Sunday, March 31, 2013

Upcoming Movies from F.I.S.

For the first time ever in public, here are just some of the electrifying, soon-to-be-released cinematic results of High Arka Funworks' Full Information Security project.

Naples Nights. Nicholas Cage stars as Armand Rico, a hardheaded supercar designer who is leaving his job to start his own company because of creative differences with his employer. While he struggles to navigate the high-stakes game of Italian corporate automobile finance and rebuild his relationship with the wife and son he abandoned years ago, he meets feisty young investigative reporter Bianca Florentina, played by Keira Knightley, who is struggling to expose the truth about the Prime Minister's hand in a series of underworld murders in Naples' seamiest red-light district.

"So you were there the night she died, too?!" Revelations about Rico's uncertain past threaten to destroy the future for both of our heroes. Will they be strong enough to survive another...Naples Night?

Bittersweet Cupcakes. The experienced, talented Reese Witherspoon breathes new life into this traditional period piece, portraying a young Betty Crocker in 1860s Virginia. Rocked by the turmoil of the Civil War, Crocker is driven by her cruel father to become a nurse for the Confederacy. While on the field at Gettysburg, she defies her father to form and instruct an African-American nursing regiment, teaching the illiterate older women to truly value the independence the regiment has provided them, and to trust their instincts. It is there that she overturns the conventional wisdom of the time, pushing aside ineffective male camp chefs to deploy innovative baking techniques, solar ovens, and non-perishable snacks for both sides in that heart-wrenching conflict, ultimately turning the tables for the Union.

"I'm not going to stand here and let this get hard and dry while a man starves to death! I don't care what color his uniform is, or his skin is! I'm not going to stand here and let this cupcake get hard just because a man tells me to, whether he's a general or not!"

Crocker's historical face-off with General Lee, as well as her much-criticized railroad meeting with Lincoln, are portrayed down to the finest level of detail with help from Harvard historians Niall Ferguson and Steven Pinker. Witherspoon's performance turns the genre on its head with a high degree of period accuracy: and of course, there's enough pot roast and flaky crusts to go around! The true climax, some early reviewers have suggested, is not to be found in the Civil War scenes, but in the touching conclusion, where an aging Crocker passes on a valiant charge to a young Susan B. Anthony. The wartime backdrop means an occasional combat or gangrenous amputation scene, but the presentation is tasteful, and Witherspoon's confident portrayal of Crocker makes this a must-see for parents of young children.

Unstoppable. Tom Felton, of Harry Potter fame, shows his dramatic side in an action-adventure blockbuster combining hip hop, kung fu, high-stakes driving, and even higher-staked romance. Felton plays Jim Burns, a down-and-out student who participates in the deadly illegal motorcycle street-racing circuit in some of the world's hottest cities. While pursuing the championship trophy, Felton learns that victory comes with a price: a challenge to both his nascent martial arts skills and his heart, in the form of defending champion Akayasha, portrayed by Kristen Stewart.

"If you wanna win this race, you gotta be...unstoppable." With the help of aging motorcycle genius Marcus Jefferson (50 Cent), Felton has a chance to win the southern L.A. division, and with it, the world championship: but can he bring himself to focus on racing and fighting when his father's deteriorating health threatens to upset the very foundation that brought him to illegal motorcycle kung fu competition in the first place?

Die-hard genre fans will appreciate Russell Wong's cameo as Felton's ringside mentor in the final scene, and fans of Twilight's romantic elements will see stiff competition from the living and breathing when Felton turns Stewart over his knee after the fight. But we won't tell you who wins: the race, the fight, or the hottest spooning this side of NC-17. Watch, and find out--if you're unstoppable enough. (All motorcycles provided by Suzuki. Suzuki: live fast, ride faster.)

Vows Eternal. Keira Knightley plays the feisty young heiress to an agricultural empire who is stranded in Las Vegas late one New Year's Eve after @FQ!&&$R*Q)(( E.....qw] [ 1 ` ] asd

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(Editor's note: approximately 2,400 versions of the complete script of Vows Eternal are still awaiting the final review process. Results forthcoming.)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Disability and Art

Can you create something you can't imagine?

Language makes the question seem absurd. Improvisation or sudden jumps in technical skill can be explained away as forgotten pieces of memory surfacing without conscious direction, but only if you've never felt the stream. Bruce Lee wrote, "The consciousness of self is the greatest hindrance to the proper execution of all physical action," and the same principle applies to thought, and to creation. The artist-as-conduit, rather than artist as creator in the modern sense, is the artist who passes on; who transcribes; who serves. The conduit, rather than the fabricator, is the only vehicle for true creation here, because the active, fully-conscious, technical "creator" (again, "creator" used in the now-modern sense, where language continues to be dissipated) is only ritualistically expressing something Already Known, or something that Will Be Known. The artist as literal, worldbound, translime creator is only rendering, mechanically (and imperfectly) something that can (and will, eventually) be redone better by a more advanced artist later.

Joggers and Mechanics

The artist-as-technician renders; adjusts; fixes; portrays. For a visual artist, this is the capture of an image, imagined or real. The artist who paints what is seen externally, or what is fabricated internally--the artist-as-technician of fixed visual media--is little different, essentially and literally, than the automobile mechanic. The artist who plays what is written on the page, or what is calculated within--the artist-as-technician of acoustic media--is little different than a jogger. The suggestion would make many artists bristle, but if the comparison were made instead to a brilliant neurosurgeon or a prizewinning Olympic athlete, the violinist or painter might feel better.

The mechanic is presented with a car that will not run. The mechanic investigates the car, and determines what things may be done to get it running again, get it running as optimally as the mechanic is able, or to, in the process, improve it beyond its original parameters. She may choose from many tools to achieve the objective, using old favorites or shop standards, and in the process, thousands upon thousands of tiny variations in the job will influence the end result. How tight is too tight? At what psi do you stop? How much gunk can be on any one of thousands of internal parts before it is "too much" and must be cleaned? What parts will be added, from what manufacturers, and exactly how will they be installed, and in what order?

The end result--if it's your car, hopefully a working engine--is as different as one snowflake from another when parked alongside a different car of the same make, model, and mileage. Like identical twins, though not as complicated, all the aspects of life are not quite identical: the blueprints; the order of production; the amount of ozone exposure; the exact experiences of that model.

So too surgery. The differences in refinement in surgery are certainly greater than in automobile mechanics, but where a portion of a millimeter may save or sever a nerve or a life, will an artist in outdoor metal sculptures, or even charcoal or oils, be able to directly counter the surgeon that hers is not a "finer" art? Supercomputers and microscopes may assist vascular surgeons in threading a needle too fine for a squinting artist with a mere 20/0 detail brush, while the decision about sequence, timing, and pressure may have to be made by the surgeon, on the spot or beforehand. A violinist may repeat Wohlfahrt's etudes for five hours a day, gaining the necessary arm and wrist strength to begin contemplating playing them privately at performance speed, prior to considering an acceptable performance years later. A high-jumper may thrill in the expressive passion of curling over the bar in the exactly desired fashion, and win a competition in dynamic joy at a young age.

But, the argument might go, the jogger is pursuing her fitness, and the mechanic and surgeon are making their living, while the artist is pursuing art. The artist paid to illustrate, then, would not be considered an artist unless the jogger, mechanic, and surgeon are artists as well.

Absolute Art

To reconcile the contradictions in our use of "art," the many forms of postmodernism have resorted to agreeing that yes, everything is art. Sometimes, the qualification is added that art is any "expression," or that the person had to have intended to create art, but political-correctness tends to trim those requirements away once it encounters languages where there is no word for "expression" distinct from "speech" or "picture," or where there is no word for "art" in a tribe where unique costumes are designed, then danced in to live music next to outdoor sculpture.

Is art, then, everything? This has been the final (but also squealingly and avowedly not-final) conclusion of western art historians and promoters: that anything is art. When Larry the garbage truck driver scratches his hairy ass crack in an expression of hemorrhoidal pain, it is performance art. That seems patently ridiculous, but when Manzoni defecates in a can, labels it and sells it, it is defended, and celebrated, as art. Similarly, movie producers who write a check, suggest two or three CAD agencies their fathers know to use for the action sequences, and agree to produce "as long as Cage is in it," are artists.

In a failed attempt to avoid the ridiculous, art historians have attempted to distinguish "fine art" from "art," so that when Christo puts up umbrellas along a highway, he's an artist, but not a "fine" artist. Da Vinci painted pictures; Christo put up umbrellas: conclusion, they're both artists. Postmodernists who fling a bucket of paint at a canvas, however, make the "fine" grade, unless they're so cool that their artist's statement rejects the distinction.

(Christo's work putting up umbrellas by the highway, similarly, is different than when the local auto mechanic puts up a billboard with a $29.99 oil change offer in all-caps Times New Roman--Christo is not only different than the mechanic, by his own definition, he's also more courageous. In his own words, "[Y]ou know that I don't have any artworks that exist? They all go away when they're finished...giving my works an almost legendary character. I think it takes much greater courage to create things to be gone than to create things that will remain." Which raises the question: when the $29.99 oil change special is gone, and the billboard is replaced by an advertisement for the laundromat across the street, has our mechanic then become courageous?)

The distinction between "fine art" and "not-fine art" expresses its ridiculousness in more offensive ways. If our example mechanic designed the billboard herself on her computer, selected the font for the oil-change offer, and perused the color wheel for just the right shade of red, have we not crossed the line into fine art? What if the sign was ordered from a printer in black and white, and the mechanic then used her own can of paint, mixed at the self-serve machine in the hardware store, to fill red in between the outlines of the letters? What if the mechanic decided to layer the paint more or less heavily to make drivers more or less excited about the oil change (to evoke a mood in the viewer)? What if the mechanic painted all the lettering by herself?

Clearly, "art" under the new definition. Just as the heart operation, engine fix, or locker-room wedgie is art. Just as going to sleep every night in a slightly different position, going around a beetle (or stepping on a beetle) or breathing is art. This interpretation of "art" covers everything, and it is so total in its bounds that it cannot be fairly limited. The example of Larry scratching his backside comes across as ridiculous if you suspect High Arka is being ridiculous, but there's a legitimate argument to be made about expression, timing, desires, and interpretation. To rely on your own subjective judgment about whether or not something should "really" be art is to allow someone else to use their subjective judgment that an abstract painting is not art--and if you're subscribing to the totally inclusive definition of art, you've already denied them that agency.

(We might try to save the expansive interpretation of "art" by defining art as anything that is art in the eye of the reasonable average beholder, which means that Christo's umbrellas would not be considered art by virtue of popular vote of >6 billion humans shown a picture of his umbrellas and asked if they are "umbrellas" or "art." We could try another way, and say that art is anything that is art in the eye of any one beholder, such that art is completely relative, in which case the discussion doesn't matter because any one person's honest feeling that something sucks means it "isn't" art--which, of course, cannot be right in every instance, so art historians who take this route have pretty much agreed that the interpretations that matter are those of powerful artists, exhibitors, producers, and art historians, with the end result being that relativist definitions of art actually mean, "art is what we say art is." Uneducated fools, too stupid to appreciate the value of $7,900 renditions of the color blue in 5'x6', only matter as object lessons in ignorance.)

Yet again, allowing art to be totally inclusive--in this case, not of "anything," but of "anything anyone believes to be or not be art"--we allow the word "art" to be so inclusive that it is either everything, a carefully exclusive something, or nothing at all; either worthless, snobbish, or meaningless. The idea that words--the art of language, and of shared understanding beyond place and time--should have no value is a false front. Artistic relativists, like moral relativists, tend to see little positive (if any) value in burning crosses, lynch mobs, gang rape, or longstanding traditions of female infanticide, and rightly so. The obligatory resort, "Well, everybody knows that that's just ridiculous, and not art," is true, but not by an inclusive definition of art.

Much, if not almost all, of the assigning of massive definitions to the word "art" was accomplished by unorthodox performance artists, academics, and grand showmen, rather than by those artists whose expressions are the use of language. There are certainly well-meaning exceptions, but the flamboyant, creative, often unskilled object-juxtapositioners (of the "tampon in a teacup" variety) primarily drove the charge to make collective notions of art include things they could do without learning how to draft, illustrate, or finger. There is an irony, or perhaps a hypocrisy, in the invasion and authoritative redefinition of the written word by umbrella-stickers and foil-wrappers.

Settling the Argument on What Constitutes Art

Luckily, the argument was long ago settled. Once, while discussing this issue with a mostly-hostile group of art graduate students, a young woman told them, "My art is everything." When questioned on the specifics, she answered, "My art includes all things others have called 'art' which are included in my expression of everything. Past, present, and future."

Since then, High Arka has been the artist responsible for the universe, and all so-called "art" within it. Christo's expression of umbrella was merely a sub-expression of High Arka's expression of "Earth" and its inhabitants. With some difficulty, the PhD MFA responsible for originating the discussion was brought to good cheer in the end, and conceded that if it could be an artistic choice to frame a mountain, then it could also be an artistic choice to frame the cosmos. (Accordingly, you are all my art. Not even my "found art," but actually my art. That's how I roll. :D)

This conclusion, while ridiculous, is nonetheless "true" in the sense that, if we define art as anything interpreted or framed or experienced by the definer/artist, High Arka is the artist of everything. And within that context, High Arka's artistic expression of what defines "art" controls, as both creator, viewer, and creator and interpreter of all viewers anywhere and everywhere.

The penultimate conclusion of any all-inclusive definition is, naturally and necessarily, inclusion: inclusion of the ridiculous; inclusion of the brazen; inclusion of the offensive, the contradictory, and the explicitly wrong. If art is everything, art isn't actually everything. It is, instead, actually nothing. If we define something so wholly as to allow everything "in," then there is no more "inside." A house large enough to contain everything in the universe ceases to be a house, and becomes instead the universe. A definition of "female" so broad that it includes "males" means that there are, no longer, any females.

If we move beyond the rhetorical inevitabilities inherent in the misuse of language--the traps that the verse has set for those who claim the absurdity of relativism--there is a real answer; a real, meaningful separation of art and non-art. That salvation is artist-as-conduit: art that transcends the merely tangible and the merely imagined. Disability studies, certain sage takes on photo-realism versus interpretation, and player pianos come in there. The advent of science, and the popular and academic rethinking of art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, was a Trojan Horse: it was the most effective attack possible on the idea of art. Because art is so vast and so universal, and so intrinsic to life and creation, it will take an overdose, rather than an underdose or mere massacre, to wipe it out forever. Variously elitist on purpose, variously populist on purpose, the maw of artless evil seeks to turn all artists into technicians, until the memory of a distinct, loving process formerly called "art" is gone.

~Lightspring embrace. Until Part 2.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Research Fail

Most physicians don't understand the drugs they prescribe. They're cognizant of the fact that someone, somewhere, developed a peach-colored tablet that is housed in a nearby pharmacy. They subscribe to restricted databases that give them search results verifying whether or not there will be a conflict between Drug A and Drug B, based on clinical trials they once heard a brief lecture about in between fourteen-hour shifts sewing up split skin. They don't know how to do research because they've never done it, but they think they could if they had to, because they were once required to write a forty-page paper on improving patient interactivity, using secondary sources housed at their school's library. (There are, like, biochem PhDs out there to handle the hard stuff.)
"Uh, Jerry? The patient that just left Room 4--did you tell her that if she switches to something else without a gradual phasedown on [drug], it could kill her?"

"Huh? Oh, the [drug]? Sorry; I only had eight years of college and two years of residency so far."

"Are you going to call her?"

"Wha...? Oh, the lady with the [drug]. Uh, the guy at CVS'll probably tell her."

The further divorced functionaries become from the knowledge that is supposed to be guiding them, the more mystical their knowledge, and the more revered they have to be. The more people fear reading the Bible for themselves or duplicating experiments in an independently verifiable fashion--the essence of science--the more power god-kings gain.

Of course, the organic chemistry graduate students won't do very well if they can't understand basic statistics, but they tend to be way ahead of the MDs.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Good Consumer Choices

A car deposits you on the curb. Your sneakers bite into the cement as the door brushes the back of your shirt, slamming shut behind you. Away whips the vehicle, up a road curtained in black skies. Its brake-lights vanish over the hill, leaving you in utter darkness.

You blink, patting your butt where the car door gave you a whack. Slowly, you realize that there is a little light, after all: a single light comes from a massive concrete structure laying twenty feet before you. You start forward. Almost at once, your foot catches on a step. Arms wheeling, you fall. Doesn't hurt that bad. You gather yourself up in a huffing pile on the next several steps. Stairs.

Onward and upward. That was always her motto. Gotta do her proud.

The light ahead grows brighter. While you climb, your eyes adjust. On the wall over the ten sets of black-glass double-doors before you, you make out an unlit sign: MOST MEGA FUCKING MALL EVER. Blinking harder, you walk toward the one of the dark glass doors that someone propped open with a rock.

Everything is lit up on the inside. It's a food court. Yesterday's popcorn chicken congeals in a puddle of last week's lo mein, atop a house of cards made out of seven faded blue serving trays, built on the sextuplet of trash enclosures arranged near the front entrance. Honey-mustard leaks a slow waterfall down the front of the THANK YOU stenciled onto the nearest enclosure's swinging, creaking door. Voices fill the cavernous room: the squalling of untended babies, the yelling of unsupervised children, and the urgent, desperately jubilant cheering of adults trying to look everywhere but downward or backward. Too-bright lights and too-loud filtration fans stretch from the fast Chinese place by the fluorescent bathroom-hall, all the way past the long display counter of the Grandma's Style Cookies, to the open, red-carpeted front of the movie theater just right of the doors.

From within the theater's gaping maw, a nervous usher in horn-rimmed glasses and a little red vest eyes you while he uses a threadbare broom to try to sweep crushed popcorn outta the carpet. The popcorn's ingrained, and the mangled broom probably couldn't even catch a "to go" container on a smooth floor, but the guy just keeps right on brushing at that ingrained popcorn, always trying it from a new angle, like that's gonna accomplish something.

Down near the room's center, right in the middle of two hundred messy, bustling tables of diners, someone's set up a clear plastic cube for a live performer. It's a singer, in there alone with his guitar and a rickety microphone. The guy sits inside the cube on a stool, rarely looking up. "Today's grey skies and tomorrow's tears," he might've been singing--but through the slits in the plastic, you can barely hear it. Besides, muzak's playing from the speakers overhead, and even that can't compete with the drone of so many excited, ceaseless conversations. Some guy in a clear cube with only four slits: he doesn't have a chance in the Choirs.

Three kids, one after the other, run across the grimy gray floor tiles in front of you, throwing wads of ice-cream-soaked trading cards into each other's hair. A hunched, blind janitor, wearing a coverall marked with the logo MOST MEGA FUCKING MALL EVER, struggles to figure out why the wheels on his slop bucket won't turn. You look at him, pitying, and realize the bucket's caught on the strap from someone's backup.

You give a gulp. You start over to help the guy get his bucket loose. Before you can get very far, a girl bumps into you. Bumps hard. She's got an orange yogurt smoothie, but it doesn't spill. "Sorry!" she wails. "Hey, did you get anything yet?" Stressful frizzles have turned her long brown hair into the "before" on a conditioner ad. Her toes poke out of her sandals. She’s carrying a bag, but you can’t tell what’s in it.

She's gone before you can give her an answer. The janitor figured out why his bucket wasn't moving. Your steps carry you past the theater, past the hallway that leads to the bathroom, and past the food court entirely, to where things seem a little quieter.

The storefront-lined hallway on the other side stretches on forever. Dark green floor tiles, white green floor tiles, fluorescent lights, dark green floor tiles, white green floor tiles, forever. No way out but through. A guy manning a kiosk comes out to ambush you. You know the guy. Blue polo so tidy it looks like it just got waxed. Cheap, clean, rubbery black sneakers that squeak on every single floor tile. Real short hair--almost a buzz, but not quite. Big, happy brown eyes. Chin that won't quit. Smile you couldn't punch away if you had a year. Shaven, but not all the way shaven, like it was on purpose.

While he's still greeting you, you dodge. You're fast. You're committed. Onward and upward. That was always her motto. Gotta do her proud.

On the left, the first storefront opens up. A dried, sun-crisped leg sticks out the front opening. Dead bodies perch on mounting brackets through the window. Inside the shop, the ceiling speakers produce a soundtrack of thuds, booms, and grinding gears. Clerks in camouflaged reaper-robes step over piled, rank corpses, their every footfall squeezing out the foulest goop you ever imagined. The bodies' receding, decayed lips reveal smiling teeth and empty sockets: always watching whoever's outside the front of the store, always smiling.

Faster than before, you walk on. On the right, another store opens up. Corpses again, it looks like. But no, that's not right--they just look like corpses. The merchandise here is skinny, skinny as rails, and so empty cheeked, all of them, that none of their mouths can seem to close all the way. Hair falls out. Bare feet shuffle, weakly wiggling big toes as thin as #2 pencils. Thickset men in dark blue guard the doors, trying to keep the merchandise from shuffling out. At the same time, a tear-streaked clerk jumps up and down, struggling to make you see her waves over the heads of the emaciated horde. "Hey!" she yelps. "Specials! We've got specials today!" Tears streak her makeup. Her apron is the color of sunburn.

Onward and upward. That was her motto, right?

A dozen more stores go past in a blur. There're more with reapers; there're more with hungry human zombies trying to break free. Some have the lights on, so bright it's like a laboratory. Others have the lights off. Some have a jungle motif; others are spilling over with seashore sand, desert sand, or decorations that recall crumbling cities. In one or two, different parts of the merchandise's bodies are glowing, this eerie, nuclear green or yellow, like they had a neon sign grafted over their ribs.

Bile rose a long time ago. No wonder no one else is in this part of the mall. It's just you, the stores, and your own footsteps, ringing so lonely on that unending floor of green tiles, white tiles, too-bright lights, green tiles, white tiles. Onward and upward, you're sure it was. Someone said that to you, once. How the hell did you get trapped in here? How many of these rancid heaps do you have to pass? Some of them are all children; some are all elders. Some all women, some all men. Dead or starving, starving or dead. Most are a mix of everyone, so that you can’t really tell them apart. That’s the way it should be, you think she told you once. That’s the way it should be, not telling them apart, ‘specially when it gets like that. Some aren't so much starving or dead as they are dangling from cages in the ceiling, getting shocked every two minutes, or every time someone walks by the motion-sensor out front. You almost think you recognize some of those faces. Stop looking inside. Go faster. How many of these stores are there? There's no way to count.

Hope: a clamor arises, far ahead. You pick up speed. Past more kiosks you run.

You pass around a gradual corner. You feel like you can start to breathe again. There's everyone--there's the crowd. No, two crowds. Your steps slow. People aren't so much happy as they're angry. And they damn well should be. Fists and voices raised, faces both proud and livid, they shout and chant at each other. All at once it's louder than the food court.

A safe distance away, you come to a stop next to a directory for MOST MEGA FUCKING MALL EVER. War! Pestilence! Famine! Flying Deathkill Robots! Free Texting!

"This has gotta end!" squeals some guy from the crowd on the right. "You guys are so wrong! So medieval! So unrealistic!" His middle finger raises at the other group. Flushed with release, he points back at his favorite store. In the well-lit window, elaborate, gilded wooden molding frames a beautiful scene. Flower petals dust a crimson shag rug beneath two pairs of polished black, man-made-leather shoes. Your eyes run up four legs girded in matching tuxedo pants. Two male mannequins are locked in a modest kiss, their hands linked. They are tall, strapping, and handsome; they're cleanly shaven, and surrounded by friend-mannequins. A long buffet table nearby presents a turkey with all the trimmings, a beautiful wedding cake, and more hors d'oeuvres than three times that number of mannequins could eat.

Two real men hold hands before the window, stars filling their eyes.

Across the way, you already know, they're wearing severe frocks. They've got their kids with them, some of them, and in the window, there's a mannequin who looks only a little bit better than some of the ones from the other stores. He's almost naked, dead and abused, nailed to a wooden cross. His eyes are shut, and he's bleeding. "Sickos!" cry several from the crowd on the left. "Perverts!" "Indecent!"

Tentatively, you step around the directory and its podium. "Guys? Guys!"

The crowds continue their shouting. No one so much as looks at you. Desperately, you move closer, gripping the sleeve of someone on the left. "Sir? Sir?"

He sneers at you through his tiny, round glasses. "Can I...help you?"

"There's something wrong in this mall," you plead. "Have you been...been to the stores back there?" You point over your shoulder, but he only shakes his head.

"I shouldn't have to put up with this filth!" Arm rigid, he indicates the crowd across.

Feeling weak, you rush to the other side. A woman stands there, holding a sign you're too dizzy to see. "Ma'am? Ma'am, please?"

She pauses, suspicious. "Yeah?"

"There's something wrong in this mall!" you tell her. "I don't know how I got here, I don't even know how a place like this could even exist, but there's something very, very wrong, and we've gotta do something about it."

Seriously, she nods. She points toward the other group. "Can you believe they don't like this store? I'm not even, you know, that way, but it's just unethical and wrong, what they're advocating!"

The guy next to her nods. He's eating half a warm chocolate-chip cookie, of the kind you recognize from back in the food court. As he grins knowingly at you, you begin to perceive something terrible in the backs of his eyes. His grin broadens. "Come on, we need all the help we can get, around here! Always room for one more!"

Wordless, you turn and run. You run, faster than you ever have, away from the crowds and back toward the food court. The complete blackness outside would be better. Whoever dropped you off might be there to pick you up.

Ten minutes of running later. No food court. Instead, you pass all the stores, all the kiosks, and they all look just a little different. Just a tiny difference in color, or a variation on the decorations around the bodies; the tools being displayed or used. No food court: you're right back at those two crowds. Pretty much the same people, but again, little differences. Different mannequins in the windows, maybe, doing slightly different things. Everyone's just as angry before, but they're not moving. You're there, right by the directory, and this time, it only shows a loop, around and around.

The guy from before--he's on the other side, this time--recognizes you. He waves. He's got a fresh chocolate chip cookie, in a wrapper that reads "Grandma's Style Cookies," with a logo from a place that doesn't exist any more. His smile grows.

Shaking your head in terror, you raise your elbows. Your shoes squeak on the floor. Keeping between the crowds, you run through them, past them, instead of turning around like last time. You'll take a maintenance exit; you'll take the back door or the fire exit; you'll take anything, to get out.

Ten minutes of running later, you skid to a stop against the directory. No food court. No nothing. The crowds are still there, with subtle changes. That guy--he's there, again, smiling knowingly at you. He has a brand new cookie. "Come on," he chuckles, coming over. "You have to stop running eventually. See the sign? I was once like you, you know. Yeah, I remember coming to this same spot, a few years back, and shouting until my voice wa--"

You turn. Heart bursting, you start running again. There might be no way out, but you can't stop here, anymore than you can go patronize any of those vile stores. Onward and upward, right? That was always her motto. Gotta do her proud.



-------------------------------------------------------------

<3

(Just another one from Full Information Security. All rights held by Arken Funworks, Inc., una filial de Los Adventures Grandes de la Arken Americana, Sociedad Anónima, S.A. de C.V., Tijuana, Mexico.)

Good Consumer Choices

The utility of the saying "Dead Men Tell No Tales" is, as sayings go, relatively high. Dead men can tell tales in the metaphorical and supernatural sense, but for our practical purposes, they literally tell no tales. If we're not exclusionary male pirates, we could revise our saying to "dead people tell no tales." A number of other less obvious things that dead people don't do is:

1) Get certificates of citizenship;
2) Get employed;
3) Have access to choice housing;
4) Get laughed at while perusing stores at the mall;
5) Get married;
6) Get raped;
7) Feel offended after inappropriate slurs are made about them by a late-night talk show host;
8) Die again.

As important as all of the above things are, particularly #7, they're things that dead people cannot, practically, accomplish any longer. Various Jackass-/Weekend-At-Bernie's-style ruses could satisfy all of these in some form or other, to great amusement, which is why this one writes "practically."







~~see you at the Mall~~



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Your Flag Decal Won't Get You...

Updated - on request, just in case you're lucky enough to be unaware of Facebook, here's the "marriage equality" logo, aptly titled:



After September 11, 2001, the Bush administration made a very clever move: they asked Americans to buy and display "American flag" ribbons and pins, as though this facile, inane, indescribably lazy "show" of sporting the team colors would bring back the dead, address the problems that had caused the dead to be dead, or avoid having there be more dead for similar reasons. It was a clever move because it helped people pretend that they had accomplished something, without actually accomplishing anything at all.

The flag trend was insulting, and cheap, whether or not you felt America had been wronged by an international conspiracy of foreign terrorists, that it was a Mossad/CIA false flag attack, or whether it was some independent Saudi Arabian citizens acting with the financial assistance of Osama bin Laden. If it was a false flag setup, then being pro-war was playing right into the hands of the masterminds. If it was all real, then reducing your "support" for actual soldiers who were losing legs and lives in war to such a cheap gesture--the application of a convenience-store sticker to the back of your dirty truck--was a pitiful insult, while soldiers died on a fourth consecutive tour overseas, making $28K a year, or languished in sewage-strewn hallways in Walter Reed. When wealthy white Republican college boys got their MBAs at Wharton, and put flag decals on their binders, it was an insult to poor black enlisted Army grunts who would come back home four years later to find that the MBAs had no jobs for them because of the tough economy.

Remember how all the hip liberals saw right through it, and made fun of those flag-based expressions of jingoism, exhibitionist chauvinism, and armchair tribalism?

It didn't take very long for the turnabout, did it, now? All the hip, mostly-straight liberals are so proud to break out not even $1.99 Chinese-made ribbons. No, that's going too far. Instead, they exert themselves to the tune of a click of the mouse.

That same click, of course, does not come out in service of dead foreigners, including the one in four (or one in ten or whatever you like) homosexuals killed out of around 122K in just Iraq based on just official sources and counting just since 2003. Even if we're ridiculously conservative and take "one in ten" as our non-heterosexual rate, that means that Americans getting to file tax returns jointly is worth an exhibitionist click, while 12,000 dead Iraqi sodomites is not worth a similar click.

Here's John Prine, with Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore. Lyrics in the blockquote below.
While digesting Reader's Digest
In the back of a dirty book store
A plastic flag, with gum on the back
Fell out on the floor
Well, I picked it up and I ran outside
Slapped it on my window shield
And if I could see old Betsy Ross
I'd tell her how good I feel

But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more
They're already overcrowded
From your dirty little war
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more

Well, I went to the bank this morning
And the cashier he said to me
"If you join the Christmas club
We'll give you ten of them flags for free."
Well, I didn't mess around a bit
I took him up on what he said
And I stuck them stickers all over my car
And one on my wife's forehead

(Chorus)

Well, I got my window shield so filled
With flags I couldn't see
So, I ran the car upside a curb
And right into a tree
By the time they got a doctor down
I was already dead
And I'll never understand why the man
Standing in the Pearly Gates said...

"But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more
We're already overcrowded
From your dirty little war
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more."
Are they good, or are they evil? The people being happily led along by celebrities and corporate media into displaying flags, ribbons, pins, $49.99 commemorative gold cross necklaces, or complimentary marriage equality pixels are not necessarily bad, or even stupid. It might be a poor personal choice to join the hordes of "cool" straight people flashing that week's armband, but not necessarily something that merits a harsh personal judgment.

The ones to watch, here, are the powerful creators and mass disseminators of this type of propaganda. The comparison to flag decals, and a study of corporate logos of any kind, and their subsequent use by the media to push the "gay marriage" issue, offers us a more concrete proof than any other (except, perhaps, Obama's blasé verbal gesture) that this "issue" did not become mainstream as part of a random, organic process. The modern "battle" over gay marriage was conceived of as a years-long project, where "minor" alternative publications and pundits would push it, it would rise to prominence, get rejected, then resurface, and finally "succeed." After a celebratory period, a new harmless issue will pop up: something that, just like any form of domestic social policy, will do absolutely nothing to alter the power dynamics of society. The people with the money will remain rich. The people getting murdered by the thousands will continue to be murdered by the thousands. The bread and circuses of this rotting empire are fabricated political issues, rather than gladiatorial slave combat.

It was all scripted. This new product release; this re-branding; this simplified, somnatic logo appeared on purpose. Like all of the seemingly innocuous images around us, it did not happen by accident. The thing with the chicken restaurant was only leaked and disseminated to play off both sides. That particular business' target demographic--poor whites eating mechanically-separated chicken--got energized, just like hip urban white straight "I support fair trade but I vote for brutal NAFTA enforcers" neo-liberals got a handout from a different brand a while later.

As the man behind the curtain said to Dorothy...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Alternate Reichetypes

(The following is a copyrighted excerpt from one of the Full Information Security projects.)

---

"What if the Americans had won?"

Markus frowned across the table. "What?"

Throwing up her hands, Sandra got out of her chair. "Christus, there he goes again. I'm getting a drink."

"No, really." Tobias leaned forward. "What if the Americans had won? Would we even know?"

Maria's brows drew with mild interest. "What?"

"Don't," warned Markus, realizing, but too late.

"Okay, picture this: it's 1944." Smiling, Tobias patted Maria's hand. "1944, right? 1944, summer, right before the invasion of France. You're not even born yet, okay? Britain turns on its own ally, right, and of course America's already involved, you know, the glue that was holding it all together from the beginning. The same national-capitalists that financed the greenshirt insurrections and relocation camps and even Hirohito's early military buildup. There's this giant battle, Britain against France, and Britain's defeated, right?"

Nervously, Maria nods.

"But it's not really that way!" Tobias' smile grew. "It's so big that it's just cover. The Brits, remember, they're slaughtering the Irish; slaughtering Africans all across their empire; slaughtering Kazakhs and Russians and Chinese. They've got a dozen death camps across the entire globe. They're working kids in factories to produce shells to crush the last few socialist regimes left, in Germany and France, and when the oriental colonies revolt, it's, like, all they can take. They just overreached."

Maria gave a repulsive shudder. "Please, don't make me relive Braugmeier again."

Laughing, Markus said, "I wonder what he did, anyway, after he got fired?"

"Who cares?" wondered Maria. "Who gets a doctorate in history, if they want a real job? It's no wonder the economy's in the pisshouse, if every adult thinks they can spend ten years in school before having to actually work for a living."

"We need more good teachers," Tobias said reflectively. "But Braugmeier could've been part of it. No, no, hear me out. That's just the story they tell everyone: that Marshal Pétain successfully threw off the invasion and defended France. But listen. Seriously." He clasped his hands at the center of the table. "So anyway, Britain's annexed most of Ireland; they've got death camps and mass graves across Scotland and Ireland, that won't even be discovered until after Churchill shoots himself. And across the Atlantic, America's rounding up orientals and starving them, shooting them, and the Empire's just gobbling up the Pacific, right?"

"Yes," Markus interjected, "but all the major powers in the Liberation War had concentration camps. Including Germany."

"Yeah, yeah." Tobias nodded quickly. "But, excuse me, but relocating some Romani and Jews, out of an admittedly inappropriate fear of internal dissent during the war, is completely different from what the Empire did to the orientals."

Markus crossed his arms. "In principle, it's the same. My grandmother was in one of those camps, all right, in Poland? They paid some of the survivors, later, to say how it wasn't that bad; to claim that it was just 'temporary relocation.' They hid how many people really got killed, right after the war. I hate to tell you, but Hitler was not some kind of 'tragic hero.' He was just as bad as Roosevelt."

"Oh, god help us all," groaned Tobias.

Angrily, Markus went on, "All those TV specials are dogpiss. They killed people there, and tested on them, like, with crazy doctors, same as the Democrats did to the orientals. You saw the old footage from California, right? It was just as bad here, only we had time to cover it--"

Tobias shuddered. "There's a difference."

"--would've looked just as bad for us if we'd lost!" finished Markus.

Maria rolled her eyes at him, then at Tobias. "Will you please get to the point?"

"So," continued Tobias, flushing, "the point, the point is, he's actually sorta making my point. Even if he's got some of it wrong. Point is, right before, or even during the invasion of France, Britain realizes they can't keep pushing like that. Not now that Germany has finally woken up and gotten its production capacity up after the invasion-occupation during the Great War, right? And Germany's actually keeping its treaty to defend France, and in the California Ghettoes, orientals are starting to rebel against the camps, and Hirohito's just fighting like crazy to try to save his people from extermination. It's all sort of falling apart for the Empire. So...!" His eyes lighting up, Tobias speaks, "There's a secret deal brokered. Roosevelt, Hitler, Stalin, and Ford, all get together, in a pillbox in friggin' Normandy, or something, or maybe on a battleship--whatever. They get together, and decide, it would be so much more efficient if we just divided up the world now, and stopped fighting each other, right? Because see, Hitler realizes that he can't resist America forever, but he knows that with nukes in the game, neither side can win without total destruction. They want to have something left to rule, right?"

He smiled devilishly at Sandra, who had finally returned with a beer. She gave a deliberate yawn and sat, toying with her VolkPad.

Markus uncrossed his arms to give an irritated tug at his yarmulke. Indecisive, he watched.

"So," spoke Tobias, voice growing in intensity, "they draw straws, and it just so happens that Roosevelt draws the short one. He's in the wheelchair, right, and maybe in this version of the timeline, he shuffles a little, and gets the short one. So it's decided that America's going to play the loser." His eyebrows jumped at the other three. "Which fits, anyway, since Germany's just developed the jet engine, the American Navy never could've recovered in ten years from Japanese attempts to hop islands to the California Ghettoes, and there's no way the sky war or the sea war would've gone in their favor. Even if nukes didn't come into play." Excited, he bobbed in place. "Churchill doesn't like it, but he continues his retreat. His soldiers just think it's a normal, inevitable retreat, since there's no way anyone could storm Normandy without losing half its population anyway, but Churchill's betrayed them: they get cut down by shells, because rescue pickup can't make it through the water with the Luftwaffe in the sky. The orientals get picked for taking the real defeat, since both Germany and America were planning to sell them out anyway, so Germany gets the green light to nuke there, so that peasants worldwide understand the power that the supernations can now use on them. The Democrats, remember, were too stupid to develop the nukes on their own, so our financiers had to send them scientists, so that the American Empire would have nukes ready in a few years. Making sure every major player has nukes keeps things safe, so that none of the important countries can risk actually settling the war.

"In the conventional war, the gentlemen's war, Britain's army goes down, America pretends to fall back, and everyone finally meets in occupied London. All the same players are there that were at the big meeting in the pillbox, except for Churchill, who shot himself when Nagasaki was nuked, and he realized there was no way he could recover a win for Britain, with everybody else sticking to the plan.

"Everyone makes a big show of the peace conference, like they're all friends, and all the normal people get told the war's 'over.' We occupy West America, the stolen Pacific islands are demilitarized and given self-rule by the Reich, and all the land the Americans took with their lightning raids on Mexico get returned. Roosevelt's forced to give up power, dies of disease, and even though Ford escapes, a lot of the national-capitalist horrors come out, and all the high Democratic Party officials get tried at Los Angeles, and executed. Okay? You with me?"

Everyone except Sandra nods; the latter is texting, and occasionally studying the TV on the other side of the bar.

"So!" Tobias positively beamed. "It's the postwar period. Everything seems different. It looks like the Liberation War is over, the Democrats are defeated, all the camps are emptied everywhere across the world, and it's this triumph for peoples' control of their own motherlands. An end to debt slavery, war reparations, international banking cartels, special "war powers" for governments, and especially, concentration camps or dual-citizenship statuses. But then--then it gets really interesting." For just a second, Tobias' face crumpled. "Fifty years pass. Sixty. Seventy. And instead of the promise that was supposed to come after the Great War, and the Liberation War, nothing has changed. The Democrats really won the war after all. Roosevelt's secretly a hero, even though it's, like, everyone's most basic knowledge of how bad he is. It seems like America's defeated, but it wasn't." Tobias makes a fist atop the table. "In reality, the entire rest of the twentieth century was just more war. Because Roosevelt, and even Hitler, were just figureheads. Even 'Germany' and 'America' were just figureheads. The same, exact people who--"

"Oh, please." Sandra stood, eyeing Markus. "You gonna see the new Bacharach?"

Markus shrugged through a smile. "Guess I could."

They looked to Maria, but she shook her head. "I'll just go home in a few."

"Guys!" Tobias protested, but Markus and Sandra had already headed out the door, and across the plaza for the ticket window. Tobias turned to Maria. "You've gotta understand," he said, low and earnest. "What if the Democrats were still out there? What if the Liberation War had never ended? What if the exact same people who paid for the original Democrat war machine, who planned the concentration camps and prisoner of war camps across California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, all those places, what if they were still out there, and they'd spent all the time since setting up even bigger bombs and torturing and killing people in different camps? What if the Cambodian War wasn't necessary, and we only invaded it because the Americans wanted us to? The same Empire, under a different name? And, and after that, the Brazilian War, and the annexation of Canada, and the breakup of Italy...? And all those kids in the Nagasaki area, who weren't even a part of it, that are still getting those weird cancers, and no one's held accountable? And now we're trying to 'prevent the rise' of new Democrat-type factions in the Middle East, and we're even working with half the countries in the American Union, with the same banks paying for it that, if you look back at it, paid for the weapons on both sides of the Liberation War, and the Great War, too!"

"Toby..." Maria reached across the table to pat his hand. "Calm down, dear."

Tobias rubbed his forehead. "What if all those marching Democrat soldiers, with their crazy faces, marching with stiff legs, with the big pictures of 'The President,' and olive-colored tanks, and gray battleships, and the soulless salutes where they bang their foreheads at attention before the bomb-stars and the bloody stripes...what if they were still with us? What if this is exactly the way the world is supposed to be, and we're living the Democrat legacy right now? What if Roosevelt only pretended to lose? What if it actually all never ended??!"

---

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rape Culture

Pop Rape

Apparently, one of the popular new things to talk about among the telescreen-connected set is the rape culture, because a white girl apparently went to the wrong side of the tracks in some place in Ohio, and had photographs taken of her in compromising positions. As the girl's mother said of the wrong side of the tracks, "the culture is so different over there."

In pop culture land, it's certainly a scintillanting news item, sort of like when a middle class white girl disappears for a few days from a beach party in Rocky Point. The police state aspects of the case are enough to make Stalin proud. The police didn't need to get any physical evidence from the alleged victim; they didn't even need to get any testimony from her. Arrest, incarceration and prosecution were based solely on the testimony of other young men who were offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony. After cuffing a terrified teenager, throwing him in a sweaty-smelling interrogation room, threatening to put him in rape prison for ten years, make him register as a sex offender for life, be publicly humiliated beyond the grave, and never get a good job, ever, it's not that hard to get that terrified teenager to point the finger. Works on adults, too.

Americans are great at judging show trials. Like so many audiences on a futuristic version of Jerry Springer or The Running Man, "whatever's on" guides the attention. Thumbs come up or down, people hoot, and Jerry seems to ask pointed questions that divide the issue into a yes or no. What action should the state take? Even the strictest anarchists, in situations like these, often begin demeaning real, local, organic, homegrown people--who actually know and talked to the people involved, and who knew and talked to those people before the incident in question--for daring to attempt to understand a problem before bringing in heavily armed state agents. When the corporate media sensationalizes clips or pictures, and writes intelligent, pragmatic articles about how young people are guilty of sensationalizing clips and pictures, the irony seems to be missed, even in people who've otherwise figured out a lot of the dog and pony show.

Rape Culture and Abortion

Let's presume that some version of "it" happened, though, in the above case. The girl drank too much at her party in the comparative slums, puked and passed out, never gave drunken consent to any form of penetration, and then didn't report a crime afterward or get any physical examinations because she was paralyzed by fear. So, assume the rape happened, based on the speculation of some of the other then-drunk partygoers who said what the prosecutor wanted in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Immediately, the legion of white, middle-income American feminists is all over it. What is so deafening about this noise is the silence beforehand: namely, the more tangible rape that occurs as part of, say, foreign policy. We shouldn't ignore any rape, even in the face of ten thousand other rapes, but centuries of human history have taught us that rape occurs primarily in wartime. And that is the violent, choking, beating, killing, fully-awake, 1,000% definitely no-consent definition of "rape" of the occupiers against the occupied. When western legions lament the latest partying white girl who might not've been fully aware of being touched, after several years of voting for or being indifferent to any given American president, the silence is deafening.

Traditional American "conservatives" argue that they don't want to allow abortion because they want to defend babies. We know they're lying like hell, because those same conservatives are the most gung-ho about a number of things, such as:

1) Cutting funding for prenatal care for poor women;

2) Cutting education quality for almost all children;

3) Providing food stamps or jobless welfare payments to low income mothers;

4) Bombing countries filled with children back to the stone age.

Yes, we know those conservatives are lying. They pretend to care about the embryos in those expectant mothers, but they don't actually give a damn about life. The instant that baby is out of the womb, they are fine with it starving on the street.

The same situation, unfortunately, comes up when we examine traditional American liberals on the "rape" issue. When liberals focus heavily on sensationalized rape, this rape tends to include the details:

1) White victim;

2) Happens in America;

3) Middle to upper income victim (or the perpetrator is a celebrity, which can allow for a foreign, poor, and/or minority victim).

Just as when we examine the conservatives' supposed "life culture," the "no more rape" pleas of the media-directed pleaders provide an inconsistency, which could rudely, but fairly, be called hypocritical. Some stock things we've known for centuries about both rape and abortion are:

Incidences of rape and abortion are both more likely to be caused by lower income people. Celebrities get sensationalized, but the vast majority of rapes, even in first-world countries, are committed by poor men. Wealthier men are more likely to feel they have something at stake, or something to lose; they're more able to attract mates; they're more able to buy porn, hire escorts, be more familiar with less violent lives, or not feel bad about themselves and have a need to prove something to the world.

Similarly, poorer women are more likely to get an abortion--not necessarily a state-approved one at a medical facility, but the dirty, secret kind, where the right kind of drugs risk death but induce "miscarriage, cause unknown," or coat-hangers, or jumping up and down, getting a concussion out of terror at being stuck with an infant, et cetera. Wealthier women are more likely to have access to, and knowledge of, birth control, and to have years of education regarding family timing and choice-making.

Even if we're stock American liberals, we also know that social engineering through legislation tends to fail. Criminalizing an activity--such as having an abortion, smoking marijuana, driving over the speed limit, or rape--does very little to stop it. Women throughout history have found ways of miscarrying, irrespective of its legality (or whether or not the would-be-father approved), ergo the "coat-hanger" trope; many people find ways to smoke and deal marijuana, and just as in cases of abortion, incest, child abuse, disease, and loan sharks, rape seems to always follow in the trail of poor human populations.

Where there are poor, uneducated, or desperate women, the women will have sex (which we might call "unprotected" or "regrettable") that leads them to later deciding to abort an unwanted pregnancy. When women are fearful for their health, or their ability to care for a child, they will abort, or try to, even if Senator so-and-so says it's wrong. If you really care about protecting fetuses, then improving the financial health, available social support structure, and general education of a population results in massive fetus-protection by default--and, if you really care about achieving the goal of less drug use or less rape, you do the exact same things. You only hold drug wars, rape crusades, or abortion bans if you're furious and out to make a point. If you want actual results, you don't do crusades.

(This is why anti-abortion groups continue trying to spend government money "raising awareness" about abstinence, even while knowing that abstinence education is a guaranteed failure. Guaranteed failures--like drug wars, abstinence laws, abortion laws, or rape sensitivity classes--ensure that the original problem will never go away, thereby always providing an opportunity for venting anger and looking righteous.)

The standard strawmen are easy enough to identify and employ:

"You would have me reward women/blacks/men for their own unhealthy, poor, hurtful choices?!"

...all spoken as though women actively "want" to see the doctor and pay money for drugs or surgery to have abortions, rather than not getting unwanted pregnancies at all; as though blacks want to belong to violent street gangs selling drugs rather than having safe, fulfilling careers; as though men actively want to risk prosecution by having unwilling sex with resisting or catatonic partners. If you hate women, hate blacks, or hate men, those conclusions might seem reasonable, but if you're not, at heart, a bigot, you realize that illegal violence or surgery is not the preferred choice, and that increasing outrage and punishments accomplishes nothing except giving crusaders the temporary high that comes from misguided vindication.

And the biggest one of all, rape, and the termination of embryos and fetuses, occurs more during war and occupation than anywhere else. This is such a glaring, blinking, terrible light that it drowns out everything else written here. As mentioned before, American conservatives who take a "pro life" stance, then bomb little kids, are wrong by default. It is so with American liberals and the selective application of "no rape" flurries. When Hillary Clinton helps fund the occupation of Iraq, she is aiding in the murder of hundreds of thousands of women and children, the brutal gang rape and murder of countless survivors by coalition forces, and the imposition of a crumbling state that has resulted in, and will continue to result in, countless more lawless rapes by Iraqi men. The shattered, invaded colonies of the Middle East are lands of unreported rape that no legislation in Ohio can penetrate.

The teevee image of "the 1950s" made so many American women and men unaware, but women had, millennia ago, proven themselves as capable of masterminding and formally leading mass rape of certain populations, while at the same time engaging in domestic social organizing to increase the decency, chivalry, and respect shown their daughters back home.

It is never for lack of enthusiasm about victims in one's own fatherland that a society partakes deeply of rape and violence; it is, rather, an obsessive concern for those who look and talk like us, that allows us to sensationalize our own victims at the expense of the rest of the world. The farce of being moved to action over domestic rape statistics, particularly in response to those incidents selected by national media for purposes of sensation, is as shallow, and as revealing, as pro-lifers holding funerals for stem cells the day before going to a Toby Keith concert.

So you're tired of hearing about "crimen exceptum"?

Someone asked me today, “What is ‘crimen exceptum’ anyway? I’m tired of hearing about it.”

Yeah, I hear ya. I’m tired of talking about it. But I’m going to keep talking about it because people like you keep asking that question.

Crimen exceptum is when guilt is determined before it is proven.

Crimen exceptum is a crime of such importance that merely to accuse someone of it means they are guilty of it.

Crimen exceptum is when witnesses say nothing happened, but can eventually be threatened into testifying anyway.

Crimen exceptum is when some things, like witchcraft or terrorism, are too important to discuss without burning someone at the stake to show how serious we are about it.

Crimen exceptum is when a bandwagon of people is so hungry for blood on a particular issue that they will punish whatever hint of that issue they can find, even if they only have a few scattered reports from a sensationalist corporate WMD-are-in-Iraq media to go on.

Crimen exceptum is necessary in a police state.

Crimen exceptum is when complete strangers on the internet argue ferociously that they know exactly what happened thousands of miles away.

Crimen exceptum is when private information is illegally stolen by vigilantes, we don't care about the intrusion as long as it helps us.

Crimen exceptum is when anything suspicious needs to be immediately reported to armed representatives of the security state because no one else can be trusted to deal with allegations beforehand.

Crimen exceptum is so important that if it might have happened, even the alleged victims are not smart enough to understand that armed state agents and the media need to be promptly notified, so it has to be done for them whether they wanted to make it an issue or not.

Crimen exceptum is when stunning displays of privilege and willful ignorance combine to create this.

So yeah, I’m sorry you’re tired of hearing about it. But I wouldn’t expect us to shut up anytime soon. Nor should we. Crimen exceptum is a two-edged sword. The less important the concepts of "evidence" and "fair trials" become, the less effective those defenses will be when a different crimen exceptum is levied against a different perpetrator. Jury trials, a requirement of reliable evidence, and the idea that it is wrong to threaten potential witnesses with violence so that they'll help a prosecutor, are all protections that might help your "side" later on, and should not be tossed aside so lightly.

UPDATE: I will no longer be publishing comments which caveat the discussion of crimen exceptum with the idea that some people accused of crimes might not be guilty of them. There is a reason for this, which you can read here.

(Update 2: Just in case you missed the link, the extra-parochial paragraph above about not publishing comments was based on the original. Link clickable right here.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Come Together, Part 4.

Succeeding Part 3.

2013

Tim has just turned 16, and made the varsity football team faster than his older brother Rick did. Tim realizes that he finds several of the cheerleaders attractive, and that the world includes many attractive women. He is delighted to discover magazines and television advertisements that seem designed just to cater to his desires. The world seems full of people talking and making merry about how cool it is to have sex with attractive women.

To celebrate Tim's first football win, his parents take Tim and Tim's grandparents out to dinner. Excited about his victory, and about their cute waitress, Tim blabbers at the dinner table about babes, tits, and getting some. At last, his grandfather slams his fork upon the table, gathers his coat and his wife, and storms out. If you can't raise your child properly, he tells Tim's mother, then I don't want to be a part of it.

Tim isn't mad. He's not embarrassed. Actually, he's amused, because sex is natural and everyone knows about it, so why was his grandpa being such a prude anyway?

Decades later, while he listens to his own grandson prattle on about the latest attractive actress, Tim comes to a new realization: that day so many years ago, his grandfather wasn't being a prude. In fact, his grandfather was fully aware that people had sex. His grandfather simply didn't want Tim to talk about it at the dinner table.

Coming Together

Come Together and Part 2 covered how narratives of a mindless, irrational racism were used to give cover to group tensions that developed as a result of economic hardship. The tensions did, as discussed previously, result in a bunch of jerks actually being racist in the dramatic movie sense, but not for the standard reasons, ergo addressing the standard reasons does not solve racism. Part 4 will cover how modern attitudes toward homosexuality developed. We'll address the history of acceptances of, and hatred of, homosexuality, then watch how those developed into the jerkiness we may associate with the late 20th/early 21st century. Best of all, we'll find nuggets of misguided rationality in the outlooks of the current jerks, so that, as with standardized racists, we can understand what motivates them, and have a better chance at working past it. Once we work past it, we can all like each other, even if we find each other unattractive and/or icky and/or somewhat close-minded. Lastly, we'll look at how the creators of these original misguided hatreds are developing new ones, meant to be released to keep people turned against each other once "race" and "sexuality" fade in popularity.

Homo History

The snippets of Meizhen and Ju's story, and the love of Pericles and Procles, both from Part 3, are provided to remind us that homosexual behavior was not only "accepted" for most of what we think of as civilization--it was so ordinary that it didn't need to be accepted, anymore than people eating or having penile/vaginal intercourse needed to be accepted. Monkeys and the great apes are lavishly homosexual, and oodles of human sex studies have suggested that humans are inherently bisexual, at least during what most adults would prefer to call the "exploratory phase" of development.

It was the early imperial Hebrews, and their sexist, genocidal hate-screed the Torah ("Old Testament"), who began propagating the slaughtering and shaming of fags, the sacrifice of children, the shunning of menstruation and masturbation, the subjugation of women for breeding, and the butchering of foreign ethnic populations. The Torah best expressed, for purposes of Western Civilization, the culmination of sexual repression. The business model of expansive, hate-filled religion--mandatory in-group breeding, the offspring-producing rape of subject females, infant genital mutilation, child abuse/absolute child obedience, and the murder of genetic outsiders--required, early on, the formal elimination of homosexual relationships. In the early twentieth century, many western European Jewish publications were still violently anti-homosexual, railing against the "Jesuit fags," but by the late twentieth century, the continuing rise of scientific imperialism resulted in a highly positive relationship between modern western Judaism and expressive public homosexuality, while Islam and Christianity had taken over the mantle of monotheistic sexuality-condemnation.

Religion and ethnic banding aside, it's almost a normative statement to invent or use a word like "homosexuality" anyway, because it implies that human sexuality is not, intrinsically, total human sexuality. If you subscribe to western ideas of evolution, adding prefixes like "homo" or "hetero" to describe the sexuality of beings that culminated from millions of years of bisexual reproduction, created from base "female" models, is like coming up with special terms for those who prefer chunky peanut butter to creamy. It's certainly a relevant and meaningful distinction, especially if you want a sandwich, but probably irrelevant elsewhere.

Why was the Torah so terribly, violently anti-homosexual? Because the Torah was, as said above, a business model: its purpose was to unify a group of "Chosen," ethnically similar peoples, and encourage them to breed and expand. Like the later Catholic structure, and the penultimate modern Mormon structure, the Torah encouraged the propagation of Chosen children, who would be beaten with the rod until they learned to revere their parents and their God, and who would then follow orders to expand, murdering and enslaving everyone else, down to the last child.

All the Torah's directions to its followers made sense in light of a plan for exclusive genetic expansion. Before modern nations had been developed, the facial, linguistic and cultural similarities of ethnic groups provided efficient recognition of who could be trusted. The dangers of childbirth, and high fetal death rates, meant that if the early Hebrew leaders wanted to grow a large and powerful enough population to expand and conquer, women couldn't be trusted to go their own way: they and their wombs had to be pressed into the service of the state (women/authority/men). Men could also not be trusted to swive other men (Leviticus/make fags bleed), or to spill seed upon the ground (Onan), because their seed should be going into wombs to produce more Chosen who could murder the sodomites down to the last child (pick your Book). If enough grown women weren't available, you had to rape your own daughters to keep the game going (Lot, et. al.)

Early hatred of homosexuality was a simplified form of the anti-homosexuality we still see traces of today: early homosexuals living under the law of the Torah were flaunting their duty to care only for God and God's Chosen. By loving partners of the same sex, they reduced their contribution to reproduction, war, and child-shaming, so the Big Cloud Man hated them and commanded His followers to kill them.

Islamic rebels against the Old Testament looked to the Qur'an, and many Arabic societies managed to find respected places for open homosexuals for hundreds of years, before modernized economic tyrants began exploiting western mores. A long and relatively lavish tradition of Islamic men not directly cross-dressing, but wearing extra fancy robes and pink head-scarves, served administrative functions in Islamic nations since well before the Ottoman Empire; the guarding of, (and service in) harems, or just servitude to royal females, was often similarly entrusted to transsexuals that westerners fetishized (sometimes rightly) as "eunuchs."

Many "eastern" societies, almost completely free of the plague of the Torah, enjoyed long centuries of openness. Japanese otokonoko, or "boys" (cross-dressers), or just bishonen, and their equivalents across the Far East, mysteriously managed to dodge century after century of the supposedly inevitable prejudices that western theorists are still eager to discover.

In the meantime, a long series of western empires had arisen. The Chosen of the Torah established their own empire, followed by a (largely homoerotic) Athenian empire, succeeded by Rome, Christianity, and the great play of the racist, inbred, infanticidal, crusading, wife-beating Catholic European princes (who westerners currently love idolizing in television dramas). Once the traders and moneylenders had begun to invade China, Korea, India, and Japan, they transplanted ideas not just about guns and the proper place of women, but about how immoral gays were--a few hundred years later, this cultural contamination would provide bad evidence to the descendants of the western imperial peoples, who could use that "evidence" to claim that eastern countries had developed similar anti-homosexual mores to western ones.

Inventing the Ick Factor

As a result of the said cultural contamination, western imperial thinkers were, and continue to be, able to argue that anti-homosexual bigotry does not directly correlate to monotheistic traditions of ethnic and cultural supremacy, Judeo-Christian genocide, or western imperialism, but is instead caused by "the ick factor" of random, uneducated, overly-religious dummies: the same random dummies, usually, who supposedly hate different ethnic groups because of skin color or cultural habits. In the next segment, we'll consider the fabrication of the modern ick-factor myth in more detail, while looking at how the monotheistic western empires use "ick" to explain away ongoing tensions between avowedly homosexual and avowedly solely-heterosexual populations.

Continued in Part 5.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Deliberate Statistical Flaws

From Jim Flex, CEO of Arken Brain Conditioning:
Take a second to think about your sense of self (I'll wait). Got it? Now, I bet you feel pretty good about the thought patterns that you’ve incorporated—you’re interacting as rationally as possible with the vagaries of a seemingly nonsensical world, you’re the smartest of your friends, and plus, these moves are so popular that they have to be effective. Right?

Wrong.

Here, find out if your sense of self is actually falling flat -- plus, expert-approved advice on taking yourself to the next level.
The above passage is patronizing, insulting, and presumptuous. Presume that you are indeed making a mistake--presume that you're even making the mistake the author has hinted at, but not specifically identified. Even if so, why does the author so bluntly, so rudely, inform you of your mistake?

The answer lies in a basic marketing trick: the insult. Abusive parents, sadistic lovers, effective consignment furniture/electronics salesmen, and good detectives and case-makers of all kinds know that an insult, far from turning people off, actually makes the insulter better at what she or he does. Lulling someone into a false sense of security, or casually demeaning someone into feeling they have something to prove, temporarily weakens the sense of self, and makes someone vulnerable, encouraging them to look to you for a solution.

The wicked parent pretends to be considering making brownies tonight; the sadistic lover suggests that the partner could just go find someone else, as though suddenly abandoning a home, a car, a routine, and a social circle is something easily done. The consignment furniture salesman smoothly suggests that the price would be lower if "you just decided to write a check for the whole amount right now," knowing full well that his store's customers are unlikely to have enough liquid cash at their disposal.

The beaten, demeaned person, in an effort to prove that she or he is in control, becomes suggestible: "Nah, financing's okay." Good car salesmen use this, and so do effective sommeliers at expensive restaurants. By suggesting, lightly, that someone doesn't "know wine" or that the menu is out of their price range, you can make people feel ashamed, and inadequate, and they often make up for it by buying whatever you're selling in order to prove that they are, in fact, sophisticated/financially secure enough to belong there. They walk away from the transaction hoping that they have gained your esteem. The illusion of the fake choice is a powerful, filthy tool.

The quote above was adapted from a piece by "The Active Times," which wants to sell web-based fitness advice. Here's the actual short:

Take a second to think about your gym routine (I'll wait). Got it? Now, I bet you feel pretty good about the fitness moves that you’ve incorporated—you’re hitting the big muscle groups, you’re the champion of the weight room, and plus, these moves are so popular that they have to be effective. Right?

Wrong.

Here, find out if any of your fitness routine is actually falling flat -- plus, expert-approved advice on taking your workout to the next level.

The article, entitled Worthless Exercises You Probably Do, is surrounded by ads as intrusive as the prose itself. Like many rude, garish attention-getters, it's designed not so much for the substance of the article itself, but to sell junk.

Plenty of people saw through it, resulting in some delightfully scathing commentary beneath the article. We'll cover its factual errors separately in the next segment. When you're viewing that kind of insult in the context of an exercise routine, it's easier to identify: to realize that someone is trying to manipulate you into buying something, by making you feel bad about wasting your exercise-time. You thought investing in the stock market was good, right? You were wrong--dead wrong! Buy gold now! Etc.

(If you're unfamiliar with what the article is "selling," think of the multi-billion dollar revenue streams generated by networks of clickable links that advertisers pay for per IP-address that clicks and/or simply views the link. The article sells something just by being disseminated, and ultimately, the advertisers only pay because they're turning a profit based on trackable clicks leading to confirmed sales on their home sites.)

What is troubling, and extremely dangerous, is how effective this seemingly obvious trick is, in many other realms of life, in getting people--even highly educated, consumer-savvy people, who completely understand the techniques when they're used in the context of "fitness advice," but who miss them, and are led like children by the Pied Piper--into buying and believing things.

The insult/scare/demean technique is effective for pushing stuff like consignment furniture and fitness advice on lower-income, less-"educated" people, but different forms remain highly useful on other people. Particularly striking in the linked article is the way "exercise scientists" from a major university are used to justify the ridiculous, over-broad conclusions the article draws. The fact that this university was conducting advanced research on crunches and pushups in the first place; the mangled (and invisible) form in which they conducted their "research"; and, the ways that the minor media stooges exploited that research: all these things exemplify the techniques used in other realms.

In the next segment, we'll take a closer look not just at crunches v. planks, bench press v. pushups, and pec deck v. cable crossover, but the ways that concealing research methods, creating false dichotomies, and citing to authority are used to profound effect. Then we'll move to the less pleasant, harder-to-swallow parts about respected experts and institutions, the improper use of statistics, and how these marry to create the false sensibilities that sell other dangerous filth.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ancient

What if the ancients knew something we don't?

We know they did not, because they were nothing more than stupid, poorly developed versions of us. By definition, they were wrong about everything. Our new ways of thinking have proven themselves superior, and elevated us from the dark times caused by the ancients. New modes of structuring our thoughts and interactions are better, and these new things have saved us from the futility of the past. The very few good things the ancients accomplished were the things that turned out to be the undeveloped component parts of the ways we do things now.

Sometimes, though, when my monitor isn't looking, I start to wonder. What if they knew something we don't? Did anything happen during all those years other than a gradual progression toward the closer-to-perfection that is us? So many thousands of years. Just, what if?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Diversity Cycling

Dr. Furiosa discusses here the ways that American universities use test scores, and the tabulation of their aggregate relation to each freshman class, to artificially inflate rankings. Much of what she discusses is how American universities, in attempting to appear diverse, will recruit wealthy students from foreign countries because those students qualify as minorities in America. A selection:
I have seen, time and time again, "underrepresented" students from "developing" or "under-developed" countries whose parents were major landowners (or heirs to wealth gotten in other ways) get into colleges when native-born working-class kids with high grades and test scores were shut out.

What the lovely doctor is describing is one of the interhuman division cycles, somewhere between its midpoint and the beginning of a new cycle. Here, using "race" as the illusory category, elites ("universities") are making a show of improvement by overcoming an obstacle they prepared decades ago. Much like direct forms of monetary racketeering, this socialized structure relies on making the universities the savior of a bad situation that they created, while at the same time laying the groundwork for another bad situation that they can solve decades/centuries in the future.

Foreign Policy Model

"Foreign policy" provides an excellent, easy-to-follow example. Let's use the more recent of the popular boogeymen, Osama bin Laden, but we'll begin with the immediately preceding cycle:

Phase 1, Condition: The evil Soviet Empire is evil, and also an empire. This is a threat to America. Everyone is scared.

Phase 1, Action: Give weapons, military training, and furtive unconventional attack training to extremist Taliban in Afghanistan, led by Osama bin Laden, to fight off the evil Soviet Union.

Phase 1, Foreshadowing: When the Soviets are out of Afghanistan, new asset will use his resources against America, which occupies his home country and those of many of his followers. Profitable new war then available.

Phase 2, Condition: Osama bin Laden and Taliban successfully fight Soviets out of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden, with vague, somewhat intangible relationship to evil Taliban and Afghanistan, plans offensives against America. This is a threat to America. Everyone is scared.

Phase 2, Action: Invade Afghanistan. Arm extremist Northern Alliance and extremist Pakistani military to fight off evil Osama bin Laden and evil Taliban.

Phase 2, Foreshadowing: When the Taliban and Osama bin Laden are gone, new assets will use their resources against America, which occupies their home countries. Profitable new war then available.

Phase 3, Condition: The swarthy fools in the Middle East have descended into impoverished warfare and social upheaval. This irresponsible instability is a threat to America. Everyone is scared.

Phase 3, Action: Invade, arm, rinse, repeat.

Phase 3, Foreshadowing: When new tyrant regimes have stabilized swarthy fools, new tyrant regimes will be a threat to America. Profitable new war then available.

Model Overview

"Foreign" policy, and the current expression of distance-based exploitation cycles known as "America," lays out the model well, and with different variables, the model can go forward in time a little, and backward in time a couple hundred years, remaining almost exactly correct back through the twentieth century, and essentially correct, minus details, through the nineteenth.

What we note about the model that is important is its repeatability. Like any steady business, we need consistent returns to sustain this model, which means constant investment in future sources of income. New wackos, if you will, must always be under constant fabrication, so that they're available to justify new demand as soon as the last wacko has been defeated. The cauldron of hatred and fear must be kept boiling, ready for release the instant the most recent "problem" gets "solved." The solution will always be deliberately imperfect, and it's unfortunate that so many hats ended up on the ground, but we did the best we could.

Diversity Structuring

The abuse of notions of "diversity" on the part of universities follows this model. Universities were created as, and remained for the better part of their existence thus far, horridly racist institutions. American universities taught slave agriculture, and didn't bother denying admission to blacks, because who would bother enunciating a policy that was so obvious? We see artificial celebrations of diversity, now, as a means of making it look like universities are the saviors of the world, addressing the systematic flaws that underlie the system they created.

Here's the model with school & diversity plugged in:

Phase 1, Condition: People have gotten the idea from somewhere that minorities are academically inferior. This is a threat to decency. Everyone is upset.

Phase 1, Action: Offer priority academic admission to minorities.

Easy, yes? But the real genius, and what separates historically-based (written-records-based) elites from harem-holding strongmen, is the foreshadowing--the preparation for a sustainable future exploitation, built into the very same actions that appear to be solving the last problem. Let's back up a little to see more of the pattern. It's going to get a little head-spinning.

Phase 1, Condition: Poor people are angry about being poor.

Phase 1, Action: Tell poor people that they are poor because of other poor people. Suggest that they band into alliances under rulers who will protect them from the other poor people. Establish a formal system of nations to much pomp and circumstance over a period of decades.

Phase 1, Foreshadowing: Poor people will still be poor, and will be angry about it. Profitable anger forthcoming.

Phase 2, Condition: Poor people are still angry about being poor.

Phase 2, Action: Tell poor people that they are poor because of other "nations." Suggest that they follow rulers into wars with other nations to crush the other nations and become rich. March to mighty formal wars to much pomp and circumstance over a period of decades.

Phase 2, Foreshadowing: Poor people will still be poor, and will be angry about it. Profitable anger forthcoming.

Phase 3, Condition: Poor people are still angry about being poor.

Phase 3, Action: Tell poor people that they are poor because inferior races are living among them. Develop sciences through an educated academic class explaining the mental inferiority of the inferior races. Establish formal caste system to much pomp and circumstance over a period of decades.

Phase 3, Foreshadowing: Poor people will still be poor even when they are "better" than lower castes, and will be angry about being poor. Profitable anger forthcoming.

Phase 4, Condition: Poor people, damn them, are still angry about being poor, the ingrates.

Phase 4, Action: Tell poor people that they are poor because a privileged caste of people created a caste system which unfairly stole labor from lower castes and prevented proper and fair social development. Develop sciences through an educated academic class explaining how the wrongs of the caste system are responsible for the stagnation of generations and must be purged. Eliminate formal caste system to much pomp and circumstance over a period of decades.

Phase 4, Foreshadowing: Poor people will still be poor even when they are no longer part of a formal lower caste, and will be angry about being poor. Poor people who were not part of the formal lower caste will resent being blamed for the caste system created by educated academic class that explained to them the mental inferiority of the inferior races. Profitable anger from both groups forthcoming.

Phase 5, Condition: Poor people, amazingly, are still angry about not being able to become economically stable.

Phase 5, Action: Tell poor people that they are poor because they have failed to adequately redress the past wrongs of the caste system (see also "exorcism" ~ eds.). Develop sciences through an educated academic class explaining how the wrongs of the previous caste system were never actually purged, and need to be purged again by the development of a new caste system. Develop further sciences explaining the mental inferiority ("blindness;" "ignorance") of the newest inferior races. Establish formal caste system of necessary re-caste divisions to much pomp and circumstance over a period of decades.*

Phase 5, Foreshadowing: Poor people will still be poor even when they become members of a new privileged caste. Profitable anger forthcoming.

* The later stages of this part are what we see now, as described Dr. Furiosa's above post.

The Future, and Saving Yourself

An idea of "races" can occur to anyone, and bigotry and stupid decisions can pop up anywhere; however, the major, systematic, worldwide, elite-nurtured caste systems are built and dismantled, like so many 1990s operating systems, on the theory of planned obsolescence. Elites grow different forms of discrimination (including patriarchal societies) to keep the poor divided against each other for a while. The obvious stupidity of bigotry will become obvious to most people after a while, which is why corporate board members sitting with a journalist will speak much differently about an African-American in 2013 than they would in 1913, or 1813. Similarly, in a century or two, early 21st century race-preferential speech and policies will be seen in true foulness by society at large, rather than as the righteous rebellion that many current adherents enjoy being part of. The modern, well-educated dialect of diversity will then seem about as modern and well-educated as eugenics once did.

People born into each new cycle, though, make a great mistake when they view their triumph over any one form of bigotry--race, sex, sexuality, whatever--as proof positive that they have triumphed over all bigotry, or more importantly, over all bad decisions. The silliest chanting of all in any era tends to be from the true believers, who feel that any form of resistance to "what was" automatically equates to A Good Action.

E.g., believing that, by admitting to Wharton the daughter of a multi-millionaire factory owner in "South Korea," they are being more "diverse" and "open" than they would be if they went with a random lottery of students in that SAT score group, and admitted an identically-scoring white male foster child from Kansas. Just one example. The Korean girl is actually half white, because her father married a Czech refugee, and the "white male" is 1/8 black, because one of his great grandparents was a black man, but his stupid, racist grandfather forbade anyone in the family from talking about it, and the kid just has a dark tan, that's all, and no one will even know, until the Citizen Genome Registration Act passes (and let's all pray that it does!).

(And even when a form of that Act does pass, uncertainties about the total ancestral identities of the people used as models to provide a "range" for any given "race" or "ethnicity" will make any conclusions philosophical issues. It'll be really painful watching the next few generations of bio-weapon scientists abusing rationality when the time comes.)

We save ourselves from these kinds of mistakes by following the axiom to not judge a book by its cover--even for reasons that seem undeniably positive at the time. Any positive act of resistance to a bad ideology, if it is dependent on costuming, allows elites to co-opt the usage of those very costumes (as discussed in O.N., Original Nerd) and ensure that the actual problem will never be solved.