…A Sow’s Ear: Cognitive Dissonant(s)


Did you ever wonder why Russia is such an intriguing place… that ‘riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’.  Let’s forget about Ukraine and ‘Porky’ Poroshenko for the moment, and just focus on its prime sponsor and dance partner over the last few centuries — the Big Bear.  Russia, and its burgeoning capitalist bourgeoisie class, has been making a mad dash for the West since The Wall came tumbling down in 1992. And I am not just talking about Citizen Commies looking for the nearest exit so they can run off to America or merry ole’ England.  No, I’m talking about right here on the home front… the cherished few holding down the fort on the sacred soils of Mama Rodina!

There are more Ford Explorers, Toyota RAV4s, Land Cruisers, and Beamer SUVs, etc, etc, here in puny central-Siberian Barnaul (a.k.a. the poorest region in the Russian Federation) than there are in Denver Colorado!  Can you imagine? And that is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. They prance around town in their four-wheelers without a thought for the ‘morrow, or for their wheel-less pedestrians, dropping the kids at KFC, Papa Johns Pizza, or Subway before they pick up their own lattes-to-go at the nearest ‘Coffee Please’ cafe.  The early ice and snow of winter is already upon us here, yet that does not interfere with the oh-so-stylish wannabes from wearing her spiked heels and trotting around like it was a game of cricket.

If the New Russia is about one thing, it is about appearance, style, looking good.  Whether or not the damn thing works… well that’s not so important, as long as it looks good!  But, hey… that’s Russia! So, here they are, all lined up and racing after the West, after America, to show the world that they have what it takes; and what does the man in the lead do, what does America do, it turns and says “look you commies, we are on to your plans of world domination, so just go off and get fucked.”  Can you imagine this, folks?  The guy they are emulating, Uncle Sam, says stop messin’ round in Big Daddy’s back yard.  And while Putin is there driving this train that’s comin’ up on the man; he has to put the thing in goddamn reverse before he hits Uncle Sam right in the jugular.  I mean, that’s how fast the old man stopped and turned.

So now, the Ruskies hate the West.  After all, the USA is trying to kill the ruble, falling over 25% in just a few short months.  Everything is a bit more expensive; but, hey, what the heck… we want to be like our brethren across the big pond.  As, I said folks, big time Cognitive Dissonance going on here.  Meanwhile,back at the Kremlin, Vova has done a complete about-face, and just as he we icing the big deal with China (the black gold pipeline through Altai and Mongolia), he was also calling out Obama, telling him that the Ruskies ain’t gonna take anymore shit from him no more!

OK, well, it’s a love-hate thing.  Much like the Oedipal complex that Freud was  telling us about a few years back.  You depend on your papa but you also want to kill him so you can have your mama all to yourself.  Go figure.  So, our Russian brethren are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard spot.  Love… Hate; take the goodies and badmouth the owners.  I really think Russians need to take stock of this longstanding love-hate relationship with the West, and perhaps follow Putin to the East.  But, maybe that is no good either, the Chinese are now worse capitalists than the Americans.  At least the Chinese may be able to help protect them from those nasty, do-nothin Americans who continue to take, take and take, but give nothing but Arby’s and Mickey Dee’s in return.  Well, its your turn, Vova.  So let’s see what you got!

36 Responses to …A Sow’s Ear: Cognitive Dissonant(s)

  1. Disaffected says:

    First of all, I love this week’s art. Great stuff!

    Second, I got into it with a few knuckleheads at NakCap last week, who were busy perpetuating the Cold War meme. Russia this, Russia that, still the same old commie bastards and all that. Americans have been so thoroughly propagandized that they don’t know which way’s up these days. Regardless, the capitalist cancer of unbridled greed continues to metastasize throughout the world. We’ve unleashed a primal force that’s now bigger than our systems’ ability to control it. The great unraveling has begun and is beginning to pick up steam! In the end there will be no place to hide from it.

    • kulturcritic says:

      And no place to run, DA! But, I do think I am getting senile. I did not even realize I wrote about this last week. Ha Ha LOL.

      • Disaffected says:

        Don’t sweat it old man. Same song, different verse. Me, I’m alternating between senile and drunk most days, but it beats the hell out of all the alternatives. I think we’re getting old at just the right time anyway.

  2. The big question is whether either China or Russia will be able to put into practice the ideas abot the idiocy of consumption that we hear on RT, for example, before it’s too late.

  3. Karl North says:

    Great post! I You addressed a question that’s been bothering me for a while: If Putin’s administration is serious about its desire to cut the umbilical to the West and create an economy and society that truly serves the Russian nation, that’s gonna require import tariffs on all those goodies from the Gringolandia. Those expenditures on are wasting hard currency that could be invested in rebuilding its internal economy and the research and health care systems that Russia needs to develop. Which will put those Ford Foresters and high fashion clothes out of reach of the average consumerista. They will be pissed, no? How will Putin, now running 80% approval, use that political capital to get his campaneros to lay of the lattes? From what you say, Sandy, he’s got a tough row to hoe.

    I am of course all for Putin’s goals. Every nation should have economic independence from the Emipire. If he manages to sow Cognitive Dissonance among average Russians as well as our US oligarchs manufacture it, he may pull it off.

    • Disaffected says:

      If Putin’s administration is serious about its desire to cut the umbilical to the West and create an economy and society that truly serves the Russian nation, that’s gonna require import tariffs on all those goodies from the Gringolandia.

      Looks like Gringolandia’s gonna be more than a little bit helpful in that regard as well. Russia’s in the drivers seat in this latest round however. Any nascent consumerism Putin can’t tamp down with common sense, he should just open the borders and bid them adieu. Life in the west for most looks really attractive until you get here. It’s like being a hamster on a treadmill programmed to increase speed exponentially. The only people keeping up are the one’s at the top doing the programming.

      Don’t know if increasing anti-Putin sentiment translates to anti-Russian sentiment or not, although I seriously doubt it. We like to wear our mass media influenced biases on our sleeves, but mostly we don’t actually believe any of it. We save all of our serious hatred for our own! LOL!

    • the Heretick says:

      The best thing for any country would be to keep the production of value-added products as close to home as possible, and therefore keep the money at home. Shipping raw materials and products around the planet uses fuel and is inefficient, off-shoring serves the vampire squid, no one else.
      The next thing is to keep agriculture as simple as possible, but here again we have the cozened class worldwide mopping up the profits.
      The capitalists know very well that the Marxist critique is not dead, that it still retains it’s relevancy, and that this fact will inevitably cause the destruction of the contending classes, just as dear old uncle Karl stated.
      The airwaves and wires are humming with the simulacrum, but there are plain old facts on the ground which will eventually break the spell, and then there will be hell to pay.

  4. follyofwar says:

    I’ve read that many Russians are furious with President Putin for not taking more decisive action in Luhansk and Donetsk, as he did in Crimea. Didn’t the people there vote by referendum to leave the “new” Ukraine, as did the Crimeans? I wonder if Putin now wishes he had acted quicker and sent in the Russian army. Would it not now be a fait accompli and possibly have spared thousands of lives? From where I sit, it appears that it may have been relatively easy to accomplish then (before the Kiev thugs were well organized), but much harder to do now? I’d appreciate hearing Sandy’s comment.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Folly of War… I am not convinced it wold have been easy geo-politically, although probably militarily.  You see, Putin never ‘invaded’ Crimea… his folks were already on the ground (if you will), so they just toured around to keep things calm during the vote.  But, there was no way Putin was going to let Crimea go.  In the Donbass region (and cities) things were less well defined; certainly he could have acknowledged their independence, or even taken them on as new territory, but that too would have led to armed conflict with the Ukraine thugs and the West more decisively, I suppose.  I am not politician, and I do not agree with the politics of domination from any quarter, but, Ukraine has been a real fuck-up for a very long time.  Like most of the post-Soviet space, they have a BAD taste in their mouths, and its gonna take more than vodka to shake it.  They all are running to the West like its the promised land; but as we all know, it is increasingly a pisshole where the richer get richer and the rest get leftovers.

  5. follyofwar says:

    Thanks for the quick and thoughtful response, kc. I didn’t mean to imply that Putin invaded Crimea. (Why did Krushchev give it it away in the first place?). I know Russian troops were there by agreement. IMO Putin’s actions have been purely defensive. It ceases to amaze me that the Western press keeps saying he is the second coming of Stalin (or Hitler, take your pick) – and the brainwashed masses actually lap it up.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Folly, the people want to believe their owners.  They long for someone to tell them how things really are.  Especially Americas, those “free thinkers”… they are really just looking to follow in the footsteps of the rich and famous.  And they always need an enemy, especially when things look their darkest.  Someone evil must be to blame, but it is certainly not us. 

      • Disaffected says:

        It’s funny ain’t? For all the propaganda the old Soviet empire supposedly shoveled, it was we in the US who were most effectively propagandized. And like any good propaganda campaign, Americans, being immersed in it like a virtual atmosphere, can’t see through it to save their miserable little lives no matter how many times you point it out to them.

  6. Disaffected says:

    Well the latest round of the “Security Wars” or the “Racial Wars” or whatever it is you prefer to call the Michael Brown “verdict” in Ferguson MO. Like everything in America these days, we can’t even agree on what it was that we witnessed. It certainly wasn’t a “trial,” by the legal definition at least, and it wasn’t even a normal “grand jury” finding by most legal accounts. What it was some sort of legal event convened by the local prosecutor, the findings of which, although certainly controversial, appear to be final at least. Where this leads us from here is anybody’s guess, but the most remarkable thing to come out of the whole drama was the national security state’s overwhelmingly heavy handed response and the likewise mousy, sinking into the woodwork “leadership” of the O.Bot Co administration in what now can officially be termed as lame duck administration as there ever was. If there was any lingering doubt about the state of the sham American “democracy,” the Michael Brown festivities appear to have hammered the final nails in that coffin. Ask not for whom the bell tolls America, it tolls for your sorry asses!

    • follyofwar says:

      There’s that old saying that grand juries will indict a ham sandwich. Grand juries are supposed to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial, not to determine guilt or innocence. Under this definition, how could there not be enough conflicting testimony to at least let the legal system do its work? Grand juries work in secret, trials are public. From the outside looking in, it smells like the fix was in from the beginning.

    • the Heretick says:

      Such is life down in the hood my brother. This entire thing just depresses me, I can’t even get up enough energy to comment much upon it. Events like this are cooked into the “system”, this is just the latest.
      With millions of unemployed and underemployed (myself among them), with little or no hope for the future, bombarded by images of the good life, what should we expect?
      I have often wondered if the truly poor (which it looks like I am soon to join) sit in their ghetto apartments, look at the boob tube and think that the fancy dresses, new cars, diamond rings, and Sandals vacations are really the way people live. White or otherwise.
      Of course most people go to their boring jobs, make house payments for 10 years before they even touch the principle, that sort of thing.
      Then there is personal responsibility, Big Mike’s, Darren Wilson’s, and the everyday people who when you ask them about politics say “there’s nothing I can do” or “I don’t want to talk about it”.
      Probably there’s nothing they can do about it, as the murdering Mao said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
      What we have here……………..

      • Disaffected says:

        Thanks HT. That classic scene sums it all up perfectly. I watched the Wilson interview with George Stephanopoulos. Wilson is just a kid. I big lumbering oaf of a mamma’s boy. I have no doubt now he was scared for his life. Matter of fact I’ll bet he shit his pants or similar at the scene. Not that he was in any real danger, especially that he didn’t bring on himself in the first place by escalating the whole mess unnecessarily. I think it was a foregone conclusion that someone was going to get shot and die as soon as he cut the two off by pulling so close to Brown that he couldn’t get the door open. He felt threatened by the two, even though he and Brown were actually similar in size (same height, Brown was much heavier, probably most of it fat). But after he got “roughed up” a little (his injuries were virtually unrecognizable) he was operating on pure fear-based adrenaline. It’s fortunate that no one else ventured onto the scene, or they would have likely ended up dead as well.

        I think what the cops and the DA are REALLY covering up (and which would have almost certainly came out at trial) was that this was murder by COWARD rather than by vigilante as most first thought. Darren Wilson may or may not have been a racist cop, although, like all cops he was certainly spring-loaded to assume blacks were criminals until proven otherwise, but he was FIRST AND FOREMOST fucking SCARED OUT OF HIS MIND during the whole ordeal and was operating in a psychological dis-associative fugue state throughout! I doubt he came to his senses and realized what he had done until hours later, which might well account for the long delay at the crime scene. I think the cops were scrambling to get their stories straight all that time, knowing full well there would need to be some SERIOUS tap dancing to cover for their little mamma’s boy Wilson’s mental breakdown. Which in a way is even more tragic, because had this been uncovered at trial, he might well have gotten off anyway, although it certainly would have given police in general a major black eye. But I think the cops and TPTB would rather have months of riots and civil disturbances and god knows what else than EVER admit that their boy just plain lost it. He was weak, immature, and over-matched for the job he was performing. Darren Wilson never EVER should have been a cop in the first place!

        • the Heretick says:

          I disagree with you, some, Wilson does come off as a weak reed, but I think Brown was completely in the wrong, but then again, victims of circumstance.
          We must remember, the oligarchy is nowhere near this type of situation, they hire people to serve their meals, take out the trash, keep the natives on the reservation.
          The simulacrum is coming apart at the seams, cracks in the mirror, and what devolves upon govt. is keeping order, the problem becomes separating what is law and order and what is suppression. Even with a revolutionary govt. we will still have criminals, and it will take a couple generations to get rid of all the harmful social conditioning inculcated by this predatory system.

          See how simple? It’s all in the movies.

          Speaking of disassociation, That’s what we are seeing, a big ruckus about this poor kid getting killed (and it is messed up, but it happens all he time) but if a 12 yr. old sheepherder gets killed on the other side of the planet? Collateral damage. The talking heads wringing their hands? None of them live near these locales, neither does Sharpton, or Jay Nixon, oh no, they live in gated enclaves. Much concern is shown about deaths such as this, but does the unfair economic system change? No, because the power players D+R don’t give a flying fuck, not really, they just want to be in charge and be protected themselves. That’s the big lie. Wilson, Brown, grist for the mill. Displacement activity.

          • Disaffected says:

            Agreed. Yeah, the REAL irony in the whole affair is that this kind of thing is happening all over the globe every day thanks to US drones, and absolutely NO ONE is talking about that. Most simply don’t care, but those who do know it could easily happen to them too, so they mute their criticisms lest they fall in the cross hairs too. I still do think there’s a cover up going on with the Brown case, but in the end, it’s neither here nor there. Greater cover ups than that are perpetuated everyday and will continue to be as long as the current system prospers. Which could be for quite some time yet.

            • follyofwar says:

              By picking the Brown case as their cause celebre, the demonstrators/rioters/ social activists/whatever their reason piled on to a very weak case. There’s plenty of gray areas to chew on. It’s certainly not the case that Wilson deliberately murdered the guy, which is what many who can’t see both sides insist on. Nothing less than a public lynching will satisfy some.

              But there may be an even more ominous case on the horizon. Everyone by now has probably heard of the 12 year-old boy in Cleveland who was killed by a trigger happy cop. I’d like to know how big the kid was. He was apparently waving a pellet gun (that looked real) and an observer called 911 – but did tell the dispatcher more than once that it might be a toy gun. It just came out that the younger cop in the passenger side opened the door and shot the kid within 2 seconds of arriving. The older cop driving did not even have a chance to get out of the driver’s seat. The cop(s) said it looked like the kid was pulling the gun from his waist. If these are indeed the facts, this looks more like a cold-blooded execution and a much better case to make an issue of. Let’s see if the cops, at least the one who did the shooting, are exonerated this time. I’ll bet the person who called 911 wished he/she hadn’t. I can see the protests gearing up now. Civil unrest is here.

              • Disaffected says:

                Sorry, I don’t see how that case is any more clear cut than Michael Brown’s. We don’t know what the cops’ calculations were prior to pulling up (did they assess the scene from a greater distance and already decide what course of action to take?) or any number of other things. In any case, they’re going to say whatever they need to to exonerate themselves, so what does it matter? Dead men/kids tell no tales and all that.

                And don’t worry. Americans are far too pacified to ever rise up en masse. Ferguson has definitely convinced me of that. A few bonfires and all that, but nothing transformational at all.

  7. troutsky says:

    Think you are onto something here Sandy, beginning with the concept of cognitive dissonance. Only I think we need to expand the “tension or clash” beyond the purely rational, conscious mind, or even “cynical ideology” . It is too easy to assume a simple “false consciousness” or “manufactured consent”, we need to be looking into the symbolic realm were all those old myths hold sway. For Russians and Americans alike, we know it is a farce ( consumptive excess, religion, politics, etc) yet we act AS IF we don’t know! As Putin knows so well, fantasy is where it’s at!

    • kulturcritic says:

      So, we are talking about contradictory myths or symbolic systems, Troutsky?

    • Disaffected says:

      Don’t mean to intrude, but the Michael Brown decision REALLY did seem to upset the zeitgeist over here in the good ol’ USA, especially coming as it did right before the American Thanksgiving holiday, which is of course itself fraught with racial ambiguity. All of which is doubly ironic, since the decision itself was almost certainly timed to coincide with the holiday in the first place to minimize prospective protests’ damage. It seems that the American aristocracy’s political ears have gone completely tone deaf as of late, right at the time they need them most.

  8. kulturcritic says:

    OK folks… here is a fairly direct statement of the problem with Ferguson,MO

    • Disaffected says:

      I’ve made all these points numerous times and seen them made elsewhere as well. Usually to a ho-hum response. Regardless, Americans as a whole are perfectly fine with the national security state, so it’s a pointless set of arguments to engage in for now. We are following the exact same path as nazi Germany and for the exact same reasons. A disengaged, apathetic population blindly sleep-walking into total subjugation based on the blind appeal to ancient prejudices and fears, and the promise of an emerging “master class” (formerly master race) of all-wise market capitalists who will benevolently rule the world, with i-phones and apps and internet and green energy for everyone for ever and ever, Amen! It’s all gonna end VERY VERY badly, but there’s nothing to be done about it. You simply can’t protect people from their own foolishness.

    • the Heretick says:

      “Caught up in our personal politics, prejudices and class warfare,” Indeed, and if the lamestream media can make it all about race then the real problem gets buried. The only encouragement I get is that many of the young people I talk to seem to be wising up. They see the conspicuous consumption, and they see themselves at work at waitresses or grocery clerks, slinging pizza or whatever……………..
      There are a few gangstas out there, there are a few racists, but my experience is that most people of whatever background here in my neighborhood just go about their everyday life, they don’t really have the time or energy to get upset with the next person in line at the store. Problem is the very human tendency towards common decency is used against the regular people, the predators look at then like a pack of wolves look at a flock of sheep.

      • Disaffected says:

        Just the opposite of my experience. The young people up here are remarkable for their Nazi “just go along already” tendencies. Of course they’re all making some pretty good coin working here, so they know where their bread’s being buttered and get in line accordingly.

        We’re not even half way through “Black Friday” and I’m ready to puke from hearing the term. On the plus side, I’m watching Nebraska and Iowa in the background stumble through a comedy of errors football game like a couple of sloppy holiday drunks. My how the mighty have fallen! Nebraska in particular doesn’t even pretend to play good fundamental football anymore.

    • Disaffected says:


      I’m gonna digest this one for a few more days and get back to you. This one leaves me feeling uneasy too in that it glosses over a lot of stuff at the personal level that I think is important, especially in light of the central project of this blog, which is to expose and resist hierarchical thinking. Ferguson MO was ultimately about a whole lot of things, but first and foremost it was about a kid getting murdered in broad daylight by a cop in a most brutal fashion and getting away with it scot-free. And yeah, there’s countless number of reasons why we should ignore it or why the real reason’s all wrapped up in this or that political reasoning, but in the end it’s all much simpler than that. Someone died, someone killed him, the justification was total bullshit and everyone knows it, and yet the powers that be have dismissively decided that there simply was no crime. That was a crime 100(0) years ago, that was a crime 50(0) years ago, and that’s no less a crime right now. Explaining it away as some lesser crime due to this or that is in itself a crime.

      How do you defeat a creeping militarized police state? One crime at a time.

      • the Heretick says:

        After more thought, There had to be a better way to handle this, even if the cop was attacked, he had already called for backup, why not file the report, go get Brown later?
        I’ve been watching some videos of where cops just come out shooting. The cops are killing all kinds of people, there has to be a better way. Not condoning Big Mike’s behavior, but you are right, it’s turned into an us vs. them situation, it’s out of control.

        The police, the Guard, they are being used to keep the lid on a restive population that is sick of being trampled on, the 1% is creating this situation, there are a lot of people who have nothing, who therefore have nothing to lose, the closer i become to destitute the more I understand this.

        The real problem here may be more one of misplaced aggression.

        You are making some valid points.

        • Disaffected says:

          Well THANK YOU HT for FINALLY acknowledging THAT at least! If nothing else this was a tragedy of misplaced aggression. Apparently no one knows (or will admit that they know, or will be permitted to say that they know without being contradicted) on that fateful day, but a couple things we DO know. The “perp” was a fairly large black kid, whose only offenses on the day in question were swiping a few cigars from a local retailer (which may or may not have been germane to the actual incident in question) and walking in the middle of the street, to which he may or may not have rudely dismissed the warnings of his subsequent killer. The killer’s background I won’t even go into, other than to say he fired 12 shots in the course of roughly 90 seconds, 6 of which hit their mark, all against an unarmed defendant who was subsequently left uncovered in the middle of the street in his home neighborhood for 4 hours. Additionally, although the killer claimed he was “under attack and feared for his life” by a man much larger than he was, subsequent examination showed nary a scratch in his hospital examination shortly thereafter, and the man killed was revealed to be roughly the same size in height (6’4″), albeit a bit (~60 lb) heavier.

          In the end, Michael Brown is ALREADY just a statistic. Grist for the mill and all that. The question for those of us still alive then becomes, WHOSE NAME will be attached to the next one?

  9. the Heretick says:

    The light of the hologram plays on material reality and remakes it in its own image, destroying all connection with the natural world. Malls and suburbs and hyper-real surfaces and speed — meaningless but dazzling technology. The earth gets a makeover in the image of Disneyland and becomes inhabited by humans who are commodified versions of themselves.


    • Disaffected says:

      Love me some Joe. Like all good prophets, I think he had to die to be heard.

      Where do you even begin to start?

      We no longer have a country — just the hollow shell of one, a global corporation masquerading electronically and digitally as a nation called the United States.

      Who could argue?

      Our civilization, our culture, in as much as it can be said to exist in any cohesive way, is based upon two things, television and petroleum. Whether you are a custodian or the President, your world depends upon an unbroken supply of both. So it is small wonder that we all watch a televised global war for oil.


      America suffers from a psychosis, a psychosis being nothing more than an insistence upon staying in an untenable state of consciousness, despite the normal modeling of those around you. This is not out of meanness, but rather an indifference so profound as to be a sickness. The hologram IS the psychosis made manifest. Psychotics love to play ominous games with those around them, just as America does with the world today.

      And again.

      To even begin to dissolve this dangerous hologram we would have to examine the biggest lie of all — that technology is neutral and that people determine its ultimate effects. What divine horseshit!

      Meanwhile, there is the omniscient “one voice that speaks out to the many,” the disembodied military/corporate voice, that all but guarantees an authoritarian political scenario. Unlike the humans who constitute their living innards, the corporations animating the hologram are themselves deathless. The citizens cannot harm them.

      It is difficult for people to grasp that we are in an age of corporate dominion just as we were once in an age of domination by royal families, kings and warlords. Somehow it is hard to equate our tribute rendered to the credit card companies, the insurance companies, the IRS, the power cartels, the mortgage banks, with the kind of bondage it is. Yet we must do these things to be allowed to live in society. The only other choice is to sleep under a bridge. And these days, whether due to an on-setting depression or creeping wisdom, I often contemplate just that. I really do. Of course I understand that even under a bridge one cannot escape the hologram’s blue flicker issuing from a hundred million encroaching suburban windows.


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