In the above article, Dave Lindorff proposes that a good way to defeat the national security state is through information overload. They seek certain keywords that supposedly alert them to suspicious behavior. If freedom lovers were to use these words en masse, this would strain their ability to keep up.
I suspect, however, that this is an inherent weakness to the whole security state mentality, whether we implement such a strategy or not. The type of words that they might be looking for are probably used millions of times daily -even on the part of people who hate the alleged enemies of the state. For example, “We should nuke all them Al Qaeda terrorists!” This might be written by a red-blooded, flag-waving American, but it’s still likely to set off certain sensors.
Add to this the way violent and revolutionary words might be used in: movies, books, discussions about history, politics, computer games, etc. and you can start to see that information overload is not something we have to try very hard to manifest in todays world!
Let’s assume the worst case scenario -that “they” can watch and record every single word spoken on the planet, whether in person, on the phone or online. Hell, let’s take it a step further and assume they have technology that can even read our thoughts!
The fact is, even if they have such tools, there’s still a need to process it and use it in a systemized way. This is going to be an increasingly daunting task as information exponentially increases every year.
We all know that words and language can be used to deceive and manipulate as well as to convey and to inform. In George Orwell’s novel 1984, the state creates a whole new vocabulary—Newspeak—to ensure that citizens cannot think for themselves.
While his chilling description of an all-powerful state that controls citizens’ very thoughts by controlling their language has not literally come to pass, it was nonetheless prophetic in many ways. For example, the deceptive and euphemistic language used by the government and media to describe wars (which, not incidentally, are never called “wars” anymore) approaches Newspeak. Civilian casualities are now “collateral damage,” while an occupying army is now a “peacekeeping force.”
Sinister as this sort of propaganda is, there is another trend which may prove even more detrimental to our ability to freely use language. I am referring to the widespread copyrighting and trademarking of words and expressions, which amounts to the virtual ownership of words by individuals and corporations. Trademarks and copyrights are legal means to protect original names, ideas and works of art.
There is also, however, a contemporary social disease that might be called TM-mania, an obsessive concern with preserving the exclusive rights to commonly used words and the most casual turns of phrase. Of course, the people who reflexively place the letters ™ after every second or third thing they speak or write believe that they are protecting profound and unique utterances which their envious peers or business competitors would seize from them if given the chance. Thus, we must increasingly endure the ubiquitous ™ following the most banal advertising slogans.
The consequences of this phenomenon range from amusing to disturbing. In the former category we can place words, names and phrases that almost certainly would never be copied whether protected by copyright or not. Only the egotistical mind of the copywriter could conceive of anyone appropriating something like “Super Squish-O-Matic: the Ultimate Mixing Machine“ or “Neutron Bomb Roach Spray with Extra Killing Power.” These are (to the best of my knowledge) imaginary examples, but similar enough to ones we encounter daily. It is never enough to simply trademark the brand name; the accompanying description of the product must be protected as well.
Where all this starts to get disturbing is when it encroaches on our freedom to use, not silly slogans, but commonly used words and phrases. Consider the implications of protecting such phrases as: “Brand X Motor Oil—Simply The Best.” Brand X has, for all time, seized the right to call itself the best motor oil. Or, to take an actual example I recently noticed, Haagen Dazs ice cream has trademarked the slogan “It’s Just Perfect.” What we have here is a corporation gaining ownership of words that are not even true.
Most advertising slogans are neither true nor false, but unprovable assertions. After all, whether we are talking about motor oil, ice cream or anything else, “best” depends on who is judging and what standard they are using. Ironically, ™ after a phrase, despite the aura of legalese it adds to words, is actually a kind of guarantee that the statement is not true in any verifiable sense. Factual statements, such as “each cookie contains 8.5 chocolate chips” cannot be protected because there is nothing to prevent a competitor from making the same statement if it describes their product as well.
Furthermore, facts change. Ford cannot for all time claim to build the world’s largest sport utility vehicle, because next year Dodge might build a bigger one. This is why nonfactual but strongly connotative words like “best” and “perfect” so often appear in advertising slogans—and are so often protected.
There is certainly a legitimate need for copyrighting and trademarking. If Company A starts calling its product by a name already being used by Company B, there is a clearcut violation involved; it would also be confusing. However, the current trend of trademarking trivial descriptions of products and services is itself a violation—of free speech. People and corporations who do this are hoarders of words. Fearing competition, or maybe having an inflated opinion of their phrases, they want to forever deprive others of the right to use them.
Examples of TM-mania can be found in the issues of many writers’ magazines, where corporations routinely place ads warning writers not to use brand names such as Kleenex™, Xerox™ and Rollerblade™ as generic words. Note that we are not talking here about the right of another company to call their copy machine a Xerox. This would obviously lead to confusion and infringe on the rights of the original Xerox. They are concerned about writers using these words in ordinary sentences. Instead of being glad their product has been so successful that it has become a generic term, they react with the paranoia typical to large institutions and worry that people will forget that kleenex is not just any tissue, but KLEENEX, a unique brand name.
It’s a good thing that this mentality was not around a hundred years ago, or the number of nouns at our disposal would be severely limited. We are getting so accustomed to this practice that it may not seem out of line, but imagine if the first producers of automobiles, jeans, televisions and computers all trademarked these words. We would have to endure the capitalization of (or a ™ after) these and countless other everyday words.
This practice has also become ubiquitous in the realms of self-improvement, alternative healing and popular psychology. It is no longer sufficient to call oneself a mere practitioner of something as familiar as psychotherapy, hypnosis or massage therapy. It seems that everyone today has to claim ownership of a unique (and of course trademarked) system. Browse through the catalog of a center that specializes in healing or New Age workshops and count the ™ symbols. Once again, I am concerned not with the protection of truly original names and phrases, but of the appropriation of familiar ones.
If trademarking had been possible in ancient times, the Greeks could have trademarked, among others, “logic,” “psychology” and “metaphysics.” What would life be like today if the first cave painters had started a corporation and trademarked the word “art?” As ludicrous as this sounds, this mentality is common today. Since writing the first draft of this article, I came across a book in the New Age/Self-Help section of a bookstore that was promoting a self improvement system called “Philosophy”—with a ™ after it. Modern self-help gurus are rushing to trademark words that have been in use for thousands of years. Socrates would have been outraged at such hubris!
The implications of this go beyond linguistics and involve the way we are able to think about various disciplines and systems of thought. To paraphrase Orwell, those who control language control the way we think. When someone gains ownership of a previously generic word or phrase, they are attempting to manipulate our thinking (even if they only have profits in mind). We are no longer allowed to enjoy an open-ended and cosmopolitan sense of the word—we must now forever associate it with Brand X or System Y. These are intellectual chains.
This practice reflects a widespread puerile individualism; many people feel the need to portray an image, not only of quality and originality, but of uniqueness. In the vast majority of cases, this uniqueness is limited entirely to the name, which is perhaps why so much emphasis is placed there. What matters most today are superficial trappings like brand names and the advertising associated with them. Content—the idea or object to which the name refers—becomes secondary, if not irrelevant.
At a deeper level, the widespread trademarking of words points to the breakdown of language as a means of spontaneous communication. It is part of the larger trend of attempting to regulate and formalize every aspect of life. In the past there was at least as much hype, exaggeration and questionable information around as today. Passing through a bazaar, medicine show, carnival or revival meeting, or receiving a visit from a travelling salesman all demanded a healthy dose of skepticism.
Yet alongside the persuasion and manipulation, such informal exchanges contained an element of spontaneity and playfulness that is rapidly fading from today’s marketplace. When you bargained with a Middle Eastern merchant, it was understood that his initial asking price was way too high and that he was overstating the quality of the merchandise. Today’s merchants exaggerate just as much; the difference is, they want their prevarications protected by official decree.
Just as in the physical world public spaces are becoming rare, so even words are becoming privatized and cut off from the wider world. As people are increasingly putting gates around their suburban communities to keep out strangers, corporations are protecting “their” words with trademarks so no one else can profit from them, or even use them without permission. Language is becoming, instead of a tool for communication and understanding, one of control and deception.
Language, of course, has always been used for these purposes by means such as propaganda and censorship. Excessive trademarking, however, is a more subtle form of thought control. It allows words to become the exclusive property of special interests. Words are the products of our minds, possibly even our souls; as much as possible, they should be free.
It’s getting more and more common to hear about near riots on “Black Friday” -frenzied shoppers knocking each other over and even pepper-spraying one another all to get a discount on mass produced goods.
In a way, these incidents shed light on some of the motivation behind the Occupy Wall Street Movement. For this kind of behavior is an example of the same general mindset that values money or material objects above other people.
Although it’s admittedly a small percentage of people who actually go ballistic at these Walmarts and malls, lots of people still let themselves get caught up in the mass society trance that is ultimately responsible for these extreme reactions.
The following video suggests that one of the causes of people reverting to instinctive, herd-like behavior may be psychiatric drugs, fluoride and vaccinations. This may not be so farfetched when you consider how many of us, starting in childhood are highly medicated nowadays!
The so-called Stop Piracy Online Act (SOPA) could give the government the power to censor any website at all, based on a vague accusation of copyright infringement. The following article on Huffingtonpost.com has some revealing remarks.
First of all, the internet censorship bill has been “lauded by both parties,” which is typical of major decisions of any kind. Even more importantly, and in this case encouragingly,
” A host of libertarians, Tea Party members, radical progressives, and mainstream conservatives have spoken out against the bills.”
If all of the above factions could come together on more issues, some necessary changes could start occurring much faster! People have to wake up from the delusion that political ideologies such as left and right, liberal and conservative matter at all anymore!
What’s needed right now is a broad coalition of people -who need not agree on everything or even like each other!- who recognize that the real threat comes not from the left or right, but from the false “center” that is the ruling elite.
It’s already the 10th Year anniversary of September 11, 2001 and the media is predictably filling the newspapers, TV and internet with footage of that day. Just as predictably, there is hardly any mention of alternative theories regarding who was really responsible for the attacks. This, despite the growing amount of evidence that has accumulated over the years, and the substantial number of people who are skeptical of the official story.
If you follow this blog at all, you might notice that not long ago I posted a rant questioning the point of the 9/11 “truth movement.” Well, as the anniversary comes up, and I thought about it some more, I guess I still think that it’s an important issue to examine. I’m not ready to devote my life to discrediting 9/11, but if nothing else, it’s a good study in mass consciousness and manipulation.
Perhaps what is most interesting about the whole 9/11 phenomenon is the way both the media and so-called “conspiracy theorists” (a term often used as a propaganda tool to discredit alternative views) tend to overestimate how many people really buy into consensus reality.
In many ways, the media really does give us a “matrix” like view of reality -there is a bizarre, almost desperate attempt to insist on repeating the same outmoded ideas and versions of events (not just about 9/11, but in general) without ever considering any alternatives -and pretending that dissenting ideas either don’t exist or are part of an irrelevant lunatic fringe.
Yet, even mainstream polls show that sizable numbers of people are skeptical of the mainstream paradigm. A recent column in the Huffington Post concedes, A Decade Later, 9/11 Conspiracy Theories Still Alive and Well.
The columnist, of course, dutifully laments the fact that 1 in 7 people in the U.S., and 1 in 4 young adults believes that 9/11 was pre-arranged. Naturally, he never bothers to address any evidence on this issue and attempts to dismiss it as mere disillusionment regarding Bush, the Iraq war and other political factors.
Yet, the really significant point here is that a substantial minority of people are completely unconvinced by the daily propaganda issued by politicians and the media! 1 in 7 people may not sound like a lot, but it’s far more than a fringe movement and enough to suggest that the narrow version of reality they dish out is not accepted by millions. This is quite revolutionary, when you think about it. The numbers might be even higher, when you factor in people’s reluctance to reveal their ideas publicly, and perhaps people who are still up in the air about it.
The 9/11 phenomenon is a good representation of what is sometimes called the dominant paradigm -though its actual dominance is quite questionable. The “news” you get from any mainstream source, whether in print, on television or online is a fabrication intended to keep people in a kind of mass trance. We are told how things are, but are only presented with a tiny spectrum of possibilities.
To briefly bring up another example, consider the current contest among Republicans to decide who will face Obama next year. The one candidate who has consistently expressed dissenting views on many topics is Ron Paul, and his presence is all but ignored by the media. In the recent debate, we were told, universally, that the contest is now between Perry and Romney. Yet if you look at many polls, or online discussions, you can see how popular Paul is.
No matter what the subject, you can count on the mass media to continue representing vested interests and ignoring any aspect of reality that doesn’t fit into the agenda. Fortunately, more and more people are waking up to this and seeking their information elsewhere.
Below is one of the most complete studies of 9/11, put out by Architects and Engineers For 9-11 Truth. They put forth the scientific reasons why the conventional explanation of 9/11 is so unconvincing.
Everyone has heard of the “Good Cop, Bad Cop” routine, where one cop, playing “Bad Cop” threatens and intimidates the suspect, while “Good Cop” acts nice and supposedly tries to restrain his out-of-control partner. This is a psychological tactic used to break down the defenses of the suspect, who (it is hoped) will both be trying to avoid the anger of Bad Cop and win the approval of Good Cop.
The mainstream media, intentionally or not, plays a similar game with viewers/readers, which we might call “Good News, Bad News.” Have you noticed that we are constantly bombarded with contradictory messages on topics that tend to produce anxiety, such as the economy, terrorism, the environment, crime and health?
One obvious example right now is economic news, where every other day the news seems to shift from, “Unemployment down, consumer confidence rising, recovery underway,” to “Unemployment higher than expected, fears of new recession,” etc.
The so-called War on Terror is another example, perhaps culminating in the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden. Almost immediately after his death, there was a widespread media-induced euphoria that had two separate components: 1) the satisfaction of seeing the alleged 9/11 mastermind finally receive justice and 2) the sigh of relief we could all breathe now that the world’s #1 terrorist was gone. Yet, within 24 hours, there were new warnings about how U.S. trains might be targets of terrorists, perhaps to avenge Bin Laden’s death. In the days that followed, there were a variety of mixed messages regarding the expected fallout of this event.
The issue of terrorism is probably one that causes the most anxiety for most people, at least in developed nations. From the point of view of those trying to maintain a powerful state apparatus with which to control people, there is always the need for an enemy, real or imagined. Until recently, this was usually another nation. Now, it’s the more shadowy and elusive figure of terrorists. In a way, it’s actually logical that the emphasis should shift back and forth between portraying terrorists as strong, clever and on the verge of a major strike, and then disorganized, weak and constantly thwarted by our superior intelligence.
If the terrorists are too smart and powerful, we lose faith in our protectors. If they are too weak, we lose the sense that we need protection. So, Good News, Bad News makes perfect sense to maintain this equilibrium. This is a more elaborate and sophisticated version of how, in Orwell’s 1984, the state bombarded citizens with contradictory slogans such as “War is Peace.” When you tell someone a blatant contradiction, they’re likely to see right through it. However, if you do it by splitting the two messages up and delivering them at different times, people will be more likely to absorb both of them.
So, for example, if we were told, in a single sentence, “Bin Laden is dead, we are now safe, and you should be more scared than ever!” it would sound like gibberish.
However, if the killing is announced on Sunday, in the spirit of, “Our great leaders have eliminated our biggest threat!” and on Monday we get the message, “Terrorists are regrouping and seeking revenge, Beware!” both sides of the dialectic are absorbed. We are filled with awe at the greatness of our leaders AND we’re more scared than ever.
What does this Good News, Bad News tactic accomplish? From the point of view of those in power, it allows them to have their cake and eat it too. It allows them to bask in the glory of supposed victories while (almost) simultaneously spreading more fear and despair. How does this serve them? If people go too far to either extreme, it’s difficult to garner widespread support for expensive, ambitious or sometimes bloody state actions. If things are going too well, why rock the boat? On the other hand, if everything they do is a dismal failure, why should we support their next grand scheme? But by using a schizoid approach, they can have it both ways, claiming success at the same time as they set the stage for catastrophe.
Admittedly, the above analysis implies a lot of pre-planning and a deliberate propaganda campaign. But you don’t have to be conspiracy minded to appreciate the effects of a constant barrage of mixed messages. Even if it’s all random, or a case of a more genuinely schizoid power elite (is this more comforting than a conspiracy?), the result is the same.
People who are skeptical of the mainstream media are often divided between those claiming that the media is trying to scare everyone and those who say that the media is lulling people into a false sense of security. But what if it’s both at the same time? What if the real point is to create a kind of bipolar effect where we are constantly shifting between relief and anxiety?
What’s the best safeguard against the Good News, Bad News phenomenon? Be centered, create your own reality and don’t let the news or large scale events determine how you feel!
Law & Order has come to define the modern TV crime drama. It’s been a fixture of American television for 20 years now, having premiered in 1990. I’m a relatively light TV watcher and never saw a single episode until sometime in the early 2000s, but I quickly became hooked. I recall coming home after working late and mindlessly (is there any other way to watch TV?) watching reruns until I was fairly well caught up.
More recently, I’ve given some thought to what effect this show has on me, and probably many other viewers as well. My conclusion is that, on many different levels, it epitomizes what might be called the old paradigm, or dualistic way of looking at life. This may seem obvious when it comes to a crime drama, which is, after all, by definition based on the good guys vs. bad guys archetype, but I believe Law & Order actually personifies this more than any other show in history.
Let’s start with the title itself. Law & Order -two words that immediately get us into the binary mode. Then there’s the distinctive and somewhat jarring, “da dum” beat that introduces every scene. This is quite obviously a form of conditioning the audience to the rhythm of the show, and this two-note sound continues the binary theme, which was created by Mike Post, who has named this sound “The Clang.”
If you listen to the introductory narration for Law & Order, you might notice, aside from the grim, slightly anachronistic tone of the announcer, that it reinforces the dualistic mindset by pointing out that,
“In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.”
Now, there’s a subtle but important bit of propaganda in the above paragraph. It doesn’t say that “suspects” are prosecuted, but “offenders.” This sounds like we already know the person is guilty of the crime. I checked out what the word “offender” means legally, and according to the Duhaime.org legal dictionary it means: “A convicted person for whom there is a substantial risk of re-offending.” In other words, we are being told to assume that the defendants who are being prosecuted are guilty! Otherwise, it would say, “the district attorneys who prosecute the suspects,” or at least, “the alleged offenders.” Somewhere along the line, the basic principle of “innocent until proven guilty” was dispensed with.
All that, and we haven’t even gotten past the introduction of the program! Most of what can be said about the plots of Law & Order could be said about any police drama, though this show has somehow taken it all to a new extreme. It’s hard to generalize too much about a program that has spawned a large number of spin-offs, each with a different cast and focusing on a different aspect of crime. Some of the shows, obviously, are better than others, but overall the fast pace and mostly good acting makes for a compelling and very watchable 60 minutes.
Yet, what state of mind does it put viewers in to watch a show like Law & Order week after week, year after year? For one thing, it tends to provoke a feeling of anxiety about crime and violence. Many of the shows also succeed at creating villains who are so despicable that, not only are we glad to see them put behind bars, but we’re actually ready to cheer if they don’t live till the end of the episode. I’m not sure if this is a new development, but I’ve noticed quite a few episodes where a victim ends up killing his or her tormentor vigilante style and is often not prosecuted for this action. To root for this type of behavior does not prove that we’re violent or uncivilized, only human. A good scriptwriter or novelist knows how to create evil characters who are beyond redemption and whose brains we want to see splattered on the sidewalk (with the possible exception of the more saintly among us).
A pertinent question, however, might be, how many such evil predators are really out there? In the U.S., violent crime has decreased quite a bit over the last few decades. Even more tellingly, statistics also show that in the majority of cases the assailant of a violent crime is someone known to the victim. This is also true when it comes to cases of sexual abuse, something Law & Order focuses on quite a bit, and has entire show, Special Victims Unit dedicated to this topic. According to Childhelp, 90% of children who are sexually abused know the perpetrator. Yet, the typical picture we get in the media, crime novels, and of course Law & Order is that of the sinister predator who is stalking the streets, or the internet looking for victims. It’s not that such despicable characters don’t exist, it’s just that their numbers are far smaller than you’d conclude if you constantly absorb shows of this type.
If a TV show or film that uses the good guys vs. bad guys format is done right, most people will obviously naturally be rooting for the good guys to kick ass. In police shows, that means that we learn to adopt the mindset of cops and prosecutors, becoming impatient with laws protecting suspects, devious defense attorneys and even district attorneys who don’t give the cops on the street free reign to do their jobs properly. For example, if we’re watching SVU and see Detective Eliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) slam a suspect against the wall and maybe even deliver a punch or two, we not only sympathize, but feel a sense of vicarious elation at the forces of justice dishing out well deserved blows to scumbags.
Perhaps the most insidious aspect of a show like Law & Order is the overall feeling it gives us about other people and the world around us. Even if violent crime has little impact on our everyday lives, by bringing it into our living rooms it becomes a dominant force. The dim view it gives us about human nature and our society is one that ultimately justifies the status quo. Without well armed police, prisons and the criminal justice system, no matter how imperfect, we’d all be devoured by thugs, sociopaths and other predators, the message seems to be. Is this assumption false? Not entirely. If everything else remained the same and the criminal justice system was dismantled, the results would probably be quite chaotic. That doesn’t mean, however, that very different ways of doing things aren’t possible. If we’re in a state of fear, however, we’re not likely to search for such alternatives.
This is not limited to Law & Order, of course. If you’re a fan of modern crime fiction, especially masters of this genre such as John Sanford, James Lee Burke or Michael Connelly, you are also confronted with evildoers who are not only sadistic and sociopathic, but brilliant and devious as well. Yet a well written novel, with its character development and slower pace, even if it follows a familiar good vs. evil formula to some extent, always creates a more complex and nuanced view of life than a sixty minute TV show.
Law & Order is an entertaining and effective piece of modern brainwashing. Of course, all television contains elements of mind control, and all dualistic stories tend to oversimplify life, but Law & Order combines these two elements with unusual efficiency.
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
by Nicholas Carr
What led me to pick this book up was one of the blurbs on the back saying that this was “Neither a tub-thumpingly alarmist jeremiad nor a breathlessly Panglossian ode to the digital self…” (Tom Vanderbilt). Since the internet is pretty much a fait accompli, I don’t see much point in the anti-technology argument today, but it’s also a good idea to be objective about what all these devices are doing to us. Carr’s book does give a mostly balanced view of the subject, as he traces the history of books and reading as well as technology and points out how developments such as the clock and the map radically altered, not only our perspectives but the actual wiring of our brains.
The idea that the internet makes us more ADD is hardly original, and pretty much a truism. However, it’s just becoming known that the tasks that we spend lots of time attending to actually change the chemistry of our brains. One of Carr’s major problems with the information age is that it’s made it difficult for many people, even highly educated people (such as Carr himself) to sit down and read a book the old fashioned way.
Carr admits that there are advantages that come with these “new brains” of ours, such as an increased capacity to process certain types of information and visual images. His main criticism, however, which is contained in the book’s title, is that while our knowledge is becoming much broader, as well as instantly accessible, it’s also getting shallower. In other words, we don’t have the time or patience to stick with any one idea long enough to think deeply about it -we’re too anxious to move on to the next website, tweet, Facebook post, etc.
It’s hard to argue with Carr’s arguments, but in the end he doesn’t really suggest any solution. This isn’t really a criticism of him, as what solution could there be?
We can’t dis-invent the internet, and not many people would be willing to do this even if it were possible. For people who really despise it, the best hope is a complete collapse of civilization and a reverting back to earlier times -not a possibility that many people would consider inconceivable right now.
I think, however, that Carr, like many people, might overrate the real value of “traditional” intellectual book learning. From one point of view, reading itself is a highly artificial activity, one that promotes an extremely left-brained, Aristotelian view of the world. We could just as well see (as some do in fact) the internet being part of a kind of cyber-shamanism that’s an electronic version of a more tribal and spontaneous way of life. Of course, this is probably romanticizing the internet a bit, as the way it’s commonly used is hardly conducive to the type of spiritual renaissance some are hoping for. Yet the possibility is still there, and in some places we see signs that it might be gathering momentum.
The Shallows makes some good points about the internet. If you’re an avid reader, the best antidote to what Carr cautions about is to keep a balance between reading and net surfing. You may also want to listen to more books on tape, which I suspect are a more whole-brained way to take in either information or stories (something Carr never addresses).
One thing seems clear -the internet has the potential to distract us and waste many of our hours if we don’t take conscious control over how we use it. This, naturally, has to be kept in perspective with its many benefits.
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains at least helps make us aware of what we may be losing when we’re online.
The goofy , mendacious, trendy, hipster subculture ought to be denounced and belittled with the utmost vehemence .
The hipster movement ought to be bashed, *regardless* of whether or not they stop bashing everyone else .
Let there be none of that relativist sellout tallk which oinks out MTV- era stuff like, “well I respect their point of view , but I don’t agree with them”, nor any similar namby pamby, duplicious, sell out prattle !
Such a postmodernist/ relativist “conflicted” ambivalent/ambiguous approach is, itself, characteristic of the hipsters .
It does not matter how hard they purportedly work to keep New York City running. The ironical postmodernist trendiness they promote is pernicious …they are the decadent, *spoiled brat* bourgeois …the evil, yet still uglier outgrowth of the yuppie predecessors . Hipsters are spoiled brats lost in the ugly ‘careless flower of youth’ , and the hip irony the promote is soulless , being the poisoned fruit of those who prefer the mushy middle of balance: of what H.L. Mencken once called ‘respectable mediocrity’ . Irony is quite overrated. Hip irony be dammed, and dammed some more ! Let there be NO mellowness , but, instead, unabashedly vehement and one -sided vitriol which calls hipster thinking totally wrong , not “wrong to us” , but, instead , totally wrong, period .
Next time I am looking for something to wrap rotten refuse in the garbage with, I think that the text of the book ‘Fight Club’ or Pitchfork Magazine ought to be used for such purposes ! Of course I don’t have any copies , but if someone mails them to me with the note emblazoned on it ‘For Wrapping Garbage’ , it will be appreciated !
-Tree (Guest Blogger)
Swine Flu Hysteria: Putting it into Perspective
As of now, no one outside of Mexico has died of Swine Flu (though this is likely to change). According to this story on CNN, the “regular” flu kills about 36,000 people every year in the U.S.
Yet the apparent newness of this type of flu is creating a predictable hysteria.
Ron Paul offers a good perspective on this as well:
Nowadays, there is a conspiracy theory for every event, from AIDS to 9-11. Swine Flu is no exception. As this article explores, however, it would require quite a strange set of circumstances to explain the natural occurrence of this hybrid type of flu virus:
My own paranoid radar was activated by the location of the Swine Flu’s origin. Just as the escalating violence of drug wars in Mexico was starting to spread into the U.S., we suddenly have an outbreak of this bizarre flu bug. Not to mention an earthquake yesterday as well. This doesn’t mean it’s all a conspiracy, of course, but it might make us want to pay attention and do our own research before simply believing the mainstream explanations.