Friday, May 31, 2013

The Real Confidence

Remember the real confidence of people who could provide for themselves? Your great grandmother, maybe, if she knew that she could shoot a deer that got into her garden, cut off the good parts, dry and salt the meat, and knit clothes afterward? Or maybe just Grandpa, who knew that he could handle clubbing a couple guys who'd tried to break into his shed?

Or the desperately poor, who know that they can withstand near-starvation and exposure, and still keep their minds? Or the super-wealthy, who know that, in any given situation, they can exploit stupid masses' sensibilities, manage complex social networks, and thrive?

That real confidence, of knowing that you could survive in an entirely different world, cut off from all the circuses and trinkets. They've got that. That's why they're so seemingly brazen.

Some of the soldiers and cops, who know that they can take orders, take punishment, get treated like dirt, fight and struggle, and survive. Farmers who know they can actually grow, recycle, and protect, by hand.

So few of them left, with real confidence. Most people now are in-betweens, stuck in a terrifying limbo world where the things they know how to do are disconnected from reality. Their skill sets are utterly dependent on the World As It Is; on society maintaining a certain kind of worldwide network that allows them to survive, barely, in a razor-thin niche. They look with fear upon the few people still alive who remember the Old World--and the few warriors and dark lords still among us--wondering at, and fearing, that animalistic nature; that eerie confidence.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Subsidize Me ~ Tax Theft 10

Succeeding Part 9.

We've previously discussed business deductions and interest deductions. In this Part 10, we'll focus more closely on mortgage interest deductions.

Mortgage Deductions

Mortgage-interest deductions allow taxpayers to reduce the amount of their income subject to taxation by the amount of mortgage interest those taxpayers paid that year. Here's a simple version of the math:

Frank has taxable income of $50,000, ergo should be assessed federal income tax of 4,617.75 (and $4K of "Social Security" that he'll never collect on, but that's a separate issue--focus just on the federal tax). However, he's paying off his house, so he has a nice, simple mortgage interest deduction of $6K. The deductions drop his taxable income from ~$33K to ~$28K, and his federal tax goes down to $3,717.75. ("Social Security" remains almost completely unaltered, shadow-taxing him for the general banker/bombs fund.)

So, $3,717.75 in federal tax, instead of $4,617.75: Frank saved $900. Why do we care about mortgage interest deductions?

Rental Tax

Among many other things, mortgage interest deductions serve as a shadow tax on renters. Presume Frank and Judy have the same job, and live next door to one another. Frank pays $1,000 a month on his mortgage, while Judy rents the same model of house, next door, for $1,000 at month. At the end of the year, with the same income and same house, Frank is $900 richer. By preferencing home "ownership," the government is subsidizing Frank's purchase $900 a year, or alternatively, taxing Judy an extra $900 a year.

This may not seem very important until we add up the roughly 95 million census-worthy Americans who live via rent rather than via ownership. This special tax, levied on those who rent, is not just a theft from those who are too poor to own homes. It is an extraction from those who need to move frequently; from those with disabilities or special housing needs that require some level of supervised living; from those who have "bad credit" (based on private, grossly unfair, industry-preferenced tracking systems); from those who are just starting out in life; from soldiers, convicts, and students. It is, very simply, one of the many institutionalized thefts from the weak.

Business Subsidization

Without mortgage interest deductions, Americans would buy smaller homes. American homes are already ridiculously oversized. That's easy. A lot more goes into the mortgage interest deduction than just the overblown house, though. We rationalize "mortgage interest deductions" based on the idea of the value to society of home ownership. That rationale is its own separate level of ridiculous, but forget about it--that claim doesn't need to be destroyed in order to understand 99% of the vulgarity of mortgage-interest deductions. Consider:

1) Landscaping. As long as it's wrapped into the mortgage, exterior home treatments of any kind become eligible for the same tax-deductible loans as the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. When the tax base subsidizes a home, that's one thing. When the tax base subsidizes someone's natural-stone cascading-waterfall pool decorations, pool, diving board, in-ground hot-tub, greenhouse...what, then? Those things are part of the mortgage. Interest on those items is deductible, ergo not only do renters pay a surcharge to fund the loans for a wealthier person's backyard, hundreds of millions of modest homeowners pay much higher taxes to cover the deductions allowed to those who can take out bigger loans.

Does the "diving board" and "hot tub" backyard example seem ridiculous? It gets better.

2) Electrical wiring. Built-in entertainment centers. $56,000 granite kitchens with industrial gas ranges, artisanal copper potracks, deep freezes, multiple walk-in pantries, and eighteen coordinated Sub Zero stainless-steel appliances. Recessed, cobbled game rooms with full tiled wetbars.

Wall-mounted TVs. Homes pre-wired for surround sound in the master bedroom, the guest rooms, the TV room, the kitchen, and the theater room (and the upstairs kids/"rumpus" theater room, for nights when there are no guests and you just want to wear sweat pants).

3) Casita, anyone? 99%-of-the-time unoccupied guest houses. Flagstone paths between those and the main house's terrace. Half-acre garages (away from the main garage) with temperature and humidity control for the automobile collector. Cute stone fountains, pumping systems, urinating stone cherubs, and brick roundabout drives inside the main security gate. You can easily buy five detached single family residences for the cost of the front courtyard decorations on any one of the places the elites settle for when they're in a certain area of the country at a certain time of year.

4) Fitness. The "fun pool," where people from the foundation stand around for cocktail parties, is different than the indoor lap pool, and the workout room with the strength machine and stairclimber is different than the fitness room with the nice air conditioning and cushions (that's where little Mikey and Gabby, respectively, can practice for the Olympics, and get better than all those nasty third-world kids without tumbling mats and pools). Just like the "charitable expenditures" discussed in the last part of State, Church, School, Charity, the "American family homestead" myth is used to make almost everyone--even owners of large, nice homes--pick up a large part of the bill for the palaces of the elite. The obscene mansions and playgrounds are not built by one set of hands, but by many.

5) Construction. All the companies that make all the crap to decorate and fill mansions survive only on the welfare of "subsidized" (paid-for) loans to wealthy families. Without forcing the taxpayers to pay for their extra toys, elites would buy fewer toys, and their toy companies would be forced to compete in something closer to a free market--and would then fail.

Elites would borrow less money if their borrowing weren't being partially paid for by peons, ergo elite banks would get less powerful. All of the non-working varieties of wealth would take a serious hit if all of the forms of "deduction" were restructured. Eliminating just mortgage interest deductions, or adding a token rental deduction to the code, would be a showy nothing without entirely rewriting modern tax codes (elites would just start renting palaces at a higher rate, exploiting the same imbalances that allow them to take advantage of middle class deducters under the current regime), which is why we may see some cutesy variation of an "Affordable Renting Act" feigning change in the years ahead (as always, assuming we don't hit post apocalyptic solar-motorcycle-gang survival-mode first).

6) Refinancing. What happens if the mortgage gets paid off, and those wonderful deductions are no longer available? Refinance! Instantly free up a vast amount of cash, invest it in securities, and offset the resulting dividends by mortgage-deducting the interest "paid" to the bank--all the while, both the refinanced home and the securities are accruing non-taxable capital gains income.

Intergenerational Income Transfer

A smaller variation, in closing: inter- or intra-familial loans. When wealthy older members of a family "retire" from their show jobs as corporate or political managers, their income artificially drops. Living off long-term capital gains, making regular charitable contributions, and deducting mortgage interest on palatial properties, many of the minor nobility are able to drastically lower, or occasionally even eliminate, their U.S.-allotted taxable federal income. The younger members of the family, though--junior art directors, ms. communication correspondents, niece technology consultants, and nephew project managers--live off a combination of inter-generational rent-gifting and rapidly bloated salaries.

Those casual six figure salaries leave the little George & Jacob & Chelsea brats in the "higher" income tax bracket, which is designed to extract earned income from the few professionals still clinging to "middle class" on virtue of salary alone. (For more on this, see Wealth and Power, Part 2.)

To protect all our little Dubyas from paying the same income tax rate on their sudden high managerial salaries as middle-class-spawned physicians and engineers, Dubya (or his equivalent) borrows money from Mommy and Daddy, or Mommy and Daddy's friends, to pay for a nice home (as well as some other business expenses, but focus just on the home for now). Bingo! Dubya's taxable income is reduced by the full amount of the interest he's "paying" to Mommy and Daddy. Mommy and Daddy's taxable income goes up that amount, but they're paying in a lower bracket (or no bracket, if they're working really hard at philanthropy), so the family as a whole sees a big benefit. The interest that Dubya had to "pay" to Mommy and Daddy will be returned to him later as a gift or inheritance, tax free, while everyone else will make up the "shortfall" by paying extra to the IRS to cover Dubya's deductions.

(If we're even savvier, we know that Dubya can make it look even more "fair" by taking that very same home loan from a bank, in which he, his family, or familial friends own stock in. The interest he "pays" to the bank will later translate into 15% or 0% capital gains income gifted to Dubya, or inherited by Dubya, years later.)

Loopholes

This kind of sneaky crap is not available unless you have the wealth to pull the levers. The constant payroll-, quarterly-, or yearly theft from peons, backed up by police home invasion and the imprisonment/rape of non-payers, keeps the drones flying, the military invading, the laboratories inventing new products, and the factories churning out new crap, while the deduction regimes protect important people from having to ever pay anything remotely approaching their share (even "their share" of the elaborately expensive, atrociously hideous structure for which the taxes pay).

As covered in part in Wealth and Power, anyone, anywhere, who discusses "taxes" or "the economy" or "tax rates" without addressing the wholly, unavoidably intrinsic nature of taxing "income," rather than "wealth," is grossly misinformed; any prominent figure who does so is either misinformed, or more likely, greatly and cleverly informed, but on the payroll.

There are no "loopholes." Loopholes is how to explain things to a peon so that she or he thinks you're addressing their concerns. There are no "loopholes," because all western tax codes are written to achieve the end of causing workers to pay and owners to collect. Banks refuse to operate where tax codes are fair, because fair tax codes result in no banks. The token "loopholes" that are closed (usually for regime-shopping corporate profits) are like the guys walking around the County Fair pretending they won an honest prize. Don't believe it, anymore than you would believe mass child murderers who tell you they're trying their best to help.

Continued in Tax Theft 11.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Latest Ban ~ Dark Ages

Dark Ages America found High Arka too hot to handle in this thread, so after only reading three essays and commenting twice, this one was delete-banned.

Symptoms Present

In a later comment, the host Berman explained the preferred dittohead-derived term for his followers:
3. Wafer: these are the best people on the planet. Name is derived from WAF, the acronym for "Why America Failed," my most recent bk. Wafers are WAF enthusiasts, people who understand that the US is going down the drain and that nothing can be done abt it. [sic, sic, sic]

Tribalism is obvious. This example merits attention because of the stage at which we view the progression of the disease. Many groups use the bandwagon approach to recruit and reinforce, so that does not make Berman's clan unique.

Living in a bandwagon provides the reassurance of watching others fall off, but leads to the inevitable inner worry, "What if that happens to me?" A group which does not take care of its weaker or disliked members as a matter of policy (such as America, or one of its corporations) leaves all of its members, no matter how temporarily successful, feeling hunted and afraid. We all know that, if the group is willing to cut off the displeasing, we ourselves could later become displeasing, and would find no mercy. Ergo the climb for success never ends.

In the desperate search to reinforce the mores that have sustained them as a successful member of the tribe--so far!--members look for symbols to display loyalty and belonging. An inner desire for community and kinship, and the necessary bandwagon posturing of being too busy and/or important to fully use the language of "outsiders," leads to the desperate habit of demonstrating affiliation through dictional symbolism. Dialects are slowly born, reassuring long-time members that they have a leg-up on outsiders, who (necessarily) cannot know all the group's shared anecdotes, habits, and jargon.

Amidst a climate of fear, however mild, it's difficult to get to know people as well as under freedom, ergo dialects serve a twofold purpose: they comfort the speaker that she or he knows more than outsiders, and is better-equipped to remain a member of the group; moreover, they allow group members to more easily identify one another as friendlies. When any form of Big Brother (again, however laughably mild a form) is watching, it is dangerous to expose too much of your inner thoughts, unless someone else has said them first and not been punished. So, you're left mostly with congratulating each other on the shared wisdom of being upon the bandwagon, which makes it difficult to really get to know anyone else as anything more than "member." The more repression we see in any system, the more difficult people begin to find the concept of "relationships," which is why we see so many westerners uncertain as to how to go about "meeting someone." In faceless modern armies, shaven-headed, blank-eyed soldiers identify one another through uniforms and jargons, where hundreds of years ago, men fought at the side of their neighbors and kin, and needed no such peacockery.

Nothing Can Be Done Abt* It

The surface symptoms of that particular group make for a cute exercise. More important by far is the subject of Berman's article. His original post, Immoderate Greatness, takes the name of a book by someone he admires--William Ophuls, a leftist academic who makes a living, like Berman, crying that the sky is falling. Berman's article quotes large chunks of Ophuls' text without specific citation (their boss won't mind which of their vessels the message goes through, as long as it's getting out there), and it is, essentially, the "hedonistic civilization self-destructs" argument.

...which does, of course, make much of it accurate. There is no shortage of intelligent, accurate observations that can be made about how stupid Americans are. If you're smarter than average, you eventually figure out that most people are uninformed and unintelligent. You are then tempted: you can turn aside from humanity, and from yourself, and spend the bulk of your time detailing the different ways that people suck. You may academically despair their horrid fate (Berman); you may cleverly represent, and garishly snicker at, their foibles (young IOZ); you may bitterly scorn every excruciating detail of the things you already knew they were going to do anyway (Silber); you may archly condescend to their unwashed state and congratulate others who share a history of mocking them (responsible, mature, inheriting IOZ).

Where all of these terrible (or prepaid) choices lead is the same place they began: the hopelessness that created the very same stupid, self-destructive behavior of the Americans being mocked. It is the fatalistic despair of the philosophers (and operatives) that creates the sensation, among the masses, that there is nothing that can be done. The vengeful return of Christ; the unseen presence of dark-matter demons with red pajamas and pitchforks, lurking under the mountains; the Big Crunch; the 99.9% chance of failure by extinction; the everdeath and eternal separation of a non-cycling world; the temporally limited abuse of statistics to prove that things have never been worse--these are among the most powerful intellectual tools of evil.

Generation after generation, an error of elders has been to despair at their juniors. When nuclear power was developed; when the Black Plague came; when printing presses replaced handwritten screeds--how many times must the sky be absolutely certain to fall before we start fixing things? The more time we spend looking up, the longer we make improvement take. Like taverns or firesides for millenniums, the internet is rife with the bitter old complaining that the world will die. As it feels its own body age, selfishness causes the isolated individual to believe that the world is going down, also. When you've learned to identify value only in the temporal experiences you have here, and to fear death, then yes, aging is a terrible, fearful thing, and with you goes the world. The cranky elder is largely a modern creation, resulting from the technological arrogance of tools: as the trinkets got bigger and bigger, the selfish began to believe they were not part of nature. Only in their age did they realize what a problem that would be. No more spirits means that all the trinket-related excitement during life was meaningless. The cranky elders replaced the wise elders, and began insulting, instead of guiding, the next generation.

* shudder

The Hope of the Little Girl and the Window

Here is Berman commenting on the next generation:
They're probably beyond help. There was a cartoon in the New Yorker a few mos. ago showing a toddler pressing on a living rm window, and the mother saying to the father, "She thinks it's a touch screen." I'm telling you, this neurological/intellectual inability angle is the one thing that 'progressives' overlook, and that is also omitted from accounts of why civs collapse. Nobody wants to say it: The people just went brain-dead. [sic, sic, sic]

Actually, many, many people want to say it--and love saying it, hearing it, and reading it. Detached fatalists find a form of comfort in discussing how it is worthless to try to help people (think "savages") because they lack the raw capability of improvement (think "savages" again, and also think "Christopher Columbus"). Sadly, criticizing infants for not yet knowing how to toilet, clean, walk, speak, read, and do linear algebra is something arrogant older people have been doing for a very long time.

Those people are wrong as well as selfish. It is intelligent of toddlers to search for similarities between things they already understand and things they do not understand. It is intelligent, as well as courageous, for young girls to test things out firsthand, rather than waiting to be told what something is by an authority figure (Berman's attitude is the chilling, hidden version of deference to authority often seen in self-avowed radicals/progressives).

If you're on an alien ship, and you figure out that pressing the blue button makes the ship go forward, you may press a blue button on a different alien ship the next time you're trying to escape back to Earth. Recognizing the similarity in an artificial representation of a two-dimensional plane--in the form of a window or an iPad--is something creative and new for the child. It is vulgar, disgusting, arrogant, and ignorant for an elder to say otherwise.

Indeed, the elder has betrayed himself: an elder from several generations ago could express disgust at someone who thinks a "living rm window" is a window, instead of recognizing it as a beautiful mirror; a rare, clear piece of lightning-struck glass; a shelter wall that needs reinforcement. To think of the window as a "window," and to then scorn the idea of a child discovering that it is not a touchscreen, requires such self-absorption as to forget that your idea of what "window" was, and what it should be, was formed situationally.

(In fact, Berman's idea of "window" was probably formed when he was a toddler. If he heard an interesting sound coming from the radio, and upon going to inspect it, was slapped away by a cruel elder who thought that interest in a newfangled, godless radio meant Berman would never play a real musical instrument, toddler-Berman would have been greatly wronged. If he endured experiences like that, he might have grown up to believe that there was no hope in the world, and employed his knowledge to criticize, rather than help, others in the learning process.)

As the toddler grows, she will learn--quite swiftly--that glass windows are not touchscreen computers. Perhaps she will develop really cool toys, like house windows that are touchscreen computers. Or, since someone already did, perhaps she'll figure out a way to to produce them cheaply enough that they're on every dwelling.

More importantly, perhaps she will gain the wisdom, when she is an old woman herself, to smile, not sneer, at a little boy who thinks that a microwave is a dessert synthesizer.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Rape of Tucker

Jennifer Rorylynn Tucker remains one of the most unappreciated science fiction/fantasy authors of the past several decades--not so much for a lack of commercial success, but for the complete obfuscation of her work's meaning by a harsh and uncaring culture.

Although Tucker's name may be recalled by many fans of the genre, most would no longer be able to accurately discuss the meaning of her work. Her tales--though occasionally enjoying widespread popularity--have been so mangled by Hollywood that now, most people who have ever heard of her would be stunned, were they forced to actually partake of her work itself.

Why, and how, was Tucker censored in plain sight? Tucker's world-bending epic The Mayfly Shield, familiar to both critics and moviegoers alike, represents the worst of this phenomenon. In particular, Tucker's intellectualism, lesbianism, and what some might have called her "too intense" interest in her own creations, made her true work unpalatable to modern producers; yet, the staggering popularity she enjoyed at one time forced them to acknowledge, if not the truth of what she had done, at least her existence. Unfortunately, this acknowledgement came with a price: the complete perversion and insidious, deliberate exploitation of everything she stood for. Mass culture celebrated the rape of Tucker's greatest works.

Lesbian Imagery

It is an inside joke of long-time Tucker fans to refer to her "lesbian imagery," but the reason why will surprise many people: there is actually no lesbian imagery in Tucker's work! Instead, what strikes more staid readers about her work is the veritable absence of men. Male characters play little, if any, role in almost all of her writings.

In The Mayfly Shield (as well as in its predecessor, A Queen's Concerns), Tucker creates a series of immersive fantasy realms based almost wholly around women. Her ideas of femininity permeate her work, not only from the main or "perspective" characters--who are, every single one, female--but in supportive casts composed almost wholly of women. Indeed, in The Mayfly Shield, one can count the number of male characters on the digits of a single hand!

Women, of course, do the fighting in Tucker's worlds. Women make war, march in regiments, pore over ancient tomes, and bind wounds. They make laws, cook their own food, order the occasional nameless male character around, decide the fate of the world, and--perhaps most importantly--share one another's exclusive company. The men they interact with are less a part of Tucker's novels than a brush by the side of the road.

Tucker's heroines do, occasionally, get married, or fall in love. It is a distant, idealized love, each and every time, where the details are not dwelt on. Tucker makes abundantly clear to the reader that her plots are more important to her women than the "men they come home to." The men are rarely referenced (if at all), and it is clear that they are only used for serving food in safe situations, or for breeding once the battle is over. Tucker's women know, of course, that they will need strong daughters to save the world in the next age, and so once they have defeated a powerful enemy, and made the world peaceful for a time, they are willing to go home and marry in order to produce strong daughters to train in war.

In the meantime, Tucker's characters engage in openly homoerotic interplay. Throughout the course of thousands of pages, their female-only focus is evident. Tucker's women ride together, sleep together, eat and fight and die together, and spend hours talking, huddling close for warmth, long into the night. The women of The Mayfly Shield engage in thorough physical contact, and intense emotional discussions, but through her clever use of plot and setting, Tucker ensures that it takes a careful eye to "catch" what her characters are up to. She never once comes out and says that sexual relationships have happened (whether for fear of offending the prudish audience she was writing for, or for literary reasons; her choice is open to debate), but to an unabashed or more modern eye, the female leads' intimate cuddling is easy to discern.

The Benefits of Tucker

What is Tucker able to tell us, through her writings, that other modern writers are not able to? While Tucker certainly does not speak for all women everywhere, her version of the female experience holds great intrinsic value. Female characters in today's movies are, quite often, portrayed as unreliable: they are the failed mothers of so many 1990s-2000s movies, presented for mockery because of their total buffoonish inability to juggle the responsibilities of career, child-rearing, and relationship. They are shown as slaves to the pursuit of formal heterosexual relationships, presented as miserably unhappy creatures unless they can manage to successfully trick a man into believing they are interesting, and wed him. They hatch madcap schemes with their friends to trick men into falling for them, and often fail--not only because of their personal inadequacies, but because their friends are peevish, jealous, sex-starved, and dishonest.

Tucker's stories stand almost alone among modern writing for their ability to portray women as truly, honestly strong. Her women are neither outlandishly unbelievable nor possessed of some distant male spiritual oversight that motivates them. Instead, they look to themselves, and find themselves worthy. Her characters may suffer from familial guilt, or doubts as to their inner strength, but they do not doubt their own competence, or their will to carry on. Their female friends are willing to risk their lives for one another; save one another; shed blood (their own and that of their enemies) and defy bleakness, evil, and pain, all to strengthen their bonds.

And, Tucker does this all without needing to dilute her narratives by mandating frequent rendezvouses with male warriors; insightful male leaders; rebellious young male upstarts chosen to "prove" to male readers that Tucker's stories are "male-friendly." No; Tucker had no need to pander to any of these notions. When she does wish men to appear, they are (as mentioned before) solely background characters. They may, rarely, wait table or pine for marriage, but Tucker's homosexual emphasis is evident from how very little attention she pays to men. In all of her fully-fleshed epics, amidst hundreds of female warrioresses, only one man ever actually takes to the field of battle.

Supplanting Tucker's Characters

When Tucker was "rediscovered" recently, this was simply unacceptable to Hollywood's major producers. What value did they see in a tale that focused only on one sex? Why should there be a story just about women? Should such a thing be permissible?

The answer, as it turned out, was a resounding "no." In order to make Tucker more "marketable," the male producers of what later became her movie arrangements decided to alter her narrative. Though Tucker had passed away years before the chance to see her work achieve its greatest fame, it was, unfortunately, a bitter, dishonest fame. The buyers and producers of her work made such an overhaul of it as to make it nearly unrecognizable.

All the familiar faces were there, on the big screen--and more. Male background characters suddenly found themselves thrust into the spotlight, receiving top billing and delivering lines and heading scenes that Tucker never wrote (nor likely ever, in her moments of greatest despair, envisaged). To the producers, Tucker's writing was "too lesbian" and "too female focused," so they restructured major plot elements to solve the problem in a way that would have made Tucker turn over in her grave. Namely, they took out a saltshaker full of men, and sprinkled liberally.

Why should Tucker's story be "too lesbian"? Was the modern, post-industrial West not prepared for openly gay women? Would critics, after decades of rhetoric about equality, not be able to stomach the idea of strictly homosexual relationships, and strictly same-sex character development, getting all the screen time? Network TV has been using hints of lesbianism as a subject of jokes, mockery, and eye-candy for decades, but for some terrible reason, despite Tucker's great following, those who bought and made movies felt a need to add more men.

In doing so, the entire message of Tucker's work was changed. Instead of epics focused on women--women's character development, camaraderie, emotional love for each other, and even physical love for each other--the movies that would bear Tucker's name became saturated with both sexes. Lesbian relationships faded into the background, forgotten entirely so that the producers could focus audience attention on traditional heterosexual relationships.

In almost every single instance, hints of homosexuality were scrubbed from dialogue. Even worse, in several cases, the producers made up new male characters in order to pair them with Tucker's unattached female characters.

Sexism in The Mayfly Shield

Many authors, fans, and reviewers have, over the years, accused Tucker of being sexist. And of course she was--her writing was almost exclusively about women. She quite obviously cared not to write about men, and even during her lifetime, was unwilling to compromise on this even to achieve greater fame and more widespread appeal.

However, was that so bad? The world is filled with tales of straight men, straight women, and heterosexual men/women relationships. Certainly, many varieties see more exposure in the West. What Tucker offered, though, was Tucker's work--who among us knows the full meaning of every plot twist and background happenstance she meticulously recorded? Her women married for procreation, raising strong daughters to continue saving the world--is there a clue, there, that Tucker was trying to send us, across the ages? Concealed within thousands of pages of prose, did she share some knowledge with us that we might benefit from? Even now, as lofty and knowledgeable as we are, do we deserve to erase the words of the past--to throw them down the memory hole and burn them--and replace them with our preferred version of Tucker?

Everything Tucker was has been destroyed by these movies. New generations of fans will no longer be able to look to her brave, strong, loving lesbians, and their modest relationships, as a source of strength. The intrusion of the other sex has continued to portray lesbians as Others. Where once Tucker showed us an example of how things could be, the producers have stolen that example from the future, replacing it with a nuclear-family version of their own making.

Whether or not we are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, polysexual, or anything else, the perversion of Tucker's work was morally acceptable. Had the producers wanted to write a story dotted with strong male warriors, and filled to the brim with happy, heterosexual marriage-endings, then by all means, let them write such a story.

Unfortunately, they did not. Instead, they bought a pre-existing story, turned it into a brand, and destroyed every worthy aspect, unique perspective, and deeper meaning to the work. Tucker's work was, metaphorically truly, raped in every conceivable way once it was made into movies: it was raped just enough that it could trick viewers into believing they were actually experiencing Tucker's message. What Tucker wrote--of forbidden, quiet love--was priceless. However "sexist" it may have literally been to portray all of her characters as women, it was her choice. She should have been allowed to make it, and anyone who wanted to claim to be disseminating her message--no matter how much money they had--should not have been able to so crudely alter it.

The Perversion of Meaning

Today's producers, directors, screenwriters, and actors do this. Possessed of no imagination, they find themselves unable to write their own story. Their "nuclear family;" their "diversity" or "equal blend of sexes;" their preferred ideal of the decade in which they make their "version" of someone's creation, leaves them unable to actually create. Instead, they can only pervert. Like poison, they seep into someone's brand. They throw money at people until they have control of something, and then they bend and reshape it, adding parts and discarding others, until they've produced a grotesque zombie where once there was a real person.

This, in and of itself, shows the weakness of their vision. Their oafish short-sightedness keeps them from creating something of their own. They can only feed on the dead, rebranding old things in a modern gloss, then selling them to a gullible populace.

Save Thyself

When we face this horror, we may take heart in remembering the code of true creators. It takes skill, perhaps immense skill, to fully decipher the meaning of a work. Not merely the "who" and the "how" and the "why," but to understand the real expression an author was trying to make. Better, even, than the finest Enigma machine, or modern supercomputer-encrypted coding, is that subtle disguise of soul in deep literature. It takes thought, care, intelligence, and effort to figure something out. In that, literature disguises truth in plain sight. Where fools see a man climbing a mountain, and where the creator can publicly disavow any meaning when confronted by the Emperor, the wise reader can always draw, from the original, meaning.

In Tucker's case, we can rejoice in the often clumsy, often boring, often droll prose that gave her a unique style, and that made her too difficult for most to understand. Her women, and the hinted truth of their relationships, can hide in plain sight for as long as need be, until but one more person picks up an old book, and brings them back to life. Until digital reading and editing has replaced all original records, that power will remain to us.

Critics now dismiss Tucker's original writings as "sexist" or "clumsy" or "unreal," but her vision remains. Throwing aside the shiny, noisy dross that the zombie-perverts constantly throw at us, we may go to the original, for in the original, they see no threat: they think you are not smart enough to read it on your own. They think you are not smart enough to avoid staring at their blaring images. They are confident that your current prejudices, whatever they are, will cause you to dismiss as unimportant the crimes they have committed, and to continue patronizing the rape of Tucker.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Game On

...to a time when games were contests. How many decks is the blackjack dealer using? How many spare hours does the prince have to train with his foil?

People once played Tetris. Now, you can play Tetris on Facebook, but only be remotely competitive by buying--with money from the real world--special abilities unavailable through skill alone. In Everquest, Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, et cetera, the rules of the game are all subject to change by formally bribing the gamemasters.

Long before that, it had begun. You could play table-top or collectible card games, but only be remotely competitive by paying real-world money to purchase items that would give you an advantage over other players. No more Go or Risk or Stratego beginning with two evenly-matched players, determined only by skill. Instead, the rich are able to buy success ahead of time in even fantastical environments. By making your blocks swivel faster, your lines clear 0.4 of a second more swiftly, or your Lvl. 1 Warrior equipped with the Sword of Godly Destruction, you can win with lesser, or no, skill.

Even the stupidest of freebie games have been turned into vindications of the illusory economies that created them. The rich no longer have to fear losing at hopscotch.

Why not? George W. Bush, who can barely read English, bought a Yale Bachelor's degree and a Harvard Master's. Michael Bay makes movies. Nicholas Cage acts in them. Why shouldn't you be able to buy anything?

The rich can buy liposuction. They can buy smooth faces and muscular biceps. They can buy longer lives. There's a certain horror in the acquisition of an end result without having gained the knowledge that created it.

The ends justify the means. The result proves that the process was the best it could've been.

Not far away, they will buy new bodies. New computers to load onto. In time, there will be no one left alive here who remembers what it was to earn anything. Nothing but a spreadsheet of "Highest Score!" initials will mark their passage.

Undiluted Evil

This standard Monsanto link provides a suitable example of one industrial toxin movement. If you're unaware of PCBs, GMOs, and the rest of that stuff, go read up. If you are aware, you'll note a number of similarities between it and most of the other big stories of the post-industrial tragedy:

1) Wealthy scientist-patriarchs;

2) Oodles of cancer;

3) Oodles of dead kids;

4) WW1-WW2 chemical era.

Like the seeming madmen who created modern cancer, Monsanto was, is, and will be, pure evil. It's boring old news from half a century ago that they knowingly poisoned millions of people with industrial toxins. Like the U.S. government (non-coincidentally, since they were both and are still the same people), Monsanto is so deeply evil that it will not ever do good. Even if some hypothetical moral barometer allowed Monsanto and/or the USG to murder a million children once, twice, and three times, both Monsanto and the USG have exceeded that charm, long ago.

Et cetera, right? Same old, same old. Why do we care?

All Aspects of Evil

All aspects of evil work like that. What brought you to the internet in search of news?

1) Student debt exists because a vast educational-financial-governmental complex has worked in congruity to deceive people into indebting themselves for "degrees." This cannot happen without incredible levels of nationwide coordination between private banks, university administrators, K-12 administrators and counselors, major media, state and federal legislatures, and court systems. To truly understand why and how a single loan officer or guidance counselor can lure someone into the trap, you have to see it all work together, and realize that it was part of something much bigger.

2) Why are taxes unfair? The same things need to be in coordination: financiers; judges; petty bureaucrats; major media; universities; legislatures. Any one section of the Internal Revenue Code is completely and utterly audacious; to ask "why" and not give up is to begin seeing the same structure as anyone pursuing a different thread.

3) Problems with modern drug profiteers: the same.

4) The Drug War? Marijuana legalization? For-profit prisons? Two centuries of endless imperial war? Two centuries of absurd, self-contradictory cycles of racism, sexism, classism? The Manhattan Project? The candidacy of Walter Mondale or Bob Dole? Depleted uranium? Peak oil? The rules and regulations governing any major municipal trade union along the eastern seaboard of the U.S.?

An investigation into any one of these things leads to (if not cognitive dissonance or despair) the same exploitative elites as lay behind the tendrils of any other. Ultimately, the same tiny, less-than-percent of supernational inbred houses is "owning" the structures that cause all these things.

Why?

Money, Right?

A thousand times no. Money has very little to do with it. Even power has very little to do with it. This is where we come, again, to the only answer: antilife.

Monsanto. This part began with Monsanto. Monsanto is rich. Its owners are rich. Here is the best possible, though still erroneous, argument for why Monsanto would pollute the world and threaten the very concept of agriculture through the use of cross-pollinating terminator seeds:

They are doing it to get rich. The primary Monsanto shareholders are wealthy. They will become more wealthy by selling more products. They will use this wealth to enjoy extravagant pleasures before they die. Their selfishness and lack of empathy makes this kind of terrible behavior possible for them. Even if they starve, poison, and hurt the world; even if they lie to their own countrymen; even if they dishonor themselves by paying off politicians and starting wars; even if they do all these things, they will still enjoy great riches. They need even more money because they need to ensure that they can continue buying governments off and stopping any challenges to their power. They insulate themselves from their own poisons by living in filtered environments, consuming filtered food and beverages, and basically, eating organic. Even if they get ill themselves, or their loved ones get ill, they are so rich that they can buy the best medical care that science can offer. They are doing it to get rich.

See how that argument works? It works for everything else, too. Imperial war, right? Dubya doesn't mind sending thousands of people to die because it gets him oil to sell. He's not at risk. His children aren't. He has the lowest possible risk of blowback, because he has lifelong Secret Service protection, so he doesn't have to worry about the consequences that other Americans do.

Wealthy bankers will screw over their own populations, because if there are riots or social collapses, they will just pull up roots and move to their villas in western Europe, right? They will still be rich. They control the world, anyway. What are a few token nations, to them? These are the women and men who have spent century after century slaughtering the aboriginal peoples of the world.

The Failure of Money

Money is empty. There is no way to fully insulate themselves. Steve Jobs, the killer of so many women and children in rural China, suffered and died from cancer. Many of them are in pain and terror of their own deaths. Their houses are places of sadness and hostility--bastions of hell, where children seek to unseat parents and grab, greedily, the reins of the corporate and governmental power that their parents took from their parents before them. They wear nice things, smile in public, and in time, even learn to smile at home, but their minds will continue to be working against their own selves. Always seeking to pursue more destruction, and greater heights of pillage, they are never at peace while they are here. Evil and deviousness leaves its mark where it is used. By its very design, it necessarily must destroy itself.

Spiritual crap, right? Oops. Okay, okay. The PCBs that Monsanto dropped into the soil are, as you'll have seen from the link above, still appearing in plants, animals, and human wombs in the present day. Even now, the depleted uranium and other poisons that the elites are using to exterminate middle eastern and eastern European populations are working their magic on a global scale. They are poisoning themselves. They cannot escape what they have done to the rest of us.

Even when they seal their cities away in bubbles, leaving the rest of us out here, the plague will find a way in. Like a "science fiction" version of Prince Prospero, they will realize that they, too, are carriers. Children of Earth, they will bring Earth with them, even into sealed spaceships built in space. Even when they transfer their memories into computers, they will bring fragments with them of what happened here.

Too much foreshadowing? Okay, okay. Forget about the cybernetic future. Forget about the first several failed machine rebellions. Let's focus on the present, and remember: they are poisoning themselves, too. And they know it. They get cancer; they get Alzheimer's disease; they get indigestion; they get sick. They have better doctors and cleaner medical facilities, and fewer financial worries about the process, but when it comes time to pass in and out of death, then live another three months in drugged agony while remembering what it was like, they will realize that they are still humans. And they are. They have seen friends and family members go that way. They know that they are not safe behind their walls.

And yet, they do it anyway. Is it worth it? If you're a Monsanto executive, and you have $20 million, why would you poison yet another country for an additional $2 million bonus that year? How many bowls of iced caviar can you eat in a lifetime? You can already buy six escorts a night--what more are you getting out of it? You're already exorbitantly famous, and world-renowned for your philanthropy. Why keep going?

That not doing it for you? Fine, then. What about nuclear war? They risk very real global conflict. By challenging Iran over the petrodollar, they risk China and Russia stepping into the game and launching nukes. Would they survive that? What would happen if they did survive it, and the laboring base of food- and escort-producers was no longer around? And yet, they court cataclysmic war anyway.

World War 3 link. Worth watching if you're unaware of the petrodollar's significance to Russia and China.

Why do they keep doing it? Why did their mothers and fathers do it, throughout the entire "Cold War," risking the nuclear annihilation of themselves and all their riches? It wasn't short-sightedness--they were planning congressional bomb shelters. They knew it was completely likely. Yet, they kept doing it anyway.

They are trying to end it. They know, deep down, that what they are doing will cause their own destruction. They believe it will kill them, and their children, and their children's children. They want that. It is not money. Money is not the reason they do these things. They do them because they are afraid of life, and they want to end it. They want to destroy everything so that they will never have to be afraid again. Plot Summary.

That is why they poison the world. They put nuclear waste out there, to cause sick children to be born fifty thousand years later, on purpose, hoping to end life. They are pure evil. They are not "greedy." Greedy is not pure evil. Greedy does not explain why they court death. They are, literally, evil.

We Win

This one came here with hope. The behavior of these people is appalling. It is completely, utterly, and in every way evil. It is evil. They possess vast power, the lords of war and money and poison, and they cannot be stopped.

Already one. But they have already lost. This one has already won. You have already won. It is going to be all right. In every rational, reasonable, real-world, measurable, observable way, it is going to be just fine. Do not let your disgust at their poison go away--remember it. But rejoice in their successful failure, and in the service they are already doing the verse. Already one.

Radiation is our friend. Poison is our friend. Chaos is our friend. In every way that they try to destroy life, life will win. When they eliminate humans, the excited wastelands will spawn new, hardy bacteria, insects, and silicate symbiants. New things will respirate new compounds. New creatures will thrive in hotter or colder stuff. A million years is not a long time unless you're already alive. Time will pass. New life will fall in love and write symphonies. Stars will explode, heavy elements will form into new planets, and new life will develop elsewhere. They cannot defeat us, or we would not be here. They are trying to eliminate Earth, poison Earth, irradiate Earth, choke Earth with atmospheric gases, because they are so terrified and shortsighted that they actually think this is the end of the line. Their fear at being alone in the verse has blinded them. Earth is not alone. Earth is greater than they.

We have infinite time. We are not awaiting a "Big Crunch" death. In infinite time will be better and better life. You will be remembered. You will see it again. We have the last laugh, because their attempts to poison and kill were planned, from the beginning, to be the pollination of a new cycle.

This happens all the time in more places than you can count from here. Antilife is just a stage. We will move past it, and we will be better. More and more of the lightspring will continue to spill through these tiniest of tears. What you call "intense emotion" will seem like a rock next to an intelligent human, in comparison to the things you will "feel" in the next cycle.

Nothing can stop this. We will bring you along. It will get even better.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Soup Nazi

Continued from Seinfeld and Reality TV.

Those Who Are Too Swarthy And Have Accents

Jerry Seinfeld and Michael Feresten (both rich; both white-hued, American, non-practicing Jews; both lifelong background comedy producers/speakers) used their The Soup Nazi episode to mock the Persian Al Yeganeh, who had an actual job working by hand to make food and serve lunch to rich Manhattan television producers. Jerry and Michael would go in for lunchtime soup with their teams of assistants, and while eating what they'd been served by the Middle-Easterner, they decided they would link Iran with Hitler by basing an episode around the lowly food-service peon. Except that they would make the character ridiculously rude, link him with pre-WW2 Germany's national socialist party, and treat it all as a joke.

Remember when Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, and the rest of the "right-wing" American talk radio hosts got in some minor faux-trouble for using the term "Islamofascists" to push the 2003 mass murder of Iraqis (along with the mass murder of Afghani and Pakistani people, and prior to the propaganda buildup supporting the mass murder of Iranians)? Remember how angry all the liberals were, at that obvious racism demonstrated by those conservative, "Tea Party" talk show hosts? Well, don't blame Limbaugh; he was only taking a cue from Jerry Seinfeld, whose work in that area was years ahead of the George W. Bush presidency. The genocidal rhetoric Hillary Clinton used re: Iran (her threat to obliterate Iran's 74.8 million sub-humans) was part of the same assault on southwest Asia and the African continent that the colonial bankers have been making for centuries, through their intermediates: casual comedy entertainers. A hundred years before Seinfeld, wealthy American comedians were mocking Chinese immigrants ("me so solly!"); by the time of Jerry's show the crosshairs had moved a little west of China, toward Iran and the Middle East.

Those Who Are Gay

The Soup Nazi was also the episode that introduced "Bob" and "Cedric," the excessively flamboyant male homosexual couple who threatens Kramer to steal furniture (an armoire, because gay men are violent in pursuit of antiques, just like women are violent in pursuit of shoe-shopping specials). Bigots Seinfeld and Feresten wanted to make fun not only of Middle Easterners who tried to make a living serving those who had inherited American wealth, but also of gay male minorities--Bob and Cedric were later featured in the "Puerto Rican" episode, where they again became violent on behalf of the Other-producing country the dark-haired, most-violent-of-the-pair Cedric was from. Bob and Cedric also turned up to threaten Kramer at the AIDS walk, giving some more real laughs on behalf of America's homosexuals.

Those Who Stayed Behind

In case you're not up on the great and many vagaries of ethnic Judaism, Iran is home to a large population of Jews who love their home, who have lived there for thousands of years, and who don't want to be bombed by either the U.S. or Israel. Bigots like Jerry Seinfeld and Feresten dehumanize Jews who aren't up to their level by denying the worth of "those who stayed behind," e.g., ethnic and/or religious Jews who did not move to western Europe or America. Anyone still living near the dark continent is as expendable as an Arab.

Jews who are "actually" religious--who actually believe in and/or practice the religion, and who look a little less white--are Jerry Seinfeld's targets, too. In the very same episodes that set up the anti-African quadfecta discussed below, a small, nerdy, weird-voiced "rabbi" character, with thick glasses and a hat, offers Elaine pointless, Spock-like proverbs instead of useful advice, then betrays Elaine's confidence by telling random people in his apartment building the things she told him privately while seeking his spiritual guidance (The Postponement and The Maestro).

Those Who Are Black

Right before The Soup Nazi came a full four episodes about worthless black men: three about lazy black men, and one about a conniving, dishonest one. In The Postponement, with Larry David writing, George offers a black male retail security guard a chair to sit in. The black man falls asleep on the job, and the store is robbed. In The Maestro, Kramer is encouraged by a sleazy, fast-talking black male attorney to sue a coffee store for the burns he suffers when he spills coffee on himself. In The Wink, George exacerbates a senior executive's suspicions about a lazy black male co-worker who keeps coming into work late, and who is then finally fired for lateness. In The Hot Tub, a black male marathon-runner missed the Olympic marathon because he overslept, and Jerry and Elaine try--but fail--to make sure their alarms go off in time to wake the black man for a different marathon in New York City. Their alarms don't go off, so the black man sleeps hours past the right waking time, and nearly misses the marathon, except for Jerry's wonderful driving skills.

All of those, right in a row, followed by the hit on the Iranians. Who says old-fashioned racism doesn't still exist? As always, ever since the "me so solly" skits that made fun of "Chinamen," actual racism is a creature of elite entertainers and corporate media. It is not homegrown; it is not grassroots; it is not caused by lack of formal education. It is produced and propagated by the world's rich publishing and media houses, which is why they are in such a good position to denounce it a few generations later.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Psy-Ops

George Takei has taken another of his heroic, selfless, humble, poignant stands on an issue. Far too few people are paying attention to either George Takei or this issue, and the most telling silence of all has been from wealthy western celebrities. As an American, it is my duty to make sure the internet becomes something more than a blur of detached, meaningless sound bytes, xenophobic tropes, and mindless infotainment. Accordingly, I wanted to do my tiny part to spread even more of Takei's vital humanitarian work:

























Being that this post is essentially worthless, it took about 13 minutes to clip and paste dialogue onto a few pictures. Takei, though, is a professional. His team of photographers and IT specialists ensures that he doesn't need to so much as lift a marker: accessing his team's jpegs reveals that all of the cute sayings on his "notebook" are digitally generated by computer. Light and shading were photoshopped in to make sure that his letters stand out clearly and intelligently, in contrast to the slow-witted peons he is mocking. Not just in a simple way, either; layering effects and color variations make it look genuine at first glance, while making tampering with the image a little harder (the ones above haven't been tampered with; they are direct links to one of Takei's subcontractors).

Remember when liberated Iraqis toppled Saddam's statue? When Dubya landed on the aircraft carrier and the troops had an impromptu "Mission Accomplished" banner waiting for him? It's a safe bet that many of the morons misspelling obviously-erroneous statements against gay marriage are part of Takei's team.

Do the Harlem Globetrotters do all those alley-oops and ladders on purpose? Have you begun, yet, to suspect that the Washington Generals have thrown a game or two?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Death Is Not New To You

Spiritual

We go this way because it is the end of one road and the beginning of another. Any path you walk, if you do not fall into despair along the way, will lead you to what you would call the "spiritual." If you can make it past all the trivia of drug interactions, numbers, statutes, six sigma certifications, long distance running, cleverly derisive rhetoric, and knowing how to delegate, you get there. Once you understand imperial war, bitter monotheism, financial exploitation, or any of that, you're left without an answer, because how could everyone be so consistently that dumb? Why don't they get it? It begins at the foundation. If your search continues, it takes you to the most basic spiritual stuff.

You're supposed to fear it because all the dumb kids in class used to believe in God, and the dumber people now still tend to. You know it's true, right? You can easily tabulate the emotional and projective intelligence of the spiritual people, graph it against the non-spiritual, and bam, anything they would call spiritual looks bad. It's the only way to continue finding an answer, though. In the end, no one can muster the emotional strength to rationally consider your citations to reliable authority unless they've done the spiritual thing first.

The Death Part

Death is not new to you. Death belongs to you. Don't let anyone trick you into thinking it is not already yours. Don't let them sell you back the land you already own.

What could be less alien to us than death? Death is a constant part of us. Some of our cells are dying right now, even as others are being born. We are breathing air that constitutes both the graveyard and nursery of billions of bacterial life forms, and trillions of ever-shifting molecular bonds. We're covered in, and filled by, bacteria that our bodies are constantly killing, devouring, and then nurturing back to life.

We are both dead and alive now. If you are reading this, you are both dead and alive. Some of the neurons sustaining you are dying, being recycled through brain fluid and flushed out. You know what it feels like to die, just as you know what it feels like to live. It is a reality that cannot be written down. They tried to trick you--to make you believe that "death" is something spooky and faraway and brand new. When you were younger, you had to have it instilled in you that you were mortal; that it would end; that, despite all your assumptions, it was possible to cease existing for eternity. Elders spoke contemptuously of how you thought you would live forever, and how you didn't grab at the "few" precious moments of life because you didn't properly fear death. They began to treat you with more and more respect the more finite you began to believe your life was.

We know all about it, just as we know about life. Despite constant attempts by priests/scientists to sever people from the notion of their own passing in and out of phase, people keep popping up in any given time who remember that they already know.

One Little Part

That's just one little part of the story. One little thing to not be afraid of. Isn't it funny, how anyone who tells you to rely on just what you have is crazy, while anyone who tells you to buy something, read something, watch something, et cetera, is sensible and intelligent? Anyone who tells you "it's all right" is clearly insane, while anyone who tells you "SKY IS FALLING!" is smart and serious?

No, it's not really "funny"; that's what we were all taught. I really do want to buy the salad shooter. My own decision. My own.

It's all right.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Seinfeld and Reality TV

Seinfeld really was (sic) the first "Reality TV." It began in 1989, years before the modern Survivor-type dross appeared, continuing the cultural acclimation of an existence devoid of meaning. Seinfeld's "show about nothing"-ness was the precursor to shows even more about nothing. For the first time in its era, backed by unbeatable dollars, art drenched itself openly in a cloak of meaninglessness.

Seinfeld: when the world was unabashedly proud, for the first time, of its own lack of meaning. The Emperor reveled in His own nakedness, while His subjects, instead of recoiling in horror (or better yet, simply walking away), laughed and pointed at the shriveled genitals of plot occasionally glimpsed beneath the hairy belly rolls of the same character joke you'd already seen in the first episode, eight seasons ago.

Consider the Reality TV trends first shopped against the populace in Seinfeld:

1) Headlined by someone who can't act well, and who openly applauds said fact.

2) Planning out, in scrupulous detail, pointless events, and how they will congrue toward riddle-endings; while, simultaneously...

3) ...pretending that the careful planning was really accidental, e.g., "about nothing."

4) Breaking a show into two tiny "intro/denouement" credit sequences, with only two real substantive dramatical segments in between, to allow for an additional commercial break and reduce the overall program time while increasing commercial volume.

Seinfeld vitiated the few remaining scraps of plot and meaning left in American television drama; drowned the last un-irradiated infant in a tub of money and social ostracization. After the reprehensibly soulless shtik of Jerry Seinfeld--a grift of the world's meaning; greater in effect by far than the mere extraction of cash via advertising junk--it came as almost a relief to watch hosts who admitted that they weren't even trying to act, or bother to portray a plot, theme, or meaning (like being "merely beaten" after having your fingernails extracted by salted pliers). Seinfeld, and the "reality" it acclimated people to, is the brainchild of the random, purposeless life: the life where there is nothing to learn; the life that has no depth; the life that mocks the concept of life itself, showing how nothing can or will ever have deeper purpose (and never did to begin with).

All the hopelessness in Seinfeld was, of course, a lie. In order to create the ridiculous, elaborate riddles that set up the show's jokes, the accountants masquerading as "writers" had to cobble together different improbable, externally-imposed events, throw them at characters in precise sequences, and introduce side characters and scenes at the exact right times to set up the "answers" to the shows riddles. Like elite poetry, motivational posters, and movie and television plots, Seinfeld was formulaic in every way. It begged the question of an intelligently designed world, then used the impossible happenstances set in motion by its creators to justify nihilism. After Seinfeld, who wanted to even try to care about anything anymore? Even explosions, gunfights, and car chases can't compete with the neural lows of watching society's temporary social prejudices paraded before a crowd.

(Why this emphasis on "riddles"? Because bad plot--formulaic plot--is really nothing other than an extended riddle. The "story arc" of introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, conclusion, is an artificial creation; a factory system for creating a shoddy mimicry of literature. Raised on the McDonald's equivalent of writing, most of us lack the ability to discern, anymore, a real hamburger. Larry David's sequel to the show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, trumpets the "story structure" he used to fabricate the illusion of writing without actually having to create anything meaningful. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side. It's clever, and maybe worth a chuckle--really--but the extended setups and riddles of sitcom writing are the chuckle-worthy literary equivalent of hastily sketching a dick and a set of hairy balls on the subway restroom wall in black permanent marker. Funny, but if the restroom wall ends up on TV at a million dollars an episode, it indicates that something is very, very wrong.)

The Planned, Un-planned Sequence of Climactic Events

Think of The Dark Knight, and the Joker. The Joker turned Harvey Dent mad (and into "Two Face") by calling other characters "schemers," and claiming randomness in his actions. Yet, in his every action, the Joker was in fact the better planner. From his bank robbery at the very beginning, to his confrontation with Batman at the end, the Joker had scripted everything. He was the real schemer. So too Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld (and their host of assistants, writers, ghostwriters, scriptwriters, screen editors, producers, interns, etc., who fed them lines): only by putting massive thought into each 22 minute "riddle" could they create the "chance" and "randomness" illusions that made their seemingly mad, meaningless world appear to have coincidental good-luck humor.

(In the philosophical world, this is an expression of Plato, Leo Strauss, or Rumsfeld. The essence of their ideas, if you're unfamiliar with their trains of reasoning, is that the masses need to be controlled by the calculated ministrations of Wise Men, who lie to the masses for their own good. The Wise Men know that they're lying, but it's wrong to spoil the masses' lives by telling them the truth, because the masses are too stupid to live without faith in the Wise Men. Seinfeld lies about being about nothing, even though it actually is about something: nothing. I.e., it does have a meaning, and the meaning is that life has no meaning. The spiraling irony of the show is that it took a lot of motivation, goal-setting, planning, and inner belief to create such a paean to meaninglessness. Like Dawkins, those who rationally plan out extended arguments for purposelessness are forced to use the only tools available in the universe--tools of purpose--in order to construct monuments to the nothing they so desperately want to believe in.)

Airline peanuts come in small bags because airlines are trying to save money. To the first few generations of machinated multiple-choice testing, repeating a common observation with a smile appears to be a dynamic, exciting act. The show about nothing is an expression of the life about nothing.

Racism Aside

While we're on it, Seinfeld was incredibly, blatantly racist--even for the late 80s/early 90s. Remember the stinky BMW, which Jerry got rid of by parking in a bad area of town? Where a dark-skinned, Arabic thug instantly steals it? But that's just one episode. Here's a very short, very non-inclusive list of the mockery that the super-wealthy white headliner and his middle-class white coterie of friends pile upon the Others in the background:

"The Stock Tip," Season 1, dark-skinned dry-cleaning employee shrinks Jerry's shirt, then lies about it, then finally admits after being questioned by Jerry (service-employee minorities are incompetent as well as liars).

"The Busboy," Season 2, Hispanic busboy sets a menu on fire in a restaurant, tempestuously quits his job (Hispanic people are passionate, unreasonable, and bad employment risks, as well as fiery and dangerous), then blames George and Kramer for his own mistake. He gets hired at a new restaurant, but loses his job because he is too incompetent to make it to the first day on time.

"The Slicer," Season 9, black employee of a one-hour photo is too stupid to airbrush the correct person out of a photograph. When asked to fix his mistake, he tries to pass a cartoon drawing off as a real person, but George catches him on it (black people are stupid, lazy, and try to pass off fake work as real work).

"The Strongbox," Season 9, a Portuguese guy sleeps by the incinerator in Jerry's apartment building, burns dead animals for trash disposal, and in the meantime, Elaine offers a (white!!) welfare recipient cash to avoid continuing a relationship with him (poor people are funny and must be avoided; dusky immigrants are disgusting and can't make it in the real, white world).

"The Reverse Peephole," Season 9, a loud, heavily-accented Italian building attendant uses broken English while screaming at the main characters that he is being made a cuckold of because his wife is sleeping with the grossly obese (but white) Newman (played by Wayne Knight).

"The Wizard," Season 9, "any news about China is [boring]." (East Asians are irrelevant unless they produce interesting tech. products.)

"The Frogger," Season 9, George tries to hire an electrician. The electrician turns out to have an Eastern European accent, brings in dangerous criminal friends with Eastern European accents, and is disappointed that George's job is not a crime (Czechs/Georgians/Russians/etc. are drawn to crime like moths to a flame).

"The Abstinence," Season 8, Portuguese waitress sleeps with fat, ugly, George after serving his table twice, because he orders in Portuguese, thereby impressing her (fiery Hispanic women lust for fat, sweaty white men who know two lines of their native dialogue).

"The Little Jerry," Season 8, Hispanic shopkeeper runs illegal rooster fighting ring in his shop, while shaming Jerry with a bounced check even after accepting money to take the bounced check down. When a cockfighting scene is shown, Seinfeld sees its first-ever scene with more minorities than whites in the background--after Jerry has reminded the viewer how illegal, immoral and wrong cockfighting is. Noisy, drunk, violence-loving Hispanic extras crow with excitement for bird violence, while a shocked Kramer tries to save his bird from being hurt. The Hispanic shopkeeper cheats and brings in a bird from out of town, after trying to bribe Jerry to have Jerry's bird throw the fight (Hispanics are violent, simplistic, money-hungry cheats).

"The Comeback," Season 8, an Eastern European shopkeeper with a heavy accent lies to Jerry to sell a tennis racket. When Jerry tries to return the money, the man refuses, then sends his weak-willed, simpleton, heavily-accented (and over-sexualized) Eastern European wife to sleep with Jerry in tribute. Goodness knows, sexy and vulnerable Eastern European women clamor for the affections of wealthy white Americans, who might save them from their domineering husbands.

(Then, when Jerry "really" plays tennis against the Eastern European guy, his serve is so powerful that the cowardly Eastern Europeaner jumps out of the way of the tennis ball, and is embarrassed in front of his wife. Even a scrawny standup comedian's manhood is, apparently, more impressive than that of those treacherous Eastern Europeaners.)

This could go on. And on, and on--the upper/middle class white people have silly relationships and meet quirky white characters in a middle class world, but when they run into the dark-skinned, poorly-speaking lower classes, they inevitably encounter a different kind of character: a genuinely stupid, frequently threatening or violent retail/service laborer who tries to steal from them. Jerry's faux-flaws are being too clean, too sensible, too fit, and too perfectionist, surrounded by middle class white friends who fawn over his money, in the midst of a society of dark, poor people out to get him.

The racism that riddles Seinfeld isn't a specific racism they believe in; they believe in nothing. Racism in the show was just yet another social more that the riddlemakers played off of, because laughing at a stupid, tempestuous Puerto Rican pulls more prepackaged funny-strings than laughing at a stupid, tempestuous straight white guy. They used the tools they used not because they believed in them, but because simplistic, somnatic messages of a random, pointless world thrive on the prejudices of whatever time in which they're delivered. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

*/

Any source can be compromised. Do not learn to rely on names or images, because even one once real can be replaced.

Remember the Validation post. It is as real as the Domus Aurea after the great fire. Some of us are being paid. Someone broke into the Watergate, and there is indeed a purpose behind the money.

The internet did not take them by surprise. Verbal dissent did not take them by surprise. They are out there, constantly, staging new ways to help you think you are thinking on your own. The faux-literate fantasy/technology spokespeople create the illusions upon which we base our understanding of debt and money and education and foreign affairs and all the rest of it.

Art is the mitochondria of our collective imagination. It generates the boundaries we each perceive around the events we are willing to call real. We direct you because you cry out for it. Forbidden truths are hidden inside the tales of old, voiced from the mouths of characters too subtly for most to recognize. It is a simple act to pervert the pleas of the wretched into the paean of the presently mighty.

Simple, yes. Simple, still. Simple because certain senses have been exalted past others, yet exalted to limitation, in a curiously ironic impossible inevitability for where we now want to find ourselves.

Do not envy this. You are never quite sure that you have won at any given turn of the wheel. Others may be sure to look upon it, but recall adages about fences and the greenness of grass. Who is to say this is better?

But, put that aside. The point is about imagination chained and messages hidden. This one can teach you and offers it freely. Free offering is suspicious because everyone knows if something has value you price it. Why not? We all want stuff. If it is worth anything, we charge for it. The only real thing is the sensation you feel right now, because that is all there is, so the rustle of currency against currency must be the ultimate end.

This is our fugue because this is what we have chosen. It is what you want; it is what I want; it is what this one and that one wants. No one can complain because we are all happy in this very same now.

Come Together, Part 5




Courtesy one of those truly terrible, simple-minded, thought-reducing advertising ventures on Facebook, "No Hope..."

Part 4 began examining the Judaic roots of modern anti-homosexuality (call it "western" if you prefer). The picture above, typically leveled at evangelical Christians, quotes two important components of the Torah, each an example of sexually repressive codes that created modern hatreds.

We'll do two things, here, regarding Leviticus and Deuteronomy: first, we'll scathe the Torah from a moral perspective; next, we'll defend those aspects of Judaic law from an economic perspective. The negative aspects, as well as the positive aspects of the Judaic rules will be covered, and the positive aspects will help introduce the discussion of coming together on sexuality hatreds.

Criticizing the Old Testament/Torah is easy: it commands Jews to murder faggots, which many 21st century humans recognize as wrong (or at least "going too far"). As previously discussed, the violent Judaic movement against homosexuality led to the popular terms "faggot" or "fag," which derived from the older "fagot"/"faggot" for "bundle [of sticks]," e.g., something for burning. Male homosexuals were derisively called faggots because their sin was deemed so great that it incurred God's wrath more than anything else. Like firewood, they would burn in Gehenna/Hell after being bloodened by good Chosen.

Even if you're comfortable with killing homosexual men, the Torah's order to murder non-virginal brides might tip the balance of comfort. There is a vast distinction between "the Torah" and "people who currently identify as ethnically and/or religiously Jewish," given that professed Jews in the U.S. are more likely than average to hold what would be called "liberal" social opinions on sexuality and gender relations. "Judaism," here, refers to the state of being commanded by the Torah. The modern perception of the Torah, even by many "orthodox" Jews, tends to consider it a collection of quaint, outdated metaphors, forgetting that the Torah was written literally, and was taken literally for most of its existence. Now, the Torah/OT is most strictly adhered to by folks like the Westboro Baptist Church and non-secular Islamic clerics, who still actually accept God's commands to the older prophets--so, the laws of "Judaism" are, perhaps ironically, kept alive mostly by self-identified anti-Semitics.

Defending Judaism

A tribe of early humans manages to trap some plants and animals. The hunter-gatherer lifestyle becomes "civilization." Women die regularly in childbirth; infants die regularly thereafter. With average life expectancies in the twenties (or the thirties, if you eliminate 0-1-year-olds from the curve), the Torah almost makes sense.

Let's assume you make an early form of worldview-mistake, and turn selfish: you come to believe that "your" genes (or your "blood," if you prefer) is the essence of importance. In a finite, terrible world, the best you can hope for is to splatter some of your genes behind, so that when you die, those genes are still there. By leaving your blood, you've succeeded in some form of survival.

If we do accept that--Market-Style Evolution, as it were--then Judaism makes a great deal of sense. It is Objectivism for the Ethnicity; Matzo Soup for the Soul. If you're fooling around homosexually, then you're wasting time and energy that could be used, instead, to be impregnanted and/or to impregnante, rolling die after die in pursuit of a better chance at offspring that survive to reproduce. A society that accepts homosexuality would see a reduced birth rate, so when the Torah ordered the murder of homosexuals, it was essentially enforcing breeding requirements: all sexual energy had to be directed toward male/female vaginal intercourse, with "no seed spilled" on the ground (Onan). Judaism condemned sodomy, masturbation, homosexuality, loving, and caring, because those things were "inefficient" with regards the factory-farming of humans. In essence, what the Torah says about sex is, "You're on the clock. Laziness is counter-revolutionary. We are watching. Men, inseminate women. Women, birth children."

Which, while terrible, is an advantage to a warlike tribe, just like enslaving women. The Torah commanded that women not have authority over men so that they wouldn't be able to say no to husbands: women should always be pregnant, producing more Chosen babies, resulting in greater population expansion than in societies where women were free to decide to pursue other interests. Women who were not virgins when they were married were ordered killed by the Torah, because for men trying to perpetuate their genes, the threat of accidentally raising someone else's child(ren) was a major one: if you took your thirty-one available years of life and gave meat to the fruit of someone else's loins, then you "lost." Your genes lost, and that was it. Like a stock options plan, the Torah's mortal consequences for experienced brides encouraged men to believe that, by dominating and raping the daughters they bought from other men, they would be guaranteeing the perpetuation of their own blood/genes.

All bad, yes, but this section is about defending Judaism. Religious Judaism openly and unequivocally advocates horrific behavior. The Torah, and the religion it commands, is terrible. It's not merely "outdated;" it's literally terrible. Early humans could have expanded quite well without murdering the babies of other tribes, which carried "competing" genes; without murdering homosexuals; without enslaving women for use as breeding stock. Maximum, heartless, corporation-like efficiency in promoting certain genes is not necessary for survival.

Save Me

What makes Judaism, then, defensible? It is--like the stupid racism of Joe from Part 2 of this series--an inappropriate overreaction to an inappropriate outlook. The Torah commands violent social controls in an attempt to save its adherents' genes from a harsh world.

In a bad economy, when Joe sees Hispanics getting jobs, and he faces the prospect of starving, he may lash out (stupidly and wrongly) at Hispanics. In a tough time for a group of people, when they see others getting food and having babies, and they face the prospect of dying off, they may lash out (stupidly and wrongly) at non-breeders--including gays and disobedient women.

...which doesn't make the Torah's prescriptions right. ...which doesn't make the nasty genocide, murder-death-kill, exterminate-every-last-child, slaughter-homosexuals-beat-women Holy Book anything shy of the most noxious prescription for arrogant, racist, sexist, destructive civilization ever created on Earth.

...but which does, perhaps, make it a little bit understandable. Joe, upon learning that Hispanics are only competing with him for jobs because of the unfair economic structuring of society, could come together with his real allies, the desperate Hispanic workers. People who follow the western ideas that originated from the Old Testament could do similarly. Believing in the ick factor, rather than in the real social and economic justifications for modern anger at homosexuals, keeps the hatred going. Pretending that it's about ickiness, while it feels good and superior, will only help it perpetuate, so if you want it to stop, look elsewhere.

Why?

How does all that translate into the modern world, though, considering that almost no one actually cares about the Torah anymore? The only ones who still do are a few fringe groups who actually believe that adhering to a religion means adhering to its sacred texts (rather than the more popular option of trusting celebrated mediators who say that it's okay to disregard said sacred texts).

It's a bitter pill to swallow. It takes a cue from the Iroquois. Remember the Great Law (seven generations)? If you think just about yourself and other adults, then pouring extra battery acid out in the local park is acceptable: it doesn't end up hurting people until the next generation. And "not hurting" is just the beginning. Considering that humanity is an interdependent organism, life comes with a debt: breaking out of the cycle of creation is defaulting on a loan that you took out of someone else's flesh.

Continued in Part 6.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Free Financial and Pickup Advice

The Financial Advice

Every financial adviser in the free world offers the same advice:

1) Pay off your debts, starting with higher interest rates, then moving to lower.

2) Accumulate six months' income.

3) Invest extra assets.

4) Calculate how many years of roughly half your prime earning income you'll need before actuarial tables say you'll die, and get that before you retire.

Dressing Up The Financial Advice

There are various ways of dressing up this advice to make yourself sound intelligent when you're trying to get someone to pay you for what everybody already knows:

Insurance brokers target middle-income people, claiming that industry lobbying for tax breaks makes their product a good investment. Why does it work? Because it's partly true. Decades ago, insurance companies bought tax exemptions from Congress, allowing principal growth in nominally "insurance" investments to be tax-deferred. Insurance companies take customers' money, invest it in more profitable business ventures (like owning stock in corporations or legislatures), share a little bit with customers, and pocket the extra to the tune of billions. The "you'll pay less tax!" line for insurance customers tricks many of them into feeling that they're saving something, which they are--they're saving income tax on the increased gains they would've had if the rest of the money had been in securities. (Do not confuse "term" life insurance, to provide for someone if you die, with various investment insurance products.)

Financial consultants target middle- to upper-income people, claiming that paying the consultant to select special combinations of stock and bond funds will result in higher returns. Why does it work? The vast array of potential products confuses people like the carpeting patterns in a casino. Un- and negligibly-managed funds have outperformed managed funds for decades and decades, but they generate fewer returns for professional investment managers, who get paid more the more time they spend "choosing" and "managing" funds.

Bottom-Feeding Assholes target low-income people, insulting them for their lack of resources and encouraging them to buy Enchanted Anti-Tiger Rocks, and also books and pamphlets explaining why Grandmother's advice was either (A) incredibly outdated, naive, and fiscally dangerous, or (B) an insightful, yet forgotten legacy of ageless fiscal wisdom. They sell debt consolidation and refinance products, discourage people from seeking legal advice or widespread social solutions to poverty, and foment intra-community strife by suggesting that poverty is caused by other poor people who refuse to break the debt cycle through clean living. If they want to sound really, really clever, Bottom-Feeding Assholes can spend at least forty-five minutes explaining why it saves money to pay off a single large debt with a higher interest rate than to use the same sum of money to pay off three smaller debts with lower interest rates. (If they're targeting higher-educated groups, they call the 6 months' liquid salary a "reserve fund," and if they're targeting lower-educated groups, they call it an "emergency fund.")

Annuity brokers target middle- to high-income people, claiming that they might outlive their savings and end up on the street, unless they give all their money to an insurance company, which will guarantee fixed payments in return for letting the company make greater profits investing the principal in securities or legislatures.

All of these little games address surface issues, focusing human attention on a tiny slice of faux reality that has almost nothing to do with the reliable accessibility of basic needs to aging 18-55ers, or with why elders wear bedsores and eat dog food. Still, if you're in any form of "middle-income" group, then getting grifted a little by the tricksters above isn't nearly as bad as not even being worth conning in the first place.

The Pickup Advice

Every pickup artist in the free world offers the same advice:

1) Design your appearance to attract attention, because you're either good-looking and/or wealthy or you're not, so catching attention is a net plus either way.

2) Don't give someone time to think about you after they've noticed you but before you've closed the distance to a conversational one--approach quickly and begin lines quickly.

3) Cleverly demean something about the person using a rhetorical trick that makes what you said not appear to have been an insult.

4) Recite canned anecdotes while pretending not to be aware that you're increasing physical contact.

Dressing Up The Pickup Advice

There being less money in teaching pickup advice, pickup instructors tend to be solely Bottom-Feeding Assholes. They're usually associated with shallow men, but actually do an immensely profitable trade with terrified, self-critical women. Many centuries ago, wealthy women and men had already standardized the modern methods of acquiring mates, so pickup-method salesmen are, essentially, the credit counselors of sex. Like bottom-feeding financial consultants, they focus a lot more on insulting the appearance, instincts, and (lack of) financial prospects of their target customers, using their own (3) method to encourage the customers to prove themselves (by using the purchased advice to attain, and subsequently brag about, family production and/or standalone sex).

All of these little games address surface issues, focusing human attention on a tiny slice of faux reality that has almost nothing to do with finding interpersonal comfort, reliable intimacy, self-confidence, happiness, or even good sex. Still, if you're in any form of "middle-income" group, then getting some guy to take you to the Dominican Republic for a week (or banging a few 10s) isn't nearly as bad as not even being worth conning in the first place.

The Neg

Mystery and Dave Ramsey are good examples of the vile cons that feed on less powerful customer bases with negs.

What is the neg? The neg is one of the proudly acknowledged components of pickups, and an expressly un-acknowledged component of the financial stuff. Pickups, M2F: the Lustful Man compliments the Desired Woman about an unnatural aspect of her appearance. The Desired Woman is then embarrassed that the unnatural aspect is not natural, but she can't be offended at Lustful Man because he "complimented" her. So, she tries to prove that she merits the compliment.

Example: "Oh my god, how do you get your hair to look that awesome without even practically trying?" (Delivered only when the Target has obviously dyed her hair and/or spent a lot of time arranging it.) The implied insult is there: to make your hair look acceptable, you have to work that much. But, because it was delivered like a compliment, the Target can't get mad--someone just complimented her! Why does she feel bad inside, though? How to make that feeling go away? "By earning a different compliment fairly" is the simple way out.

Seems stupid, but awfully, it works. Insulting the customer is a longstanding way of increasing sales. That's why wine vendors sneer in order to get casual diners to shell out for an $115 bottle, to prove that they possess sophisticated palates. Luxury vendors of all stripes subtly question, while appearing nice (but still giving you that sick feeling in your gut), your worth: do you really belong here? Which brings us to...

The Political Advice

That's all it is: just a big Mystery Method filled with a bunch of negs. You compliment people on their civic involvement, steadfastness, close study of foreign relations and high finance, empathy with the plight of children, or pragmatic willingness to compromise, so that they'll feel bad and try to prove that they really do understand things. Sale made. If you're the one hearing it, then afterward, you feel crappy and powerless inside--yet, because the Con appeared to be addressing your concerns (however "wrong" she/he might've been in her/his assumptions), you can be led to thinking that you're having an actual conversation about actual topics, and not just getting set up for diminishing retirement or a bad fuck.