Tokyo Damage Report

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!!!

2 comments

2 Comments so far

  1. 23 Wolves August 29th, 2017 8:39 am

    This a good article. Penetrating analysis!

  2. admin September 1st, 2017 7:16 pm

    Thanks for giving it a chance!

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