Tag Archives: Culture

No Words….

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/new-evidence-emerges-of-steve-bannon-and-cambridge-analyticas-role-in-brexit

Hate to be self-referential but….

Dismantling the Popular Democratic Process

Fucking Idiot Racists Come in All Colors

CNN, not fake news.

Fascinating Read

The last slave ship survivor interview.

2018 = 1984

Edited on 7/27 wrong link inserted.

Anyone who has a passing interest in cyber security and government has known since the Diebold debacle that these machines were and still are largely unregulated cyber holes. They are easily hacked and often running un-patched and outdated software with little or no upgrade path and are produced by companies with political ties and/or a political agenda.

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t give a rats ass.

I get it, people are busy and computers are complicated. People in power have always used the perception of complication, if not the actual complications themselves to dissuade people from voting or to sway their vote. Ignorance in general is a very useful tool in swaying peoples opinions.

Having some definitive proof of tampering may not do much to get most people riled up, but if it does alarm enough, there can be real change. Unfortunately, right now, we are in 1984 mode. We have little to guide us as to what the truth is and a president that is telling us to avoid trusting our own eyes and ears and trust only him.

Big brother will provide.

 

But Unfortunately He Is, and By Your Silence You Are….

“Based on recent behavior and previous statements, the North Carolina Republican Party is unable and unwilling to support the Republican nominated candidate for North Carolina House District 48″ – GOP chairman Robin Hayes .

The Republican party has been putting up with the precursor to this for YEARS therefore encouraging and supporting it. Chickens….meet roost.

Libertarian Socialism? Could It Actually Be A Thing?

I constantly find myself redefining myself, looking for the words to describe my belief in a bite sized way. It almost never happens and is constantly changing, but I continue to try.

Fair contracts between individuals, limited government intrusion into our personal lives as long as we continue to adhere to some common law, no eminent domain, regulated free markets, gun rights for individuals who pass a background check, free travel across state lines and equal constitutional protection.

Also….

Health care for all, free or dirt cheap college or continuing education for all, good free education for all regardless of geography and race, make Internet and other communications, power companies and other “utilities” public, not free but owned by the people they serve, strong labor unions…

Yep, I’m a Libertarian Socialist!

A Message

Alien abduction stories have diminished in the last few years…

I wonder why.

We don’t give a fuck about each other anymore.

We don’t give a fuck that we are demonizing kids, both our own and those just yearning to breathe free.  We’ve created a MS13 factory by separating kids from parents in the vain effort to use them as playing cards in our xenophobic deck.
We’ve hardened our hearts to each other in our webspheres and countless subreddits.
We’ve said the we want to protect life, but only if its politically expedient.
We turn our backs on each other because of our races, languages and the places we live. If we knew, truly, where we’ve been, the politicized history of denial of entry to those we feel are degenerate or lesser. From the Irish, to the Jew, to the Arab and the Mexican, someone always has to be less than us. And don’t even start me on “forced immigration.”
If there really is intelligent life out there and somehow they have condescended to look at us as microbes in a petri dish, they are surely appalled at our lack of care for each other and the big brownish ball we live on. We’d better be happy they can’t see us or haven’t yet found us or we’d surely be wiped off the face of the universe with extraterrestrial Lysol. Good news is that we probably won’t feel a thing.

We’ve become the absolute worst measure of humanity, our better angels have been slain by the devils we’ve nurtured through ignorance and greed.

If we continue down this path, we deserve whatever we get.

I’ve seen this coming, its only going to get worse.

It’s About Culture 2.5: Incels

I’ve been wondering why there hasn’t been much grumbling from the right about terrorism after the Toronto van incident on April 23rd. (even I find myself minimizing this act as anything other than one of terrorism). Attack just sounds too calculated and as most of these types of incidents are, the only planning this one seemed to involve was renting a truck and targeting its random victims.  There is an ideology behind it, after all nowadays every asshole crackpot with a chip on his shoulder has some stupid manifesto to shape their out-sized rage.

This guy was one.

As usual the mainstream press is too late to the cultural changes that have been pointing right at this type of insane baby rage. Some guy who never learned proper coping skills, gets turned down by women he thought he had the right to and all of a sudden he’s the member of some made up protected class. In the case of Alek Minassian couldn’t even handle hanging out with other dudes (He left the Canadian army after a short stint for the reason that “(he) wasn’t adapting to military life, including in matters of dress, deportment and group interactions in a military setting.”

They call themselves “incels” or involuntary celibates, an outgrowth of the Pickup Artist(PUA)/Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW)/Men’s Rights Activists (MRA) with a side of alt-right victim-hood, they are the disgruntled kid still living in mommy’s basement all growed up.

These movements, mostly the result of demographic and cultural shifts have cross pollinated, colluded and combined in some terrifyingly interesting ways. They take an already fragile combination of identity, masculinity and frail senses of self to create a toxic soup of discontent.

I’ve watched from the sidelines as the first wave of fragile male PUAS made their marks, as self published gurus (many of which had interesting things to say about masculinity and independence, but as our culture usually goes, take them too far and in the wrong direction) make side hustles out of e-books fashioned from kooky mysticism and 90’s self help, podcasting and blogging their way to a form of stardom that could only come about in the digital age.

Many of these were barely distinguishable in language to many of the books the authors admired, self-talky and simple, the “mindset revolution” was strong with them. Initially the few who were really vile, like Roosh V’s. “Bang” were relegated to a space that seemed not too far removed from the pick up artistry of yore, the main difference being that they never tried to hide their disdain for the female sex. They met in a weird place that brought together Libertarian and Libertine with a dash of Bob Guccione. They are bitter, young, economically affected, generally White or Whiteish, and either they believe or in actuality, that their future is bleak (comparatively) and they are a new class of lone wolf terrorists.

It’s a weird time. The full transformation from self-styled pick up artists, lunkheads, meme-lords and internet Nazis into the nebulous “alt-right” is living proof of a kind of social Darwinism. Seeing how this movement evolved proved to me that the biggest threat to liberal democracy is the misuse of technology. The wildfire spread of bad, harmful, malignant ideas from a combination of attention whores, grieving man babies, workout gurus and the sons of angry white males was amazingly fast, scorching the whole of the earth. It was the textbook example of an organic social movement fueled by many of the above players and fanned by people looking to profit from the rise of right-wing sentiments. Its hard sometimes to tell who is who.

These years will be fodder for future case studies on how trends evolve. So many different influences have crafted the current tide of disaffection across the cultural spectrum it’s really hard to link our current cultural state to a single one factor.

I’m sure, even now there ate authoritarian streaks in other communities that we have yet to activate. Sleeper cells of toxic culture that are hiding under the cultural radar waiting to explode. As a person of color I especially worry about a resurgence of more militant “Black (or Brown) Power” movements rising up to meet the AWM factions activated by the latest cultural trends.

I suspect that there are a fair number of educated, disaffected young Black men who also are involuntarily celibate and rage filled. Personally, I think this whole country needs some quality time on the couch.

Random Notes

Some days my head is just way too full of shit.

This got me thinking about some of the things rattling around in there.  So now my random association machine  is going at full throttle.

First: There are so many things wrong with a study like this.

Primarily, it was obviously not designed by someone who had ever truly been poor. Anyone who managed by some miracle to escape poverty into even the lower rungs of the middle class, especially if they’d been a scholarship kid, knows that there is so much more than income that drives intelligence and development. Any exposure to wealth by anyone who’d been poor is like a walk in the mirror universe.

There is an unspoken ease that you feel in the presence of someone who hasn’t really known hunger (I’m sure that feeling is similar between someone who has known the occasional stretch of empty cupboards, like myself,  and someone who was truly been HUNGRY) there is an unknown specter that hangs over the food secure, that only in my adult life was I able to identify.

Granted, it is not possible to get the full scope of such a grand experiment in a short article, nor is it possible to explore every nuance of poverty, especially viewed through the lens of those who “have.” Regardless of any of that being someone who spent some significant amount of time, as a child and as the head of a household, on the upper rungs of the poverty ladder I already see some clear omissions.

It is relevant that this comes up now though, especially when the discussion of eugenics (Race and I.Q. most notably) is back in vogue. We are seeing poverty in stalker contrasts now as it relates to privilege and denial of privilege.

Being poor is becoming a caste in the U.S..

Here comes the brain dump:

So a few of the things one needs to take into account that come along with even a small boost in income are as follows:

  1.  Exposure to culture. Poor kids get (some) sports, middle class kids get sports and piano, slightly richer kids get different sports, cello and museums and history, richer still get to see and experience them all. Yes, it is a broad oversimplification, but if experience is the best teacher, learning about Africa or Europe and going there are very different experiences. Studying Jazz, Classical or any genre of any art and EXPERIENCING them are also very different things. Now there are plenty of parents I know who have very limited means who found a way to give their kids exposure to all of he above and I give them all due credit, but being of means makes these things not just optional but in many cases obligatory.
  2. Exposure to lead (and other toxins). On the other hand, poverty, is literally toxic. Environmental factors are a huge determinant and can be a severe detriment if the environment is toxic. Poor people have lead exposure levels that are still much higher then they should be. Other environmental factors from pollution in both rural and urban environments have been shown to affect fetal development and IQ and in some studies are shown to be more significant than genetics. A study of Indian children draws some wider conclusions making the multi-factor argument better than I can.
  3. The culture of achievement. This is a tough one because you can easily come off as a bigot but the aspirations, and examples you are surrounded by have a huge influence on your motivation. Now this is regardless of race or location and is primarily one of the reasons for the current rural backlash as people who had always had a familial association with hands on trades like farming felt the same wave of doubt and dislocation as people in urban areas felt when manufacturing jobs fled. The burgeoning Black middle class had barely had a chance to take root when the rug was pulled out from under them, it didn’t go well. White rural America is coming to the same realization, it won’t go well.  Basically, if you see agility in your life going forward, you are much more likely to prepare to be agile, if you see your father’s, father’s lifestyle disappearing and that lifestyle isn’t just a living but an identity, there is much more at stake.
  4. Food Insecurity/Exhaustion. Some parents, or parent, just work too much to get any face time with their kids. The combination of poor nutrition and exhaustion is for many people the very definition of poverty.  Poverty is a syndrome, with moving parts that often swap and change over time and a host of symptoms that need multiple inoculations and will likely take years even decades to just get under control. In my mind its obvious that there is not one single factor, one single cure or one single method or ideology that can be employed to help.

Studying poverty and all its aspects is important, that goes without saying, but one single study studying a few aspects of poverty will barely put a dent into our understanding. Poor people know more about poverty than anyone, they experience it and the anxiety that comes with it and live with that reality. Poverty changes your chemistry, rewires your brain and focuses your attention on survival in ways that aren’t apparent to anyone who never lived it. I have a few suggestions for things that would help as do many experts but without buy in from the people expected to benefit from them our every effort will ultimately fail.

The Dream

On this 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King I’d like to say a few things.

We are, despite our division, in a much better place then we were in 1968.

Despite that we still have a long way to go.

For anyone who wonders if the words and actions of the civil rights movement still have relevance, remember that within most living people’s lifetime there were laws that restricted citizen’s rights to marry, travel and raise children.

That… economic strength, passed on through the generations, was not as strong for women and communities of color, if you were a woman of color things were at least twice as hard.

That… the modern middle class was built on the strength of a massive war effort and the financial benefits that came with it, and that African-Americans were largely exempted from those benefits. These foundations were even further distant when considering that discriminatory hiring, firing and salaries were common and when African-Americans tried to band together to demand better conditions violence always ensued.

The current conditions, economic disparities supported by racist assumptions that are now being used to prove those very assumptions, have been with us a very long time. If the country is over 200 years old and Civil Rights have been in place by law for 50 of those years, even assuming everyone instantly got the rights they deserved, which they didn’t, we have been a bigoted country supported by racist institutions for 3/4 of our existence.

Making it personal, If you have made any “mistakes” in your 20’s are 50 and are still paying for them you are, those mistakes put you about where we are as a country now, older and not really all that much wiser.

Post-racialism is a myth concocted by people who hope we get too lazy to do the math or too distracted to not look at the calendar. If we do nothing else lets not forget that we are only a short few steps into this new paradigm and it isn’t too early to lose it all.

RIP MLK 4/4/1968

 

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