Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Lula, Chavez and Kirchner in happier times

For anyone seeking to make sense of the once promising, now precarious political situation in South America, Nikolos Kozlof's uncharacteristically substantive Huffington Post essay serves as a more than adequate starting point. It begins:
From Venezuela to Brazil to Argentina, the political left is crumbling, raising real questions about the durability of South America’s so-called “Pink Tide.” In Caracas, the future of Chávez protégé Nicolás Maduro remains unclear amidst plunging world oil prices, rampant inflation, power shortages and scarcity of basic goods. Opposition politicians have collected almost two million signatures calling for a recall referendum which could oust the president from power. In Argentina meanwhile, voters recently rejected Kirchner protégé Daniel Scioli in favor of Mauricio Macri, thus shattering the Peronist party’s lock on power. Macri disdains the foreign policy maneuverings of his predecessors, that is to say power couple Néstor and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who lined up behind Venezuela and Cuba. By contrast, Macri is seen as much more partial to the United States. ... Though certainly significant, such developments pale beside tectonic change in Brazil, which up until recently was the largest ostensibly leftist country in the wider region. There, lawmakers ousted Workers’ Party President Dilma Rousseff so as to place her on trial for alleged financial wrongdoing. 
While the information presented at the above link is worth knowing in and of itself, Kozlof doesn't stop with just providing a pretty good debriefing on the situation and detailing some of the disturbing implications; he spends the latter half of his article lambasting the US/UK journalistic response (such as it is) by pointing out how "the establishment press is already pouncing on the left’s failures in order to push its own wider hemispheric agenda" and, perhaps more troubling still, how there's been almost no "wider debate" on the "left circuit" over South America. 

Of course, Kozlof is not one to indulge in parapolitical musing, so his commentary is free of the type of analysis that would take into account either the effects of, or the reasons for, the ongoing artificial deflation of global oil prices at the behest of The Powers That Be. 

Our old pal ACD, whom old-timey Daily Dirt readers are sure to remember, recently told me in an email back-and-forth about this topic: "Thus ends nearly 20 solid years of gains for the poorest of the poor in the affected countries. Now Hillary or Trump will preside over a worldwide dismantling of said gains. Maybe Belgium and Denmark's middle class will survive. Canada's won't." 

Let's hope our old pal, brainy as he's proven himself to be over the years, is wrong on this count.

Monday, May 30, 2016


1. For the most part, if I link to an article or an essay here in the DDD's semi-regular "Suggested Reading List" column, it means that I either endorse it or have otherwise enjoyed it. Greg Hatcher's essay for Comic Book Resources, entitled The Day Captain America Betrayed Me, ostensibly about last week's public outcry over the revelation that Steve "Captain America" Rogers has secretly been working for the Nazi-affiliated HYDRA organization all along, is a rare exception. 

Not that it's poorly written (with the possible exception of the lazy bait-and-switch title), or aggressively annoying, or anything like that. I even quite enjoyed the first part, where he describes his youthful trauma at a much earlier "shocking" comic book revelation. Mostly, my issue with this essay stems from Hatcher's somewhat condescending and superior tone, such as in when he informs his readers:  
Guys, this is how ongoing adventure serials WORK. They’re TRYING to shake you up and get you invested. It’s what you do when you have long-running serial adventure characters.
Agreed, Greg. But in your haste to belittle all those angry comic book readers who have taken to the Internets to vent spleen over this storyline, you seem to forget that public fanboy freakouts are just as big a part of "what makes ongoing adventure serials work"!  Why pooh-pooh people for reacting passionately when a passionate reaction is obviously what the creators were after? It's all part of the fun, isn't it?

Before moving on to our second and third entries, I would just like to say that, yes, I am aware that my argument could very easily be turned against my own lambasting of Greg's lambasting of those who are currently lambasting Marvel. I know that. Also, I would like to thank Greg for publicly responding to the comment I left at his site, which you can see at the above link.

2. Put on your Deep Thinking helmets, folks, because the Oxford University Press blog is asking us to contemplate the "Realism of Social and Cultural Origins". Before exploring the widespread but rarely acknowledged influence of commercial and engineering interests on the sciences, essay author Aitor Anduaga details the philosophical foundations of scientific realism:
Until now, the most known type of realism in science has been the operational one. The Stanford School philosophers, Ian Hacking and Nancy Cartwright, held that scientists are justified in believing in the existence of theoretical entities only when they’re able to use them to produce effects. They called this fact “operational realism.” Thus, the existence of an entity, such as an electron, can be established only through manipulation and experiment. What convinces scientists that they’re seeing electrons is no empirical adequacy of theory, but the fact that they can manipulate in a direct and tangible way to achieve certain results. In fact, Hacking’s most famous motto says: “if you can spray them, then they’re real” — that is, an entity is real if we can manipulate it; so, manipulability is evidence of existence.
The philosophical implications of this "operational realism", particularly in regards to psychiatry and political science (which in some ways is a form of mass psychiatry), are pretty astonishing, particularly when viewed through the lens of paracultural and parapolitical historical analysis. I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to stumble into your own epiphanies about how Hacking and Cartwright's fundamentalist positivism connects to historical technocratic/cybernetic efforts to quantify the ineffable, such as MKUltra and the like.

3. This is a very revealing and educational ten minute look at the ideological roots and the racial underpinning of the insidiously propaganda-manufactured "conservative" longing for a return to America's mythical, pre-Civil Rights "Golden Age". Watch and share, as 2000 hits is far too few for a video presentation of this quality and caliber.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


1. In your recent online travels through the more political sections of the Internet - but most especially in journalistic comment sections shitted up by Matt Drudge's loyal army of Keyboard Kommandos, as well as other assorted subhuman garbage people* - you may have come across a newly minted taunt: "Cuckservative", often shortened to just plain old "cuck". This Baffler article by Amber A'Lee Frost is a good place to begin learning about both the origins of this insult, and the pretty obvious psychopathies pulsing through the mushy brains of the people who make up the online "movement" that has so enthusiastically adopted it as their go-to insult of choice. Frost explains:
Just as you’d assume, cuckservative combines conservative and cuckold, referring not literally to the husband of an unfaithful woman, but rather to the sort of insufficiently masculine RINO (Republican In Name Only) who is unable and/or unwilling to vanquish the corrosive forces of Marxism, feminization, and reverse racism that threaten to destroy the very fabric of our once-beautiful country. 
At Salon, Joan Walsh professed her shock and disgust at the coinage, thanking The Daily Caller’s “mild-mannered, clean-cut conservative writer” Matt Lewis for bringing its ugly genealogy to her attention. Lewis claimed the first half of the word comes from the “cuckold” genre of pornography, wherein a black man has sex with a white woman while the performer playing her white husband watches ashamed, titillated, or both. In this context, the slur implies a “race traitor.” Over at The New Republic, Jeet Heer corroborated this usage and expounded on the term’s disturbing undercurrents of psychosexual racism under the too-clever-by-half headline “Conservatives Are Holding a Conversation About Race.” ... 
Not long after the first wave of cuckservative commentary washed over the servers of the left-leaning Internet, the sheer spectacle of liberal agita over the expression attracted the attention of more respectable outlets of debate. The Columbia Journalism Review dove into an intensive etymology of the term. (Did you know that The Oxford English Dictionary informs us that “cuckold” likely came from “cuckoo,” a bird that lays her eggs in another bird’s nest?) Even the venerable Gray Lady, though reluctant to broach the topic of pornography, felt obligated to translate cuckservative to her readership, unfortunately covering it under “Politics” and not, as I had hoped, in the Style section. 
As cuckservative went more or less mainstream, most conservative pundits scrambled to distance themselves from it, which makes sense, since it wasn’t doing much to enhance their standing in a presidential election cycle (and since conservatives, as we know, are traditionally averse to both pornography and obscenity). Erick Erickson at RedState denounced the word, calling it “a slur against Christian voters coined by white supremacists”—a condemnation echoed by Matt Lewis, the aforementioned “mild-mannered, clean-cut” sociologist of porn. It’s a fantastic feat of mental gymnastics to twist the cuckservative affair into fodder for a Christian persecution complex, but it’s hardly an unprecedented move for white commentators on the right. After all, many talking heads initially treated the recent massacre of black church parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina, by white supremacist Dylann Roof as a secular assault on a Christian house of worship. ... 
As far as I know, the only high-profile conservative who went to the mat for cuckservative was right-wing novelty act and gay Catholic Breitbart scribe Milo Yiannopoulos. He presumes that since he has “literally taken black dicks in the ass,” his careful analysis of the theoretical racial dynamics at play afford him a sort of Standpoint Theory expertise—the kind of intellectual authority granted only by personal experience. ... 
Yiannopoulos further argued that cuckold and cuckservative are not racist terms because they were popularized not on Stormfront or in some KKK chatroom, but in that bastion of postracial enlightenment, 4chan, which, as it turned out, played no small role in Roof’s radicalization.
Unfortunately, Frost misses some important stuff regarding cuck's coinage, which, stray outliers aside and notwithstanding Yannapowhatsis' mincing prevarications, apparently took place in the rabidly racist cesspit of TheRightStuff.biz, home to a cohort so deaf to the signature screech of cognitive dissonance that they can go from denying the Holocaust to celebrating the Holocaust in a single sentence without even pausing to add a dash or a comma. A breed apart, indeed. Anyway, read Frost's article, keep in mind what I have added to it here, do your own research if you feel it's necessary, but above all, remember... people who say "cuck" should be avoided, but you should also keep tabs on them. See the asterisk at the bottom of this post to find out why.

2. As if the above story (and all its various parantheticals) wasn't enough to fill your heart with hate this morning, why not read this Prospect Magazine story about Max Martin, the Swedish "Svengali" of the international music industry? This is a man who got his start with the execrable Ace of Bass, and who appears to have recently cracked the code for writing godawful saccharine pop music hits.
In a new book entitled The Song Machine, the New Yorker writer John Seabrook forensically tells the story of “All That She Wants,” and what it set in train: a new kind of industrialised popular music in which every last nuance is carefully considered, instant impact is all and songs are filled with enough sonic punch to monopolise people’s attention. 
The story moves from the watershed success of Ace Of Base, through such international boy-band sensations as the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, on through the rise and fall of Britney Spears and on to the modern pop aristocracy: Rihanna, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. The speciality of the songwriters and producers who work with such artists, Seabrook says, is music “made for malls, stadiums, airports, casinos and gyms,” which is metaphorically “vodka-flavoured and laced with MDMA.” 
If you want a illustrative flavour, listen to Swift’s frantic 2014 masterpiece “Shake It Off”: as exciting a pop record as I have ever heard, and so addictive that having it buzzing around your head produces an anxious, unfulfilled feeling similar to needing a cigarette. The only cure is to listen to it again and again. 
Seabrook calls tracks like this “industrial-strength products.” And self-evidently, they are made in an industrial kind of way.
The music being discussed is, of course, absolute and utter shit. But the story itself is quite interesting, if a little bit creepy with some definite (but subtle) MKUltra undertones. Bad music, a conspiracy? Why the hell not!

3. And finally for today, we bring you the story of the weird-ass machine that succeeded in freaking out none other than Nikolai Tesla, himself: the Spirit Radio!
“My first observations positively terrified me as there was present in them something mysterious, not to say supernatural, and I was alone in my laboratory at night”
Nikola Tesla, 1901 article Talking With The Planets

The first link, above, has a video featuring some audio recordings of the super-spooky, cosmic sounds made by this most unique device, and even links to a set of instructions so that you can make your very own Spirit Radio! How cool is that?! If I was more of a tinker, I might give it a go, just to have something to put next to my very own home-made Dream Machine!

*A list that includes Trump's True Believers, Social Security-collecting FOX News "libertarians", Red Pill-poppers, meme-spewing Alt-Right Mega-Trolls, Evangelical Hyper-Zionists, Conspiritarded "Info-Warriors" (actually the woolliest sheeple on the Animal Farm), "Race Realists", proponents of the "Dark Enlightenment", NeoReactionaries (NRx), and other such groups among whose ranks currently lurk the next David Koresh, Dylann Storm Roof, Tim McVeigh, Cliven Bundy, Anders Breivik, Anton Lundin-Pettersson, Frazier Glenn Miller, Wade Michael Page, etc, etc, etc... 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


1. This online comic will entertain you, give you serious nostalgia, and make you think twice about the pleasure you get from the pain suffered by some of your favorite cartoon characters. It will also buttress your belief in the fundamental goodness of the "soft conservative" values espoused by Mike Judge's King of the Hill.

2. Yer old pal Jerky is no Star Wars fan, but he is a fan of expansive info-graphics like this one, which tells the entire story of Star Wars IV: A New Hope, in two, glorious dimensions! I'd love to see more movies broken down into their basic components like this. It's pretty kick-ass.

3. Which brings us to today's final must-see offering, a recent [adult swim] masterpiece of hauntological stylistics that goes by the title Lords of Synth. If you're anything like yer old pal Jerky, I think you're gonna be sharing this one with your friends for weeks to come. It's a triumph of short form esoteric comic genius.

Monday, May 9, 2016


1. One of the Anglosphere's best living writers, Don Delillo, has produced some of the finest novels of the post-war era. From his more traditionally Modernist early works, such as End Zone and Ratner's Star, to his mid-career "apex" masterpieces White Noise, Libra, and Underworld, to his later, shorter, Postmodernist novels, such as Cosmopolis and Point Omega, Delillo has never stopped growing, both as a cultural observer and as a prose stylist. Now, he's got a new novel coming out. It's called Zero K, and if Joshua Ferris' review for the New York Times is to be trusted, it's gonna be a freakin' doozy. Check it out:
In “Zero K,” DeLillo’s 16th and latest novel, Jeffrey Lockhart arrives in the middle of the desert at a remote compound called the Convergence. Variously described as an “endeavor,” a “faith-based technology” and “the first split second of the first cosmic year,” the Convergence is a cross between a think tank and a state-of-the-art hospice: the Santa Fe Institute meets Sloan Kettering, with a dollop of Heaven’s Gate, all of it given over to Christo for interior decorating. Whatever it is, the Convergence coolly ignites the imagination. Jeff hopes to get his bearings, at least geographically, when he asks his father, the billionaire Ross Lockhart, where they are. “The nearest city of any size is across the border, called Bishkek,” Ross answers from deep within blastproof walls. He continues: “Once you know the local names and how to spell them, you’ll feel less detached.” 
We are, in other words, far from the neocolonial world described so tendentiously by Charles Maitland. We are in a vision of the future, a postracial, post-postcolonial world where Westerners like Ross and Jeff are but one contingent of a technocratic cult with a single aim: to rid the world of that absolute, all-­defining force, that ultimate despotic colonizer, death. For the Convergence, as it turns out, is a cryonic suspension facility where the dead are frozen in anticipation of that day when resuscitation is medically feasible. Jeff has arrived there to say a temporary goodbye to his stepmother, the archaeologist ­Artis Martineau, who is dying of several disabling diseases. 
... This is fiction in touch with the starker parables, with Kafka and Beckett, with the austerity of bare rooms and declarative, uninflected sentences. I was uncertain as I read these early pages. Had DeLillo created a world of pure abstraction where the reader would be left to float in the ­zero-gravity chamber of the death fable, everything to think about and nothing to latch on to? But this is only one of several canny feints in the book, which continually shape-shifts and reimagines itself. In the end, it all adds up to one of the most mysterious, emotionally moving and formally rewarding books of DeLillo’s long career.
If that doesn't sound as amazing to you as it does to me, I don't know what to tell you. Read the rest of this review at the NYT site. I'll have my own review once I've bought and read the book, which shouldn't be too long from now.

2. For today's second "must read" article, I bring you Amanda Gefter's The Case Against Reality, her compelling profile of a scientist who claims that our senses aren't just imperfect, they're downright deceptive. And I'm talking, like, on the most fundamental ontological level, here, folks. Her story begins:
As we go about our daily lives, we tend to assume that our perceptions—sights, sounds, textures, tastes—are an accurate portrayal of the real world. Sure, when we stop and think about it—or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion—we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Still, we bank on the fact that our simulation is a reasonably decent one. If it wasn’t, wouldn’t evolution have weeded us out by now? The true reality might be forever beyond our reach, but surely our senses give us at least an inkling of what it’s really like. 
Not so, says Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. Hoffman has spent the past three decades studying perception, artificial intelligence, evolutionary game theory and the brain, and his conclusion is a dramatic one: The world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality. What’s more, he says, we have evolution itself to thank for this magnificent illusion, as it maximizes evolutionary fitness by driving truth to extinction.
Believe it or not, it only gets trippier from there on out. You can read the rest of this disturbing, mind-bending essay at The Atlantic's website. It's a long one, but it's well worth the effort. You'll feel smarter for having read it (which isn't always the case with the writing one finds in The Atlantic these days).

3. And finally for today, I'm delighted to report that [adult swim] has begun producing more of those late-night freak-out videos we all love so much. The most impressive of the bunch this time around (so far) is the third offering by Alan Resnick and friends, who have previously given us the horrific Unedited Footage of a Bear, and the more traditional, but still disturbing, Live Forever As You Are Now (both of which have been featured in past editions of DDD's Suggested Reading List). With This House Has People In It, this talented team has given us their most unsettling creation yet, jam-packed with surreal goings on, sinister subliminals, and multiple avenues for obsessives to explore, revealing literally hours of extra, related content that helps to unravel the video's central mystery. Watch it here, below, then check out Night Mind's detailed analysis of the video... if you don't mind potentially losing a substantial chunk of your sanity, that is. Enjoy?


Right: the Cain-Hand, Abel slew.
Left: Behind. 
Left: Holding the bag.
Right: the thing that Might makes.
Right: Not asked for. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


A CBS News article published in the wake of Prince's untimely death just over a week ago explores one particularly ironic detail about the location where the Purple One apparently met his Maker.
Music icon Prince was pronounced dead shortly after being found unresponsive in an elevator in his Paisley Park compound in Minneapolis. 
That detail is haunting fans who point to the bizarre connection to a line in his hit song, "Let's Go Crazy," in which he sings, "Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down? Oh, no, let's go." 
The article goes on to explain why this coincidence was more than just a "spooky" irony for music producer L.A. Reid, a close personal friend of Prince's. 
"One time I was with him privately and he said, 'You know what the elevator is right?'" Reid recalled. "He said. 'Well, the elevator is the devil...' And so for me it was like really haunting when I read that he was found in an elevator."
To some of you, this might sound a bit goofy; like an attempt to add an extra frisson to an event that is sufficiently tragic without having to introduce a supernatural element. Regardless, I beg your indulgence, for a moment at least, as I attempt to take Prince's cryptic comment seriously, and try to unravel his potential theological meaning.

Let's start with the word: Elevator. Cambridge defines it as "a device like a box that moves up and down, carrying people and freight". Merriam-Webster's definition is both more poetic, and more pertinent, describing an elevator as "one that raises or lifts something up". 

Aha! Now we're getting somewhere.

Consider... The Elevator. The One Who Elevates according to His Will, therefore exalting some (those whom He elevates) while leaving others to suffer in a debased or somehow lesser state. 

The Elevator, in this "Princean" Theology, would be the one responsible for propping up such obvious unworthies as all those myriad hereditary, multi-generational elites who live "elevated" lives of idle leisure and comfort while profiting off the toil of those who have to struggle just to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves from the elements.

In other words, the Elevator is beginning to sound a whole lot like the Biblical "Lord of This World", unequivocally identified in scripture as being none other than the Devil.

So when Prince asks us "Are we going to let the Elevator bring us down?", what I hear is the following:

Just because The Powers That Be happen to be a pack of vile, Satanic, Moloch-worshiping elites who've been placed in exalted positions thanks to the malefic supernatural intervention of "The Elevator" (which would account, at least, for the apparent universality of their anti-human perversion), and have thus been granted near totalitarian mastery over every single societal control mechanism (i.e. global finance, science and technology, the media, the arts, academia, the military)... does that mean we Little People, down here at the bottom, have got to give up on everything? That we shouldn't make music? Or make love?

Prince's answer to that question is: "Oh, no! Let's GO! LET'S GET CRAZY!"

And to that prayer, I can only add: AMEN.