Archive for the ‘Culture Wars’ Category

First off – I loved Chasing Ice the first documentary made by Jeff Orlowski. One of the few documentaries I have watched twice. After watching it I gave the CD copy I had to a family for use in their local school in Guatemala. It was truly an Ice Opening experience (see what I did there). So I was excited to watch the trailer for Jeff’s new documentary The Social Dilemma.

The Social Dilemma flows great – its entertaining, well thought out and produced, has a clear point of view and executes it wonderfully. Its almost as if Netflix put it through an algorithm to optimize it for its choosen audience.

But the premise of the film is both shopworn and troubling.

Wildly popular new media is destroying our society. This new technology is duping people and changing society for the worst. People are so dumb they don’t even realize they are being manipulated. Of course I refer to television.

Satan’s Triangle – Intellectuals Right and Left and Mad Men on top.

On the Right television was attacked for any number of pet causes – Elvis swiveling his hips on Ed Sullivan would cause your teenage daughter to fuck some greaser down the street on the first date. If that didn’t happen she’d soon be a card carrying member of the Communist Party because of all the commies in Hollywood inserting subliminal Red messages into episodes of Gunsmoke.

On the Left television was the new opiate for masses. Instead of working to overthrow capitalism people would come from their hum drum 9 to 5s at the factory and space out to I Dream of Jeannie. This is how the Establishment would preserve order – keep people dumb, numb and unquestioning.

T.V., it

Satellite links

Our United States of Unconsciousness

Apathetic therapeutic and extremely addictive

The methadone metronome pumping out

150 channels 24 hours a day

— Television, the Drug of a Nation

The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

The top of Satan’s triangle

But it wasn’t just attacks from the Left and Right that made people wring their hands and give credence to their fears about television. Television executives and the flim flam men (Mad Men) of their day feed this narrative as well. Thinking very highly of themselves the people producing all this television bought this narrative as well – ‘Due to the latest in behavorial sciences and knowing what people watch and what they like if we want them to buy Palmolive and Budweiser they’ll buy it. Viewers are the product and the schmucks don’t even know it.’

Of course somehow we survived this apocalypse. Elvis became a national treasure. Television helped defeat Communism. Disposable Hero Michael Franti and his generation embraced capitalism and was embraced by Whole Foods and seems to be doing kinda ok. Covid aside, we are all richer, more educated, healthier, more informed and more empowered thanks in some small part to the global dispersion of low brow mass culture through television.

The Noble Lie

We are told this Platonic lie all over again in The Social Dilemma. This time the boogieman threatening, at a minimum, societal collapse is social media (multiple elites literally call Facebook an existential threat to continued human existence on the planet with a straight, well groomed face) Facebook and Twitter in particular. The wrong people are now being elected to office, Instagram made being young and going through puberty super tough, workaholic CEOs are bad fathers because of algorithms, Burma was a nice place before Facebook and lots of data is being collected on us plebs and used against us.

I’m a workaholic CEO but Pinterest made me a bad father

And to lecture us about this and make the poor viewer feel outraged, confused and depressed so they click on the next ‘world turns to shit’ documentary Netflix recomends is an exclusive mono-culture club of the very rich 1% of the 1%’ers all of whom are collegues and most of them serve on the board of a ideological pressure group called Center for Humane Technology that dominates 80% of the lecture we are given.

Common People are Invisible

Where are all the common people being hurt by these technologies and making bad choices at the ballot box? They are never shown. Such is the revulsion that these 1% of 1% elites have for the poor filthy fucks living in fly over country that we are instead shown a fictionalized upper middle class family. Vince Kartheiser even makes a cameo as a wink and a nod Easter Egg to the show Mad Men – a show loved by critics and the silicon valley, coastal elite types but watched by very few actual people. Apparently before social media upper middle class American families weren’t vacuous and hollow inside and all was right with the family unit.

A personal story
My Aunt and her son. Neither graduated from high school. My Aunt works as a cashier at Dollar General. My nephew has been in and out of jail and prison – most recently an 8 month stint for petty crime and drug stuff.  They are the most apolitical people you will ever meet. They are the ignorant lower classes the talking heads in The Social Dilemma concern troll over and over.  Last time I saw my aunt and nephew in person a little over a year ago my nephew had just gotten out of 3 month jail term.  I was talking to him about what it’s like not to have a smartphone/social media for 3 months. He said something along the lines of ‘I just got a phone again and damn if you have to watch what you say and type, google and facebook know I was in lock up and keep pushing rehab ads and shit like that at me, fucking annoying as shit.’  My Aunt responded along the lines of ‘yeah Facebook knows what I’m going to do before I do, jesus…’


My point is – at this point who the fuck doesn’t know they are being targeted with ads and having their data collected?  If my aunt and nephew know, everyone knows.


Why is so much shade being thrown at Facebook and Twitter by the legacy media and the cultural/economic elites since roughly 2015 but before 2015 they were mainly viewed as positive or neutral.

A few guesses:
a) Economics first. This is competition for dollars and cents. At some point the New York Times, Washington Post, etc. and the journalists themselves realized their pockets were being picked by these new upstarts and since then its been one negative story after another. 


b) The wrong candidates won. Go back and read coverage of Obama’s use of Facebook and social media in 2008.  They loved it and praised him and his campaign for it as a masterstroke. Let’s indulge a bit in a counterfactual and say that Fernando Hadad and Hillary Clinton had both won in 2018 and 2016 respectively, both center left candidates – would we see Hadad’s ugly mug shown on the screen as proof the world is going to hell in a handbasket?


c) Class war. In 2008 Facebook was a nice gated community of 100 million (a bit more than 1% of the population, i.e. the 1%) people who mainly looked and thought like the cultural/technological elite talking heads in the Social Dilemma. Now it’s 2.6 billion people, a truly global community and now the line from the these elites and the legacy press is:  all these poor lower class and black and brown people doing things and saying things we don’t like, can’t control and don’t agree with – we can’t really say we don’t like them and their opinions. Instead we say: they are so stupid and oppressed – they are being manipulated and controlled and they don’t even know it,  the poor sons a bitches. We need to fix this and pronto or we are toast.  Again like with television in the 20th century, this line of arguement comes from the Right and Left and the flim flam Mad Men. Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kendall and their intellectual enablers in a vomit inducing polyamourous circle jerk.

I won’t even get into the shocking, irresponsible and ahistorical treatment the people of Burma get. Never mind the legacy of colonialism, extreme poverty and 40 years of a brutal military dictatorship; its all Facebooks fault.


Leave social media alone.  It’s fine.* Leave the people alone, they know what they are doing. You know who that is bad for? It’s bad for the legitimacy of the Establishment. They don’t need to be coddled and protected from themselves. Or worse, manipulated in different ways to ensure ‘our four year national mightmare finally comes to an end.’ We aren’t on the verge of civil war or a Year Zero societal meltdown. And if we are, it sure as hell isn’t because of Facebook.

Please click ‘Like’ at the bottom of this article. Thank you.

*Twitter is an abomination and should be banned immediately. 

  • The world has changed more in the last thirty years than it has since Jesus Christ.

Charles Peguy  7 January 1873 – 5 September 1914

tdog cowan copy

 

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mpp header

Hello Burners,

See below for an important message from the
Marijuana Policy Project about the evolving laws around cannabis in
Nevada and how you can prepare and participate.

The Man Burns real soon.

But cops are already hard at work aiming to burn Burners. They’re
on the hunt to bust participants caught with marijuana, saddling them
with a hefty $600 fine and a misdemeanor conviction.  A judge and
prosecutor are even relocated to the playa for the week to promptly
collect fines and process paperwork on site.

But we are improving the Nevada marijuana laws!  If you are a medical
marijuana patient, bring your patient ID card from your home state.
It should protect you from the Nevada state and local cops, due to a
new reciprocity law.  And this year, patients from any state can now
buy marijuana in Nevada dispensaries.  But since Black Rock City is
patrolled by federal rangers, who don’t follow state law, not even
patients are fully protected at the event.

We deserve better. It’s up to all of us to create a more civil
society where marijuana users aren’t targeted, harassed, and
treated like criminals.

At the Marijuana Policy Project, we’re committed to ending state and
federal marijuana prohibition. This change is possible, but
participation is key. We invite you to join us
<https://www.mpp.org/subscribe/>. Please help us promote freedom and
liberty by giving a financial gift toward our efforts.

Together, we can end prohibition.

Thank you,

Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. We’re also hard at work managing several ballot initiative
campaigns to tax and regulate marijuana in November 2016 in states like
Arizona, California, and Nevada. With each of these victories,
nationwide legal marijuana will be that much closer. (Please note that
donations to MPP will be used to support MPP generally; donations to MPP
cannot be earmarked for a ballot initiative. If you would like to
support a ballot initiative, please donate to that state’s
ballot campaign committee.)

From the AP:

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli Antiquities Authority says revelers at a Burning Man festival famous for its pyrotechnic spectacles have accidentally torched some remnants of prehistoric man.

Archaeologist Yoram Haimi says organizers of Midburn, an Israeli affiliate of the Nevada carnival, burned a wooden temple Saturday on a hilltop scattered with flint tools from the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods.

midburn

What will this inspire at the Nevada carnival this year?

What historical treasures would you like to Burn?

Hipster churchNew Oxford American Dictionary
clerisy |ˈklerəsē|
noun [ usu. treated as pl. ]
a distinct class of learned or literary people: the clerisy are those who read for pleasure.
-or-

Joel Kotkin:

To understand the possible implications of the new power arrangement, it is critical to understand the nature of the new clerisy. Unlike traditional capitalist power groups, including private-sector organized labor, the clerisy’s power derives not primarily through economic influence per se but through its growing power to inform opinion and regulate everything from how people live to what industries will be allowed to grow, or die.

The clerisy shares a kind of mission which Bell described as the rational “ordering of mass society.” Like the bishops and parish priests of the feudal past, or the public intellectuals, university dons and Anglican worthies of early 19th century Britain, today’s clerisy attempts to impart on the masses today’s distinctly secular “truths,” on issues ranging from the nature of justice, race and gender to the environment. Academics, for example, increasingly regulate speech along politically correct lines, and indoctrinate the young while the media shape their perceptions of reality.

Most distinctive about the clerisy is their unanimity of views. On campus today, there is broad agreement on a host of issues from gay marriage, affirmative action and what are perceived as “women’s” issues to an almost religious environmentalism that is contemptuous toward traditional industry and anything that smacks of traditional middle class suburban values.  (italics mine)

-or-

Composers, artists, or architects in a compound began to have the instincts of the medieval clergy, much of whose activity was devoted exclusively to separating itself from the mob. For mob, substitute bourgeoise—and here you have the spirit of avant-gardism in the twentieth century. Once inside a compound, an artist became part of a clerisy, to use an old term for an intelligensia with clerical persumptions” (Tom Wolfe,From Bauhaus to Our House, p. 14).

I prefer ‘Hipster Clerisy’ and where do we start to look at this particular clerical class?* 

XOXO Festival seems like a good place to start.  Tech media darlings from 2012 to present, XOXO Festival held in a hipster church in Portland XOXO Fest tags itself as, “An experimental festival celebrating independently-produced art and technology.”  Actually it’s a pretty standard conference featuring people talking with pitch decks behind them and larded with hipster bait such as: Portland! Free 3rd Wave coffee, artisanal BBQ and ice cream from a place called ‘Salt and Straw’.  This is the conference for people who think TED has gone too populous.  

I’m sure all that food is delicious.

From XOXO’s twitter feed look at all the diversity on display often found among the hipster clerisy.  Some of these people even went to elite universities NOT on the East Coast. One guy has a tie  (he makes up for it with a smart waistcoat).  

Some of these people don’t even live in Brooklyn or the Bay Area!  

How do we know these folks are ‘hipster clerisy’  Like pornography, you just know it when you see it.

 

Some of the speakers are certainly working on cool stuff.  We know Kevin Kelly works on Cool Tools.  Many of them are taste makers and early adopters.  Is the clerical impulse for control present in this group?  Is this an “intelligentsia with clerical presumptions.”?  Is XOXO a representative face behind the anti-gamer crusade so trendy of late and other fronts on the culture wars?

hipster salute

Coming up shortly on Consumptionblog –  #Gamergate, efficacy and message control.  Music for your Throat Chakra!  And much much more.

rad racer

 

*just as there is more than one of everything, there is more of one clerical class in the US, the West and in other parts of the world where other people might live.