Thursday, February 28, 2019

Late Night Nostalgia



I've long been a fan of electronic music. One of the first dj/producer auteurs to capture my fancy was Jack Dangers, who records with a rotating collective of fellow artists under the unfortunate name Meat Beat Manifesto.
The name is not a reference to masturbation (at least directly) but to militant veganism and animal rights. A Brit based in San Francisco, Dangers was a practical parody of the progressive.
And the music was infused with his philosophy; I recall a track sampling the sounds of the slaughterhouse.

Despite this the music never comes across as strident. Dangers could be just that in interviews--you could picture even the typical music journalist interviewer rolling his eyes. I recall reading an interview with another artist associated with him and very much of the same progressive stripe, which was the opposite--he came across reasonable and relaxed. Unlike his music, which was embarrassingly forthright.

But Jack was just too good somehow for his politics to ruin his music, even when the music was political.

I was practically a Reagan conservative twenty years ago when I heard this track, Asbestos Lead Asbestos, but even then and still now I see it as a powerful image of an exploited working class toiling away in the midst of decadence, and of the elite disdain for the working class that is such an exigent feature of the present:

I can't hear you. [sample]
What in the hell happened?[sample]
Information. [sample]
What's wrong? [sample]
Well he might say yes but he might mean no.
Asbestos Lead Asbestos
Sell him the coffee table - go boy, go.
Asbestos Lead Asbestos
It's chip board quality, easy installment scheme.
Lead Asbestos
And Dave lives above the roundabout, nobody told him different.
He blows out dust behind the caravan.
Asbestos Lead Asbestos
If they're lucky they'll get pearly white teeth...
Times are hard and the kids ain't learning a thing.
Asbestos Lead Asbestos
Except stealing and fighting.
Asbestos Lead Asbestos 
So they offer him a salary...
National health and a pension scheme...
So he can lie in his bed while he bleeds to death...
So we hand them rich women coffee party handouts
Fill it for the sick, 'cause someone's gotta' eat it...
And it won't be us because we're the smart ones....
Mode of every public school we live on the west side.
Lead Asbestos
Equal opportunity, except if our pedigree dogs don't like the smell of your children...
They're stealing and fighting, but we live on the west side.

"Someone's got to eat it [contaminated food] and it won't be us because we're the smart ones" strikes home more than ever.

 

His stuff went off in a jazz-influenced direction and he lost me.

Here's a good example of his use of non-musical sampling (lots of stuff from documentaries and television--the stridently anti-TV Dangers spent hours in front of the television ready to record). Much of what he does are polemics against modernity in the nature of Ted Kazynski.



His 1999 album Satyricon presented a portrait of fin de seicle decline like the fragmentary Latin satire that is its namesake (the Satyr of the given title doesn't refer to its satirical quality, I think, but to the decadence it documents), and remains, to my mind, one of the best albums of all time.

Non-musical sampling appears to be a lost or at least played-out aspect of music, but the "found sounds" and other samples here give the record a profound depth, humor and satirical quality.

It was all about global warming, fascism and standard progressive bugaboos, but the work transcends its own content by virtue of the vague nature of sampling. Jack wanted to connect his environmental and anti-fascist concerns, probably still does, but the reality is globalism (capitalism) and authoritarianism are in fact going hand-in-hand, and do trace back to what he, in his political simplicity and artistic romanticism, called out by another name.

Time  has come round and overtaken even the author, and that speaks well of him.

My personal theory (or maybe I read it from someone else) is that a work of art takes on its own life once released, and meaning is not set in authorial intent. That doesn't mean a work that escapes, so to speak, its author any less an accomplishment--maybe it's all the more an achievement. The artist has unearthed things beyond immediate understanding and the trite context of the present, evoking principal forms and eternal truths.



Dangers did a lot of production work for well-known (but to my mind lesser) artists such as Nine Inch Nails and Public Enemy. His track Prime Audio Soup was featured in the first Matrix film and the first track above was on the Blair Witch soundtrack.

Goodnight.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Re-run; Alice Again

The Picture of Alice

The porch was a concrete block with steps formed into it and a visible tilt, or so I thought, like some chunk of brutalist architecture that had fallen out of the sky. It was about five by five feet. Young people were crowding there to smoke, despite the rain having lapsed into the faintest trace, with individual drops coming like random stragglers.

She stood on the corner of this grotesque pedestal facing me on the lawn below. She was a standing shadow shrouded in the halo from the bare porch light behind, a white trash Birth of Venus, and, I knew, no less beautiful behind the dark there, mercifully hidden from my searching eyes.

The outline of her hair was the only discernible, familiar thing about her--otherwise it could have been anyone there--but it was undeniably her. This minimalist sketch evoked the full light of memory, the memory of her still compiling that final version to take her place when she's gone, the dead thing to replace the living, the trace of her arc across my life, documented and filed away on paper already yellowing.

That was Alice up there on the porch, looking down on me with--what? I couldn't see. Was she talking? I couldn't tell. Was she talking to me? Was she smiling at me? Did she see me, finally? See my desire?

That was Alice, midway through her ruin, long after mine.

March or April 2017

freestyle

What do you miss in your solitude?

What memory there intrudes?

The way her hip is made wide

When laying on her side?

What pierces the very flesh

What confounds all rest

When you just want to forget?

Let us forget

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Jussie's World



Jussie Smollet's lynching documentary.
"You can't have reconciliation until you, first, have truth."

Monday, February 25, 2019

Carnage Call Center

Modern communications necessitate desensitization to gore and obscenity. Sensitivity to personal offense rises in inverse proportion.

The Verge has published an expose of life at one of Facebook's content moderation contractors:
The panic attacks started after Chloe watched a man die. She spent the past three and a half weeks in training, trying to harden herself against the daily onslaught of disturbing posts: the hate speech, the violent attacks, the graphic pornography. In a few more days, she will become a full-time Facebook content moderator, or what the company she works for, a professional services vendor named Cognizant, opaquely calls a “process executive.”

For this portion of her education, Chloe will have to moderate a Facebook post in front of her fellow trainees. When it’s her turn, she walks to the front of the room, where a monitor displays a video that has been posted to the world’s largest social network. None of the trainees have seen it before, Chloe included. She presses play.

The video depicts a man being murdered. Someone is stabbing him, dozens of times, while he screams and begs for his life. Chloe’s job is to tell the room whether this post should be removed. She knows that section 13 of the Facebook community standards prohibits videos that depict the murder of one or more people. When Chloe explains this to the class, she hears her voice shaking.
Returning to her seat, Chloe feels an overpowering urge to sob. Another trainee has gone up to review the next post, but Chloe cannot concentrate. She leaves the room, and begins to cry so hard that she has trouble breathing.

No one tries to comfort her. This is the job she was hired to do. And for the 1,000 people like Chloe moderating content for Facebook at the Phoenix site, and for 15,000 content reviewers around the world, today is just another day at the office.
The piece doesn't address the political bias guiding Facebook and others' attempts at moderation, probably because the publication and author share it. The article comes with a trigger warning for "mental health issues and racism"--but not for such as the leading paragraph's disturbing account of a man being stabbed to death.

The article focuses on the working conditions of the underpaid employees of Cognizant, a contractor moderating content for Facebook, but stumbles on a serious problem for the socials in their efforts to excise right wing expression and conspiracy theories. The potential for radicalization of the gatekeepers:
The moderators told me it’s a place where the conspiracy videos and memes that they see each day gradually lead them to embrace fringe views. One auditor walks the floor promoting the idea that the Earth is flat. A former employee told me he has begun to question certain aspects of the Holocaust. Another former employee, who told me he has mapped every escape route out of his house and sleeps with a gun at his side, said: “I no longer believe 9/11 was a terrorist attack.” 
I don't know if there's something about our historical moment that makes conspiracy theories more appealing or that exposure to them is so much greater, but it seems some percentage of us is always going to buy into them, so the gross number of casual conspiracy theorists is going to keep rising.
Like most of the former moderators I spoke with, Chloe quit after about a year.
Among other things, she had grown concerned about the spread of conspiracy theories among her colleagues. 
One QA often discussed his belief that the Earth is flat with colleagues, and “was actively trying to recruit other people” into believing, another moderator told me. One of Miguel’s colleagues once referred casually to “the Holohoax,” in what Miguel took as a signal that the man was a Holocaust denier. 
Conspiracy theories were often well received on the production floor, six moderators told me. After the Parkland shooting last year, moderators were initially horrified by the attacks. But as more conspiracy content was posted to Facebook and Instagram, some of Chloe’s colleagues began expressing doubts. 
“People really started to believe these posts they were supposed to be moderating,” she says. “They were saying, ‘Oh gosh, they weren’t really there. Look at this CNN video of David Hogg — he’s too old to be in school.’ People started Googling things instead of doing their jobs and looking into conspiracy theories about them. We were like, ‘Guys, no, this is the crazy stuff we’re supposed to be moderating. What are you doing?’”   
If people are falling for flat-earth theory and other silliness, just imagine what happens when someone of reasonable intelligence is exposed to the truth about, say, black crime as explicated in the work of Colin Flaherty.

Eventually they'll take moderation out of the hands of humans entirely and turn it over to AI.
That people don’t know there are human beings doing this work is, of course, by design. Facebook would rather talk about its advancements in artificial intelligence, and dangle the prospect that its reliance on human moderators will decline over time.  
But given the limits of the technology, and the infinite varieties of human speech, such a day appears to be very far away. In the meantime, the call center model of content moderation is taking an ugly toll on many of its workers. As first responders on platforms with billions of users, they are performing a critical function of modern civil society, while being paid less than half as much as many others who work on the front lines. They do the work as long as they can — and when they leave, an NDA ensures that they retreat even further into the shadows.
The sheer volume of content monitored by AI will create a great black hole into which human communications disappear.

The very profusion of information may perversely lead to a world where the average person is in fact less informed and less exposed to truth. Brave new world.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sunday Story

"Well private collections are a problem, certainly. We have no idea how many are out there. What constitutes a collection, also, is a legitimate question."
Herbert perked up at this.
"Yes. That's my concern. Say a guy has, in the classic example, an old newspaper announcing the moon landing--"
Genero looked at him with sly sympathy.
"Well, if this friend of yours had only that, and just that, while he'd be in clear violation, it's not like they're going to come busting down his door. As long as it doesn't circulate, he's not going to get into trouble."
"But he could be arrested."
"Yes. Of course. Look what they got that last fellow for, what was he, chairman of the national bank or something? It was a stack of old pornographic magazines. It wasn't even political stuff, they were more in the line of curiosities."
"Aren't they all really?"
"No. No. There's still some very dangerous stuff in there. Even the sort of stuff in the chairman's collection, there were to be found political articles expounding all kinds of uncorrected facts. Anything of a political nature would be a stew of hate notions. Anything touching on social issues from that era would be inherently dangerous."
"Really?"
Herbert regretted the intrigue in his voice.
Genero continued.
"But I point him out only to note they had some other, reason to come after him and the collection was a pretext. They wanted him for something else."
"They say everybody possessing any text is in violation."
"Any text older than sixty years was to have been turned over by 2042, yes, that's the catch-all."
"And images?"
"Well there's no reason to worry about photographs, paintings or the like yet, of course, but you know President Feltyear He-Him said just the other night, the international direction is clearly toward the gradual cleaning up and elimination..."
"So, with the inclusion of imagery, it might become true that virtually everyone is in violation of the International Convention on Intolerance and Hate Communication?"
"That's an exaggeration. But it isn't such a bad thing. Everyone has something on them. Everyone has a stake in making things work--because everyone is on notice not to screw up or, worse, go over to the wreckers."
"What did he do, anyway?"
"Who?"
"The bank chairman."
"Who cares?"

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Cult of Guilt

Philip Weiss:
I’ve been reading Amos Oz’s books since his death, and one of the feelings he leaves me with is: Self-contempt. Many of Oz’s characters look on American Jews with disdain. “To be without power is, in my eyes, both a sin and a catastrophe. It’s the sin of exile, and Diaspora,” says one. Another says that Diaspora Jews “shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of… life.”

The message is clear. Jews in the west are half-made because they never had to fight. They haven’t served in the Israeli army, at the front line of reborn Jewish sovereignty. But those exiled Jews derive pride and strength from the armed Jewish nation; Israel has given them international prestige. Because once Jews went like sheep to slaughter, we formed lines to get on the cattle cars. Now we are a proud nation.
A long time ago a comedian, I don't recall who, used to joke something along the line that there were two kinds of Jews, Israeli commandos like Moshe Dayan and diaspora neurotics like the characters in a Woody Allen film.
But those exiled Jews have no skin in the game. They are living comfortable idle existences. Getting up like me this morning and going to my desk.

This is the core truth of the Israel lobby. The American Jews feel guilty that they are not on the front lines. They are lesser; the Hebrew language even describes Jews who leave Israel as such: yordim, lower. So they must do everything they can for the higher, fighting Jews of Israel. Raise money for Israel, buy off politicians, make sure that the U.S. government sticks by Israel through thick and thin and every massacre too...It’s been this way for a long time. American Jews may be peaceniks here but they can’t criticize Israel beyond the mild demurral.
When I saw the title of this piece, "The Israel lobby is built on the biggest guilt trip in the world", I naturally thought he was referring to guilt-tripping white gentiles over the Holocaust.
...The heroes in the Amos Oz books are the brawny tanned Israeli warriors, who don’t think twice about blowing up “enemy” villages. They go on courageous “reprisal raids” against faceless enemies at night. Arthur Koestler said 80 years ago that European Jews were a “sick race”: because they don’t know how to wield arms and till the soil.
Jewry's long landless history left it without a martial and agricultural (and subsequent working) class, but it arguably outfitted them advantageously for modernity vis a vis their WASP elite competition, who can't shed theirs fast enough as traditional labor becomes increasingly unnecessary.
Modernity having released them from noblesse oblige, WASPs view their working class as unemployable dead weight in the coming economy, valuable primarily as consumers, to be replaced with more fecund and spendthrift immigrants.

Of course if they still thought of themselves as WASPs they'd see what a dumb bargain they've made, but I guess you can't be cheated out of something you've already handed over. Not wanting your history and posterity is just weird, though. Viewed uncharitably, and charity isn't warranted, the wretched WASP elite is now just pretending to have chosen this world, pretending they haven't been beaten, somehow, by a tiny, determined foe. Whites created the modern world, indeed. And handed it right over.

As a non-WASP, let me just say, you're not fooling anyone.

As the WASPs dissemble and dismantle, the Jews make themselves whole.
The Jews of the Israel lobby believe this. They think that Israel has figured out the right relationship to the Arab world and we are never to question it. We might suggest some minor changes in the p.r. campaign, but we’re going to hold the bag for you forever.

Massacre all the Palestinians you think it’s necessary to massacre and when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says it’s a massacre, even liberal Zionists will go after her and say she’s not being nuanced enough.

But when Tzipi Livni goes to J Street and says that Any Israeli soldier who did anything ethically wrong on the Gaza border will be prosecuted, she is a hero.
For the Jewish nation now it's what America used to be; before, at the end of the day we were all still Americans. That no longer applies.
And as for the famous Jewish love of argument—STFU. The Jews who are against Israel must be squashed. They are non Jews or self-hating Jews. You’ll never see an anti-Zionist Jew at J Street except by mistake; and AIPAC doesn’t let anti-Zionist Jews in even to cover their hootenanny.
It's an insipid counter-signal from WASPs seeking to debunk "tropes" about Jewish power, to cite Jewish argumentativeness; how could they ever "conspire" against us? You think they'd notice how much of that arguing is about being a good Jew.
Because if American Jews divide over Israel it is a signal to American politicians that they can divide over Israel, too. We’re the gatekeepers. Everyone takes their cue from us. “The perception that AIPAC represents a consensus among American Jews has always been a key to its political influence, which explains the group’s sometimes seemingly outsized opposition to Jewish dissent from its line,” writes Doug Rossinow, whose piece on the dark roots of AIPAC in the Washington Post is one of the rare slams of the Israel lobby ever to appear in our papers.
Guilt-tripping whites over their historical transgressions is like a photographic negative of the guilt-tripping of Jews to accept Israel's current transgressions.

Must be nice to control the narrative.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Hoax Stream

Daddy Issues

Kamala Harris is not having a very good campaign.

When grilling Bret Kavanaugh she did her best imitation of a character from Law & Order, all self-righteous condescension, even appearing to corner him (in the eyes of those who wanted to see him cornered) with a probing question about whether or not he'd had improper discussions about the Mueller investigation.
So far so good. The whole effort came off badly in the end, but nobody who might vote for her noticed.

Her quick enlistment in the Jussie Smollet hoax suggests a lack of judgement and astounding gullibility for a former prosecutor. I doubt she's that naive; she took her confidence in the gullibility of the public and the reasonable expectation that no real evidence one way or the other would emerge (no new facts would be "unfolding"). Which is pretty craven when you think about it--she didn't care if it was true or not.
There's also the possibility her friend Jussie assured her the hoax was sound.

But the alacrity with which she pounced reflects either very badly, or very, very badly on her.

It's a far cry from the smug questioner of Kavanaugh, in the tightly controlled setting of Congressional hearings, and the blustering panic of this caught-in-the-headlights moment:



Then her campaign stuttered like, well like she does above, when her ongoing attempt to convey cool (apparently it's all about smoking weed and listening to--what are the kids listening to?) revealed a very embarrassed dad:
When Sen. Kamala Harris said last week that she obviously supports marijuana legalization and has smoked the plant, she cited her ethnicity — “Half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?” 
Her Jamaican father is not happy about that. 
In a statement to Jamaica Global Online, Donald Harris called his daughter’s remarks a “travesty” and accused her of stereotyping. 
“My dear departed grandmother … as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics,” he said. 
“Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty,” Mr. Harris, an economics professor at Stanford University, concluded in a statement to the news site for the Jamaican diaspora.
The language reveals a family spliff, I mean rift. This is not the first time the girl has embarrassed her father.
Kamala, meet intersectionality. It starts at home.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Kallusion?

As Democrats crowded each other to join the Jussie Smollet hoax, Kamala Harris distinguished herself by pointing out she knows the boy personally, and by stumping for her state-of-the-legislative-art anti-lynching law (segregated lunch counters you're next!) and denouncing the "modern day lynching" in chorus with the affable and clueless Corey Booker



As the hoax played perfectly into Harris' anti-lynching stunt-legislation, and Harris speaks so highly of the man, a few naturally asked if she might have had some hand in his conspiracy.


Three of those photos appear to be from the same rally. The photo with Valerie Jarrett reminds me Chicago, site of the hoax, is not only not "MAGA country" but Obama country. Smollett lives in "the capital of black America" as declared by Ta-Nehisi Coates (if whites have to read Coates to absolve themselves of racism, like Governor Northam, what should Jussie have to read for his transgressions?), making it holy writ.

I doubt any politician as canny as Kamala would be foolish enough to conspire with Jussie Smollet, who appears to lack a certain, er, sophistication, but it's not inconceivable Smollet was inspired by Harris' anti-lynching campaign.

As it turns out he probably attempted an easier hoax by having hate mail sent to him at the Empire set, maybe by the same Nigerians. Speculation that he was to be written out of the show was of course denied by the producers. The show's ratings are imploding as well; maybe Jussie thought to take one for the team. But I do hope someone is investigating the possibilities.

Smollett had to add production value to his next hoax attempt, and he had big plans. We were supposed to see him getting abused, on grainy black and white by shadowy figures. Imagine how much worse it all would have been with the visceral addition of video. He would have been believed by even the skeptical. Normal people project their normality onto others; the idea of him going to the trouble to stage the hoax would have been inconceivable. I think I would have found it convincing--the perversity of celebrity (and black) narcissism is hard for the average white to comprehend.

If only Jussie hadn't messed up the scene blocking by putting his actors behind the camera instead of in front of it, he probably would have got away with it and convulsed the nation in a cycle of race hysteria to rival fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama's murderous Black Lives Matter campaign.

One of the sources of skepticism was the lack of video evidence in a city covered with security cameras. People can't imagine someone going to the trouble. Producing two live bodies for your story lends realism and also makes any possible conspiracy less likely in the minds of the skeptical: it's easy for one sissy to make up a story, but to produce video evidence that would have involved two more conspirators isn't so easy (at least if you don't have agreeable Nigerian bodybuilders and a little money).

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Diaspora Nationalism and the Former America

Gateway Pundit is breathlessly passing along a report that AOC's chief of staff in training has a genuine Nazi connection.
...AOC’s Chief of Staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, the congresswoman-elect may well find herself destined for trouble.
…Saikat Chakrabarti is a highly motivated, smart guy. A Harvard grad, he founded a web tools company, Mockingbird. He is a founder of Justice Democrats, the PAC set up with The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur, was instrumental in getting AOC elected, and is presently going through congressional training to learn how to become an effective chief of staff for the Dems’ golden girl.
Based on a recent clothing choice, Chakrabarti might justifiably be considered a Nazi sympathizer. But really? Well, yes. In his latest love-fest video for AOC, Chakrabarti is sporting a tee-shirt that features a portrait of Subhas Chandra Bose. Not familiar with this former Indian head of state? Here a few facts:
  • Bose was an ally of Adolf Hitler and met with him personally in 1942.
  • Bose founded the Free India Legion (FIL) made up of troops captured by Nazi Field Marshal Rommel’s Afrika Korps.
  • The FIL swore an oath to Hitler and was under SS command.
  • Bose teamed up with the Japanese in 1943.
  • Bose was an admirer of the USSR and sought to implement its authoritarian practices in India.
Bold added.

Bose was an Indian nationalist who allied with Germany and Japan against Britain in World War II. Unlike Gandhi, he pursued armed revolution. We are learning about the man because Cortez' guy Chakrabati was photographed wearing a t-shirt with his likeness, a la the familiar Che Guevara shirt.

The Indian Chakrabati appreciates Bose as an Indian nationalist who fought for independence. As smart as he is I bet he doesn't see the contradiction between his Indian nationalism and his progressive politics which are the antithesis of nationalism.

As a typical progressive he'll work against American nationalism, in the office of a representative who recently made a statement of foreign nationalism remarkable for an elected representative, when she declared the US has no right to immigration restriction because we are on land stolen--from her ethnic group.

Meanwhile the mainstream right can only do what it always does, cry Nazi, in the hope enough powerful American Jews will be motivated to oppose her. Americans can only defend themselves against hostile foreign national sympathies by invoking other foreign national sympathies via their ultimate Bad Guys of nationalism, the Nazis.

In the meantime we can expect the development of national consciousness in more and more Americans of foreign descent, and their attendant political factions, doing battle in the ruins of the American republic, fighting for primacy, seeking to direct foreign policy to favor their homelands and, of course, government set-asides.

To defend against this disaster we're allowed to invoke Nazis, but never double loyalties, because of the outsized power of history's greatest diaspora nationalists.

None of this is new. Hispanics have been stewed in racial politics since the sixties; the only thing that's saved us is the apathy Hispanics have for social or political questions.

Alan Wall reports in VDare on the California Attorney General's Spanish-language response to the State of the Union
[B]ecause as a son of immigrants, I saw my parents struggle and I witnessed all they had to pass through. I believe that the DACA beneficiaries are going to be the best leaders that the United States will have. … It’s very personal. … Everything I do is based on how I grew up. I defend the immigrants with passion because I saw immigrants every day of my life. I know how hard they work. ... when somebody hits an immigrant, he is hitting my father and my mother.
The left has been humoring pan-Hispanic nationalism because no one takes it seriously. The Hispanic voting block is desirable because it's made up of low-information voters who can be expected to vote as they're told (though you might have to send out vans to get them to the polls).

We can't hope for such apathy from the newer groups that are being encouraged by leftist demagogy to embrace their racial nationalism and organize around it in the same way as the Hispanics before them. Groups with higher intelligence aren't going to adopt civic nationalism and assimilate--not while everyone else is striving for preeminence. To stand on principle is to be a sucker. Worse, higher intelligence isn't correlated with political activity; low-IQ groups like Somalis appear to be highly political.

Our dystopian future involves various ethnic political groups striving for their fair share of the spoils of an American empire turned inside-out, self colonizing out of greed and the hostile national sympathies of our most powerful ethnic group.

Cheerio!

Friday, February 08, 2019

Caught in the Intertow

In the New York Times Bret Stephens takes on the hydra-headed beast Intersectionality; it appears to have turned its countless bloodshot eyes on the Jews
It happened again last month in Detroit. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators seized the stage of the National L.G.B.T.Q. Task Force’s marquee conference, “Creating Change” and demanded a boycott of Israel. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” they chanted — the tediously malign, thinly veiled call to end Israel as a Jewish state.

They were met with sustained applause by the audience at what is the largest annual conference of L.G.B.T.Q. activists in the United States. Conference organizers did nothing to stop the disruption or disavow the demonstrators.

For Tyler Gregory, neither the behavior of the protesters nor the passivity of the organizers came as a surprise. Gregory is executive director of A Wider Bridge, a North American L.G.B.T.Q. organization that works to support Israel and its gay community. In 2016, his group hosted a reception at the Task Force’s conference in Chicago. The event was mobbed by some 200 aggressive demonstrators, and Gregory and his audience had to barricade themselves in their room while those outside were harassed.

“Whether you believe in the concept of intersectionality is beside the point,” Gregory told me recently, referring to the idea that the oppression of one group is the oppression of all others. “If this is your value system, you are not following it. As Jews we were denied our safe space. We were denied our place in a movement that fights bigotry.”
You may not be interested in intersectionality, but intersectionality is interested in you.

But no, even they can't define intersectionality (oppression of one is oppression of all, the hoary old chestnut that isn't even true, isn't it; in fact, it's more like oppression of me is more than oppression of thee); it's a word they adapt to context: when combining and focusing claims upon the "oppressor" white male--when looting, and when assigning status within the hierarchy of grievance--when divvying up the loot.
But mostly it seems to involve the inevitable infighting of a coalition of interests sustained by shrill demagogy. "Intersectionality" is also a euphemism for that infighting and its vicious nature.

Stephens laments the takeover of the Women's March movement by antisemites and the entrance into Congress of Rashida Tlaib and Ilan Ohmar, and sees in yet another remarkable concession to Israel the stirrings of real trouble:
Progressives — including presidential hopefuls Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren — also united behind Vermont’s Bernie Sanders in a failed bid to block a Senate bill, passed on Tuesday, that includes an anti-B.D.S. measure prohibiting federal contracts with businesses that boycott Israel, ostensibly on free-speech grounds. One wonders how these same Democrats feel about, say, championing First Amendment protections for bakers who refuse to make cakes for gay couples.
Israel's influence is perhaps stronger than ever, but the Democrats' lurch left might be the beginning of the end.
What’s unsettling is that the far-left’s hostility is now being mainstreamed by the not-so-far left. Anti-Zionism — that is, rejection not just of this or that Israeli policy, but also of the idea of a Jewish state itself — is becoming a respectable position among people who would never support the elimination of any other country in any other circumstance.
How is that not precisely what we have in store for every single Western country? The apparatus of government remains, even some of its traditions, but the ethnic nature is changed--for the better, bigot! The only real rejoinder Zionists have to this is a legalistic argument--the United States wasn't explicit enough in designing itself as an ethno-state. Should've got it in writing, goyim.

The state of Israel does not vanish, obviously, under the one-state solution. Jewish supremacy (a perfectly normal desire of Israeli Jews) likely does, and the country becomes multicultural. Let your imagination run wild: Israel becomes the world's moral superpower, humanity is once and forever cured of antisemitism, Israel is a light unto the nations...

Within Israel Jews will continue to dominate for generations at least, and will be relieved of the moral burden of occupation and the threat of terrorism.
And it is churning up a new wave of nakedly anti-Jewish bigotry in its wake, as when three women holding rainbow flags embossed with a Star of David at the 2017 Chicago Dyke March were ejected on grounds that the star was “a trigger.”
Just as the American flag is now sometimes a "trigger".
The progressive answer is straightforward: Israel and its supporters, they say, did this to themselves. More than a half-century of occupation of Palestinian territories is a massive injustice that fair-minded people can no longer ignore, especially given America’s financial support for Israel. Continued settlement expansion in the West Bank proves Israel has no interest in making peace on equitable terms. And endless occupation makes Israel’s vaunted democracy less about Jewish self-determination than it is about ethnic subjugation.
Self-determination and ethnic subjugation have gone hand-in-hand throughout history. For all the Holocaust kitsch through which we're supposed to understand it, the Palestinian-Israeli fight is the oldest type of struggle: two groups contending over land, with the subsuming of one population a potential outcome (if improbable).
Next is the belief that anti-Zionism is a legitimate political position, and not another form of prejudice.
There are many genuine progressive true-believing Jews who would beg to differ.
By conflating anti-Zionism with antisemitism Israel gets to have its cake and eat it too. Anti-nationalism is wrecking Western nations and their attendant ethnic groups, and we're all to pretend it's incidental to, for one, the religion of "white privilege" that intersects. Jews have only Israel. I get it. I support it. But all we ever had were our nations too, and they were the best.
It is one thing to argue, in the moot court of historical what-ifs, that Israel should not have come into being, at least not where it is now. It is also fair to say that there is much to dislike about Israel’s current leadership, just as there’s much not to like about America’s. But nobody claims the election of Donald Trump makes America an illegitimate state.
Actually they kind of do. I'll say they've gone you one better: the "Resistance" holds the state is captured by illegitimate powers (illegitimate because they see the US as a sort of Israel for whites, in this view) and is waging a coup.

In fact, they're using the election of Donald Trump to further pathologize the white history of America. They are claiming the election of Trump negates the moral basis of the US. They are out of control. Brett must not get out much.
Israel is now the home of nearly nine million citizens, with an identity that is as distinctively and proudly Israeli as the Dutch are Dutch or the Danes Danish. Anti-Zionism proposes nothing less than the elimination of that identity and the political dispossession of those who cherish it, with no real thought of what would likely happen to the dispossessed. Do progressives expect the rights of Jews to be protected should Hamas someday assume the leadership of a reconstituted “Palestine”?
Au contraire. The Dutch, as every other western nation, are currently surrendering their nation and identity with enthusiasm, and I would note anti-popular compulsion from an alienated elite.

Do Americans expect the rights of whites to be protected--screw that, are they being protected?
To say, as progressives sometimes do, that Jews are “colonizers” in Israel is anti-Semitic because it advances the lie that there is no ancestral or historic Jewish tie to the land. To claim that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, when manifestly it is not, is anti-Semitic because it’s an attempt to Nazify the Jewish state. To insist that the only state in the world that has forfeited the moral right to exist just happens to be the Jewish state is anti-Semitic, too: Are Israel’s purported crimes really worse than those of, say, Zimbabwe or China, whose rights to exist are never called into question? "Genocide" is an overused term, and does not "nazify" (idiotic word) anything, Jews in Germany were economically and even politically powerful in the 1920s.
And then they were in Buchenwald.
Indeed. To be powerful but vulnerable was the Jews' misfortune. Zionism answers that vulnerability in the obvious way, establishing a homeland for the Jews, and discrediting the concept of "homeland" outside of Israel via secular progressive politics dominated by diaspora Jews has been the other answer.
Isn't it time for Jew and white gentiles to forge a new agreement, whereby we all get to keep our countries?
 Israel appears powerful vis-à-vis the Palestinians, but considerably less so in the context of a broader Middle East saturated with genocidal anti-Semitism. American Jews are comparatively wealthy. But wealth without political power, as Hannah Arendt understood, is a recipe for hatred. The Jews of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh are almost surely “privileged” according to various socio-economic measures. But privilege didn’t save the congregants of the Tree of Life synagogue last year.
Indeed, and their political privilege over and above all didn't save them either--from a prototypical "loser" as they would describe him; that is, from someone with no real privilege (just the Orwellian curse of "white privilege", which is not an idea that originated from the underprivileged of any stripe, curiously enough).

The notion of "privilege" based on socio-economic disparities collapses. Whites are supposedly "privileged" in the US, but they're hunted on the streets by blacks, who are described, comically, as a "vulnerable" group. We are in a position not unlike Jews under periods of extreme antisemitism when we attempt to navigate black geographic strongholds, when we endure periodic pogroms and watch as our culture and wealth are appropriated, as privilege (by any other name) is established on behalf of ever angrier and uglier complainants lacking the intelligence and self-awareness to see their absurdity.

We need a new way.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

After Dark

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Andrew Sullivan:
It might be a sign of the end-times, or simply a function of our currently scrambled politics, but earlier this week, four feminist activists — three from a self-described radical feminist organization Women’s Liberation Front — appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation. Together they argued that sex was fundamentally biological, and not socially constructed, and that there is a difference between women and trans women that needs to be respected. For this, they were given a rousing round of applause by the Trump supporters, religious-right members, natural law theorists, and conservative intellectuals who comprised much of the crowd. If you think I’ve just discovered an extremely potent strain of weed and am hallucinating, check out the video of the event.

I’ve no doubt that many will see these women as anti-trans bigots, or appeasers of homophobes and transphobes, or simply deranged publicity seekers. (The moderator, Ryan Anderson, said they were speaking at Heritage because no similar liberal or leftist institution would give them space or time to make their case.) And it’s true that trans-exclusionary radical feminists or TERFs, as they are known, are one minority that is actively not tolerated by the LGBTQ establishment, and often demonized by the gay community. It’s also true that they can be inflammatory, offensive, and obsessive. But what interests me is their underlying argument, which deserves to be thought through, regardless of our political allegiances, sexual identities, or tribal attachments. Because it’s an argument that seems to me to contain a seed of truth. Hence, I suspect, the intensity of the urge to suppress it.

The title of the Heritage panel conversation — “The Inequality of the Equality Act” — refers to the main legislative goal for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ lobbbying group in the US. The proposed Equality Act — a federal nondiscrimination bill that has been introduced multiple times over the years in various formulations — would add “gender identity” to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, rendering that class protected by anti-discrimination laws, just as sex is. The TERF argument is that viewing “gender identity” as interchangeable with sex, and abolishing clear biological distinctions between men and women, is actually a threat to lesbian identity and even existence — because it calls into question who is actually a woman, and includes in that category human beings who have been or are biologically male, and remain attracted to women. How can lesbianism be redefined as having sex with someone who has a penis, they argue, without undermining the concept of lesbianism as a whole? “Lesbians are female homosexuals, women who love women,” one of the speakers, Julia Beck, wrote last December, “but our spaces, resources and communities are on the verge of extinction.”
Feminism right now seems unassailable, but the way women are handing over their identity to trans "women" suggests they're not really in charge--the men are, still. The gay men, and they like men in dresses. Always have.

No sooner had women established themselves as a political faction than they're giving away the franchise. The Equality Act and the movement from which it emerges says anyone gets to be a woman. Regular women of course were never been consulted.

There is social and, now, political value in being a woman, and the ladies are being conned out of it by gay men, which is kind of funny when you get past the disaster it represents: the charming gay con man swindling a gullible woman out of her fortune is a familiar trope.

Women established themselves politically by destroying the old, putatively limiting definitions of femininity, converting their old social privilege for legal and political privilege. The trans rights movement, should it continue as it is, will render that privilege meaningless, and there's no road back to the oppressive old pedestal.
A culture of you-go-girl propaganda, sexual hysteria, resource looting and demagogy does not a female identity make.

We see now that femininity has always been too important to leave to women.

That Heritage panel is chilling.



The lesbians on this panel point out how the trans movement contradicts what they represent, and liberal secular values generally, identifying femininity with make-up and dresses. The whole drag fixation is just another glaring contradiction we can't see for all the contradictions.

But gay Andrew Sullivan sees the great zombie horde will eventually come for him:
 This is the deeply confusing and incoherent aspect of the entire debate. If you abandon biology in the matter of sex and gender altogether, you may help trans people live fuller, less conflicted lives; but you also undermine the very meaning of homosexuality. If you follow the current ideology of gender as entirely fluid, you actually subvert and undermine core arguments in defense of gay rights. “A gay man loves and desires other men, and a lesbian desires and loves other women,” explains Sky Gilbert, a drag queen. “This defines the existential state of being gay. If there is no such thing as ‘male’ or ‘female,’ the entire self-definition of gay identity, which we have spent generations seeking to validate and protect from bigots, collapses.” Contemporary transgender ideology is not a complement to gay rights; in some ways it is in active opposition to them.
Faster, harder you might say, if you want to hasten the end. The Narrative really is eating itself, but that doesn't mean it has to lose power--the demographic shift taking place still promises one-party rule, and soon. America faces the prospect of rule by a Democratic Party that can't govern for the same reason it can't be voted out.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Plea

Subscribe to my new YouTube channel because how else are you going to detox from all the boring-ass streams you normally listen to?

Re-run

Memento
June 7, 2008

Memento, n.; A hint, suggestion, token, or memorial, to awaken memory; that which reminds or recalls to memory; a souvenir.
[1913 Webster]

I thought to capture my history but was surprised to find it won't stay put; I'm not sure I recognize it. Sometimes it's a faint image, like a 3-D hologram, shimmying and wavering. I reach for it and it flickers out as my hand passes through. I don't know if it isn't just a composite of experience real and imagined, some mine, some stolen from others, some culled from the cultural commons. There are those moments we all have, of sudden temporary displacement, wherein we do not recognize our surroundings, the life that sprung up around us, that is to say moments when we do not recognize ourselves. These leave behind the residue of doubt. 

I'm having trouble neatly separating the experience from the flotsam trapped in the recesses and eddies of my mind, from the residue still building up about the edges of the endless stream of electronic illusion passing through even now. The sticky fragments of no particular relevance left behind in no sensible order. I can no longer clearly demarcate the boundary between the real and the representational. I see now I never really could. Did I live this life? Perhaps I saw it all on TV.

Nothing is stranger than to look in one's past and ask: did this happen? Am I that child, connected to the present by a chain of heart beats? How in the hell can this all be? How can this world be real? All this time spent no more than a blip; inconsequential, yet everything I know.

The truth is a tear of mercury that resists containment. It cannot be seen head-on or appreciated in full. It will not be drawn in from the periphery. We are all reduced to furtive voyeurs of our own lives in the end. Your history is that light smudge in the corner of your eye, that flits away when you look in its direction.
I haven't done anything here, after all. Skirting the issue always; the story of my life, of all our lives, of humanity. All this supposed revelation just circling the periphery like a basketball "rimming out." Nothing.

The real journey I will not make.
Or maybe not. Maybe we all make that journey within, the only real journey there is, eventually. Maybe that's what death is. Going home. The incoherent babble of death's delirium is the purging, surrendering energy back into the ether, in waves of language by way of dissipating will, a chemical reaction rendering our identities inert and final. Only after it can no longer be known, only after it is lost is it made whole; only then does it lose its contingent nature and become complete. Or not. Who knows?

This, this is all just stalking, lurking about outside the fortress of reality in the forest of illusion.
No: illusion is the fortress, reality the forest.

Hate in the Afternoon

Talking about the status of the Purge and its next steps.