE SPEECH DEBATE

Instead of asking Berkeley Riot People (AKA Loud Ninjas) why they are trying to beat up so-and-so for their hate speech… has anyone asked them who they WOULD allow to speak?

 

Like, who do you disagree with, but in the end, you’d permit other people to hear them and judge their message for themselves?

 

Who exactly falls into THAT category?

 

Like, starting at the extreme right fringe, and proceeding to move leftward into mainstream discourse, and then more leftward still, to progressive speakers who might have made a problematic comment 10 years ago… at what point does any individual Berkeley Riot Person say, “Riot against XXXXX, eh? You know what? You guys go on without me, I think I’ll sit this one out. I got shit to do today.”

 

I’m guessing they haven’t thought about this a lot, so it might be a fun way to get some surprising answers. Assuming they wouldn’t just say it was a ‘fascist question’.

 

It’s a shame the Berkeley Young Republicans or whoever are so set on their strategy of “keep escalating at all times until one of us gets killed, at which point POTUS can finally declare martial law!”

 

If they were smarter, instead of getting the most offensive people to do a speech, they’d get someone so INNOFFENSIVE that most of the Berkeley Riot People (BRP) would not want to protest, thus ensuring that:

 

1) the BRP would fight among itself over whether to bother rioting,

2) only the most insane 10 people would bother showing up, and

3) lacking the numbers to riot, they might choose instead to speechify to the assembled media, but because they’re the most insane 10 people, they’ll embarrass everyone

 

In other words, it would turn out like all the recent, abortive right-wing demos in Berkeley, but the tables would be turned. Which would create the perception that the left is losing, the right is winning, etc.

 

The only question is, who is exactly the right amount of offensive?

 

I’m hard pressed to think of any republican that wouldn’t get rioted on.

 

Herman Cain?

 

Maybe they should sponsor a speech by a longtime radical feminist activist who hates the patriarchy AND trans women. (wait, that already happened !)

 

Or a black nationalist who is convinced abortion is a white supremacist/ eugenicist plot which will be illegal After The Revolution.

 

Or an Imam who is against Islamophobia, government spying, racism, and queers.

 

Or Kamala Harris!

 

Or Macklemore. Holy shit, the Macklemore Riot!

 

Or put up 1,000 flyers advertising a fake rally where Dubya’s chief torture lawyer, John Yoo (who still teaches at Berkeley) will speak on how torture is rad.

Of course, he won’t actually come to the rally…. but even a bunch of flyers for a made-up event would force the issue: “Why are we flipping out about Ann Coulter, who has never made policy, speaking here one single time, when the guy who literally legalized torture teaches here every week without incident? Why has no one protested him since 2010?”

 

Damn it, now I’M back doing just what I was making fun of College Republicans for doing: escalating!  With such a plethora of offensive idiots on the menu, de-escalating is more difficult than it looks.

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Snobs

I don’t like the term ‘snob’, because it means ‘you think your neighborhood’s culture is superior to everyone else’s – which is how EVERYONE thinks, for christ’s sake – but it’s only applied to rich people.

The only special thing about rich people’s contempt for different cultures is, they control the media, so their point of view is amplified unfairly.  Or how cops listen to complaints from affluent gentrifiers about how people act in the street, but cops don’t listen to more serious complaints from longtime (poor) residents, about more serious problems (slumlords, wage theft).

So why not criticize the inequality itself (i.e. unequal access to media / police protection / etc), rather than the very normal, common, parochial behavior of holding other social classes in contempt? (I’m using words like ‘common’ and ‘parochial’ on purpose, because the term ‘snob’ -though negative- still flatters the upper classes that they alone possess the finesse to be judgmental about petty bullshit)

The term ‘snob’ lets the rich off for their structural advantages while letting poors and suburbers off the hook for being just as closed-minded.  Plus, like every other label in today’s dumb discourse, there’s the childish tendency to reduce questions of morality or identity to yes or no answers.

I mean, am I a snob?

I like AC/DC, Foghat, and David Foster Wallace.

I am bored to tears by football and baseball, but also by regattas and polo.

I hate apostrophe’s in place’s there not s’upposed to go, but I also hate when people use polysyllabic obscure jargon – excuse me – when people use big words to hide the fact that they don’t have a point.

I’m scared of bars, but hate the kind of restaurants where shorts are frowned upon. You tell me if I’m a snob.

 

But if I’m too complex for yes/no labels like ‘snob’, that doesn’t mean I’m exceptional or unique. I think most people are just as hard to pigeon-hole, if you look at their tastes in that amount of detail. We all judge those both below and above us, and of course suburb-ers are famous for even hating ourselves.  Again, it’s a combination of [the reductive yes/no labels], and [avoiding the power imbalances of class] which makes ‘snob’ such a frustrating term.

 

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WHO DIVIDES-AND-CONQUERS WHOM?

Radical political change is usually a carrot-and-stick affair. You have one group of radicals which is organized and peaceful (the public face of a movement) and another group of radicals which is secret, violent, and (wink-wink-nudge-nudge) totally unconnected to the legitimate resistance.

(the violent faction is sometimes highly organized, but at other times it’s just the potential threat of a spontaneous armed mob)

 

The goal is to make the The Powers That Be (TPTB) realize that, “If we don’t negotiate with the nonviolent people, we’ll have to deal with those maniacs over there!”

 

Here’s the paradox:  sometimes this carrot-and-stick approach divides-and-conquers the TPTB, but other times it divides-and-conquers the radicals!

So what the tactical fuck.

 

In the first scenario, some elites continue to say, “Fuck it, let’s just crush them by force,”, but they get yelled at by OTHER elites, who respond,  “Yeah we COULD just crush the radicals by force, but then our businesses would wind up burned to the ground, and as much as we love bigotry, we love money more!”  And as the elites fall to arguing among themselves, the radicals win.

 

EXAMPLES: the USA Civil Rights movement, um, Northern Ireland, uh… South Africa?

 

But other times, the radicals wind up fighting with each other over whether violence is counter-productive, and TPTB use a mixture of agents provocateurs and media propaganda to encourage this infighting, cutting the small armed factions off from their large-but-moderate base, and disabling the movement.

 

EXAMPLES:  Japan and Italy in the 60s, USA commie-bombers in the 70s, German commie-bombers in the 80s.

 

Antifa people love to point to Germany in 1938, more so than Germany in the 70s/80s (when the German Red Army Faction was bombing people for decades, but achieved exactly zero results, despite being much more militant and heavily armed than Antifa)

 

The point being, all successful instances of radical change have some violent component – even if the violent component is just the potential for a mass uprising of previously apolitical poors. So it’s not a question of ‘VIOLENCE vs NONVIOLENCE’ – it’s a question of, WHAT OTHER VARIABLES ARE WE MISSING?

 

What, in other words, is the common point of all the successful movements (when the ‘if we don’t deal with Martin we’ll have to deal with Malcolm’ question caused TPTB to divide against each other), and what’s the common point of all the failed movements (when the violence issue caused the radicals to divide against each other)?

 

I don’t have an answer to this. I certainly don’t have a good list of examples of successful/failed  revolutionary movements to analyze. I don’t even own a dang rattan chair. I’m just saying that’s a better way to look at it, rather than endless, circular “is punching nazis good or bad” debates.

 

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A MERE 3400 WORDS ON THE NO LONGER FUNNY LARPER RUMBLES

ONE

PITY THE TRUMP-HEAD

I feel bad for a certain slice of Trump voters, specifically, the people who were fed up with being taken for granted by the GOP (because, what are ya gonna do, vote for Democrats?). The people who voted for Trump just to send a long-overdue Fuck You to the GOP establishment. (“Take us seriously.”) Now they’re trapped – painted into a corner by a very unserious President.

Here’s how that works:

If you have a Senator who’s a tiebreaker, it’s normal for them to demand insane shit in exchange for their vote: “You want to make killing puppies illegal? And right now it’s a 49 to 49 tie? Well if you want the great state of Delaware to help you, we’ll need 300 million for a crawdad museum. Because fuck you, is why! Delaware, bitches.”

It’s fair for voters of whatever stripe to want some concessions for changing their vote to go with the majority.  But these Trump people, suffering as we all do from a bipartisan Washington Consensus (crushing debt, spiraling medical/school costs, bank fraud, endless war and crumbling infrastructure), they’re not gonna get any help from the GOP (after all, where else are they gonna go? Vote democrat?!?), and they’re not gonna get any help from the Dems for the simple fact the Dems won’t even try to help THEIR OWN BASE, let alone ‘the other team.’

Their only hope was to bust the GOP’s balls with a fuck-you Trump vote, and then hopefully the GOP would take them more serious next time.  But now Trump is fucking everything up, and – far from getting concessions – they’re being told, “He’s just going to get more and more embarrassing – cut your losses while you can!”

“What’s in it for me to give up my Fuck You vote? Will you give me relief from debts, war, insurance nightmares?”

“LOL of course not, you’ll get nothing, same as Dem voters. All you’ll get is to NOT be an asshole anymore. THAT’s your profit, matey.”

And then people wonder incredulously, “How low does Trump have to sink, to lose these people’s support? How can they STILL be with him even now? Are they even human?”

It’s a classic trap – the longer they wait, the more he’s going to let them down, but if they give up now, they lose any leverage they might have had with the elites of their own party.  I should be giggling with schadenfreude, but it’s too close to the ‘bernie bro’ struggle for comfort.

 

TWO

REFRAMING THE FREE-SPEECH STRUGGLE

It’s frustrating that the post-Charlottesville debates turned immediately to “but the first amendment!” Now everyone thinks only Nazis benefit from the first amendment. I get why it’s important to have the debate, but maybe when the blood is still on the street is not the most practical time to focus on that aspect.

A more practical way to discuss the 1st Amendment:

We ALREADY – all colors, all politics – lost our freedom of speech. As long as your boss or manager can fire you for talking politics at work, or wearing ‘unprofessional attire’, or not having enough pieces of flair . . .  not to mention firing you for facebook comments they spy on, political acts outside of work, and etc. And forget using your freedom of speech to tell the boss, “I won’t do that task, because I think it is a stupid plan that is bad for the company.” I mean, officially they won’t fire you for that, but you’ll wind up being fired, sure as shit.

If you frame the first amendment like, “Let’s ALL take back our freedom of speech, crack down on these dick bosses and managers and especially those subhuman freaks in human resources,” then I bet people of all political stripes would unite to change laws. Imagine a world where cops would come in and beat up our bosses, if our bosses dared to schedule an Emergency Performance Review on us, just because of our JUGGALO FAMILY 4 LYFE sleeveless XXXXXL tee which we wore to the big meeting.

 

 

THREE

PARANOIA, AMBIENT DREAD, AND UNKNOWN UNKNOWNS

When it comes to shit like Charlottesville, Berkeley, Boston, etc. . . the sheer amount of uncertainty and paranoia – even WITHOUT factoring in COINTELPRO type shit – is amazing!  I hadn’t even considered this stuff before:

  • Marches with dual meanings – is the surface meaning of the march just a pretext, a dog whistle for some crazy extremist shit? Who is to say?  One thing is for sure: if you try to be clever and have a super-general, very broad meaning for your event (‘Free Speech! Patriotism! Freedom!’), it’ll backfire because you become a blank canvas for your enemies to project whatever onto.
  • Are the extremists promoting the march? Or is it put on by a peaceful group? But maybe some of the peaceful-protest promoters happen to have previously been at the same event as known extremists? But maybe they went to THAT event for different reasons? Or what? Who knows? Is it all a ruse?
  • If someone gets mad that one faction is beating up another faction, does that prove that they (the mad onlooker) were really a Secret Spy for the other faction all along? Is it all a ruse? Or is it just honest horror at watching society decay? Maybe? Sometimes?
  • Is the end-game of the various factions anything near what they SAY their endgame is? Do the police really want ‘just’ to keep the peace? Do the Patriot people really ‘just’ want free speech? Do the antifa people really ‘just’ want to stop genocide?
  • Why did violent people show up? Were they in cahoots with the organizers? The organizers said those bad people just show up at any big tv-friendly demo, just to hijack it. Is it all a ruse? So what the fuck.
  • Who are these hapless single people in context-free video snippets, being surrounded by stick-weilding mobs? Like, did they wander onto enemy turf accidentally? Were they trying to, like, have a debate? Or did they come in violently with 12 of their friends on some sort of LARPer sortie, and then got separated from the pack? Were they just random confused Travis Bickle-ish onlookers drawn to where the action is, wandering around, but then someone said, “He’s one of THEM!” and pointed? Or what? There’s never any backstory, which makes it easy to use these victims as a blank canvas to project whatever you want.
  • And the other people. . . the people who look like helpless victims, huddling behind police… if the tables were turned and THEY had more people, would they still be interested in ‘debate’, or would they be clobbering the other people? Or what?
  • Outright Infiltrators aside, there’s also some talk about how antifa/nazis/militias/whoever is Actually Representing The Existing Status Quo In Its Most Nakedly Brutal Form; that one or another faction is secretly backed by The Powers That Be. I’m not actually sure how the fuck anyone arrives at that conclusion, but that’s also one of these ambient-dread questions that hangs over this whole month.

To answer questions like these, I think we should step outside our political bubbles and, like, actually LISTEN to people from OTHER COUNTRIES, who have already been through this phase of civil unrest. (Whatever the fuck “this phase” even is, since no one’s told us what it’s called yet. That’s probably one of the questions we could ask).  You know, one of those countries where funeral marches are both seen and intended as incitements to violence.

(side-rant: It is depressing to see lefties and liberals embrace a weird form of “American Exceptionalism”, where the only comparison is to Germany in 1938, because we honestly don’t know any other history except for The One Good War We Won, and don’t care enough to learn. We should be listening to people from other countries who have, in living memory, been through this type of bullshit. We need to get as many ideas as possible for what works and what doesn’t.  We need to learn all the possible paths that escalating mob violence could lead down, not just assume it’s the “Germany 1938” path.)

 

 

 

FOUR

FUELED BY UNIQUELY AMERICAN BULLSHIT

I think the current crisis of mob violence is more than just politics, more than just decades of grinding debt and job loss. The current crisis takes two deep and un-examined American delusions, delusions we all share, and turns these delusions from something harmless and absurd, into pure kerosene. Like these delusions have been pretending to be harmless, but really they’ve been patiently awaiting precisely this type of crisis.

WEIRD AMERICAN SHIT NUMBER 1

Have you noticed, especially online, that “You can’t make me stop! My rights!” is the DEFAULT first-line-of-defense to any comment?

I was in my 30s before it even occurred to me that there were other ways of beginning a discussion, let alone that there were entire other countries, as in most of them, where “You can’t MAKE me stop!” was definitely not a traditional opening gambit. Like, it doesn’t matter that 9 times out of 10 no one is ASKING you to stop, they just say “I disagree!” or whatever. Or they say “what about….” Or “but actually” …. It doesn’t matter what they say, we always have to immediately turn it into, “But my rights!”

WEIRD AMERICAN SHIT NUMBER 2

Everyone – from the most privileged of the oligarchs to the most disenfranchised burger-flipper, is an underdog bravely defying the illogical mob. Your actual privilege has no bearing. George Dubya ran as an ‘outsider’ candidate on the basis that – not joking – he wore a Cowboy hat when he went to Yale. And people bought it. Absolutely everyone must at all times BELIEVE they’re an embattled minority righteously speaking truth to power. It doesn’t even have to be politics. I’ve seen dog owners, Mac users, fans of the least good-looking member of a boy band, and Chiefs of Police all use this strategy. It’s not even a strategy – it’s a default posture we adopt unthinkingly because we honestly have never encountered an alternative option.

(And how bizarre is it that the world leader of Democracy, the country who won’t shut the fuck up about how we were the first country ever to implement Democracy correctly, has such an omni-partisan hatred of the irrational mob?)

I’m honestly not sure all the ways these two things are adding fuel to the fire here.

A superficial example, just to get the ball rolling: Everyone is so quick to gleefuly adopt whatever rude name is thrown at them, I can’t even tell which new insults refer to what anymore.

Another example: everyone’s convinced that no matter what happens, it will make THE OTHER GUYS look so bad. The police are like, “LET them riot – it makes them look bad. Normies will gleefully give us massive new powers.”  Protestors who get beat up by {the other side} are like, “Come see the violence inherent in the system! This makes THEM look bad!”  The same protestors, after {their side} really hammers someone, “This ALSO makes them look bad!”

Maybe! To whom? Who knows?

And anyway, if the public reaction to the protest DOES turn out to be bad for our side, who cares? It just means that Normies are sheeple, and the media is brainwashing everyone, right? So you know what that means, right?

DO-OVERS!!!

 

 

 

 

FIVE

NORMIES: THREAT OR SAVIOR?

 

Not to be a ‘both sides!’ person, but it’s not too glib to claim that ‘both sides want to win’. Right?

That’s different from saying, “one side wants to be not systematically murdered by police, the other side is being white-genocided because no one will fuck them, so it’s basically six of one, half a dozen of the other.”

From the point of view of radical groups (no matter what the side), the vast majority of Normies present a huge, fundamental, problem which is so utterly un-solve-able that they just fuckin’ ignore it altogether (kind of like how religious types can’t ever answer why a perfect loving god permits so much suffering).

Except in this case, the problem is:  because of their overwhelming numbers, Normies are essential to victory, but they’re also boring as hell.

I’m sure you’ve heard various radicals simultaneously claim that:

A          “the Normies are all basically on our side, and all it’ll take is one big incident to make the whole nation rise up with us”

but also

B          “the Normies are brainwashed assholes who don’t know WHAT they want, because they’re SHEEPLE!”

You’ve heard something like this, if not in those exact words.

So you’ve got people on all sides daring their friends to do more extreme shit, to [convert/frighten into submission] the Normies (take your pick, I guess?).

And behind all of this is the mainstream media, Normie central, which is happy to promote the violence because it’s a win-win for them:

Near term, ratings go up.

Long term, escalating street clashes will allow the government (maybe Trump, maybe Congress, most likely individual state legislatures) an excuse to clamp down on everybody on some Shock Doctrine shit.  And of course the MSM assumes that this clamp-down won’t affect THEM (just their rivals: youtube vloggers).

So BOTH the radicals and the MSM are convinced more violence helps THEM specifically (and not the other factions), while the government is just biding its time, whispering: “Oh no. Stop. Please don’t force us to do martial law. Stawwwwp.”

And the media is in this world-record-setting-absurd position: “The only thing all the sides agree on is that we suck, that we should be run out of town on a rail, BUT ratings are higher than ever!”

It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for them.

 

 

FIVE POINT FIVE

ANOTHER THING

Yes I do think ‘both sides-ism’ is terrible. But only in the sense of, “There’s only two sides to this issue, and if you’re not 100% on my side, then you’ve revealed yourself! As a secret spy for the worst elements of the other side!” That kind of both-sides-ism sucks.

 

 

SIX

PROVOCATION!

Part of this whole mess is, “when is speech just provoking someone to fight you?  By what yardstick do you measure when speech turns into an excuse to fight?”

That’s always a thorny debate, but now it’s an unsolveable one because the ways people frame the issue are incompatible; it’s like nobody even HAS a yardstick anymore, so one group is using silly putty, and the other group is trying to paint inch-marks on live snakes.

Here’s the two main criteria that people are using now, for free speech:

I have not only the right but the obligation to be as shitty and hurtful to everyone around me as the law allows! Because that is what my ancestors fought for. Freedom. That’s how you measure it.
Vs.

Words are literal violence, so anything I can do to defend myself against them is justified because I have ceased to make a distinction between words and the potential dystopian futures that those words point to.

 

We can’t even figure out what we mean by ‘speech’ anymore, let alone ‘provocation.’  One thing everyone agrees on, though: it’s easier to muddy the waters than it is to draw clear lines. It’s easier to sew doubts that someone’s speech is legitimate, than it is to prove harm from the speech alone. Especially when all sides use the violence at previous rallies/demos/riots to “prove” how harmful the other guys’ provocation/speech was. Provospeech-ion? Speech-o-cation?

 

 

 

 

SEVEN

            NORMIES AND TACTICS

 

Let me start with the most basic tactical question, something you base your whole movement off of:

Do we WANT people to film us beating up the other guys?

Is that going to make us look strong to people watching?

Or do we want people to NOT film us beating up the other guys, because it makes us look scary to people watching?

As little as a few years ago, even really ‘rah-rah’ radicals would have conceded that filming it does more harm to “the cause” than good. It was a fairly open-and-shut question (at least from a tactical, not moral standpoint)

But now. . . neither the people fighting in the street, nor the protestors filming the fighting, nor the press who broadcast these citizen-journalist clips, nor the vast international crowd of Normies watching it. . . nobody even KNOWS whether filming 6 people kicking one person’s ass is going to make the former side look bad, or make them look good, to the vast majority of watchers.

How can you even plan tactics? Nobody knows. Norms are in the fucking wind.

There’s no single thing which captures the vertiginous feeling of our current state of national free-fall more than this:

No one even knows what CONSTITUTES a victory anymore: even if your side gets badly routed on the ground, maybe the vast majority of people watching on TV will sympathize with you. (Or maybe they’ll just laugh and meme your demise) Conversely, maybe you win on the ground but lose the hearts and minds of millions of Normies.

How crazy is that?

Which brings me to the central thesis, which I’ve been postponing as long as I could:

If social norms are in such flux… then, tactically speaking, how can you even tell if your [violence/ threatening displays of potential to do same] Is going to backfire? And how can you plan any political tactics if you don’t know that basic information?

So not only are the norms of the normies now unknown, but even media spin  (which, in previous eras, activist groups could use as a proxy for Normie opinion) is no longer any indication of how people actually feel.

That’s hella scary to me!

Consider the following disturbing contradiction, (or is it more a ‘worst of both worlds’-type deal?):

Our lives are more saturated with media than ever, and the media now has more surveillance (to capture all the violent images for eternity) than ever. But at the same time, they’ve completely lost the ability to SPIN the violence – that is, to convince the vast majority of Normies that THIS group was the aggressors or that THAT group was the victims. The media lost their credibility with the election. So how can we tell if our group ‘won’ the fight or not? How can we even tell if our tactics are working?

 

 

EIGHT

NORMIES AND THE NUMBERS GAME

Why was it 700 nazis at C-ville? Why not 7,000 – or 70,000?

And for every nazi who showed up, how many online secret admirers did it take to convince them to really go, that it was going to turn out dandy? One? Ten? A hundred?

And, when it comes those online sympathizers (of any side), how many are One Ass Hair Away from getting into the street? Versus, how many are One Ass Hair Away from quitting activism altogether?

Seems like you’d have to know that, in order to decide WHICH tactics to use against that group.

Same with the 40,000 mostly non-violent, Normie-style, anti-racist people in Boston. Why was it 40K and not 4K or  a mere 400? How many ass-hairs away from violence are THEY?  Versus, how many ass-hairs are they away from just giving up on activism altogether?

Whatever ‘line in the sand’ each individual normie is drawing, (i.e. “if it gets THIS bad, then I’m going to march, but if it gets THAT bad, I’m going to get violent too!”), they are keeping that line in the sand private for now.

 

NINE

SHOCK DOCTRINE AND THE NORMIE WILD-CARD

 

My theory is that the middle class isn’t just hollowed out financially (i.e. people clinging to middle-class norms or status symbols even though they’re one medical payment away from bankruptcy, etc). … the middle class is hollowed out IDEOLOGICALLY, too.

Your neighbor might be a secret nazi or closet commie. You won’t know until they put out their Xmas decorations and you can see who they’re hanging in effigy from the Xmas lights.

But let’s turn that frown upside-down: what government or volunteer-run programs would convince the on-the-fence-about-violence Normie majority to chill the fuck out?  It might be easier than you think (and who thinks about social programs when there’s violence to be watched?). Maybe just some socialized medicine or less war? Or slightly higher wages?

But… who benefits when we stop talking about those things, and instead only talk about fucking free speech and violence and shit?

Think about it: if a substantial portion of Americans are irredeemable Trash People, then why should government help them economically? Just let their community deteriorate more. And if that makes them more violent, then that just proves what Trash People they are. That’s very convenient for the government, since that’s what they’ve been doing since Reagan anyway.

In fact (and if I was paranoid, I’d say this is the Shock Doctrine-style endgame here), if huge amounts of the country are Trash People, then Bernie-style programs which provide material benefits to ALL citizens are not just impractical, they’re actually immoral. . . . because helping everyone instead of just US, is COLLABORATION with the enemy.

Fuck!!!

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Placebo Headshrinkers

Has anyone done a placebo-style style of the effectiveness of psychology?

Like, get 100 people with minor problems (the kinds of problems affluent people routinely go to shrinks for), and divide them into 2 groups of 50.  Half go to a certified therapist of the “just listen and nod” school of therapy, whatever the fuck they call that style.

The other half go see Dave, who (unknown to them) works at the local gas station, but is wearing Rick Perry glasses and has been coached on how to not react to stuff, and how to nod in a subtle knowing way.

After 4 years of therapy, do one group of patients report more progress? Or is it about the same?

As long as we’re requiring shrinks to get certified anyway, shouldn’t they have to pass this kind of test in order to get a license? In fact, now that we know that’s potentially an option, shouldn’t that be the FIRST thing the licensing board tests for? OK maybe not 4 years, but more than, say, none?

 

 

 

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Funeral Instructions

 

First, this should cost the minimum possible. Ideally, the funeral industry should get zero cents.

The mom-and-pops got taken over by corporate death-mongers long ago.

If you can persuade the county to put me in a refrigerator box and dump me in an unmarked grave for under $25, go for it. Show them this legal document if it helps:

“I, Schultzzz, being of sound mind and not a fucking idiot who loves forcing his grieving family to waste money on bullshit, do solemnly swear, “fuck a funeral.””

If you’re required by law to have a funeral, the priest should only be allowed to read 2 things, while looking the funeral director right in the eye:

1)    An excerpt from the book, ‘THE AMERICAN WAY OF DEATH’, detailing the financial corruption and psychological manipulation of the entire funeral industry, and

2)    A list of all my enemies who I managed to outlive during my life span. After every name, the mourners can reverently say, “rest in PISS”. (list, as of 8/20/2017 attached, signed in triplicate, and notarized by the County Examiner)

 

If you can’t find any priest willing to do this, even for a whole $25, it proves that all religion has been corrupted beyond recognition.

Which leaves you, as the executor, no choice but plan B; THE SATANIC OPTION!

1              Take my ashes home in an urn

2              Put the urn in the middle of a pentagram burned in the lawn with lighter fluid

3              Rent a giant PA, and crank the first two Slayer albums on repeat forever

4              The PA volume should be at such a level that guests have to leave the yard and go into the middle of the street, if they want to converse

5              The funeral doesn’t end until the cops come

6              During the police raid, a tug-of-war over the urn results in the cops getting 100% of my ashes poured on their face

7              At that point, the DJ finally changes the music from Slayer to Yakkety Sax (a mashup is also acceptable, IF IT’S DONE IN GOOD TASTE)

 

 

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Mexico