First of all, let me acknowledge that+
1) it’s hard to make films for fans because we’ll complain no matter what you do, if you please the 1 percent hardcore you’ll alienate the other 99 percent. I get that.
2) It’s hard to go off-canon, because you have to include a real ‘tolkien-ish feel’ without being ‘derivative’. The classic problem of ‘viewers want the same exact thing as last time. . . .except different’, which problem dates back to the beginning of hollywood, and is not at all limited to hardcore nerds.
Therefore, I was actually OK with dude going off-canon. The way he went off canon in the first 2 was well done: he was fleshing out the backstories and eccentricities of minor characters from the real books. That is a good compromise.
But this shit.
The dragon dying in the first 15 minutes?
Worst of both worlds: giving part 2 a totally unsatisfying ending, and part 3 an equally anticlimactic beginning. Cliffhangers are ok if you’re making buck rogers serials in the 30s, but that’s because in the 30s YOU ONLY HAD TO WAIT 2 WEEKS, for the next installment, not a fuckin’ year. It feels like they put the dragon-slaying in film 3 just in order to have some canon-ish hook to hang the rest of the movie on. Like ‘we’re starting from the real book here, give us a break!’. Fuck that. Jackson should have had more balls, killed the dragon at the end of part 2, and blatantly said ‘part 3 is gonna be all shit I made up. I done did 5 films of canon, I gave you nerds what you wanted, now this next one is for Peter.’
Word to ice-t.
“I MAKE RECORDS FOR YOU, BUT THIS ONE’S FOR ME!”
Or if they totally OWNED the anticlimax of part 3 – like if Smaug caught a spear to the chest while responding to an ‘urgent’ text in the middle of raping the village, or if the humans poured so much rainbow glitter on him that the computers could no longer render him, so he just glitched up and stopped moving. Or if he just keeled over in the first 5 seconds from Lyme Disease, and then a huge-ass Dragon Tick spits out the Arkenstone, and it lands on the head of a sleeping Son Doobie, and then the next 10 minutes is a Funkdoobiest video about Lyme Disease and the importance of early detection and treatment.
Also: I’m kind of ambivalent about the plot-holes. I don’t like films that take the fantasy-land politics too seriously, and over explain shit that no one cares about.
But at the same time, if they have 20 minutes to waste on redundant scenes of dwarf-king-guy brooding over and over, then they definitely had some time to sew up some of the many loose ends: what happened to the arkenstone? What did the main human revolutionary guy do after they defeated the orcs? Did he ever get his money? Did the elves ever get their bling? Who became the new dwarf king? What happened to the gold? Why did the elves abandon the dwarves the FIRST time the dragon came ‘round? Did the Russel-Brand-lookin’-ass greasy human in the granny costume with titties full of stolen gelt ever get his comeuppance? Did Bilbo ever plant his wacky tree? Did the elf lady ever French the suave dwarf? What about the other 2 main wizards besides Radagast, Gandalf and Osama bin Saruman? I was hoping they’d get their own backstory. And is T-Funk still doing the Tomahawk Chop now that the Redskins are officially racist as fuck? Again, any one of these issues is super nerdy and I forgive Jackson for not making a super-fanboy movie, BUT since Jackson is so clearly desperate to pad out the movie to 2 hours, he should have gotten into SOME of that shit, rather than: “I’m still brooding” “is he still brooding?” “Yes he is still brooding.” “how about now” “Nope, still brooding.” “that is SO WEIRD he’s still brooding.” “Whelp, what can you do. Should we check again? “I don’t see why not, there’s still 89 minutes to go….”
And what SHOULD be done with the arkenstone? It’s clearly presented as a sort of off-brand Ring O” Power. And I’m ok with re-doing the classic Tolkien bits in an effort to make the off-canon stuff feel ‘real.’ But you got to take it in some new direction. As it is, they just forgot about it halfway through the movie. At one point we’re told it’s ‘the birthright’ of ALL dwarves. At other points, it seems to be ‘dragon-cursed’ and just plain evil. Should it be destroyed like the One Ring, or, what? Broken into pieces and one piece given to every dwarf? Or set up like the English Crown Jewels or the weird-ass asteroid at Mecca so all the dwarves can see it once a year, single-file? Or what?
Maybe it’s dorky to get all RAND-institute-white-paper-ish re: the serious dwarven-government-policy issue presented by the arkenstone, but that’s the stuff that excites me. Compromise: I’d be happy to stop my nerdy overthinking of the issue, if Jackson had cut out all 40 minutes of excessive King-brooding-re:arkenstone scenes. But since it’s so important to the first half of the film, you don’t have to be a Dwarvish-policy wonk to wonder what happens to it in the second half.
Plus, not for nothing, but humans, orcs, elves, and dwarves is only four armies. I guess it’s five if you include the half-dozen eagles as a whole army, but then you’d have to also include the corny-ass bats too, and then you’re up to six. So what the fuck. I feel like I just watched Resivoir Dogs and I’m the only one who didn’t realize who shot Mr. Pink. (edit; just checked a Tolkien Wiki and it said the fifth army was Goblins, but they are on screen for even less time than the bats, so what the fuck) (I mean if you include goblins, you’d have to include the fake Dune worms, AND the giant-ass tactical trolls, and then you’re up to seven armies. Which would be cool if the fake Dune worms had their own backstory and the whole movie was intercut with scenes of Worm General Command, in some underground Situation Room, arguing about which Funkdoobiest song was the best, and whether the early ‘90s really was the Golden Age of Hiphop, (the minority faction – First Lieutenant Vermiface and Colonel Rockbarfer – contend that the whole ‘golden-age nostalgia’ is at best pedantic and at worst borderline haterish, but Rockbarfer has a less-than-rad ass engraving of Puffy, so she’s fairly suspect), and then almost coming to blows re: Lynch vs. Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Dune, before all going to Sauron’s house to demand more of the Mordor Defense Budget, accusing him of being Soft on Defense and part of the Blame Mordor First liberal elites).
And who’s the main elf lady (Google search for “main Elf broad that Gandalf has a Plus Five boner for” yeilds the result: galadriel, so I’m going to go with that). Did anyone else think it was, like, strategically weird that Galadriel used 99% of her magic strength just to take out a single, solitary, non-deluxe orc that was guarding Gandalf??? She was like “OMG taking out that solitary non-deluxe orc was hella hard, bro. I’m wiped out, I think I’ll just pass out from sheer exhaustion while you guys do your thing. Oh, by the way, just as an afterthought, how about I SINGLEHANDEDLY WHIP SAURON’S SPECTRAL FLAMING ASS with the last remnants of my magic points?”
Amirite, fellas? The guys know what I’m talking ’bout!
Plus, besides his damsel-in-distress-role-reversal, gandalf does nothing cool. I was stoked to see Radagast make a cameo, but even he just duplicates powers and spells and rabbits he had in previous films, I was hoping that they’d do what they did in the first joint and flesh out his character more, flashbacks, new and exciting feats of wizardry, or at least more drugs.
Plus, another problem: nobody says things that a regular person would say in that situation. Nobody ever tells their opponent some simple piece of information that would make the opponent say, “Wha–? Really? Oh shit, we’re on the same side, here. Why didn’t you say so. Jesus, we almost did some dumb shit there!” Which is by no means a problem unique to this movie. In fact that exact issue – where you are so frustrated you want to yell at the screen “JUST TELL HIM THE OBVIOUS THING! WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM?”. It’s such a common issue of movies there really should be a word for that exact phenomenon.
Like when Big Mohawk Dwarf guy shows up, nobody says to him, “King-Broody-Pants done got Dragon Sickness! He’s gone nuts!”.
Or when Main Human meets the Dwarves/Elves/Gandalf, he never says, “Guess who killed a motherfuckin’ dragon? THIS GUY. THIS GUY RIGHT HERE.” And then he never points to his own chest and goes “Deeeeyamnnnnn.”
And at no point in the 4 hours devoted to tedious negotiations over the Dwarven Loot does any human, dwarf, elf, halfling accountant, Goblin corporate arbitrator, Ninth-level Ent contract attourney, or transgender half-Urik-Hai Financial Settlement Specialist ever think to ask, “How MUCH of the money do the non-dwarfs want?” (OK I get that the Main Dwarf was fully Gollum-ized by that point (or is it fully Theoden-ized? Or fully Denethor-ized? Or any of the million other Fucked Kings of Tolken (see also: “going off canon but trying to keep it real by recycling older tropes”- difficulties, as I mentioned at the beginning),. . .. anyway, I get there was no reasoning with the Main Dwarf, but still the characters should say the things that YOU in the audience would say if you were them.)
Another scene where obvious dialogue was willfully suppressed: “Hey elf-lord! If you don’t belive old Gandalf that a bajillion orcs are on their way, why not ask Elrond, WHO I WAS JUST WITH WHEN HE KILLED 9 ECTOPLASMIC NAZGUL!” (and the elf guy would be “Oh you mean they take ectoplasmic form until they have absorbed enough Evil Energy to make a physical body?” and then Voldermort would be like “Aww yeah! Isn’t that how everyone does it???” (Also: Voldermort was so FAT in the last couple of movies. I would love to see a director’s cut of the last Potter film where someone photoshopped a big sandwitch into his hand in every scene. All pesto sauce and mayonaisse running down his cheeks. All napkin tucked into the top of his muu-muu. All Brando from Apocalypse Now popping in the frame, going, “You gonna finish that?”))
Also it would of been rad if the eagles flew into the battle, took a look around, and went like, “Naw, fuck this.”
Or if they came swooping in but they only saved Funkdoobiest, and Gandalf was all, WTF man, i thought you guys were cool. And the main eagle was like “AWK! SHITTIN ON ‘EM! SHITTIN ON ‘EM! AWKKKKK!”
In the past month, i’ve spotted not one but BOTH of the things I’d been waiting a decade to see:
1) a RUN-DMC parody t-shirt. . . . that ACTUALLY SAID RUN-DMC.
2) an African woman with an Asian boyfriend.
As a result, I feel that my Japan experience is complete and I’m going to fuck off back to California at the end of this month.
I have no idea if anyone reads this anymore, but I’m giving away a bunch of free shit if you come to my house and haul it off.
I’m talking about: a ton of English novels, furniture, bicycles, blender, gas table, refrigerator, crappy stereo speakers, hundreds of rad and tasteful CDs, a vacuum, full-length mirror, AND a damn Roland Juno keyboard!
If you want that stuff you’ll have to get your ass out to Musashi Koganei (on the chuo line) BEFORE THE 28TH.
It’s all free though.
if you want it , email me in the comments.
As for what’s going to become of this site, I have no idea. Obviously I’ll keep TDR up although I won’t update it anymore.
From now, I want to start a new website devoted to satire. political satire, music, random drunken rants, ideas for books I’d like to read but would never take the time to write, ideas for fashion trends, etc.
I guess what I’m asking is, do you think I should do my next site also with wordpress?
Or should I use a different blog thing?
I’ll tell you right now, no facebook or fucking twitter. fuck that shit.
OK, thanks for reading, and if you know anyone in Tokyo that wants a free CD or keyboard or mirror etc. let them know.
Way, way down, in the ghetto deep
The badass pimp stepped on the signifying rapper’s feet
And the rapper said, Nigga can’t you see
You’re standin on my motherfucking feet?
The badass pimp said, Sure I ain’t heard a cocksucking word you said
You say some more, I’ll be standin on your motherfucking head
Yeah that’s what he said
Cause every day, when the sun go down
The badass pimp come and kick that rappers ass all over ghetto town
But the rapper got wise, started using his wit
And said man, I’m gettin tired of this kick-ass shit
So early, early early the very next day
The rapper said, mister pimp, mister pimp I got something to say
There’s this mean, big bad faggot comin your way
He talk about you so bad, turn my hair gray
Listen, listen to what he say
Listen to this mister badass pimp
This what the faggot said
He said, you know your daddy and he’s a faggot
And your mother’s a whore
He said he seen you sellin asshole door to door
Yeah that’s what he said, listen to what else he said mister badass pimp
He said, your granny, she’s a dyke
And your other brother, he’s a faggot
And your little sister Loo
She’s so low she sucked the dick of a little maggot
Yeah that’s what he said
The badass pimp was mad
Jumped up in a hell of a rage
Hopped in his Caddy and loaded his 12 guage
Caught up with the faggot on 55th and Vine
Said you faggot, it’s gonna be your ass or mine
The faggot looked at the pimp, and saw fear in his eyes
Said motherfucker, you better go fuck with somebody your own damn size
The pimp made his move, and thought he was fast
The faggot side-stepped him and kicked him in his ass
They fought all that night, and all the next day
That faggot kicked that pimp’s ass in a hell of a way
Me myself I don’t know how he survived
Came back to the projects more dead than alive
And the rapper, standin up on one of those tall ass project buildings
He said, DAMN somethin smells
He said, mister badass pimp look live you’ve been through hell
As I told one of my hoes before you left
I should’ve kicked your ass my motherfucking self
Anti-war bloggers and human-rights activists are going about this anti-Gaza-massacre-protest thing all wrong.
Israeli politicians seem to enjoy all the human rights complaints. For years they’ve been telling the citizens this narrative: “The whole world hates Jews for NO REASON, and we are the only ones protecting you from the world. You need us!” The more tsk-tsking Israel gets, the more power local elites get.
TL;DR: they drink your sweet sweet tears, liberals!
So if you can’t shame them into digging the groovey human rights of Palestinians, and you damn sure can’t over-power their military with your retweets, what is left? The obvious solution is to turn the various powerful factions (political parties, football clubs, religious kooks, army/secret-police goons, and settlers) against each other. After all, these factions have been growing more and more powerful for a decade now, while regular Jewish Israelis are more and more scared to even speak their minds for fear of being labeled a “terrorist sympathizer” and stomped by a mob. As public debate and democracy go downhill, the various ambitious leaders must ALREADY be wondering “Hey, we already took over the country thiiiis much *streteches arms* without even trying, imagine how much MORE powerful we could be if we stopped sharing the power with all these other rightist factions . .. who aren’t Real Jews like us because (insert reason).”
All the leftists need to do is give the rightist ego a little shove. It’s exactly as foretold by, of all people, SCHOOLY MOTHERFUCKING D, in his song Signifying Rapper. In addition to having basically the most cuss words of any song not on Rap-A-Lot records, AND in addition to having the most crushing Led Zeppelin beat since Rhyming and Stealing, updating African folklore (google Signifying Monkey) into the Philadelphia projects . . . ., this song also can solve the mid-east peace crisis.
Put another way, it’s exactly BECAUSE the rightists have such a lock on all the levers of power. . . the left can make the right do what it itself cannot.
The divisions between rightists are already there. Settlers are united in their hatred of Palestinians, and love of sweet sweet government subsidies, but divided into two groups: super secular army-vet guys, and super duper religious. What if someone were to spread the word to the super religious settlers that, starting next year, the government was going to take all the subsidies away from them and give extra subsidies to the secularists? And, like, vice versa?
These settlers have been honing their techniques of intimidation harassment and small-town terrorism for decades on their Palestinian neighbors . . . but have no experience in TAKING it, because they’re protected by the IDF. imagine if they brought all of that grudge-wielding hatred to bear on each other??
And what would the IDF even do to stop it, without appearing to take sides and thus turning mere rumors into reality?
Another example: allegedly the ringleader of the kindnapping-torture-murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir is a member of both an extreme religious group AND Israel’s most racist football firm.
That’s a civil war just waiting to happen: football hooligans love casual dress, partying, pumping iron, and banging sluts at terrible electro discos. the Haredim (AKA Ultra-Orthodox) hate all of those things. A classic jocks-vs.-nerds fight waiting to happen. How hard could it be to tell the Haredi group, “The ringleader said you’re some nerrrrrds!” and then tell the football firm “The ringleader said that you’re all going to go to hell for being shitty Jews, and you’ll be there right next to the Arabs.”
Other rifts in the power structure waiting to be exploited:
Ashkenazi (European jewish majority, AKA the rich, establishment Israelis) vs Mizrahi (Arabic Jews AKA new working-class immigrants hoping to earn respectability by being the most violent anti-Palestinian rioters/lynchers but who not so secretly hate the arrogant and condescending Ashkenazi).
Rifts INSIDE IDF: tell the Mizrahi that all the promotions are going to the Russians who clearly don’t deserve them, and vice-versa. Watch morale and discipline crumble.
Variation on the ethnic theme: Allegations that an off-duty Russian Israeli IDF captain was spotted at a hotel with the wife of a Mizrahi Lieutenant who was risking his life on the front lines of Gaza: classic J. Edgar Hoover shit.
Similarly, Shin Bet (I guess, the equivalent of the FBI) vs. Mossad (=CIA). Not sure what existing resentments those guys have to exploit. Maybe someone can tell me?
Racist football gangs vs. other racist football gangs. I mean, they’re SUPPOSED to beat each other up, that was the whole point of hooliganism! Just wait until the most racist team plays the second most racist team. . . . How hard could it be to get a bent ref in there to hand one team a completely unfair victory in the last 3 minutes of the match? Jesus, that’s a no-brainer. 200 skinheads in the hospital, 200 more in jail, zero Palestinians lynched.
OH! Here’s a last one, and maybe the most fun: the Haredim vs. everyone! They don’t have to work (religious-study welfare), they don’t have to serve in the army (which is expected to die defending them when they provoke Palestinians), and best of all: many of them ARE NOT ZIONISTS. Any goyim who ever had to read The Chosen in high school, knows what I’m talking about: there’s some passage in the Torah which supposedly says “Israel can’t be officially re-established until AFTER the Messiah comes back.”, so these hard-core literalists feel like the Israeli state is blasphemous, which puts them somewhere BEYOND Fatah (the Palestianian sorta-government in the West Bank).
The question is not, “how do we provoke a civil war between haredim and everyone else?” but more like, “How has this not ALREADY become a civil war?!??”
There’s a million and one hilarious ways this could go, but the first scenario that comes to mind: “Hey, Haredim! The Gummint is so proud of the (secular, non-european) Mizrahi for oppressing the Palestinians, they’re going to take all your yeshiva money and subsidies and give it to Mizrahi on welfare! Starting next year!”
The icing on the cake: think of the hasbara! (no, it’s not a ‘70s cartoon company, it’s a Hebrew neologism for “propaganda”, spread not just by the government but by “independent” newspapers, American pundits, and legions of part-time social media worker-bees). The hasbara people are among the world’s best trained, best equipped, masters of verbal warfare, misdirection, evasion, sophistry, cunning and trolling. But the whole hasbara system, with its many components (paid government workers, Joe-schmoe internet trolls, pundits, “journalists”, and “community organizations” like the JADL . . .each of which has different vested interests) depends on them having a common cause, a common opponent, to keep them from sniping at each other.
So once Israeli rightist elite factions start fighting EACH OTHER, the hasbara system will also be directed inwards, magnifying divisions, spreading rumors, using all their techniques which they’ve been perfecting on arabs and left-center Jews, and helping tear the whole system apart without any further effort. It’ll be a Godwin’s Law orgy.1 comment
I’m going to Sochi, to give Putin a trophy
The crowd is all saluting for the way that he blows me
Homie sucks like a Flowbee , calluses is on both knees
He’s grody he’s lonely , wants to show me his goatse
Judges gave him a 9 – The deepest throat of the winter
But deducted one point, because my man is a spitter
“Don’t cum in my pot (russian for mouth)” is what he always said
So I gave him an “instant Gorbachyev”
She was Head of state but still couldn’t get a date
Then she had the bright idea to repress the gays
All the competition was locked in a cell
Now Miss Vladimir has all the cock to herself
SOCHI AINT SHIT
VLAD GET THE DICK
(we don’t love them tricks!)
SOCHI AINT SHIT
VLAD GET THE DICK
(talking about my penis!)
she wants to see What is lurkin’ all up under my merkin
Don’ t got a pussy riot but I got a boner disturbance
I unholster the serpent ,she grab a hold and start jerkin
Putin’s moaning and flirtin -bitch bend over and start twerkin
I put a whole lot of work i, now I’m hosin I’m squirtin
I’m wreckin that rectum; reckon it’s over its curtains
Now will you go put a shirt on? Better go see a surgeon
’cause that aperture looks like it’s totally hurtin
Putin said “Nyet,” Drank the load and kept slurping
I was nuttin and bussin so hard she got a concussion
she drank it all up, just like a White Russian
Olympics is nothing, but graft and corruption
50 billion in taxes For roads that don’t function
Hotel over the budget, but still under construction
where’d the money go, I don’t know, Go ask Snowden or something!
The commode isn’t flushing, the ceremony disgusting:
Just a unicycle bear eating moldy old Funnyuns
Meanwhile people so bumming , they’re selling manhole for cash
That’s not a gay joke, They sell the covers for scrap
Just to feed all their children, cause their taxes was tapped
By the evilest villains ,they’re stealing them billions
And they’re building new prisons For the gays and the Chechens
For athletes that is protesting Journalists who ask questions
Want to do to them What you did to Circassians!
Distractin’ attention onto stranger s and scapegoats so
embracin the church and blame it all on the rainbow
Now gay bashin is in fashion with the national pride
While you’re robbing them blind and slashing their rights
Cameras in the pipes, there’s spies in the showers
Surveiling the boners, just in case one is homo
SOCHI AINT SHIT
VLAD GET THE DICK
you’re an anti-gay bigot , just because you aint felt my dick yet.
Cold getting indignant, because your manhood is a figment
You got a scandalous pickle, far from a hammer and sickle
Hung like the smallest matroshka With one damaged testicle.
Put away and belay that shit, it’s absurd and and irrational
I’m gay and persuasive, like the third international
Homos you were hating now you’re connecting my dong to lips
Get busy like Tatlin, and start erecting my monument.
I was pumping like Gazprom I’m hung like a mastodon .
With a latex bra and some colorful Pampers on
He played my dick and balls like a triathalon
I gave him a medal for choad guzzling brain work
He got the silver I got the gold cause I came first.
Then snuck with his blue bucket his ducats and his vodka
Dosvidanya, don’t say I didn’t warn ya
There’s a chance of crabs or perhaps a rash on your pee-pee
just spray it with Febreeze, thanks for the meat sleeve.
By the way I’m havin’ this Yacov Smirnov CD.
SOCHI AINT SHIT
VLAD GET THE DICK
Something he said to me one day, something he said to me . .. !
“I practice butthole surfing every day, I’ma win it!”
“But Vladimir, that’s not even in the Olympics!”
Man fuck them old limp-dicks, The sponsors is pimping
The athletes is whoring while The contractor’s grifting
Meanwhile the IOC, profits from the bribery
Just for saying that, the FSB uhhhh they opened a file on me
Plus they got Rule 50, shut you up in a jiffy
You can get black-listed if you raise a black fist up
Plus your medals get ripped up, politics is forbidden
That’s why nobody’s cheering when their country is winning.
The whole façade is Potemkin Just a cog in the system
So ignore the gay-bashing Just say your sponsor’s terrific
But if you try to address it You might get arrested
Free speech is for hooligans And gays all molest kids
SOCHI AINT SHIT
VLAD GET THE DICK
Pass the Johnson quit hoggin it , Face first like tobogganist
She suck like an octopus ,on the root like a botanist
every body in Moscow is , stretching out that esophagous
speed this line up, it’s getting monotonous
hosing disposing and deep throating a lotta jizz
two gallons o cum ! just like 2001,
you want that big black monolith, right where your tonsils is
the breakfast of champions word to Kurt Vonnegut
keep it Kandinsky, yo you’re keeping it Communist
you want that Red Wedge all up in your naughty bits
so deep that it hurts you Deeper still it converts you
Now you’re trickin in red square In a wig and a girdle
Vladimir had a rear that was queer and so versatile
It was reversible, more tricks than a circus do
he knows I’m an ass-man, so he’s wearing those chap-pants,
in the club for a lap-dance, get more butts than an ash-can
Caught on the dash-cam giving head in a Lada
Called it Vlad TV, now it’s a headline on Pravda
And it ain’t kompromat, it’s more of a compliment
5 kopeks a load: She’s the Moscow Laundromat,
Pay me the rubles, and you can pound that ass Round town her
name is The Louge because she go down so fast
And it aint cool runnings More like Dudes Cumming
Cus when Putin’s in effect yo you can wreck it for nothing
SOCHI AINT SHIT
VLAD GET THE DICK4 comments
Recently, there’s been a lot of hand-wringing about how the media makes everybody polarized, gets everyone riled up and ready to have a heart attack, treats politics like some retarded sports event, stirs up controversy out of little things while ignoring huge systemic problems which affect ALL Americans, regardless of party affiliation, breeds paranoia, fear-mongering, and hysterical hype.
I think those accusations are really unfair.
The media has, all along, been doing their best to CALM EVERYONE THE FUCK DOWN, and make us all MELLOW AND UPBEAT. The problem is the fucking VIEWERS. The whole time, we’ve been watching THE WRONG CHANNELS. THAT’s why people are so angry and fearful and unable to cooperate.
See, what I figured out is, the whole time liberals were supposed to watch FOX. It’s not a conservative network, it’s a liberal network with really poor self-awareness. If a liberal watches Fox an hour a day, they’ll say:
“Gee whiz! America is turning into a socialist paradise where the rich are punished for success? Athiests run the government? The eco-fascist EPA is still allowed to ban job-creating toxic waste, while Minorities control who gets to vote? Jackbooted Government thugs are seizing our Christmas trees and giving them to Rappers? The UN is coming to take away all the guns AND Oakleys? Feminiazis destroyed the career of yet another athlete, while the Politically Correct Police are forcing school-kids to read Emma Goldman-Angela Davis slash fiction with my tax dollars? Illegal immigrants getting gay married to abortions is not only legal but mandatory in 57 states? The President is a wimp who won’t fight in Syria or Iran? Fuck yeah, kid! Finally an America I can be proud of! U-S-A!! U-S-A!!”
Likewise, all along the conservatives should have been watching Rachel Maddow and Amy Goodman :
“Holy cow! The NRA can overrule policies that 90% of Americans support! The Republicans can filibuster un-controversial non-partisan bills in order to extort Democrats ! Tiny Southern states with 1/70th the population of big Democratic states still get just as many votes in the Senate! Wall Street guys can buy, trade, and sell politicians and regulators like so many Magic the Gathering cards! There’s a war on women, cops kill minorities for no reason, and the President is actually to the right of Bush on national security, corporate bailouts, and secrecy! Golly, I had no idea the American Dream was so alive and well! I take back all the Obama-slash-Joker-slash-Hitler posters I ever made! U-S-A! U-S-A! ”
See, all along the media was trying to bring us together in a spirit of optimism and relaxation, but we were just too stupid to see it.
Here is an amazing thing about History: For all of recorded history, generals had to win wars. Wild! It didn’t matter if you were fighting for a “good guy” (Chirchill, Caesar) or a “bad guy” – Stalin, Ghenghis Khan. . . if you lost the war, or even if you catastrophically fucked up a battle, you were ASS OUT. Monarchists, fascists, communists, no-ideology-havin’-ass banana-republic dictators all agree on one thing: generals should know how to win.
Fast-forward to America, after WWII. The sole remaining superpower after Russia said “fuck it.” The biggest military in the world, no other super-powers in sight, yet, check our track record:
Grenada: won, but what the fuck. Even getting in a fight with grenada makes us seem weak. It’s like if Jay-Z had to answer-rap every Youtube rapper who dissed him.
Panama: That wasn’t even a war – that was just us setting the Guiness World record for “Largest-scale Drug Deal Gone Wrong.”
Iraq: we actually won that one in the ‘90s, but inexplicably decided on a do-over, (When was the last time that the WINNER demanded a do-over?!? ) Which we proceeded to lose. I mean, if China is getting the oil, we lost, right?
So, to sum up: despite the huge increase in our arms spending, we haven’t unambiguously won a single major war since WWII.
And yet: HOW MANY GENERALS HAVE BEEN FIRED? Sure, if you stick your penis into a reporter, your ass is grass, but FIRED FOR FAILING TO WIN? That’s way too uptight, man. Mellow out!
Not only are we failing to fire generals, we are making more generals! The generals-to-privates ratio today is FIVE TIMES what it was at the end of WWII.
And our pentagon budget has never been bigger.
So, the amazing thing about History: for the first time in ever, we are REWARDING GENERALS FOR FAILURE.
It gets weirder!
The major lesson we seemed to have learned from Vietnam and Korea was not “here is how to win” or even “here is how to not get your ass kicked by people so poor their shoes are made of cut-up car tires”, the major lesson seems to be: HERE IS HOW TO STRUCTURE THE MISSION SO THAT NO ONE INCLUDING THE GENERALS HAS ANY IDEA OF WHAT WINNING OR LOSING MIGHT EVEN LOOK LIKE.
All of our recent, post 9/11 wars have been more and more vague:
Iraq, as I mentioned before, was pretty clearly a loss from Saddam’s perspective. But – unlike our occupations of West Germany and Japan – we left the country in much worse shape, they fucking hate us, and we were so desperate to get out of there that we had Iran pre-approve our puppet leader, just to make sure he’d last more than a week. But was that a failure? Hard to say, but only because THE ARMY NEVER HAD ANY ENDING POINT TO THE MISSION IN THE FIRST PLACE. Because they are dumb? No, because they are SMART: if you don’t have a goal, no one can say you failed!
Afghanistan is like that but worse – it’s not so much that we’re failing, as it is we have no idea what success IS. Ask a dozen civilian or military leaders and receive a dozen different answers! The people sending our kids off to fight are whimsically throwing out random endgames as if they were Willy Wonka: defeating the Taliban? re-making Afghanistan as a democratic country with a new political system? re-making Afghanistan’s culture into some secular, feminist, non-violent, revenge-hating, gay-porn-Disneyland-and-macdonald’s-loving utopia? Killing the bad guys, plus enough innocent civilians to generate an equal amount of new bad guys, forever? Take your pick! The only real common point of these non-answers is: IT DOESN’T MATTER.
And of course the war on Terror is the most vague of all : a world-wide, on-purpose-endless, struggle against a fucking IDEA. A battle where Americans are targets, where even the tactics and weapons are secret.
Now maybe you’re saying “The army doesn’t decide what the goals of a war is, you stupid hippy! The civilian leaders do! Learn basic facts before you start having an opinion!”
Yes, civilians ARE to blame – but not the ones you’re thinking of.
Here’s where I blow your mind: These unprecedented trends (rewarding failure, endless-and-unwinnable-missions) . . .are not IN SPITE OF us having the biggest military in the world, they’re BECAUSE OF that very thing.
I’m talking about the fuckin’ Military-Industrial Complex! How do you THINK we got the biggest army? It’s because we have the biggest, richest, most influential arms-manufacturing companies on the planet : The arms manufacturers, who have generals, senators, and cabinet secretaries all begging for their contributions/ post-retirement lobbying jobs.
Our soldiers definitely want to win (or at least survive), and the enemy definitely wants to win (or at least get us to leave). . . the only fucking people involved in the whole war who can afford to have a “MEH” attitude are . . . the arms manufacturers!
Because they make money whether we’re winning OR losing: if we’re winning, that means that their weapons are The Best, so everyone in the world will want to buy more of those weapons. If we’re losing, that means that Our Boys Are In Trouble, so the army had better order more munitions to help ‘em out!
I think the recent trend in no-end-in-sight vague-ass missions is directly related to the growth of the defense industry’s lobbying power. The defense companies don’t just make the bombs and shit, they are influencing whether and HOW we go to war: the more vague the mission, the longer we can drag it out, the more money we spend.
Ever since Eisenhower gave his famous speech, people have been aware that arms merchants push us to start wars, but for the first time it’s to the point where they push us to on-purpose STALEMATES, where they push for nebulous missions where there is no winning OR losing, just endless fighting! In a perfect war economy, we create exactly one terrorist for each one we kill, resulting in a steady and predictable quarterly earnings report for the share-holders.
Thought experiment: imagine a country in a life-or-death fight for survival. You’d expect them to really punish generals that consistently lose battles, or fight to a draw. But imagine a country run by arms merchants, and you’d expect them to have a much more laid-back, “Meh?” attitude towards military competence. Which scenario better describes modern-day America?
And it’s no coincidence that these new-school, funny-style wars (all 3 of them) had their open-ended, never-ending, and world-record-in-history-setting-ly vague strategies developed by Rumsfeld and Cheney, who both profited from the international arms business prior to working in government. (and after, too, in Cheney’s case)
Rumsfeld never worked in the arms industry but – as secretary of defense, he held enough stock In arms companies that it was a scandal and he had to sell the stock. Also he was chairman of a think-tank called “Rand Corporation”, which according to Wikipedia was founded by Douglas Aircraft, (later becoming Maconnell Douglas), a major major huge defense contractor. So there’s that.
And of course Cheney. The guy who continued to get fucking “deferred compensation” from arms manufacturers even while in office. The guy whose fucking WIFE sold warplanes and bombers (while criticizing rappers for violent lyrics). She also had to quit her arms-dealing when he became VP (to avoid conflict of interest). But luckily, she had ANOTHER job offer in 2002 – being on the board of the American Enterprise Institute, which *surprise!* pushed hard for the Iraq war, which made a shit-ton of money for her former employers. So! Having a JOB at Locheed while your husband decides whether or not to go to war: conflict! Having a job at a THINK TANK which is chock full of OTHER retired defense contractors, where you cheerlead for war, while your husband decides whether or not to go to war: NOT conflict of interest. No corruption at all! And THAT’S why we never went to war in Iraq. Because that would have been a disaster!
Also it’s no coincidence that we get no-end-in-sight wars soon after we lost the Russian threat: I know I’m not the first to say the Russian threat was exaggerated in order to boost profits – I’m saying that the Cold War was profitable in exactly the same WAY that the War on Terror is: it had NO exit strategy, and a HUGE amount of “Just in case” spending, . . . a reliable year-in-year-out source of income. (“Just in case” spending would be like, Star Wars SDI, or all those nukes . . .or in today’s case, all the what-if-terrorists-bomb-a-small-town-in-Nebraska Homeland Security spending. As opposed to, say, old-style wars like WWII or Korea. There was no “just in case” – those were full-on fucking wars , we were struggling just to keep up with demand for materiel).
I’m not going to suggest that there was some Illuminati-style secret meeting with tented fingers and hisses of, “Exxxxxxxcellent!”
I’m just saying that arms manufacturers can INFLUENCE the way we fight wars even if they don’t do it ON PURPOSE. Check it out: a) everyone involved in planning strategy and exit strategies for conflicts – the army generals and civilian leaders – are beholden to these companies, b) this leads to a lot of excess spending, as the corporations use their political/military influence to bribe generals/legislators and c) because of excess military spending, America has the LUXURY of getting in random wars-of-choice for decades on end. That was never an OPTION before, for ANY country.
Picture the civilian leaders giving generals such open-ended vague missions 50 years ago! That would not have even occurred to anybody! because back then it was still like, “if you don’t have an unambiguous victory, your ass is grass.” Even back when we were being imperialists in Latin America, we still demanded clear-cut missions ,and success at those missions. “Overthrow that democratically-elected Presidente so Coca-Cola and United Bananas Inc. can stay in business!” “Yes sir President sir!”
But nowadays, punishing failure is bad for business because it a) requires a clearly-defined strategy with clear goals, and b) if a general wants to succeed, he will want to get the war over as soon as possible, meaning less spending on war materiel.
So, how fucking weird is that? Not just corrupt or violent, but totally history-defying.
1 Metallica – kill em all
2 Slayer – reign in blood
3 Blind illusion – sane asylum
4 Slayer – show no mercy
5 Metallica – and justice
6 Destruction – Infernal overkill
7 Slayer – haunting the chapel
8 Metallica – master of puppets
9 Vio-lence – oppressing the masses
10 Exodus – bonded by blood
11 Excel – split image
12 Crumbsuckers – beast on my back
13 Possessed – seven churches
14 Toxik – think this
15 Mekong delta – st/
Coroner mental vortex (tie)1 comment
Today’s phrase is SUPPLY CHAIN. That’s the chain of all the companies involved in turning a raw material into a finished product you buy in the store. For instance, with a T-shirt, the chain starts with the cotton grower, then the next company in the chain is the factory that turns cotton into yarn, then another outfit that weaves the yarn into fabric, then a business that sews the fabric into shirts, and maybe still another joint where it’s silkscreened or colored, then finally to the store. Plus, you know, all the boats and trucks and forklifts and warehouses needed to make it all happen.
SUPPLY CHAIN. And for any given supply chain, there’s always one company that is making all the profits, and all the other companies are just barely getting by. But here’s the problem: the fat-cat, the exploiter, is at a different point in the chain in every industry. You can’t guess who it is.
We need a branch of Economics that looks at everyday products, and every point in the supply chain for those products. We need economic DETECTIVES to tell us WHICH business in any given supply chain is putting the squeeze on, and HOW they do it.
Because, absent such a corps of economic detectives, every business in the chain is going to claim, “WE know prices are too high, and our wages are too low, and the factory is about to burst into flames, but we have SUCH A SMALL MARGIN it is SO HARD, really the culprits are FURTHER UP THE SUPPLY CHAIN not us!!”
So if the science of economics was really about helping people and making society more efficient. . . .you’d think a top priority for economists would be to fucking weed through the bullshit and expose where in the supply chain the fucking squeeze and fat profits REALLY ARE. And expose HOW they do it – by monopoly? By government interference and over-regulation? By with-holding supply? By over-producing supply? By criminal conspiracy? There’s probably as many ways of bottlenecking a supply chain as there are supply chains.
And I mean do this for EVERYTHING. Cars, shoelaces, Frisbees, corn syrup, dildos, thumb drives, Viewmasters, Enya CDs, fucking EVERYTHING. For every product. That would keep economists busy for like 100 years, dude. Not only will it help consumers and laborers, but it would also keep the economists out of trouble. They’d have no time to gin up new fig leafs for the fucking oligarchy. No time to make modern-day social-darwinist theories of how rich people are awesome and got there fair and square. No time to research how to make Wall Street derivatives “safer” and “faster” and “more innovative”. No time to lobby congress or the Fed to deregulate more.
But I digress.
Plus I would be genuinely interested to see if, once you started getting comprehensive results from 1000 or so supply chains , from t-shirts to blenders to computer chips to asprin to stuffed animals to software. . . . I would be interested to see if there were any common points to where the squeeze is. Like any generalizations that could be made?
But that would require economics to actually be a science in pursuit of truth. Hey! I’ve just wasted my time AND yours!1 comment
OLD PEOPLE UNDER A BUS
If you’re an American, ever since you were a little kid you’ve heard the phrases “political suicide” and “the old people” side by side. Anytime you’d ask why the politicians don’t do some obviously sensible helpful thing, people would tell you, “it’s political suicide! Because of the old people!” Legalizing pot? Old people say no. skateboarding in public? Old people say no! Immigration rights and affirmative action and gay rights? Political suicide! Old people say no! More tax for schools? Old people say no! Their kids are already grown, and the new kids are the wrong color! The only things they say “yes” to are: old-ass politicians like Reagan and Bush Sr. and insane anti-tax laws like Proposition 13 (AKA The Law So Retarded It Broke California For Thirty Damn Years).
In other words, The Olds are Republicans. And now the Republicans have thrown the Olds under the bus! Social security and medicare? We need to get rid of those, so we can pay back China for all the money we used to bail out bankers! Don’t worry though – we’re PRIVATIZING social security! You can use that money to gamble on the stock market with the Wall Street Bank of your choice . . . after all, SOMEONE’S got to get fucked in the next boom/bust cycle.
Now I’ll really be sorry when I need social security/medicare and it’s not longer there. . . which isn’t that long from now. . . but yo. Until I turn 64, I’ll laugh my ass off at these spittle-flecked hateful elders that voted in all the most heartless bastards, year after year after year, and finally they wake up one day and find that the heartless bastards are throwing them under the bus:
Here is every politician who ever took a dime from a TBTF bank: “Thanks for all the votes, you wrinkle-body hate-sacs! Hey by the way, as long as you hate leeches and takers, let’s cut you off your pensions. Didn’t you know? Those are “entitlements” now. Hey, Greatest Generation, multi-pruple-heart Iwo Jima guy! You’re the new welfare queens! Did you know that? Can you even hear me with your giant, antiquated UNIVAC-era hearing aids? Yeah, yeah, it’s political suicide for me to cut you off your entitlements. Maybe it is. . . IF YOU LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO VOTE AGAIN! Which, since we’re also going to cut your health-care, you won’t! and even if you somehow show up, our strict new voter ID laws will disqualify half of you!”
“But I thought you were just going to mess with the minorities, the gays, the immigrants, the returning veterans, the kids, the dopers, the poors, and the United Nations! BUT ME? YOU’RE MESSING WITH ME? HOW COULD I HAVE FORSEEN THAT?!”
It’s like all those gangsta rappers who complain that their drug-lord-run record label cheated them out of money: “Murder Violence Entertainment! How COULD you?!?” “Oh, Death Sentence For Serial Decapitation Records, who would have thought that your accounting practices were less than rigorous! THE GAME IS FUCKED UP MAN!! *sniffles into ketchief*”
This is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise fascist and depressing race-to-the-bottom era. All these years we were told “it’s political suicide to cross the olds!” Well, now because of politics, the olds are gonna commit suicide! Here’s why: they are already feeble, afraid of change, their brains full of mildew and talk-radio. . . and now their whole world has just been turned inside-out!
“Hey, buddy: the party you’ve been loyal to for decades, the party that pumped you full of fear and hate and anger the same way your IV pumps you full of saline, they’re the ones screwing you, and the evil muslim-commie Demoncrats are the only ones who still want to keep your entitlements.”
(Although to be fair, Obama has publicly stated that he is willing to help the Republicans destroy them!).
I think there should be a whole Youtube channel just devoted solely to close-ups of the faces of old people who are trying to process the information.
Instant strokes. Hip joints spontaneously popping out of sockets. Dentures flying across the room and embedding themselves inside O’reilly’s face on TV.
Fuck that, there should be a pill!
A special pill designed to help their mind and body withstand the complete reversal of their reality. Something that will keep their heart rate normal, and possibly a little LSD to help the reality-shift go down easier. I swear, if you want to be a billionaire (pretty much the only way for YOU to survive old age without any “entitlements”), the fastest way is to invent that pill, or invest all your $$$ in the first company that DOES. Because that pill will literally be a life-and-death necessity for an entire generation. Invest now in R&D before the next election! And hope to god they develop it before the politicians also cut medicare.
Been thinking about authenticity. Say it’s 2014 and you want to really get down with your favorite subculture – say, do some authentic Dada art or start a ‘80s hardcore band. Why is that so hard? People who imitate literally – even if they are sincere and get all the right equipment and have really sweet riffs . . . it isn’t quite right, is it? What’s missing is RELEVANCE and THREAT TO SOCIETY. Dada or HxC isn’t relevant or threatening in 2014 – which of course is different than saying it isn’t still good or it was “just a trend” or etc.
Just saying that literal imitation is always going to miss the vitality of the original. Why? The reason you love your favorite band is NOT THE BAND ITSELF – it’s the band IN THE CONTEXT OF A MOVEMENT OF OTHER BANDS. Or artists, or whatever. The originals – whether it’s art, film, skateboarding, music or whatever – took place in a new scene that was rapidly EVOLVING, with each new band/artist/skater/whatever constantly going beyond, in a spirit of friendly but fierce competition. If you’re trying to be ‘authentic’ 10 or even 2 years later, it doesn’t matter how good your band is, if the band isn’t still in the context of that ‘scene’ . .
It’s the whole scene that creates the vitality, the momentum, that unique feeling when a bunch of kids discover a new world where anything seems possible. Doing it later . .. It’s like watching a movie where you already know the end. The revolution didn’t happen. Pop music was not destroyed. The main guys turned into junkies and ripped off their best friends. You know the limits of it, and knowing the limits is enough to make it not relevant. There’s no suspense, no sense of rapid expansion of teenage freedom, no sense of building a new world, which gave that music its radness.
. .. there’s a contradiction: at the time to be ‘authentic’ was to be evolving, but if you’re evolving then you don’t sound like the bands that you like. To be ‘authentic’ you have to be competing directly against the heavyweights of the original time, but if those heavyweights have either broken up, changed styles, or become huge stars, you don’t have the same scene, so the music can’t be authentic. I guess Is why the whole “re-thrash” boom, even though the bands were sincere and enthusiastic, sounded so much like a homework assignment from history class.
But ok! Let’s back up! So far we’ve only been talking about LITERAL imitation. There’s a whole nother WORLD of imitation just waiting to be explored . . . even if I’m the only one who is repping it. Imitation by ANALOGY.
This idea (imitation by analogy) could apply to ANY retro thing – movies, fine art, yodeling, etc – but just for an easy example I’m going to talk about ‘70s punk.
If you ignore the music, clothes, and lyrics, of ‘70s punk, and focus instead on the EFFECTS IT HAD ON THE WORLD AROUND IT, focus instead on what made it RELEVANT and THREATENING, then we should be able to, by ANALOGY, figure out what authentic punk would/should sound like today in 2014.
Start with the PERFORMANCE. Even if you’re a veteran band with all – original members, no legal disputes, total OG credibility, fresh out of rehab and playing with all the stamina you ever had, only playing songs from the first album . . even then! . . .if your audience is old farts who don’t dance, and young kids who spend the whole show holding iphones aloft, it’s not relevant, it’s meaningless, because you’re not having the same EFFECT.
Punk shows would result in the theater being destroyed, 29 cop cars pulling up and beating up kids, cop car windows getting smashed, vast amounts of graffiti being sprayed by kids all the way home, and people starting their own bands, vowing to out-do their idols.
Therefore, punk PERFORMANCE in 2014 would have to get people –and cops – that worked up.
I have no fucking idea what it would sound like – I can’t even begin to guess, nor should I! because I’m fucking old. I just know how to tell if something is authentic or not- it’ll result in riots, graffiti, destroyed venues and tons of new bands vowing to take the same sound/performance even further out.
Another thing: REACTIONS. If you were a punk in the ‘70s, you could count on random strangers – jocks, rednecks, cholos, security guards, can’t forget skinheads – just trying to kick your ass for no reason, on a daily basis. That was what weeded out the weaklings. You had to be willing to take risk in order to be down, with no real reward. No money, no internet fame, no compliments from the critics or trendy people. But they did it because they were so totally isolated and fucked up and just stubborn that they had no place else to go.
So, as you can guess by now, the question is, “what would authentic punk look like in 2014?”
Again, I have no idea! They’d look some way that would get them jumped by random people! What that might be I can’t imagine. Earlier punks sometimes tempered their shock value with political statements – torn up flags or god-save-the-queen underpants worn outside the regular pants, and a sort of gross androgyny. But who knows if that would cause a reaction anymore?
My point is, you can SOUND and LOOK authentic but it won’t be relevant. Or you can BEHAVE authentically – which is to say, relevant and threatening – but in that case, you won’t look or sound like punk, or like anything else, for that matter.
But you can’t ever do both at the same time! It’s like the rug that’s too small for the room. Whenever you drag it to one corner, you expose the opposite corner.
Related point: scenes (again, art, dance, film, literature, etc) generally start by taking a variety of obscure influences and combing them in a different way – usually you’d have, say, 3 or 4 main artists which each of them had vastly different influences but they all had one or two commonly shared new things (called a zeitgeist) that bound it together. So scenes start out being outward looking. And the constant social threat/ conflict with the outside world just adds to that: you have to pay attention to the world because you never know when it’s going to sucker-punch you, and you take that anger and energy and use it to power the music.
So that makes the scene relevant. And being relevant, it blows up. And , by blowing up, it generates a bunch of zines and radio shows and assorted middlemen who make it their business to nail down the rules. People just listen to the same 4 big bands, and forget about all the diverse old bands that all influenced their favorite bands. They just concentrate on copying their favorite bands exactly, to please the new class of gate-keepers.
Meanwhile as time goes on, and the evolution slows down, and the popularity increases, it becomes more normal and less threatening, and so people can afford to pay less attention to the outside world. They get less anger and energy from the outside, and spend more and more time in their little artificial world where they are pandered to and told they’re rad.
In other words, all scenes go from OUTWARD LOOKING to INWARD LOOKING. They become victims of their own success. And after you’re inward looking, the last stage is to fragment into a million micro-genres in a futile effort to convince yourself that things are not stagnant and irrelevant.
The end!No comments
Naomi Klein-type people are fond of saying that “austerity” (i.e. cutting social security, medicare, welfare, food stamps, etc.) is just an example of what U.S./Europe did to 3d world countries in the ‘80s and ‘90s, come back to bite us in the ass. According to this theory, Western-controlled organizations like the WTO, World Bank, and the IMF “practiced” screwing the common people in debt-ridden poor countries around the world, and once they’d “perfected” their methods, those same methods are now being brought home to the rich countries, and used on US. And that’s why Chicago had to sell their parking meters to Arabs, why New Jersey tried to sell the Turnpike, and why Congress cut food stamps for unemployed people at Christmas.
I’m all for this theory! But it seems to me that “austerity” is just one of A DOZEN damn awful things that are all moving from the periphery of our global empire to the heartland. At the same time. A DOZEN things that were invented or perfected at certain borderlines, and now are being brought to bear on the same regular American jerkoffs who kept voting for those policies to be applied to marginal folks.
I suppose you could say that this traditional German poem already called it:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
But actually not really. All the victims in that poem were all people in the middle of German society. The people that the USA government is “coming for” are mostly at the physical borders of our country, and the rollback of human rights is sort of physically, literally creeping in and converging on Kansas.
If anything, USA’s current situation is more like Japan in the ‘30s, as described in Mark Driscoll’s excellent book, ABSOLUTE EROTIC, ABSOLUTE GROTESQUE: Japan’s international sex and drug trade, and gangster-driven administration . . . that all started in their Asian colonies in the ‘20s and ‘30s. And then all the corruption became entrenched in Tokyo politics as WWII started, giving birth to both a mafia-style corrupt and violent political sphere, as well as a very decadent, erotic grotesque, burlesque pop culture.
So let’s look systematically at all the corruption pouring into mainland America from our various borders:
1) AUSTERITY. Already discussed.
2) WAR. Techniques that started in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are now being used at home: The militarization of our police forces (military-grade vehicles and tactical weapons given to small-town Ohio police forces just in case Al Quaeda decides to blow up a strategic Hardee’s), drones over America, and the designation of American citizens as “enemy combatants” who can get sent to Gitmo or even assassinated without even being accused of a specific crime. . .
3) COUNTER-TERRORISM. In the past, the government would only search you for contraband at the border or airport. But in 2013, Homeland Security declared they had the right to stop traffic at random checkpoints and search all vehicles with no probable cause. . .WITHIN 100 MILES OF THE BORDER. This is literally the creeping-from-the-periphery-to-the-center that I’m talking about.
Also, the CIA (who, remember, is supposed to spy on foreigners) is helping the NYC police spy on basically the entire Muslim population of NYC. Speaking of creeping over borders, the NYCIA decided to extend their spying into Jersey as well . . .without telling any Jersey law enforcement.
Also I guess we can throw in the whole NSA bulk data collection here. The original NSA phone-tap program was just spying on calls FROM foreigners TO foreigners. I.e. outside the border of America. But then things got complicated when, say, a call from France to Saudi Arabia was routed through a telecom hub in, say, New York. (apparently this is a thing that happens?) So the NSA started tapping foreign calls on American soil. Then they started tapping ALL the calls, because, hey, they already had the back-door in the NYC telecom router.
All this is justified by, “Hey, OK, that’s technically against the constitution, but it’s just for terrorism! We would never use that authority to help police in any other types of crimes, right?”
4) DRUG WAR. The drug war seems to be creeping in from a lot of different peripheries at once: at the physical borders, of course, where smuggling occurs, but also at the WAR periphery (see #2 above) for example, the militarization of our local police forces, and the physical drug wars we are fighting in Colombia, Mexico, etc. Like the anti-terror war, law enforcement seems able to bend the rules because the crime is seen as so dangerous. Then those precedents are used to justify new police powers to go after ALL crimes. For example, Civil asset forfeiture. No-knock raids. Joint Task Force 6, the only army unit allowed to go to war on Americans. Which I did not know until I googled “drug war civil rights” just now. All of these were originally just for drug lords. Then they were for any drug offender, or anybody in a ghetto or vario. Then they were basically for anyone, anywhere. A great example of periphery-creep is what is called PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION.
Let’s back up a second here: as anyone who watches cop tv shows knows, evidence is only admissible in court if the cops get it legitimately, i.e. with a warrant. And they’re required to show ALL their evidence to the defense, so the defense can maybe find something in the evidence that makes their client look less guilty. But apparently the NSA is showing their phone-taps to the drug police. The drug police can’t tell the judge or the prosecutor where they got the evidence – since the NSA is only supposed to spy on terrorists, not drug guys. So the cops do PARALLEL CONSTRUCTION: they fabricate a paper trail to supposedly show they got their evidence legally. For instance, the NSA illegally intercepts a phone call saying, “We will put drugs in a blue Mustang on freeway 101 at Tuesday night.” They tell the cops “pull over the blue mustang and tell the judge it was a totally random traffic stop or the mustang had a blinking tail light or it was just good luck.” So, first the NSA was ONLY supposed to use their spy powers for terror. They would never never ever spy on anything else. Now they’re openly using them for terror AND anti-drug stuff. But of course they would never never use that for anything besides terror or drugs. Or porn.
Actually this terror-to-drugs-to-everyday enforcement dealie is pretty common, you can use it on anything:
Airports. The “border exception” to civil rights. We’d only go into your pants and etc. with no probable cause to look for bombs. Well, as long as we’re doing it, we’ll look for drugs. Because drugs are used to finance terrorist groups. Well, as long as we’re looking for bombs and drugs. . . .
Ditto Homeland Security giving army surplus gear to small town cops. Just in case the Talibans invade Possum Ass, Arkansas! But as long as we got ‘em it would be a shame not to use ‘em. Let’s use ‘em on drug raids! Well, as long as they work so good on the drug raids, it would be ashame not to use ‘em on everything!
Also check out how this dealie is physically, literally a periphery-to-center thing: terror-to-drugs-to-anywhere = overseas-to-borderland-zone-to-middle-america.
5) PRISONS. As detailed in the book LOCKDOWN HIGH, technology developed for prisons (and even cattle farms!) is now being used in schools: tracking RFID cards attached to students, and metal detectors.
6) IMMIGRATION. Without any real notice in the mainstream papers, ol’ liberal Obama has been deporting record numbers of immigrants, more than Bush one or two, or any other president ever. Not only that, but the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has developed its own parallel justice system – they have their own cops, their own laws, their own courts, their own standards of evidence and who gets what rights while on trial, that is totally different than normal trials. They especially have their own jails, a gulag system spread throughout the USA the same way the CIA’s “black sites” are scattered throughout the world for the detention of possible terrorists. Also there is a thing where the Border Patrol will now shoot over the border, killing Mexicans for “throwing rocks”. Across the Rio Grande.
7) THE HOODS. OK, so ghettos and varios are not on physical borders, so that fucks up my metaphor here. But what happens in the hood is often like a midway point, where outside-of-America tactics (drug war, the war-war, the immigration police) are tried out in certain *ahem* parts of America, before being rolled out nationwide. They use the hoods to work the kinks out of the system. SWAT teams, no-knock raids, dog-shootings, surveillance cams, “just-in-case” helicopter flyovers, stop-and-frisk, etc. all first premiered in the hoods. Then spread to anywhere there was a suspicion of drugs (i.e. all the on-purpose disruptive search-light-happy copter flyovers in the Pacific Northwest, where entire towns were buzzed for days on end, because the cops thought that the locals weren’t being ‘cooperative’ enough in snitching on their pot-growing neighbors). And finally, the tactics are just used anywhere, anytime!
And this ‘hood’ stuff, inevitably, leads me to an important point: All the white kids that want to be ‘down’, that want to be ‘hood’ . . . well, you’re going to get your wish! Only it turns out that being ‘down’ doesn’t involve you owning giant spinnas or hella big-booty bitches or chilling in VIP with A$AP $murf. It turns out that being ‘down’ involves you getting thrown in jail because a license-plate scan showed a passing patrol car you owed a $50 library overdue fine! It turns out being ‘down’ involves being threatened with 20 years for a tiny bag of weed, then turned into an informant where you have to go hit up dangerous felons who you’ve never met, with no backup, no training, while wearing a wire. It turns out being ‘down’ means spending most of your life under surveillance cameras while your neighborhood is stripped of jobs and education opportunities! It means that you, too, can lose your house, fall victim to predatory landlords, while the government declares you a “taker” and a “bum” and strips you of unemployment benefits right when you need them the most. Rad! Have fun getting your student debt taken out of your paycheck for 30 years because regular banks REDLINED you and wouldn’t consider loaning you money to improve yourself!
Hey, white kids, isn’t it fun to be ‘down’? Don’t you worry about if you’re “official on the streetz” or if your “name rings out”, you’ll be getting plenty more hood in the years to come. Whether you like it or not! Because there’s no backing out now, kids! You’re just getting like a little 10% taste of what the government has been doing to the hood all along. And the other 90% is heading to a
trailer park suburb near you! Pretty soon you’ll be as ‘hood’ as it gets! You seemed to really enjoy all this when it was Black people talking about it in movies or mp3s . . .instead of protesting it, you’d do those funny hand-gestures in the shower! But now you get to participate! You’re welcome.
And the white kids’ white parents? Even more rad! The white parents that, for decades, have been voting again and again for the politicians that were getting tougher on third-world countries (those lazy natives needed debt restructuring! We’re doing them a favor!), that were getting tough on immigrants, arabs, “enemy combatants”, “threats to homeland security,” protestors, prisoners, minorities, and dopers? Hey! Guess what? Those politicians want a word with you, Mom and Dad!
“Thanks for the votes! Glad you liked us taking away habeas corpus, the fourth amendment, innocent-until-proven-guilty, and the right to privacy! Glad you approved of us fucking with everyone else in the dang Earth! And guess what? we saved some of that just for YOU! You seem to really like that stuff, so it would be a shame to waste it all on those douchebags – they’re not even grateful! Yeah, what’s that? You didn’t think we’d spy on YOU? Or stop YOUR car for no probable cause? HAHAHAAHAHA – you’re such a kidder! You LOVE that stuff! That’s why you always keep voting for us! Well since we’re so happy, we decided to let YOU have all the rest of it. Matter of fact, we have a LOT left over, even after the muslims, protestors, immigrants, potheads, and ‘inner city youth’. Oh man, you wouldn’t believe how much is left over. You could say we’ve been saving the best for last! And it’s all coming right for YOU! Just our way of saying, thanks for your support!”
So NOW Mom and Dad are joining a Tea Party and NOW the kids are turning down Tupac so they can go out and Occupy some shit, and everyone in the family – regardless of their politics – is SHOCKED that the government would treat people like this.
I mean, treat WHITE people like this.
Back in the ‘60s, you had to be a really big-time black Panther to even get the FBI to listen to your phone. Nowadays even some dental hygienist in Maryland named Abigail got a digital file 100 times thicker than Eldrige Fucking Cleaver. It used to be just cameras in “high crime” , uh, “urban” areas, but now everybody is getting watched via their cellphone’s GPS! NOW it’s a fucking outrage! Back in the day, you’d only get assassinated by the government if you were Malcom X or Fred Hampton, but now the freaking President is on TV saying ANY American can fucking well get DRONED. Now entire WHITE families are getting evicted, having their unemployment cut, having to choose between education and food, entire WHITE families are being forced to ‘assume the position’ over a fucking traffic ticket, Sure, NOW it’s a huge scandal! NOW it’s tyranny!
Some rapper needs to do a song with a chorus involving a really small fiddle and the phrase HOW’S THAT FEEL?
THE REVERSE POWELL MEMO
In the 30s, lefty politicians like Huey Long got popular, because Lefties of all walks of life had big ideas they could rally around (socialism! Populism!!) , and that solidarity allowed them to put pressure on mainstream politicians and demand substantial changes : FDR had the New Deal, and LBJ had the Great Society, and even Nixon started the Environmental Protection Agency , started Earth Day, and strengthened welfare.
And then to fight back, the big-business types circulated the Powell Memo. They didn’t have the numbers, but they had their own, big, unifying idea they could all rally round. (neoliberalism! Deregulation!).
But ever since Reagan got elected in 1980, liberals have been playing defense, trying to preserve the shreds and tatters of government programs while conservatives – on the other hand – keep moving the goal posts more to the right. The conservatives keep dreaming bigger and bigger, they’re demanding things that would have been political suicide even in Reagan’s time.
Sure, the Right is better funded and organized, but maybe the main problem with the Left is BEING ON THE DEFENSIVE IS NO FUCKING FUN. It’s hard to get motivated to march for SLIGHTLY LESS SHITTY! Or to demonstrate for COULD YOU CUT THE FUNDING A LITTLE LESS THAN YOU WERE PLANNING TO CUT THE FUNDING? It’s hard to organize a huge door-to-door campaign to raise awareness of MAYBE YOUR POVERTY IS NOT 100% YOUR FAULT FOR SHITTY DECISIONS YOU MADE. It’s hard to get people to volunteer their time and money for TRY TO RAPE SLIGHTLY LESS THAN 28,000 OF OUR OWN DAMN SOLDIERS THIS YEAR.
Frustrated 99-percenter types of today lack the unifying big ideas AND the money of the Old Left and Big Business. But what if there was a way to turn tour disorganization into an advantage?
What we lack in big, unifying ideas, we can make up for that in sheer numbers of daffy, unique, individual UTOPIAS. I’m talking about how a “homebrew utopia movement” should become A Real Thing. As much as I gripe about it, The internet is actually a huge help in this : just look at how many insane or stupid ideas not only get famous but spontaneously create communities, where people who (pre ‘net) would have persued their hobby in shameful solitude, actually compete with one another to see who can get the most far-out with it!
A “homebrew utopia” movement – where everyday people dream up alternative societies the same way they now write fan-fiction, youtube diaries, fantasy-football – could be like a giant game where people compete to see how many of our society’s unspoken assumptions they can discover, expose to the light of day . .. and then think of alternative societies based on DIFFERENT assumptions. Put another way, how many sacred cows they can fillet!
HOMEBREW UTOPIA MOVEMENT
The point is: overwhelm fuckers with diversity. I’m not seriously saying one single utopia will become a huge movement (which itself is a way-too-utopian plan!) . My plan calls for SUCCESS THROUGH FAILURE. Let me show you how:
The more different utopias people come up with, the smaller and blander it makes the dem-repub consensus look: “Oh you think Obama is crazy? Well get a load of THIS guy!”
Even if people don’t agree with any given utopia (by their very extreme all-encompassing nature, utopias are pretty hard sell to begin with!) . . .it’ll get people off the defensive and onto the offensive.
It’ll also get regular people to realize “Hey, did you see that jackass on the internet with his crazy commie/nazi/feminazi/asexaual/extraterrestrial fantasy? That utopia is ridiculous because it goes against this basic assumption of society . . .hey! I never realized we were all making that assumption. Which means even though THAT utopia was bullshit, means there must be OTHER assumptions, other ways to do a society. Hmm, maybe I should do my OWN utopia just for fun!”
Like I said, the Overwhelm With Diversity works to the advantage of a populace without money, political power, or a coherent ideology:
It costs nothing to threaten the Man’s assumptions of how society should be run, and cops can’t stop it, since it runs totally outside the definition of “protest”. If you can’t overthrow the System, overthrow the assumptions that legitimate the system!
GO ON THE OFFENSIVE IN THE WAR OF IDEAS.
Get your utopia on! Don’t worry about if it’s politically feasible or if it would even work if you could implement it. Just get thousands of ideas out there, listen to other peoples’ ideas.
The irrationality is actually a PLUS. It’s one of the few good ideas the hippies had: if you’re fighting a system of rigid bureaucracy, efficiency, robotic rationality and soul-killing tradition, fight back with surrealism and irrationality.
The point is not that any one crazy idea will save us – the point is to destroy the decades-long and well-coordinated-at-all-levels-of-media-government-and-business PR campaign to convince us that wall-street casino capitalism, and race-to-the-bottom globalism is the only possible way to run an economy.
The point is to teach us how to go hog-wild, rather than to beg for a slight increase in funding for some social program which has been cut by 90%.
The point is to go on the offense again.
The point is to re-start our collective imaginations, which have been beat to shit, not by mind-numbing TV, not even by the internet, but our imaginations got beat to shit by decades of sullen grumbling about right-wingers’ steady progress. By decades of allowing the other side to dictate the terms of the battle.
(also remember: at the height of the liberal, big-government, help-the-poor and regulate-the-polluters ‘70s, all the Powell Memo ideas must have seemed totally un-doable, impractical, or downright silly. But now those ideas are basically the norm.)
Put the burden of proof on The Man to explain why the economy SHOULD grow, why banks SHOULD be allowed to make money, why people SHOULD work longer hours even though machines allow one worker to do the productivity of ten workers, (and even though since the 60s the worker has not been paid in proportion to her rising productivity!)
THE MOST POWERFUL IMPEDIMENTS TO CHANGE ARE BELIEFS THAT WE DON’T EVEN REALIZE THAT WE HAVE
We have big disagreements in politics – but only about stuff that one faction dislikes. But what about the 90% of stuff that both factions like? What about all the assumptions that are so ingrained, people don’t even see them, like how fish don’t know what water is?
For instance, the assumption that “economies must always grow bigger and bigger, every year, forever,” seems obviously wrong now – the planet has finite resources, duh! But back in the 50s, even bitter enemies like the US and the USSR were in agreement about the inevitability of infinite growth (think of all those Great Leaps Forward!). To be precise, they were BEYOND agreeing – It was so obvious it didn’t need to even be articulated, (you have to articulate something for anyone to agree with it)
Anyway, it goes to show how quickly such bedrock assumptions can turn into obvious falsehoods. All it takes is saying it out loud. “everyone can make more of everything every year without ever running out of raw materials or energy!” derrrrrppppp. The hard part is actually realizing that there IS an assumption!
So to retun to my theme: If making completely unreasonable, illogical utopias became a popular hobby, if nothing else, it would be like crowd-sourcing the exposure of unspoken assumptions that we have. And exposing those assumptions is ESSENTIAL to starting to have reasonable, logical conversations of how to fix society.
In fact, some contemporary wackos, like anarchist David Graeber or Archdruid John Michael Greer, are doing just that! Instead of doing regular utopias (where you start out by imagining a fully formed future society), people like Graeber and Greer start by REMOVING one central unspoken assumption of our society, and then try to imagine how society would change if people all stopped assuming that thing.
For instance: what would an economic system look like where the “value” of things, services, and people was based on how much they helped other people, rather than on how much money they made?
What would a society look like where there was no oil left, no coal left, and . . . (dun dun dun) without oil or coal, you couldn’t have the energy to construct a world-wide replacement network of solar/wind/ocean-power plants? In other words, what would a society look like if every small village had to make its own power and replace everything it took out of the ecosystem?
What would a society look like if there was no concept of “debt”?
What would a democracy look like, if the concept of “majority vote” was applied in the workplace, every day, instead of in a polling booth, once every 2 years?
And so on. Most utopias have been based on an end point. This new breed of sort-of-utopias is based on a starting point: taking today’s real world, then tweaking one central thing, and imagining how things would unfold. However, despite exposing some unspoken assumptions of our civiliazation, none of these modern sort-of-utopias that I’VE ever read come close to actually fleshing out the answer in any detail. I don’t know if that’s because a) it’s really hard, or b) it’s really hard for someone (even an anarchist) who has been born and raised in 20th century monopoly capitalism to even contemplate?