Fascism in Fashion

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Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State…(Mussolini, 1925)

Chris Hedges has written and spoken often, and eloquently, about the “inverted totalitarianism” that our current corporate-media-political system represents.  In fact, there is an insidious fascism stealthily creeping its way through our stately republic these days that is no less dangerous, and no less deleterious to human rights or human behavior, than was the National Socialist regime of Hitler’s Germany or Mussolini’s Italian Fascisti.  It may be less of a pageant, less dramatic, and less visibly death-dealing within the homeland as of yet; although, it is certainly engaged in serious bouts of ethnic cleansing at the farthest reaches of Empire (MENA being equivalent to our Poland and Ukraine). But, perhaps it is more subtle (as Hedges points out relentlessly) by its very nature. However, the protocols are now in place – and the motives strongly aligned between the political elites and the corporate oligarchs who run the multimedia circus – to see things through to their likely and bitter conclusion.  And, they keep adjusting our collective representations (e.g., what “civil liberty” does and does not mean) and our expectations, so that we believe we are walking into the showers and not the gas chambers.

Let us remember today, our comrade, Private Bradley Manning.  Dear Bradley testified in court this week regarding the torture – cruel and unusual punishment – he endured at the hands of his jailers at the military prison in Quantico, Virginia.  He has been roundly indicted on charges of espionage, treason, aiding and abetting the enemy – in short, “high crimes” against the Republic. If he did release the documents in question, since when is exposing the deceit or criminal acts of your employer itself a crime? I guess, only when the employer happens to be a creeping fascist enterprise – that “coldest of cold monsters” — the corporate State.  On the other hand, the White House or other federal agencies commonly leak information whenever they feel the compulsion to get something out there in the public domain or just get it get off their chests; to mislead or perhaps to cover their ass. Be that as it may, the State professes vigilance against incipient insurgencies. God knows the ‘responsible’ adults do not want to see any Arab Spring or Anarchist Winter settling in here in the homeland. And we already recognize with the new National Defense Authorization Act in place, and the Patriot Act still in full force, the monster, Empire, can do roughly anything it pleases to snuff out dissent without so much as drawing a breath or eliciting a whimper from us, its prey.

Kathryn-Bigelow1

Kathryn Bigelow, Director

And now we have the upcoming release of “Zero Dark Thirty,” a new action-thriller; a docudrama spectacle, chocked full of confidential Defense Department tidbits and heart-stopping action.  It is directed by the rather alluring Kathryn Bigelow (one of Hollywood’s newest, best, and brightest: another femme fatale?); but brought to you with BIG homeland blessings from the Departments of State and Defense – dramatizing beyond your wildest imagination the hunt, the top-secret raid, and that very swisher-sweet-cheap execution of the wily coyote diabetic outlaw, Osama bin Laden, conducted by our own heroic Navy Seal Team Six.  Tom Clancy, move over! A new marshal has come to town; and her Hunt for the Head of Osama trumps your Hunt for the Red October.  Hands down!  Don’t you just want to beat your chest with pride?  Funny how that works; if the powers in control want to release confidential files or data, they just do so and declassify them at will.  Or, perhaps, it is only necessary for some alluring director or pretty young journalist to snuggle up close and intimate with some big Pentagon or CIA brass and get anything she wants without much more than a cat-fight.

But let me not get sidetracked on some maniacal rant – some slam, bam, thank you ma’am argument – against the republic which still stands.  That ultimately gets us nowhere; but I think we all understand just how close to nowhere we already stand as a consequence of republican choices.  Well, maybe not conscious choices, but implicit trajectories written into the genetic code of the republic and its insatiable appetite for progress, expansion, perfection. The real issue still haunting us is how to survive the social, psychological, and existential chaos that awaits us on the far side of collapse; and what in the hell will things look and feel like to the survivors?

If there is to be a final curtain on the Western Curriculum with its diverse artifices of concrete, steel, and iron-will, hidden behind fashionable appearances – or, perhaps more accurately, the collapse of modern post-industrial society – what do we really have to look forward to?  Well, of course there are the wild berries, the mushrooms, the field mice, and the grubs we can scavenge in the forest for dinner. But, what about this nagging thing we call “reality”? And, what about thinking, or those other “higher” mental functions; what about this thing we have become accustomed to call “consciousness”?

Those are, to me at least, the more interesting questions.  Why, because I already appreciate the garden, the river, and the forest in Siberia – surrounding the dacha and the banya.  But, the other reason these are important questions is because they betray what may have been essential, not only to pre-urban survival, but to appreciating the world to which our pre-agricultural forebears had ready access, a reality beyond the mere ‘thinginess’ of things. However, is it not the case that: perceiving THAT world is no longer a viable option for today’s Homo sapiens sapiens?  Is there just too much mental clutter – like so much water under the bridge or corrosive battery fluid on the driveway – that has accumulated within the species, creating a regime of modern consciousness that is simply incapable of recovering such raw and unstructured sensations of the world-as-lived by the body?  In other words, do we now perceive the world-out-there so differently from our foraging forebears, that recovering THAT perception is about as likely as resurrecting a pre-civilized percipient herself?

Certainly, when we in the West (and increasingly elsewhere) look out from behind these fully modern eyes — processing through a consciousness imprinted by the prescribed curriculum — and find that  world of shiny objects spread out before us, what we are seeing is a highly structured event that took a few millennia to ‘perfect,’ a world that conforms precisely to a fully self-conscious mind reflexively corralled inside a bag of flesh to protect it against any and all alien intrusions. We long ago ceased to freely participate the natural world, or even unselfconsciously engage those objects of our own civilized, machine-crafted one.

We have fully objectified every centimeter of the lived-body-world, leading us to the edge of this apparent precipice we now stand before. Estrangement from this world-as-lived provided the potential to objectify, manipulate and gain control over a sanitized and externalized environment.  So, as collapse continues to fold in upon itself, we will find ourselves left, not with a mental tabula rasa that once again let’s us feel connected to the world-as-given; we will not miraculously sense our visceral participating the natural world. We will merely become conscious observers of our own objectified and impoverished existence as former masters of the universe.  And that, my friends, is the rub.

All of our machinations to prepare for life after the coming “fall” are little more than adjustments to our mechanized view of things.  We will not suddenly perceive the spaces and places we occupy as essential to our very being.  We will not see with primal eyes the vitality of that natural world we live. Certainly, we will come to realize our dependence upon it, but not our essential intertwining – “that subtle knot which makes us man.”  We will still sees things as “through a glass, darkly.”  But, eventually we may come to recognize who we are, yet again; not simply as mirrors of a world we’ve conceived, but as participants of the world we live.

The fascism we now sense muscling its way throughout our increasingly authoritarian, extremist-militaristic-political system is merely a refracted reflection of those same authoritarian tendencies embedded within our cultural beginnings and, perhaps, now emblazoned upon our souls – a persistence in control over a world of externalities, of ‘things,’ of ‘othernesses’ to be used and abused according to the dictates and desires of the privileged few. After all, what is fascism but an extreme authoritarian and unrelenting rule for the express protection of some privileged class or group at the expense of an unassuming populace. The world we have constructed is a world peopled with objects we rule over – as Augustine said, “lord it over” – increasingly intolerant, inflexible, with an authoritarian demeanor as well as an all-consuming sense of ownership and self-righteousness.

While some may seek the humbler solace of the Western Curriculum’s salvific faiths – a proposed salve for our postmodern predicament – beware that the sacrosanct prescriptions embedded in these faiths are no friend to the world-weary in this regard, but rather a spur and an elemental impetus to these very fascistic tendencies. The Hebrew Scriptures were clear on this point of authority and dominion from the first.

Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. (Gen. 1:27-28 NRSV)

And, as St. Augustine even noted, what began as a command to have dominion over the earth, led us to grasping dominion over our fellow humans, as well.  Even Benedito Mussolini self-consciously reflected on the religious dimension and spiritual value  of this fanaticism called fascism.

Fascism is a religious conception in which man is seen in his immanent relationship with a superior law and with an objective Will that transcends the particular individual and raises him to conscious membership of a spiritual society.

Yet, it was the Old Testament that laid out the foundational principal and policy statement; and it remains the fundamental ground upon which both Islamic and Christian extremism now rise up again in this race to the finish line, a race to the eschatalogical fulfillment of an historical obsession that was unleashed, and whose trajectory was set, so many millennia ago.

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125 Responses to Fascism in Fashion

  1. p01 says:

    Great post.
    The species won’t be able to avoid cargo cultism; we’re tainted forever. We’ll push the only buttons we know how to push, align the only signs and mathematical symbols we know how to align, and the obsidian knives will shine on the top of the pyramids again, urging the gods to give us back the great powers we had in the past.
    More of what we’ve done before will be done again, and even more afterwards, and it will all fail. And when all fails, we’ll just paint the buttons and the signs, in red fluids on the steel and concrete walls, try pushing them again, try giving meanings to the signs of equations long forgotten and irrelevant, until the concrete will crumble and iron will rust.
    Maybe then we will be at peace with the immutable laws of nature.

  2. Dean says:

    Dear Sandy
    You sound quite troubled with all this. Take a look at non-duality. It makes sense to me of everything. I do enjoy your writing too!
    Dean

    • kulturcritic says:

      Hey Dean – in truth I am not troubled (well, only by my 3 year old son occasionally ;-). Non-duality makes all the sense in the world to me, as a philosophic position. My question to you is: how do I make non-duality an existential reality for my consciousness? Give me the short answer; and do not mention meditation. Agreed? Thanks for your appreciation. Sandy

      • Dean says:

        Sandy
        The reality is that there is no “you”

        • kulturcritic says:

          I understand this philosophically, Dean. We are together on that point; and in quite moments in the forest, I can feel that; but the State is going to continue to treat “me” as an individual, and hold “me” responsible against their proscritptions and injunctions, for “my” behavior. I must deal with their assumptions, or a die a quick and painful death. No?

          • Martin says:

            Sandy, I agree that we are steadily moving into/are already in, a form of fascism out of which I see no real escape other than outright and brutal rebellion. And, since I am an old man and have no ‘power’ in this culture and am therefore unlikely to instigate such a rebellion myself, I find I must perforce live in a philosophical cloud similar to that proposed by Dean. Hence my personal mantra has become; ‘there is nothing to be done save to enjoy the moment’. Meanwhile, I spend time with others agreeing that we’re all fucked.

            Other than that, bear in mind that the state absolutely does not care about you as an individual, only as a statistic, and will hold ‘you’ responsible only if you happen to attract its attention.

          • Dean says:

            Sandy
            All I can say is think about it every now and then. If your death is quick, it should be painless!!
            Dean

        • This statement I happened to read this morning presents a clue as to how humanity, individually and collectively, will suffer through the chaotic collapse period and gradually come to terms about how it must unburden and disentangle itself from its delusional thinking/attitudes that fostered it.
          by Eckhart Tolle:

          Dogmas — religious, political, scientific — arise out of the erroneous belief can encapsulate reality or the truth. Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange thing is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of ” I know.”

          Nothing has inflicted more suffering on humanity than its dogmas. It is true that every dogma crumbles sooner or later, because reality will disclose its falseness; however, unless the basic delusion of it is seen for what it is, it will be replaced by others.

          What is this basic delusion? Identification with thought.

          • kulturcritic says:

            Ron – tell me what you mean by “identification with thought” as our basic delusion.

            • We are not our thinking or even our feelings–not who or what we are. However, our limited sense of self (ego-mind) identifies with our habitual thinking to some degree or another, depending upon how consciously aware we are, how critical or creative our thinking is. “Neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics live in them.”

              For far too many of us, much of our thinking is done for us with us paying little attention to the process. The well paid think tanks and Madison Avenue folk rely on this, as they generate their ridiculous sound bites to feed those who find critical thinking a nuisance. I am able to think this without animosity because I hold to the conviction that every soul passes through every stage of maturity.

              Here’s what I wrote on Thursday, offering it up for publication to the SF Chronicle:

              Learning to learn in life
              The writer of “No literature?” (Letters, Dec. 6) asks, “Shall we then just plug our brain into a computer and let it do the thinking for us?
              It looks to me as if the American citizenry (or is it consumery) has gone along, for many years, permitting the various media outlets to do its thinking. Between the paid-for pundits, ad men and think-tank sound-bite generators, the lack of critical thinking and creative inquiry has burdened our lives with more stress and less meaning.
              Our schools must bring back actual education (how to think) instead of only offering students an indoctrination into what to think, how to compete, how to behave and how to ignore their individual impulses to wonder and experiment.
              And please do not forget that the greatest part of one’s education occurs beyond schooling. Learn to love learning. Life has much to teach.
              Ron Greenstein, El Cerrito

    • Hamsterfist says:

      Non Duality and the oneness of everything can be dangerous. It is important to remember that is only one aspect of reality that should be studied, we must also always study and deal with the material world as well. The pacifism associated with Eastern thought is a recent phenomena, and doesn’t always quite mean what is portrayed as new ageism.

      Take a look at Gandhi or MLK. While we deem their actions as “non violent”, that is certainly not the case. It is a problem with the definition of the word violence. Both and their people, acted out against the controls of power. Through disruption, they were committing an act of “violence” against those on top. Had the G Man or MLK chose to sit at home and meditate on their oneness with everything, they would not had succeed in making a positive change. However imperfect they were as human beings.

      Read the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna basically said this (my paraphrasing): “Take action, don’t run off and hide and don’t be a pussy. You’ll just shame yourself. Play the part you were meant to play.”

      I also like to think about what Derrick Jensen has said about pacifism, and Eastern thoughts. Again, not an exact quote. “Do we criticize the mother bear when she defends her cubs? Isn’t she just being herself, her Buddha nature? It is perfectly ok and natural to defend your cubs.”

      New Age, Eastern thought driven pacifism is a tool created by the elites, to keep free thinkers docile and under control. Never forget that. Even if the truth is we are all one. You still might have to play your part.

      • kulturcritic says:

        I don’t question your scepticism, Hamsterfist, but what exactly would you propose doing to save the planet right now, and for what purpose. Is your action and recommendation not itself a product in some respects of the elites; aren’t you not in a reactionary mode, providing the system with further momentum; is that not in the structure of the system? But, the more important question is what are you trying to save? Obviously, I believe in some form of protest; after all that is why I blog. Maybe we all have these hidden hopes of conquest; of overcoming the enemy. best, sandy

  3. Mick Stupp says:

    I am no longer even close to being young anymore and recall freely talking and behaving with abandon as a young man in the sixties and seventies. The overly sensitive, easily offended and self-conscious factions did not wield the power of minority rule as they do today. The disgusting, sanctimonious, intolerant, politically correct types display their masks of pain and concern whenever they witness spontaneous and honest expressions of humor or any casual comment which they fear may offend any group for which they claim to speak. Their activism parallels those of an ever intrusive government for which they are useful idiots and I see no return to what were clearly better times for our country.

  4. mikesosebee says:

    “I don’t understand how a variety of legal acts can lead to suspicion.” I just read a post by Glenn Greenwald talking about the seizure of Laptops of U.S. citizens deemed “activists” by the U.S. govt. About a week ago I was posting on my regular FB account and it began to act up until it finally froze completely. Now I cannot post as myself so I post under an alias until that shuts down. My message “is dire” as Guy McPherson calls it and my small insignificant films are mere mosquitoes to the state. Why would they fuck with me? Why not? is the question. What easier target than some whiny white guy living in the suburban forests of Amerika. What the govt is doing is cross-indexing a lot of date for instance: On fb you are either a poster or a commenter. What percentage of your interactions on fb are political. Are your political views outside the mainstream? Could the message be termed “un-amerikan”? Do you check out library books? What kind of books. The complete works of Morris Berman. In a country where less than 1% read radical books this would take any first year computer programmer to come up with a list of the top 100,000 American radicals and you don’t have to be Chris Hedges either. When the state murders a 16 year old American boy looking for his father and doesn’t even bother to apologize even though it was clearly a mistake we are fast on the slippery slope to fascism.

    So what do we do Sandy. Shut up or leave the country if we even can at this stage.

    • kulturcritic says:

      I don’t know, Mike. Probably depends on how many Islamic-related sites you frequent. Remember, they are the new Jews, the persona non grata, the ones who want to destroy our first class culture, our heritage, our freedoms. So far, I have had no troubles with State Dept. I come and go without incident. Actually the immigration guys at the airport seem very nice. Also, I have not noticed any interference with my blog, etc. But that does not mean I don’t believe they are watching me… they are, absolutely. But, I am a harmless white guy who likes to write what he feels. I just watch the edges, and make sure not to go over; just like a three year old… painting within the lines!!! Best, Sandy

      • mikesosebee says:

        “I just watch the edges, and make sure not to go over.” Would you back off if you feared punishment? How would you react if you’re “rights” were being infringed?

        • kulturcritic says:

          Mike – I do not know how I would react. I think the “rights” issue is a tough one. “Rights” assume the entire psycho-social architecture of individuality with all of its correlate concepts – freedom, choice, independence, law, justice, etc. As a modern, first-worlder, I would most likely react very negatively. Of course, the correct answer may be that given the structure of the civilized world we inhabit, I should have the ability to assert my individuality and my rights against infringement by the State. But in a pre-historical, egalitarian context, such objections might appear absurd.

          I do fear punishment, as a matter of fact; but I am not really backing off at all. However, if incarceration or worse became real possibilities, I might be persuaded to retreat. But that is just the world we inhabit; and I am not a strong man. I believe that self-immolation by anyone or even groups will have no effect on the system and its essential trajectory, so why martyr oneself? Better to keep writing, and making folks aware. Maybe I am just a chicken; but that is my prerogative, I guess. Sandy

          • Ivy Mike says:

            Voluntary simplicity, or, living well on very little money, kicks evil people in the nuts and gouges out their eyes. (Pacifists may think of this as sending the enemy Joy and Happiness if they desire.) Doing this in the U.S. has a force multiplier effect because the U.S. is the largest source of the funds that keep the global ponzi scheme running. When people in wealthy countries opt out, the action causes major economic damage to the machine….Living simply on very little money kills the system slowly… my lifestyle represents a nightmare scenario for proponents of paper investments.

            ~Kevin Flaherty
            cryptogon.com/?p=1523

            For those of us who have chosen to resist, there are two options left: Flinging our bodies onto the gears of The Machine or militant, voluntary simplicity, in remote, lightly populated areas…Rather than attempting to bring down The Machine suddenly, in a manner that would, almost certainly, result in the use of strategic nuclear weapons, we should gradually destroy The Machine (and let it destroy itself), while learning the skills necessary to make living in a post collapse reality not only possible, but enjoyable.

            ~Kevin Flaherty
            Resistance on the Brink of Oblivion
            http://cryptogon.com/2006_11_12_blogarchive.html#116331115141766311

    • Ivy Mike says:

      The U.S. Government has, almost certainly, established a database and tracking system for something like eight million Americans who have been designated as threats to national security. The system is called MAIN CORE and it is being run under the auspices of highly classified Continuity of Government (COG) operations. MAIN CORE uses a variety of intelligence sources as inputs, including your email, web activity, telephone and private financial information. In the event of a major national security crisis, it is alleged that Americans listed in the MAIN CORE database, “Could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.”

      ~Kevin Flaherty
      The Last Roundup: MAIN CORE
      http://cryptogon.com/?p=2590

      • Ivy Mike says:

        Although my guess is Facebook is throttling your posts because they simply don’t want messages that don’t sell ads.

        Remember, Facebook is just like TV, electronic heroin made to sell ads.

        If you’re going to work for FB for free,
        Keep it like Regis and Kathie Lee.

  5. Disaffected says:

    On the plus side, if Guy McPherson’s right (or even close), we won’t have long to put up with world wide fascism. And imagine the Christian apocalyptics’ response once it becomes apparent that climate change is going to have its way with us for good. Won’t THAT be fun? I seriously wonder if that won’t be enough to touch off a preemptive nuclear Armageddon just to add insult to injury, in the sure belief that baby Jesus will come thundering in on the clouds to save “the 144,000 elect” (In a world of 7B people that amounts to roughly 1 out of every 48,000, or if they’re all American, which of course I’m sure most Americans believe they will be, 1 out of every 2,000. Looks like a lot of Christians are gonna be disappointed.) for his heavenly paradise.

    But I do agree that posting on the internet ain’t gonna be a smart idea much longer. I think McPherson’s got it right again. You can choose to opt out if that’s a realistic possibility for your individual circumstance (And in the great majority of cases it won’t be, there’s simply too damn many people!), but there’s simply no payoff in any sense for being a dissident and continuing to live within the system. Better to find a comfortable place and await the inevitable now. The great leviathan’s course is set and it simply won’t be deterred; it will grind to fine powder without missing a beat any impudent individuals who decide to jam themselves in its gears. And even if we could affect a change, major climate changes appear to be already baked in the cake. In the end, it’s gonna be a lot more than a mere fiscal cliff we’re about to plunge over. The coming environmental cliff is going to make us wish for the good old days when our worries were so trivial.

    • kulturcritic says:

      LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL! Right DA?

      • Disaffected says:

        Well, I wouldn’t go that far. I’d say it’s really up to the individual’s conscience, although what we choose to do from here on out ain’t really gonna matter much, at least from a physical point of view. But I think you’re right in saying that’s how most people will interpret it. Matter of fact, that’s how I’ve long imagined it would come down to, it’s just that now I think that day has already snuck in below the radar and arrived with no fanfare. I’m not sure McPherson’s got his dates exactly right in predicting Apocalypse 2030, but in the end it won’t much matter (except to those on the ground of course!) whether it’s 2030, 2050, 2100, or a few decades after that. The key point is that anthropomorphic global climate change is a done deal. Over, sealed, done deal, our fate is guaranteed. From an individual standpoint, it really shouldn’t matter that much anyway. Hey – we’re ALL gonna die anyway – right? From a species or a Gaea point of view, well, it’s a little too late to even consider that now, isn’t it? In the end, we were just another species that overshot our carrying capacity on a very large, but not infinite, biosphere. Maybe THAT was the point in our whole experiment all along?

        On the plus side, I spent a little over three hours today walking to the end of a mesa that I have never experienced before, offering a glimpse into the junction of two magnificent canyons that I had previously only viewed via Google Maps. Not to knock Google Maps one whit, but there is NOTHING like standing on a rocky promontory after several hours of strenuous exertion overlooking a vast vista where only eagles soar to open up your body, mind, and soul to what it is to REALLY is to be alive and human in the human year 2012 and standing on this particular patch of terra firma. And THAT my friend is what I intend to cherish from this day forward, no matter what it costs me! May we ALL get to have similar moments in our remaining days, even though most of us surely won’t. I don’t have any answers, and indeed I seriously doubt there ARE any good answers to our collective predicament anymore, so I think the next best answer is the only one we ever really had anyway: make the best of your fate and enjoy as much of it as you can while it lasts, because, rest assured, it won’t last as long as you might think or wish.

    • Ivy Mike says:

      We need all the global warming we can muster to cancel the nuclear winter. Just a 50 warheads exchanged between India and Pakistan erases current global warming, and ends the interglacial Holocene. So let’s get launchin’ and kick the earth into its regularly scheduled ice-age, and Sandy and I can get to huntin’ and recording our venal exploits on cave walls.

      Hope and Change. It’s all good. 😉

  6. James says:

    Our bodies and minds have evolved into performing our technological functions but the phantom of who we were in the natural world persists. We will eventually be turned out of our technological cells where we tend the machines that systematically eat the natural world. We, the encapsulated RNA of our dimension, destroy the conditions essential for life and systemic technological organization. Why rage against the machine? The machine is terminally ill and we will soon find ourselves naked in nature, shorn of our prosthetics. But the embers will burn as our technological mind struggles to give life to the complex tools that remain. At least in degrading our stored sunlight we have concentrated enough metal to make hand tools for many millennia. We can have titanium spear points forever but bringing back the extinct megafauna will be more problematic. Perhaps some titanium hoes and shovels to enhance our gardening experience.

  7. derekthered says:

    a little message from them who should know

  8. derekthered says:

    i think that the technocrats will be just fine thank you. with power comes the ability to hire behavioral experts to map and plan, and anticipate. think the hunger games, for real.
    sure, large portions of the masses will be at the mercy of warlords, gangsters, et al. sort of like dogs being given to new masters at the pound, here boy! fetch!!
    nah, the power players control the resources, they’ll be fine, for awhile.
    those who survive will eventually reorient themselves.

  9. Collapse Watch says:

    derekthered, that is one of the permutations to be filed under most likely right next to Ivy Mike’s limited nuclear war scenario.

    Kathryn Bigelow reminds of Leni Riefenstahl. There are not many female directors. She’s one of the few to break through the glass ceiling….for what? To receive access to the rooftop where you get to drop pianos on the unwitting dolts walking on the sidewalk below. Nothing beast Equal Opportunity Propaganda, does it? Look and free and equal they are in the U.S. Men, Women and Gays are free to stomp on the rest of the world and the planet, and that includes making movies about that stomping……so long as they pass inspection.

    And yeah, Fakebook. A mention of it is in the latest blog post at Collapse Watchhere, as well as An Act of Faith and The Long Slog.

    Here’s a profound quote:

    [W]hat we prepare for is what we shall get.
    ~ William Graham Sumner, from War and Other Essays (1911). I: War (1903)

    Another one that goes hand in hand with that is “careful what you wish for.”

  10. Greg Knepp says:

    Regarding your OT quote, ‘dominion’ does not mean ‘destruction” – quite the contrary. Obviously, the tool wielding apes of yore survived by manipulating their environment. Only by doing so could they hope to vie with their stronger, swifter savannah competitors. This characteristic has been both a mover of, and a result of, human evolution, and is now hard-wired into our DNA. The OT quote you reference recognizes this unalterable reality and thus admonishes us to handle our inheritance with care. Our problems have to do with the fact that we have failed to “rule over it” rather we have become an unruly mob.

    God recognized civilization’s tendency to exacerbate humankind’s mischief, and tried to nip it in the bud. From Genesis, 11th chapter: “…nothing they [civilized humans] plan to do will be impossible for them. Let us go down and confuse their language. So the Lord scattered them from the city.”

    This disdain for civilization is a theme that is repeated countless time throughout the OT, and even emerges in the NT: “My kingdom is not of this world” etc…

    • kulturcritic says:

      Greg, your analysis is interesting, and you seem like a well read guy, in some respects. It appears to me that you are committed to proselytizing belief in the Christian god. That is your prerogative. But, just remember, you quote from a book written by a small group of men (not gods), who were themselves attempting to make sense of, and perhaps critique the direction of social development in the ancient Near East.

      If, indeed, your god was worried about man’s abilities, he would have more effectively dealt with the problem, I suspect. Obviously, he did a terrible job. And, if you are tempted to speak to me about free will, and all that shit, don’t waste your breath. There are a million ways that christians attempt to justify their foundationless beliefs. Let’s just call a spade a spade, the perfect god fucked up royally, or he never existed.

      On the other hand, to claim that ‘manipulation’ of the environment was our evolutionary salvation is not only contrary to the facts; for, indeed, our manipulations have placed us face to face with planetary exhaustion, and catastrophic extinctions. Manipulation as well is not the same as ‘handling’ things in one’s world. The former implies the exertion of shrewd or devious influence especially for one’s own advantage.” The latter is “an activity of touching with hands (or skillful use of the hands).” Dominion is, alternatively, associated with domination, control, authority, power, preeminence, reign, rule, sovereignty, command…

      So, god did not recognize anything; it was these writers who may have recognized something amiss, not only with the emergence of kingship and cities, but with their own religious beliefs, beliefs which obviously helped give rise to the very concept of dominion, kingship, rule, power, manipulation and the subjection of populations. The very problem with civiliation is the problem that emerged with kingship; and god, the divine ruler of the universe was a powerful element for the template!!

      • Greg Knepp says:

        “You quote from a book written by a small group of men (not gods) who were themselves attempting to make sense of, and perhaps critique the direction of social development in the ancient Near East.”

        That’s right, but I ask you, Sandy, what better source to quote? I’m not much interested in what Jung or the Pope or Billy Graham or Shepard or you or even I think about what the OT (or any document from the past) means. What interests me is what the writers themselves thought. In order to best satisfy my interest, I must accept certain cultural conventions of the writers without criticism of condescension, and must be willing to shed some of my own, which, I might add, will surely be viewed as quaint by future generations.

        These men had a unique position; they were witnesses to a massive shift in human organizational frameworks – from hunter-gatherer, to nomadic herdsmen (hebrews) to agriculturally-based civilization. They were fully aware of the changes taking place and were awed and troubled by them. And they were great writers and exacting editors. (Make no mistake, there was plenty of second-rate literature around at the time – get a gander of ‘The Other Bible’ if you have time – but the OT is pretty much all top-shelf material.)

        Also, I did’ntt intend to imply that ‘environmental manipulation’ is our ‘salvation‘, only that it is our primary survival mechanism. Evolution is neutral; it gets us to the next generation, by whatever means, but not much more. Evolution has no agenda. It is hard to shed, though, so we had better make some serious cultural adjustments if we’re to survive at all – on that I think we can agree.

        Many thanks to you for your comprehensive reply to my comment.

        • kulturcritic says:

          So, Greg, you agree with me that there was no divine inspiration in writing these texts? That this was simply the mutterings of some very literate and perhaps old shepherds, as you say, trying to come to grips with a social transformation beyond ‘belief’?

          You say, “I must accept certain cultural conventions of the writers without criticism of condescension, and must be willing to shed some of my own, which, I might add, will surely be viewed as quaint by future generations.”

          But, you are also smart enough and educated enough to know that what you think the text means IS in fact important. The author is only one spectator on the text; her intentions are not overriding; and sometimes it takes historical distance to discern what was really going on there. You also know that every piece of literature, scientific, historical or otherwise is written from a given perspective, informed by pre-thematic suppositions about the world. The art of hermeneutics is the attempt to breathe meaning into historical texts that otherwise would lie silent. Cheers. Sandy

          • Greg Knepp says:

            I agree with your third paragraph. Yes, the authors had agendas (conscious) and presumptions (unconscious) that were unique to their time and place, Extra-OT historical texts – both old and new – can shed light on same. Also, I cannot entirely dispose of my own cultural influences any more than I can speak ancient Aramaic. Keeping these limitations in mind, however, is an important element of any analysis of the OT. Absolute objectivity is, of course, impossible.

            As far as your first paragraph is concerned, it seems unlikely that the scholars working under Solomon to collect and lend articulation to tribal lore, or that Ezra and his scribes hammering out the histories of the post-Davidic kingdoms and writings of the prophets, or the priests of the first century BCE adding polish and law to existing texts, had the time or
            inclination to herd sheep.

  11. Malthus says:

    Well Sandy you are preaching to the choir here. When I think of the government, the corporations, wall street, the military I do not think of them in the abstract. I think of them as THE GODDAMNED MUTANT FASCIST ROBOTS INVOLVED IN THEM. These people are not homo sapiens sapiens. They are a plague of power hungry viruses. A pox on them and all that they hold dear. I don;t care how pretty or well mannered they are. They will stab anyone in the back. They may look like us but they are not human.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Well, now, Malthus; that was very clearly stated by you. 😉 LOL

    • Dehumanizing our fellow human beings has never proven to be a remedy for our socioeconomic problems or predicaments. Rwanda, of course is an excellent example of it NOT WORKING. Anyone have any examples of contention?
      My preferred way of seeing the people you refer to as “not human” are as people addicted to their own weaknesses, currently lacking recognition, much less the motivation, to overcome these addictions.

      • Malthus says:

        It all comes down to POV. Not looking for solutions. Way to much time is being wasted on solutions that need not to be problems in the first place. Am not sure what you are calling addictions since neurons and brain plasticity change and mutate constantly and quickly.

  12. “…the fundamental ground upon which both Islamic and Christian extremism now rise up again in this race to the finish line, a race to the eschatalogical fulfillment of an historical obsession that was unleashed, and whose trajectory was set, so many millennia ago.”

    I’ve listened to about 200 hours of Terence Mckenna videos at work, since I started working at big bank late September. He has been a kind of salve for me in this time of runnaway monstrosity/grotesqureee. The closer we come to Dec 21, indeed, the more surreal things become. Meanwhile, saviorO is plotting how to display a show of force in Wa and Co, to make it clear who is king and who cannot smoke pot. The Feds just put away a 120lb taoist tea shop/art hub owner/host in San Francisco, for 10-15, for distributing LSD and MDNA. They just convicted the hacker Weez for showing the world the horseshit IT Security of the Corporatocracy, conserning personal private info. They can’t help themselves. All they know is power. And they will justify ANYTHING to maintain it. What are they so afraid of, with marijuana, LSD, MDNA, shrooms? Do they really care about the kids. Only in so much as they are reared to love and fear the State. No, they understand, intuitivly, that if these things were widely available, there would be a Revolution in no time at all. LOL. It woudn’t look like the sixties, either.

    • kulturcritic says:

      I just love it when all you folks get so vociferous and all riled up… makes me damned emotional!! Follow me to my favorite Denver, CO pot shop, and let’s stop those feds in their tracks, just like uncle al capone!

  13. If I can get there I’ll show up with the orange afro wig and the bose. 🙂

  14. derekthered says:

    Bradley Manning took an oath
    “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).
    so, he new what he was doing, and you must give the man credit, he acted upon his conscience.
    the film that came to light of the Apache gunship machine-gunning journalists, and those who came to their aid, is absolutely sickening.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_12,_2007_Baghdad_airstrike
    as far as someone having an AK-47? in that neighborhood it’s practically a fashion accessory.
    this tape of what our troops did over there should be on a 24 hour loop on our television sets, it really should. i don’t believe in karma, don’t believe in Jesus, Allah, whatever, whoever, but i do believe this attack was cowardly. the same supposed “progressives” who cry to high heaven, beat their chests, and tear out their hair over police “profiling” black people and/or mexicans seem to be just fine with our govt. profiling foreign people from hundreds or thousands of feet in the air, and then unleashing a hellfire upon them. yes i know all progressives are not good with this.
    here i must include the standard disclaimer stating that i do think it wrong for anybody to be profiled, it’s required; although the FBI employs people specifically called “profilers”, what a frigging mess.

    of course we all hear about the atrocities visited upon people in these Muslim countries by religious fanatics, the acid attacks in Afghanistan, the beheadings, and on, and on………..
    i believe it happens, but i question whether or not that is why we are over there, and whether being there helps solve the problem.
    personally? my opinion may differ from what other posters here think, but i have come to question many of my most cherished assumptions i have held throughout my life.
    and this lady making a movie about killing OBL? seems just that bit unseemly to me, but what the hell do i know? war porn. a recruitment movie.

    so there, i said it, or typed it, just my thoughts.

    shields up, full power, Scotty!!!!!!!! i need more power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! full power to the phasers!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • kulturcritic says:

      “…defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”

      Did you ever think that Bradley was doing JUST THAT, defending the Constitution… against a domestic enemy,,, bearing true and faithful witness…? – Just a thought… phsers set on KILL captain! Nanu Nanu!

      • derekthered says:

        absolutely. thing is i just wonder more and more every day about these high-falutin’ ideals i have believed in. maybe human society will be a blip on the screen. seems like having principles is just a handicap, seems to be the case for Bradley Manning.

    • Disaffected says:

      LOL! Take it from me Derek, you should just get the fuck over it already and make yourself a whole lot more sane. There’s nothing wrong whatsoever in doubting “YOUR COUNTRY,” ESPECIALLY if “YOUR COUNTRY” happens to be called the USA. HEY! We’re FUCKED already! That’s what we were ALWAYS DESIGNED TO BE, descended as we were from British Monarchist bastards as we were. Imperialists to the core, it’s our collective fate. Pig-eared, mostly white, imperialist pricks who think our shit don’t stink. Predictable fate, as always.

      • derekthered says:

        i’ve doubted this country since i saw people firehosed and beaten on the tube when i was a kid, when i saw my brothers friends come back from nam missing body parts.
        what discourages me is listening to people who think we have made meaningful progress, though we have made some, when the underlying drivers of this society have remained the same. capitalism, materialism, etc. what i am doubting is all these ideals i was taught, and whether peace, love, equality, all the standard things we are to aspire to have made one whit of difference.
        maybe i am just beaten down, or maybe? maybe all these ideals are soporifics thrown to the masses while the ruling class are just laughing at the provincials, and having a good old time. look at the number of people who worship our emperor, what has changed? when we still fight undeclared wars/ when we fight wars at all? so much of our collective behavior is contradictory. here we go again, “the collective”.

  15. derekthered says:

    just a quick thought abut this passage,
    “a refracted reflection of those same authoritarian tendencies embedded within our cultural beginnings and, perhaps, now emblazoned upon our souls – a persistence in control over a world of externalities, of ‘things,’ of ‘othernesses’ to be used and abused according to the dictates and desires of the privileged few.”
    it relates to our separation from nature. we don’t just objectify external things, we objectify ourselves, a result of this separation from nature, it’s a separation of self also. the example is what used to be visited upon our colonies, ok, what we still visit upon other countries, is now being visited upon the American population. drones, control, checkpoints.

    objectification does not just affect the subject, subject and object become confused. ok, i’m reaching here, but it seems correct. a roll of the dice.

    • kulturcritic says:

      I love how carefully you read, fred!

      • derekthered says:

        there you go, blowing my carefully constructed persona. as for my reading skills? thanks, i blame it on the nuns. my parents and i paid a lot of money for the little education i have. sometimes i actually realize i am ending a sentence in a preposition. some of the writing i see in newspapers, magazines, and hear on the teevee is just horrible; glaring misspelling, trashy sentence structure, and of course the aforementioned prepositions. whatever prepositions are, and yes, i really don’t know.

  16. Collapse Watch says:

    The thing about Manning is that he did it all for nothing. What’s come of it? The Liberals/Progressives….well, some Liberals and most Progressives get their knickers in a twist over it, but they were already inclined to get their knickers in a twist over such things. Nothing’s changed except actions get more draconian and increasingly codified….but at such a pace that it’s hardly noticeable by most….the frog in the water brought to boiling example.

    • Disaffected says:

      And in the end, that’s the KEY question isn’t it? If Manning did it for an actual individual and/or greater MATERIAL good, then what was all the fuss about? Chances are, it was all in vain. On the other hand, what if he had actual internal HIGHER MORAL grounds for what he did, and was ACTUALLY WILLING to pay a PHYSICAL PRICE for having them? Kind of blows your neural circuits, doesn’t it?

      FUCK! What to make of SUCH PEOPLE!

    • kulturcritic says:

      Although some are trying to tell the frog that the water is getting too hot

  17. bholanath says:

    Thanks and praises for this, kulturcritic. Damn fine place ya got here. Mind if I hang out a bit? Very eloquent and thoughtful, right with ya.
    -from the high mountains of NM

  18. Disaffected says:

    And when down and out about humanity and Gaea, recommit while you can, for WHATEVER it’s worth!

  19. kulturcritic says:

    Folks – Check out the revised Photo Gallery… New Photos!! Better Layout!! Sandy

    https://kulturcritic.wordpress.com/oldies-but-goodies/

  20. Greg Knepp says:

    This just in!… On the “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” news-talk show (ABC) during the ‘Round Table’ segment, conservative commentator George Will made the following comment:

    “The problem is, since the Second World War, really through all of American History, our politics has been about allocating abundance. Now we’re allocating scarcity, and, frankly, we’re not very good at it.”

    It doesn’t get any more main-stream than this. In other words – put a fork in us, we’re done.

  21. Disaffected says:

    Always wished Jimmy could have lived a little while longer at least. He had SO much to say, and there was no one better at conveying it.

    • derekthered says:

      that is such a great performance, yes, the man could play guitar (but come on, he wasn’t really a “shredder”) what i think is under-appreciated is his songwriting, lyrics, and his voice. hendrix had one of the greatest voices, love him.
      here’s something for everybody

      • derekthered says:

        meant to post this, but hey, that first one is good.

      • Disaffected says:

        Hendrix was always misunderstood. One of he main reasons he essentially took his own life. But he was a man of his times. He always understood that’s the way it was gonna end for him. Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that. Metheny’s a horse of an entirely different color. Great musician, maybe even better in fact. But a whole ‘nother gestalt entirely. Maybe what Hendrix could have been in another lifetime, given reincarnation if you’re so inclined. I often wonder if the sole purpose of the 60’s and all that went on then wasn’t merely to flame out briefly and spectacularly, perhaps as a harbinger of all that’s transpired since. Certainly seems that way now in retrospect.

  22. javacat says:

    Although this is not on the same degree, perhaps, as Manning, the events to me are still chilling for their calculation and intent to harm.

    Most folks are familiar with the story of Tim DeChristopher (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_DeChristopher), who disrupted an oil lease auction on public lands by joining the bidding and entering false bids. Now released from prison:

    ‘DeChristopher had been offered a job with the church’s social justice ministry, which would include working with cases of race discrimination, sex discrimination or other injustices that fall contrary to Unitarian beliefs. “The Bureau of Prisons official who interviewed Tim indicated he would not be allowed to work at the Unitarian church because it involved social justice and that was what part of what his crime was,” [DeChristopher’s attorney Patrick] Shea said.’

    http://grist.org/news/tim-dechristopher-banned-from-dangerous-acts-of-social-justice/

    If this piece is at all accurate, he’s been banned from participating in any social action–which to me would violate his Constitutional rights of free speech and assembly. But is especially troubling–never mind that the entire sequence of events is disturbing from start to present–it is especially troubling because of the act of persecution that this represents.

    • Disaffected says:

      On the other hand, “social justice” involves any number of things that more than likely fall below the official radar, especially since many of them might be termed as technically “illegal” and/or “anti-establishment.” Just sayin’. I wouldn’t let a little thing like a mere legal sanction of that type stand in the way of doing some good. Matter of fact…

      • javacat says:

        Obviously. My point was the blatant denial of valid and legal options that is punishing a man who has ‘done his time’ and the very chilling effect of such a public sanction. In the long run, the undercover and under the radar may have a more far-reaching effect.

    • Disaffected says:

      And by the way, the term “Constitutional Rights” might be THE laugh line for the millennium. Constitutional Rights mean exactly what the granters of said rights say they mean, which is to say, whatever you’re willing to pay for them. Not a penny more, nor less.

      • Ivy Mike says:

        Well, you’re mostly right about rights/privileges trickling down from the hierarchical elite, but one right enumerated in The U.S. Constitution, the Egalitarian Clause (2nd Amendment), put the main tool of State enforcement in the hands of commoners. No “trickle down” there.

        And that “right” has been used to good effect, such as the “Penny Auctions” during the Depression, when local farmers would show up to their neighbor’s foreclosure auction with their rifles, and the banksters didn’t feel led by the spirit to bid any higher than the penny the owner of the farm bid.

        You can tell just how Hierarchical a person is by how loudly they howl about this arrangement; the more Authoritarian, the more they hate The US Constitution’s Egalitarian Clause.

      • javacat says:

        Probably so, and probably a myth many are holding onto.

    • Ivy Mike says:

      .Gov afraid of Unitarian rainbows? So fabulous, I’m joinin’! No magic underwear required. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! 😉

      “I trust there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, June 26, 1822

      Now that I’ve got ree-lidj-yun, I might start doing HayZeus-as-Kop-Blokker too at the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit checkpoints:

      P.S. Don’t miss Las Vegas DUI Checkpoint Refusal by Tim Farrell that gets referred after the above video.

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