“At the moment, however, and for the foreseeable future, we are also living through an extended period of what can justly be called the Phantom Revolution, in which we rebel against threats to our liberty that don’t actually exist but that we create for ourselves. It is not a revolution of the mind. It’s a revolution of the gut. It is not a revolution of ideas. It’s a revolution of the id. We have so cheapened the idea of revolution that the emergence of this revolution manqué was inevitable. It has manifested itself in spasms over the past several decades, primarily through the development of the modern conservative mind, which has chosen a series of imaginary enemies against whom to stage a very real counterrevolutionary struggle. The Clinton Death List. The Birther Conspiracy. The Tea Party. Then four years of an administration* based on phantom policies, run by a president* who’d made his entire career out of phantom success and phantom wealth and who discharged his phantom duties with phantom competence. Donald Trump did not create the Phantom Revolution. But on his watch, the Phantom Revolution manifested itself in actual revolutionary activity, some of it violent. (…) For a revolutionary nation, we’ve become so bad at revolutions that we find it necessary to locate imaginary oppressors against whom to rebel, many of them the most powerless people around. We saw the beginnings of something real in the summer of 2020 following the killing of George Floyd, and the country is desperately in need of revolutionary change—to face the climate crisis, to rebuild itself, to address challenges undreamed of only a decade ago, to adjust its 18th-century government to the needs of the 21st, and, dammit, to run its elections in a sensible way. We should be better at all this than we are.” Charles Pierce

“An underlying issue has dogged our counterinsurgency efforts from Vietnam to Iraq for over a generation. When the United States risks the lives of its military, stakes its prestige and involves other countries, it must do so on the basis of a combination of strategic and political objectives. Strategic, to make clear the circumstances for which we fight; political, to define the governing framework to sustain the outcome both within the country concerned and internationally. The United States has torn itself apart in its counterinsurgent efforts because of its inability to define attainable goals and to link them in a way that is sustainable by the American political process. The military objectives have been too absolute and unattainable and the political ones too abstract and elusive. The failure to link them to each other has involved America in conflicts without definable terminal points and caused us internally to dissolve unified purpose in a swamp of domestic controversies.” Henry Kissinger

“Polariation has already damaged America’s global influence, well short of future tests like these. That influence depended on what Joseph Nye, a foreign-policy scholar, labelled ‘soft power’, that is, the attractiveness of American institutions and society to people around the world. That appeal has been greatly diminished: it is hard for anyone to say that American democratic institutions have been working well in recent years, or that any country should imitate America’s political tribalism and dysfunction. The hallmark of a mature democracy is the ability to carry out peaceful transfers of power following elections, a test the country failed spectacularly on January 6th. The biggest policy debacle by President Joe Biden’s administration in its seven months in office has been its failure to plan adequately for the rapid collapse of Afghanistan. However unseemly that was, it doesn’t speak to the wisdom of the underlying decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, which may in the end prove to be the right one. Mr Biden has suggested that withdrawal was necessary in order to focus on meeting the bigger challenges from Russia and China down the road. I hope he is serious about this. Barack Obama was never successful in making a ‘pivot’ to Asia because America remained focused on counterinsurgency in the Middle East. The current administration needs to redeploy both resources and the attention of policymakers from elsewhere in order to deter geopolitical rivals and to engage with allies. The United States is not likely to regain its earlier hegemonic status, nor should it aspire to. What it can hope for is to sustain, with like-minded countries, a world order friendly to democratic values. Whether it can do this will depend not on short-term actions in Kabul, but on recovering a sense of national identity and purpose at home.” Francis Fukuyama

“In January, I stumbled across a new thread there titled ‘Dead Internet Theory: Most of the Internet is Fake,’ shared by a user named IlluminatiPirate. Over the next few months, this would become the ur-text for those interested in the theory. The post is very long, and some of it is too confusing to bother with; the author claims to have pieced together the theory from ideas shared by anonymous users of 4chan’s paranormal section and another forum called Wizardchan, an online community premised on earning wisdom and magic through celibacy. (In an email, IlluminatiPirate, who is an operations supervisor for a logistics company in California, told me that he ‘truly believes’ in the theory. I agreed not to identify him by name because he said he fears harassment.)” Kaitlyn Tiffany

“Nothing is more despicable than the old age of a passionate man. When the vigour of youth fails him, and his amusements pall with frequent repetition, his occasional rage sinks by decay of strength into peevishness; that peevishness, for want of novelty and variety, becomes habitual; the world falls off from around him, and he is left, as Homer expresses it, to devour his own heart in solitude and contempt.” Dr. Johnson

“Looks like we’re two bananas short of a dog shit sundae.” Cliff Steele

Is there one diagram, chart or illustration that can sum up the average American voter regardless of party or political leanings?


If you have a better idea I’d like to hear it.

Chew on that for awhile as we move along.

What’s 2022 going to bring?

Like most things it will be powered along by events that transpired in 2021. At some point in the next 12 months we’re going to find out the consequences of what happens when the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict merges with the military taking their tools home at the end of the day. Sooner or later protesters and counter-protesters will be armed and it will come down to who has the better fire power.

Boiling it down – in the short run don’t go out in Portland after dark.

That said – the verdict was the least interesting part of the trial. The real problem with where we are now came the second someone handed the judge an iPad.

OH the look on his face.

The central problem right now is neither capitalism nor socialism.

It’s Geritolism.

We’re run by a country of olds who are kept in place by other olds as only the olds vote. But it’s not like the olds in power pander to the olds who vote. The olds in power merely execute their worldview despite the fact that the world has changed far too much and far too fast in the past 10 years. Meanwhile the electorate olds vote for the olds in power because the olds in power think like they do.The whole thing is a closed loop. think of it this way – Zuckerberg isn’t exploiting division. He’s just traveling through the loopholes that no one can close because they have no idea how the world works now.

Will it lead to an authoritarian state?

No … well … you can call it that if you’d like.

It’s more like we’re going back to the 19th Century where most of the country was run – at least at the local level – by bosses and tight-knit cabals. (America’s original rule by the minority.) There will be no agenda but to hold power and idealism will be based on the prevalent group think of wherever the boss or bosses are located.

Will people notice?

Unless some moral outrage accompanies the return to fiefdoms no one will notice – no matter how facetious this may sound – until Porn Hub gets shut down.


If you’re looking at this page you’re probably attuned if not hyper attuned to current events as offered by the cable channels, web sites, and various publications. Which is why I would put it to you that Red State Blue State divide overlooks the real split – those who care about all the the things that happens in the public sphere vs. those who don’t care.

Need proof?

Two words – Britney Spears.

Again if you derive you daily intake of news from the sources previously mentioned you’re getting top-down information. What Ms. Spears proved is that there is news that comes from the bottom up and the people getting bottom-up info do not share your body of knowledge. They’re not stupid – it’s just how their wired up. Sure, some of the new bosses will recognize this and apply what they learned from our current state of manipulating the religious, but for the most part they, like Zukerberg, will skate along on the backs of the people who can’t or never did pay much attention.

So there you have it – the divisions in our society will lead to armed protesters as well as armed counter protesters while the Marines take their work home with them at night and all the while those in charge fail to keep up with a world that changed so long ago that – should they ever venture out of their bubbles – they’d find it to be a foreign land.

What could possibly go wrong?

Indecision married to a lack of vision

“In 1922, the sociologist William Fielding Ogburn, interested in how technology and society interact, coined the term ‘cultural lag.’ The concept is straightforward for our 21st century sensibilities, where things change fairly rapidly. As Ogburn wrote: ‘The thesis is that the various parts of modern culture are not changing at the same rate, some parts are changing much more rapidly than others; and that since there is a correlation and interdependence of parts, a rapid change in one part of our culture requires readjustments through other changes in the various correlated parts of culture.’

“What happens when different parts of society change at unequal rates and fail to adapt to each other? Ogburn’s example in his seminal book resonates easily with today’s issues. He argued that industry and education correlate. If one changes, the other has to change commensurately. If one changes rapidly, but the other does not—if industry changes rapidly due to technological advances, but education does not—we get cultural lag. In Ogburn’s view, that leads to Ogburn called maladjustment and instability, the gears of society fitting poorly together.” Zeynep Tufekci

“That aspect of the modern crisis which is bemoaned as a ‘wave of materialism’ is related to what is called the ‘crisis of authority.’ If the ruling class has lost its consensus, i.e. is no longer “leading” but only “dominant,” exercising coercive force alone, this means precisely that the great masses have become detached from their traditional ideologies, and no longer believe what they used to believe previously, etc. The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” — Antonio Gramsci, 1930

“There once lived a man named Oedipus Rex, you may have heard about his odd complex, his name appears in Freud’s index,’cause he loved his mother.” Tom Leher

“(Lord Alfred Douglas’s) who held the title of the Marquess of Queensberry, for a start, were cartoonish in their grotesquerie. The Douglases were mad, and flying into ‘fits of rage, gibbering and snarling’ was an inherited trait. Cannibalism (one ancestor in 1707 impaled a cook’s boy on a spit and roasted him), dramatic shooting accidents, suicides, explosions and mountaineering mishaps beset the clan. Incest was not unknown. Bosie’s uncle was ‘deeply attached to his twin sister’ and was heartbroken when she married Sir Alexander Beaumont Churchill Dixie, known as Sir ABCD. He drank himself into a deep depression. One of Bosie’s (Lord Alfred Douglas) aunts kept a pet jaguar, obtained in Patagonia, which annoyed Queen Victoria by killing deer in Windsor Great Park.” Douglas Murray

Unmoved though Witlings sneer and Rivals rail,
Studious to please, yet not ashamed to fail.
He scorns the meek address, the suppliant strain.
With merit needless, and without it vain.
In Reason, Nature, Truth, he dares to trust:
Ye Fops, be silent: and ye Wits, be just. – Dr. Johnson

Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line for the next available Bolshevik.

On the Friday before the election the phone rang. On the other end was a gent who said he was from the far eastern end of the state and he was certain I was responsible for “turning your town into a shit hole.” (Such flattery!) For good measure he followed that up with, “Liberalism is a mental disease!” To which I said, I’m not a psychiatrist so I can’t speak to that.

Well that did it.

He hung up only to call back a couple of minutes later. This time he was shouting, “Liberalism is a mental disease!” This time I said, yes, got that. As I said before, I can’t speak to that as I am not a psychiatrist. Is there anything else I can help you with?

He hung up again and shifted his strategy. He texted, all in caps, “LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISEASE.” which begs the question, “Why me, God?”

When you come right down to Mom ‘n me aren’t just lovable, we’re all wrinkly and cute like Sharpei puppies.

Why would anybody want to do a thing like that?

… oh … wait …

It’s about how we vote, isn’t it?

Look, on the most recent pass I didn’t really make a choice based on policy or some lofty set of ideals. I voted the way I did because I just can’t take any more winning. At my age I have to think about my health and all this winning was getting to be too much of a strain. The day after day of excitement of winning got to be too much. I’m not as young as I used to be. I can’t put in all the hours necessary to make this town a shit hole only to come home, turn on the tv, and be overwhelmed by more winning.

Some of us need to move on.

The War on Christmas will be here any minute.

The silver lining in this comes from Jared’s public-private partnership which will let me pick up some Geritol while I’m at CVS getting tested for the bug.

Now looking back at all that conservatives can say, “I don’t think you’re taking us seriously.”

How can I when you run around acting like the dumbest pack of motherfuckers on the planet?

Face facts – the last thing any of you need to do is challenge the outcome of this election. The second Biden takes over you’ll be ass deep in ridiculously complacent liberals who think the sun shines out their collective ass because they beat back the hordes. Once the 2022 and 2024 elections smack ’em side the head they’ll just wander around dazed wondering what just happened. Shortly thereafter they’ll come up for air and start with all that, “We need to educate people.” bullshit.

Alaska Wolf Joe and I have been talking about this since the dust settled on Pennsylvania. He points to the guy who runs the barber shop he frequented prior to the pandemic. The owner/operator is a Second Amendment fanboy. In listening to him talk AWJ says he has no interested in being “educated” since his definition of “educated” is having some libtard go full metal schoolmarm on his ass. Put another way, as far as these folks are concerned such “education” runs along a spectrum that’s patronizing on one end and damned annoying on the other.

Not that it stops there as there’s plenty of stupid to go around.

Once the GOP had people like Howard Baker, Everett McKinley Dirksen, Jerry Ford, Jake Javits, and Barry Goldwater who knew when to shut up and sit on their hands and let all good things come to he who waits.


Lessee- there’s Gohmert Pyle, and incoming freshman senator Tommy Tuberville who this week identified the three branches of government as “The House, The Senate, and the executive.” (Oxford comma courtesy of the New York Times)

That’s two outta three and as the old saying goes, close enough for horseshoes and gummint work.

If anybody on the Right had any sense they’d play the string out and let him go down to Florida to achieve martyrdom. He can claim to be the government in exile. Supposedly the family will start their own cable news channel which is as interesting as it is elderly.

Start a media venture on a medium that’s flailing since the medium is only popular with people over 60?

It will be unique because it will be the first time someone claiming to be the government in exile used something other than shortwave broadcasts to get their message out. Each missive will keep the faithful wound up and breathlessly waiting another transmission.

And while we’re on the subject consider this – in 10 years it will as hard to explain Rush Limbaugh’s popularity to young people as it was for my parents to explain Arthur Godfrey’s appeal to me.

No contact curbside pick up

In no particular order here’s a variety of items that need to come off the desk.

– Zeynep Tufekci is one of those every-so-often eggheads who captures the public’s attention. Think of her as the new Malcom Gladwell or rather the new Alvin Toffler. In mentioning William Fielding Ogburn (above) she rolls the clock back past Future Shock to the place Toffler got his ideas. You know, that book that certain people of a certain age read when they were teenagers because it was either that or The Greening of America which was a lengthy tome cribbed from Marcuse.

It was the 70s.

You had to be there.

– Thanks to a series of freebies we have now sampled all the major streaming services. My favorite by far is Hulu.

Why Hulu?

Besides being the only service which features my people’s Christmas movie, a heartwarming tale of a widower and his young son who take Santa hostage?

Hulu is trashy. If Hulu were an actual human being Hulu would be warming up a stool at the far end of the bar. Netflix is a starched Elizabethan collar and Disney+ suffers from Disney trying to put put too much synergy into each and every undertaking.

Did you see their version of Hamilton?

However Disney+’s vast store of old cartoons proves that Roger Rabbit was right when he said, “That Goofy’s a genius!”

That said I have spent a good deal of time on Amazon Prime which doesn’t do Amazon’s internal research any good. I just watch and re-watch The Boys and old episodes of What’s My Line? from the 1950s. Thanks to WML? I came up with a name for the alter ego I’ll be using on Parler – Lady Remington.

Both Jacobin magazine and Alaska Wolf Joe have explored the idea that the DSA should all become registered Republicans in order to steer the working classes towards socialism. Jacobin laid out the case while AWJ thinks it’s fever dream that’s not going anywhere.

But Lady Remington thinks it’s a great idea!

BTW – the new Jacobin examines the idea of America being a failed state. I’ll be taking that up in a couple of weeks.

Between now and then let’s join hands and sing along.

I want to put on my my my my my Boog-ie shoes just to Boog-ie with you!

“Every decade or so, it seems, the econ­omy seizes up, central bankers go into overdrive, and commentators temporarily converge on the view that the neoliberal era is over. Then everything goes back to normal, only worse. The recurring crisis of neolib­eralism has proven to be a central feature of neoliberalism itself.Of course, this time could very well be different. But if we want to assess neoliberalism’s prospects for sur­vival, we shouldn’t yet go looking for clues in, say, the fluctuations of the junk bond market or Eurogroup communiqués. It’s too early to know what the long-run effects of those machinations will be once the acute phase of the pandemic is behind us. Instead, we should start with a more basic question: If neoliberalism were to end, how would we know?” – Seth Ackerman

“People still read Marcus’s private writings on stoicism, published thereafter in a collection known as The Meditations, in search of the solace and guidance his work sought to bring to honourable souls troubled by the impossible task of living nobly in a world of madness and stupidity. ‘I learned to be religious, and liberal,’ he wrote, ‘and to guard, not only against evil actions, but even against any evil intentions entering my thoughts.’ He advocated (and personally adhered to) living with only simple comforts, a strong work ethic, manly integrity, and other such calmcore (sic) macho beard-strokery befitting of a Good Dad who thinks the world revolves around him. At least in the emperor’s case the world did revolve around him, which is perhaps why the Meditations are so popular among entrepreneurs, politicians, and business bloggers who are surely gonna make it big any day now. Pompous white men who creep on women and believe that they are anointed for great things worship the guy: Bill Clinton claimed to have read the Meditations twice on the campaign trail. Eric Trump quoted the movie version (Gladiator released by Dream Works 2000) of Marcus thinking he was just a fictional character, because that’s American meritocracy for you. – Laurie Charles

Tradinistas: These unusual Catholics, to put it politely, combine the aesthetic sensibilities of a French royalist with the political instincts of a Cuban apparatchik. Originally used to refer to a small band of committed Latin-Mass Marxists, the term now refers to anyone attempting to reconcile theological orthodoxy with Leftist politics, such as Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig. Tradinistas hold liberalism responsible for the collapse of Christendom and see capitalism as incompatible with Catholic social teaching. On the grotesque failures of socialism, and its condemnation by successive popes, they prefer to observe the monastic tradition of ‘the Great Silence.’ Tradinistas have a sense of humour, but it fails them when fellow Catholics giggle at their intellectual contortions.” – Michael Warren Davis and Damian Thompson

“The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.” Loose translation, commonly attributed to (Antonio) Gramsci by Slavoj Žižek, presumably formulation by Žižek

“If we make the praise or blame of others the rule of our conduct, we shall be distracted by a boundless variety of irreconcilable judgments, be held in perpetual suspense between contrary impulses, and consult forever without determination.” Dr. Johnson

(ABOVE: Tip o’ the tinfoil lined M’s cap to Hizzoner Emeritus, The Prop for making a newsstand run for us.)

“Bolshevism! Sheer Bolshevism! Ripe for the quashing!” C. Montgomery Burns

This was the week that began placidly enough. Special Old Coot Shopping Time at the grocery store was particularly leisurely as many of our fellow shoppers stopped to consider the canned goods as if they were hanging in The Louvre. As the fluorescent la light fell across the many colors of the fruit cocktail label they became transfixed and very stationary. While it added an additional 20 minutes to our shopping trip it was worth knowing that these people had come away with both their bodies and their souls equally nourished. That’s why it was a damn shame that the governor got everybody all pixelated a few days later when he went on tv to say we could leave this house next week. So as not to be upstaged, our mayor ordered a curfew last night with only 15 minutes notice which was fine as we probably could do with spending some time at home.

With such little notice the streets still had normal traffic or at last what passes for normal traffic these days. On my way home – as I am nothing if not a law abiding libtard – while stopped at the light at one of our larger intersections there were was a delivery struck in front of me and another delivery struck in front of that. So while downtown was on fire and the National Guard was called out no tanks rolled through the streets.

But the Amazon delivery trucks did.

And that’s probably all any of us need to know about where America is at right now.

The mayor had a press conference and while she did a miserable job of explaining why she gave everybody 15 minutes notice, but she was adept enough to not blame outside agitators. Up here in the Big Damp Woods nothing will get you un-elected faster than blaming outside agitators. Make no mistake, several pols tried that one and most found that the words “one term” are always applied to whatever office they used to hold. Sure, you can get a little cheeky and say the agitators came from “nearby” just so long as you make it sound like a 20 minute drive. Even if there’s incontrovertible proof that these nogoodniks came from the South Pole you just sit on it because Seattle and the South Pole are both on the same planet and that – as they say – is good enough for horseshoes and gummint work.

Long story short – the local electorate doesn’t care who did it or where they came from – they want their electeds to make sure nobody makes a dog’s dinner out of downtown.

“For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” Polonius from Hamlet Scene 1 Act 3

Speaking of outside agitators it pains me to have to do this.

Friday night on libtard Twitter some guy in Minneapolis put of a picture of a truck parked across the street from his house. He said he’d never see it nor the driver before, but he was curious as to what the big decal on the back of the truck was.

It looked like this:

The conservatives among you can now go get more coffee as I must talk to my fellow libtards, especially the ones whose information diet is made up of so much pre-chewed food from NPR.

Over the past weeks you’ve seen demonstrators demanding to be let out of the house. (We’ll deal with the sticky issue of how they got out of the house to protest at another time.) Many of these folks believe that there’s going to be another civil war any day. They refer to this upcoming conflict as The Boogaloo and somehow Booglaoo as morphed into the use of the word “igloo” for reasons unknown. While they were at it they have also decided that they shall be known by the colorful Hawaiian shirts they wear in public.


I find this deeply disturbing as they’ve appropriated clothing meant for short, fat, middle-age men. If I were to wear my purple one that’s covered with plumerias, which looks amazing under a black light, I wouldn’t look snappy – I’d look like one more pistol packin’ old spoot with an agenda.

And I will never be able to forgive the Boog-ie Men or whatever they call themselves for co-opting my wardrobe.

Now that we’ve established that –

The truck suggests that there might be a Booger in the midst of the Minneapolis riots. That differs from those who believe Antifa is involved. In either case it denies that the people who are in the streets are there as a matter of active consideration. Despite three months of near isolation, massive job losses at the minimum-wage level, and across the service industries, despite the fact that using public transportation is a serious health risk, and despite adequate access to health care should they need it – these people are not out in the streets of their own volition.

Somebody put ’em up to it.

After all they’re merely innocents. God knows, the lady who cleans the house would never riot. She’s always so punctual and has such nice manners and the Junior League goes that community center in her neighborhood to put on a little something for the children at Christmas. The place is as drafty as an old barn, but you do it for the kids.

Those people wouldn’t repay us by rioting would they?

Of course not.

It’s all the work of some naughty white kids who want to stir things up and organize unions.

Which leads to the question – if you blame outsiders are you merely taking The White Man’s Burden into the 21st Century?

Wanna know why we want to blame outsiders?

Too many us no longer own our own hot buttons. Sure, we have the personal ones, (e.g. Who left the cap off the toothpaste?) but at the more macro level what self control do we have left after years of cable news and social media?

Here’s a little exercise.

Please watch these videos in the order presented.

How much of the second video did you discount because of what you saw in the first one?

Could you determine that there was anything of worth in the second video after watching the first one?

You can take your time with that.

If there’s one thing to take away from this week it’s how quickly we want to blame the match while never acknowledging the gasoline.

You can work on that one at your leisure as well.


Hey – we get to leave the house in less than 48 hours.

Not that we have anywhere to go, but we get to leave the house.

The governor said so!

“Here’s your monkey, what’s your hurry?”

“Socialism is storming back because it has formed an incisive critique of what has gone wrong in Western societies. Whereas politicians on the right have all too often given up the battle of ideas and retreated towards chauvinism and nostalgia, the left has focused on inequality, the environment, and how to vest power in citizens rather than elites (see article). Yet, although the reborn left gets some things right, its pessimism about the modern world goes too far. Its policies suffer from naivety about budgets, bureaucracies and businesses.” Millennial socialism from the Feb. 14th, 2019 edition of The Economist

“Mini-culture? Micro-culture? They have a million hyphens over there at Time Incorporated.” George Carlin

“Macroeconomic historian Christina Romer, a Great Depression expert, became the chief advisor of president Obama.4 Indeed, Barry Eichengreen, himself an expert on financial crises in history, started his 2011 presidential address by saying that “’This has been a good crisis for economic history.’” Ran Abramitzky

“New Bruce will be teaching political science – Machiavelli, Bentham, Locke, Hobbes, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Lindwall, Miller, Hassett, and Benet. In addition, as he’s going to be teaching politics, I’ve told him he’s welcome to teach any of the great socialist thinkers, provided he makes it clear that they were wrong.” Bruce, University of Wallamaloo

“Delete whatever didn’t get enough likes. On bad hair days, photograph your food. Buy from ethical companies unless you can’t find what you want, in which case, buy from Amazon. Throw your material possessions away like it’s a cardinal virtue. Hate scroll down the Facebook feed of an acquaintance who’s more successful than you. Avoid catching feelings for anyone or anything.” From First World Solutions by Kawai Shen

“Why, Sir, I am a man of the world. I live in the world, and I take in some degree, the colour of the world as it moves along. Your father is a Judge in a remote part of the island, and all his notions are taken from the old world. Besides, Sir, there must always be a struggle between a father and son, while one aims at power and the other at independence.” Dr. Johnson

Blondie and Dagwood in The 21st Century

It’s been some time between posts, but for good reason.

Once again we’re going the long way around the park.

Years ago Mom went to some corporate training which included what to do if someone tried to take the monkey off of his or her back and put it on yours. Using a firm but gently manner Mom mastered the technique of telling people, “OH MY! What a lovely monkey! Is it yours? So adorable, really I flattered, but I just can’t bring myself to separate you from your darling monkey!”

Over time she’s jettisoned whatever phrase the corporate trainers used and adopted the phrase, “Here’s your monkey, what’s your hurry?” Sadly, her technique has gotten quite a workout over the last couple of weeks. The number of people with monkeys reached a point where we almost had to start forming a line. But Mom handled it quite well using a great deal of what Joe Bob Briggs might call non-gratuitous monkey-fu.

Now that the monkey assisted nuisances have all been beaten back we can get on with the pressing issue of the day.


Since the start of the year there’s been plenty of content and much hand-wringing over the Millennials thinking that there’s nothing wrong with socialism. There’s lots of theories about how they’ve never known the abundance of jobs and cheap credit their parents had. That gets coupled with the last recession being burned into their brains at an impressionable age.

Is it true?


But rather than examine all the points that have been made in the past several weeks I’m going to take a different approach, an approach worthy of a crotchety old man with a blog.

I’m going to ask, “Where were the parents?”

And that involves history.

You gotta remember the Millennials parents were not born on the front end of the Baby Boom. The average Millennial’s parents met and settled down in an America that had worked hard to forget the 60s ever happened. They met and mingled when the fern bar was an endanger species. In it’s place came a series of watering holes with names that were about as woke as a Mr. Magoo cartoon. Friday evenings were spent at some bar named Jose Muldoon’s or Flannery O’Chang’s. Instead of the faux Currier-and-Ives fern-bar decor these places looked like one of those antique barns you see off to the side of some rural patch of asphalt. The walls were covered with old stop lights, horse collars, and metal signs for oil companies that no longer existed. Here they flocked in great numbers always wearing their best Miami Vice pastel jackets. Looking over the menu they rolled their eyes in delight at the thought of sharing a Cheese Stuft’d (sic) Deep Fried Baked Potato with friends. Next you washed it down with a signature cocktail that had a name like names like The Huli Huli Volcano or a Crazy Kanaka, either of which had all the charm of so much Del Monte fruit cocktail run through a blender.

Interaction with such food and drink served rough the same function as those birds who show off their plumage when they’re ready for courtship. Beer didn’t come in 31 flavors back then so if you sucked on suds you were moved off to a romance waiting list. God forbid you should be seen drinking something relatively adult (e.g. Chivas on the rocks) as you would then be regarded as little better than Stalin having a bad hair day.

From this gene pool modern America was forged.

Some of you are looking back at all that and are saying, “Sure, the takes us from genetic pairing to the moment of birth, but what about the socialization of these children?”

Good point.

Anyone who has had children around the house knows that you spend a great deal of time driving them around. The Millennials were no different. Hour after hour they sat in the backseat while the parents left the radio on continuously while they drove. That’s how the average Millennial heard one morning zoo or another shout TGIF!! repeatedly and beg listeners to crank it up and sing along as we learn that everybody’s workin’ for the weekend. Hour after hour the kids learned that life exists between 5pm on Friday and 7am on Monday. The rest was drudgery. Of course as they got older and were able to read the parents gave them the Harry Potter books to read. While it kept them quiet in the backseat it also taught them that anything you need in this life can be had by waving a stick around.

Now some of you are asking, “Shouldn’t you be blaming the media instead?”

No, because that’s the coward’s way out.

Look, the parents could have handed those kids See you at the Top by Zig Zigler. Instead of FM radio Mom or dad could have shoved a cassette containing the combined wisdom of Norman Vincent and Emma Peale. They could have said they met at the opera instead of telling the kids about all those great times ON THE WEEKEND when they are knocking back Kahlua Kahunas at Chin Ho Kelly’s.

So the question stands, “Where were the parents?”

Besides the media get blamed for enough (See Also: non-gratuitous monkey-fu) and if I’m gonna keep up my bitter old crank credentials that means I’m going to have to spend some time blaming the parents.

Speaking of parents and children –

“None of you seem to understand, I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with me.” Walter Joseph Kovacs AKA Rorschach

Luckily for us we have a Millennial to consult, Alaska Wolf Joe. That means we can resort to that lazy-ass tv news habit of find one person from a given group and holding that person up as what all people in the group are all about.

So what is he up to?

Like Diogenes he’s taken up a lamp and held it up to his own ilk as he searches for the elusive Millennial socialist. So far he’s found one who seems to be out of the country and several others with socialist leanings (i.e. more medium rare than pink) who are in dire need of a nap. Meanwhile he’s sorting out where the AOC fans, Bernie Bros, and others feeling’ the Bern fit into this larger scheme.

He has discovered a group of self-styled anarchists. Here the self-styled is not being used so much in a cynical sense as its use is to show what AWJ described as a lack of thorough thinking on the anarchists part. I asked him how he’s getting along with the anarchists to which he said, “They asked me what my political views were and I told them I was a Rawlsian-Marxist.

What a wonderful term, devious as it is succinct.

It serves as inside joke, shit disturber, and ink-blot test all at once.

Must be something he gets from his mother’s side of the family.

And with that let’s all put down our Pineapple Luas and dance.


“The rise of identity politics on the Left has stimulated and legitimated new assertions of identity on the Right. Donald Trump has received support for being politically incorrect, that is, for not respecting the identity niceties that characterize contemporary American political discourse. In doing so he has greatly abetted the rise of white nationalists and the alt-right, which see themselves as persecuted and marginalized minorities in much the same way as the leftwing identity groups. The Trumpist right in the United States today includes many Christian evangelicals, but it would not be accurate to say that the Trump phenomenon is driven primarily by religion. Many of his voters would like to preserve a traditional concept of American national identity that was partly defined by Christianity, but also by ethnicity and conservative social values more generally. None of this squares, of course, with the sort of liberal civic identity that America had slowly built for itself in the wake of the Civil War.” Francis Fukuyama

“Members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers — themselves desperately afraid of being downsized — are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.At that point, something will crack. The non-suburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for — someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. … One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past 40 years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. … All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.” – Richard Rorty c. 1998

In Daniel Torday’s new novel, Boomer1, a 31-year-old man sits in front of a Grateful Dead poster in his parents’ basement, where he lives, puts on a rubber David Crosby mask, and stares into his webcam to begin recording another so-called “Boomer Missive.” His name is Mark Brumfeld, and he is a relatively unremarkable specimen of his generation—drowning in student loan and credit card debt, unable to find steady employment, and searching for an easy scapegoat for the all-encompassing disillusionment he feels about his life. And so he directs his ire at none other than the largest generation in American history, the baby boomers, anyone born in that postwar, pre-Pill population surge between 1946 and 1964. Torday’s novel addresses the popular and wide-sweeping narrative that boomers are hunkering down with “all of the jobs” and refusing to retire, hogging all sorts of cultural space, and in doing so stunting the economic and emotional growth of the generation below them, some of whom are their literal children. In Boomer1, though, this leads to things getting quickly and dangerously out of hand. First the AARP website is hacked. Bob Weir’s home is vandalized. Iconic boomers Jann Wenner, Philip Roth, and Oprah are all doxed. An enterprising prankster breaks into the Eddie Bauer mainframe and makes it so that every item sold in its stores is marked $666.66. These attacks dominate the news; a (barely) fictionalized David Brooks writes a widely shared op-ed decrying “Millennials Gone Wild.” In the novel, persecuted boomers like Brooks start using a new phrase to describe the mayhem: “domestic generational terrorism.” Lindsay Zoladz

“We must consider how very little history there is; I mean real authentick history. That certain Kings reigned, and certain battles were fought, we can depend on as true; but all the colouring, all the philosophy of history is conjecture.” Dr. Johnson

“Fairness is the philosophical equivalent of the Tooth Fairy.” Thaddeus R. Venture

Before we begin it should be said that much of what follows could be seen as yet another feeble attempt at repeating myself. That’s why I’d like to encourage you to not think of it as one more boorish blog entry, but an attempt to prove that Nietzsche’s concept of the eternal recurrence is correct.

If that doesn’t work for you then feel free to think of this as a sad old man who keeps saying, “I do and I do and I do for you kids and what thanks do I get?”

Therefore –

Bring your service revolver, Watson. We might have need of it before this is over.

Going around the dial last weekend I came up The Seven Percent Solution, Herbert Ross’s 1976 tale of the time Sherlock Holmes met Sigmund Freud. Near the end of the movie there’s a train chase and the engineer tells Holmes he’s run out of coal. To maintain their forward momentum pursuit Holmes instructs Watson and Freud to bring him anything that will burn. As the chase peaks we see that the wooden benches of the train have all been thrown into the fire as well as the curtains, the luggage, and the siding of the cars. At that point there still isn’t sufficient fuel so one by one Watson jettisons the cars living only the engine to carry on.

If you can think of a better analogy for what happened last week please post it in the comment section below.

Years ago I said that the GOP as well as the entire conservative movement was becoming nothing less that the American equivalent of the Chinese Revolutionary Red Guard.

So go head – have Kavanaugh.

Then what?

But … but …. but we’re Steve and Debbie. We like candlelight dinners and long walks on the beach. Our turnoffs are pushy people and smokers!

NB: What follows IS NOT another discussion of individuality being illusory.

So take a minute, find a free finger, and pull the wad out of your unders.

For the past several months I’ve been thinking about institutions, specifically how we shape them, how they shape us, and what we get out of it. All of this grew out of something that bubbled up out of the primordial warm mud in my head – the memory of an old professor who taught Rousseau by way of what we now call Second Wave Feminism. (SWF) (i.e. the Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug era) Since Rousseau thought people were fine but their institutions were corrupt, my old prof said that what SWF did was make women examine the institution of womanhood which in turn, albeit unexpectedly and most grudgingly, made men consider the institution of manhood. Back then, and much like now, people were also supposed to consider the institutions of race and simultaneously.

And then, like now, everybody lost their spit.

Steve and Debbie do not want to hear how they are part of interlocking events and relationships that invisibly shape their lives. They just want you to shut the hell up so they can enjoy their General Foods cinnamonny (sic) Cafe Vienna International Coffee.

Moving along –

Here’s a few places where institutions intrude without much notice, but finally make you consider their nature:

Absorption – Media, celebrity, and legal institutions reduced Rodney King, Nicole Brown, and Ronald Goldman to footnotes. Their real selves are now gone, we know nothing of them.

Failure – Where do you want to start, the Catholic Church or White Guy Inc.? When those two women pushed their way into the elevator with Jeff Flake it’s gonna be mighty tough to go out for a round of golf with the boys to see how to fix this one.


This morning an illustrated guide on How to Pray for The Church arrived in one of my streams. Not the victims, nor the priests who failed their parishes, but The Church.

Hubris – As the parents of someone who likes to use the term “Boomer Cultural Hegemony” Torday’s n+1 novel comes as no surprise. (OK – for us it comes as no surprise.) There’s no point in repeating what’s been said endlessly about the Boomers’ self-absorbed nature. Instead I take exception to the Torday’s characters descending on Bob Weir’s house. That would at least leave some old hippie thinking, “By God, the little punks did learn something from us!” The better place for agitprop would be at one of Billy Joel’s ongoing dates at Madison Square Garden or The Eagles playing Vegas.

That would hit Steve and Debbie right where they live.

If you take a minute and look it all – BLM, #metoo, neoliberalism, unemployed coal miners, the culture wars, identity politics -our institutions have moved into plain sight and in some cases even been weaponized against us. Everything on the list of current events is an invitation to make each and everyone of us examine the institutions in our lives.

And we don’t like that.

Not even one little bit.

Your love gives me such a thrill, but your lovin’ don’ t pay my bills

Somewhere around the midpoint of the last century Norman Mailer found himself in a Manhattan loft along with a few of his peers – Capote, (“ballsy little guy”) Kerouac, (“lacks discipline, intelligence, honesty, and a sense of the novel) and Bellow (“a style I find self-willed and unnatural”). True to his form Norman claimed to have dominated the room, consuming the cocktails handed to him and occasionally helping himself to someone else’s liquor. This past week Th’ Perfesser managed to do something similar. Like Mailer Th’ Perfesser squared his shoulders, took a stance, his weight balanced equally between his two feet, and dared to take on all comers becoming a literary lion to a kaffeeklatsch full of NPR tote- baggers.

Or at least that’s what we’ve heard.

I couldn’t be there as I had a photo shoot at a dinner held by a group of white guys mostly my age who one after another storide up to the dias to everybody gathered how there’s not one single problem in this world that can’t be solved over a round of golf with the fellas.

Why them?

Cash transaction.

Coin of the realm for Th’ Perfesser’s management is something they call “vibes” which are supposed to wash over you like a handful of Madame DuBerry Bath Beads thrown in the tub which will eventually leave you wonderfully fragrant and a bit moist. Th’ Perfesser claims these “vibes” are perfectly good, but we fail to see what utility these “vibes” provide.

Look, whether you call it Late Stage Capitalism or Capitalism’s Sad Last Days (tm pend) we hold fast to the idea that if you want me to consult, amplify, or photograph whatever you and your ilk are up to then it’s cash or check (well … check with appropriate i-d) and you can put that BitCoin back wherever you found it.

Because nobody understands the blockchain.

Have we read Th’ Perfesser’s work for which he was being lionized?

No, it’s far too complicated for us right now. We don’t have the mental bandwidth to deal with it because it all goes back to the question, “Does you son have required summer reading?”

Yes, he assigned Kafka to his mother while I got the usual compilation of contemporary continental thinkers.

A couple of weeks ago we were in the mood for some lighter reading, but we couldn’t find any. You know, lighter reading – Andy Capp collections, Harold Robbins first editions, Ripon Society brochures, Rod McKuen’s Listen to the Warm – reading so effortless that it’s like taking a nap without all the fuss and bother of having to lie down and close your eyes. We tore up the living room and were eventually forced out into the night to seek out a Barnes and Nobel.

That’s merely a statement of fact.

We are not trying to elicit pity.

Eventually we’ll make it up to Th’ Perfesser. Not only will we read his book we’ll invite him over to watch what Alaska Wolf Joe’s grandfather called “The World Serious” on our small-screen tv and offer him his choice of General Food International Coffee selections.

Excuse us now as we must pen a note of regret and send it along to Th’ Perfesser.

Customer Man, Engine of the Economy!

“Provocation for provocation’s sake will never win you any converts, to say it another way, if you are owning the libs just to own the libs, your victory will be short-lived and your audience will remain small.” Orin Hatch

“I know that it’s fun and that it can feel good, but step back and think about what you’re accomplishing when you do this — are you persuading anyone? Who are you persuading?” Haley asked. “We’ve all been guilty of it at some point or another, but this kind of speech isn’t leadership — it’s the exact opposite.” Nikki Haley

“Hey, you, Zombie! I’m the only wrinkly, old, gray monster who can terrorize my family, OK?” – Stan Pines

“The neo-Marxist analysis of society, in which we are all mere appendages of various groups of oppressors and oppressed, and in which the oppressed definitionally cannot be at fault, is now the governing philosophy of almost all liberal media. That’s how … the New York Times can hire and defend someone who expresses racial hatred.” Andrew Sullivan

THE AUTOPSY OF THE STRIKE: The Renault strike of March-April 1973 constituted a general repetition of this crisis. Apparently confused, uncoordinated, manipulated, and in the final analysis, a failure (except for the extraordinary terminological victory that consisted in the once taboo term ‘semi-skilled worker’ being replaced with the term, ‘agent of production)… This strike was the beautiful swan song for the unions caught between the rank-and-file and the bosses. From the outset it was unleashed by semi-skilled foreign workers.” Jean Baudrillard c. 1976

“We’ve got fundamentalist Muslims, we’ve got fundamentalist Jews, we’ve got fundamentalist Christians and they’ll blow the whole thing up for you. But as I travel around this big old world there’s one thing that I most fear – it’s a white man in a golf shirt with a cell phone in his ear.” Tom Russell (c. 2007)

“My dear friend, clear your mind of can’t. You may talk as other people do. You may say to a man, ‘Sir, I am your most humble servant.’ You are not his most humble servant. You may say, ‘These are sad times; it is a melancholy thing to be reserved to such times.’ You don’t mind the times. You tell a man, ‘I am sorry you had such bad weather the last day of your journey, and were so much wet.’ You don’t care six-pence whether he was wet or dry. You may talk in this manner; it is a mode of talking in Society: but don’t think foolishly.” Dr. Johnson

This was one of those weeks packed with riveting excitement. Alaska Wolf Joe and I both had UPS deliveries coming on the same day which normally wouldn’t be a big deal except for the small fact that neither one of us would be around and his package had to be signed for. Luckily the UPS guy was coming up the walk as I was leaving so I was able to accept AWJ’s big-ass box. I texted him to say I got it and he texted back, “Delivery confirmation says, ‘Gave to Customer Man.'”

Yes, Customer Man, Engine of the economy!

In our last episode you’ll remember Customer Man’s arch-nemesis, The Recession, stripped our hero of his wallet and turned him loose inside WalMart on Customer Appreciation Day. Finding an old unused Discover Card in his sock Customer Man reaches for a nearby shopping cart and says, “This calls for The Invisible Hand!”

Some days this stuff just writes itself.

Other days?

Not so much.

Case in point – I got an email saying somebody somewhere said something nice about me on the Internet(s).The people on the sending side of the note are of the belief that failure to make nice-nice is a federal crime ergo they were expecting a quick response on my part. I reminded them that they used to go to some trouble to tell me, “We would have invited you to (function) but everyone was afraid you’d say something.”

Darn tootin’ I would and it would have been a good one too. It would have been one of those things that a normal person would truly and sincerely regret say, but – if you’ve read this page for any length of time – you’d know that I would not only be good with it, I might just have to write it down for future use. That always lead to the people who sent the note coming back with, “Why do you always think you can get away with that?”

Because I am Customer Man, Engine of the Economy! (QED)

Moving along –

Got another email saying that this page is all about how we’re screwed (which is obvious) but at least it try to convey some context as to why we’re screwed.

Along those lines –

Clap back at the Wolfman cuz he diss’d you record, Dude!

As some of you have heard, Andrew Sullivan called the NY Times a Neo-Marxist publication a couple of days ago. Upon hearing this our house filled up with waves of convulsive laughter. Sully’s little bon mot was just the pick me up we needed at the end of a long and difficult week.

So what was it all about?


Earlier in the week one of the shameless wags in one of my Tweety groups said someone needs to categorize different types of outrages as it was the Tweetist’s opinion that some outrage is strictly for show. Put another way – some outrage is strictly theatrical virtue signaling.

With that – here’s a stab at it in no particular order:

– Genuine Outrage. Someone steals your car, drives it around for a few days then sets fire to it leaving nothing behind but a burnt frame.

– Targeted Outrage – information used to keep a for-profit media outlet on track with its branding. (e.g. programming found on any of the cable news channels after 6pm local time)

– Addictive Outrage – info which keeps the questionably angry, well … questionably angry. Recent Internet slang calls such folks “Outrage Whores.”

– Theatrical Outrage – any outrage which can be described as Gamergate-like in form and execution.

Please note that these are not absolutes but merely arbitrary boundaries. In any given case there will most likely be some combination of all of the above brought to any given situation as we cannot get past the simple fact that expressed human emotion is much like giving cotton candy to a 5 year-old on a hot day. Some will be consumed, some will miss the mark, but after a certain amount of time everybody’s going to need a washcloth.

The most interesting thing to rise up out of Sarah Jeong vs. Quinn Norton is the associated collapse of a major conservative trope. Outrage did not take down Sarah Jeong nor Dan Harmon. As we speak – every passing minute brings us closer to James Gunn being reinstated as the director of Guardians 3.

Another collapsing trope is the use of the word ‘pedophile’ in casual conversation. It was once used to be the final word on all matters regarding the concept of relativism, but it eventually grew to be an all purpose invective. With the rise of Q-anon we find that the word has become something like a call to wage a holy war, free from all legal and psychological definition.

You can be as mad as you want about all that, but trope collapse is at the heart of what Senator Hatch and Ambassador Hailey were talking about. A series of tropes will let you “own the libs” but it is not a cohesive body of political thought.

And as a quick aside – “ownership” doesn’t really exist as those mostly like to play that game have no communication with the other side so the acting of “owning” is either never seen nor in context to those who would be owned. Think of it as taking great pride at how well you shouted into an empty room.

In other news –


After we caught our breath from Sully’s remarks about what is and is not Neo-Marxist culture I asked Alaska Wolf Joe if he thought Neo-Marxism would have more followers if the NM’s would quit using the term “late stage capitalism” and instead take something out of the Nation Enquirer’s playbook and call it, “Capitalism’s Sad Last Days?”

He sent me to my room with this book.

Symbolic Exchange was largely composed in the early 1970s and eventually published in 1976. Several critics have said it accurately predicted our present Neo-liberal system. Baudrillard strives to proves that Marx no longer applies to our times. His underpinning is that he suggests that labor is merely a commodity. He tries to take it out of its 19th Century moorings and comes close to calling it a romantic notion. Eventually the worker becomes not so much a living being caught in the system, but one more item thrown on top of that pile of stuff which constitutes cost equalling the price of the last item produced.

You’ll note from the above quote that the 1973 French auto strike revolved around foreign workers. At roughly the same time Germany struggled with accommodating foreigner workers as they did not fit well into the German scheme of guilds. Therefore we have to conclude that fitting the outside worker into the flow of any national economy is a problem that comes up now and then and no one has any idea what to do. Perhaps, we should look at the practice of politics like the ancient Greeks and see it all as a series of great circles as it does not fit in with the more popular Western view of history being a linear beast.

What little I have to offer of proof of all that comes from this little country ditty from 2008.

'One of the unfortunate minions held hostage by their own ideas'

“It was a time of my life when I was frequently “named.” I was named godmother to children. I was named lecturer and panelist, colloquist and conferee. I was even named, in 1968, a Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, along with Mrs. Ronald Reagan, the Olympic swimmer Debbie Meyer, and ten other California women who seemed to keep in touch and do good works. I did no good works but I tried to keep in touch. I was responsible. I recognized my name when I saw it. Once in a while I even answered letters addressed to me, not exactly upon receipt but eventually, particularly if the letters had come from strangers. ‘During my absence from the country these past eighteen months,’ such replies would begin.” Joan Didion

“We are constantly underestimating capitalism’s extraordinary ability to come up with new bullshit jobs, and that could go on for quite a while. I think that basic income is much more than just another policy, it’s a complete rethink of what work actually is that will have quite radical effects. For the first time in human history, everyone will have the power to say no to a job they don’t want, which will mean that people with lower incomes will have much more bargaining power, wages will have to rise…it will be a radical redistribution of power. Rutger Bregman

“An audible groan went up from a portion of the gathering, implying, “fuckin’ stupid hippie asking that ridiculous question again.” So there they were accepting…
Raising people from the dead
Becoming more or less immortal
Making intelligences many times more powerful and capable than our own
Individual earth humans privately owning big chunks of the galaxy
…but they could not imagine that the local (local in time, perhaps, more that space) currency and the nuances of its valuation and growth would be irrelevant in that envisioned world.
This, it seemed to me, represented a stunning and peculiar kind of stasis sitting at the heart of radical technological change or the imaginings of same, a clinging to the most trivial and boring sort of continuity by the very sort of people predicting extreme “disruption” and radical discontinuity. The Singularity then, if any, would present before us as an unthinkably complex quantum accountant, as — figuratively speaking — a godlike 1950s bespectacle nebbish, a bean counter (literalized already by the fashion for ‘quantified life.’)” R. U. Sirius

“Here is how it will go. Men with no fewer than four boats and at least as many divorces, whose monetary interests are best served by going entirely unreported on, will continue to purchase existing media properties, either gutting them, running them into the ground, or rendering them effectively toothless, as we’ve seen with numerous alt-weeklies and newspapers throughout the country in the past few years.Sometimes we won’t even know whose hand it is pulling the lever on the guillotine. The publications who would’ve reported on who bought the publications won’t exist anymore. … There’s a trope in dystopian fiction and apocalyptic films where it’s almost worse to have survived for just a little longer than everyone else wiped out in the original disaster. Better to be consumed in the nuclear blast than to live rummaging among the ruins. Those of us still left in the business are the poor survivors. We’ve peered into the cannibals’ cellar.What’s worse is that we are still pretending it didn’t happen. We’re fighting over pools of shit-water that have settled into the craters and bartering with dog meat under the mistaken impression we’re carrying the fire.” Luke O’Neill

Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good. Dr. Johnson

As 2017 is coming to an end it is possible to take part in the tradition that has people post their best-of lists for all to see. What you’re about to see isn’t anything like that. Instead I’m taking this time to boorishly run out everything I said in the previous 12 months because I have nothing better to do this weekend.
BTW – what follows isn’t anything doom-y and/or goloomier that most of what you saw last year and in case you need to turn away here’s a list of 99 things that went well in 2017.
And with that –
“Emotionally speaking, Shoney’s is my home”
What follows are some fine points about various revealed factoids that concern the use of social media.
1. OK first thing – you need to watch the first 12 minutes of this specifically the parts with Rick and the bug.
I’ll wait here.

The parts with the bug resemble my current relationship with social media. I know Zuckerberg wants my info and that’s why I keep feeding him shit. Not that it does any good. For all my efforts all I get in return are ads asking me if I want to sign up for the AARP or meet women of a certain age.
2. You mean like Jenna Abrams?

Jenna Abrams, the freewheeling American blogger who believed in a return to segregation and said that many of America’s problems stemmed from PC culture run amok, did not exist. But Abrams got very real attention from almost any national news outlet you can think of, according to a Daily Beast analysis of her online footprint. Abrams, who at one point boasted nearly 70,000 Twitter followers, was featured in articles written by Bustle, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, several local Fox affiliates, InfoWars, BET, Yahoo Sports, Sky News, IJR, Breitbart, The Washington Post, Mashable, New York Daily News, Quartz, Dallas News, France24, HuffPost, The Daily Caller, The Telegraph, CNN, the BBC, Gizmodo, The Independent, The Daily Dot, The Observer, Business Insider, The National Post, Refinery29, The Times of India, BuzzFeed, The Daily Mail, The New York Times, and, of course, Russia Today and Sputnik.

All good and fine, but what was the best line in that article?

Her account was the creation of employees at the Internet Research Agency, or the Russian government-funded “troll farm,” in St. Petersburg.

And how did “she” worm her way into our lives?
Kardashian jokes.
That means over the course of the last 70 or so years we’ve gone from asking who lost China to worrying about a missile gap, to discovering our soft white underbelly belongs to a Kardashian.
And that should alarm you.
Very early in the year I got to rub elbows and drink warm soda pop with the social media “editors” from two of the largest tv ownership groups in the country. What followed was an evening of discussion so light and thought free that you’d think the speakers should have been tied to the table lest they float away on the breeze. Most of the conversation revolved around ‘What color is that dress?” and whether or not a zoo animal was pregnant.
What’s problematic about all this is that local tv news is the least hated and most consumed form of media. Roll that up with the fact that – as far as I can tell – these “editors” have no editorial checks as no one thinks what they run out is important enough to look over their shoulders.
Which is OK if you’re wondering what color that dress is, but how do you go about spotting the next Jenna Abrams?
3. Around the start of October some kid sends email which I mark as spam. Undaunted he follows up with a phone call. Having no need for his services I tell him the reason he hasn’t heard back from me is that I think his product is bullshit and I’d be grateful if he hung up and forgot all about me, but the little punk wouldn’t let it go. He was going to keep me on that phone until I gave in.
What he was selling are those ads you see around the side and bottom of lots and lots of web pages. You’d know them as the ones usually slugged with, “You won’t believe what (character) from (beloved old tv show) looks like now!”
The most perfidious of these came along in the summer of 2016. It was a small box that showed Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson being taken away in handcuffs. None of it was true and you could assume it harmless until you realize that this box appeared on The Hollywood Reporter. That meant that a perfectly reasonable person could see the box and rightly assume that if The Rock was arrested then The Hollywood Reporter would know.
What The Hollywood Reporter probably doesn’t know is that ad was on their site.
Oh, forgot mention one small hitch – if you accept those little boxes onto your site you have no control over what appears in them.

Jenna went the convention route of eventually stirring up somebody’s gut while The Rock is strictly reality swindled. Meanwhile you’re left to sit in front of the screen while others weaponize your emotions and loose havoc upon your ability to associate cause and effect with no third party “editor” to help navigate a way forward.
The kid on the phone?
I told him my current age which is divisible by 2, 12, and 5. He said I did not sound that old on the phone and I told him he wasn’t the first guy who had to make one more phone call before the week was out to placate the the bosses. I told him flat out – I had jobs like yours once and sooner or later you have to turn in the paperwork to prove you did … something…
What followed was a short silence as it sunk in that I was old and mean and emotionally speaking Shoney’s is my …
I said that already didn’t I?
“And thirdly, the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner.”
What follows isn’t so much New Year’s resolutions, but a list of shit that’s gotta stop.
– Stop using the word “community.”
OK – slight amendment to that – it’s OK if you use the word as part of an established name, you know, like The Frostbite Falls Community Center and Natatorium. Otherwise the word has gotten out of hand. Yesterday we discovered a web page that lets the owners of those video doorbells post video to the others in their video doorbell community.
God knows, and stranger things have happened, but is it really possible to come together as citizens by uploading 30 seconds of the Fed-Ex guy adjusting “himself” before he drops off all those yummy goodies from Harry and David?
The specific use of the word hit home when the new tv wouldn’t fire up until I gave it an email address. (Luckily I have a bullshit one just for such things.) A day or so later there at the top of the stack in my crap-catcher account was an email welcoming me to The Samsung Community.
Can’t wait to see what that secret handshake looks like.
– Let’s try to purge the term “virtue signaling” from regular use. It now points both ways and a better definition of the term I stumbled on recently involved Nietzsche’s definition of humans’ herd nature or how you can lose yourself to the point where you are no longer self aware of what you are saying.
– Lastly let’s celebrate the 50th anniversary of 1968, the year where everybody lost their shit, by no longer using the phrase, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”
Why we have no reasonable dialog is that too many of us were directly affected by the 1960s in this one way – we don’t so much talk past each other as we’re walking confident in the belief that we are possessed of no end of Revealed Truths and we’re not going to be happy until our Revealed Truths supplant your Revealed Truths. Otherwise the statement only pertains to deconstructing the other guys’ talking points. Put another way we bring chainsaws to prune the rose bush.
And there you go – Mom said social media is little more than emotional quicksand that you voluntarily let yourself sink in and what just proceeded her statement was proof that you’re on your own with fake news and most of what we know isn’t as solid as we think it is.
Welcome to 2018 and I promise to be in a better mood when you next stop by.
Going outdoors now.
As you can tell – the fresh air might do me some good.

Rickymortis setting in

“Macklemore’s new album, Gemini, has been positioned as a “liberation” from the ponderous interrogations that came before. He’s done, as he put it, with “preaching to the choir”: rapping politics to the white liberals who compose the majority of his fanbase. Which, for many, comes as a relief. He remains the avatar of white guys trying hard not to be the worst, but he’s also — especially in this new incarnation — a salve for those exhausted with the enduring conundrum of white guilt. His endurance makes sense, but it’s also proof of the fickleness of so many components of white liberalism: When you can put a conversation aside when it ceases to thrill you or feed you, how deep was your investment? Is the ability to stop talking about injustice the greatest white privilege of all?” Anne Helen Petersen
“The reader is the space on which all the quotations that make up a writing are inscribed without any of them being list; a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination. Yet this destination cannot any longer be personal; the reader is without his without history … he is simply that someone who holds together, in a single field, all the traces by which the written text is constituted.” Roland Barthes
“We were instructed to write with something of the ease in which we might speak, and that is a good rule for beginners. In time it can be absorbed, taken for granted, and finally disobeyed. The best writing comes, obviously, out of a precision we do not and dare not employ when we speak, yet such writing still has the ring of speech. It is a style, in short, that can take you a life to achieve.” Norman Mailer
“When a man writes from his own mind, he writes very rapidly. The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” Dr. Johnson

Now that we’ve all spent another week getting out of bed asking the question, “Oh what the hell is it now?” I thought it might be time to look at a couple of things that were overrunning my various feeds which were in no way related to the larger events in the news cycle just passed.
Do I have something on my teeth?
Years and years ago when the Bloggitysphere was new some people wondered if sooner or later every possible topic would be exhausted given the total number of people blogging. The question went nowhere until last week when I noticed that the gaping maw that is Medium, Patreon, and the other contributor powered sites started running out titles that seemed like people just thinking out loud.
OK – well … not so much thinking out loud as taking down dictation – sorta like they were writing down stuff that popped up in the interior monolog. You know, your inner voice, that little voice in your head that acts like your brain’s idea of post-it notes.
There were titles like, “Maybe Not” and “Is That What I Think It Is?” which leads me to believe that the email article roundups I get from the various contributor sites might look like this any day now.

Can’t be sure if it’s a trend or not, I’ll let you know if it keeps up. Or maybe I’ll just write to one of these “authors” and ask why he or she doesn’t have the simple common courtesy of talking to him or herself in public like normal people.
Smells like R. Kelly’s sheets
Up top there’s a pull quote from an lengthy article on Macklemore which came out a few days ago. Largely it’s about race and his place in the recording business. I only found it interesting for the first sentence –

Last week, while Twitter was focused on Cardi B vanquishing Taylor Swift to become the first unaccompanied female rapper to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in almost 20 years, Macklemore’s new album, Gemini, hit the top of the iTunes charts — a prime indicator of the listening habits of people too old to understand streaming.

This pretty much fits with our encounters with his fan base – they’re either over 35 or under 15. As the article goes on to say –

This might explain why white people in the Pacific Northwest proved such an accepting audience for Macklemore: We don’t fancy ourselves liberal sophisticants. Macklemore has been called suburban dad-rap, and Seattle is nothing if not filled with suburban dads. You don’t have to be male or even live in the suburbs to fulfill the archetype: You just have to like the Seahawks and local IPAs, live in a “starter home” that cost more than half a million dollars, and own multiple iterations of puffy jacket.

An interesting take, but let me offer you another.
You don’t have to beat the Seattle bushes very hard to turn up someone who is directly related to Macklemore. You can meet all manner of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. While I’ve had several close scrapes with meeting him the closest I ever got was talking to his wife, who is whip-smart and a p-r natural, at a luncheon. The rough distribution of family means that any number of people can easily find a connection to him. Failing that he is the Seattle local boy made good and when you roll that up with the native provincialism found here in The Great North Woods, he is regarded as America’s most beloved rapper/hip hop artist.
Whether or not that’s true.
That provincialism expresses itself in odd ways. The earliest example we encountered was people buying pc’s instead of Macs because Bill Gates’ folks gave lots of money to Seattle charities. The most frequent expression comes when the life-long folks encounter a local phenomena they don’t like. If they don’t like something then it can only be the work of outsiders.
You know, like grunge.
Sure Kurt was from up the road, but he wasn’t from Seattle.
Worse yet?
Eddie Vedder is from out of state.
All those dirty boys all dressed alike playing that awful loud music!
Make no mistake – they aren’t from around here even if their mothers went into labor under the Space Needle!
Case in point and speaking of luncheons – one afternoon I was at a function (sans Madame Macklemore) and while poking at my food wondering if it has ever spent time as an organic life form I thought I heard some one mention my name at the next table. Then I could have sworn I heard it again. Half a minute later the emcee gets up to the podium, calls me up, and asks if I have a minute to explain “What a Sound Garden is.”
Omitting the rumors that Kim Thayil goes to many local restaurants and doesn’t pay because he’s Kim f’n Thayil I gave them a thumbnail sketch. Several questions ensued mostly about where the band members were born. While I wasn’t sure the crowd was certain they weren’t from around here. By the time I got back to my seat my Montsanto Chicken Entree Slurry was cold.
Where were we?
Mom likes Macklemore, but I have no serious opinion of him one way or the other. Also, as a sorta semi-suburban dad I have been exposed to much of the music the young people like by way of Alaska Wolf Joe. As such we’ve heard MF Doom, Tyler the Creator, and Death Grips among others. Thankfully we’re old enough that, while we can appreciate some of the genre, we will never be drug into a conversation about Kanye vs. Kendrick. Should it come up all we have to do is look glassy eyed and a tad confused.
Sorta like somebody needs to take us back to the home.
Otherwise please remember this about streaming. You can hide you streaming history. Unlike cd and vinyl albums no one can reach into your streaming and produce the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and ask, “What the hell do we have here?!?!?!?”
DISCLOSURE: while AWJ isn’t under foot these days I do get suggestions via Twitter and Spotify about new music that’s out there and that’s why this is my idea of suburban dad rap.

And for those of you who like a little something about current affairs –

Moving along –
A Rick-orous vetting of the subject
The front page and the lede are pretty obvious. My own interest usually lies in what you find several pages in or long after the jump. Digitally what starts to pile up around the edges during a week like the one just past says something about how people are expressing their inner voices. Despite all that’s happened in the past seven days an unusual number of posts about Rick and Morty have been turning up in my various feeds.
Most of the content revolves about how dark and realistic the show is. My mini-binge of watching four whole episodes did show that – even for a cartoon- the knock-down drag-out fights between Morty’s parents are less cartoon-y than anything you’d see on Dr. Phil. Otherwise the show strikes me as somebody’s serious allergic reaction to every family sitcom from the 80s.
Since the show is broadcast way past my bedtime and since I’ll never figure out how to access the streamed version (QED) it seemed natural to reach out to Alaska Wolf Joe for an explanation of all things Rick and Morty.
AWJ asks that you watch this one-minute clip before reading on because:

For context, Rick has turned himself into a pickle to avoid family counseling. I should note, for further context, the the family counseling itself is mixed with absurd coprophagia jokes – which serve to diminish the counselor’s accreditation – and which seems to highlight the suspicion that, as usual, the mental health profession is nothing but one huge scam which is insincere. Rick attends this session as a pickle.

AWJ writes:

Rick and Morty is an animated television comedy series which concerns the adventures of one Rick Sanchez, grandfather to Morty Smith. In between this is what may or may not concern a paper cardboard rendition of the American family circa 2010, which entreats an evenly distributed apathy. We have a chronically depressed mother with deeply inhibited anger, and a father who no longer functions as the patriarchal arbiter of control but rather a haunting of the old patriarchs to be mocked – an accelerated Homer Simpson, drunk off of his own oafishness to the point of banality but a deeply subversive impotency. And of course we have something of the strange figures which millenials occupy in the form of their children, one being a generic teen girl (who’s only personality is signified by some mild-mannered form of consumer vanity, make what feminist critique of that you will), and the other being the eponymous Morty of Rick and Morty.

Of course, in this, I have not characterized exactly what the foremostly eponymous character stands for: one Rick Sanchez. The problem being is that Rick Sanchez does not bear even the faintest resemblance to the rest of paper-mâché renditions of media clichés blended with our own postmodern anxieties. Well, perhaps he resembles the latter part, that part being a certain unwritten postmodern anxiety – for Rick Sanchez is more or less a walking caricature of a certain egoism which openly calls itself nihilism. And this is why, of course, the show is truly despicable. Our main character is a strange caricature of the ubermensch, who is an alcoholic “great man of science” (independent of any lab, and independent of any research) who attempts to play fast and loose with intergalactic aliens not as any form of moral superiority, not as means to a Will to Power; no, he simply does it because he is bored.
The show is intent on forcing you to listen to the same unfortunate talking points that anyone who wants to tell you that they are a self-professed existentialist will offer you; namely that there is no God, there is no meaning, and that Science proves that our universe is inherently chaotic. Therefore, instead of truly grasping for any intrinsically person moral truths in this chaotic world, we instead should just know that there is no truth, and accept that our fate is ultimately meaningless, and that science was right all along. This last point perhaps is the one which is most curious, considering that it really was not a talking point of the existentialists, who more or less were concerned with the human experience in regards towards life and death – not in meaninglessness, but applying the recently developed phenomenological model towards these inquiries of meaning and authenticity. But even as Nietzsche or Kierkegaard predated phenomenology, and are both clichéd as being rather dour individuals, they too were nowhere near the supposed blind-faith “scientific” nihilism of our current predecessors. They stressed an individual’s choice, continually, to find meaning or to affirm faith – and especially for Nietzsche, in defiance of this apparent void which could come to fruition as the idea of “Nihilism.”
Indeed, this show is most despicable because it professes this bleak void in self-styled smugness, and despite this, offers no ethical perspective whatsoever. Life is horror, we are all going to die, no one will speak our name at some point, etc. etc. And this is comedy. That is precisely what is so despicable. This is comedy. Who are we supposed to be empathizing with? Who are we supposed to be laughing at, or laughing for?
But I would like to justify that the problem is not itself a worldview of virulent and universal absurdity. In fact, there are two authors which I could consider immediately who also regard a form of universal and cosmic absurdity, if not total nihilism. But what is more, I would like to establish that I believe that they fulfill some duty within the content of their own work, such that they can be considered morally responsible for the ideas which they espouse. One of these authors would be Franz Kafka, and the other would be H.P. Lovecraft.
Regarding Kafka, I want to establish that his universality is the universality of the absurd – a world in which all of its proponents were equally absurd as one another, and that it was inescapable. But what is important to note is that he thought that this universal absurdity was human made, and implicitly, could be fixed by human action. This is most evidenced by his behavior towards his own works. It was reported that when he wrote them, he read them out to his private circle of friends, and these were extremely rapturous events. They would all break out in laughter – even if a bitter laughter – over the terrifying and absurd moments in his novels. Nonetheless, I find this laughter moral. The importance of what makes something moral is precisely that it prescribes a world that is other than it already is; at the minimum, it serves a hypothetical which tells us how we should regard the future of human life. It is impossible to read Kafka’s novels and feel that, despite the banal horror which haunts the lives of his protagonists, that he ever condones this system. Kafka, if he is to be remembered at all, is one of the first satirists of the horror that could become the capitalist, socialist, and fascist bureaucracies of the twentieth century – and we are sure to remember him not just a satirist, but as a moralist who strictly warned us of such systems. As such, it is only fair that we can say that Kafka concerns a moral stance within his work.
Lovecraft, on the other hand, is a much stranger case. A large amount of the fear of alienation and destruction which haunts his works is the production of xenophobia and racism. It is hard to encounter his works without seeing the hints of something which became repressed in his more significant works – namely, the suppression of the Other. But in between that, he forecasts a void which is no less significantly universal, and which distinctly forecasts scientific nihilism but also the limits of scientific nihilism. The fear of Lovecraft, of course, is that when we finally pierce the veils of human knowledge and of the scientific method, we find out that what exists beyond the veil either hates us, will annihilate us, proves that we are infinitesimally small within the scheme of the cosmos, or all three.
I will consider that Lovecraft is a wrong moralist. The world which resulted from the racial intermixing of American culture hasn’t destroyed us, and for the most part, the discoveries of science haven’t come to destroy us yet – pace, all the horrors of warfare (primarily the nuclear, which Lovecraft did not live to see.) But it is unmistakeable that Lovecraft had a moral purpose of his world in which he forecasted cosmic nihilism and annihilation, fear of the Other and fear of man’s knowledge – he advocated what can be considered an almost reactionary turn within society. He may not necessarily have literally advocated a politics, but it is hard to read Lovecraft and think there is not something hidden underneath this Gothicism which is profoundly in desire of something. And that is why I, if somewhat dubiously, have to call him a moralist: he is a moralist of science, in saying that we should watch ourselves lest we find the wax wings of our scientific innovation too close to the sun. The cosmos may be a horrifying blur of chaos which man has best left untouched, but we can avoid this fate if we return to a purified humanism.
I want to connect this to the fact that I feel ultimately that Rick and Morty lacks any sense of moralization in the goals of what it satirizes or what it portrays. It is worse than simply misunderstood Nietzscheanism, it is Nietzsche’s enemy, the raw prospect of nihilism. Rick and Morty asks us to laugh at a hollow parade of pop cultural clichés underneath the guise of a minimal science fiction plotline. And indeed, isn’t it somewhat absurd I can be saying all this of what essentially amounts to a watered down cartoon version of Back to the Future? But Rick and Morty no doubt has philosophical pretensions, and what is worse, it is undeniable that certain elements of its audience take it to be philosophical on the whole. As such, it is a work which must bear the weight for the morality of its representations, and clearly fails to do as such.
This is why it is despicable. Of course it is absurd to ask that a work which essentially amounts towards being a pop cultural distraction should be moral. But it is hard to find in the entire work a single point of prescription, of hope, of meaning. Rick and Morty is the worst type of fiction, for it is neither aesthetically pleasing, nor wholly entertaining, nor does it open us up towards anything which can be considered a new perspective. Instead, it seeks to reaffirm ourselves of our worst suspicions: no alternative is viable to the society that we live in, family is a banal formality which makes everyone miserable, the universal is uncaring and chaotic, morality is wrong, religion is wrong and God is dead, the only good interest is self-interest, and scientific development is always Good and Right. This is the ideology of Rick and Morty. The ideology of Rick and Morty is the ideology of Late Capital. It professes these values because it allows us to become subservient to the disappearance of the human subject under the masses of data, underneath the metaphysical burden of the scientific world which the scientific model has produced. Rick and Morty is a popular portrait of what we can establish as the current human condition, and now more than ever is it apparent that our current human condition is the dissolution of humanity into data points. Rick and Morty is complacent with our current cynical world view beyond all other complacencies. And complacency is morally irresponsible. Thusly, it is morally irresponsible.
There is no need for us to create any piece of artistic media which claims to kill idealism, for we are already all materialists. We are materialists wandering through the black night of morality, in which one can look up at the limitless stars, which looks suspiciously like the monitor lights of server stacks, and realize that they are all dying – and in which no elder god or bureaucrat can screech at us from the deepest reaches of this infinite moral abyss. In this night, under the faint and dying light of the moonless cosmos, all cows are black.
And if you have 23 minutes to spare – here’s the Readers Digest Condensed and/or meta episode that sufficiently sums up the series.
If you’ll excuse me I have to go now and see if Medium would be interested in 5000 words because I was just wondering if it’s hot in here or is it just me?
Please enjoy this musical interlude while I’m away.

Want whipped cream on your Dr. Pepper?

“Nothing beats the taste sensation when maple syrup [claps his hands] collides with ham.” Dale Cooper, government employee

“But I am, of course, a dirty leftist commentator, and will play fast and hard with the truth.” Alaska Wolf Joe

“The younger people are probably the most junior people on the team; for them to say something, they would have to be really confident in themselves. To have a younger millennial account person go up to a senior creative person and say, ‘We’re not going to do this, we think there’s a problem with it’ — that’s an uncomfortable power position to put a young person into. Products don’t solve problems. They’re trying to present a product as a solution to a very large, very important, very serious cultural and societal problem. The only way a company can get away with doing that kind of thing is if they’re really doing something. You can’t tell me that you’re doing that, Pepsi.” – Mara Epstein, Ph.D., Professor of media studies at Queens College

“I think the message that Pepsi hoped would come out of it is that Pepsi is in touch with what is going on. It would get young people thinking, ‘Is Pepsi a brand for me?’ But they missed the point. It’s completely overproduced. If you want something to feel at all genuine, why are you using celebrities? Let alone celebrities that have no association whatsoever with the thing you’re advertising. It makes sense that this was done in-house because it doesn’t have the creative rigor that an outside ad agency would bring. People at the agency rip each other to pieces if something isn’t good. It’s harder for that stuff to get made by an ad agency. I think what probably happened in this case is that someone just really wanted to use Kendall Jenner. Someone inside attached themselves to the thought that she is really of the moment. It’s really transparent when we do that. If you’re going to use a celebrity, you really need to have a good reason to use them. The world is craving authenticity, even if authenticity is a completely overused word. People want these things to feel real. Like use real people. This ad was the least relatable piece of communication I’ve ever seen. It feels manipulative. People are not stupid. I think they were smart to take it down. It looks like it could cost $2 million just for production alone … And having Skip Marley do the music doesn’t make a difference. Even if you had Migos do the soundtrack. Even if Offset had written the soundtrack, purely out of love for Pepsi, it wouldn’t have worked. – ad exec who did not wished to be named

“The Theater of the Absurd dramatizes the recent dilemma of Western man, the man of action who appears not to be involved with the action. Such is the original and appeal of Samuel Beckett’s clowns. After 3000 years of specialist explosion and increasing specialism and alienation in the technological extensions of our bodies, our world has become more compressional by dramatic reversal. As electrically contracted, the globe is no more than a village. Electric speed in bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion has heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree. It is this implosive factor that alters the position of the aristrocrat, the teenager, and some other groups. They are now involved in our lives, as we in theirs, thanks to electric media.” Marshall McLuhan 1958
“It is not very easy to fix the principles upon which mankind have agreed to eat some animals, and reject others; and as the principle is not evident, it is not uniform. That which is selected as delicate in one country, is by its neighbours abhorred as loathsome.” Dr. Johnson

Now and then we like to have an outing that will keep our credentials as cultural anthropologists in good working order. Our preferred destination for such things is Los Angeles, but time and Alaska Wolf Joe’s ongoing experimentation with being a coastal elitist on the opposite coast have limited our options. Sure, Portland’s close, but even there we’ve worn down the possibilities there to little more than running out some tepid snark about the town being wholly dependent on foreign beard oil.
Instead we decided on coastal Oregon so that we test the proposition, “In Heaven there is no high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that’s why we put it in everything here.”
Make yourself comfortable, we’re gonna be here awhile.
The central engine that drives coastal Oregon forward is neither lumber nor tourism. Instead the entire area seems to run on a limitless supply of pancake batter and whipped cream. The more successful eateries resemble one of those infinitely re-arrangeable executive toys you’d find in the SkyMall catalog. It makes little difference if you come alone or with a party of 12. The tables can be bent or shaped into any number of configurations as if they were made from Silly Putty instead of wood. The ensuing breakfast, which the locals still believe is the most important meal of the day, is surprising low on dairy products. Perhaps the butter would only get in the way of the whipped cream, several flavors of syrup, and soda pop which seems to be every bit as popular as coffee at that time of day.
These scalable breakfast nooks also come with attached gift shops as knick-knackery is a serious component in the coast GDP. Each offers a wide selection of Christmas ornaments year-round and the following items, each of which we took a pass on:
– Plush Oregon Duck mascot
– Plush Santa Oregon Duck mascot*
– Plush leprechaun Oregon Duck mascot*
– Plush Easter Bunny Oregon Duck Mascot
– Plush camo/Rambo Oregon Duck mascot
* Denotes discounted item
Pushing away from the breakfast table and wandering out to work off the HFCS we’d injested we found this retail establishment.

When we tried the front door we found they weren’t open yet, but my mind was reeling.

Vegan alligator?

Is he in a tank in the back or some old bathtub? Did they caulk up and old show stall and keep him there? Does he have a name like Free or Wind? Wondering aloud about that last one Mom said, “Alligators live in water, so you gotta think of a water sign, probably Aquarius or Aquaria if it’s a gal gator”.
OK, but does he do tricks? Does he play hacky sack with a trainer? Can tourists buy little bags of pressed quinoa cut into shapes that look like little fish?
Because if those were around it would blow open the synapses on each and every French postmodernist alive!
Oh hey – speaking of semiotics – while in Oregon my Tuesday began with this 3-minute video popping up in my Tweety.

And my afternoon ended with Kendall Jenner sticking the HFCS to The Man!
Here to explain all things related to those on the lower rung the Kardassia is our own Alaska Wolf Joe –

Consider, I suppose, that the Pepsi ad is much like the Syrian attack which it so closely pairs with chronologically, a simile of bourgeois hors d’oeuvres and red wine, flesh and blood. Perhaps as Barthes would point out, red wine itself creates insatiable thirst at best, and at worst is a consequence of the social event (war). (Barthes’ Mythologies, “Wine and Milk.” To summarize here, I recall Barthes’ analysis of wine as being paradoxically dry but thirst quenching – in that in his own terms, “[…] at least thirst serves as an initial alibi for its consumption[…]” (Mythologies 79) To note briefly here of war, it is similarly a galvanizing act of quenching, its initial process claims to be a reagent in the reaction of peace, at least at the outset.)
I. Pepsi
No doubt in the mythology of the infamous Kendall Jenner advertisement, Pepsi itself is portrayed a nourishment of the body, that which quenches thirst. A better question to be asked of the commercial may be this: Why are they thirsty? The ideological supposition itself is immediately formed, “They are thirsty for justice!” but this is a lie.
I read it as that they thirst because they are attractive, creative, and have a surplus of sexuality – they are thirsty precisely because they are bodies in motion, but particular bodies: bodies of enjoyment. This thirst is not caused of a natural biological need, rather at the outset we can compare it with surplus value: it is the thirst of those who can afford to waste their biological energy in Spectacle. It is their raw hedonism of pleasure through protest, pleasure through art, pleasure through imagined narratives of “countercultural critique” which enables them to be thirsty. It is the perspiration of jouissance. They can only afford this thirst because of their status with regards to Capital. If they were truly proletarian, this Spectacle would be impossible, the thirst would become dangerous. It is not so disparate of course, worker’s hands have still manufactured this Pepsi, but it is precisely this which causes these young bourgeois to thirst. For the workers themselves are already thirsty, are already suffering – they could enjoy a nice cold Pepsi. The young bourgeoisie lacks this thirst; they do not have nearly such a miserable condition in life. They must become more symptomatic, more laborious. They must create thirst in order to enjoy this Pepsi. And what an enjoyable Pepsi it will be, once they have earned it.
To compare, here is Zizek on soft drinks:

A more pressing issue is at hand that regards the political in the commercial itself. I had recently watched Fritz Langs’ Metropolis, a great film of ambiguity regarding the bourgeois support of the worker as Spectacle. One of the things most mystifying about the film is that we do not know precisely what it is that the machines do. In the inadvertent gaze of Langs’ directorial sensibility and the overtones of the script, this renders the workers even more as an inanimate object unto themselves – even more as an undifferentiated whole only recognizable for labor value, removed and alienated of their subjectivity, brought through to the “self-consciousness” of their position in the master and slave dialectic. There is nothing more they are conscious of, and nothing more that we are conscious of, than that they are laborers. Their machines are nameless, their work is nameless, and they themselves (virtually) are nameless.
Contrast this, of course, with what we are offered here in the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad. Its most infamous initial image is simply of that of protest signs devoid of any coherent message. It is a revolution without organs. A woman in a hijab scribbles on photography. What is she photographing? Kendall Jenner poses in front of a mirror. What is she modeling for? A man plays a cello. We do not hear the music he plays.
It extends too to the actions: This man perspires over his cello, this supposedly Muslim woman throws these photographs aside, Kendall Jenner discards her wig and (miraculously) changes into a proletarian costume, revealing her “authenticity”.
Inevitably, there is no answer. For what is there to consider of it but Spectacle? What are they joining, of course, but Spectacle? The musicians in the street, the break dancers whispered of briefly in the montage are the most authentic consumers in the whole commercial: they are already aware that this is a celebration, a perverted Carnaval, a burlesque of revolution.
Do not focus on the moment which has now cemented itself in our cultural conscious of Kendall Jenner handing a Pepsi to a cop1. Focus on the sequence afterwards, in which the cop smiles and looks over at the other cop in a knowledge of agreement. An agreement to what? An agreement to enjoyment. This is precisely what is novel about this commercial, what is truly revolutionary. For there is no longer a moment of free love, the uninhibited flow of orgone, no longer mass revolt, no longer “hanging them by the last bit of rope which they will sell us” there is—enjoyment. The revolution here is that the entire world will become a Pepsi commercial. The gross surplus enjoyment, the raw and impossible jouissance of all existence is nothing but an orgiastic enjoyment of Pepsi unto infinity.
Consider then the impossible fantasy of a Pepsi commercial, so enjoyable that it never ends – it is a never-ending montage of fantastical commercial enjoyment, it is this revolution without organs which we have glimpsed carrying on ad infinitum, it continues until the entire world’s factories have stopped, that the world’s population is starving, the clouds have darkened with pestilence, our urine has turned black with blood from kidneys which have tasted naught but Pepsi for years, and finally into the absence of God’s position in the heavens a lone voice screams: “Pepsi!” This is the horrid jouissance of Pepsi. The impossible horror of a commercial reaching its liminal conclusion in death.
Is this not how the end of the world will look? Will it not look like this commercial?

AWJ’s thoughts on Pepsi and Syria continue here.
As that’s all a bit much to chew on in one sitting, no matter how much Log Cabin syrup and whipped cream you put on it, I shall be succinct.
Barthes becomes difficult to use in after information becomes suddenly ubiquitous and easily manufactured. The old media was based on the scarcity of the means to produce content which is why co-opting symbols – as seen in the video above – made sense. His Mythologies remains an important read and maybe well go into this more at a later time.
Meanwhile – being the low season on the Oregon coast the store’s hours were highly variable and thus my search for the vegan alligator will have to continue in the summer months.
Until then I will whistle this happy tune.

Burial and internment at Commode Gardens

“Bear’t that th’ opposèd may beware of thee. Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy,for the apparel oft proclaims the man.” Polonius from Hamlet Act I Scene III
“They (strippers and burlesque performers) wear their audience when they take off their clothes.”- Herbert Marshall McLuhan

“In Being and Nothingness (1943), Jean-Paul Sartre wrote that man wishes to possess things in order to enlarge his sense of self, and that we can know who we are only by observing what we have. Studies of ownership and identity – by marketing experts, anthropologists, psychologists and sociologists – come to the same conclusion: we project our sense of self onto everything we own. According to Russell Belk, a professor of marketing at York University whose 1988 paper about possessions and the extended self remains a touchstone for all subsequent research, this kind of projection serves a valuable function for a healthy personality, ‘acting as an objective manifestation of self’. Humans have a fundamental need to store memories, values and experiences in objects, perhaps to keep them safe from memory loss; proof that, yes, that really happened. It is not even necessary to own these totemic items for their charge to hold. People speak about ‘my’ television programme, ‘my’ movie star, or ‘my’ seat in a classroom – a form of possessive self-definition that extends to matters of taste as well as to stuff. Questions such as: ‘Are you Beatles or are you Stones? Blur or Oasis?’ are examples of how taste funnells us into tribes that proclaim our aspirations and ideals along with our interests.” – Lee Randall

“Vulgar and inactive minds confound familiarity with knowledge, and conceive themselves informed of the whole nature of things, when they are shown their form or told their use.” Dr. Johnson

“Well Mack the Finger said to Louie the King, ‘I got forty red, white and blue shoestrings and a thousand telephones that don’t ring…’” – generally attributed to Ovid

My Facebook page seems to be dying. This comes with all the personal angst of coming home to a dead goldfish. (OK, coming home to a dead goldfish – minus — the angsty six year-old wondering why Mr. Swimmy is upsidedown.) The general cause can be traced back to a Facebook quiz that was making the rounds which showed just how large your vocabulary is. Most of the people in my feed routinely turned up with vocabularies well over 30,000 words while I barely managed to crack five figures. Some how my low score seems to have triggered a slow migration of people away from my FB page. Again – not that it concerns me, after all I’ve reached the advanced aged where I’m either going to endlessly repeat myself or forget what I was going to say.
How many words do you need to do that?
Jejune? De rigueur? Phlegmatic?
Oh, please!
Those cows are long gone from the barn.
Mom, who’s razor sharp when it comes to all this social media jazz, said, “When this happens the first thing to do is stay up all all night vauguebooking your butt-hurt, but that’s kinda teenager-y for somebody as ancient as you.”
Point taken.
Instead I decided to put some thought into the matter. After a tiny bit of lengthy consideration, I decided that I can be something more of an oddity than I already am. Imagine what would happen if I wrote a novel with that teensy vocabulary. On the low end I’d be some sort of side-show come-on for Oprah’s Book Club and on the other I’d be the Booker Prize MacGyver who coughed up an award winner using only a paperclip, a 9-volt transistor battery, and some gum.
Which brings me to where we’re going with this mess – a short excursion back to the 1960s.

“For a couple of years he’d been a used car salesman and so hyperaware of what that profession had come to mean that the working hours were exquisite torture to him. … Yet at least he had believed in the cars. Maybe to excess; seeing a parade seven days a week, bringing the most godawful trade-ins; motorized metal extensions of themselves, of (the drivers’) families and what their whole lives must look like, out there so naked for anybody, a stranger like himself, to look at, frame cockeyed, rusty underneath, fender repainted in a shade just off enough to depress the value … the inside smelling of hopelessly of children, supermarket booze, two, sometimes three generations of cigarette smokers, or only of dust … “ from The Crying of Lot 49

That passage has always managed to light up my brain like a cheap pinball machine. Two kinds of people sell things for a living – those who have a natural talent, who put not one iota of conscious thought into it, and those of us who understood it as something like learning a second and very difficult language, and by doing so we gained uncomfortable insights into how complete strangers’ lives worked.
Whether we liked it or not.
The endless psychic grind of selling comes when the moment in each sale when you see what exactly the thing sought will be an extension of the buyer. Does it match the decor? Does it come with the latest version of Dolby Surround? Is there a different one with even more rinse cycles?
How will this thing announce my coming?
How will this thing represent me to others?
Objects come to alleviate personal insecurities the same was Tylenol suppressed the pain, but does nothing for the cause. Show me what some one is shopping for an I can tell you what problem they’re trying to keep at arm’s length. I met so many people who found that the things they bought were the commodification of angst and insecurity- whether they knew it or not. Lately I’ve come to see that the same is true of our politics. Whether we noticed it or not for 50 years we’ve been on a slow path to the commodification of political belief. The process accelerated over the past 30. Big media didn’t really pigeon hole anyone so much as give us things to try on. Fifty years ago the media at least tried to show how each aspect of a political party fit into a greater whole. It was easy enough to do as the 60s. Reporting tried to follow zeitgeist to its lair in the weltanschauung. Reporting was all about mapping what we would call today an ideological eco-system. Reporting tried to answer the question, “How does the niche relate the the whole?” I’m not sure when that changed, but it certainly changed after I came of age. Reporting became more like a yardstick or a checklist. Somewhere along the line the question became, “What do you believe among the things on this checklist and how ardently do you believe it?” Exploring how something fit intoa greater whole was abandoned for a baedeker approach – less designer and more off the rack – more easily picked up and easily traded in. AM Radio and cable news were really the best when it came to destroying the worldview in order to save the worldview.
Nuance, to borrow an old phrase, doesn’t play in Peoria. Roll that up with tv and cable news being nuance proof and you wind up with designer political views. It’s off-the-rack or nothing at all. Anybody who is pro-life and a climate change believer is merely someone who mixed up items from different departments and needs to stop by customer service. Media, especially cable news, has not moved beyond the point where it cannot allow for gray areas. Therefore our beliefs are no longer tracked as a whole, but as part of a preferred designer collection of information.
You pick a political identity and in order to report it the media lays out everything associated with that identity. Your extension into the world is less the result of your own thinking and experience as it’s just something you managed to pick up on the way home.
Like picking between an Android or an iPhone.
Social justice? Balanced budgets? Climate change? Pro-life?
Reporting says there’s an app for that.
Political identities then become a mass produced item as if your beliefs were left on the porch by UPS or were oozed out of the long end of an extruder.
OK – right there.
That’s a big word and I know what it means and before you get all poo-ass’d uppity about it, I gonna use it in a sentence.

Violetta blushed jejunely as Archbishop D’Rigeuer lead the procession of the hydrated around the royal extruder at the Blessing of the Phlegmatic.

Look at all those big-ass words.
BOOO-yah you FB quiz-makin’ motherfuckers.
The way I figure it, you gotta sneak up on those Booker Prize high sheriffs. Maybe run out a couple of Harlequin novels first and then BAM!
They’ll never what hit ‘em.

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride 2

ED NOTE: Each year the old hippies in Black Diamond ask their neighbors, the survivalists, to keep an eye on the yurt so they can come to town for The Folk Life Festival. Folk Life takes place each Memorial Day weekend at the Seattle Center. This year while the Folk Lifers we having a stomp and yodel to an endless array of banjo solos another concert was taking place on the other side of downtown.
Our own Alaska Wolf Joe has the details.

Review: The Mighty Death Pop Tour, or, Faygo Armaggedon: A Tale of Two Fucks (not given.)
“It seems like ICP fans give a violent and terrifying impression [to most people], when they actually just go enjoy Guy Fieri rapping badly while being sprayed with soda.” –Anonymous

Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Guy Fieri (Guy Fieri) are often compared together as being near look alikes, if not indeed odd impersonations of each other. Their voice is even on a similar register, with Violent J at more of a guttural high baritone and Fieri at a high pitched American tenor, despite the fact that vocally one sounds to be a classical ‘thug’ and the other has the beginnings of ‘American Television Host’ mixed with the sprouts of eminent douchebaggery. It is even true that, given the right circumstances, they could most likely get into a professional wrestling match. This is not a new thought of comparing the two. I had contemplated this while standing in the line to get in, which I did not know would take forty minutes.
The first thing that you will notice that deviates from the image of an Insane Clown Posse concert in your head is the fact that the makeup is not perfect. In fact, the makeup is awful. Genuinely. I did not know that clown makeup could be an imperfect art, but it is here. It reeks of absolutely amateurishness in every sense of the word.
I am waiting in the line, passing the twenty minute mark. I have already seen two pipes, but it was a mild incident compared to the rest of the day before; but now: a burst. “Eat up, motherfuckers!” and like that, three rainbow colored rice krispies (crispies? can never keep that straight) seem to appear out of these pocket less Juggalos. “Hey, you gotta enjoy life …” some sort of optimistic riposte to an unforeseen force. It’s beautiful, watching clown-face makeup people scarf down hash-oil soaked krispies. It’s all in an attempt to get them finished before entering, where apparently, they will kick you out if you have such things. A spliff/reefer/roach is slowly making its way down the line, it never directly touched hands with me but touched hands with everyone else. It’s as if to suggest ‘You don’t belong here’ spelled out in the vague essence of hemp smoke.
It’s unbelievable. Today I have consumed more second-hand smoke of anything than ever before. Most Juggalos seem to have a cigarette problem. This really merged well with the rest of the tobacco I’d experienced before today, which, by all accounts, was still far less than the amount of weed I’d experienced.
Eventually, I enter, after being pat down by what must be a set of TSA agents in their spare time with a look of utter contempt in their eyes. It’s a lackadaisical experience, which sort of sets the tone for the subpar violence of this concert. “It’s not likely anyone would genuinely bring a gun,” is the message, “but maybe they might have a knife – but we’ll let that slip, because we doubt they have enough ill will in them to use it.”
The space is small. As in, at any point you are less than 25 feet away from the stage. I’m hiding in the back balcony because it’s the clearest view of the performance, and I’m not interested in the herd on the floor for any shenanigans. The preshow acts become less and less eccentric. I will not note anything other than the two hours that took to get through them, because they are, as is the rest of this concert, a non-narrative experience, for differing reasons. I will note one though.
‘Kung-Fu Vampire’ was in fact a letdown. By all standards of the performance, I was far from enthralled. Because, and I doubted this was possible, Kung-Fu Vampire offered less than what was expected. Kung-Fu Vampire’s raps were not audible (he spoke the fastest of anyone tonight, despite looking the most sober) and his appearance was not flamboyant. His hair was in an exquisitely simple pomade back without being excessively long, his makeup was nothing more than eyeshadow, and there was certainly no clown makeup. He was wearing a red bowling shirt and slacks. Yes, a red bowling shirt. The sort of casual 50s kind of bowling shirt, as in rich middle aged white guy from that period.
The mere description of the name ‘Kung-Fu Vampire’ would indicate any myriad of possibilities – who knows what could be possible? – a Transylvanian Glam act that aspired to mix the aesthetics of Kung Fu movies as stage theatrics with ICP’s self-termed musical genre of ‘Horrorcore rap’, a black belt rapper whose entire act consists of downing a quart of Goat’s blood on stage, a soul musician who seems to have gotten entirely lost and is performing in an entirely wrong musical location and tour yet was eccentric enough to fit, a Chinese Zen master who does Insane Clown Posse covers … the possibilities were endless. I got an imitation of ICP by one man who given enough time could perhaps create a show as wholly theatric as theirs; but nonetheless, a novice. One could even tell from his related anecdote to the audience: “This is the only time I’ve played a city twice … make it fucking rock more this time!” [note: paraphrased.]
The last of the three pre-show acts, the Moonshine Bandits, the most audible of the night (a country rap group) had finally wrapped up. The fifteen minute excessive intermission has ended prior to the Insane Clown Posse’s final entrance. The stage is set: two tables of Faygo Cola (non-diet), a gigantic functioning (with lights) scary clown head at the back of the stage, two additional sets of lights, flamboyant colors of the walls even in the dark.
The lights go dark. They go up now, and the opening is an entirely unironic rendition of Fucik’s ‘Entry of the Gladiators’ done on an electronic toy piano (it’s very hard to describe that kind of sound). Their inspiration from the world of professional wrestling is most clear at this moment. I’m at a loss to see the stage, as arms in the air and there is no vision in between the constant fits of motion in the audience. That’s a bit of a lie, but they’re near impenetrable for the first minute. But then it starts, and oh my god, there is no pacing. There is no narrative sensibility, it just comes at you.
At first, when anyone (and even I) must have had the right context to even understand the words ‘Insane Clown Posse’ their immediate reference is going to be ‘Miracles’, the song that made the internet top 40 chart (in terms of memetic attention at any given moment) for the following lyric:
Fucking magnets, how do they work?
… much to the internet’s incredibly serious vanity and ire over having to correct scientific ignorance with barely educated scientific fact boiled to an everyman’s level, it was the perfect storm.
We don’t have to be high to look in the sky,

And know that’s a miracle opened wide.
However, I was myself a bit surprised at the words here on the poster. “Witness the Faygo Armageddon.” I had intrepidly googled this days before, and the first video presented me a view of the end of the set, wherein Violent J is shooting blue Faygo out of a cannon on stage. Rationally I thought “Oh, this must be a special end of set thing where they go all out” and thought “Well, maybe they might throw some Faygo out into the audience once or twice beforehand.”
No. This is all fucking out Faygo from the start. Genuinely, I did not expect this much soda. The set started with it being thrown. And then it continued. And continued. And continued. And continued. And really, it never stopped or intensified at any point until the end – it became one continuous mass of it. This is the performance, for you see:
Nothing is audible. None of the lyrics. None of the fan’s screams. None of the music. Nothing. Just a wave of sheer noise with some motifs and themes that may come over (the word ‘fuck’, the word ‘faygo’, ‘juggalo’, repeated samples of music that is not themselves theirs, the sound of their voices, etc.) but I cannot remember a single lyric from them in the entirety of the night. None. Just sheer noise. But the theatricality of what they have, it is wonderful. I even gleefully joined in when thrown a bottle of Faygo and rang it around the top of my head as if an aspergillum to these proceedings, while shouting ‘Whoop Whoop’.
The apex of the night, as shrill as anything else that comes from this belongs to the ending, which like all dramatic ironies has been promised to us from the beginning. As surely as we know that Oedipus will find out his incestuous deeds, we will experience the Faygo Armageddon. And it occurs.
The fans flood the stage, and it climaxes to a cascade of Faygo running over the audience in all directions, one man has become almost entirely naked and is drowning himself in a pure flood of Faygo. Dousing himself, emptying bottle over body over his flabby and beer bellied body. It is a disgustingly American display of pure and unadulterated ecstasy.
Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope have disappeared elsewhere. The lights come up. There is no afterthought, epilogue, or curtain call. And then the most beautiful view of the flooded floor comes up. There is no more resolution to the matter, the apex is left untouched as a testament to the work that occurred before. These are masters of performance, not of deep human sensibility, and the act is well solidified after being around for 24 years.
1. More commonly: The elephant/tightrope/circus music; but I feel that (and not in a pretentious way) the fact that Fucik remained an almost entirely unknown composer except for one bizarrely situational piece that is now being used by the Insane Clown Posse as entrance music is an exceptionally beautiful irony.
2/4.Novel. More commonly: The elephant/tightrope/circus music; but I feel that (and not in a pretentious way) the fact that Fucik remained an almost entirely unknown composer except for one bizarrely situational piece that is now being used by the Insane Clown Posse as entrance music is an exceptionally beautiful irony.
“Insane Clown Posse Performs Complete Annihilation at The 13th Annual Gathering [FAYGO ARMAGEDDON]”
Youtube. User: SOSEntGroup. September 3, 2012. May 26, 2013.
Of minor interest: I had been told earlier that, when touring out of country (eg. Europe, Australia) Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or other local products are used in place of Faygo for some reason regarding Faygo itself being unable to be used by themselves in such mass quantity. I am myself curious as to how much they must carry around with themselves after seeing the concert.

'The sound of radio static from a distant room'

“There is nothing, I believe, new in the (architecture of an) Arab Mosque; it is an unconscious revival of the forms used from the earliest ages to denote by symbolism the worship of the generative and the creative gods. The reader will excuse me if I only glance at a subject of which the investigation would require a volume, and which, discussed at greater length, would be out of place in such a narrative as this.” Sir Richard Burton c. 1851
“Our notions of Mecca must be drawn from the Arabians; as no unbeliever is permitted to enter the city, our travellers are silent.” – Edward Gibbon
Terrestrial radio’s grip on us isn’t what it used to be. Mom’s down to listening to only one station which is run by children who are overly enamored of k-pop while Alaska Wolf Joe thinks of the device as quaint. As for myself I have a variety of apps on my iPod touch which fetch all manner of music. Lately I’ve been to some of the hipster stations Accuradio coughs up. Hour after hour I have listened to artists play their ukeleles and sing in voices so faint and twee that it is possible to believe they never made a sound.
The only reason I bring this up is that this was the week when we learned Al Gore was selling his cable tv outlet to Al Jazeera. That lead Mike to say that he thought talk radio would explode the next day. Maybe it did and maybe it didn’t but you’d never know it by us. The left-leaning station went to being sports talk (Here’s it’s obit, part 1 and part 2.) while the right-leaning stations have signals every bit as faint and twee as the music I’ve been listening to.
At this point let me say that this is about radio and not Al Jazeera. Last winter when I had the flu I got to see a bunch of AJ-TV as I dropped the remote and didn’t have the energy to get off the couch to find it. The programming is largely the same as what you see on public access tv. You know, that stuff by the overly earnest folk who made VHS copies of some DVD and hurry it down to the public access studio so the like minded can be more fully like minded.
Every bit as fire breathing as warm tapioca.
If you wanna see some real ‘Merikka hatin’ you need to see RTTV which comes straight from that French famous person’s tax haven, Russia.
I don’t think they talked that much smack about us when Khrushchev was alive.
And the cable company serves that up 24 hours a day.
Moving along –
I long thought that by the time wi-fi for the the car console then terrestrial radio would go over the cliff in flames. I’ve had to revise that as people are becoming more comfortable with using their smart phones for a variety of uses. Given that I’ve now revised my thinking to see terrestrial radio as having gone through a very significant transition in the past few years. Until 2010 radio was a lobster in the tank by the meat case.
Today radio is a lobster in a pot that’s becoming steadily warmer by the minute.
It is difficult to argue with the fact that the medium is loaded with what Barry Ritholtz calls “zombie ideas: the memes, theories and policies that refuse to die, despite their obvious failings.”
Now if you’ll excuse me I’ll return to listening to tiny, tiny voices emerging from my iPod. We didn’t have anything like that in my day. We didn’t have any trouble hearing bands back then.


“Actions are visible, though motives are secret.” Dr. Johnson

This was the week where I started out with somewhat less than half an idea about what to write and, as the long-time readers will tell you, I’ve never let a little thing like that stop me from going off half-cocked. Life’s too short to wait for a complete idea and if we all waited for one there’d be nothing on the Interweb(s). But as the week progressed I was completely blindsided by an incident that shot my concentration all to hell. It was brief, it was spectacular, and it was white hot.
And I am not in any position to cough up the details.
Mom calls it The Curse of Knowing (tm pend) – you know it, but you can’t do anything about it. Right now it’s something I can’t talk about because I’m not really supposed to know about it. Which is not to say that if the shit would stop getting so close to the fan in six or so months I could disclose everything. Redaction is worthless as it was a purely oral exchange. But if there was a redacted transcript all you’d see would be the articles, prepositions,conjunctions, and wave after wave of obscenities. Until then I can only hold on and tell you what you’re missing.
At one point Speaker A put forth an idea. While Speaker A was able to finish the thought Speaker B took offense to something stated very early on and that was that. The rest of the time was taken up by Speaker B who performed the delicate act of walking the fine line making sure that everyone was blamed while making sure everyone felt equally threatened. The tone was surprising in that just when you thought the bellowing would boil down to “COME AND GET ME COPPERS!” it would pirouette into something much more “NOBODY GETS OUT OF HERE ALIVE!”
Had the incident been a sitcom from the 1980s it would have begun with the words, “Tonight on a very special epidsode of…” and ended with everyone hugging having learned a very valuable lesson. But that wasn’t the case as this is the 21st Century where everyone believes as Emperor Palpatine does – hate gives you focus, it makes you strong.
Having said all that I know what you’re thinking, “Was there a threat to tattle?”
Please don’t think I’m taking it lightly as I held off to talk about it at the end. It’s more of a case that I’m just not sure who this very important authority figure is who will be on the receiving end of the tattling. I could Google the name or run a quick search on LinkedIn, but that would negate the essential half-assedness required of any post on this page. (QED 1999-present)
And we can’t have that.
With that I must take my leave. I have to prove that no self-respecting Bolshevik can go about his business without first having obtained a library card. Until then here’s some music to make you feel old.