Saturday, December 31, 2016
Gaslighted: What We Got for Christmas in 2016
We’re now on the very cusp of a new year, and there’s one thing about the passing one that I can say with certainty: THE news story of 2016 is that a huge swath of the American public, stretching from left to right, deeply distrusts both 1) establishment candidates from either party and 2) corporate media. That’s the news story of the year. Period.
But look what our political class and media are up to here at year’s end. For weeks now they been frantically trying to fill that media, both print and TV, with: "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! They’re bombarding us with fake news!”
As a diversion tactic from the true Big Story, you’d have thought they could come up with something better.
To give bite to their claims that “fake news” determined the election, which is absurd on the face of it and absurd down to the bone of it, our leaders last week even passed actual legislation designed to cast doubt on alternative news organizations, legislation that is almost literally state censorship. In America.
What in hell are they up to?
To give yet more bite to their claims, the Obama administration two days ago kicked out thirty-five Russian diplomats, promising yet further reactions to the Russian “aggression” we’ve suffered.
This is major stuff, sure to grab headlines and keep the talking heads talking. Which is just what it is meant to do. Because at present Washington elites’ most important task is to keep us the citizenry from catching our breath and thinking clearly about the year’s real news--namely our widespread and reasonable disgust at these same elites’ decades-long systematic betrayal of our interests in favor of Whatever the Corporations Want.
And here I have to watch non-comatose, intelligent friends on Facebook and elsewhere still debating the question of whether Russia hacked the DNC or, if not, who Wikileaks’ source was. It's depresseing. Because it's irrelevant. It is a diversion from our real story, a strategic diversion that sadly is almost working.
Consider: What if the Russians did hack us? Really--what if? Would there be any surprise in that? Hacking is an integral part of intelligence work. We, the Chinese, the Russians--it's what we do, year in year out. And? If the Russians hacked us, the whole story should be on improving cyber security, not on the question of how evil the Russians are, and certainly not on the question of whether alternative media sources are trustworthy, which is an issue entirely unrelated to cyber security.
In fact the Russian hacking meme was launched in reaction to the abject horror Washington elites felt face to face with the unthinkable. Their chosen candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost. Which is not supposed to happen. They thought they were doing so well. And she lost.
In a breathtakingly hypocritical move, the hacking meme was launched simultaneously with the "fake news" meme. Note how these two were rolled out as virtual twins. The clear intent was to create a generalized impression in the public mind: “If we Americans didn't vote for Clinton, it was because the Enemy is manipulating our media!” Which notion is entirely false of course, and doesn't even logically follow from the premise of hacking. Though there may be some evidence of hacking, in fact there is no evidence Russia seeded our press with fake news. (The Washington Post, ever eager to please its masters, did its best to establish a link between the two memes, but failed miserably, as Glenn Greenwald demonstrates. The article is a staggering exposé of just how far journalistic standards have fallen among our corporate media.)
Our leaders prodded these two memes (“Russian hacking”; “fake news”) onto the stage simultaneously in order to make them sing as a duo. That the connecting logic is lacking, that they are not in fact a duo, is unimportant when it comes to manipulating public perceptions. We Americans are being subjected to a sophisticated gaslighting campaign; and frighteningly, to judge by how much media and mental bandwidth space it’s taking up, this campaign is near accomplishing its goal.
Gaslighting, if you aren’t familiar with the term, describes a particular style of psychological manipulation. It seeks to confuse the victim by overwhelming him/her with an ersatz version of reality, a version presented so aggressively and in such an offhand manner that the victim begins to doubt his or her sanity, or at least feels suddenly on unfamiliar ground. The gaslighter befuddles the victim by swiftly changing the focus of attention, and making her argue irrelevant points or swallow illogical givens so as to wear her out. Gaslighting originally describes sociopathic behavior in the context of relationships, but the concept is being used more and more in recent years to describe sophisticated state propaganda techniques. There are many useful articles on the arsenal of gaslighting techniques (here’s one for instance) and if you aren’t familiar with this arsenal, it’s well worth getting up to speed.
In this current instance, which we might call the Great Christmas Gaslighting of 2016, the clear purpose is to obfuscate and confuse the public on five fundamentals:
1) Americans rejected Hillary Clinton because she was the establishment candidate, and Americans had had enough of this kind of politics under the current president. Further, that the mainstream media so clearly sided with Clinton proved to many that she was not to be trusted. Ditto with her and the DNC’s treatment of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primaries. That Clinton could lose to Donald Trump proves just how deep this distrust was.
2) If the Russians hacked the DNC, that in itself did not cause Clinton to lose the election. She lost, again, because Americans didn’t want another corporate-bought Washington insider in the White House.
3) The origin of the data Wikileaks received is not the main issue for most American voters, regardless of what the media says, and in fact it is almost as likely the data was received via a leak from within the Clinton campaign. But again, in relation to the real news story of 2016, whichever is true matters little to most Americans because . . .
4) No one has credibly disputed the authenticity of the emails Wikileaks published, and those emails, without any “fake” elaborations on their content, were already enough to prove collusion with the media, a conspiracy against Bernie Sanders, and pay to play.
5) The “fake news” scare is itself hollow. “Pizzagate”, the only fanciful conspiracy theory resulting from the Wikileaks releases, was not an elaborate piece of Russian disinformation, but merely the product of a conspiracy-hungry western blogosphere. Westerners don’t need Russia to concoct conspiracy theories, and such theories have always been around. Some elements of the public are always vulnerable to BS claims, but that in itself is no excuse, in America, to support programs of state censorship. Yes, we’re looking at you, Mr. Obama. It will be nice to see you go.
And so: What connection does fake news even HAVE to Russia? There is no connection, even though our establishment pundits are babbling overtime to imply one. I guess they know on which side their bread is buttered.
With the level of public disgust at Washington Business As Usual, our government and corporate media elites are now in panic mode. They are, after all, a class of many thousands of individuals whose very lucrative careers are at risk if they lose public trust, and they see they are losing it fast. Their goal at present is to dominate the conversation with an ersatz version of reality and hope the public changes its focus. They turn to gaslighting as a tactic.
1) If they see the public doesn’t trust them and their own political leadership, quick--Point to the leadership in Moscow as a dangerous threat that needs to be dealt with.
2) If they see the public doesn’t trust the media they use to direct public opinion, quick--Concoct a “fake news” epidemic to make the public return to trusting to only mainstream media.
3) Do this all at the same time so that the public will get the vague impression that Russia is behind the “fake news”.
So what did we Americans get for Christmas this year? We got gaslighted. And we’re still getting gaslighted, more so with every passing week, because gaslighting depends on bombarding the victim with false claims, repeating them so often and so fervently that the victim starts to repeat them in his or her sleep.
That the concept grew out of the study of unhealthy relationships with sociopaths is perhaps helpful. The American public has long been in a relationship with a lying sociopath, and that sociopath is the corporatocracy in Washington. For decades, our leaders in both executive and legislative branches, from both parties, have allowed corporate interests to outsource our jobs, military-corporate interests to drag us into one unnecessary war after another, and Wall Street elites to rig our financial markets so as to make us, the population, the big losers whenever those markets crash. And if we react in a sane way, by flatly rejecting more of same, we seem them now battering us with 24/7 propaganda about how our real problem is in Moscow.
Under this constant and systematic abuse, if we are to keep ourselves sane, and keep struggling for a functional democracy, we must not forget the real news story of this year. And so I’ll repeat my first paragraph:
THE news story of 2016 is that a huge swath of the American public, stretching from left to right, deeply distrusts both 1) establishment candidates from either party and 2) corporate media. That’s the news story of the year. Period.
At the start of the new year, then, our questions should be: WHY has this distrust grown so deep and what are we going to do about it? Has it grown so deep because of “Russian operatives”? The suggestion is laughable. Are we going to return to trusting the mainstream media and mainstream politicians, are we going to shun “fake news” sources that don’t look and sound like Anderson Cooper? We’d be insane to do so. So HOW shall we proceed to ensure that we’re not systematically manipulated over the years to come by the same band of corporate predators and fake progressives (Hello, Hillarack Obinton) that have been playing us since the 1990s?
Whatever we do, we must keep thinking and talking about our REAL story. It is only on such solid ground that we might think clearly to change the dynamic that has brought us to where we are. Which is not the best of places.
But at least, as 2017 begins, the establishment is in panic mode. Let’s keep it that way.
Like a little weirdness with your coffee? Check out Idiocy, Ltd., dryest damn prose in the West.
Posted by Eric Mader at 2:35 PM No comments:
Labels: 2016 election, fake news, gaslighting, mainstream media, Obama, politics, propaganda, Russian hacking
Thursday, December 29, 2016
A Durationist Theory of Art
These few paragraphs offer a basic theory of art. One may say the most basic theory. I attempt to define, in the most fundamental way, what humans do when they make art. It is not a rough aesthetics so much as a raw anthropology, a definition of the gestures engaged and a hint at the most basic human purposes in those gestures. I would hope my definitions apply regardless of the kind of art or the culture in question, but to claim they do would be presumptuous. I try to set apart what defines an artistic activity, as distinct from similar human activities that would, according to this theory, not count as art. My main concepts are mimesis, as classically formulated by the Greeks, and defamiliarization, as formulated by Victor Shklovsky.
All art is a dialectic of mimesis and defamiliarization.
Though any instance of art may privilege mimesis over defamiliarizaiton, or vice versa, no art can exist except in tension between these two poles.
Certainly defamiliarization cannot exist without mimesis. But the contrary is also true. Though some might claim that mimesis can exist purely, in fact even the most representational forms of art entail a degree of defamiliarization if only through the act of framing or the choice of subject: the artist represents this rather than any of the other possible subjects. And so even the most mimetic work defamiliarizes through the very choice of representing what it does. It makes what it represents stand out from all that was not represented.
Via the dialectic of mimesis and defamiliarization, art renews experience. It memorializes the experience of this or that while altering the angle from which this or that were originally, or are usually, experienced. Of course memorialization largely takes place through the work of mimesis, but defamiliarization may also be a manner of memorialization, or re-memorializing through the shock of an altered angle.
Varieties of Art:
Literature represents and defamiliarizes everyday language and the world evoked by that language. Individual works of literature may focus more on defamiliarizing the signified or the signifier, but literary work in general defamiliarizes both.
Though music also represents the sounds of the world, it most essentially represents human voice, and defamiliarizes it. That we normally hum remembered music (the half-voiced humming of music stuck in our heads) suggests the link of even instrumental music to voice. Our voices, primally, imitate both the sounds of language and the sounds of the world; musical instruments artificially extend the range of human voice.
Painting, photography, graphic art all represent and defamiliarize visual experience.
Sculpture represents bodies and objects, most classically defamiliarizing human and animal bodies (which are capable of movement) through stasis.
Dance represents the movements of the body in the everyday, and defamiliarizes these movements through repetition, exaggeration, etc.
Theater represents social encounter, choosing to frame and thus distance specific encounters, or types of encounter, in re-enactment. Theatrical framing is in part a technique of defamiliarization (all artistic mimesis entails defamiliarization: cf. above). Theatrical re-enactment, essentially a form of memorialization, may work in service to catharsis, ritual, or celebration, all of which entail renewal of experience.
Film represents the visual and sonic experience of the world and defamiliarizes it through the myriad techniques developed over its short history.
All art is a dialectic of mimesis and defamiliarization.
Check out my book Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.
Posted by Eric Mader at 2:01 PM No comments:
Labels: art, defamiliarization, durationism, mimesis, theory of art, victor shklovsky
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Taiwan Succumbs to Same-Sex Marriage
Next year Taiwan will become the first Asian nation to legally recognize same-sex marriages. With the passage of relevant amendments by a legislative committee two days ago, the outcome is all but certain when the proposed amendments get their final reading next year.
It is no surprise that Taiwan is the first Asian country to go this route. A mid-sized democracy of 23 million people, the country’s culture is a blend of Chinese, Japanese, aboriginal and western elements, but in recent years its political elites take most of their cues from the West, and since democratization in the 1980s and ‘90s, generations of Taiwanese have returned with advanced degrees from western universities, deepening the western influence. Taiwan is also a staunch ally of the US, and the changes in American marriage law brought by Obergefell played no small role in convincing many here that Taiwan should follow suit.
I’ve lived in Taiwan as an American expat since 1996 and love the culture and people. Though I have been for much of my life an advocate of gay and lesbian rights (which I understand as rights not to be harassed or discriminated against in employment or education) I am against this change to the country’s laws, which is happening in unfortunately familiar ways.
Familiar is the top-down manner in which the new definition of marriage is being imposed. Rather than allow for a referendum on the issue, which most opponents of the change demanded, the legislature is seeking to pass the new marriage law on its own. As in Australia, supporters of same-sex marriage here do not want to take the risk of allowing the citizenry to weigh in. The citizenry, after all, might give the “wrong” answer.
So there is widespread suspicion of a betrayal of the will of the people, as we saw also in the US when the Supreme Court decided the marriage debate on its own in Obergefell.
Also familiar are the crowds of mostly young protesters surrounding the Legislative Yuan, the energy and moral certainty of these crowds, and the crowds of protesters on the other side, mainly from Christian, Buddhist and Taoist organizations, firmly against changing the meaning of marriage. Whereas the former are celebrating the joy of their certainty with the élan of attendees at a pop concert, the latter, to judge by their looks, seem mainly to be saying: “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
To talk to Americans in the pro-LGBT camp, one often gets the impression that they believe Christians and Muslims are the only staunch opponents of same-sex marriage and gender ideology. This is myopic of course. Most of the world’s cultural and religious traditions, across Asia and through Africa (whether Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, or the myriad African and more local traditions) understand that marriage is between male and female. Thus the Buddhists and Taoists protesting the new marriage amendments in Taiwan. Their opposition, interestingly, surprised a few of my western peers.
“Aren’t Buddhists more progressive?” one asked.
“Yes,” I said. “Their ideas of progress are not yours.”
Familiar also is the arrogance of those pushing the law through. They know what human rights are, they just know, and if anyone opposes their proposed redefinition of marriage, it has to be because of a lack of knowledge.
One of the legislators active in pushing the amendments, Yu Mei-nu, was quoted at length in the Taipei Times, an English-language newspaper that solidly supports the changes (and that recently ran an editorial prodding Taiwanese to reform their “archaic ideas” of marriage):
“The public can rest assured that the legislation will not change heterosexual marriage in any way, but it will extend [the rights and obligations of] such marriages to same-sex couples,” she said. “The legislation will not destroy the family or abolish marriage.”
The legalization of same-sex marriage does not cause civic unrest in the Netherlands, which was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, Yu said, urging marriage equality opponents to exercise tolerance.
She rejected proposals to launch a referendum to decide on marriage equality, saying a human rights issue should not be put to the vote.
“We are not God. How do we have the right to decide on other people’s human rights?” Yu asked.
That too is depressingly familiar. Legislator Yu is part of a cadre of lawyers and politicians, largely from one party, seeking to railroad through legislation that offends against the basic male-female understanding of marriage common to all the cultural traditions that have made up Taiwan since time immemorial, yet somehow it is she who is warning people against pretending to be God.
Blindly assume that whatever you assert human rights to be must therefore be human rights, then accuse those who disagree of being arrogant and judgmental. I’m saddened to see this kind of SJW demagoguery here in Taiwan, but on the marriage issue, it looks like the die is cast.
Check out my book Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.
Posted by Eric Mader at 3:17 PM 1 comment:
Labels: Buddhism, Christianity, culture, gay marriage, marriage law, same-sex marriage, SJW, Taiwan, Taoism
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Hey, Clintonites: A Christmas Message
Hey, Clintonites. Why not finally recognize where you're at? Shoulder deep in mud and cognitive dissonance. And still digging. Really, isn't it time to put those shovels down?
First we had all the talk from the liberal press of election rigging, then Stein's recount push. Result: Trump only gained a larger lead in Wisconsin. And as for evidence of possibly systematic rigging, there was some in Detroit: Clinton territory. It didn't make for good optics, as they say.
Then you got yourselves into this faithless electors campaign. Result: Trump lost two electors, Clinton lost five.
What's next? Try to airlift Hillary onto the stage at the inauguration?
Here are the two hard pills you folks need to swallow: 1) Hillary lost this election, as did her party generally. 2) Had you insisted early on that Bernie Sanders be the candidate, rather than Miss Wall Street Baggage, Trump would now be launching a new reality show rather than preparing to move into the White House.
So it’s time to climb out of the neoliberal pit you're all in. Put those shovels down while we can still see the tops of your heads.
And Merry Christmas! It's the holiday where we celebrate the birth of Jesus, by a long shot the most hardcore social justice warrior of the ancient world (INCLUDING on women's fundamental equality) aside from being, of course, the Messiah.
Check out my book Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.
Posted by Eric Mader at 6:07 AM No comments:
Labels: 2016 election, faithless electors, Hillary Clinton, Jesus, politics, recount, satire, social justice warrior
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
PANIC: Washington Elites in Full Propaganda Mode
by David Hammond
Well, I honestly thought we had dodged a bullet involving war with Russia by not electing Hillary Clinton, but it looks like I was wrong. Given Clinton's defeat in the presidency, her controllers are now simply attempting to advance the timeline. Never mind the absurdity of the CIA complaining about election meddling, when that's been their particular specialty, in foreign governments, for at least the past seventy years. Never mind that our government has the gall to lie to us about "fake news" when our own Supreme Court has ruled that the mainstream news media is under absolutely no obligation to tell the truth. Never mind that the CIA has a documented history of infiltrating our news media through Operation Mockingbird and who knows what else, and has been called out by the highest members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, decade after decade, for being inherently deceitful from the inside out. Never mind that Julian Assange, top US intelligence officers, and even former UK ambassador Craig Murray have all explicitly stated that the expose of corrupt DNC activity was a leak, not a hack.
I suppose it may also be relevant that exactly twenty years ago TIME magazine proudly reported on the feats of American political consultants who manipulated the Russian election to ensure a Boris Yeltsin win, using a covert plan that involved specialized polling (similar to the Clinton campaign’s weighted polling that split Independents in half, giving her at least a constant 10% bump nationally) a negative ad campaign, propaganda, and other tools of the political manipulation trade.
This latest media propaganda blitz isn't so shocking on its own because similar tactics have presaged every war of choice America has ever been in. But to see so many intelligent people hysterically lap it up while apparently salivating for war with Russia and decrying "fake news" is getting a little creepy.
And the craziest part is that nearly every cheerleader is on the so-called left (of which I have been a lifelong member) when aren't we the ones who are supposed to see through government BS and lies as they goad us into yet another war? Surely such hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance can't be simply because our president is a Democrat, can it? Not even sure if I want to know the answer to that.
America, you are being lied to, yet again. You are being herded into yet another war of choice by powers that will say absolutely anything to get you to believe whatever they want you to believe. As Rahm Emmanuel infamously put it: "Never let a good crisis go to waste." Unfortunately, the establishment candidate's loss is just such an opportunity and they are capitalizing on it fiercely. How can this even happen? They are basically eliminating alternative news media with HR 6393, which was just quietly passed in the House, a bill that is quite literally the beginning of government censorship, with all of social media onboard. And, of all organizations, they're using Snopes as one of their go-to judges of what is “fake”, a widely-discredited source that routinely serves up misinformation, disinformation, and flat-out lies. Germany is even following suit by threatening to sue Facebook for €500,000 for every "fake" post allowed to stay up for more than 24 hours. When this kind of law can pass muster, it really doesn't matter which side of the aisle you are on. It should send a chill down the spine of anybody who appreciates their First Amendment rights. And as always, who is watching the watchers? This is nothing short of a open gate straight to tyranny.
Yet their technique has always been to point frantically to a threat so big and so encompassing that people will be clamoring for whatever medicine they want to sell. Its called problem -> reaction -> solution, and it's been their modus operandi for as long as anyone on the planet has been alive. Of course, they create the problem, fake the reaction, and then enact their preplanned solution, but is anyone really paying attention?
Right now, our government and their pliant mainstream media are engaged in a full-on fake news blitz, telling a lie so big and so outrageous that you'll have no choice but to believe it, or risk thinking the whole world has gone insane. This is called gaslighting, by the way. Look into it because it's one of the newest forms of mass manipulation in the book, and it's being aimed directly at you. Essentially a spin-off of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels' famous quip “Tell a lie big enough and loud enough, and people will eventually believe it,” contemporary gaslighting adds subtle techniques of psychological manipulation to disorient the populace into submission.
Of course if Hillary Clinton had won, and the Trump camp were making these same ludicrous accusations, based on the same dearth of evidence, the left would be howling and scowling and ridiculing them day and night. When are people going to realize that, left or right, we are being repeatedly played to acquiesce to the establishment agenda? Naturally, I did not vote for Trump and I do not support Trump. But I have a very big problem with glaring hypocrisy and selective outrage--especially when those playing such games dangerously throw all logic and common sense out the window while risking war with a nuclear power.
The same goes for the idea that we need to overturn this election. Caveat: Unless you are personally willing to fight in a civil war, then please stop immediately. Unless you are willing to throw this country into blind chaos and bloodshed, then please stop. And again, just think: if Trump supporters demanded overturning the election, the left would climb over themselves to use that as evidence of crazed depravity, leveling every possible insult imaginable, and very likely threatening violence. Don't expect that the same thing wouldn't happen if Clinton supporters get anywhere near actually overturning this election.
And isn't it ironic that an establishment complaining about "fake news" was all in for a candidate who openly stated to Goldman Sachs that “You have to have a public position, as well as a private position”? The message is quite clear: It's basically okay to lie to you, the public, as long as we're the ones doing it. But if somebody exposes our lies--Russia for instance, or some recently-murdered DNC staffer, namely Seth Rich, then it's clearly not okay.
And while the mainstream media implicates everybody not named Hillary Clinton for her loss, we're suddenly pretending it's the 1950s again and there's a Russky hiding under every bed and anybody who disagrees with the establishment's deceitful narrative is a Kremlin operative. The fact that our current Democratic Party's primary allies are the CIA, Internet censors, and McCarthyist hacks should strike the sane left observer as alarming, but then this is 2016 I suppose, so God only knows what's possible.
Who can be blind to the painful irony in the fact that the evidence for this supposed “election hacking” is nothing more than "a secret report, leaked by an anonymous insider, backed by no proof whatsoever, from an agency with a history of lying to the public." (Thank you, Estela Jordan, for that concise summary.)
And doesn't it seem a bit odd that the Orwellian NSA, which tracks every detail of our personal lives, somehow can't quite manage to trace this hack? “Of course they can't trace it,” sanity says, “because it's a leak, not a hack.” But plain sanity isn’t going to stop the government and its mainstream media lackeys from telling you otherwise.
According to CNN, our current president warned: "Mr. Putin can weaken us just like he is trying to weaken Europe if we buy into notions that it is okay to intimidate the press or lock up dissidents."
Oh really, you mean as in writing off all alternative and investigative news media as "fake news" while threatening to lock up true patriots like Edward Snowden, thus forcing them into exile? This from the same guy who promised to champion whistleblowers--then went on to prosecute more than all other presidents combined?
And isn't it getting a little hard to stomach that, even if Russia did hack the emails, their only crime was exposing the monumental lies and deceit that have become the hallmark of Clinton, Inc. and the DNC--yet never a single word about that is mentioned? So does this now mean that we shoot all messengers for delivering bad news? That exposing a lie fully implicates you in that lie or makes you a greater threat than the liar? What kind of upside-down, backwards, bizarro logic is that? Even if Russia did it, their only real "crime" would simply be exposing the truth about our so-called leaders.
There's no way the government can pull off this blitzkrieg of deception unless Americans abandon all logic and reason and allow the cognitive dissonance to fully take over. That again is part of the strategy of gaslighting. In insistent and logical tones, the manipulator repeats illogical things. And so our Washington elites continue screaming "Fake news from Russia!" over and over again, screaming it in the face of the universal recognition that the Wikileaks emails are entirely authentic, screaming it and waiting for us to grow uncertain of our mental footing and begin screaming along.
And as always, the final choice here is ours. No, we do not have a truly representative government, but we do still retain some influence. We can take their word for it and simply acquiesce, just like we did with the Iraq war, or we can stand firm and hold them to somewhat sane standards of accountability while boldly calling them out on their clearly illogical lies and propaganda. I pray that Americans make the right choice this time.
Posted by Eric Mader at 2:50 PM No comments:
Labels: 2016 election, censorship, Clinton, fake news, gaslighting, HR 6393, media, propaganda, Russia, social media, Trump
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Russian Interference in Wisconsin Recount: Experts
Eric Mader, The Disassociated Press, Madison, December 13, 2016
Evidence of Russian interference in the recent Wisconsin recount is mounting, according to experts interviewed by the Disassociated Press.
Election and polling experts cite “abnormalities” in the outcome of the statewide recount, and point to Moscow as the likely source of organized meddling that occurred in several key counties across the state.
Final tallies announced Monday showed that Hillary Clinton still had not won the state, and that Donald Trump picked up an additional 131 votes. Final totals put Trump’s count at 1,405,284 votes, 22,748 more than Clinton.
“It is my firm belief that advanced mind-control techniques were employed by Russian-trained agents to throw off this count,” David Swishe, an election expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"Agents of the Russian state were deployed outside county clerk’s offices as the recount unfolded," Swishe said. "They used telepathic mind-control to make election workers visualize Clinton ballots as Trump ballots."
“In Waukesha County, at a Starbucks just next to the clerk’s office, a very Russian-looking man was observed reading Dostoyevsky on more than one day during the recount,” he added. “It’s very suspicious.”
Lisa, a Women’s Studies student and self-described polling expert, agrees that the recount was hacked.
“I conducted exit polls on Facebook the day after the election,” she said. “Every single one of my friends voted for Hillary. Really there is no way Trump won. It's scientifically impossible.”
Both Swishe and Lisa conclude, based on their evidence, that Clinton won the state by at least a couple hundred thousand votes.
“We’re starting a petition to push for a redo of the recount,” Swishe said. “And we’ll be placing Mind Protectors around all the sites where the recount is happening.”
“I had to read Dostoyevsky myself in a lit class,” he added. “The Brothers Raskolnikov. Let me tell you first hand, that book sucks. And these Russians we have today suck even more.”
Check out my Idiocy, Ltd. at Amazon.com and begin the long, hard reckoning.
Posted by Eric Mader at 2:02 PM No comments:
Labels: 2016 election, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, media, politics, recount, Russia, Russian hacking, satire, Wisconsin recount
CATS: Unspeakably Evil Pseudo-Animals from Outer-Space
[The following piece is taken from my book Idiocy, Ltd. Pick up a copy now and save yourself a world of trouble. Or send a copy to your cat-loving friends. They'll thank you in the end. Doubt it? --E.M.]
They’re onto me. It happened again today. Not long now and I may not even be here to warn you.
But does it really matter? How many of you are listening anyway?
Still I will give it one more try. One last shot--for humanity.
Until now I’ve usually kept my warnings polite and indirect, focusing on the relatively unimportant issue of dogs vs. cats as pets. Everyone knows the world is divided between “dog people” and “cat people”. Up to now most of my efforts have been to make cat people see reason--to help them rethink allowing felines in their homes.
“Cats are loving and intelligent companions,” they’d say. “Besides, they’ve got more personality than dogs.”
Uh-huh. And mashed potatoes are a tasty alternative to duck à l’orange.
These previous "pet-related" discussions usually followed a predictable course. I should maybe give some idea before I get to More Serious Things.
“Look,” I’d begin. “Let’s do a little thought experiment. You game?”
“Imagine you’re at home in your living room, about midnight, and some drugged up kid breaks in. One of those fluke break-ins by an addict in sore need of drug money. He’s got a tire iron and his plan is to smash your head in and rifle your place for cash. Now, for this experiment, I want you to imagine you have a dog as pet. Okay?”
“So--what would your dog do when the kid came at you?”
“He’d bark like mad!” the cat lover says. “He’d try to bite him.”
“I think you’re right. Definitely. Now imagine the same situation, but you’ve got a cat instead of a dog. What would your cat do when it saw the intruder coming at you with the tire iron?”
“Uhhh . . .”
“Not sure? I’ll tell you what your cat would do. It would sense danger and dive for cover behind the sofa. No?”
“Well . . .”
“Then after the intruder had killed you and left with your cash and credit cards, after the coast was clear in other words, your cat would eventually come out from behind the sofa and check you out. And it would lick up some of the blood and check you out some more. And not long after that it would start to eat your face.”
“Hey, you’re out of line!” the cat lover usually protests at this point. “My cat loves me! I mean, if no one came to find the body, a dog would get hungry and start to eat its owner too. It would happen with a dog too!”
“You’re probably right. But the dog would wait a couple days, it would wait until it was really hungry--whereas your cat would have your face finished before 24 hours was up. Guaranteed. And in any case, this isn’t my point. My main point is that your precious cat did nothing to protect you to begin with. It watched out for its own fuzzy little ass by ducking behind the sofa. And what does that say about cats?”
“I dunno . . . They’re smart?”
“Agent Smith is smart. That doesn’t mean I’d choose him as a roommate.”
“Anyway, it’s not gonna happen,” the cat lover concludes. “And I’m not so sure my cat wouldn’t defend me. You never know.”
Sometimes I’ll raise a different scenario, in which the cat lover is in her living room with her cat, watching TV, but this time there’s a witch hovering outside the window who decides to shrink her down to six inches tall. Suddenly there she is on the sofa next to Fluffy, but now six inches tall. What would dear dear Fluffy do?
Of course I usually get the same evasive “Uhh . . .” for answer.
“Your cat that loves you would look at you for four or five seconds, a bit confused maybe, then smack you one with its right paw, then smack you again with its left, then break your spine with its jaw, and it would keep playing with you like that until dinner was finished. You doubt it?”
“My cat would never do that.”
“Give me a break. But what would a dog do in this situation? Imagine it. Really: try to imagine. The reaction would be very different. A dog seeing its owner suddenly miniaturized would start to whine in panic. Its tail would wag nervously; it would run round frantically trying to figure out what to do. In short: A dog would do pretty much what a human companion would do. That’s the gulf between dogs and cats--same as the gulf between dogs and lizards.”
Having presented these scenarios, having pointed to the other obvious disadvantages of cats (hair stuck on everything; the litter box for chrissakes!) by the end of the conversation the cat lover would still usually insist there was nothing perverse about living with cats. Instead, he or she would typically go away convinced I was a jerk for coming up with such scenarios in the first place.
That’s mental illness for you, hey? Try to help people overcome their problem and they turn on you. Is there any getting through the kitty fog that wraps their heads?
But enough. That was then, this is now. Now I’m taking the gloves off. No more pet talk. No, this is about humanity as a whole, and I’ve decided to come out with the Real Truth about cats. Because someone has to do it, and frankly, I’m sick to death watching what’s happening. As I’ve said, I personally, again today, was almost undone by one of these vicious creatures.
I was walking in a lane near my apartment in Taipei, where I live. In recent days I’d noticed a new cat prowling the neighborhood, slinking behind parked cars, glaring at me as I headed to work. A nasty butterscotch-and-whitish little thing--what do they call them, tabby? I paid it no mind, except to glare back.
I should point out that these Taipei lanes are often abuzz with traffic, usually motorcycles and scooters. Sometimes kids fly down the lanes at a pretty good clip too, and it’s a wonder more of them don’t get killed, except that it isn’t really a wonder because a lot of them do get killed.
Anyhow, coming home from work, walking down the lane, two young women on a motorbike were flying toward me at high speed (nothing to worry about, they’d simply fly past) except that this time that same tabby street cat decided to dash out from under a parked car. Right into the line of trajectory.
So what do you think the Taipei girl driving the motorbike did, run over poor kitty? No. She swerved straight toward me. Better to injure a walking man than harm a street cat, no?
I leapt just in time and landed on the ground, my glasses flying from my face as the girls skidded to a stop fifteen meters away.
The girl on the back jumped off in alarm and ran to check--on the fucking cat. The girl driving gave me a non-committal sort of smile and said: “Sorry. You OK?”
“No, not really,” I answered, sitting up. “First, you’re going way too fast for a lane. Second, you could have put me in the hospital. If I hadn’t dived in time, I’d have broken bones.”
“Well, sorry. As long as you’re alright. I mean, I saw the cat but didn’t see you.”
Which of course made no sense, given my size relative to the cat. But what do you expect?
“The cat’s alright!” the other girl said, coming back breathless. It was then I noticed the Hello Kitty helmet.
“Pssh!” I said. I stood up, dusted myself off, and strode away.
Now maybe in all this you see an everyday little traffic mishap: a cat spooked by something runs into the street, a driver swerves and knocks someone down. But that’s not how I see it. No. Because this isn’t the first time this kind of thing has happened. The simple truth is that that cat tried to kill me. And it had come into my neighborhood in the first place on orders from some higher up to do just that. Yes, my accident today was actually a case of attempted murder. And this is why I’m finally going to reveal what I know about cats. Because the truth will out. The truth must be told. Before it’s too late.
Cats are an alien species of life that has come to our planet to take it over. They are a parasitic life form that has learned to impersonate mammals so as to attach themselves to us, their hypnotized human hosts. They’re making rapid progress in their takeover. I believe they will soon be moving on to Stage 3. Once that happens, we won’t have a chance.
For whatever reason, cats have chosen to infiltrate us by first hypnotizing and subjugating the female half of the species. They’ve done this mainly through their supposed cuteness. Consider: It used to be that women who had trouble with men would turn to religion or volunteering or some other kind of charitable work. But look what’s happened. Community service or prayer or knitting clubs are all passé. Now most of these women just become “cat ladies”. Instead of doing things for humanity, they spend their time taking care of devil-spawn feline parasites from outer space. Is it any surprise the parasites are multiplying?
Did I mention religion? Have you noticed how cats have become objects of almost cult-like worship for these women? They’ve replaced the role previously held by Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Buddha. It’s no coincidence either. The cats have done it by design. They are leading us to worship them.
Did I say hypnotized? Actually that’s putting it mildly. It is now known that cats carry a brain virus called Toxoplasma gondii which they transmit to humans via contact with their excrement. Cute, huh? And think about it: contact with cat excrement is pretty much a sure thing when they’re shitting inside your house in a little sandbox, then tramping the shit-laced sand dust everywhere with those designed-to-transfer-shit-dust puffball paws they have. Shit dust on tables and chairs, shit dust on sofas and counters--all over the place. Is it any surprise people with cats become carriers of the virus, which has been linked to schizophrenia and brain cancer by the way, but which also, and this is key, has been shown to warp other mammals’ brains so as to make them attracted to the smell of cat urine.
I’m not making this up. Scientists suppose that cats and the virus evolved in symbiosis so as to draw rodents to the odor of cat piss, the virus thus offering cats a little protein perk for hosting it. And guess what, cat lover: In this equation you’re the fucking rodent. Virally mesmerized by the smell of your cat’s pee, you slavishly feed and care for it day after day while it sits there glaring at you, wishing it could shrink you down to rodent size, swap you back and forth awhile, then bite your head off.
Yes, scientists say evolution explains the virus, but I know differently. Though I support evolutionary theory in general, in this instance I smell intelligent design. Alien intelligent design. Toxoplasma is in fact a high-grade bioweapon installed in the cats in pursuance of total human enslavement at the hands (or: paws) of these stinking pseudo-mammals and their alien overlords.
An estimated sixty million Americans currently carry the Toxoplasma virus. House cats should be outlawed. Period. I’m thinking industrial-sized burlap bags with bricks. Or the way we deal with cattle that have mad cow disease. But instead of sane public policy, what do we get? A worldwide onslaught of pro-feline propaganda. You have to wonder why.
Do I even have to mention the Hello Kitty brand again? It’s perverted the minds of tens of millions of young girls globally, many soon becoming office women who tote Kitty cell phones or key chains, then soon after that--you guessed it--turn into full-on cat ladies.
I can still remember the shudder I felt arriving in Asia back in the ‘90s when I saw how saturated the culture had become with this mouthless little white vermin, the Kitty icon. At the time I didn’t understand then what was behind my shudder. Now I do. I was experiencing a premonition of the slow infiltration that was just then entering a new stage.
Two decades on, Kitty has infiltrated the West too. In the States I see Kitty girls all over and cat ladies popping up on every corner. Start with Avril Lavigne and work your way out from there.
Here north of Taipei in the park where I go for a smoke break from work there’s a dotty-looking cat lady who walks round every evening putting down little plastic bowls of Friskies for the strays. They wait for her under parked cars and glare at me with their alien eyes as I smoke my mini cigars. They know me. They know I’m onto them.
But as for the old homeless woman missing one arm who hangs out on the other side of the park--does the cat lady ever bring something for her? Never. I chat with the woman and put change in her bowl a few times a week. Meanwhile the cat lady feeds these alien parasites, helping ensure the next generation.
I watch her as she makes her rounds, her distracted air, the nervous twitch on her face, her brain eaten away by the virus.
When is the world going to wake up? How obvious does it have to get? It’s gotten to the point that these invading felines have even begun hardwiring humans to work for them.
Did I say humans? Maybe I should say fakes, androids.
Years ago I read The Facebook Effect, David Kirkpatrick’s book on the conception and founding of the world’s monopoly social network. Kirkpatrick focused on the initial strategies behind Facebook’s advance and the brilliance Mark Zuckerberg showed every step of the way, overcoming obstacle after obstacle, foreseeing problems months before they came up. It was an amazing story, and before I’d finished the book, as I was reading the last chapters in a local cafe, it suddenly dawned on me: “This Zuckerberg guy isn’t actually human.”
And he isn’t.
Mark Zuckerberg is an alien plant. He’s an android. He was put here by the cats. Skim Facebook news feeds and you’ll see what it’s all about. Photos of cats, cats used as profile pictures, endless feeds of YouTube cat videos showing the skills and “cuteness” of these “animals”: a nonstop visual atrocity.
As a psy-op, Facebook sure was genius. You gotta hand it to these despicable aliens. “Zuckerberg”, that supposed smart Jewish kid from White Plains, New York, created a portal through which the cats could invade ever more of our human consciousness. People are now using cat faces for their profile pictures. Can you beat that for propaganda? People identifying themselves with the aliens that will soon enslave them.
And I haven’t even mentioned Japanese manga yet. That nightmarish barrage of cat-faced melon-breasted girls is enough to make any sane man cringe. And most Western men do cringe. But the genre has infiltrated the Asian psyche to the point that young Asian men actually dream of bedding hominoid felines. I know this because I’ve been told. And human women have begun to spend their real salaries altering their eyes and cheeks to look more catlike.
With all this going on, how long can it be before they make their move--before they reach out their paws for TOTAL CONTROL? Perhaps there won’t even be a coup; perhaps they’ll slowly achieve ascendancy without us even noticing. It will be a silent takeover, not a whimper of protest. One fine day most of the planet will wake up and realize they’ve been reduced to sweat-shop conditions, working in huge cat toy factories or grinding up lobster and fish carcasses to fill truckload after truckload with cans of Friskies Captain’s Platter. Meanwhile the cats will be feeding us intravenously. We’ll be chained body and soul to the fishy grindstone of their pussy utopia.
That last line didn’t come out right. Anyhow, then will come the physical change, Stage 4, when the cats shape-shift to reveal their true appearance. Some fellow researchers in this area (I’m not the only human to realize what’s going on) have managed to get images of what this next stage of cat will look like. Believe me, it isn’t pretty.
Of course I realize some of you may be skeptical about my claims. You may have doubts that cats are actually an alien species sent here to enslave humanity. You may suspect that I personally just don’t like cats and am making all this up because I’m allergic to cats and my grandma’s cat scratched me up bad when I was four and I still haven’t forgiven the whole species. But I’ve a few more facts to present that I think will cinch the deal.
First, when I say that cats are here to reduce us to groveling submission I am referring to house cats only. I have nothing against the larger cats: lions, tigers, panthers, cheetahs, cougars--these all can be fine animals, especially the latter. No, it’s only the small cats, those that pose no apparent threat to humans, that concern me here.
Because if you research the history of these small cats, you will find something very strange. Paleozoologists actually have trouble explaining it.
Consider: Cats were first domesticated in Egypt around the time the pyramids were built. It is in Egypt we first find cat bones buried in ways that indicate they were pets. But interestingly, these cats are of a type and species that can’t be found anywhere else in the zoological record. So there is so far no evidence of any similar-sized wild species of cat that the Egyptians domesticated. In other words: The record shows that this species first showed up in Pharaonic Egypt as human pets: it didn’t even exist until it was already living in Egyptian households.
How is that possible? It’s nothing like the case with dogs or other animals, whose domestication can easily be traced from wild forebears. What does it mean?
I will tell you.
House cats are an artificial species. They are fake animals. They were genetically engineered precisely to be taken in by us as pets. The alien intelligence that engineered them used wild cats as a rough model (they wanted to create a convincing mammal) but made the soon-to-be-domestic cats smaller and more deviously intelligent. The Egyptians fell for the alien bait: they took the creatures in as pets, and the demented practice of keeping house cats spread from there around the world.
It’s no surprise the Egyptians were the first to host this parasite. As noted archeologists like Erich van Däniken and Zecharia Sitchin (the former nominated for the Nobel Prize, but he didn’t get it because of the machinations of Swedish cat lovers) have pointed out, there is convincing evidence the Egyptians, in their technological advancement and in the construction of the pyramids, were using techniques taught them by aliens. It is likely that, like the Nazca lines in Peru, the pyramids were important markers of some kind for alien landing strips. One can imagine the hyperintelligent, villainous cat creatures flying UFOs, landing in the Egyptian desert and meeting with the Pharaoh to tell him what to do to prepare landing strips for their eventual return. Which, in my calculations, will occur in 2024. And the Pharaoh, what can he do, he's just like “Okay. Whatever you cats say.”
Cue History Channel.
Look I know there’s a lot of info here and maybe you’re having trouble digesting it. But the point is--something MUST be done about these fucking pseudo-creatures before it’s too late.
I’m just trying to get the warning out here. Truth is I should have done it long ago. If you are not intimidated by the feline forces that are likely watching, you might help me in spreading this warning as far and wide as possible. Before it’s too late.
This and 42 other important public service announcements can be found in my new book Idiocy, Ltd. Never say I didn't warn you.
Posted by Eric Mader at 3:09 AM 1 comment:
Labels: cat, Idiocy Ltd., public health, satire, short short, toxoplasma gondii, UFO
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Clinton Sheep: Non-Stop Baaaaiiiit and Shift
Our CLINTON SHEEP with their blah blah blah she won the popular vote blah blah electors save us blah blah blah it was the "fake news".
Really these people are the sorest losers in shepherding history.
Both Trump and Clinton campaigns ran in order to win the electoral college. And Clinton lost. If the rules of the game had been different, say if winning had been based on taking the popular vote, there's no telling who would have won this election. How many Trump supporters in solid blue states didn't vote because they knew Clinton would take their state anyway? Likewise how many Clinton supporters in red states? We will never know the tallies. The electoral college is how our elections are decided, and there are good constitutional reasons for that. Election 2016 is over.
But not for these pissy Clinton Dems. It's like two teams played a game of baseball and then the losing team came out whining "If it had been basketball, we'd have won. Let's pretend it was basketball."
With each passing day, I am gladder I didn't vote Clinton.
Posted by Eric Mader at 11:29 AM No comments:
On "Fake News"
I have devoted my life to language and understanding how it works and doesn't work. And really, I say the following with utmost seriousness: ALL news is fake news.
We should not fall into the trap of pretending we can draw a line between real news and "fake" news. Even those who seek utter objectivity in reporting cannot achieve it, because they are already choosing to underline certain facts and ignore others, which is one of the most determinant levers of bias. The existence of intentionally misleading news stories is nothing new. It should sharpen our critical abilities and prod us to check sources, rather than push us to declare which news providers are "fake".
Making blanket declarations--"That site is all fake news"--will only lead people to give more credence to news providers that are already FAKE ENOUGH to warrant suspicion and deeper checking. Cf. CNN, or any of our other mainstream news sources.
Posted by Eric Mader at 11:16 AM No comments:
Monday, November 21, 2016
Liberal Blindness Destroyed both the Bush and Obama Legacies
It is the major historical irony of our new American century, but one I’ve seen nowhere remarked.
The legacies of both this century’s first conservative president, George W. Bush, and of his left-liberal successor Barack Obama were already in tatters as their tenures ended. The irony is that both administrations undid themselves through policies only made possible by the heavy sway certain liberal myths wield in our political life.
I would call the culprit simply liberal blindness--a blindness deeply ingrained among us and one seen, as I hope to show, most clearly in the liberal mind's fatal tendency to disconnect itself from rigorous analysis of culture. Philosophically induced, our liberal refusal to look squarely at culture destroyed both the Bush and Obama legacies.
How did it fall out in the two cases?
For the Bush administration, liberal thought induced a fatal naivety as regards political possibilities in Iraq. Both the extent of naivety, and the world-historical tragedy it led to, would be hard to overstate. The apologists of regime change and nation building kept repeating: “We will be welcomed as liberators” and “All people desire freedom.” But only a deep self-induced ignorance of the cultural and religious makeup of Iraq could allowed policymakers to assert that the Iraqi state, once freed of Baathist rule, would transform itself into a stable democracy. We know how it ended: millions dead (including scores of our own citizens) civil war, the rise of ISIS.
The culprit here was the entrenched liberal myth that all cultures are somehow naturally “on the way” to western-style democracy. Were it not for the sway this notion held, the nation-building argument could never have been formulated relative to the tense, divided territory called Iraq. Blinded by myth, we proceeded to shoot ourselves in the foot. Both we and the Iraqis are still bleeding from our wounds.
Unaccountably, even the lessons that could have been learned from the recent fall of communist Yugoslavia and the bloodbath of ethnicities that ensued there carried no weight in our political debates going in. A smart high schooler could have seen that lesson (the fall of an authoritarian state in an ethnically and religiously divided territory is a sure-fire recipe for civil war) but our pundits and leaders could not. Mythical thinking prevailed.
The second area in which the Bush legacy was undone thanks to liberal myth relates to the management of the US economy. Free-market fundamentalism, a myth tradition according to which markets are somehow natural, self-regulating organisms, had during the Clinton years led to the repeal of Glass-Steagall. Of course Bush and his appointees were fine with that massive deregulatory move, as they shared the thinking that made it possible. Planted in the 1990s, the poison poppies of Wall Street excess burst in Bush’s second term, and on the back of his pipe-dream venture in Iraq, this second liberally-induced disaster ensured Bush’s legacy would be one of massive bungling.
Just as the liberal consensus had failed to consider the cultures of Iraq, so they failed to consider the culture of Wall Street. There was no sufficient thought of what might really happen if the foxes were left to guard the henhouse. Markets, according to the meme, are naturally self-regulating systems.
Those were the Bush years. But Obama’s legacy was similarly undone by liberal blindness. The myth that ultimately undid what could have been the Obama-Clinton years relates to liberal notions of “progress"--specifically that ingrained belief that progress is something that must always occur, being somehow built into the very movement of history.
The Obama administration, deeply corrupted by corporate cronyism, wasn’t about to actually crack down on Wall Street (none of the banksters were jailed; Dodd-Frank was weak medicine compared to the previous Glass-Steagall) and so Obama had to show he was progressing on other fronts. Thus we have the Affordable Care Act. But more importantly, I think, in terms of Obama's progressive cred, we have same-sex marriage, followed by the now raging trans craze--in short, the ascendency of the LGBT movement, to which Obama gave belated but decisive support in an obvious attempt to reenact the Civil Rights Movement in sexual terms. It was liberal myth that made this project plausible. Since “progress” must always be happening, and since we know as a culture what “progress” looks like (namely: previously oppressed groups are given equal rights) this attempt to remake America’s thinking on marriage and gender was rendered passable as an exciting new arena for History, one in which Obama could cement his legacy as a figure comparable to Martin Luther King, Jr. Never mind that the actual Civil Rights Movement sought to undo injustices grounded in specifically modern forms of racism rooted in modern pseudo-scientific theories of race, whereas, quite differently, this new sexual civil rights movement brought with it a concerted ideological assault on much more fundamental human realities: the majority culture's thinking on sexual difference and marriage, both rooted in a traceable history stretching back to ancient times.
The problem, again, was the Obama administration’s insufficient analysis of actual American culture. Millions upon millions of Americans did not in fact agree that redefining marriage in this way was progress. Neither did religious Americans appreciate the heavy-handed way the new definition of marriage was being forced on them. More obviously, relative to Obama policy in the recent couple years, the elevation of a psychological disorder (gender dysphoria) to the status of normal (as if a boy deciding at age six that he is a girl is somehow a previously undiscovered natural development that should lead to immediate name change and eventual hormone treatment) led many Americans to react in justified anger. They saw clearly where this would lead: to a state-baacked LGBT movement dictating to them what boys and girls were, as well as dictating how they were to raise their children. I believe many of these Americans, many who might otherwise have voted Democrat, decided early on to give the whole Obama-Clinton tribe the boot, seeing that this party cabal was pushing into arenas of human meaning where government should not presume to tread. Had it not been for the offenses against religious liberty (again in the name of “progress”) and the rise of the trans craze, Clinton would have likely have won and her party would have held the Senate. Yes, the fury at Obama and the Washington elites over economic issues was certainly crucial, but this cultural blindness of the Democratic leadership might have been the thing to tip many voters into the Trump camp.
Thus again, in the case of Obama, the shattered legacy can be chalked up to a blind indifference to specifically cultural realities: a liberal refusal to look at actual communities and how they hold together; a dogmatic belief in liberal myth, in this case a myth of constant progress, as decisive.
All of this, if my reading is right, should suggest a chastened return to anthropology for anyone who claims to be a political thinker. There is much to cherish in our liberal order, but its mythical excesses, if not recognized, may prove fatal. Liberal consensus is now fraying across the Western world. One of the reasons, in my reading, is precisely this ingrained liberal disrespect for culture. Those who would defend the liberal tradition need to rediscover a respect for the concrete cultures of real nations, and adjust liberal prescriptions accordingly.
Check out my book Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.
Posted by Eric Mader at 3:40 PM No comments:
Labels: Bush Administration, culture, George W. Bush, Iraq, liberal blindness, liberal myth, Obama Administration, politics
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Hillary More Dangerous
Both major candidates are unacceptable, everyone knows it, but the constant refrain from the Clinton-backers is that we need to support her because Trump is “dangerous”.
The argument isn’t bad on certain levels. I think Trump’s character is a major major issue, no doubt about it. But in other and maybe more fundamental respects (in concrete policy stances for instance) there are reasons to see Clinton as potentially the more dangerous of the two. And that’s really saying something.
Why do I think she is possibly more dangerous?
Forget pay-to-play, the Wall Street corruption, the glaring attempts to obstruct public oversight of her State Department tenure, etc. All that is bad enough, and should have disqualified her. It maybe would have disqualified her if our FBI director had stuck to the text of the relevant laws in July. But forget all this. The real problem is Hillary’s militarism, which comes out glaringly in her current policy positions.
Soon enough a Clinton administration might very well bring us into open conflict with Russia over Syria, which could end a lot worse for us than anything we’ve ever experienced as a nation. And it’s not a stretch to imagine such a conflict either.
In the third debate, Hillary proposed we establish no-fly zones in Syria. As many have pointed out, this would be a very dangerous move, one that might quickly lead to us shooting Russian fighter jets from the sky. And how would we prevent things from escalating, especially given the thin ice on which we currently stand vis a vis Russia in Ukraine and the Baltic states?
Hillary’s willingness to “go into Syria” is in my mind on a par for stupidity with the Bush administration’s eagerness to take out Saddam. No, it is probably even stupider, given Russia already has a major stake in the Syrian conflict. What would prevent Hillary from pursuing her preferred course?
If corporate finance could convince these people that Glass-Steagall should be repealed (cf. Bill Clinton) and that the financial WMD called “derivatives” are acceptable instruments of trade, then corporate military could convince Hillary that being able to impose our will on Syria is worth risking war with Russia. To listen to her, she is already convinced. Never mind actual WMD this time in the form of Russia’s nuclear capability.
Blowing up the world economy so Wall Street could play blackjack 24/7 with our savings was bad enough. How about blowing up North American and half of Asia?
Our Washington hawks simply can’t seem to let the Middle East fall into a sane balance of power. And Hillary has always been on the hawkish side of the hawk camp. Many of us are getting damned tired of hearing about Russia from these people. That we screwed up massively in Iraq, creating ISIS and giving Baghdad to the Shia--this is not Vladimir Putin’s fault. It’s the fault of our own political class, who can’t seem to say No to a war if the corporate/military lobby wants one.
With all that’s happened since 2003, that the Hillary team can’t simply let Putin protect his ally Assad shows a Washington elite just itching to commit another crime against sanity. Overreach seems the default position for these people. Guess it pays the bills, huh?
As against this, we hear constantly that Trump is dangerous because of . . . racism, bigotry, his attitudes to women. These personal faults, to the extent they exist, don’t stand up to war with Russia in terms of a threat. In any case, I don’t believe Trump could establish American fascism, as some have been screaming. He simply doesn’t have a coherent enough ideology. Trump is no Mussolini, though he may well be an American Berlusconi.
On Syria, Trump is basically right. If Assad falls, it is jihadists who will take over, whether they call themselves ISIS or not. Trump recognizes that the best thing for American interests (to the extent those interests are not identical with corporate interests) is to let Russia continue to protect Assad, and let Russia and Assad knock themselves out bombing the ragtag horde of jihadists now fighting the Syrian state. Hillary, meanwhile, sounds literally nuts on this issue. And it’s a nuttiness we cannot afford--not any more, and certainly not this time, not with Russia deeply involved.
Trump is a loose cannon and narcissist of the first order. He is, however, not nearly as likely to continue trying to remake every state in the Middle East through American firepower. His positions are more trade oriented, isolationist, ultimately pragmatic and domestic in scope. The corporations don’t want pragmatic, or domestic, and so they hate him. But what represents the real danger for us at present--the unfettered military/corporate power Hillary shills for, the ongoing march of aggressive globalization, or the politically incorrect behavior of a Donald Trump?
At the very least, Trump and Clinton both represent serious dangers. The assumption that we must vote Clinton to “protect us” from Trump, however, seems to me a case of willful blindness.
Check out my book Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.
Posted by Eric Mader at 12:56 PM 2 comments:
Labels: 2016 election, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, militarism, no-fly zones, Putin, Russia, Syria
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Abedin Emails Reveal Clinton Cabinet Picks: Source
Eric Mader, The Disassociated Press, Washington, D.C.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an FBI source with access to the emails on Anthony Weiner’s seized laptop has informed the Disassociated Press that one email contains a list of Hillary Clinton’s likely cabinet picks. The email in question was written by Clinton aide Huma Abedin to John Podesta on October 4th. The Disassociated Press is unable to verify the authenticity of the email, but has decided to publish the contents as received.
The email indicates both uncertainties on Clinton’s part and, in some cases, unprecedented double appointments. The full text reads as follows:
HRC wanted me to share this list with you and get input. We should have an amended list within ten days.
Attorney General: Loretta Lynch
Federal Reserve Chairman: Lloyd Blankfein?
Securities and Exchange Commission: Lloyd Blankfein? (could Lloyd do both?)
Surgeon General: Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Secretary of State: Chelsea Clinton
Secretary of Defense: George W. Bush
Secretary of Education: Beyonce and Jay-Z (can we do double appointments?)
Health and Human Services: Cecile Richards
Agriculture: Hugh Grant (not the actor; never liked the actor--snooty)
CIA Director: Matt Damon
Secretary of Family and Childhood Development: Caitlyn Jenner
Homeland Security Head: We’ll just use my own server
Press Secretary: Anderson Cooper? Richard Quest? (Either would be great. How many will CNN let us take altogether? Call them)
Secretary of the Interior: Huma
Secretary of Religious Freedom: Rachel Maddow
Secretary of Secretaries: Debbie Wassermann Schultz
Secretary of Bill’s Entertainment: Jeffrey Epstein
Secretary of Pantsuits: Captain Kangaroo
Check out my book Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.
Posted by Eric Mader at 12:43 PM No comments:
Labels: 2016 election, email scandal, Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, politics, satire
Friday, September 23, 2016
Trump or Clinton? Neither!
Happens all the time these days. I post something on Facebook indicating I don’t support Hillary and immediately get this from Jane, a friend of a friend: “So your thought is to elect Trump? And that would be better?”
Instead of writing another editorial, I’ll just give you our ensuing dialogue.
Eric Mader: No. My thought is not "to elect Trump”. My thought is rather: A vote is a vote FOR someone, not merely a vote against someone else. Hillary does not deserve the votes of honest citizens, and I refuse to swell her numbers (and thus the illusion of her legitimacy) by giving her my vote. I will no longer join in the Democrat vs. Republican race to the bottom, but will vote third party. The mainstream Democrats deserve to lose, and I'm willing to take the risk of Trump in office if it will help delegitimize these utter fakes.
Jane Doe: Wow. If Trump wins, our world will be pretty scary, and if you supported the tenets of Bernie you will be in for a rude awakening. Unfortunately, at this time a vote for third party is a vote for Trump.
Eric Mader: You’re just being patronizing, Jane. I'm well aware of what rude awakenings there may be. And no: A vote for a third party is emphatically NOT a vote for Trump. A vote for a third party is a vote for a third party. That's why it's called "a vote for a third party".
Jane Doe: Call it what you will, but a Trump presidency certainly would not "delegitimize these utter fakes". He appears to be the biggest fake of them all. And because you are a US citizen you can express your opinions freely and vote for who you want. Good luck.
Eric Mader: Your response is characteristic. Realizing that I will not be voting Hillary, you immediately change the subject to Trump and how he's a bigger fake than Hillary--"the biggest fake of them all". I think which of these two is the bigger fake is arguable, because they are fakes in such different ways, but ultimately the argument is beside the point.
If a place offered you lunch with the choice of shit in a bowl or shit on a stick, your logic would have to be that the shit on the stick is the only wise choice because, look, the amount of shit in the bowl is larger. My choice is to not eat lunch. Who is wiser? Which is the course of action more likely to put that shit restaurant out of business, yours or mine?
I am not voting for Trump, so I'm not sure why you even mention him. The only way to delegitimize fakes in a democracy is not to vote for them. I'm not going to vote for them. You, however, are in the camp that keeps saying: "Mm, this shit on a stick, it really isn't that bad. Creamy actually. Mm, everyone should eat here."
I worked hard to elect Obama twice, the first time enthusiastically, the second time not so much. For me, this election is not between Trump and Hillary, it's between the possibility of democracy and the reality of corporate control over our whole political process. Whether you can see this or not, it is Hillary who is the consummate corporate candidate, which is why, surprise surprise, so many Republican establishment figures are now coming out in her favor. They're doing so because their Republican commitments, all along, have not been to maintaining a democratic republic but rather to furthering the smooth corporate takeover of our republic--ensuring, in short, that government continues to sell out the population to corporate interests. They know--which is bizarre, isn't it?--that the GOP candidate, this time, is actually a less reliable corporate rubber stamp than the Democratic candidate.
Anyhow, good luck to you. I'm fifty now, and I won't be supporting these people any more. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours in politics, going back to my undergrad years, and am no longer giving the benefit of the doubt to anyone who's spent as much time sucking Wall Street and the corporate elites as Hillary has.
Check out my book Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.
Posted by Eric Mader at 3:37 PM No comments:
Labels: 2016 election, Clinton, corporate elite, Hillary Clinton, politics, third party, Trump, Wall Street
Thursday, September 22, 2016
The Despair Election: Michael Hanby on our Exhausted Options
First, go read philosopher Michael Hanby’s brilliant remarks on the widespread sense among people great and small that our political order (the liberalism ushered in by the Enlightenment) is “exhausted” and somehow can’t respond to the crisis we’re in.
Then consider my following comments on how left and right function in our political thinking and day-to-day wrangling--or rather, how they fail to function. I see this dichotomy of left vs. right as one of the subsidiary blinders making our liberal horizon much more difficult to see past.
How might we overcome this impasse and begin to forge a more workable politics of hope?
Reply to Hanby:
One of our problems, along with the conceptual horizons imposed by liberalism, is the obsolete language of “left” and “right” that we continue to apply when weighing our options. This too is part of why we can’t construct a politics of hope, and in my reading this outworn dichotomy helps explain the decline of the left into identity politics and of the right into free-market fundamentalism/free trade or Trumpian nationalism.
Classical liberalism presents itself not as a tentative theory of how society might be organized but as a theory of nature. It claims to lay out the forces of nature and to make these a model for social order. Thus free-market fundamentalism, letting the market function “as nature intended”. It’s an absurd position when applied dogmatically, and no more “natural” than other economic arrangements humans might develop.
The only truly rock solid aspect of classical liberalism in my mind is its theory of individual dignity, the permanent and nonnegotiable value of each individual in essence and before the law. The left has taken this and run with it and turned it into identity politics, which has morphed into a virtual divination of individual desire and self-definition. This is of course something quite different from the classical liberal understanding of the nonnegotiable value of the individual. The capitalist right, on the other hand, has taken liberal individual rights and turned them into a theory of individual responsibility for one’s economic fate, which is helpful in ways, but not decisive or even fully explanatory as to why people end up where they are. Free trade enthusiasts have put a lot of people in dire economic straits, but when you listen to these enthusiasts they speak as if their economics somehow represents nature, as opposed to what such economics really is: a shallow apologetics for the practices of international corporations.
Further, as I suggest, our two camps left and right are no longer even distinctly left and right in any traditional sense. The market forces and self-marketing that lead to the fetishization of identity by the left are the same market forces championed by the capitalist right. In America today, both left and right are merely different bourgeois cults of Self. The right’s cult of Self is the old one of the self-made man, whereas the left’s, an utter betrayal of any real left politics, echoes the thrust of market forces in a different way, playing off the myriad little marketable differences between individuals or demographics. The “left” has thus morphed into just another version of the vast capitalist marketing cult that America itself has become: iPhone, myWorld, iChat, iVictim, SelfieLove, iBornThisWay, iPride, iDentity.
It should be no surprise that the inalienable dignity of the individual, that rock solid core of liberal thinking, grew directly from the Christian soil of Paul’s assertion of the equality of all--men, women, Greek, Jew, freed, slave--in Christ. (Galatians 3:28) The now internationalized Western concept of human rights is merely a universalized version of Paul’s thought, hatched in a Christian Europe by philosophes who didn’t recognize just how Christian they were.
After all the utopian dusts settle, whether the dust of Adam Smith or the dust of PC Non-Discrimination, we must see that the one thing holding us together is this recognition that the political order must respect human rights. The core issue at present, the most fundamental way of respecting human rights, is thus that we legislate in ways that reflect a realistic understanding of these rights. In short, we must wisely theorize these rights if we are to preserve them. As for the right’s free-market fundamentalism/free trade or the left’s PC progressivism, they each are proving to be pipe dreams that don’t address the economic or legal challenges in coherent ways. They each sacrifice true rights at one altar or another in the vast temple of the Market.
The obsolete language of “left” and “right” keeps us blinded to the real human challenges. It keeps us unwilling to grapple with our concrete economic and legal problems, if only because we’re too busy cheerleading either one version of the capitalist cult or the other.
I’m looking forward to Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option (to be published in 2017) mainly as providing some answers as to how the remnant of faithful Christians in this mayhem might both hold their faith intact while perhaps simultaneously developing less utopian modes of thinking about community. For us Christians, the current political order may very well be shaping up to be something like the pagan Roman Empire was to the early church. We finally have to face that, politically speaking, we are in the world but not of it. At least as regards any hope we might have of swaying the forces that capitalism has unleashed via its largely bogus “left” and “right” branches. I do not think left and right are completely useless as political concepts, but that they are less and less helpful in America, as the two sides are coming ever more to resemble each other.
Crucially, we must give up cheering for either of our two national parties, which have grown into one Corporate Oligarchical Party. We must focus our energies elsewhere, in building more solid local communities. When or whether these communities might offer alternative political parties is a different and less pressing question.
Posted by Eric Mader at 4:27 PM No comments:
Labels: 2016 election, crisis of civilization, Enlightenment, identity politics, liberalism, Michael Hanby
Sunday, September 11, 2016
The "Deplorables" Reply to Hillary Clinton
“Basket of Deplorables”?
That’s what Hillary Clinton called tens of millions of Americans yesterday, claiming that those opposed to her were racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic.
I know the current liberal PC definition of terms like racist or homophobic, and it's likely I'd be called these things by many an unhinged activist. So I'm with the deplorables myself. And I feel solidarity with them.
We see through you, Hillary. Play your PC “-phobic” card all you want. We’re not buying it. Over the past dozen years, liberals have thrown around the word "bigot" so much that the word has lost its meaning. It is debased. All one has to do is disagree with the robots of political correctness on any small point and one is a bigot. I disagree with them on many many points.
We Americans who see what's going on aren't afraid of your smear words because we see the illegitimate way you define these words. And the way you, Hillary, use them to distract people from their real problems. Namely: Corporate control of our government. Namely: You yourself and everything you stand for.
No. Just because we think Black America needs to officially condemn its gangsta rap culture and take more responsibility for its communities doesn’t make us racist. It makes us awake to what is happening.
Just because we think LGBT activists don’t have the right to dictate sex and gender norms for our whole culture doesn’t make us homophobic. It makes us, uh, sane.
Just because we call radical Islamic terrorism by its real name doesn’t make us Islamophobic.
Just because we don’t of approve our elected leaders (your party, Hillary) exporting our jobs to foreign countries doesn’t make us xenophobic.
We see through you, Hillary. We’ve watched official Washington, your party included, sell us down the river for two decades now. Everything we know about you tells us you’ll do nothing but sell the last bit of us left to be sold.
We see that you have nothing but scorn for our values and traditions. Your former boss, Barack Obama, has shown this scorn time and again. We know you are full of such scorn too. Your words yesterday prove it.
In our minds, Hillary, the real deplorables are those who imagine you will stand for working Americans. We know very well you will not. You will stand for your PC special interest groups on the one hand, and Wall Street and the corporate boards on the other.
We see through you. We don’t accept your insulting labels. We are not "racist", "homophobic", etc., etc. We are Americans with our own vision of what our country should be. And we aren’t going to give you our vote in November. Count on it.
Posted by Eric Mader at 5:13 PM 5 comments:
Labels: basket of deplorables, Hillary Clinton, politics, reply, response
Friday, August 26, 2016
Zombies and the Great Cursive Debate
I can’t remember when I first heard about the heated debate going on over cursive back in the US. I do however remember my reaction: “Figures.”
Living as an expat and teacher in Asia, I’ve watched my country from overseas since the mid-1990s, and have learned to expect that if a policy represents dumbing down, most Americans will be cheering it on.
Reading the debate in the press, I found the usual predictable points made by the anti-cursive camp--"It will save classroom time!” key among them, of course. But was more depressed by the often misguided counterpoints made by the pro-cursive camp--"How will kids read their grandparents' old letters?" etc.
Given the lame level of this debate and the generally bad pedagogy in vogue, I could see the pro-cursive camp was fated to lose.
And they did. Cursive is now federally frowned upon. Yet another card pulled from the teetering house of cards.
The pro-cursive camp, I think, would have done better if they'd just stuck to basic truths in this debate, like reminding their adversaries: “You’re all fucking MORONS! Remove handwriting from education? You're fucking IDIOTS! We're going to SECEDE!”
I'm actually convinced this is the only way to deal with these people. Debating them is impossible. Just call a spade a spade.
Then we'll set up an alternative state somewhere else on the globe where watching reality TV is a punishable offense and kids learn not just cursive but also classics and manners and also that there are two genders, male and female, rather than seventeen.
Jump to this month, August. A few days ago a high school friend of mine, I’ll call him Steve, who graduated from the University of Chicago no less, and who, as a technophile, considered himself in the anti-cursive camp, posted on Facebook a New York Times editorial by one Anne Trubek opining that cursive was unnecessary and that “the kids will be alright.” This bit of offensive NYT blather is titled “Handwriting Just Doesn’t Matter”. And the kids aren’t alright. They already aren’t alright, never mind what they “will be” after a dozen more years of the anomie we’re raising them into.
I should point out that Steve and I have both just turned fifty, that we remain good friends since we left high school in the 1980s, and that we tend to disagree strongly on what are called "hot button" issues. The caption Steve added to his posting of Ms. Trubek's article showed his typical approach of cool optimism whenever such questions come up:
Soon the conspiracy theorists will be claiming that this is yet another example of turning our children into brainwashed automatons. Change is tough. Especially on the old.
For Steve, anyone who points to educational decline and sees the culture going to hell is just being “alarmist”. I’ve written him before about his scary inability, as a University of Chicago graduate, to differentiate between its and it’s and compliment and complement and suchlike things, but carping on English usage to Steve is counterproductive. He replies with an emoticon with its tongue stuck out. If he’s forced to use actual words, they are: “Lighten up dude. Its not important.”
For Steve, people who even use words like civilization are being alarmist by definition. Because, don’t you know, civilization grows on trees. And there are trees all over, dude.
The first two of Steve’s friends to comment in the thread were also in the “Civilization? Who cares?” camp. They wrote:
MARY S.: Oh thank you thank you thank you for posting this article, Steve! I feel like I am shouting into the wilderness when I say that cursive offers no special cognitive advantages over printing, no special ability to "read historical documents" (as someone who actually has read handwritten historical documents, I can assure everyone that older styles of penmanship are so different from our own that knowing cursive is no help--plus, why waste millions of precious learning hours teaching something that only the tiny minority of kids who go on to be academic historians will ever use?), no special fine motor skills that couldn't be better taught by learning to cook or sew a button back on. Change is hard, except for those of us who remember sitting inside on a beautiful day, hunching over our desks for hours a week, papers at a perfect 45-degree angle, meticulously drawing little parallel lines. My son is old enough to have had some cursive in school, while my daughter didn't have it at all. Let cursive go the way of button-hooks, itchy starched collars, and other anachronisms!
ALANIA C.: YES! I hurt my wrist and write like crap and then this. Well played universe, well played.
I couldn’t let all this slide. The Pokemon Go phenomenon already has me in a bad state this summer, and seeing all this on a friend’s wall, I had to deliver a few punches. The thread went on as you see below. What surprised me, this time, is that in the end I actually won Steve over. That is a rarity. In fact I'm not sure I’d ever before convinced Steve of anything.
ERIC MADER: The end of cursive handwriting would be a great cultural loss. The decline of writing on paper is already a serious loss. For many reasons. One of the most basic reasons being cognitive. Studies have shown it.
In general you’re a geek about these things, Steve. But get something in your head: You and your friend Mary and the others in your camp will eventually be devoured by cyborg zombies. And in my mind, the worst thing about this is that you'll probably all enjoy it. Hell, you’re half-devoured already.
I ain’t even gonna debate this with you it's so fucking obvious. I live in a culture where kids, just in order to READ, have to learn three thousand different handwritten characters. We're talking thousands upon thousands of hours of practice. And this basic hard work of learning the writing system deepens their respect for the content they learn and sharpens their skills in so many ways. So that in most other subjects, often even including the foreign language ENGLISH, they could outperform their American peers who over there in the States can graduate high school by learning to wipe their asses and spell their names. I've seen this happen over and over--kids leaving Taipei and going to school in the US and realizing it's a joke. I have kids, in regular public schools here, who study English no more than an hour or two a day and have larger ENGLISH vocabulary and better spelling and grammar than the majority of American kids their age.
“Millions of precious learning hours wasted" on cursive? It’s a fucking joke. Many of my pre-teen students TEACH THEMSELVES English cursive just for fun. They do it in a couple afternoons. After which they'll often hand me homework and essays in English in perfectly functional cursive.
SHAME on America. “Hours wasted” indeed!
STEVE L.: I didnt write the article man. And I guess you didnt read it, because according to the article (and I dont have an opinion on this actually as I dont know enough about cognitive brain functions) what you say is not true when it comes to learning. But hey, take it up with the author. And as for being a zombie, you too will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
ERIC MADER: You posted the article man. And I did read it and have read into the positions of the two sides in this debate. And this NYT piece, in the spectrum of this debate, is simply DAFT. Its arguments are shallow. It's typical of a new strain at the NYT, a paper growing DAFTER and DAFTER every year. Along with the whole country.
When we all hit 70 or so, if we're still around, we're going to see just what kind of culture our "reforms" and “advances" have brought about. The key difference is that you, muttering "Holy shit", are going to be surprised. I'm not.
Resistance will continue.
BRIAN D.: Steve, I don't need cursive to write this: I will wrestle you for food. Cursive is just one stop on the road to anarchy. And no, I don’t need to read the article to register my desire to wrestle you for food. THAT should be a given.
LOUISE B.: Aside from the arguments made in the article, my gut (a pretty accurate scientific barometer, if I do say so myself) dislikes the loss of any learning opportunity. My sisters were forced to conform their writing through hours of repetition. Though I learned cursive, it wasn't perfected at their level. I believe we should throw cursive at the kids just to expose them to the art of written language. Cave drawings, the development of written language around the world, evolution of cursive, etc. Let kids play with it: feather quills, calligraphic nibs, roller balls, the speed of texting and typing--let them play with all of it.
STEVE L.: I would be happy to say the jury is still out. I can also say this: I haven't actually written in cursive in any extended way, save my signature, in years. I also don't think that the merits of learning cursive have ever equalled the seeming abuse left handed writers have faced in American schools. But who knows, maybe learning cursive, just like riding horses (animal empathy) or chopping wood for fire (connection to environment) has/does make us better people. I simply don't know. Apparently you do, on the cursive issue anyway.
ERIC MADER: I haven't done algebra in 30-some years, or much of any other math other than calculating percentages. I haven't worked through a geometric proof either. That doesn't mean I would subscribe to arguments that we should get rid of these basic elements of education just because they aren't "the skills needed for the job market".
That you personally haven't written in cursive doesn't mean much. I write almost everything important that I write on paper, in CURSIVE, and many writers of the books published every year do the same. If I didn't know how to write cursive, my handwriting would be slowed considerably, and I'd need a digital device of some kind to keep recording words at the pace of my thoughts. I'd be seriously hampered if for some reason a digital device wasn't at hand. I short, you take away cursive skills, and you take away a huge swathe of important cultural work, journal writing, personally handwritten notes, novels, poetry, etc., that is better done, according to many professional writers, on paper first. And you permanently link that very crucial cultural process called writing to access to digital devices. Are you sure you want to do all this?
I would have to say that yes, on this issue, I do know the right side.
STEVE L.: Excellent points. Consider me converted. Not kidding. Reason. It is a great thing.
ERIC MADER: Glad to hear. You’ve proven yourself an honest man. But that has a downside. When those cyborg zombies come to finish you off a couple decades from now, if you’re still an honest man, you won't actually enjoy it like I thought.
The arguments of mine that convinced you are really only a small part of the question of what is at stake in this kind of debate.
Anthropologists GET the fact that societies or civilizations hold together in myriad complex ways, often in ways that nobody in the society itself understands or knows consciously. Anthropologists have documented in case after case how pulling out only a couple little rivets is all it takes to cause the whole culture to fall into decline. Pulling out this or that rivet, especially in a practice as central to us as reading or writing, is going to have complex interactions with the whole of the structure. It’s going to have repercussions that we can't foresee. Any change, however reasonable or practical it may look at the moment, may play a role in ushering in things we really don't want.
All advanced civilizations that we know of have taught the young to write by making marks or characters on some surface. Forming these written marks BY HAND. We don't know of any advanced civilization that HASN'T included this practice. The upshot: We simply can't know much about what a civilization based on typing, texting or voice input (which is where it will lead) will be like. Going that direction as a pedagogical norm or goal, we may very well be undermining a whole host of other things in ways we can't even predict. Again: for a certain kind of cognitive development alone I strongly suspect handwriting is crucial.
Yes, resistance may be futile given the fast-growing cyborg zombie demographic. But I would still say: Resist!
Check out my book Idiocy, Ltd. at Amazon.com and begin the long, hard reckoning.
Posted by Eric Mader at 2:29 AM No comments:
Labels: Anne Trubek, Chinese characters, cognitive, cursive debate, cursive handwriting, education, pedagogy, politics, schools, zombies
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