Power Lunch

screenshot2014-03-30at21-45-36

Let them eat hugely important topics

Media coverage of the alt-right has been profuse in the wake of the recent election. Based on the near-uniform reporting in mainstream outlets, it appears as though journalists covering the phenomenon have little prior familiarity with it. Normies affronted for the first time in generations with a resurgent far-right and a critical mass of unapologetic white racial consciousness originating—no less—with millennials savvily harnessing new media, evince not a little sputtering cognitive dissonance.

Maybe they’re right that this is all just a fresh face on fascism. But if so, such repackaging is not so much a subterfuge on the part of alt-righters, but the peculiar ambiance of the times that have given the alt-right momentum. Either way, one reason we keep hearing that there’s nothing novel about the alt-right is because media and academic conformists simply have no ready vocabulary to describe it that’s worthy of its novelty and moment. If the left-liberal hegemony of late-modern Americanism fails to suppress and supersede this new development, it will be because its pundits and cogitators failed to grasp its implications.

Of all the commentary I’ve seen in any mainstream publication, Atlantic editor David Frum’s comes closest (while failing) to treating the alt-right with any real depth or dispassion:

Over the past two decades, Americans have constructed systems of intellectual silencing that stifle the range of debate among responsible and public-spirited people. They’ve resigned hugely important topics to the domain of cranks and haters. If the only people who’ll talk about the risks and costs of a more diverse society are fascists, then the fascists will gain an audience.

A better way to put it might be, ‘If anyone who ever talks about the risks and costs of a more diverse society gets peremptorily maligned as a fascist in publications like the Atlantic, then anyone who speaks of such things will be a fascist according to the Atlantic which—not incidentally—is now a blog.’ But whaddoo I know? I’m not the editor of the Atlantic.

Obviously, David Frum cannot be arraigned individually on this charge he so richly levels at Americans as a whole, but his CV would seem to indict him quite a ways ahead of most others. What we have here is the unintentional concession from a ranking establishment figure, that public discourse in America is a consensus environment subject to peculiar ideological controls.

But whether ‘we’ or David Frum, or whomever, enable so-called cranks and haters to have a voice is much less interesting a question than whether those cranks and haters are saying anything true and worth hearing. Either Frum takes issue with the message regardless of the messengers, or there’s no need to peremptorily tar anyone as a crank and a hater. Even Frum acknowledges that the alt-right is responding to something. For those unbeholden to the interests he represents, a more interesting approach would be to ask whether other—cogent and visceral—interests are threatened, that the alt-right is advocating for. If so, then you’ve got to figure those interests, being prime targets of ‘systems of intellectual silencing,’ had rather not be serviced by the scarcely-chastened likes of David Frum.

A Profoundly Evil Man

img_2240

“This next cat flew in all the way from the Hamptons, please give him a warm welcome….”

Part one here

More post-election fools-gold profundity this week as Jon Stewart’s artificial-relevance tour continues:

I think one of the lessons of this book and what we’re talking about is to put satire and culture in its proper place, that controlling a culture is not the same as power. And that while we were all passing around really remarkably eviscerating videos of the Tea Party ― that we had all made great fun of ― [they were] sitting off a highway at a Friendly’s taking over a local school board. And the lesson there is, as much as I love what we did…there is a self-satisfaction there that is unwarranted, unearned, and not useful.

Since when do Jon Stewart’s ilk have to earn self-satisfaction? But the local Friendly’s, there’s the locus of power, not Viacom or the White House, where during Obama’s tenure Stewart was a regular and, at the time, secret guest. This flag-draped charlatan’s disdain for the world of Rockwell’s Four Freedoms is palpable. If controlling a culture is not the same as power, can any amount of power ever be enough?

Ah, but there is a silver lining (via HuffPo):

‘Not everybody that voted for Trump is a racist, I don’t give a fuck what any of you say to me. You can yell it at me, you can tweet it at me. They’re not all racists. Or they’re not giving tacit support to a racist system … We all give tacit support to exploitative systems as long as they don’t affect us that badly.’

[Stewart] brought up a conversation with another person who argued that ‘by saying that [Trump supporters] are not all racists, [he’s] giving tacit support to a man of racist language.’ Stewart then pointed out that many Americans are complicit in exploitative and damaging systems, asking the person to pull out his iPhone. ‘I was like, Guess how those are made, guess who makes them?’ Stewart said. ‘Oh yeah, but that’s …. It’s not different, we all do that. All of our shit stinks and getting beyond that takes incredible work.’

Incredible work,” Jeezus, don’t sell yourself short there, Jon. How much is this fifty minutes going to cost me? These remarks aren’t observations, they’re machinations, an effete struggle session. Power is always selectively moral, at least in China the proletariat keeps its mouth shut. So if a professional moralizer can get past his complicity in sweatshop slavery, what hope is there for those recalcitrant rubes down at Friendly’s?

Shrunken Heads

not-a-bear-necessity

Sharing is caring

Appreciation for Thanksgiving turkeys

Ulterior horizons, perfunctory well-wishes

They’d watch you be gutted like it was on TV

and wonder about the giblets

There’re no limits to what’s impersonal

Quid pro quo, exsanguinated

The serpent points the way to knowledge

that people are coin operated

Big, open, sensationless pudding-vaginas

contriving stratagems for service opportunities

Need a light there, pal? Lemme get that for ya

Thin-surfaced canned food-drive communities

Conversion therapy

b7rjlvtiqaescc7

“Please, Rick! You have to let me help you!”

“That particular combination of arrogance and timidity sets my teeth on edge.” (Orson Welles)

The art of the con is all about abstracting the mark’s perception so that he no longer answers to his gut. America may not be the apex of civilization, but it is definitely the apex of the con, where the backbiting, eyeless-smile real estate lady posts schlock bible verses on social media, and the seed-eating yogi is liable to suffer a rage-induced aneurysm over a stolen parking spot at Trader Joe’s.

Jon Stewart is one of the more poignant exponents of this dissociation. Here he is this week with Charlie Rose, holding forth on the recent presidential election:

….America is not natural. Natural is tribal. We’re fighting against thousands of years of human behavior and history to create something that no one ever [has]. That is what is exceptional about America. This ain’t easy and that’s an incredible thing.

Did you catch that? We’re fighting against nature, human nature. Who among us can instruct men to transcend this mortal coil? Let he who is without humanity cast the first instruction. But the point Stewart wanted to make was that we (meaning, the appointed) should not stereotype Trump voters any more than “we” would Muslims or others. The earnest liberal’s moment of clarity is always another defense mechanism. Of course a figure like Stewart has something conciliatory to say all of the sudden. Ass-licker that he is, how could he stay relevant otherwise?

Obviously, “Trump voters”=nominally Christian Anglo-Saxons, the erstwhile national stock—those of them who aren’t left-wing, anyway. In Stewart’s worldview we are to refrain with few exceptions from critical discussion of the group characteristics of almost every other category of people. But Stewart isn’t suggesting “we” admit whites to the illusory hearthside of this exemption, no no no: he’s merely calling for a tempering of the critique, a strategic retreat. Stewart’s snide diagnostician’s schtick has always been to call for dispassion and in this, he’s as wise as his admirers say. Indeed, the depths of the inmate’s psyche must be plumbed, its mysteries penetrated, so as to determine upon the proper course of further treatment.

Bad Hair Day

tumblr_lopv2rlipn1qaod4yo1_r3_500

It was a simpler time

Left-liberal friends assure me that the right-wing corporate media elected Donald Trump. ‘Right-wing media’! Are they blind? But I think I understand their misapprehension: Bernie Sanders was derided as populist and utopian, ergo economic justice is not a priority of an intelligentsia long complicit in both neocon wars and neoliberal predations. But the intelligentsia isn’t merely corporatist and interventionist, it is sexually libertine and racially egalitarian. Should this not give the earnest liberal pause?

In Hebrew we have a phrase, avoda b’ayinaim, which means something like ‘brazen deceit’ or, ‘unconcealed legerdemain.’ Sweatshop lords sponsor anti-racist celebrity PSAs…. a 21st-century Guernica is rationalized in liberal quarters as humanitarianism…. a soilent-green corporatocracy champions a thing it calls ‘diversity,’ except when it doesn’t. Foreign aid and international lending are tied to the promotion of eugenics and homosexuality.

Far be it from me to credit musty old fables with prescience—ones that aggregate scientific hubris with multiculturalism and characterize sodomy and usury as aggressions deleterious to spiritual and societal hygiene—but some of us are starting to notice a pattern. In light of the chilling reality of ideological enforcement—an exclusively leftist speciality, at least nowadays—even I got fingerfucked into voting, and now feel eerily ambivalent and a tad greasy, as well I ought to. Donald Trump is a symptom, not an antidote, and clearly not the director of the show we’ve just seen, but a faux-paleocon, an exploiter of the working class and very probably a child-rapist, who will expand the police state and the war machine. That his butt-smoke showman’s bombast about ‘disasterous trade deals’ and ‘international bankers’ is what got him elected should indicate not what we can hope for from his administration, but how the system switches gears when it’s so far gone in terms of legitimacy. ‘What an stunner! Who could’ve seen it coming?’ Avoda b’ayinaim.

Trump’s wannabe greaser-pimp noblesse oblige—his periodic sympathetic gesture to the bellhop or the garbageman—is razor thin, but it’s precisely the bellhop and the garbageman who will now be savaged by the intelligentsia, permeated as it is by dread of the peasantry it presumes to know what’s best for. Though historically the left’s concerns are proletarian, lately it transpires that these can be assuaged very effectively with butt-smoke moral rectitude, little-man hip-hop flights of fancy or Whole Foods and gay TV characters. Joe Dirt, on the other hand, is armed—a bone in the system’s throat no hat-passing Bernie or OWS stink-in can hold a candle to. He needed placating this inauspicious autumn with #MAGA the way his counterpart in a Subaru needed ‘hope and change,’ eight summers and a thousand years ago.

Camile Paglia put it this way:

People want change and they’re sick of the establishment — so you get this great popular surge… If Trump wins it will be an amazing moment of change because it would destroy the power structure of the Republican party, the power structure of the Democratic party and destroy the power of the media. It would be an incredible release of energy… at a moment of international tension and crisis.

That the power of the establishment could be detonated so blithely is a woeful delusion from so normally prescient a commentator, but Paglia was correct about one thing: there has now been an incredible exorcise of energy, precisely the narcotic catharsis a mark needs to go on being conned.

Jacob’s Plateau

brugghen2c_hendrick_ter_-_esau_selling_his_birthright_-_c-_1627

Oh, alright…..

The onset of a darkening time

Of shadows as forms

Of eyes that guard no souls

Of the recession of green meadows into the bulldozer’s maw

Of menacing clouds amassed before the precincts of eternity

to download and be uploaded, or whatever

The metastasis of sickening flesh

Of bloodless jowls sagging beneath little green visors

Of numbers who aspire to be ants

Of the licensure of volition

Of callow dogs as commanders

who’ve refined to eyeless guile the art of getting what to eat and never stopping once they’re sated

Because there’s only so much to go around

Sizzler

img_2147

I am their father

How to get the DNA out of this algorithm?

A cubicle for Montezuma’s ransom

Your lucky rabbit’s foot is a handler’s gland

and second prize is a set of steak knives

What do you feel like eating?

You’ve got a family don’t you?

Because I’ve got this insatiable taste for flesh

You know, character is the barcode of transmutability

and you set the ceiling

I may not’ve determined the number of inches from fly to forehead

but I can decide how vicious I jizz tendons and marrow and keep you in suspense

Whobody? Anybody

Are you what it takes?

The counter-revolution will not be internetized

trump-clinton-and-the-deplorable-picture-x750

Vanguard of the breadline

Is there anything more transfixing than the lurid, sadistic hubbub in this degenerating land of naked opportunism? If the disgraceful Bernie Sanders stands as proof of far-left futility and co-optation, the alternative right stands for outright rejection of the eyeless smile that is reigning, late-modern Americanism—which is kind of like Emerson devolved to Dr. Phil and Dale Carnegie applied by Curtis Lemay.

What recommends the alt-right is that its targets and detractors are rattled more by its truths than by its falsehoods. Like the fish who in David Foster Wallace’s retelling inquires of his companion, “What the hell is water?”, Americanism’s acolytes carry no party card that they’re aware of. So the alt-right is a genuine red-pill, an unflinching gaze into the post-American abyss. But by giving it its moment, Hillary (who feeds as voraciously on the exsanguinated phantom of flyover fascism as she does upon the stem cells forfending her convalescence) unwittingly plunged the knife in and twisted: naming is the origin of all particular things, and after summer must come autumn. But until the cognitive dissonance of WNs jockeying for publicity at the trough of common denominator discourse asserts itself, their Apostle to the Gentiles will always be Milo.

Richard Spencer has obviously been reading his James Howard Kunstler. If the Kali Yuga is inexorable, why take such pains to subvert the uninspiring dominant paradigm when we could be digging cisterns? As noted here before, there is of course the possibility of managed opposition, witting or un-. That genuinely galvanizing subversion might emerge from the exertions of a grad-school activist peddling online “identity” as he eagerly bottom-feeds for awareness-raising coverage is no less conceivable than, say, a vindictive art school reject conquering half of Europe. Problem is, however potent a tool, however wide it opens epistemic horizons, other than bringing people together in spite of cultural differences what the internet excels at is keeping us all off the streets. Counter-intuitively, this is advantageous for the alt-right, at least in the short term, because the alienation of willing participants (i.e., device-symbiotic telecom consumers) expressed within the ostensibly manageable confines of interactive media platforms cannot simply be excised like Randy Weaver or selectively arraigned like the Ron Paul newsletters.

But while racism may be the Emmanuel Goldstein of the Trayvon administration, it doesn’t follow that race is everythingas Spencer has come close to postulating. What do I care about FBI crime stats when the Percocet addict casing houses on my block is a peckerwood, and the sassy black lady posting black power memes to Facebook is a good neighbor? So the zeitgeist shift is welcome, until it goes full retard.

What is the alt-right really aiming at, anyway? At some point, changing the national conversation is just busywork, but an ethnostate is a tall order when the status quo is liveable and even luxe. When it no longer is, me clinging to my guns, religion and antipathy will not be a committee decision. Meanwhile, what good is subversion of the dominant paradigm if you remain a supplicant for corn pone? Better to buy a seed bank and an Alex Jones water filter while UPS is still delivering.

In any case, the initial burst of these phenomena always gives way to staleness, and power is always crepuscular. Assuming (for the near-term) that her handlers somehow prove incapable of outlawing thoughtcrime—a project you’d better believe is in R&D—at this point only an HRC administration can extend the shelf life of the alt-right’s liberatingly mischievous confrontation with late-modern Americanism. Because—if the God-Emperor frog memes are any indication—a President Trump will almost certainly disappoint. It’s enough to make you nostalgic for the Austrian corporal. The counter-revolution will not be internetized.

Tzel-mahvet

masada-sunrise-ein-gedi-and-dead-sea-trip-from-jerusalem-in-jerusalem-157980

This might burn a bit

When a stranger’s blithe gesture outweighs your plodding devotion

and you’re granted the serenity to accept the things you cannot change

When you carry around in you a shattered Jerusalem

and find yourself a stranger, but people aren’t strange

The millstone, the cross, the imperative to forgive

the impulse to murder, the necessity to live

the dread that stalks awake-nights, the antiseptic light

dementia and goosebumps and envy and blight

When lies gain the weight of stentorian tomes

and vigor and vim, and known unknown knowns

Then we ordinary folk can cross bridges in space

secure, validated with spit in our face

and decide when to chase and to now flee our tails

and determine the contours of our own comfy jails

When Might may lie down with the left and right hands

and erode all embankments and count up the sands

Then old Lot and his daughters can go fuck themselves

and grannies and housepets and Santa Claus’ elves

and beat the meatcleavers to swordshares and plows

and secure our slick winnings with purrs and meows

and confide our blanch longings despite no true friends

and incline our ears, trifling, to the way the world ends

A Time to Cast Away Stones

colin-kaepernick-time-cover

“Run nigga! George Washington!”

We’re told that a national debate about race relations is underway. We’re told this because, as consumers of information, reality is curated for us.

The BLM narrative is essentially that white people harbor biases they aren’t even aware of, that (among other things) this effects police decision-making under life or death circumstances (should’ve dropped the TV), and that these subconscious prejudices are confirmed by scientific studies conducted in the nation’s leading universities.

But if whites aren’t aware of their feelings, it’s because they’ve been told not to be.

For example, an article in the WaPo on Harvard’s study of the subject insists that

It is very important to note that implicit racial bias is not the same thing as conscious racism. People who harbor implicit biases may not think of themselves as prejudiced, and in fact, might consider prejudice to be abhorrent. They also may not know they even have these biases.

In other words, though in practical effect it is harmful to harbor racist thoughts (this is unfalsifiable, but alright….), there’s no moral culpability unless you’re honest about it, and not ashamed. Or unless we redefine culpability, over and over, expecting the same result each time. So although left-liberal self-flagellation treats the symptom (guilt), the underlying malady (racism) can never be pursued to the end of the worm hole, and the floggings will continue until morale improves.

The conservative counter-narrative is that this is all contrived, that black Americans, who are merely being judged by the content of their character, have been co-opted to a politicized grievance racket inflated with exquisite nonsense like Harvard studies and selective news coverage of officer-involved fatalities. Though this analysis writes the entire black experience off peremptorily, it’s obvious that a certain investment is indeed being made in black American opinion: if you think the media is concentrated in too few hands, you might be interested to know who funds the NGOs.

But venture far enough outside the mainstream, and you’ll find a darker counter-narrative that goes more like: by every measurable parameter blacks are predisposed to crimes of violence and refuse to be held accountable. Of course, holding someone accountable for behavior they’re predisposed to is a thorny proposition (they’re working on that at Harvard), but ironically, this analysis tends to agree with the speaking fee hustla-balla theorists of black grievance, with the critical distinction that the latter blame whitey for the predisposition. Thus, and in conclusion, no one in America is willing to be held accountable for anything.

Well, that’s fair enough, so long as you aren’t trying to dictate how others ought to feel, e.g., that blacks should stop perceiving whites as persecutors or that whites should cease their wariness of blacks. But there can be no Americanism or Americanness as we know it without this race relations dialectic, according to which the souls of black folk depend entirely on white perception to prevent them from vanishing. The consolidation of a more perfect union just refines this cognitive domestication of blacks, and we go from the 1968 Olympics to #OscarsSoWhite. This inseparability of enfranchisement from infantilization is so terrifyingly awkward (click the link, you’re gonna love it; it’s not a parody, either) that we prefer Harvard studies arraign every man, woman and child in this country on charges of subconscious malice. I mean, the SCLC was demanding in 1956 that white people cease mistreating blacks. BLM is demanding in 2016 that white people commence some scarcely-specified work of absolution (of a half-dozen demands, the only one that’s tangible is money) on behalf of black people, otherwise, “No perfect union for you!” This is the precipice of post-Americanism, not because blacks will check out of a system that neglects them (clearly they don’t have that option today, though they did in 1968), but because whites will check out of a system that fawns over non-whites (and poofters) for lack of any more compelling claim to moral authority.

But there’s a remedy for that: as the white patrolman says, when you can’t get respect, you settle for fear (“community relations”). So what is really being implied by implicit bias theory is that (a) what goes on inside my caucasoid noggin is a matter of national import, that (b) by the mere fact of my existence, I am contributing to grievous injuries (microinjuries?) inflicted on untold innocent blacks, and (c) that all this is grounds for intervention (reeducation, in particular) with me as one of its objects. It’s enough to make a whiteboy start taking a knee for the anthem. They couldn’t have just let the Panthers have East Oakland? At least those guys weren’t demanding to come to dinner.

The whole gag’s ridiculously Kafkaesque, Orwellian, yet the provincial rube in this country takes the bait every time. Love it or leave it? Tell it to Fred Hampton. You can check in, but you can never leave. Why is a professional football player obliged to respect national symbols? Is he a fucking four-star general?

The fact is, blacks are perfectly right to understand themselves as the Other in American civilization, in so many social settings not individuals but mere objects of pity, fear, virtue signaling and begrudging inclusion; that they are compelled on a regular basis to account for themselves as representatives of the group and repositories of outside preconceptions, and that in essence this state of affairs has persisted unchanged since emancipation.

That being acknowledged, does it really suffice to explain the gamut of racial disparity? Employment rates, test scores, credit ratings, dick size, incarceration ratios?  Be honest. Will public discourse ever again entertain the suggestion of nigger culpability, in any way and to any extent? Of course not. So the Implicit Association Test wasn’t conceived in a vacuum. It’s impetus is a set of assumptions (and this is supposed to be science) about inequality’s culprits. It can’t show causation because it doesn’t need to, its designers already think they know. God knows alternate hypotheses purporting to explain racial disparity exist, they’re just disconcertingly uncompassionate, and cannot be broached at Harvard.

Tim Wise—the Dr. Phil of anti-racism—put it this way in his latest status update:

American history is basically this:

White people, getting it mostly wrong, for 240 years…and counting.

Do better. Be better. Achieve the country you claim to love, rather than loving the country you don’t even understand…

Sorry, pal—collective guilt’s a two-way street. But if that’s your game then I, for one, am a fair measure younger than 240 years, and I don’t claim to love the country because I do not love it. I don’t hate it, either, I have no feelings for it one way or another. Why would I? I have a family. I have a dog I care about more than the abstraction called the United States of America with all its whites, blacks and in betweens who’d resent stepping over me if I lay gasping in front of them on the sidewalk. As a cultural designation? Fine. But as an object of allegiance or a franchise I’m invested in voluntarily? The only people who stand to gain from raising that hackneyed specter are grifters: “Do better, be better,” let’s you and him fight. Sorry brothaman, I ain’t got time and I ain’t got bus fare. You say people shun and suspect you for no good reason, but that don’t pass Occam, and neither the chicken nor the egg are relevant to my family’s wellbeing.

So aside from certain differences of interpretation, I don’t deny the basic substance of the black point of view. Who am I to tell others what they see and experience? What I’m saying instead is that I don’t care. That your feelings mean shit to me and if you think I’m a party to them you’re literally hallucinating. That having spent twenty-eight of my thirty-two born years in America, well over 50% of my experience with American blacks is of ineptitude, extreme impressionability, violently indiscriminate hostility, emotional volatility and presumptuous entitlement. That it doesn’t matter why, because it’s not my problem and, if I can help it, it never will be. That before a pack of animals can drag me out of my car, they’re gonna be grease in my windshield wipers. And that if you think you see me in the crosshairs of your next jacking or curb stomping, I can guarantee you’ve just seen as sure a sign as ever you may that you’re about to meet your maker.

But good luck being heard. You’ve certainly got all the influential publicists on your side.