1-BREAKING: 47-YEAR-OLD ACTRESS HAS NEVER HEARD OF MENOPAUSE
2-BRIAN WILSON WAS A GENIUS
“The Doctor Who theme music is a piece of music written by Australian composer Ron Grainer and realised by Delia Derbyshire at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Created in 1963, it was one of the first electronic music signature tunes for television.”
“Good Vibrations” is a song by the American rock band The Beach Boys that was composed by Brian Wilson with lyrics by Mike Love . Released as a single on October 10, 1966, it was an immediate critical and commercial hit, topping record charts in several countries including the US and UK. Characterized by its complex soundscapes, episodic structure and subversions of pop music formula, it was the costliest single ever recorded at the time of its release. “Good Vibrations” later became widely acclaimed as one of the finest and most important works of the rock era.”
3-WHO PUTS THE GEIST IN YER ZEITGEIST?
It struck me years back that Nietzsche and the VW Beetle were rehabilitated for the American market at about the same time, perhaps as a wicked inside joke (we know NAZA’s chief of operations got a chuckle out of that) but to understand Friedrich “Love Bug” Nietzsche, it wouldn’t hurt to live (as I have done for 30 years) in dangerous proximity to the language that contributed to the culture that formed him. Though I wouldn’t call FN a “racist” the way that I’d call Lester Maddox a “racist,” I wouldn’t mistake FN for any kind of a New Age beacon of Liberal Positivity. FN thought about “Negroes” and Women pretty much what many Germans, without much rancor (though they would squirm before admitting it) think today. If FN had actually lived in a society in which modern American “Blacks” participated, he’d probably have been the first to be fascinated (delighted, even?) by the irony that (as a result of A) centuries of breeding for strength/ endurance then B) the genetic advantages of exogamy)… this post-eugenic population is the closest to being “Übermenschen”. But that’s a fanciful hypothetical and the FN we’re actually stuck with is the one who wrote, famously:
“Vielleicht tat damals – den Zärtlingen zum Trost gesagt – der Schmerz noch nicht so weh wie heute; wenigstens wird ein Arzt so schließen dürfen, der Neger (diese als Repräsentanten des vorgeschichtlichen Menschen genommen -) bei schweren inneren Entzündungsfällen behandelt hat,welche auch den bestorganisierten Europäer fast zur Verzweiflung bringen – bei Negern tun sie dies nicht. (Die Kurve der menschlichen Schmerzfähigkeit scheint in der Tat außerordentlich und fast plötzlich zu sinken, sobald man erst die oberen Zehn-Tausend oder Zehn-Millionen der Überkultur hinter sich hat; und ich für meine Person zweifle nicht, daß, gegen eine schmerzhafte Nacht eines einzigen hysterischen Bildungs-Weibchens gehalten, die Leiden aller Tiere insgesamt, welche bis jetzt zum Zweck wissenschaftlicher Antworten mit dem Messer befragt worden sind, einfach nicht in Betracht kommen.)”
“Perhaps pain – I say this to comfort the squeamish – did not hurt as much then as it does now; at least, a doctor would be justified in assuming this, if he had treated a Negro (taken as a representative for primeval man) for serious internal inflammations which would drive the European with the stoutest constitution to distraction; – they do not do that to Negroes. (The curve of human capacity for pain actually does seem to sink dramatically and almost precipitously beyond the first ten thousand or ten million of the cultural élite; and for myself, I do not doubt that in comparison with one night of pain endured by a single, hysterical blue stocking*, the total suffering of all the animals who have been interrogated by the knife in scientific research is as nothing.)”
*Not only is this hilariously “racist” but is FN taking a sarcastic crack at menstruation, here, too… ? In fact, isn’t that sarcasm. aimed at that target, the real point of the whole passage? Which hysterischen Bildungs-Weibchens was he thinking of when he wrote this?
4-PARAPOLOTICAL GRIPE OF THE WEEK
People have begun to lose sight of the fact that psychologically “fanciful,” or economically “fanciful,” or sociologically “fanciful” “Conspiracy Theories”… what we used to deal in, predominately… are nevertheless wholly plausible and certainly within the realm of the possible and that was the very point: that was the line that “mainstream thought” couldn’t cross and what we were trying to do was pull “Normies” over that line: no, your “leaders” don’t love you, aren’t in power to protect you and yes they may also be conspiring to impoverish, confuse or even kill you in. Those days, when we were energetically pursuing that goal (of widening the critical circle of The Thinkable), were the Internet-fueled peak of the Golden Age of “Conspiracy Theory”.
Now, welcome to the mad and muddy babble of “CONSPIRACY THEORY TURBO”… sponsored by TFIC… in which shills, and the credulous, both, argue passionately for physically impossible, science-and-logic-and-common-sense-violating, witch-craft-adjacent theories that will never convince or convert any Normies and can only sow discord in Parapolitical Circles as David Icke/ Judy Wood/ Flat Earth/ Space Beams/ Time Traveler/ Flying Saucer/ No Viruses/ Reptilians enthusiasts accuse anyone who rejects this Disinfo Shitstorm as “controlled opposition”.
So, for example, instead of sticking to the slam-dunk of highlighting the utter lack of evidence that “Covid-19” is anything other than the Seasonal Flu x Social Media Brainwashing, or sticking to the slam dunk of highlighting the blatant conflict of interest in Bill Gates the strident Mandatory Vaccine Lobbyist versus Bill Gates the Big Time Vaccine Investor, we’re suddenly hearing from our own Skeptic Community that “virus theory is fake”… though, of course, one wonders what clues tipped these people off to that realization? Because isn’t that how extraordinary, anti-Normative Theories usually develop, if they’re reasonable: via clues that persistently undermine the Normative version of the theory? Where are the “clues” that indicate that “there are no such things as viruses”? 20 Hucksters claiming so on YouTube aren’t “clues”.
Or: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to fill in Fledgling Parapolitical Research Chums that although the technology for cloning mammals exists, the technology does not exist for cloning Celebrity X and speed-aging that clone to match the current age of the version of Celebrity X said chum believes has been “cloned” (for whatever purpose… to double appearance fees, possibly). And so forth.
We used to be engaged, largely, in serious (and thankless) work. Now we’re trapped in an Internet Fun House playing a Parlor Game called PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FLAVOR OF THE WEEK.
Cass Sunstein 2, Parapolitical Effectiveness 0.
(in which Admin2 considers me the Mozart of commenting):
5-FOURTH-GRADE SCIENCE EXPERIMENT YOU CAN DO AT HOME
The next time you defecate, sit on the toilet wearing your Magic Mask. If you smell nothing… I guess your Magic Mask really works.
6-GOOSE v GANDER
Imagine this passage about Patricia Highsmith’s racism…
“One cannot evade the feeling that Highsmith’s virulence in this regard is overdone, and that she expressed these unsavoury views in order to elicit a specific response — perhaps something as small as a nominal agreement. It may have been a gambit to test the degree to which she was loved and accepted — not just for her goodness and virtues, but despite her faults and flaws. After all, these were views which were not aired in her writing, and they were for the most part private, and not followed-up by violent actions. No one was harmed by them. Put them into the mouth of a Nazi, or a member of the K.K.K or an Islamist, and their power to devastate would be incalculable, but coming from the mouth of a mild-mannered old lesbian writer, who is furthermore much given to drinking, they seem more dismissive than dangerous. Highsmith was to become an old crank, but one gets the sense that there was a great mind and a responsive heart beneath the distant and forbidding manner.”
…being about Philip Larkin’s racism, instead:
“One cannot evade the feeling that Larkin’s virulence in this regard is overdone, and that he expressed these unsavoury views in order to elicit a specific response — perhaps something as small as a nominal agreement. It may have been a gambit to test the degree to which he was loved and accepted — not just for his goodness and virtues, but despite his faults and flaws. After all, these were views which were not aired in his writing, and they were for the most part private, and not followed-up by violent actions. No one was harmed by them. Put them into the mouth of a Nazi, or a member of the K.K.K or an Islamist, and their power to devastate would be incalculable, but coming from the mouth of a mild-mannered (possibly closeted) old librarian, who is furthermore much given to drinking, they seem more dismissive than dangerous. Larkin was to become an old crank, but one gets the sense that there was a great mind and a responsive heart beneath the distant and forbidding manner.”
Let Larkin’s rehabilitation begin, then. Even if we must pretend (that he had a vagina) in order to do so.
7- THE NUTSHELL SEALS SHUT WITH A POP
All Religious arguments are circular by definition, beginning and ending with Belief. The necessary logical step of an objective move beyond Belief, in order to test Belief, negates Belief.
8-THE REAL FAKE VS THE FAKE FAKE: REBUTTING EDWARD CURTIN’S “THE END OF REALITY”
“So, if you feel you also may be going insane in the present climate of digital screen life, where real is unreal but realer than real, the apparent is cryptic, and up is down, true is false, and what you see you don’t, it has a history.”
We have a 14 year old Daughter, and every school week, I’m up at 6am to make sure she has breakfast (and hasn’t forgotten her book-bag) as she goes out the door. Meeting that mundane challenge is more real than any fanciful word-game of concepts, and meta-concepts, that even PK Dick might have come up with, and I can’t be the only reader out there who’s thoroughly grounded in the marvelously concrete, richly detailed and absolutely REAL of the Everyday… so what is this essay attempting to do, and for whom? Is this essay lamenting a loss of something that hasn’t actually occurred for most readers or is it contributing (inadvertently) to the long push to lose it?
“Inventions such as photography, the phonograph, the telephone, electricity, etc. were contracting space and time and a disembodied “reality” was being born.
With today’s Internet and digital screen life, the baby is full-grown and completely disembodied. It does nothing but look at its image that is looking back into a lifeless void, whose lost gaze can’t figure out what it’s seeing.
Take, for example, the phonograph, invented by Thomas Edison in 1878. If you could record a person’s voice, and if that person died, were you then listening to the voice of a living person or one who was dead? If the person whose voice was recorded was alive and was miles away, you had also compressed earthly space.
The phonograph suppressed absence, conjured ghosts, and seemed to overcome time and death as it captured the flow of time in sound. It allowed a disembodied human voice to inhabit a machine, an early example of downloading.”
Very little of that argument actually makes sense, poetic as it appears to be. Artifacts recording (perfectly or imperfectly) aspects of a given human’s contribution to a moment, from everything as ephemeral as footprints in the sand before high tide or in snow, to marks made in stone or on a tree, to canyon echoes, to the artful markings, with pigment, that could capture a likeness on papyrus even earlier than the awful “snapshot” of Pompeii captured a society in petrified ash… or even, say, plaster casts or death masks… are nothing new. Technology has amplified the duration, ramped the detail or sharpened the accuracy, of the phenomenon of the “individual-Human-moment-in-Time, preserved” but certainly didn’t conjure a fundamentally New Experience, in the 19th century, sufficient to undermine the Human sense of the Real.
No modern Human hearing her long-dead grandmother singing a nursery rhyme, on a cassette, is confused (spiritually or intellectually) about the source or meaning of grandma’s posthumous warbles. This was just as true for a 19th century person hearing a dead human speaking from a wax cylinder recording, if said person had a modicum of scientific or mechanical education. Who but a pre-WW1 Trobriand Islander would wonder, for even a moment, if they were “listening to the voice of a living person or one who was dead?” in such a case? How can Technology have the kind of quasi-mystical impact on us that Curtin argues? The “quasi-mystical” confusion, where it exists, is an orchestrated campaign of psychological warfare.
It’s better to stick to the point that, while we all have no general doubt what we are seeing/ hearing/ reacting to when presented 24/7/365 with simulacra, the worrying thing is not necessarily the simulacra themselves, or their relation to the Real, but the very specific messages the simulacra are now commonly encoded with. Hearing a disembodied voice at the State Fair in 1888 was an amusing thrill; listening to the Lone Ranger, on the radio, in 1933, was Imperialist propaganda. The difference between the Real of Life and the Unreal of Propaganda should be, in my opinion, the central concern of Curtin’s argument… which veers a little too toward the “Structuralist” side of the Structuralist/ Functionalist dichotomy. Whatever the nature of the Mess we are in, it isn’t an organic development.
“Life was passing from substance to shadow because of human ingenuity.”
Nah, it wasn’t really, was it? It was passing from pre-YouTube to post-YouTube, with all the specific advantages, and disadvantages, that we can rationally tabulate in order to critique that and any innovation.
To paraphrase something I wrote last year (titled “VIGNETTES FROM THE BIZARRE AND ONGOING EFFORT TO CONVINCE US WE DON’T EXIST“):
“Our senses are feeding us remarkably accurate info within a generous range of the bandwidths of electromagnetic, and acoustic, and chemical energy available; we’d all already be dead were this not the case; we wouldn’t have made it out of the jungle if our ancestors’ perceptions had “failed to map onto reality” because each and every one of them would have been nothing more viable than tender jackal meat. Our senses we can trust, largely; it’s philosophers and ‘scientists,’ who claim otherwise, that we can’t.”
Curtin writes: “Digital (sounds, images) is a facsimile of reality; alas, we’ve “mapped-onto” it as if it’s real…”
The “Digital” we’re talking about is not nearly immersive enough to produce that result. This isn’t “Tron” or (obscure movie alert) “The Lawnmower Man”. Consider this fantasia from the movie Strange Days, released in the year 1995 about the futuristic year of 1999:
“In the last two days of 1999, Los Angeles has become a dangerous war zone. As a group of criminals rob a Chinese restaurant, the event is recorded by a robber wearing a SQUID, an illegal electronic device that records memories and physical sensations directly from the wearer’s cerebral cortex onto a MiniDisc-like device for playback. Lenny Nero, a former LAPD officer turned black marketeer of SQUID recordings, buys the robbery clip from his main supplier, Tick. Elsewhere, a prostitute named Iris, who is a former friend of Lenny’s ex-girlfriend Faith Justin, is being chased by LAPD officers Burton Steckler and Dwayne Engelman. Iris escapes on a subway car but Engleman pulls off her wig, revealing a SQUID recorder headset.”
The “Virtual Reality” meme has had to stand in for the near-future those films naively posited. Nothing like that has happened or is near to happening. 4k video is not a challenge to, or distortion of, Reality, though it can certainly function as a distraction and an ideal medium for good old (Bernaysian) Propaganda.
The mechanism behind so many people falling for Utter Bullshit is not new. Too many academics want us to think that it is new, and for various reasons (eg: the “urgency” of a “new threat” is a hook). The mind control techniques we’re still struggling against go back to the 1920s. The techniques have sharpened, certainly, but not to the extent that they’re capable of bending space.
We’re merely being conned. Con artists rely heavily on flattery and that’s a big part of it; brainwashing seals it. Meanwhile, brainwashed or not, you will experience Reality whether you’ve smeared it over with metaphors and misunderstandings or not. Try walking through walls, try flying by flapping your arms or fetching the ketchup bottle from the far end of the table with a psycho-kinetic gesture alone and the actual ongoing structures of Reality will bring themselves to your immediate attention. People can Believe in all kinds of nonsense: that Politicians care for them, that you can lose weight by drinking diet Cola, that a Bearded, Vaguely-Levantine, Anus-Free Sky Giant is concerned with your “spiritual progress”… but Reality isn’t bent or stretched by any of that. The bending and stretching of Reality would be a neurological event of profound implications… depending on the duration of the distortion (eg: tripping for 8 hours versus Schizophrenic for a year). Digital Simulacra are far from being that powerful, although it appears that Social Engineering Propaganda would like you to think so.
Academics are publishing cookie-cutter Think Pieces on the “dangers of Digital Simulacra” because such pieces are “sexy” and safely uncontroversial (aka: innocuous) but what they could/should be doing is addressing real problems and dangers… which aren’t, conversely, considered “sexy” because they tend to fall within the category of what Hoi Polloi consider important. I once confronted a “Communist” academic about his (and his ilk’s) silence on 9/11 (et al) and he sniffed that the “Proletariat’s belief systems are reactionary”. More “reactionary” than John D. Rockefeller’s or Leon Trotsky’s…? Why not write an alarmingly detailed (and objective) Think Piece on the pressing issue of Incels, for example? Or the eerily un-self-aware iteration of Gay-adjacent Liberation called MGTOW? And how both were very obviously engineered to A) further divide the Serfs B) cut down on Serfy Birth Rates? Why not focus one’s Intelligence usefully, in other words?
Fashionable clichés of low-hanging jeremiads on Digital Simulacra “replacing” Reality are not useful and they are nonsense… dangerous nonsense, because of the subliminal insinuation of such content that the Widespread Cultural Confusion we’re suffering is a structural (unintended ) consequence of Modernity. When, in fact, we’re all the victims of a very deliberate, highly concentrated, campaign of psychological warfare meant to devalue human life in the abstract and to devalue ourselves (to ourselves) in the particular. The apparent Think Tank reasoning behind it all is that this “Reality Confusion Conditioning” should make us more malleable, or inclined to self-sabotage, or to self-destruct. This Think Tank reasoning may in fact be correct as it is evil. But the problem isn’t “Digital Simulacra”… the problem is good old fashioned, utterly analog, 19th-century-style, cynically Aristocratic deception as it interacts with the gullibility of a deeply religious Serfdom.
SIDEBAR: One hopes that Curtin, whose target demo is overwhelmingly Boomerish, isn’t unwittingly sheep-dogging Older/Wiser minds off the Net, and away from Tech, to get us to disengage from the super-wired Young who desperately need our Experienced Input. Imagine the Total Catastrophe of an Internet that consists only of the 0-35 demographic. Shudder.
We’ve been a slave society for a very (very) long time. The upheaval we are facing in 2020 revolves around the supposed dilemma presented by the fact that far fewer slaves are needed, to keep the pyramid afloat, than ever before. Eliminating the “surplus” as slickly as possible (that is, largely turning the mass of slaves against themselves, to do most of the work of eliminating surplus slaves, in one way or another) seems to be the goal. The solution… against which we have been inoculated by all the mind-control tricks a trillion (randomly-valued) dollars can buy… is to A) recognize we are slaves B) recognize who is enslaving us. These people… the ones enslaving us… are not abstractions. They have actual names, physical bodies. After 1789 (well, before that revolt was coopted) I think TFIC learned that confusing that issue is paramount to their continued control and personal wellbeing.
To some extent, academics (and Hackademics) who mystify, metaphorize, spin byzantine systems and otherwise add to the Cloud of Confusion that keeps things Unclear… are working for TFIC, witting or not. Clarity is a kind of sword.
Anyone with the power-relations metaphor of Farmers vs Their Cattle, in mind, will remain leery of the motives/goals of The Farmers*. The technology, in the case that the majority of us Serfy Cattle understood the power-relations accurately, wouldn’t be nearly the problem it actually is. But a trusting/ gullible/ infantilized consumer with a brand new i-phone is truly a lost soul and very much like a lamb with a remote-control-receiver wired to its frontal lobe. But imagine a population the majority of which would consist of clued-in, deeply rational, non-psychopathic, mature and un-dupe-able Masters of Their Own Fate… with access to 21st century communications and information technology. We’d have in that the mirror-opposite of current conditions and the end of History as we now know it.
The communications and word/image-processing tech aren’t the problem: even our decidedly low-tech, pre-Internet kindergarten teachers (I’m 61) were bigger brainwashing-vectors than Twitter is.
Further: if your enemy is armed with sword-tech, you would be a fool, if sword tech were also available to you, to eschew its use on principle.
*Should TFIC = “THE FUCKERS IN CHARGE” or “THE FARMERS IN CHARGE”?