Friday, November 24, 2017

SUGGESTED READING LIST ~ NOV 24, 2017

...and his transition into literal cult leader is now complete.
Over at VOX, David Roberts' article America is Facing an Epistemic Crisis (don't let the big fancy word spook you) explores the terrifying disconnect between a growing number of movement conservatives and the very notion of objective, consensus reality. He also checks out some of the latest developments in Far Right propaganda techniques in their ongoing War on Reality. It begins thusly:
Over at the Gothamist, Jake Offenhartz has an astounding and richly symbolic storyabout the latest bit of “fake news” burped up by the alt-right. 
At Columbia University on Monday, alt-right self-promoter Mike Cernovich gave a speech to College Republicans. Other students showed up to protest. And then some alt-right members in attendance, posing as protesters, unfurled this banner:


The banner has a NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association) logo on it, making it look like the protesters are defending pedophilia. Ha ha. 
Cernovich grabbed the image off Twitter, stripped it of context, and sent it bouncing around the right-o-sphere. When Offenhartz reported the copyright violation, Twitter removed the photo from Cernovich’s account. That led the alt-right to cry censorship, which led to more publicity for the photo, which led, in the end, to thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of conservatives believing that students of Columbia University were openly marching in favor of pedophilia. 
Basically, the alt-right tricked itself into believing even more stupid, wrong things. Burn, I guess?
This article goes on to cover some incredibly important ground before addressing the rhetorical question of its subtitle: "What if Mueller proves his case and it doesn't matter?" Riviting, vital stuff. Give it a read and a good hard think.

Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about the above-mentioned Columbia University stunt by alt-right provocateurs, the pedophilia-obsessed "Weird" Mike Cernovich and his co-conspirator , Jack "Rape Melania" Posobiec, you can read this Gothamist account by Jake Offenhartz, the photographer who snapped the image Cernovich and Posobiec appropriated for their sick and twisted purposes. For even more information, check out this New York Magazine account, which asks, with just a hint of incredulous exasperation:
How do you run a country in which 30 or 35 percent of the population believes that Democrats ran a secret child sex ring out of a pizza parlor, that ISIS controls certain towns in the Midwest, and that Columbia students are openly marching in defense of pedophilia? Where does all this madness drag us?
***

Speaking of Far Right hit-jobs, how are you enjoying the orchestrated effort to transform the public image of the Senate's most genuinely humane and gifted centrist legislators in decades into that of a sex-crazed groper and a penis-criminal on par with the likes of Judge Roy Moore, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey? Pretty great days we're living in, aren't they?

Anyway, just in case you're not quite 100 percent on the origins of this effort, along comes Erin L. to explain how “The Alt-Right Propaganda Machine is Winning Because Americans Insist on Being Stupid: A Timeline of The Al Franken Scandal”. First, she writes:
Al Franken is not the first sacrificial lamb — and definitely won’t be the last — as Americans refuse to acknowledge or take action against the fine-tuned Propaganda Machine that is omni-present on our social media platforms.
Then, she charts:


And then, she continues:
America has its very own Joseph Goebbels, yet we seem to be either too ignorant to history, or too ignorant to technology, to acknowledge and deal with the massive propaganda machine that’s been assembled over the last 2 years here in America. Al Franken is just the latest casualty, and there will be more. 
It’s disturbing to see Americans still falling for the same dirty tricks we fell for the entire 2016 election season. We have the benefit of hindsight now and a cavalry of expert citizens educating us about propaganda and how to counteract it. Yet time and again, we are let down. Our media fails us. In their desperation for clicks they hop on any bandwagon that appears lucrative. And our people fail each other. They suspend critical thinking skills to line up on “sides” that don’t even truly exist. 
So let’s use this past week’s Al Franken “scandal” as an illustration of the latest pizzagate-style propaganda hit job against our common senses. These manufactured “news stories” always follow the same distribution and amplification process, with few (but detectable) variables.
She then goes into excruciating detail about the mechanisms, personalities, technologies and modalities involved in the New Fascist International's New Media propaganda offensive. Bookmark this magnificent effort, and spread it around to all your friends whom you think are capable of comprehending and/or counteracting these efforts.

***
Speaking of orchestrated take-downs aimed at destroying the reputations and effectiveness of our most eloquent, knowledgeable, and important voices of opposition and resistance, you may have noticed that long-time Daily Dirt favorite Matt Taibbi is having his name dragged through the slime-pit these days. This time, it consists of literal rape-apologist/promoter Mike Cernovich (him again?!) accusing Taibbi of rape, based on a clearly satirical excerpt from a decade-old book about his tenure at the Moscow-based alternative bi-weekly tabloid, The eXile.

The claims are complete and utter bullshit. However, considering the current media-fueled mass hysteria centered on "sexual assault", Taibbi's ability to defend himself has been severely curtailed. Still, his efforts in this regard are well worth reading.

But even more important than Taibbi's own apology-tinged explanation is Alayne Fleischmann's definitive, 21-page Open Letter on the subject, which lays bare just exactly how flimsy of a construct this "Matt Taibbi, Sex Pest" narrative really is. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

THE LAST HONEST MAN AT FOX NEWS

Watching FOX News' own Shep Smith go against his own employer's party line in order to demolish the absolutely ridiculous Uranium One conspiracy theory is a thing of beauty.


Monday, November 6, 2017

ALT RIGHT FRAUDSTERS ATTEMPT TO TIE CHURCH SHOOTER TO "ANTIFA"

The unparalleled evil of the New Fascist International continues to unveil itself on social media.

This time, Russian bots are in the midst of a massive, desperate, concerted and centrally controlled effort - using falsified mock-ups of the Texas church gunman's deleted Facebook page - to somehow connect the shooter to "antifa".

Here are a few Twitter masters who have begun to figure out what's going on. Follow them and check back regularly to learn more.





Sunday, November 5, 2017

EXCELLENT SHORT EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS

Aside from being educational and interesting, if you familiarize yourself with the information contained within this video, you will be immunized against the facile (and yet often still effective) propaganda lies and bad faith "debating style" of conservative movementarians and other creatures of the Far Right. 


Our next video is a chilling short film called A Night at the Gardens, and you can find out more about it at The Intercept.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

NOBODY IS ABOVE THE LAW—MUELLER FIRING RAPID RESPONSE

In the increasingly likely event that Donald Trump tries to fire Robert Mueller, you should GO HERE to find out more about what to do.

From that page:

Donald Trump is publicly considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, the person leading the Department of Justice investigation of possible illegal actions by Donald Trump and members of his presidential campaign, and the efforts to conceal those activities.

This would be a constitutional crisis for our country. It would demand an immediate and unequivocal response to show that we will not tolerate abuse of power from Donald Trump.

Our response in the minutes and hours following a power grab will dictate what happens next, and whether Congress—the only body with the constitutional power and obligation to rein Trump in from his rampage—will do anything to stand up to him.

That's why we're preparing to hold emergency "Nobody is Above the Law" rallies around the country in the event they are needed.

Use the map or search below by ZIP code to find an event near you, or create one if none exists.

Rallies will begin hours after news breaks of a Mueller firing:
  • If Mueller is fired BEFORE 2 P.M. local time —> events will begin @ 5 P.M. local time
  • If Mueller is fired AFTER 2 P.M. local time —> events will begin @ noon local time the following day
This is the general plan—please confirm details on your event page, as individual hosts may tailor their events to their local plan.

This is our moment to stand up to protect our democracy. Let's mobilize to show that we won't let Donald Trump become the authoritarian that he aspires to be. The law applies to all of us, and it's essential that it also applies to the most powerful people in our country.

Use the search tool to find an event near you, or create one if none exists.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

SUGGESTED READING LIST FOR OCT 26, 2017


Yer old pal Jerky firmly believes that it is every American citizen's duty to familiarize themselves with the information contained in McKay Coppins' essential piece for the Columbia Journalism Review, titled What if the Right-Wing Media Wins?, which begins:
It was a sweltering July afternoon in the swamp, and a small group of well-dressed, conservative college students from across the country—the next generation of Megyn Kellys, George Wills, and Tucker Carlsons—was filing into an auditorium at the Heritage Foundation’s Washington, DC, headquarters. They had come to study at the feet of Breitbart News Washington editor Matt Boyle, a zealous prophet of the new right-wing media. Boyle’s sermon was not about how to break into the mainstream media and steer the national news agenda toward conservative aims—it was about the end days of journalism itself. And he was not about to skimp on the fire and brimstone. 
“Journalistic integrity is dead,” he declared. “There is no such thing anymore. So everything is about weaponization of information.” Standing behind a mahogany podium in a baggy dark suit, Boyle preached with the confidence of a true believer. In a stuttering staccato, he condemned the nation’s preeminent news outlets as “corrupted institutions,” “built on a lie,” and a criminal “syndicate that needs to be dismantled.” 
Boyle and his compatriots were laboring to usher in an imminent—and glorious—journalistic apocalypse. “We envision a day when CNN is no longer in business. We envision a day when The New York Times closes its doors. I think that day is possible.” 
Squint at the Trump era, and it’s easy to see a conservative media in crisis. Over the past 18 months, we have witnessed the fall of Bill O’Reilly, the ouster (and death) of Roger Ailes, prominent conservative outlets from Fox News to Breitbart to The Wall Street Journal op-ed page erupt in upheaval and infighting, Milo Yiannopoulos lose his book deal, and Tomi Lahren lose her job at The Blaze (only to land at Fox). Look closer, though, and you’ll see that much of that drama was simply a function of the outlets’ increased political power (and the heightened scrutiny that’s followed)—a bit of routine turbulence accompanying the unprecedented ascent of the right-wing media.

While Donald Trump’s rise may have, as Politico’s Eliana Johnson recently wrote, “scrambled the pecking order” on the right—elevating Breitbartesque populists over the conservative intellectuals at the Journal and The Weekly Standard—the conservative media complex as a whole is bigger, stronger, and more influential today than it’s ever been. And with so many of its most powerful members now pursuing a scorched-earth assault on America’s journalistic institutions, it’s worth considering what they hope it will look like once they’re done burning down our villages, desecrating our temples, and howling at our lamentations. 
Boyle said his goal was simple: “The full destruction and elimination of the entire mainstream media.” Breitbart played up his speech on its homepage that day, but the remarks barely registered in broader media circles. The site and its staff have become known for this kind of bluster, and most journalists have taught themselves to tune it out. Maybe we ought to be paying closer attention.

Trust me, folks... this is a blockbuster article, with tons of usable information and an excellent timeline of organized conservative attacks on the very idea of independent, non-partisan, truth-telling (and scandal-revealing) journalism. As usual with high-quality links here: Read, Save, Share.
***

Here... let Shaun King tell you about the Attempted Airport Bombing from Last Week. His report, for the Intercept, explains in part:
I bet you never heard about it. I keep an eye on these types of incidents closely, and I didn’t hear about it. Someone who follows me online who happens to live in Asheville sent me the story this morning — shocked that it hadn’t gotten any play at all beyond a few mentions in the local paper and some isolated pickup by a few national outlets. 
As soon as I clicked on the article, it all made perfect sense. 
The story didn’t go viral and Trump didn’t tweet about it because the bomb was not placed by an immigrant, or a Muslim, or a Mexican. It was placed there by a good ol’ white man, Michael Christopher Estes. Unlike the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, whose motive is still hard to discern, Estes wanted to be very clear that his ultimate goal was to accelerate a war on American soil.

There are more interesting and pertinent details to peruse over at the article. Thanks to Shaun for helping to keep track of stories like these in times like these. I think it's an important exercise and history will treat him kindly for doing so.
***
Aside from a few arts and entertainment reviews, I can’t remember the last time I was in 100% agreement with an article from the National Review. And yet, there's not a single thing I disagree with in this article, written by Jay Nordlinger, about how the US govt has shamefully aided Vladimir Putin in the latter's ongoing vindictive attacks on anti-corruption crusader Bill Browder. It’s a strange feeling.
***


Okay, well, I am NOT going to pretend like I understand this TruthCommand.com article about how sicentists have found what appears to be a "multidemensional universe inside the human brain"... a universe that "calculates" (or at least operates) at an abstraction of up to ELEVEN FUCKING DIMENSIONS (even in the tiniest slice of neural material)... but it's sure as Hell interesting. And the video at the link helps me grok it a little bit, at least. Who knows? Maybe you'll grasp it more easily than I. If you do, and you figure out a way to dumb it down even further, could you please do so in the comments section below? I'd appreciate it.

***

And finally, as a little extra, here is an incredibly moving video of an elderly chimpanzee, at death's door, perking up during a visit from an old friend, in an exchange that is profoundly, heart-breakingly human.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

SUGGESTED READINGS FOR OCT 25, 2017


Former Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Bill Curry writes a revealing account of the first time he ever met Donald Trump. In it, he discusses a number of interesting issues, including the ethics of diagnosing mental illness from afar, how much blame the media deserves for Trump's election, and the potential near future implications of the current crisis. Just past the halfway point of this excellent, informative essay, we get this passage:
Trump embodies that old therapists’ saw "perception is projection." You can use this handy tool to locate the truth, exactly opposite from whatever he just said. He has a weight management problem, so women are “fat pigs.” He can’t stop fibbing, so his primary opponent becomes “Lyin’ Ted Cruz.” His career is rife with fraud so the former secretary of state becomes “Crooked Hillary.” He is terrified of ridicule, so Barack Obama is a “laughingstock.” When he says America’s a wasteland but he’ll make it great again, we know his secret fear.
I just wanted to share that. Now go read the rest of Curry's article.

***

I've read a lot of primers on the alt-right/Far Right resurgence in recent months, but none have done as good a job of describing the diseased heart of the movement (here described accurately as a rapidly congealing cult) with as much detail and overarching insight as this Independent.co.uk overview by Nicholas O'Shaughnessy, which begins:
The social media thrust of the “alt-right” is characterised by two approaches. One is the mobilisation of humour – sometimes laconic, sometimes sociopathic. The other is the resurrection and re-engineering of original imagery from the Third Reich. 
As a result, the alt-right is a moving target, able to tease, and able to deny the authenticity of their content because of its comedic packaging; in the words of Jason Wilson, “the alt-right have stormed mainstream consciousness by weaponising irony, and by using humour and ambiguity as tactics to wrongfoot their opponents” . It is rare that they advance a straight argument, or in fact any argument at all. 
But they are indeed a cult. Their power comes from a series of social media sites such as Elders of the Black Sun; Stop Degeneracy; Nazi Tinder; Art of the True Right; Strictly Ubermensch; Men Among the Ruins; Trumpenreich. The subcultural and cultist elements effectively disarm potential critics via their very oddity. 
There is a rhetoric and a ritual script. They have created an esoteric private language with terms like cuck, red pill, deus vault; and famously their brand logo of Pepe the Frog; not to mention their local hero, the assailant of Anti-fa protesters, “Based Stickman”, as well as their bizarre country, Kekistan.

Read, clip, save and share this article with your friends. Know your enemy. Oh, and this article about a Swedish investigator who infiltrated the alt-right movement in England and uncovered some of the deep, dark shit that THOSE goofs are into makes a great companion piece to this primer.

***

Tell you what... if you didn't already know that the vast majority of the propaganda being spewed on the topic is bullshit, and that it's the RIGHT that poses the greater threat to freedom of speech and expression on campus, then you probably aren't reading this blog on any sort of regular basis. But on the off chance that you've somehow stumbled across this page (and skipped right to the final entry rather than the first two and a half offerings here), then read professor George Ciccariello-Maher's account of what happened when he tweeted his reaction to the Las Vegas massacre, published in the Washington Post, linked above, which begins:
Last week, I sent a string of relatively uncontroversial tweets in the aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre, in which I sought to answer a question about mass shootings in the United States: Why are these crimes almost always carried out by white men? “It’s the white supremacist patriarchy, stupid,” I tweeted, before then diagnosing a sense of double entitlement — as white people and as men — that, when frustrated, can occasionally lead to violent consequences. 
My argument was not new, but rather reflects decades of research on how race and gender function in our society. To be both white and male is to be subject to a potent cocktail of entitlement to economic and political power, and to dominate nonwhite and female bodies. When that entitlement is frustrated, it can lead to what the criminologist Mike King calls “aggrieved whiteness,” an ambient furor based on the idea that white Americans have become oppressed victims of politically correct multiculturalism. 
In my view as a researcher and professor of politics, these tweets were neither provocative in tone nor controversial in content. Rather, the insight they provided felt all the more pressing now that President Trump has brought this aggrieved whiteness into daily headlines. As a scholar and teacher, giving context and depth to contemporary debates is an important part of what I do, and it’s a calling I take seriously. But more and more, professors like me are being targeted by a coordinated right-wing campaign to undermine our academic freedom — one that relies on misrepresentation and sometimes outright lying, and often puts us and our students in danger. 
This time, the outrage machine geared up as it often does, with a minor conservative media outlet — in this case, the Daily Caller — chopping my tweets up into a misleading mishmash that transformed a nuanced diagnosis of white male frustration into an attack on white people in general. When the Daily Caller posted the article to Facebook, moreover, the intention was clearly to incite: “Absolutely unforgiveable” (sic) read the post, which by now has been shared nearly 2,000 times and commented upon more than 3,000 times. 
Hate mail and death threats began to roll in. “I will beat your skull in till there is no tomorrow.” “Soon all you p‑‑‑‑‑s will get exactly what you deserve.” “Do the world a favor, and kill yourself … I’ll help you find death sooner than later.” One called me a “pig f‑‑‑er like Obama,” adding homophobic slurs for good measure. Many called me a “cuck” — a favorite racial and sexual insult of the alt-right — while others urged me to move to North Korea or Venezuela. One “love note from a WHITE American” wrongly identified me as a “greasy South American a‑‑hole.” 
From there, the contagion was rapid, with Stephen Bannon’s Breitbart News and even Milo Yiannopoulos’s own website running their own cribbed copies of the same story. Then came FrontPage, the Blaze, the College Fix and the campus mercenaries at Turning Point. Soon, the manufactured story had hit the conspiratorial fringes of Infowars and online forums across the right: from “blue lives matter” to those preparing for the inevitable rapture. 
Finally, the story crossed the mainstream-fringe barrier at its most permeable point: Fox News. Fox claimed that not only do I blame Trump for the Las Vegas massacre, but that I even somehow blame the victims. Threatening emails increased to a flood. An invitation to appear on Tucker Carlson’s show arrived in short order, only confirming the insular nature of the machine, which amplifies to a furious roar the same small group of voices. I declined.

Read the rest of this article, then come back and try to explain how a bunch of pink-haired co-eds shouting down Milo or Anne Coulter (who exist solely to be shouted down by pink-haired co-eds) is the REAL threat to freedom and liberty on American college campuses.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

"B-B-BUT muh AN-TEE-FUH!!!"

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

FANTASTIC INTERVIEW IN FIRST HALF OF TUESDAY'S MAJORITY REPORT


Sam interviews author Corey Robin on the Republican grift. The conversation evolves into a fantastic history lesson re: the conservative movement, from Edmund Burke all the way up to the Trump era. VERY informative and enlightening (even if I have a handful of quibbles).

Sunday, October 15, 2017

GOODNIGHT HEF


One of the titans of the 20th century passed away a couple of weeks ago, but if you were to go by the swiftly congealing "consensus take" as it developed on the editorial pages of such prestigious purveyors of popular opinion as the New York Times or The Guardian, you'd think the bastard offspring of Torquemada and the Marquis de Sade had just shuffled off this mortal coil.

I was actually kind of amazed by the level of vitriol and spleen being vented Hef's way, both by the new puritans of the Middle Left ("Yes, Virginia, there really are insufferable SJWs!"), as well as by the usual cohort of reactionary culture warriors, such as Ross Douthat, the Times' resident Pentecostal-to-Catholic convert (a ridiculously revealing ideological evolution if ever there was one), who wrote, the day after Hef's passing:
"Hugh Hefner, gone to his reward at the age of 91, was a pornographer and chauvinist who got rich on masturbation, consumerism and the exploitation of women, aged into a leering grotesque in a captain's hat, and died a pack rat in a decaying manse where porn blared during his pathetic orgies."
Man, I can hardly wait to read what this goon has to say when Hef's fellow Great American Larry Flynt rolls his chair through those (gaping and dripping) Pearly Gates!

Of course it stands to reason that young Mr Douthat would be a better better judge of such things than, say, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, considering how long and hard he's prayed on all the Hef-related topics, from reproductive rights to first amendment freedoms. Furthermore, any speculation about a more realistic culprit for Douthat's angry lashing out being a nested complex of deeply repressed, impossibly twisted psychosexual perversions (perhaps discernible via the trajectory of his life journey)... well, that probably isn't even worth mentioning.

Of course Douthat is a conservative movementarian. At least he's got an excuse for being such a waste of flesh and breath. What I can't understand is the transformation I'm seeing in the people I thought I knew. Every day, in new and awful ways, I'm baffled by the spectacle of people I would normally consider simpatico disappearing up their own ass and (paradoxically?) losing their shit over some relatively minor transgression committed by ostensible ideological allies. Even worse, every new nugget of misguided self-righteous idiocy they spew up on social media serves as red meat to the Worst People in the World (i.e. Youtube's alt-right Patreon Panhandlers, about which more tomorrow). 

To paraphrase the great (and, of course, "problematic") Frank Zappa: "You know, I'm not Right, but there's a whole lotta times I wish I could say I'm not Left!"

But back to the topic at hand.

"Chicago: it's just like on TV!"
You know, few people are aware that Hefner's original, early ambition was to become part of that great mid-century pantheon of American cartoonists, providing gags to all the best mags, like Esquire (where he would eventually hone his editorial skills). Fewer still know that he created Playboy Magazine partially in response to his wife cheating on him while he was serving overseas during the second World War.

From those humble origins (and thanks to his genius acquisition of early nudes of Marilyn Monroe for a mere $500), Hef almost single-handedly created one of the most important and courageous platforms for free speech, free expression, and sexual liberation, at a time when it was sorely needed. 

Playboy was instrumental in a number of great cultural fights; everything from a woman's right to have access to birth control and, if necessary, abortion, to advocating for an increased political involvement and awareness of racial injustice and high level corruption. 

Playboy championed hot jazz, great movies, good food and fun times. They pioneered the long-form interview, and featured so much great writing by some of the century's literary legends, the list of contributors puts most literary journals to shame. 

Playboy was an original, and it was great. And for all intents and purposes, Playboy was Hugh Hefner, and he, Playboy.   

You know what? I'll just come right out and say it. FUCK the haters! Hef was the fuckin' man. He lived his best life, and he made a lot of people very, VERY hor-I mean happy. And he did it Hef's way.

Rest In Power, you magnificent old pervert, you.

Friday, October 13, 2017

SUGGESTED READING FOR OCT 13, 2017


We here at the Daily Dirt Diaspora would like to extend our most felicitous of congratulatory accolades to British/Japanese author Kazuo Ishiguro upon his being declared 2017's Nobel Laureate for Literature. In the Academy's dedication, they single out his "novels of great emotional force" which have "uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world." Ishiguro's most famous novels, Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, display his tremendous range in subject matter (from an elderly butler exploring his life's regrets, to a private school where clones bred and raised for their organs fall in and out of love), and both have been made into pretty good films. Ishiguro's keen eye for discerning the epic in the smallest detail is also apparent in the short story "A Village After Dark", which you can now listen to, as read by Ben Marcus, thanks to The New YorkerEnjoy!



***

Ah... Fangoria Magazine! I can still remember my first, issue #6, plucked from the magazine rack of a Quebecois gas station during a family trip to Baie-Comeau. The Star Wars droids were the first thing to catch my eye, and the lurid orange background drew me closer... but it was the horrible, tempura-drenched arrow-through-the-eyeball gag from Friday the 13th that won me over, much to my parents' long-lasting disappointment. Yes, for the first couple years that I was collecting them, I had to keep my copies hidden in the space between the unfinished cellar ceiling and the living room floor, alongside my small collection of porno mags. And now, it seems like, after a slow and protracted decline, Fangoria may be no more. So what better time for Entertainment Weekly to run an article about it? And of course, it's part of their "Untold Stories" series. It begins:
James Gunn is now one of Hollywood’s most successful filmmakers thanks to his overseeing of the two Guardians of the Galaxy films. But Gunn’s first movie, the horror-comedy Slither, nearly killed his directing career before it had really begun. Released in March 2006, this tale of a small town cop (Nathan Fillion) facing off against a local car dealer (Michael Rooker) who has been infected by an alien parasite placed a lowly eighth at the box office over its opening weekend. There was a silver lining for Gunn, however, and it was provided by the monthly horror magazine Fangoria. The publication not only put Rooker’s grotesquely made-up visage on the cover but later awarded Slither its “Highest Body Count” trophy at Fangoria‘s annual Chainsaw Awards, a televised event at Los Angeles’s Orpheum Theater which Gunn himself attended. “I don’t really collect articles or covers,” says the director. “But I do have my Fangoria cover up in my office. Fangoria was a huge magazine to me growing up. 
There is every chance you have never picked up a copy of Fangoria. You may have never heard of the title before now. But it is hard to overestimate the New York-based magazine’s importance to the horror genre.
So yeah... it's kind of condescending, and it comes way too late to make any sort of difference in terms of Fangoria's viability as an ongoing concern. But hey, at least it's something. Without this kind of recognition from the mainstream, people like me were liable to end up thinking we'd dreamed up an entire alternate reality where once existed a magazine that catered to both our love of cinematic horror AND our psychopathic desire to see people hunted down, brutalized, and torn apart like loaves of blood-soaked bread!
***

Let's keep it monstrous with our final Suggested Reading of the day. Here's SyFy's list of the Top Ten Freaky Tentacled Movie Monsters that H.P. Lovecraft Would Have Loved! I agree with pretty much all of these (each of which comes with a representative video clip), and am particularly interested in one that was new to me, a Canadian flick from 2008 called Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. The monster featured in the video clip below is apparently the reincarnation of Aleister Crowley, who teaches gym class in Edmonton now, unless I'm misunderstanding things. Either way, I'll be checking it out. Did your favorite tentacled baddie make the cut? Enjoy the rest of the list!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

JORDAN PETERSON A.K.A. KERMIT THE FRAUD

Behold Jordan Peterson! Champion in the battle against the scourge of Postmodernism! Valiant upholder of Western Values, ever on the watch for creeping Cultural Marxism! Stoic realist, rational and logical down to his common sense-loving core! Behold! ...as he loses his shit while discussing Walt Disney's Pinocchio.


Ah, Jordan Peterson... you've got to hand it to him. He is, hands down, the most successful of the recent crop of Patron pan-handlers, those pseudo-intellectual blowhards who have decided to capitalize on the sizable audience of suckers out there willing to pay top dollar to be told exactly what they want to hear, over and over again.

I mean, who cares if he knows next to nothing about the subject matter that riles him up the most, that being the dreaded bugbear "postmodernism"? It's not like that's his field of expertise, anyway, right? And riling up a few hundred thousand people with inflammatory lies that indirectly feed into other, more destructive narratives about how the world works... it's not like THAT'S ever gone horribly wrong before... right?

Anyway, I'll soon have more for you about why I--and many other, more knowledgeable and even-tempered people--think that Peterson is every conceivable kind of WRONG when it comes to postmodernism. For now, however, I am restricting the rest of this ideological snapshot not to beliefs that he criticizes, but to beliefs that he holds dear.

The nature of Peterson's increasingly toxic fandom being what it is, falling somewhere East of Sam Harris' and just a wee bit West of Stefan Molyneux', I suspect that more than a few of you reading this now are going to be, if not necessarily fans of his, at least interested in what he has to say about a variety of topics, from the dangers of postmodernist political correctness to... actually, that's about it. Well, somebody went and did a little digging on the good professor, and guess what? Yes, as many of you may have already intuited, it turns out this Kermit the Frog-soundalike, pronoun-obsessed professor is off his fucking rocker.

Canadian blogger Nice Mangos begins her epic take-down/overview thusly:
Who is this guy? Well... For those unfamiliar he is a ‘controversial’ conservative university professor, in my own progressive city *sigh*....at University of Toronto. 
He's your average conservative Christian, with an added dose of hardcore gobbledygook with the audacity to criticize postmodernists for the same. Step aside Deepak Chopra! There's a new snake oil salesman in town. And this time he's smuggling in extreme conservatism AND atheists love him. Apparently one of the *most requested* guests of all time on Sam Harris' podcast! Their conversations were adversarial to be clear, but still Peterson was in great demand by Sam's audience. So much so, that there were two episodes featuring him. 
Gosh, remember when the atheist scene used to ridicule charlatans like Deepak instead of embrace them as some of our favourite intellectuals simply because they ‘trigger’ libtards, and dump on trans people, ‘the left’ and feminism - all the favourite bogeymen of the internet atheist movement! ...resulting in this strange alliance with a man who literally brought himself to tears while reading his own essay which mentioned ‘a loss of faith’.

Goddammit, make atheism great again.

It really amazes me that he criticizes flowery 'postmodernist' language for much of the same type of nonsense that comes out of his own mouth. He rose to fame last year when he had an unbelievable temper tantrum about Ontario’s Bill C-16 somehow taking away his freedoms by protecting trans people from discrimination. He’s been shown to be misrepresenting the law, but his popularity only grows in this climate where facts hold little value, and anything of substance is dubbed 'fake news'. 
Peterson has no qualms associating with people on the far far right... he even appeared on a Nazi's podcast. A woman who has literally advocated violence against people of colour refusing to leave the hypothetical ethnostate.

He may very well not be aware of all her views, but googling someone or looking at their social media is the least you can do before appearing on their show and lending them your legitimacy as a professor. If you are this blinded by your hatred of The Left that you're going on Nazi shows to talk about 'Western Civilization'... you probably should not be teaching kids.

As a critic of leftist mumbo-jumbo, its funny he describes the average university class as a postmodern neo-marxist indoctrination cult. He wants to start his own online university scarily enough... He plans to 'cut off the supply to people running the indoctrination cults', i.e., universities. And don't you worry... he's working on a way to differentiate between 'post modern course content' and 'classical course content'. 
In a time where mainstream media institutions are being discredited by right wing nutjobs, so too are educational institutions. Now, hold on to your kekistani undies, I’m not saying there aren’t ever crazy instances on campus, I’m not saying never criticize universities or The Left. There’s plenty to criticize... but there’s no proportionality… this response, as in idolizing Jordan Peterson, the guy who’s somehow repackaged old school conservatism as something new and hip… as an antidote to 'the left gone wild, drunk on the power of premarital sex, immorality, independent career women and loss of faith'… I mean come on. I've heard this shit before.
I grew up in Saudi Arabia.
And that's just for starters! With links, video clips, and text excerpts a-plenty, Mangos builds a case against Peterson that is utterly damning, next to impossible to refute, and hilariously entertaining to boot. If your personal journey towards philosophical enlightenment were to begin with this blog post... you could do a lot worse, let me tell you.

Keep watching this space, as I'll have more on Peterson--in particular, regarding his bogus, fear-mongering, spittle-flecked screeching jeremiads against postmodernism--in the coming days. Maybe even tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

MAJORITY REPORT ON JP MORGAN'S ALMOST UNBELIEVABLE CULTURE OF FRAUD


In the first half of today's Majority Report show, Sam Seder interviews investigative journalist David Dayen on the topic of his Nation Magazine cover article about the incredible culture of fraud and corruption at JP Morgan Chase. Some of the things discussed were new (and mind-bloggling) to yours truly, and I spend a lot of time reading about crap like this, so I'm guessing it's gonna be new to you, too. If you want to develop a better grasp of the factors leading up to the financial crash of 2008, you need to listen to this interview... and take notes.

EMINEM'S SPECIAL FREESTYLE MESSAGE FOR DONALD TRUMP


Monday, October 9, 2017

SUGGESTED READING ~ OCT 9, 2017


Buzzfeed's Joe Bernstein has just gifted future historians -- not to mention those litigators who will eventually be tasked with investigating the conspiracy and treason that took place in service of the New Fascist International coup (keep watching this space) -- with one of the most important pieces of investigative journalism yet to be published on the subject. Titled "Alt-White: How the Breitbart Machine Laundered Racist Hate", the report is based on a treasure trove of primary documents and correspondences, and it fully exposes at least one of the many tentacles currently being wielded to great and terrible effect by this, the latest evolutionary strain of Movement Conservatism. 

It's a long piece, but it reads fast, with Bernstein delivering a substantial amount of information and making a significant number of connections with commendable economy and journalistic reserve. Despite much of the material on display being worthy of an outraged response, Bernstein wisely lets the material do the talking. For instance, in the following, particularly galling series of communications that illustrate how a motley crew of despicable fringe-dwelling bottom-feeders suddenly found themselves (and their shitty ideas) circulating at the highest levels of American power:
Early in the morning of August 17, 2016, as news began to break that Steve Bannon would leave Breitbart to run the Trump campaign, Milo Yiannopoulos emailed the man who had turned him into a star. 
“Congrats chief,” he wrote. 
“u mean ‘condolences,’” Bannon wrote back. 
“I admire your sense of duty (seriously).” 
“u get it.” 
In the month after the convention, Yiannopoulos and Bannon continued to work closely. Bannon and Marlow encouraged a barrage of stories about Yiannopoulos’s late July ban from Twitter. Bannon and Yiannopoulos worked to distance themselves from Charles Johnson’s plans to sue Twitter. (“Charles is PR poison,” Yiannopoulos wrote. “Charles is well intentioned--but he is wack,” Bannon responded.) And the two went back and forth over how hard to hit Paul Ryan in an August story defending the alt-right. (“Only the headline mocks him correct,” Bannon wrote. “We never actually say he is a cuck in the body of the piece?”) 
But once Bannon left Breitbart, his email correspondence with Yiannopoulos dried up, with a few exceptions. On August 25, after Hillary Clinton’s alt-right speech, Yiannopoulos emailed Bannon, “I’ve never laughed so hard.” 
“Dude: we r inside her fucking head,” Bannon wrote back. 
And on September 15, Sebastian Gorka, then an adviser to the Trump campaign, sent Yiannopoulos, Bannon, and Michael Flynn Jr., the son of Trump’s future national security adviser, a meme “as found on Twitter.” Watermarked by a conservative satire site called the Patriot Retort, the image was titled “The Deplorables,” and had superimposed various TrumpWorld faces on top of the all-star action movie heroes of the 2010 Sylvester Stallone vehicle The Expendables. 
“I presume you Gents approved of this,” Gorka wrote. 
“THIS IS BRILLIANT. CC’ing LTG Flynn,” Flynn, Jr. wrote back, referring to his father. 
“LOL!” Bannon responded. 
“Yes. I’m jealous!!” Gorka replied.
So... how could this happen? How did America get to the point where it could be hijacked by a cackling cabal of spite-fueled, hate-filled, race-obsessed pseudo-intellectual mediocrities and frauds? Most likely, it happened the exact same way that pretty much everything happens in the USA: via the strategic outlay of significant amounts of money.  

Which brings us -- and Bernstein's piece, which you must read and recommend to others -- to one ROBERT MERCER, the man who has been doing for the Far Right what the Far Right claims George Soros has been doing for progressive causes for years now. Once you're done reading the Buzzfeed piece, here is an overview of Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebeckah (a duo that give off a distinct Chinatown vibe, if you ask me). As usual, keep watching this space for further updates re: the New Fascist International.

***

Did you notice something strange about your reaction to last week's record-breaking mass murder in Las Vegas? Like, a certain dull ache somewhere deep inside, not unlike the bittersweet ennui that overtakes one after a particularly powerful orgasm, only to recede like the memory of a vaguely familiar perfume on a light Autumn breeze? Are you wondering what this could possibly have to do with Rick and Morty? Well, here's Mondo2000's Pariah McCree to tie it all together for you in an essay she christened with the ungainly moniker Old and Busted: Learned Helplessness. New Hotness: Nihilism as Survival Trait. She begins:
Last night I finally had the opportunity to spend some quality time with a partner I don’t get to see very often, because our lives reside in vastly different orbits these days. This quality time consisted of sitting on their couch sipping bourbon, shooting the shit, and occasionally glancing over at the television showing a queue full of episodes of Rick and Morty. I’m not particularly interested in television but I can certainly appreciate the antics of a sarcastic, hedonistic, substance using and abusing mad scientist. At some point last night, said partner’s phone began making noises as if it were about to explode, or possibly perish of a combination stroke and heart attack. Knowing them as long as I have and being a product of my time, I immediately extracted my smartphone and began scanning social media. Did the Oompa-Loompa in Chief finally start World War III? 
“Bah. Another mass shooting, this one at the hotel I stayed at this summer. Whatever.” 
I dropped both phone and drink, committing one of the few sins I actually care about (alcohol abuse). “What?” 
“Another mass shooting, this one at a festival in Las Vegas. Initial reports are forty fatalities and at least two hundred injured. Data is still being compiled.” They sipped their drink and tossed their own phone onto the coffee table as Rick prattled on about the racial epithets of alien species. 
“No,” I said. “You just blew it off. This isn’t like you. How much did you have?” 
“Just the one,” they said. “It’s just another fucking mass shooting. They’ll happen more and more often as people get more and more crazy. After your ninth or tenth you stop rising to take the bait and flow with it.” 
I don’t mind saying that I spent the rest of the evening drinking quietly and staring at my long-time friend, co-conspirator, and lover. This is a person who sends flowers when someone’s cat dies, and wept upon discovering that a hamster’s disappearance was due to the creature hiding in its cage to expire quietly. And they’re not even breaking a sweat upon discovering that several hundred people (at last count, more than 500 injuries and almost 60 deaths) were on the wrong end of a jackass with a room full of guns and a week’s worth of ammunition in downtown Las Vegas? Some days I’m not sure how human they are, but last night took the taco. I stayed as far away from the coat closet as I could, lest a cyborg facehugger spring from the shadows and shove its ovipositor down my throat. 
In the shower this morning, where I always do my best thinking (don’t you?) I rolled the events of the previous night around in my head. By my take, there have been about 115 mass shootings since the year 2000. While the numbers bounce around a little bit they’re steadily creeping upward. Add to that the sheer insanity of the past year and… this is our new normal. The pattern of how the aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre is going to unfold is probably going to be just like all the others.
 McCree goes on to elucidate her thoughts in a paradoxically distressing yet lighthearted manner (as befitting her cartoon reference point of choice, I suppose, even though I remain more of an Adventure Time fan, myself). Anyway, you're already half-way through the damn thing, so why not just finish reading it?
***

And, finally for today, I bring you the increasingly relevant Norm MacDonald interviewing the increasingly distressing Jim Carrey on his increasingly essential podcast/Youtube show. Cringe-inducing as fuck, and yet also a great showcase for two almost inexplicably twisted comic brains, this video is the greatest fucking thing you're likely to see this week. Two incredibly funny guys just riffing off the top of their heads, caring not whether all the jokes land in the way they intended, and occasionally finding gold where you would expect to find poop. We here at the DDD have always been big Jim Carrey fans, and the same still holds true for the "No Fucks Left To Give" version who has lately been on public display.