Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Aliening Ourselves To Death*

Our collective incredulity at the impossible aspects of the world is credible only insofar as our insight has credibility, which is to say, not very far. We like to occasionally marvel at how stupid everyone can be for believing in ridiculous things, and yet, we continue to tolerate the prominence of Dan Quayle, Bennifer, and various boy-wonder acts, not to mention any number of movies involving giant robots working out their postmodern metrosexual frustrations by engaging in intergalactic cage matches astride the boundaries of our various ecosystems.

Another way of putting this is to say, "It bothers you that some people think the moon landing was faked? Well, Transformers 3." Which pretty much settles any argument about quantitative or qualitative human insight, south of an evaluation of the political economy of Newt Gingrich's dissertation on South American economics.

We pride ourselves on recognizing reality, because we think it would be too hard, or too expensive, or too impossibly crafty, for someone to fool us. Us! Us, fooled? What, us worry?

Why, of course not! Who could possibly fool us? Well, if you've never visited an auto mechanic in the 1980s, asked a 1990s car dealer what his price was to get that demo model on the lot, or discussed a rather plain section of the Code with an I.R.S. Agent, then you might be a few pitas short of a takeout meal at Thalassa Manhattan. In other words, you're not the one who figures out each Agatha Christie before the end, no matter how loudly and often she drops clues.

Yes, we're smart. And yes, Yahoo! is so trustworthy that we know what's going on everywhere else. That's a given. But then we spill junior mints in our laps while spending 63 minutes watching IMAX helicopters hover over various large trenches in Antarctica. We watch the State of the Union speech, buy the third season of Downton Abbey, and use little plastic cards to make people give us the food we need to survive, unless the system is down, in which case we shrug and go across the street for stacks of green papers embossed with a picture of the eye of Sauron mounting the tomb of Ra.

Whether they be little green men controlling a hollow planet, or winged, platinum-haired avian anthros acting as the invisible guardians of our immortal souls, what makes us so sure that we would perceive their trails enough that, because we don't perceive them, they must not exist? The same people who are sure that the moon isn't in fact made of green cheese are also continually amazed by Sue Grafton's plot twists--ergo, no matter how convinced I am that there is indeed a moon, and that some nigh-dyslexic Air Force bombardiers did actually manage to stick a Betsy Ross in it, I wouldn't be particularly surprised to find out it was all faked. Right? How many burned Cambodians does it take to win a Caucasian Secretary the Nobel Prize around this place? 1,500? 240K?

No matter what Neil Postman says, I know that the vast majority of people have believed in various voodoos for the better part of human existence...and yet, we've still managed to invent the automated teller machine, the glory hole, and overhead televisions on the Concorde. It is indescribably childish to squeal about people who believe in angels or aliens in the era when both the existence and effectiveness of the fighter-bomber is indisputable. Or, need I say it again, the commercial success of Transformers 3--which, like it or not, was conceived of, made, and patronized by a lot more people than merely the Kentucky School Board.

Someone once suggested to me that all of these protestations of "hard realism" were related to the protesters' own problems with a lack of hardness in their own reality: specifically, their nether regions, which is why so many cultural critics try to suggest that "firm truths" disprove stuff like conspiracies where Bernanke hung up the green-screen for the fake moon landing.

Given how many pregnant women Barack Obama has killed in their sleep, I find it more feasible, not less, that he is a lizard in disguise than that he is a human being. I may not be right, but the argument that he's an inhumane beast is far more rational than 99% of what you're not shocked by. It certainly makes for a more sensible discussion than a budget debate, amirite? I mean, amirite?

Ultimately, then, we must needs conclude that alarmists who are alarmed at nonsense are more full of shit than people with tinfoil hats. And they also have access to international media, making them far spookier. Times ten. (If that level of baby-droning-insanity can even be gauged against wishfully angelic thinking, which it certainly cannot be.)

So, I hope the Fed raises rates about as much as I hope that Biden takes off his human-mask on national TV tomorrow. Peace.

* As requested, this is an obtuse reference to Neil Postman's 1985 book. Now there's an academic for ya.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

How Evil Is Born

I have this dream that there is a place to go where there are no radical American bloggers. No Macbook Pros with their associated purchase guilt, no online screeds (radical or cooking or otherwise but especially the radical version), no .orgs, no citations to Lord Byron, in fact no blogs whatsoever. No radical American bloggers, that’s my dream, a place without radical American bloggers. If I could find such a place I could die happy. Just think of it, no more bullshitting two-faced phony baloney backstabbing fast talking con artists with their fingers tapping a mile a minute on some American network connection made possible by the American wars they are radically and Americanly decrying. Indeed.

American radical blogs are exceptional for the depth and breadth of their ability to turn caustic for ruining anything pristine and good. They have spread their garbage across their planet using the platform of middle class education and comfort to get audiences of other comfortable people to listen to them as they whine about things they haven't experienced. They disseminate their Pavlovian despondency worldwide, to people who still value life and humanity and to places once out of reach of their derogatory privilege, but alas no more. For American radical bloggers, nothing is sacred, and nobody even thinks about it. It’s like we have a right to leave our garbage where ever our little hearts desire, and we do, we do.

Radical American bloggers fully believe that we will someday vanish into this little corner of the universe they hate, never to bond with planets after our sun goes kaput. What a dreadful thought. They cannot think of anything they would hate to see more than humanity improving itself and coming to love the whole universe, to learn not to scatter hatred and derision hither and thither. The doings of rocks are old and noble but not the doings of their descendants whose lesser inertness, presumably, makes their natural processes of growth and development wholly disgusting.

* * *

Sarcasm is a tool, not wholly a weapon, so it's often useless on its own--a language for those who already understand something to communicate about that understanding, while making the subject feel a bit maudlin and confused. Explaining sarcasm is less fun, but more educational (perhaps). And this rendition did indeed suck, but there's only so far you can deviate from the original, so you can choose to be more representative or more fun, and here we chose more representative, which makes it worse as a form of entertainment, and only slightly better as a tool of comparison.

So, what have we here? A cheap retelling of Rob Payne, who this week offers another version of the "hatred of humanity" rhetoric that so many radical bloggers turn to in despair. This is how evil is born: genuine decency combines with a genuine problem to produce despair, producing hatred.

Rob, for example, has/had a greater concern for people than others. Ergo Rob was more moved by the hunger of the homeless, or the bombing of peasants, than otherwise. His genuine concern for the plight of these people, mixed with the genuine problems of the real world--namely, that American politicians were starving and/or bombing the real world--produced despair, for, after years and years of trying to get the people around him to care, and being labeled a worthless "radical" in the process, Rob despaired that there was no point. In trying. (And along the way, he learned that sentence fragments could add a certain tone to one's prose, but that's another story.)

And there we arrive at the evil. In his failed process of getting people to "wake up," Rob has decided that the people he was trying to help were worthless. They were stupid. They littered. Give up on them.

That giving up produced a fresh evil: Rob's loathing of Americans. This evil may have been "justified" in the sense that Rob was right to be angry at many people, but this latest form into which he metastasized is one of collective punishment, namely his hatred of all Americans. That hatred then includes (1) himself, the nexus of many an evil, and (2) people who might agree completely with him, but who believe they lack the political power to change things, and (3) children who will be born when the sun "goes kaput," who might have by then improved so much that they make Rob proud.

If we've figured out the nightmarish nature of American politics, we often do turn to despair. We think, "Oh, these people are so stupid, look at how they gleefully commit genocide and destroy the economy and fawn over killing, lying politicians, even after we lay the facts out for them and are proven right."

And yet, how did Obama become evil? Are some people just evil by predestination? No; Obama became evil in the same way Rob did. This is how evil is born. Evil comes from good despairing. Evil is the lazy relaxation of love. Evil is the selfish, short-term temper tantrum that is too impatient to wait and keep working. As soon as you give up on, say, "existence," then you find it a nasty thing, and you seek to punish it by making it worse--by hating and fighting back. It is that very hating and fighting back, however justified, that makes you into a new evil.

Your retaliation at that point forms the genuine problem that will cause other good people to despair. By being a jerk in response to those who are a jerk to you, you become a jerk. Other good people, upset at your jerkiness, become jerks in response, and then, we're all jerks.

Yes, this is one of old. "An eye for an eye," right? "...makes the whole world blind," right? There, there's a truth. As we've all been wronged, the noble act is to turn the other cheek. Being alive gives you 100% justification to hate whoever put you through whichever part of it you didn't like, and they were justified to punish you because of what they already suffered through, and~but you get the point, right? This is the failure of the archetypical American radical blogger, who hypocritically uses the technological advancements of industrialism that s/he hates to disseminate hatred of the species that, in theory, s/he is trying to protect by advocating for pacifism or universal health care or any of that. When they turn to bitterness and evil, they are only following the same sad path that others followed before them. It's a short step from Rob hating Americans to his mind giving the subtle adjustment that causes him to not raise much of a protest when the Sino-American World Peace Forces of 2034 begin rounding up the dissident poor, both of Han stock and Anglo. Yes, that's a ridiculous example, but if you hear some of these people whine about Tibet, they're clearly sure that it's coming. Fine, change it to the TPPA Enforcement Squads--you don't like the TPPA, right? Fine, same example: who's to complain if the TPPA Enforcement Squad of 2034 begins rounding up a bunch of ignorant, stupid, hat-wearing Americans for damaging corporate profits? We have to love and believe in even those dummies, if we're to prevent this thousands-year cycle of evil from continuing, and it starts right inside our own heads, with our unwillingness to hate and give up on people who, in all other respects, deserve that.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Clean Yourself With Pomegranates - Or You're Not Really Clean

Despite what you may think, recent research has shown that--no, not even a little bit. Actually, a better title for this one would be, The Whole Album. However, recent research has shown that, despite what you may think, people are now more likely to click on a link that appears to be an advertisement than they are on one with content. Witness, I dunno, an online news site of your choice. Why is this? Is it because pomegranates actually are better? Or because in the advertisement, at least, people are making an effort to entertain them, whereas in the news, there's really nothing to be had? Either way, it's a topic for the shower.

The real point is, "The Whole Album." MP3 sales allow us to cherry-pick single songs, rather than buy the whole album, which we all appreciate after suffering through the advent of compact discs. Not only is it economical, but it provides direct feedback to the band as to what people like, allowing them to tailor their...but isn't that a problem? By focusing only on the "best" song, we're guided even more by popularity than we already were in our original purchases. Even with samples, we're far less likely to be "forced" to listen through an entire album just because we paid for it, so we have to try to squeeze use out of it, and so we're that much less likely to discover a band's less-popular ballad at the end of a full studio album that would never make it onto the radio. Not only that, but any spoken-word or experimental tracks, or just a great song that didn't catch airtime, we miss out on. By convenience, we censor ourselves, so Orwell is either crying or laughing (along with the Russian author he may or may not have been so thoroughly inspired by).

When we come to that point, it brings us closer to the future. No, not the musical future, but the one of travel. When it becomes so convenient to travel that we can do so instantly, we'll run into a problem that happens whenever you worldbuild: the absence of campfire stories. More specifically, instantaneous travel causes a great problem for conscious beings of our current perspective. Once we can get anywhere we like just by stepping into a portal of some kind or other, we love it. No more hassle. No more stiff legs, sore backs, worrying about bathroom stops, TSA groping, paying for hotels, et cetera.

And yet, in that same freedom lies a brutal trap for the advancing cognizant. We stop enjoying travel. We stop enjoying seeing places. We realize that, without getting ripped off by the skycab and wasting an hour looking for the restaurant, getting awakened by those eerie prayers in the middle of the night and wondering if it's real lamb, all those statues don't actually look as good anymore.

What? You mean, we actually enjoyed all the crap? Yes. Whenever we take the rough necessities of travel away from a conscious planet, it's brutal. It's really quite sad. No more saddlesore. No more endless riding from hills to valley. No more long campfire stories, setting watch, laughing over the crappiness of the food, staring out at the roaming shades, sinking into the bath in some homey little inn, missing home...it kills; it really does. "The journey is the destination" is the motivational poster that attempts to own the obvious fact a thousand years later here.

How many campfires will we miss? How many personable highwaymen will we fail to enlist? When the portals come, how long before we stop going anywhere? Everywhere is everywhere. "It was the distance that defined us," says a faux-sobbing Enterprise rent-a-shuttle speaker at the 2240 convention, where consortium psychologists desperately but profitably try to solve the plague of mass dysomnia that's killing people so silently from Rigel to Sol.

Hey, this one isn't saying you can turn the tide. It's something we signed up to learn, so we're learning it. In the meantime, though, we can at least try to catch a few spare tracks in-between the lines.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Suggestion:

Moral relativism is an absolutist narcissistic delusion; philanthropy disguised as altruism; offering first to pick up the check when you know at least one other person has to counter with their own volunteerism. It's all about you, because if all creeds are true for the people who believe in them, then by default, so too is yours, no matter how violent or stupid or violently stupid. "Respect everyone" includes the mandate, "respect me and the stupid things I think, too."

If a stopped clock is right at least once or twice a day, how many times is a spinning clock correct? A broken clock? A clock that only exists in your imagination?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Not Really Titled

Your eyelids flutter open late one morning. Faint blue light grows in strength around the edges of your field of vision. A white backdrop appears, followed by a list of chores and desires hovering in midair about five feet above the bed. You reach out for the shimmering blue letters but, as your hand passes through them, they blur only briefly, remaining in place. Your fingertips, your palms, feel nothing.

A head pops into view, neatly framed in a black-outlined square. An unfamiliar wall colors the space around the edges of your best friend's sandy blonde locks. "Hey," she says in text, her lips not moving. "You said to remind you to water the hedge. And don't forget about PTA tonight--you gotta log in by 7."

You blink furiously. As you go throughout your day, spending credits to get the toaster to start and submitting an assignment to your boss' smiling profile picture, you realize that the world has always been interfacebooked. No one else can remember it being any different. Were we ever not connected?

Many zany misunderstandings later, you're put in prison for your dissident ravings that things weren't always this way. Everyone's profile picture now looks the same, but with more gray shadows, and a barred background. There aren't any bars in this prison, of course; if you try to escape, Facebook just locks you down. It overrides your mind, and you sit, quietly, near the unlocked front gate, for Your Work Associate, Guard Eugene, to return you to your bunk.

Is it brilliant? Sandra Bullock breaks out with the assistance of Will Smith, who plays a soulful prison janitor who doesn't want his beloved son to have "the interfacebook operation" when he turns six? Gene Hackman plays the corrupt Senator's aide who manipulated the infamous "Zuckerberg vote" back in that alternate timeline in 2011, and Liam Neeson is the heroic aging reporter who defies the sensationalism of the modern news to dig up the truth and overthrow the government? Sure, there are benefits to being instantly connected, like the hilarious scene where you look up a friend from high school and find out he works repairing the giant carwashing machines across the street from the welfare building. But we must learn to temper our technology with our human side, like when you finally turn off your interface in order to have incredibly fulfilling sex with Liam Neeson in the coatroom at the old New York Times building.

Does it really say anything meaningful about Facebook, this new monstrosity? Was it really necessary to see Liam Neeson's ass as he bends over to get his khakis after the pivotal love scene? Granted, it's deliciously ironic when Sandra Bullock takes manual control of the mech, and, using only motions picked up mainly from her crossfit class, defeats the enemy mech, which is being controlled by the most advanced mecha fighting program developed by the new Facebook government, thereby proving the superiority of human innovation over rigid circuitry. If robots could do kung fu, there'd be none of us here, would there be? Sure, they can do it, but they can't understand it the way Bullock could, in that skyscraper-rocking fight scene.

Shaken, not stirred. There's a place for banal homilies, bareass humor, and fitting together what we might call memetic puzzle pieces into something you can sell to a producer. Lord knows, there's a place for that, even in a stressful world. And yet, like filling up on Oreos before dinner, we seem to have defined ourselves as solely factory gourmands; eaters of salted shoddy who think we've toured the world just because the bellhop was a black guy with a French accent.

Say what you will, there is a connection here. Yeah, yawn, bad entertainment from a bad culture, bread and circuses, keep the masses zombified, whatever. But wait--is that a merchant I see in the skybox, watching some half-naked Crimean stab a starving bear in the testicles? Thumbs up, or thumbs down? We can't just blame the masses for this one, I'm afraid. The Phoenicians may have had the best purple dye, but even so, you were the one who put on the stupid purple toga and wore it down to the coliseum in the first place. Generally speaking. Veritably speaking.

Your internet history gives you away. Two hundred years from now, grad students will be fishing through old NSA records to prove that you were the paradigm of postmodern madness, because (see postscript 83) you watched the Rickroll source video not once, but six times. Didn't you get the joke the first time? But seriously, a duckroll isn't a sign of decline in the way that Portlandia is, and more troubling is the fact that temporal body heat monitors can prove, to that same grad student, that you have spent nearly seven years and two months of your life watching the news. Like so many records of iron miners' birth and death rates, your entertainment habits will fund the pointless theses of the new millennium.

Support your local NSA office for history's sake. Our successors deserve to know what went wrong. As a large part of contributing to that process, let the record show this blog.

We all know that human touch will save us. Reading paper books and going to the park and running in the surf with that special someone. More importantly, how meaningful are these interactions? Did you wash the car today? Did the new Fed Chief giggle after she farted at our hopes of not eating dog food in our old age, or was that just her chair cushion? Dammit, Congress, replace those things already! Basically, it's all a soap opera, right? Meaningless trivia either way, so we might as well erect a series of giant stone heads across the grain belt, then worship them until we starve. It's not like anyone's keeping score.

Well, guess what, fuckers? I am. That's right--me. I remember everything you've done, and I'm going to make you watch it in slow motion. Then, we're going to repeat the worst parts in front of an audience of your peers. This hurts me more than it hurts you. And will continue to. It's the only way you'll learn.

<3

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Plausible Rackets 2 ~ Diluting Securities

Succeeding Part 1.

So, you make a few bucks. Time to invest it, right? It's wrong somehow to have money just "sitting around" in a safe or a savings account. That feeling is accurate, based upon the consistent use of elites of "inflation" to dilute the money supply and destroy the savings of the unconnected. Certain equities, more specifically corporate stocks, are the only way to "beat" inflation--without the capital gains and the dividend stream provided by a faux-diversified investment in stocks, any savings accumulated by a clever peon will be watered down to nothingness before a generation or two has gone by, ensuring no unapproved additions to the elite caste.

Stocks, then, are mandatory for those looking beyond a single lifetime, and frequently similarly so for those looking only inside one, or those without phenomenal means and savvy to begin with--ergo they're necessarily the first stop for the many few junior investors lucky enough to exceed basic food and shelter, and begin thinking about a minor caste adjustment. This financial shift, inevitable under the current illusion of fiscal freedom, presents a major problem for elites: not only does lots of peon savings mean more food and shelter security for later generations of non-elite spawn, but lots of peon corporate investment means that non-elites could potentially gain control of powerful corporations through the accumulated ownership of enough stock, producing actual world-changing power.

Yet, with every problem comes a planning opportunity. Setbacks to elite rule benefit elites in the long run, provided they're managed so as to create the appearance of a dynamic, responsive society. Preventing the masses from electing rich imperialist Al Gore in 2000 by judicial coup, for example, seems like proof that the American vote is worthless, doesn't it? And yet, by galvanizing popular resistance to rich imperialist George Bush (why should we have to add initials every time, to make up for their terribly sad, utterly brainless lack of creative child nomenclature?), the coup itself became almost completely ignored, and Americans voted excitedly for a different rich imperialist in 2008, believing not that their votes were worthless, but that they were, in fact, more important than ever. Truth is stranger than fiction, right? Remember? Remember how Antonin Scalia got to override the voters of the supposed greatest democratic republic in human history?

But anyway, the point here is the stock market. People buy stocks--invest in corporations--in attempts to protect themselves from elite inflation. Vain attempts, as it were, but we'll get there. How do we dilute the power of commoner investment in important securities? Securities are important because they are what justified imperialism under the flag of freedom to begin with. Economic freedom, post-Magna Carta, and the approval of the masses to the slave trade and colonialism, was defended on the grounds that everyone would have the ability to freely transfer money and invest it as they chose. The modern world is as wholly based upon this idea as on any other. The merchant "middle class" that was starting to accumulate wealth to rival the landholdings of the nobility invested that extra bullion in slave ships, spice ships, triangular trade, and all that other bullshit, and the "corporation" was created as a vehicle to shield investors from the dirty results of their investments--e.g., villages of slaughtered Africans, and holds full of living cargo headed to chop cane in the new world. We all know that part, right? So now, we've got this idea that "stock," like "currency" and "Form 1040s," is a magical device that allows people to further butchery and rapine without being responsible for it in any meaningful sense.

How do we keep all of those yuppies, idly buying stock, from gaining power over the great corporations? Let's go through it piece by piece.

Shareholder voting

Holders of a corporation's common stock, per share owned, have the right to vote for members of the company's board of directors. Technically speaking, a board of directors has total power over a company. For example, the board of directors for McDonald's could decide to hire only company officers who would purchase solely organic food, or solely non-Monsanto food, or could print war- or food-supply-related facts on the backs of all of its menu sheets. That's a lot of power, considering the total resources of McDonald's. The "shareholder vote" is, like the "citizen vote" in the U.S., a bastion of the free market--and just as illusory.

American Votes--Plan A

The first, easiest way to dilute shareholder voting power is with the normal kind of democratic chicanery that you're probably already familiar with in the "political" realm. Through the spending of corporate dollars on director (i.e., "board of director") elections, those already in power can almost wholly control the perceptions of shareholder voters, leading to the election results they want.

This is a comparatively "soft" way of controlling boards--misleading shareholders in general--and isn't very striking to hear about. Yeah, yeah, so elites keep corporate boards from running they way they want by tricking people. In theory, though, this could be combated by educating shareholders, just like normal voter fraud could be combated by educating normal voters. There, we run into all the normal problems with education, imagination, want, and despair, that keep normal American elections so remarkably peaceable. Still un-shocking, though. When the problem is "dummies voting the wrong way," we're not as offended by the scope of things, because many people are willing to concede that "the dummies deserve what they get. They could've chosen better if they'd wanted to."

What about non-dummies, though? When it comes to corporate voting, we're not talking about a bunch of dirt-poor morons. Often, we're talking about an educated professional class, which has spent its entire life serving elite interests, sometimes on the inside, and has learned some of the tricks--and wants to use those tricks to raise itself in rank. What about a savvy group of middle class investors who buys a lot of shares of common stock, gains 51% voting power (or a significant enough bloc with which to negotiate a 51% equivalent), then tries to take control of a major (or at least meaningful) corporation? Worry not about elite mortal fortunes, for they have a way of putting a stop to that.

Corporate Takeovers

You've heard about these, right? Yes, you have. What is a "corporate takeover"? It's a coup on paper--usually, an elite response to a perceived threat to corporate control. When a company sees that its stock ownership is such that it may be threatened with control by non-elites, it looks to a brother or sister company (or just a powerful investor, or a powerful family firm) to "take it over." Clever interpretations of corporate bylaws, shuffling of corporate officers (a "corporate officer" means, generally, a corporate employee with some type of discretionary power over the company's affairs) in or out of jobs, the sudden generation of additional shares of stock to dilute voting power, and other tricks can allow a "corporate raider," or just a different company (one firmly in the control of the right people), to "seize control" of the wayward corporation, and shut out the dissident shareholders.

That's what it is; that's what all the 1980s bullshit about corporate takeovers was, in part: elites mangling the rules to shut out middle class voting interests, which had begun to increase due to a temporary non-recessionary period, and which the 1980s S&L "crisis" and Iraq War/Bush I recession helped to further guard against. The reason many rich people actually read the Wall Street Journal is that all that nuanced bullshit about corporate affairs is like snapshots of angry peasants building catapults outside the gates. If you understand the subtle machinations of stock shares, it's a prognosis for (non) revolution, ergo a pleasant daily affirmation of business as usual.

Best of all, to stupid (read: uninformed) people, the occurrence of "corporate takeovers" lends an appearance of "fierce capitalist competition" to the modern economy. After all, if businesses are literally taking each other over in the pursuit of profit, then that will probably translate to better serving customers, right? And if any American can freely buy stock and have a part in this great game, it's always possible to succeed in this free economy!

Dropping the Floor

This one's really more of an aside before we go on: if real, non-elite shareholders actually gained control of a company, that company could always be eliminated from the market with normal fiscal means. E.g., by removing its market share, which means, "No more customers, no more profits, the company goes out of business." This happened more in the olden days, when it took things like companies completely crashing, in the Great Depression, to shut out commoner Americans' first real romance with the stock market. Well-connected government regulators are able to squeeze unwanted companies out of business, while overlooking well-connected companies, thereby very literally crushing any business that doesn't toe the line.

That looks bad, though. When shareholders see established companies suddenly losing their customers, or selectively-enforced "regulations" popping up on the books just to shut their company down, it's as bluntly identifiable a use of elite power as mass police roundups of white people in suburbia. The potential for actual resistance grows. Elites, therefore, do not like to do this--they prefer to stick with complicated balance-sheet gamesmanship, like corporate takeovers, and the other factors discussed below. Always keep in mind, though, that it's easy for elites to directly crush individual companies, if they have to.

(How? Oh, come on--every large business in this country is violating OSHA and fibbing on office expenses, at the very least. Choosing whom to investigate, just like whose 1040 the IRS chooses to audit, is a strategic choice. Stupid, overblown regulations like "the war on drugs" or "35 MPH speed limits to protect patrons of a nearby shopping mall" or "recording everyone's phone and internet use" or "protecting vulnerable workers from broken step-stools" exist to (1) make elites look like the vigilant guardians of commoners' well-being, and (2) justify bringing the State hammer down on the deviant.)

Continued in Part 3 with "Mutual Interests & Diversity," and "Courts--The Failsafe."

<3

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Classically Speaking

I am the one who has been chosen to disseminate the classics to you.

What words do you think of when you think of the classics? Pricey. Sophisticated. Lively. Luxury. Pretentious. Celebration. Expensive. Not Interested.

The classics have not been appreciated enough before. No one knows about the classics. No one is interested in reading the classics. The classics need to be repackaged for a new millennium, and I am the one who has been chosen to bring them to you. I am a genius. You are lucky to have me, whatever the venue. Zeus. Galen. Aristotle. Dionysus. Lucifer. Milton. My incessantly barking dog in the flat down the hall.

What if Aphrodite worked at a convenience store? What if Hercules was gay? What if Poseidon was transported through time? What if Dionysus grew upset with Monsanto for encroaching upon his previously-organic vineyards?

(My god, I'm a genius!)

What if a vortex in time caused Aphrodite, Hercules, Poseidon, and Dionysus to be transported through time? What if Hercules met a cute boy while shopping for protein bars at the convenience store where Aphrodite was working to pay the bills just like an ordinary woman in modern ages while using her divine charms to trick people into buying rolls of lottery tickets that she already knew were not winners, even though her divine charms did not stretch so far as to let her win the lottery and quit the irksome job at the convenience store? What if Poseidon had been summoned by the Creators to cleanse the seas of damage cause by a nebulous combination of overfishing and polluting attributable to no one person except for a single evil executive who acted contrary to the desires of all the other board members? What if Dionysus was, it turned out, his younger twin brother, distracted in Napa Valley while Poseidon was trying to get people to care about bottles of unfinished detergent washing up in the San Francisco bay, just before the prophesied return of the kraken causes the Golden Gate to snap apart in an incredible three minutes and nine seconds' performance by Pixar Studios?

It's an enigma. It's a stroke of literary genius. It's a romance where no one talks about love. It's a baseball story where no one ever plays a game of baseball. It's everything you expect and everything you don't expect. I've been asked to bring back Shakespeare and the classics because people just aren't familiar enough with them although they can instantly identify them and feel a sense of kinship and authority. What would motivate you to renew your interests in the classics? Cheaper. Available Locally. Available At Home. Available On The Internet. Faster. Recommended By A Friend. Recommended By A Professional. Not Interested.

It's the story of the man who worked at the cursed foundry where they built the cast used to shape the barrel of the shotgun that Kurt Cobain used to shoot himself in 1994. What if that shotgun could talk? What if it worked its way back to the foundry worker through a series of hilarious coincidences, then helped him patch things up with his dyslexic son and his unemployed wife, and realize that he had been at fault all along? Chris Martin has already been contracted for the remixed soundtrack. Colin Farrell will voice "the young talking shotgun," Will Farrell will offer a humorous take on "the matured talking shotgun," and Morgan Freeman will play his aging father.

($300 million? Don't aim too low! No one likes the chronically depressed!)

Everyone in the industry agrees I'm a marvel. Where did this kid come from? She's everything you've ever wanted. I was surprised, myself, at the maturity level exhibited. Didn't you just cry at that one part? Holy shit, what do you like? Oh yeah, get all high and mighty on me. I can't help it if things come this easily. I think of things, jot them down, and suddenly, there it all is, available in seventeen countries. I'd like to thank all forty-six members of the team for the sequel, which was slightly different than the original team. I couldn't have done it without the ancient Greeks. The ancient Greeks, and Kurt Cobain. Yeah, I've always been a fan. Of Zeus, I mean. Basically, I'm just a genius. I try to be modest about it. Ask my friend. (Yes, indeed, she is a genius.)

What if Aphrodite worked in a convenience store? Can you just imagine the zany situations? Boy, if someone tried to rape her, late at night, they would get it. She would be all, lightning up they ass! LMAO! Here's a picture for your next visit to facebook: the actress who played Aphrodite, behind a counter littered with change and lottery tickets, shooting divine lightning at a white-trash rapist (played by Nick Nolte) and frying him into toast. In all-caps Times New Roman, the meme reads something like, I HAD A BAD DAY AT WORK, WATCH IT, BITCH!!!

Omigod, it's so fucking genius I can't believe it. There's some guy from the Mercedes dealership outside, trying to offer me a free car, as long as I promise to only drive with the windows down.

I try to be humble about it--I've been chosen to disseminate the classics.

In MY take on Hercules, he's not only gay, he's a BOTTOM. And he ends up with a half-Asian, half-black, vertically-challenged guy who teaches Greek history, but at a community college, so you know he's not a snob. Hercules LAUGHS at modern body builders, dispatches corrupt goons, and teaches a whole class of inner-city community college kids that history is about more than getting 3 credits and an A: it's about discovering who we are and where we came from. You thought this stuff was stupid cheese when some C-list guy did it all last year, and his movie is rotting in the back of the video store, because Netflix won't even deign to carry it. But when HERCULES does it, it's not only hilarious, it's also brilliant. You own the Special Edition copy even though it's saved on your DVR from the network release.

You'll have to excuse my genius. Because the real movie is not about Aphrodite, Hercules, Poseidon, or even Dionysus. No. It's about everyday issues. Common issues. It offers a deep perspective on the world in which we live. These popular figures, so regularly a part of the common imagination (yes, I did write it that way, I'm a critic, I can say what I want and it BECOMES well English, so just DEAL with it! and whose gonna call me on it anywayz? because i spell and conjugate everything correctly in other places, you KNOW it's cute when I use "Z" in place of "S"!!!! :) !!)

As I was trying to saying, these popular figures, so regularly a part of the common imagination, are employed by me, the industry's current official disseminator (C.O.D.) of the classics, to intellectually illuminate imaginative issues in modern fiction. You're vaguely aware of the classical creation myths, and I can use that. It doesn't matter if your vague awareness is based upon a Disney-fied version of an Anglicized version of an incorrect clusterfuckedly wrong rehash of tales that you might appreciate if you actually read them, oh no; what matters is that you already bought your ticket, so stuff it in your piehole and go buy a soda straw with one of Poseidon's sexy mermaid retainers wrapped around it.

My best friends don't usually like spending 53 seconds watching someone clean the icy gunk out of the gutter in the front of the soda machine, but when Aphrodite does it, it's a brilliant commentary on the intersection of past and present. Our common humanity is unified in unfathomable ways by the genius, me, who thought it all up.

Thank you. Thank you all.