Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Fascism in art and the Apocalyptic condition

July 30, 2013

Think about a situation where answers are desperately needed, everyone wants to have the answers but no one has them. So philosophers get popular who might have the answers, buffoonish talk show hosts semi-convince themselves into believing they have the answers, holier-than-thou television judges sentence the answers from on-high, superheroes who have the power to impose answers become popular.

There’s a word for this – fascism. It’s the same situation Germany was in in the 1920s and 1930s – they had their pride demolished and their bellies emptied. I don’t know if I agree that Ender’s Game is fascist, I won’t use the term neo-fascist because I believe there’s little neo about it – it’s very similar to the situation in Nazi Germany.
Fascism in art can be misconstrued – anyone could produce art *about* fascism without the art being fascist. So the question about Nicolas Winding Refn’s career for example I believe is clear – he’s fascist. He’s on the record as stating that his movie Drive is about heroism, not about fascism. His other movies are less clear. But even Refn is sympathetic, for example the female lead in the movie Drive is clearly terrified into submission by the fascist social reality all around her, and the male lead is terrified into violence by the same social reality – so Refn presents fascism in a very honest and impressive fashion. Drive is the best movie *about* fascism ever made even though it was made by a fascist. Perhaps the accurate thing to say about Refn is that he’s an artist first, and a fascist second, whereas even the more artistic Nazis had the order reversed. This might just be indicative of a more apocalyptic time, where even fascists don’t really believe in fascism because they believe there’s no real future for fascism to exist within.
Another argument for this being neo-fascism is that unlike the 1930s, technological mass distribution now rules the world, so art can help impose a fascist worldview in a much more powerful way than the relatively primitive Nazi propaganda films of that era. One could argue cynically but probably correctly that it was precisely the failure of Nazi propaganda that led to an explosion in mass media distribution, television the most obvious example. Once fascism fails the answer must be to create a more powerful version of it, just like the failure of the Soviet Union led to increased surveillance and control within “free” societies which had “won” the Cold War. This inverts the old Roman process of the loser in a war imitating the victor.
The logical thing with Orson Scott Card is to examine his career – if he’s fascist he’s not likely to write one book expounding his fascism while the rest have nothing to do with it. Refn’s career for example is all about men searching for meaning in life, and imposing meaning with great violence when none is presented to them. I’ve only read a couple of Card’s other books and was offended by them, but I’ve never recognized the precise nature of the offense, and they weren’t about fascism in the clear way that Ender’s Game is. Much like Refn’s Drive though, Ender’s Game is a great work of art, and is very sympathetic towards the main character.
There’s always more going on in the world than meets the eye, and to return to my previous point, one major difference between Nazi Germany and today is the understanding of human apocalypse. Ecological collapse was not widely believed in back then, so the Nazis really did envision a long term history for Arian rule. They had hope in the future of humanity. Fascists of today have no hope, just like the elite have no hope, and regular people have no hope. Noone believes in the future, or at least in a future that contains happy and healthy human beings. Fascists, just like everyone else, don’t see a future in fascism, so what’s the point of them being fascist?
It’s like different architects getting together to debate what kind of building to construct. A fascist building, a democratic building, etc. If a tsunami’s just going to destroy the building anyway, then what does it matter?
Apocalypse creates a crisis of meaning, giving advantage to humans who no longer care about meaning. This is insidious, because apocalypse is not just an ecological status, or an industrial status (nuclear weapons), or a psychosocial-technical status (global surveillance), or a political status, it’s also a personal status. Once one no longer cares about meaning one builds a future with no meaning, and then there’s no reason for the world to continue even if it otherwise would. But it’s increasingly illogical to build a future with meaning when there’s no future to contain the meaning.
In other words, the ecological reality trumps all other issues, certainly issues of fascism vs. democracy. Whether the earth is going to sustain human life in the future overwhelms all other issues.
This itself has deep and very unfortunate implications in it’s monomania. Aren’t women’s rights important? Isn’t racism terrible and very damaging? Since every other issue becomes meaningless in the face of human extinction, there’s no ability to care about these issues, just like a man who has been stabbed no longer cares about his wife, he just cares about getting healed and THEN he can go back to caring about his wife.
Fascism vs. democracy only matters in a world containing humans to actually experience one or the other.
To be fair though, issues like women’s rights, racism, and of course fascism vs. democracy IMPACT whether or not humans survive in the world. I’m a global socialist precisely due to the terrible destructive nature of capitalism and the fact that getting rid of capitalism is one of the best methods of enabling the continuation of human life.
So the fight for democracy is still important even in these dark times. It impacts human survival.

Andy Kaufman’s understanding

March 25, 2010

You only find me entertaining when I am not real. All you care about is entertainment – therefore all I shall be is unreal.

John McMurtry’s “Value Wars: The Global Market Versus the Life Economy”

March 22, 2010

Highly recommended.

On Vampires and other “monsters”

December 14, 2009

Humans can turn into vampires, but vampires can’t turn into humans. This is a flaw in the vampire mythos, a flaw which parallels zombie mythology. Even if a vampire is claimed to be a human who has lost control or willfully taken on the ways of a vampire, he or she can always regain humanity.

It’s curious that only werewolf mythology flirts with the idea of regaining humanity, and even then it’s deemed at best a foolish hope.

In all of these mythos the recommended response in dealing with them is to kill them.

Vampires are sexually frustrated – they are culturally alienated humans who seek violent ways of simulating intimacy – somewhere between rape, murder, and domination. They embrace, and then while clinging tight give a kiss, bite, and long drink.

All of these mythos are based on the concept of “the mob” or “the herd”, reducing humanity to a rabid rabble, a squalid squandering of potential. In contrast to the pathetic “herd” of mass humanity, being a vampire or werewolf is said to first and foremost be sexy, that is, worthy of sexual reproduction, and secondarily be more worthwhile than humanity in other ways, often intellectually. If you find it disturbing that this mythos deems humanity not worthwhile to reproduce, you are not alone.

While vampires and werewolves purport to be “greater than humanity”, zombie mythology examines the descent of humanity into a sub-state. Zombies not only shouldn’t reproduce, they literally can’t. They are wholly dependent on the intellect (brains) of others. The reason to become a zombie is to find a purpose in life. The mythos treats the zombies as dominating humans – forcing them to entirely throw out their old lives and either fleeing from or killing the zombies among them, unlike the vampire/werewolf mythos which usually has humans unaware of their presence.

Mass media domination, American society, and beautiful minds

April 27, 2009

Domination is not about truth – it’s about control. CNN doesn’t even care, much less know, about the various psychological and social effects of Twitter. What they DO care about is that we “learn” about those supposed effects from CNN – scientists are merely a tool CNN uses to attempt to increase their own degree of domination of the viewership and extended viewership (those affected by the direct viewers).

Western mass media (in conjunction with other elite allies) is about necromancy. Create a dead population and then animate this population in the direction they desire. All they care about is how easy it is to tug the populace one way or another as well as how powerful they can make a given tug. Truth is irrelevant except insofar as truth affects the power of the tug or their general credibility. A dead, irrational population themselves don’t care about truth, so perpetrators of lies no longer are penalized – hence the continuing popularity of Rush Limbaugh and the like.

We are living in a twilight zone of irrationality where elite factions (mostly various corporations through their products) vie for ownership of your soul. Americans then become mouthpieces and pawns of these elite – used against other Americans, used against foreign slaves in some cases, used mostly against themselves, as well as sucked dry of any humanity they have. Humanity just gets in the way.

With very little humanity left in America, the humans who are left feel alienated, isolated, as if they are living in hell. They retreat into their own minds, consoling themselves with the belief that they are much better than the zombie society around them. This belief in turn causes them to retreat further, into TV or video games and libertarianism, away from public events, in a rarified dead vacuum (imitating Nietzschean separation) that they deem “pure”. It’s “pure”, alright – purified of everything except their own beautiful and precious mind.

These humans, although they are the last to admit it, are every bit as much pawns of the elite as the rabid ditto-heads of Limbaugh – every bit as culturally dead as the rednecks they mock.

Their analysis of American society as hell is rational – but the only good response is to take up sword and shield and fight the demons and devils head-on. We need paladins, not hermits.

If we have insufficient paladins, then the zombie society will overrun us all.

The media and Iran

October 2, 2008


Promoting Polyarchy and Planet of Slums

September 4, 2008

Both great books.

Erroneous CNN footage angers Serbs

August 3, 2008


Big Media Steals 5,100 Digital TV Channels

July 31, 2008


Only by freeing the global black is the American black free

June 28, 2008

The following is a reply of mine on Black Agenda Report, here.

Communist? Don’t be ridiculous.

There’s a world of difference between global class consciousness and American class consciousness. The former treats every human being in the world equally – the latter treats every human being in the United States equally. The United States is the most powerful criminal society in the world – so the difference between the two consciousnesses is vast.
BAR’s main focus is on the oppression and mistreatment of American blacks (and other American poor). Yes, they have secondary focuses on the rest of the world. But if BAR wants to solve the problems derived from capitalism, problems which ultimately come home to roost for American blacks, they need to primarily look outside the US – they need to examine the primary victims of capitalism, who are NOT American blacks.
While American blacks struggle to remain out of prison, employed, and finally to join the oppressive bourgeoisie class (which they call “success”), global blacks struggle to not starve to death, they struggle to not suffer debilitating diseases, to not lose their homes or spouses or children to imperial wars – to not lose their communities – to gain some measure, any measure, of control over their lives.
It’s not an either-or choice. I’m not saying ignore American blacks because others suffer more. I’m saying that the problems of capitalism, capitalism itself, isn’t threatened by a focus on American blacks as the victims, which is why Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X were only killed after their transition towards global socialism.
It’s like someone who tries to attack the mob by causing the mob boss to pay higher wages to the mob underlings. This does not threaten the mob boss – it only annoys him.
However, if the REAL victims of the mob boss – the community around him that he degrades – the decent people – are secured and boosted in their power, the mob boss can be destroyed.
Unless BAR wants to bring down the global capitalist system, the most they can do is transfer money from the American capitalists to the American workers – the same thing that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Jeremiah Wright are trying to do. Meanwhile, the true victims of America, including those blacks in the Motherland of Africa, will continue to suffer horribly, and to a degree that American blacks have never and will never experience.
Only when the Mob Boss is destroyed is the Mob Underling able to live again as a moral creature, instead of a creature who calls “success” his entry into the ranks of imperial bourgeois dominators of the world.
Until Africa is liberated, until Asia is liberated, until Europe is liberated, until the Middle East is liberated, America is enslaved.

The House That Rupert Built

June 25, 2008


Colombia: What did Interpol find in the laptops?

May 24, 2008


Indymedia Presents Episode 300

May 10, 2008


Book Recommendations – A Lexicon of Terror and We Make this Road by Walking

May 8, 2008

These are both excellent books – the first is about Argentina’s totalitarian regime of the 1970s/1980s and the latter is about educational methodology.

How the psychological industry is built on mass media and propaganda

May 4, 2008

This is a reply to an email. My reply is in regular print, the quote of the person I’m replying to is in italics.

I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, but what I think I understand I disagree with. It sounds like you’re saying that many people who are suffering psychologically are actually, although they don’t recognize it, suffering from all the cruelty going on in the world that it’s beyond their control to stop. It would be pretty easy to empirically evaluate this thesis (perhaps it’s already been done). I think many more people suffer from “real” psychological problems such as manic-depression or from “real-world” problems like drug or alcohol abuse.

I very much doubt that anyone has evaluated that thesis – your stance on this matter is the status quo one. Very little of reality is ever evaluated. Systems of power have no interest in evaluation unless it serves their purpose. You said it quite well yourself in the mid ’90s when you commented about how much time was spent developing video games (unreality) – what is advertising and propaganda if not un-reality? How much time is spent on that versus analyzing truth? The Neoconservative mantra is “We create reality”. That is to say, their mantra is “Our propaganda becomes your truth”.

My thesis is based on the observation that “psychological abnormality” increased greatly during the 20th century, to the point where a shrink is on every streetcorner and the pharmaceutical industry is a behemoth.

By “real” psychological problems I assume you believe there to be primarily a genetic basis for the problems. If I’m correct about a great rise in psychological problems in the 20th century there cannot be a genetic basis for it, since the genetic profiles in question changed very little over such a short time span.

An argument against my position is that there are not more psychological problems than there used to be – it’s just that what used to be non-diagnosed now has been given a label – so what used to be a “normal” or an “unlabeled” human now might be called a “manic-depressive”.

My argument is that psychological profiles, including what are deemed “problems”, are primarily caused by the environment. My argument identifies several factors as providing major psychological and social traumas which result in “psychological abnormality”. After listing these factors I will explain why the 20th century is unique and why the problems of past centuries did not have the same psychological results.

One is the schizophrenic factor of a populace which simultaneously applauds freedom while engaging in imperialism. This factor accelerated in the mid 20th century when much of the third world gained a measure of independence.

The twin terrors of constant threats of nuclear annihilation and global environmental collapse (which boil down to the same thing) cause a kind of darkness and perpetual depression.

Massive endemic propaganda and schizophrenic doublethink, as outlined by Orwell.

More schizophrenia – support for corporations (unaccountable private tyrannies – command economies like mini-versions of the communist state) and simultaneously support for democracy.

The military-industrial complex and the notion of “perpetual war for perpetual peace”.

It’s funny how we have no problem identifying elements specific to the 20th century in some ways (like pertaining to culture) but somehow can’t quite grasp that psychology is also derived from the environment.

Propaganda derives from the rise of mass media and the public relations industry, which only became systematized by the elite in the early 20th century. Propaganda directly targets the mind – seeking to colonize it with disinformation and irrational directives. Somehow, though, the status quo position, such as outlined by yourself, which is allied with this propaganda, doesn’t seem to understand that propaganda affects psychology.

Prior to the 20th century, the major projection of power was done by force. Psychology is fairly irrelevant when facing a gun. With the “civilizing” of the state in the 20th century it switched to propaganda as the primary means of control of the populace – therefore psychological control – therefore psychological resistance by the populace – therefore psychological problems deriving from the battle over control of the mind.

Take the example of Argentina in the 1970s. This culture had perhaps the highest per capita rate of psychologists/psychiatrists in the world. It was also a fascist state which tortured and terrorized it’s citizens – and in terms of propaganda was neo-nazi. The mass media state churns out psychological victims who are then serviced by the psychology industry. It’s no surprise at all that the psychology industry and the mass media industry rose to prominence at the same time.

The role of psychologists is to control the interpretation of psychic victims – to say that “it’s all in your head” and that talking, coming to “realizations” which never have to do with the state (usually have to do with the family and/or personal traumas), and/or use of drugs is the solution. Of course the state doesn’t pay the fee despite causing the event – the fee goes to people who are accredited by the state itself (through the educational system).

There is a kind of comfort in your position. Humans always blame something they can attack – the ruling class is nearly immune from attack and therefore can’t possibly be the problem, according to the logic of comfort and convenience. However, if enough humans recognize the truth of my evaluation they will find that the ruling class can indeed be attacked, and perhaps fatally.

It isn’t just about the corporate media

April 23, 2008

This is a reply to an essay about the corporate media’s destruction of reality and democracy in America:

The American people are ignorant about class reality. The poor don’t have enough time to learn about the monstrosity of the corporate media and are shunned by the state. The middle class doesn’t want to know about class reality since they benefit from it. There are no structures in the United States which cause Americans to understand politics to an extent where they can critique the state and it’s many appendages. BAR does not speak to the masses and hence cannot substantially shape a democracy.

Until politics is the 1st priority of Americans – not entertainment, not technology, not wealth-accumulation, there are too many distractions and America is timed-out of any ability to instigate change.

It hardly matters how right BAR is if there are few people to hear it and fewer yet to understand it, since Lost is on and the Ipod is way cool and a 2nd job is necessary to buy all the things the TV says to buy.

It’s not JUST the corporate media – it’s the entire imperial system that ensures the perpetuation of it’s own power and the oppression, terror, and ultimately the destruction of everyone else.

We need to not so much argue for one or another political position as argue for the importance of politics itself – the importance of improving the human condition through politics – of helping ourselves through politics. Every thriving democracy in the world features a populace which makes politics it’s 1st priority. It’s not the Corporate Media that is killing democracy – it’s misplaced priorities.

Global War on Terror: Context – Amy Goodman

April 22, 2008

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Media Shit Storms and Heartland Reality

April 16, 2008


Charlie the Unicorn 2

April 15, 2008


Failure of Journalism in Iraq

April 3, 2008


Inspired Genius – Rats on Cocaine Ep. 9

March 29, 2008


South Park’s lack of class analysis

March 22, 2008


Episode 1202, “Britney’s New Look”, highlights a typical flaw in Parker’s and Stone’s analysis.

In this episode, Britney Spears is terrorized by greedy paparazzi to the point that she severely injures herself with a shotgun, ruining her singing career (despite the dogged efforts of fans and managers to maintain it).

In a ridiculous twist at the end, it’s revealed that there is a conspiracy among *all* people (managers, paparazzi, fans) to murder Spears, relating it to the sacrifice of virgins (Spears is the modern Western equivalent of a virgin apparently) in some older cultures. The murder is done through stress-related events following an excess of attention (by paparazzi, managers, and fans). The logical flaw of murdering Spears by torture rather than by execution (throwing into a volcano or cutting out the heart) in relation to the comparison is not mentioned.

Spears is a manufactured pop star, in the same way that Hannah Montana is as well as various “boy bands” and others. These people don’t so much have fans as propaganda victims, who are taken in by the pomp and circumstance given to a fresh, pretty face doing something mildly entertaining. There aren’t even many victims, but due to the extremely high exposure (and the targeting of the young and vulnerable) and mass-audience enough victims emerge to produce the only thing the pursuers of this care about – money.

None of this is presented in the episode. The episode treats the various constituencies (paparazzi, managers, fans) as essentially equal in their effect – as reinforcing the other and working together toward the same goal (sacrifice of the “victim”).

Also not noted in the episode is that the manufactured pop star, unlike the sacrificial virgin of yore, becomes exceedingly wealthy. Excess attention is merely a side effect of the wealth. For South Park to produce this episode which presents these pop stars (all of whom either know what they are in for or are total fools) as victims is ridiculous.

This kind of “everyone is bad except the South Park kids who form the lone conscience” is typical of South Park and why they often provide decent analysis but never great analysis.

Economic Meltdown

March 5, 2008


Imperial Fascism

March 3, 2008

This is very noticeable in both Japanese animation as well as American media. It’s the lone hero fighting against seemingly insurmountable odds. This kind of media prepares the citizenry for fascism.

Democracy never features a lone hero. Democracy is about mass popular movements constraining and ultimately controlling the elite. I have yet to see this portrayed in any elite media. It’s not difficult to reason why.

It hardly matters whether the lone hero defeats the “evil empire” or not. All that happens is the lone hero will then have the power, and the people will be in a similar situation.

Anime portrays the common people as helpless victims of the vast destructive war between the “good guys” and “bad guys”. Screaming in terror is common – faceless and then a corpse is also common. A democratic story would show the democratic struggle rather than people living mundane apolitical lives followed by violent death.

But it can’t be portrayed this way – since the lone hero model, whether it be Chuck Norris, Arnold Swartzenegger, Shinji Ikari, Motoko Kusanagi, or any of countless others and all it implies (a complete lack of democratic energy in the populace) presents an extreme vision of fascism, which is the propaganda model the media wants to portray, and consistently does portray.

Imperial media shows two sides battling for power, with the winner getting the right to enslave the people and the loser receiving subjugation. Yet, sadly, it’s the people themselves who make up the majority of the viewers of this material. Of course, the media does not portray the battle in those terms. It’s portrayed as one side fighting “for peace, justice, and freedom” and the other fighting “for domination, subjugation, and slavery”. George W. Bush’s rhetoric is hardly any different.

Entertainment writers end strike

February 18, 2008