Weirdness of the Now: Interviewing Warren Ellis About Normal | Tor.com: "You want to know the terrible, awful truth?
I feel great.
Things are awful. Everything is terrible. And the worse it gets, the more energy I feel. It’s like some generator that only feeds on horror. I mean, I’m terrified for my kid, and for my own old age, but goddamn I love getting up in the morning (well, afternoon) and seeing what new shapes the world has twisted itself into. Everything is on fire and I love it. I dole out advice on how to deal with these ice storms of shit that we’re living through and counsel people on how to protect their brains from it all and console people and tell them that we’re all going to find ways to get through it and I am seriously just sitting there with my feet up and an espresso in my hand and feeling fine as the planet eats itself. I’m a monster.
Don’t tell anyone...
[My daughter's] generation is actually incredibly good at privacy. They saw the TMI Generation and the Web 1.0 Generation and said Fuck That. It’s why so many of them went to Snapchat, while Facebook started to gray and Twitter hit a plateau, and why they were in IM systems rather than e-mail. They’re the generation that deletes their texts and doesn’t leave trails. They give me hope that we can adapt to this environment, too, and have our own workarounds and protocols. I don’t think privacy is dead. I think we’ve lost personal freedoms that we didn’t necessarily have words for—like the right to not have your personal information spread across a global communications network if you have a bad breakup with somebody..."
Praise Be To Bob: My Favorite Robert Anton Wilson Concepts - disinformation: "As supposedly scientific and “rational” people, we’re raised to think that everything needs to be clearly divided into convenient realms of real and unreal, yet my thoughts on nearly any topic come down to, “well, I saw this documentary special this one time”, or “I read this one book” or “I took a class years ago where a professor told me that” which amounts to: my inner version of any topic typically comes from something someone with an agenda was trying to sell me. It’s always an insanely oversimplified picture, because there’s only so much of anything our minds can actually process with their feeble limitations.
Another way of putting that would be, pretty much everything you think you know is probably at least 75% factually inaccurate. No one is immune to this. No one...
When you know that you, and everyone else is mostly full of shit and living in largely fictional worlds, we probably shouldn’t be taking ourselves too seriously now, should we?
In fact, when you start talking about the subjective nature of reality, most people raised in western culture will just stare at you blankly and it’s not like you’re talking high level coding or some shit. I personally give R.A.W. credit for illuminating my young mind to the idea that our world is in fact experienced largely through subjective perception and internal narrative."
Americanism by H. P. Lovecraft - Every Writer: "Slightly less superficial observers hit upon the abstract principle of “Liberty” as the keynote of Americanism, interpreting this justly esteemed principle as anything from Bolshevism to the right to drink 2.75 per cent. beer. “Opportunity” is another favourite byword, and one which is certainly not without real significance. The synonymousness of “America” and “opportunity” has been inculcated into many a young head of the present generation by Emerson via Montgomery’s “Leading Facts of American History.”
But it is worthy of note that nearly all would-be definers of “Americanism” fail through their prejudiced unwillingness to trace the quality to its European source. They cannot bring themselves to see that abiogenesis is as rare in the realm of ideas as it is in the kingdom of organic life; and consequently waste their efforts in trying to treat America as if it were an isolated phenomenon without ancestry.
“Americanism” is expanded Anglo-Saxonism. It is the spirit of England, transplanted to a soil of vast extent and diversity, and nourished for a time under pioneer conditions calculated to increase its democratic aspects without impairing its fundamental virtues. It is the spirit of truth, honour, justice, morality, moderation, individualism, conservative liberty, magnanimity, toleration, enterprise, industriousness, and progress—which is England—plus the element of equality and opportunity caused by pioneer settlement. It is the expression of the world’s highest race under the most favourable social, political, and geographical conditions. Those who endeavour to belittle the importance of our British ancestry, are invited to consider the other nations of this continent. All these are equally “American” in every particular, differing only in race-stock and heritage; yet of them all, none save British Canada will even bear comparison with us...
The features of Americanism peculiar to this continent must not be belittled. In the abolition of fixed and rigid class lines a distinct sociological advance is made, permitting a steady and progressive recruiting of the upper levels from the fresh and vigorous body of the people beneath. Thus opportunities of the choicest sort await every citizen alike, whilst the biological quality of the cultivated classes is improved by the cessation of that narrow inbreeding which characterises European aristocracy. Total separation of civil and religious affairs, the greatest political and intellectual advance since the Renaissance, is also a local American—and more particularly a Rhode Island—triumph.
Agencies are today subtly at work to undermine this principle, and to impose upon us through devious political influences the Papal chains which Henry VIII first struck from our limbs; chains unfelt since the bloody reign of Mary, and infinitely worse than the ecclesiastical machinery which Roger Williams rejected. But when the vital relation of intellectual freedom to genuine Americanism shall be fully impressed upon the people, it is likely that such sinister undercurrents will subside. The main struggle which awaits Americanism is not with reaction, but with radicalism. Our age is one of restless and unintelligent iconoclasm, and abounds with shrewd sophists who use the name “Americanism” to cover attacks on that institution itself. Such familiar terms and phrases as “democracy,” “liberty,” or “freedom of speech” are being distorted to cover the wildest forms of anarchy, whilst our old representative institutions are being attacked as “un-American” by foreign immigrants who are incapable both of understanding them or of devising anything better."
Religion, ruining everything since always. Tumblr feminists/ social justice warriors are carrying callout cards - Page 2184 - The Rogan Board: "...it's the result of millenia long processes and trends. Nietzsche ranted against it more than a hundred years ago. it's why he hated christianity so much, the victim fetishization. Nietzsche gets a lot of shit for anti-semitism but he pretty clearly despised the whole abrahamic ideology because it promoted victimhood, weakness, and a basic passive aggressiveness. The virtues of the Greeks... strength, intelligence, valor... were overturned in favor of meekness, stupidity, cowardess, and cupidity. We are seeing the basic judeo-christian pathology being taken to its ultimate extreme right now, and its not even being done by christians or jews."
Read Bret Easton Ellis' excoriating monologue on social justice warriors and political correctness | Culture | The Independent: "To pretend that looks or that hotness, whether you're a guy or a girl, shouldn't make you popular, is one of those sad politically correct stances that make you question the validity, the reality, of politically correct thinking, and a few journalistic reactions to the LA Weekly piece. This ode to Sky Ferreira may not have been that well written, but it is clearly written honestly by, yes, most definitely a man, who is, yes, most definitely looking at a woman he desires, and writing about that desire. What's wrong with that?
Even if it overshadows what he thinks about her music, so what if he's honest about objectifying her?
Oh, clearly you didn't think the little snowflake justice warriors everywhere, from the LAist to Flavorwire to Jezebel to Teen Vogue to Vulture, were going to let this innocuous piece go unnoticed without having a hissy fit? Oh yes, most deliciously, the little snowflakes got so pissed off and were just sooo unbelievably offended by this piece, that they had to denounce it.
Oh, little snowflakes, when did you all become grandmothers and society matrons, clutching your pearls in horror at someone who has an opinion about something, a way of expressing themselves that's not the mirror image of yours, you snivelling little weak-ass narcissists? The high moral tone from social justice warriors is always out of scale with what they are indignant about. When did this hideous and probably nerve-wracking way of living begin transforming you into the authoritarian language police, with your strict set of little rules and manufactured outrage, demanding apologies from every sandwich or salad you didn't like?
Teen Vogue, of course, found the use of "boobs" and "knockers" as yes, "misogynistic", and started a very tired complaint about 'the male gaze' - that's g-a-z-e, listeners. When I hear self-proclaimed feminists complaining about the male gaze yet again and hoping that it will - what, go away? be rerouted, contained? - I'm thinking, are these women so deluded that they are bordering on insanity, or have they just not gotten laid in the last four years?
... in our society, social justice warriors always prefer women to be victims. In all of these cases, from Jezebel to Flavorwire to Teen Vogue, they all succeeded in recasting Ferreira as a victim of something, reinforcing her supposed victimisation. This is the usual hall of mirrors loop they find themselves in when they're looking for anything to get angry with. The reality of the world is that men look at women, and men look at other men, and women look at other men, and women especially look at other women and objectify them. Has anybody been on Tinder lately, and seen how our Darwinian impulses are gratified in a swipe or two? This is the way of the world in order for our species to survive, and I doubt that is ever going to be erased...
...the little Nazis policing language have a new rulebook about how men and women should and should not express themselves about their desires, this allows Jezebel and Flavorwire to write their own childish responses, placing Sky in the delicious position of victim. But the sad ending of this story is that the LA Weekly, which edited and posted the piece, felt like they had to apologise for the piece after so much online complaining, apologise about a piece where someone was clearly writing honestly - sometimes embarrassingly so - about what was on his mind in the moment about a performer, and the way he was looking, and yes, gazing at this performer, and that was it. That is allowable.
Why is it once again that I feel the well-intentioned young liberal self-proclaimed feminist left has become so oversensitive about everything that we have entered into what is really an authoritarian cultural moment? It just seems that it's so regressive and so grim and so unreal, like in some dystopian sci-fi movie: there's only one way to express yourself as some kind of neutered thing, this mound, this clump, turning away from your gender-based responses - towards women, towards men, towards sex. This neutering, this castration, is something no-one really wants or believes in, I hope. But hey, maybe if I go with it and pretend to believe it, it'll fill my column - and I do need to put out some clickbait this week."
LV survey finds stay-at-home mothers are more satisfied than other professions | Daily Mail Online: " stay-at-home mothers are happier than those who go out to work.
The survey said that if staying at home with the children were counted as a job, it would rank as having happier workers than any other trade or profession.
Only one in seven stay-at-home parents say they are dissatisified with their role, a level of unhappiness that is less than half that found among civil servants or salesmen and women."
Why I totally support those 'jerks' chanting 'No more war!': "With four days to reconsider, I'm more behind the "no more war" protests than ever. In fact, I'm doubling down.
I was thinking about this even before the news today that the U.S. has embarked on yet another round of military adventurism in the Middle East -- launching a bombing campaign (a "precision" bombing campaign, the Pentagon and its chosen mouthpiece Barbara Starr of CNN assure us) against ISIS terrorists in Libya. You'll recall that ISIS flourished in Libya only after the last bombing campaign in Libya by the United States and its allies created a power vacuum to be filled largely by bad guys.
You may also recall that the legal justification for waging war in Libya is flimsy, at best. Pentagon officials say the new air strikes are sanctioned under the AUMF -- Authorization for Use of Military Force -- passed by Congress in 2001 after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. No matter that Libya, for all its faults, had nothing to do with 9/11. Or that ISIS, the target of the attacks, didn't exist until a decade after the World Trade Center fell. We stopped asking such questions about America's Forever War™ a long, long time ago.
Or, as the mostly pro-Hillary Democrats inside the Wells Fargo Center would put it, "USA! USA!"
It should be a scandal that the United States drops bombs from flying death robots or our obscenely expensive military jets over countries like Libya, swaths of Africa, or Syria based only on a 15-year-old congressional resolution passed after an attack carried out mostly by Saudi Arabians loyal to a terrorist group that barely exists in 2016. But we're afraid of any frank discussion of that, or the recent admission by the Obama administration that U.S. military actions in nations with which we're not technically at war have killed 116 innocent civilians. That's a number that experts find ridiculously low, by the way, and doesn't as include as many as 85 Syrian civilians who were killed in late July by a U.S. airstrike -- a story that was all but ignored in the media. Even if you strongly believe that such collateral damage is necessary to defeat international terrorism, chanting "USA! USA!" to support militarism is both jingoistic and crudely callous toward the dead.
But this isn't exactly new. During my recent Conventionapalooza, I took an hour break to watch a PBS documentary on the most notorious modern convention of them all, the 1968 DNC in Chicago. As we now know, what happened outside the halls -- the respect shown protesters in Philly compared with Mayor Daley's head-bashing "police riot" 48 years ago -- changed radically over time. But inside the hall, Democrats worked tirelessly to stifle dissidents in '68 much as they would in '16. In Chicago, delegates who supported Eugene McCarthy or other anti-Vietnam War candidates were harassed over credentials and other petty stuff, similar to complaints from Sanders delegates here. An anti-Vietnam plank was pushed out of prime time by the party bosses; when the defeated faction burst into "We Shall Overcome," Daley and the pro-Hubert Humphrey forces tried to drown them out with a band blaring "Happy Days Are Here Again." Exactly like "USA!" chants drowning out "No more war!" in our modern times. Same as it ever was."
I Tried to Get Milo Yiannopoulos to Convert Me to a Gay Trump Supporter | VICE | United States: "I would say—I didn't finish my degree—but I went to a very good university in Cambridge, and I was taught that there were dozens of different ways to approach text. You could do a feminist reading, you could to an Lacanian reading, you could do all sorts of things. It seems to me that journalists are so poorly educated now, they literally have one prism through which to view the world, and it's the prism of oppression, bigotry, sexist, racist, homophobic—that's all they see when they look out in the world. I pity them because I would hate to see the world so monochromatically as they do.
But if you snap out of that and realize that the public actually is sick of the one-note preoccupations of journalists and that the allegations of sexism and racism don't have the power they had anymore, and that's good, and people are actually looking for a chaos candidate—I think the dysfunctional coalition that Donald Trump is assembling makes a lot more sense...
...how strong is the religious right in this country, really?
Strong enough that Jerry Falwell is speaking on the final night of the Republican National Convention.
But what purchase do they have on the media? What has Trump said that's been influenced by radical evangelicals or anything like that? Realistically, the era of the religious right was the 90s. This was when people were saying that music and video games inspired school shootings on the basis of no evidence. Now it's feminists saying they can make you sexist with no evidence. It's the same ugly instinct, just from a different political direction. I don't like it anymore from the religious right than I do from the social-justice left. But to suggest that the religious right or that social conservatives have anything approaching the power that social justice has on the left in America is simply ridiculous."
European Queens Waged More Wars Than Kings: "After sifting through historical data on queenly reigns across six centuries, two political scientists have found that it’s more complicated than that. In a recent working paper, New York University scholars Oeindrila Dube and S.P. Harish analyzed 28 European queenly reigns from 1480 to 1913 and found a 27 percent increase in wars when a queen was in power, as compared to the reign of a king. “People have this preconceived idea that states that are led by women engage in less conflict,” Dube told Pacific Standard, but her analysis of the data on European queens suggests another story."
The media's foolish moralizing on Donald Trump: "The elite media is jam-packed with moralists who have collectively decided in the days since Donald Trump trained his rhetorical fire on Khizr and Ghazala Khan that any pretense of covering the presidential campaign dispassionately deserves to be thrown out the window...
Whatever the motive, the moralistic outbursts should stop. Report what Trump says. Tell us what the Clinton/Kaine campaign and other politicians say in response. And analyze what it all means. But jumping into the political fray en masse, explicitly attacking the Republican nominee, declaring his statements beyond the pale — it isn't smart, and it will do nothing to reinforce the political norms that the Trump campaign itself is actively shredding. In fact it's far more likely to deepen the already widespread distrust of elite institutions in general and the mainstream media in particular. Consider the Khan affair. Were Trump's remarks tasteless? Absolutely. But no more so — I'd actually say quite a bit less so — than countless other comments he's made over the past year. But wait: How dare I! This is a Gold Star family! A grieving father and mother whose son, Army Captain Humayan Khan, gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country! What could be more horrifying than to slander them? Here's the thing: The moment Khizr and Ghazala Khan took the stage at the DNC to deliver a speech that savaged the Republican presidential nominee and endorsed the Democratic presidential nominee, they ceased to be any old "Gold Star family." They became political actors and legitimate political targets. You can't claim immunity from political attack after you've launched an attack of your own in primetime at a political convention...
...should members of the media actively join the battle on the anti-Trump side? The answer is no. Trump was able to take over the GOP this year because millions of Republican voters felt ignored — disenfranchised — by both parties. When hundreds of journalists and other members of the country's political and intellectual elite close ranks, denouncing Trump in unison and in lockstep, attempting to excommunicate him from the political conversation, the voters who consider Trump their voice feel denounced and excommunicated, too. It often seems that a lot of the country's most prominent journalists and intellectuals would love nothing so much as to be able to make these voters vanish, or shame them back into silence. That, I'm afraid, is a fantasy. Trump is probably going to lose decisively on Nov. 8. But on Nov. 9, the millions of people who cast ballots for him, who felt heard and championed for the first time in a very long time, will still be here. They are our fellow citizens. They aren't going anywhere. The rest of us need to get used to that. And stop acting like we can somehow wish or ridicule away those with whom we profoundly disagree."
I admire Donald Trump’s ability to singlehandedly control national conversations, expose the media as corrupt, and generate popular support through sheer force of entertainment will. I am serious. I think he’s an absolutely brilliant communicator operating at levels we’ve not seen before. He is the closest thing to the physical incarnation of the Sweet Meteor of Death 2016 that some have been praying for. Oh, and as someone who truly loathes the Republican Party for its incompetence and impotence, I sometimes love that he’s destroying it with such efficiency.
But he’s a demagogue with no real solutions for anything at all. He’s a narcissist who takes no responsibility for the negative consequences of his ill-conceived and incoherent verbal spews. He flip-flops incessantly. He is not honest when called to account for previous things he’s said. He insults individuals and groups of people gratuitously. His ideas always involve an expansion in the size and scope of government. And his blow-ups seem perfectly timed to help people in the party he’s not running in...
Donald Trump Fans
I know many of the people who say they’re voting for Trump are probably just normal people who don’t pay a ton of attention to politics and think he’s an entertaining fellow who is funny and candid. It’s not entirely surprising that a man who has been a household name for decades would enjoy the support he has. I’m a political junkie, and once a week I have to think really hard about who all the candidates running for president even are. And another portion of his voters are probably people who are just sick to death of Washington, D.C., even if they’re not particularly ideological. A Twitter user who goes by the name Political Math said of these people, and please excuse his French, “The world makes a lot of sense when you realize that the #1 priority of Trump supporters is to tell you to go [expletive deleted] yourself.” He added, “And I don’t mean this as a slur: Trump supporters are really just *more* sick of bull[deleted] out of DC than they care about Trump...
Donald Trump Haters
OK, you people really annoy me. Ace of Spades put it well when he said you are like a divorced man who is obsessed with his ex-wife. He thinks everything she does is awful, and he can’t stop talking about her to other people to try to get them to agree. Yes, Trump is crazy and awful. Granted. But screaming about it constantly makes you seem crazy, too. Meghan Keane Graham once wrote an essay about how a crazy man on the subway picked a fight with her. After a few stops, she realized that nobody on the subway car had witnessed the original altercation and that meant that nobody on the subway knew that he was crazy and she was not. It was even odds, at that point, which one was crazy. Maybe both were. That’s what you people remind me of all the time."
Archaeology Continues to Reinforce the Truth That Human History Has Been One Long Trip | The Daily Grail: "What did catch my attention though is the following image from the paper, which maps archaeological sites in Eurasia that have been found to contain cannabis remains that date to more than 3000 years ago (ie. 1000 BCE).
What this clearly shows is how widespread the usage of cannabis was in ancient times, with some of the dates stretching back well before the advent of written records. In his wonderful book The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia*, Paul Devereux offers fascinating insights into how not only cannabis, but many other psychoactive plants, have been used the world over for millennia, often for ceremonial and/or religious/mystical reasons. It is one hell of an eye-opening read, especially for those who think 'tripping' was something that started with the counterculture of the 1960s, and I can't recommend it highly enough (no pun intended)!
Understanding this fact makes modern culture's outlawing of many of these plants as even more nonsensical than it already is. Our ancestors across the globe have actively used these plants as both physical and spiritual medicine for at least 10,000 years, but suddenly in the last few decades our governments and law-makers have seen fit to not just ban them from human consumption, but to make them illegal and even imprison people who choose to use them."