Tuesday, September 20, 2016


1. Decreasingly right-wing gay Catholic media gadfly Andrew Sullivan has penned a thoughtful, engaging piece for New York Magazine going over some of the darker aspects of his experiences with social media over the years. I found it sufficiently reminiscent of my own experiences to be troubled by it, and to want to share it with you, the few dozen people who read this blog on a regular basis, because I think y'all might get something out of it. Sullivan begins:
I was sitting in a large meditation hall in a converted novitiate in central Massachusetts when I reached into my pocket for my iPhone. A woman in the front of the room gamely held a basket in front of her, beaming beneficently, like a priest with a collection plate. I duly surrendered my little device, only to feel a sudden pang of panic on my way back to my seat. If it hadn’t been for everyone staring at me, I might have turned around immediately and asked for it back. But I didn’t. I knew why I’d come here. 
A year before, like many addicts, I had sensed a personal crash coming. For a decade and a half, I’d been a web obsessive, publishing blog posts multiple times a day, seven days a week, and ultimately corralling a team that curated the web every 20 minutes during peak hours. Each morning began with a full immersion in the stream of internet consciousness and news, jumping from site to site, tweet to tweet, breaking news story to hottest take, scanning countless images and videos, catching up with multiple memes. Throughout the day, I’d cough up an insight or an argument or a joke about what had just occurred or what was happening right now. And at times, as events took over, I’d spend weeks manically grabbing every tiny scrap of a developing story in order to fuse them into a narrative in real time. I was in an unending dialogue with readers who were caviling, praising, booing, correcting. My brain had never been so occupied so insistently by so many different subjects and in so public a way for so long. 
I was, in other words, a very early adopter of what we might now call living-in-the-web. And as the years went by, I realized I was no longer alone. Facebook soon gave everyone the equivalent of their own blog and their own audience. More and more people got a smartphone — connecting them instantly to a deluge of febrile content, forcing them to cull and absorb and assimilate the online torrent as relentlessly as I had once. Twitter emerged as a form of instant blogging of microthoughts. Users were as addicted to the feedback as I had long been — and even more prolific. Then the apps descended, like the rain, to inundate what was left of our free time. It was ubiquitous now, this virtual living, this never-stopping, this always-updating. I remember when I decided to raise the ante on my blog in 2007 and update every half-hour or so, and my editor looked at me as if I were insane. But the insanity was now banality; the once-unimaginable pace of the professional blogger was now the default for everyone. 
If the internet killed you, I used to joke, then I would be the first to find out. Years later, the joke was running thin. In the last year of my blogging life, my health began to give out. Four bronchial infections in 12 months had become progressively harder to kick. Vacations, such as they were, had become mere opportunities for sleep. My dreams were filled with the snippets of code I used each day to update the site. My friendships had atrophied as my time away from the web dwindled. My doctor, dispensing one more course of antibiotics, finally laid it on the line: “Did you really survive HIV to die of the web?”
Continue reading at New York Magazine.

2. Let's go ahead and give this edition of the Daily Dirt Diaspora's Suggested Reading List a decidedly schizophrenic bent by having our second offering highlight something absolutely wonderful about new media and the internet: namely that we live at a time when wisdom such as that which Terence McKenna had to offer can be shared freely with whoever wants to hear it. Listen to this substantial, substantive podcast in order to hear one of the great teachers of our beleaguered age tell you such things as:
What psychedelics are about is deconditioning all of these culturally induced, sensory biases and ideological biases, basically it reshuffles the intellectual and sensory deck. And it’s a wonderful, salutary thing to come along for Western culture at this moment because we’re basically running out of intellectual steam. Technology is moving ahead lickety split without looking over its shoulder, but our social systems, our religious ontologies, our theories of polity, city planning, community, resource sharing, all of this is 19th Century at best. And so, really whether we live or perish as a species probably has to do with how much consciousness we can raise from any source available.
And this:
If consciousness is not part of our future then what kind of future can it be?
And this:
Culture is an intelligence test.
And also this:
I like to think that the psychedelic community has always been a source of visionary common sense because the psychedelic community, generally speaking, has not generated ideology.
And, finally, a bit of hope at this horrifying time in our history:
I think primates are most interesting when cornered.
Let's hope he's right about that. Listen to the podcast for tons more provocative, enlightening statements and interactions with his live studio audience. Then go out and listen to more McKenna podcasts, watch his videos, and read his goddamn books. He was a real treasure, and we lost him far too soon.

3. Guess who's back? Yes friends, that's right... outspoken liberal rage-monster Keith Olbermann has returned from exile after being fired from the ostensibly "liberal" MSNBC while at the top of that organ's ratings - the same fate that befell fellow progressive Phil Donahue, interestingly enough - this time, as a "special correspondent" for GQ Magazine's online multi-media platform. And his debut video is a fuckin' doozy. I sure dug it, in all its overblown, semi-exaggerated, and yet still all-too-horrifyingly-true glory, and I imagine most of you will appreciate it, too.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


DE PALMA ~ A documentary about filmmaker Brian De Palma in which the man himself takes us through his career, film by film, from its intriguing beginnings, through his tenure as one of the 70's wunderkinds alongside Speilberg, Lucas, Scorcese and the rest, through his time as Hollywood's most productive controversialist, with the occasional bypass into blockbuster-land, up to the present day. If you're already a fan, this film will delight you. If you aren't, this film might convert you. At the very least, you'll walk away with a bunch of new movies you'll be wanting to see. Highly recommended!

MILES AHEAD ~ Don Cheadle stars as Miles Davis in a somewhat entertaining but ultimately poorly conceived heist film, which is a terrible, confusing waste, because Cheadle actually makes for a very convincing Miles Davis. The producers' excuse, apparently, was that they didn't have sufficient budget to make a biopic worthy of the jazz titan's life and legacy, so they decided to make the kind of streetwise crime flick that Miles was known to be a fan of. Which is all well and good, but as I watched, even while I was occasionally entertained, I couldn't help but shake my head at the squandered potential of the thing. Your mileage may vary.

THE IMITATION GAME ~ There may very well be a way to make the complex, intriguing, tragic life of landmark computing philosophy pioneer Alan Turing into a riveting cinematic experience. Unfortunately, the people behind this Benedict Cumberbatch vehicle were not made privy to it before making this ever so British "date night" confection, which is far more reminiscent of The King's Speech than any film other than The King's Speech has any right to be. In case you're wondering, Oscars be damned, that is NOT a good thing.

THE UNKNOWN KNOWN ~ Errol Morris is one of America's most acclaimed documentarians, and his 2003 Robert McNamara documentary The Fog of War could very well be his finest work to date. That film is almost like a university level political science course boiled down to a 107 minute documentary. While watching 2013's The Unknown Known, I couldn't help but think he was going for a repeat performance, but just as Donald Rumsfeld is no Robert McNamara, The Unknown Known is no Fog of War. Whereas McNamara was a thoughtful, philosophical, forthcoming interview subject who was genuinely interested in getting at some semblance of truth at the core of the mess that is the historical record, Rumsfeld seems all too comfortable taking cover in the smothering swirl of confusion choking America's recent past like a shroud - a confusion that he, himself, was instrumental in creating. I have read some reviews that call The Unknown Known a horror movie of sorts, with Rumsfeld playing the role of the monster. His weirdly disconcerting laugh, his reptilian smirk, his self-satisfied sophistry (none of which is as clever as he seems to think it is) all combine to make for an altogether unwholesome package, void of revelation or any sort of satisfaction. In short, Rumsfeld: 1, Morris: 0, which has to stand as a minor tragedy of sorts.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


I don't know what it's going to take for me to convince you that my friend Steve Banks (peace be upon him) wrote, and his band Trans Love Airways performed, the single greatest Canadian rock song of all time. So I guess I'll just keep trying to educate you fools. I mean, just listen to that song. And then just look at that video's play count. Does that seem at all logical to you?!

Monday, September 5, 2016


Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, which recently premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, is a taut, effective combat drama set in World War II, one of the many wars which Gibson blames on “the fucking Jews”, who also - as Gibson has expended a great deal of time, energy, and money to make sure the world never forgets - are the same people who killed Jesus Christ.

Hacksaw Ridge is the first movie Gibson has directed since Apocalypto, which came out right around the time he called the female officer arresting him for drunk driving “sugar tits” and correctly identified her partner as being a member of the Jewish race, all before threatening: “I will fuck you. I own Malibu.” 

It’s the true story of Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor, and a man who probably never would have dreamed of physically assaulting his girlfriend, calling her a “bitch”/“whore”/“cunt”/“pig in heat”, saying that he hopes she gets “raped by a pack of niggers”, then threatening to rape her, himself, before burning her house down.

The question of whether or not a filmmaker’s personal behavior should influence critics’ opinions of their films isn’t an easy one to answer. Just ask Frank Rich, whose critical take on The Passion of The Christ led Gibson to publicly declare: “I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick. I want to kill his dog.”

Hacksaw Ridge reaches theaters in November, when studios typically release the films that they believe have a good chance of scoring an Academy Award. It remains to be seen whether or not Gibson’s history of controversial public statements will affect the judgement of AMPAS' voting members, a demographic heavily weighted not just with Jesus-killers, but also with men who “take it up the ass”, an orifice which Gibson has publicly stated should be reserved “only for taking a shit.”

On the plus side for Gibson, however, the Academy’s ranks number hardly any “wetbacks” at all.

Friday, September 2, 2016


1. I usually don't like posting to our old pal David Cole Stein's Taki's Mag pieces, preferring to link to his personal site, instead. But his latest piece on the current Trolls and True Believers crisis plaguing pop conservatism is just too good not to draw your attention to. It begins:
I’ll just come right out and say it—in my column two weeks ago, in which I interviewed three well-known Trump diehards—I straight-out lied to my readers. But I am coming clean. One of my interview subjects, Margaret MacLennan, had recently left her position as director of Milo Yiannopoulos’ “privilege grant” (the scholarship program for “white men who wish to pursue their post-secondary education on equal footing with their female, queer and ethnic minority classmates”). In my column, I stated that I had no idea why Milo and Margaret ended their partnership. In fact, I knew exactly why, and I’d known the truth for a good three months, but I had to pretend that I didn’t, in order to keep a confidence. 
The actual story behind the breakup is not only interesting but rather instructive at this moment in time, so I’m glad it broke on its own the week my column posted, as the process of sitting on it for so long was starting to give me a mightily sore ass. And what a great segue to Milo. You see, it turns out there are a few improprieties regarding the money the self-proclaimed “dangerous faggot” raised for the “grant” program. As in, somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000 seems to have vanished. ... 
Well, damn, if you can’t trust a contemptuous, publicity-seeking, sociopathic narcissist who indulges in every opportunity to publicly proclaim his love of “black dick,” who can you trust?
 Damn, Dave! That's saucier than the tablecloth at the local Buffalo Wings emporium after yours truly is finished one of my marathon suicide-by-hot-wings sessions! And the way you bring it all back around to how Trump has been strumming his constituency like a well-tuned harp from the get-go? Well, that's just the chunky deluge of blue cheese dressing that drenches my labored analogy to gluttonous completion. Kudos, old pal... Kudos.

2. What do you get when you stick some of the conspiracy world's biggest celebrities and their die-hard fans on a cruise ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for a week? Some fascinating insight into our strange times. And one near fistfight. Author Bronwen Dickey's article for Popular Mechanics (yes, I know, they're amongst the shilliest shills in all of shilldom) begins thusly:
It was a bit after seven, and I should have been downstairs on Plaza Deck, dressed in formal attire and enjoying dinner with the conspiracy theorists. There were about a hundred of them, and they were nearing the end of their week—the last week in January—aboard the Ruby Princess. Many of them were older people, and each of them had paid $3,000 (not including airfare and beverages on board) to participate in the first-ever Conspira-Sea Cruise, a weeklong celebration of "alternative science" hosted by a tour company called Divine Travels. For the past five days, they had debated UFOs, GMOs, government mind-control programs, vaccines, chemtrails, crop circles, and the Illuminati's plan for world domination, all while soaking up the mystical energies of three Mexican tourist towns known mainly for wet T-shirt contests and Señor Frog's.

But I was not on Plaza Deck. I was locked in my stateroom on Baja Deck, picking at a room-service cheeseburger. Earlier that afternoon, a pair of Conspira-Sea presenters had chased me—chased me—from a conference room. This wasn't our first confrontation, and now I feared they were tracking me around the ship, waiting to spring out from blind corners and empty doorways. 
Understand that I don't consider myself the paranoid type. Although when I had come across the Conspira-Sea Cruise on a science blog a few months earlier, I'd known I wanted to go, but not because I fear dark forces are out to get me. I used to love The X-Files, and the prospect of discussing Roswell and JFK over piña coladas sounded like fun. So did getting to know some devoted conspiracy wonks. Wondering whether the world is actually as it seems is a uniquely American sport, and there's plenty of evidence that's worth wondering about—this is the country of Watergate and the Tuskegee experiments and the NSA tapping your phone.

But the Ruby Princess was no place for casual wonderers. The Ruby Princess was for people who scraped together three grand to be reassured that their fears and suspicions and theories aren't the lonely fever dreams of basement-dwelling outcasts, that those fears and suspicions are valid, and that others share them. It would be like a weeklong, in-person internet chat room.

At this point, those of you who've been reading my humble typings over the past decade and a half might be wondering "But Jerky! Old pal! Don't you fancy yourself a bit of a conspiracy theorist?" As a matter of fact, old pal, I kind of do. Lately, however, I've been so disgusted by the dis-and-misinformation-spewing antics of Alex "False Flaggot" Jones and his patently dishonest, obviously contemptible, dangerously idiotic ilk, that I have found myself backing away from the label that I once wore with pride. To this day, I still consider myself more of a Carl Oglesby type conspiracy guy, and less of a David Icke (or Duke) conspiracy type guy. To my reckoning, the InfoWarriors and Rensers and Red Icers, who believe nothing except the polar opposite of whatever the dreaded "lamestream news" reports, are among the woolliest sheeple of them all.

3. And along comes Tim Heidecker, of Tim and Eric infamy, to take the alt.right's most cutting insult - "CUCK", a neologism which just so happens to be the single creation about which they are most (and most vocally) proud - and flip it around, judo-style, exposing the utter bankruptcy of that movement's much heralded "sense of humor".  There is only one legitimately funny alt.right comedy outlet, and we'll be discussing them more in the next installment of the DDD's Suggested Reading List. In the meantime... ENJOY!