1 FIRST BOWIE, NOW…
Imagine the heights that my eyebrows attained this afternoon when I hopped over to good old Mr. Eno’s Twitter place and the first thing I noticed was a swastika. (Trivia nugget: when I first arrived in Berlin, long ago, back in ’90, no native speaker I ran into, and subsequently had a deep chat with, had ever heard of the word “swastika”: they even have their very own word for that). This is what I saw over at Brian’s:
Living where I do, for as long as I have, my cleverly-disguised-swastika detection skills are nothing to be sniffed at. And don’t bother telling me “Yes, but you see, the Naztis perverted the original symbol; they turned it backward… it’s actually a symbol of …” because not anymore it isn’t. Backwards or forward it’s a symbol for rounding people up and shoveling them into ovens because they aren’t white/ straight/ conservative enough. And as a vocal advocate for the Palestinian Cause (a cause I consider just), Eno is giving his most vociferously spittle-flecking enemies lots of effective ammo with this prank.
Is Eno nuts, senile or… ?
2 THE HR PUFFINSTUFF of LIMITED HANGOUTS?
I “liked” Caitlin Johnstone when she first made a splash pointing out the fact that all the anti-Assad, pseudo-humanitarian-pro-invade-Syria brainwashing is exactly that, but I always found her a wee bit suspicious… partially because she markets herself in a highly day-glo, pied-pipery way: just the right image to sucker Left-leaning sophomores while subtly undermining the most radical edge of her apparent message for an older, more “responsible” demographic. Never trust an over-20 (or an under-60) “radical” in a Top Hat. I’ve seen a few of these operations in c. 20 years of post-2001 discourse, online, and what they usually do is take sizable chunks of anti-Right Wing seekers on increasingly crazy hayrides until the operators self-destruct or recant or go flat-out “Flat Earth” or something, stranding the most rational of their followers, like ravers awaking muddy and naked on the shoulder of the highway on a Monday morning, embarrassed and appalled and palpably more Right Wing than when they started. But, worse than that, she writes suspicious Huxwellian nonsense like “If you want to help save your world, you must let it go completely. Everything you’ve ever known, right down to your most foundational beliefs about reality”… or “Tweet after tweet after tweet, people used the opportunity that the Army had inadvertently given them to describe how they or their loved one had been chewed up and spit out by a war machine that never cared about them,” about American mercenaries who signed up to fly half way around the world to occupy illegally invaded cities where they knew they would be called on, possibly, to kill… and they did so not because the invaded people were a threat, they did so because it seemed like a better career opportunity than working at McDonald’s. So, um, Fuck Em?
Johnstone, having discovered the joys of ’90s style Realpolitik Relativism (Dr. Hank Kissinger loves it and one can absolutely imagine an earnestly tiny-eyed GW Bush trying to pull this kind of shit, in his defense, from a cage at The Hague), posted an essay under this headline:
“Good Guys” And “Bad Guys” Are A Hollywood Illusion”
She opens the post with:
If you have spent literally any time arguing against western imperialism in any public forum, you have had the experience of being accused of “supporting” one of said imperialism’s targets. If you argue against regime change interventionism in Syria, you’ll get accused of being an “Assadist” or “Assad apologist”. If you argue against regime change interventionism in Iran, you’ll you’ll (sic) get people saying that you “support the Mullahs”. Enter into any debate of sufficient liveliness and it’s only a matter of minutes before it happens.
To which a rational, anti-Right Wing adult might respond: “Yeah, so?” As if being merely accused of such things, in any debate, is problematic. It isn’t. Who cares? It’s irritating at worst. Only perhaps three out of every hundred thousand people exit any heated debate with their pre-made-up minds changed: what can anyone do about this? People with a clue will respond best to rational, fact-supported arguments and Shit Wits won’t. How is Johnstone’s headline necessitated by this age old dilemma (the dilemma of not being able to “win” any argument against anyone too stupid to grasp that your argument wins)? How is Johnstone’s headline justified by it? How does Johnstone’s thesis follow from the evidence she presents?
Deeper in the post, the funky radical reiterates: “There are no “good guys” or “bad guys” in real life, either in our personal lives or in international affairs.”
Let’s take that dodgy philosophical proposition for a test drive, shall we?
***”There are no “over-worked volunteers digging irrigation ditches for stricken villages” or “cackling, civilian-slaughtering mercenaries” in real life, either in our personal lives or in international affairs.”
***”There are no “people armed only with whistles, keeping an eye on dangerous parking lots at 3am” or “serial rapists” in real life, either in our personal lives or in international affairs.”
***”There are no “gentle pacifists” or “bloody leaders green-lighting lethal wars of aggression for economic and political advantage” in real life, either in our personal lives or in international affairs.”
***”There were no “civil rights activists” or “lynch mobs who considered watching Black people burning alive to be a great family entertainment on a summer evening” in real life, either in our personal lives or in international affairs.”
You try it, it’s fun.
3 COLONIAL HI-JINKS and the AFTERGLOW
From the good old, hilarious boy’s club frontier of the private enterprise phase of America’s Honeymoon with the Bomb [full disclosure: I was perusing this radioactive website at all because my best high school friend in ‘Vegas, in the early ’70s, who also happened to be the only person I’ve ever known who made my brain feel inadequate… sorry, everybody else… was working in electronics for this high-tech research facility at the age of 14; his gangling, bulgy-eyed image in a group-shot was posted on the site a few years ago but now it’s gone, though that mystery is not the point of this post…]:
(you can skip directly to the red sentence, to begin, if you don’t have time; the info before it is mere context)
On August 30, 1961, the Soviet Union announced at a disarmament conference in Geneva that it would resume testing. The Soviets tested a 150-kiloton device one day later. Clearly they were already preparing to resume testing. In the next sixty days, the Soviets conducted fifty atmospheric tests. This became the most intense sustained-test series in history. Barney O’Keefe and Grier agreed in their assessment that since it takes years to prepare for such a large series of tests, that it had become obvious that the Soviets never stopped preparations as the United States had naively done during the three-year moratorium. O’Keefe reflected:
“The United States was caught unprepared…the weapons laboratories, without the deadlines of a scheduled test program, had delayed settling on the final designs of most of their new devices. The military, with restricted budgets and limited technical personnel, had allowed their forces to atrophy. Politically it was embarrassing not to be able to resume testing immediately as the Soviets had done. . . Again there were two full-scale test programs, one in Nevada and one in the Pacific. Because of the three-year moratorium, there was a severe lack of trained testing personnel, particularly in the military and in the nonweapons government laboratories. . . Contrary to what had happened in other organizations, we at EG&G had not lost any experienced people. In accordance with our fundamental diversification strategy they had been transferred to other, nonweapons programs. . . When asked to take on a heavy test load, we were reluctant to do so since it would delay many of the commercial developments into which we had put so much time, effort, and money; furthermore, the President had ordered that the atmospheric tests be completed in six months, after which there would be an atmospheric test moratorium. But the appeals to patriotism on the importance of the tests could not be ignored.”
Around that time,Grier and O’Keefe were in Samoa making some measurements of the aurora effect from a new series of high altitude tests near Christmas Island. O’Keefe tells an amusing story from those last few months of the atmospheric testing period.
“Grier and I were driving through jungle roads twenty-five miles to the western tip of the island, [of Pago in American Samoa] where our photographic installation was located. We had found a promontory about fifty feet high, which was ideal for our cameras; to help us with the installation we hired two chiefs from the village to the east at a going rate of $28 per week each. There we found the sources of friction [that they soon learned from a call from the Assistant Secretary of Interior and had caused concern all the way back in Washington DC]. None of the natives had ever paid attention to ownership of the high ground because it was useless to them. Their main livelihood was fishing, so everyone lived by the beach. When the chiefs of the village to the west of the promontory heard that the chiefs to the east were making $56 per week, they claimed ownership of the promontory, [and] starting a dispute that filtered all the way back to Washington. We solved the problem in typical American style, by hiring the other two chiefs for $28 per week each; since there was now nothing to do but wait for the test, we had four [chieftain] employees watching two plywood shacks. The natives were delighted. They decided to have a big feast for the two chiefs from Boston who had brought peace to their villages.”
Oh, those wacky tribal chiefs and their subsequent Laurel-and-Hardyesque birth anomalies!
4 THE FLIP TEST
From a chic Zine aimed at The Kiddies, this headline:
Cardi B dances in the nude and shoots people in “Press”
Sex, murder and nakedness… Rapper Cardi B unveiled the sexy and violent music video that goes with “Press,” the song she released on May 31, 2019.
Now let’s “flip” it and see how it feels:
Kanye W dances in the nude and shoots people in “Press”
Sex, murder and nakedness… Rapper Kanye W unveiled the sexy and violent music video that goes with “Press,” the song he released on May 31, 2019.