Going into the New Year, there’s a lot of things that are on my mind. This post, much like the one I made in the aftermath of the NED’s attempted overthrow of Cuba a few months ago, is really just an attempt to air some grievances. Don’t expect anything from this one but a frustrated ramble.
City on a Hill
In Dallas, Texas, where President John F. Kennedy was murdered by a coalition of the CIA, the FBI, Rockefeller oil fascists and the Italian Mafia (to name a few), a massive group of people who believe in the Q Anon psyop have gathered. They believe that JFK and JFK Jr will soon appear there, reinstate Trump as President, and that the trio will jointly purge America of all the Satanic pedophiles. According to the mainstream media, the group of true believers in the New Messiah(s) number in the hundreds.
One speaker at this carnival of McApocalypse was General Michael Thomas Flynn, a career manager of the Amerikan Empire’s military bureaucracy who has recently become something of a Paul the Apostle (or, perhaps,Brigham Young) of the Q “movement.” He has also called it “total nonsense” and a disinformation campaign” created by “the CIA” and “the Left.” Earlier this year, at an event The Washington Post described as a “who’s who of the new Christian right”, Flynn proclaimed, ““If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion. One nation under God, and one religion under God.” This statement scared the shit out of many people, but what was spookier to me is the fact that Flynn plagiarized large portions of the prayer given during his speech from one said by Elizabeth Clare Prophet back in 1984:
Elizabeth Clare Prophet was a New Age spiritual cook whose approach to mysticism was heavily influenced by the I AM movement. As the VISUP blog has pointed out, I AM creator Guy Ballard owes a heavy debt to American fascist William Dudley Pelley, who was likely an asset for American intelligence. Ballard believed that the New Deal was part of a Jewish conspiracy to deprive people of their freedom and at one point targeted President Franklin D. Roosevelt for psychic assassination. Around this same time, a plot to murder Roosevelt was being planned by a coalition of bourgeois Americans. Allegedly, this coalition included Prescott Bush. Prescott was, of course, the father of George HW Bush who, allegedly, was part of the aforementioned coalition of bourgeois Americans set up to murder President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.
Roughly a month before the Q suckers started to flock to Dallas, another, much more tragic event in a Texas city was being interpreted as a “sign of the times.” This was rapper Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston, where at least ten people, including a nine year old child, were crushed to death due to overcrowding, lack of proper healthcare officials and security guards, heat, and a total lack of care for a crowd’s collective well being that is produced through the mass hypnosis of rockstar culture. Like many young people who have quite literally been saved by music, I couldn’t stop watching the cell phone footage of this tragedy no matter how awful it was.
As I was digging through the twitter deluge for footage and information, I came across one account who was, to be fair, probably a little too obsessed with the occult symbolism displayed at the concert. Nontheless, I found his observations interesting. Although I can not say I really believe him, at least not in the literal sense he was clearly operating on, I think there’s some merit to one idea he became particularly fixated on, which is that the giant vortexes behind Scott at Astroworld can be interpreted as “portals.” Do I believe that, as this poster does, Scott was opening a real portal to some other, demonic reality? No. However, as I explain in the post linked above, I do think you can see symbolic trends in mass media as hinting at a larger ideological consensus in parts of the State apparatus and ruling class.
The twitter account, “PsyClops”, is absolutely obsessed with portals in various types of mass media, and I have started to notice them everywhere myself ever since discovering and following his account (we’ll come back to this later).
Ghislaine Maxwell finally went on trial for helping Jeffrey Epstein run a lucrative child rape and blackmail business that, when exposed, definitevely “implicated our faves” in truly awful things. It particularly laid bare that pretty much the entirety of what passes for art and entertainment in the imperial core of the USA is governed by a seemingly enforced tolerance of pedophilia and, as the earlier revelations during #MeToo exposed, sexual abuse in general. Immensely underreported in the mainstream media and largely memoryholed barely two years later are the the facts that Ghislaine Maxwell’s father was an elite businessman and Mossad agent with deep ties to the British royal family and UK bourgeoisie, that the man who made Jeffrey a billionaire, Les Wexner, is tied to the Bronfman crime family, who pioneered “sexual blackmail” (and has a member in the NXIVM sex cult which, like Epstein’s, ensnared several celebrities, including the Dalai Lama) and that both Donald Trump and the Clintons who supposedly despised him were both extremely close to Jeffrey and Ghislaine. In spite of all of this, it seems likely that Ghislaine Maxwell will face little to no repercussions for her actions and that this will be quietly swept under the rug as it was shortly after Epstein died, allegedly by his own hand.
Maxwell’s trial got rolling shortly after another was wrapping up. This trial was of Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot three men when he and several other vigilantes arrived at a protest sparked by the muder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, a cop who in all likelihood knew Floyd, had some kind of grudge against him, and killed him either on purpose or as an unintended byproduct of trying to purposefully torture him. Chauvin thought he could get away with this because white police officers in the United States have been able to kill black people with impunity more or less since the end of the Civil War. When a multiracial coalition of largely young people decided to display how dissatisfied with this state of affairs, many white wannabe cops, such as Rittenhouse, became deeply offended to the point where they felt threatened. Rittenhouse decided that it would be worth it to potentially kill people to defend white privilege and acted accordingly. When Rittenhouse was finally put on trial for this, a white judge helped him throughout the proceedings and the jury ultimately found him not guilty on all counts. To add insult to injury, Rittenhouse went on the Fox News program of Tucker Carlson, a “former” neoconservative and “failed” CIA agent, and smugly insisted that he, “is not a racist person” and that he “supports the Black Lives Matter movement” and “peacefully demonstrating.”
This last point is strange when one considers that Rittenhouse has been embraced with open arms by that same “New Christian Right” that Flynn has recently appealed to, in other words, the same type of people who see the January 6th “insurrection” as a legitimate attempt to save America and believe that every last Satanic pedophile in big business, the federal government, the military, and the mass media should be publicly executed in the name of God. At a convention organized by Turning Point USA, Rittenhouse was greeted as a rockstar by a packed audience. He walked out to a generic hip hop beat.
Speaking of that “insurrection” at the beginning of the year, it inspired an expansion of the Capitol Police that will essentially transform them into yet another national intelligence service. This is in spite of the fact that there is video evidence of the police opening the gates and allowing the crowd of Trump supporters into the building with little to no struggle.
There’s also been reports of numerous elements involved in the “insurrection” (which has now been given the 9/11-esque, imbecilic, yet catchy abbreviation “Jan 6th”) had some form of relationship with the police.
The Daily Beast reported that “During a July 2019 Proud Boys demonstration in Washington, D.C.,” Charles Donohoe, an apparently prominent member of his PB chapter, “Donohoe ran into Collin Cole, a Metropolitan Police Officer with whom he had previously served in the Marines. The pair shook hands and the image soon circulated in Proud Boys circles as evidence that the group was not racist. (Cole is Black.)”
“Later, Donohoe tagged Cole on Facebook and the pair chatted about the upcoming rally, and the counterprotest expected from the left. “I’ll be working downtown today for the protests,” Cole commented on a picture Donohoe had taken from his hotel window of a car with a “Trump: Build The Wall” trailer.
“You’ll see me me [sic] I’m with the proud boys,” Donohoe wrote back. “Don’t publicly announce this please antifa is trying to ruin our weekend.”
“Of course not!” Cole wrote back. “I’ll keep an eye out.” He later commented to note that he was now standing by the Trump sign, and to ask whether Donohoe was still in his hotel room.”
That same Beast article reports that the Philadelphia Proud Boys “have frequently rubbed shoulders with their city’s police force.” Philadelphia’s Proud Boys are led by Zach Rehl, the “son and grandson of Philadelphia Police officers.” In addition, “,the Philadelphia Proud Boys tweeted pictures of themselves in uniform posing with a police officer inside a police station, where the group said it was delivering snacks. (It’s unclear whether Rehl was in the pictures.)…after a rally in September, the Philadelphia Proud Boys were accompanied back to their cars by a police caravan. A Philadelphia Police officer was filmed talking to and shaking hands with the group in what the city’s district attorney described…as an “extra-friendly” interaction.” Jennifer Gugger, a Philadelphia police detective, is under investigation for allegedly attending a rally that preceded the invasion of the Capitol. She commented on Mike Pence’s tweet consoling the Capitol Police after one of their officers died: “You’re a traitor and cabal operative and pedophile! You preach of god and that god will judge you!” Let’s not forget that the current head of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, was outed as a “prolific informer” for “federal and local law enforcement” for years and that, “In interviews with Reuters, however, he said that before rallies in various cities, he would let police departments know of the Proud Boys’ plans.”
Let’s not forget the Oath Keepers, who perhaps had an even larger role in instigating “Jan. 6th” than any other group. 19 members of the Oath Keepers were also arrested & charged for participating in Jan 6. Just recently, it was revealed that “160 U.S. military, government email addresses” were included on a leaked Oath Keeper membership list.” The linked article reports that: “A total of 132 email addresses found in the list used the .mil domain, 100 of which were from the U.S. Army. Other branches of the military found on the list include the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Marine Corps.” Members of the Oath Keepers have claimed that active duty law enforcement train & work alongside them. The current leader of the Oath Keepers claimed, “We have active-duty law enforcement in our organisation that are helping to train us. We can blend in with our law enforcement.”
Micah Loewinger, a WYNC radio reporter who was working with an anti-militia group in the weeks leading up to the phony insurrection, found a “stop the steal” conversation amongst 100 people on the app Zillo. “If they had been paying attention to the whole network of far-right groups online that were extremely vocal and very public about what they wanted to happen,” Loewinger told 60 Minutes, “I don’t believe we would have seen so many people break into the Capitol.” CNN reported that, “Capitol Police observed roughly 200 members of the extremist Proud Boys group moving toward the Senate around 11 a.m. on January 6, hours before the building was breached by a pro-Trump mob…Capitol Police deployed 13 countersurveillance officers in small teams, but had no plan for January 6.” Indeed, once the rioters were actually inside the Capitol, one officer said, “We’ve just got to let them do their thing now.”
Ask yourself this: What was the point of all of the increase in funding for police, the intelligence community, & the military, not to mention the exponential expansion of their surveillance capabilities, since 9/11 if they can’t stop a handful of Trumpists from “insurrection” before it occurs? Why weren’t the George Floyd protestors, peaceful and violent, not simply allowed to “do their thing?”
I remember when some of those protesters attempted to break through the White House barricades and people were genuinely nervous we were going to witness the Secret Service massacre hundreds. Why is there almost nothing remotely comparable in accounts of “Jan 6th” even from the Right? Since “Jan. 6th” we’ve had to hear politician after politician speak in hushed tones about the sanctity of the Capitol and speak as if they’ve been through some kind of actual trauma, speak as if they’re in any way close to the state of any of the numerous children they and their friends have abused. Apparently the Capitol isn’t so special if a handful of Trumpcucks can waltz in, smoke weed, and take soyfacing selfies with the cops.
The Taliban have officially re-asserted dominance over Afghanistan after one of the longest, most brutal, and most expensive “wars” ever waged by the USA to purge a Middle Eastern country of its “anti-democratic” government after said government stopped being friends with the CIA and American military establishment. More or less all discussion of this event by Americans, “socialist” or otherwise, predictably hyper-focused on the Taliban’s retrograde views on women, queer people,etc and basically implied that however bad the USA’s neo-colonial domination of the country was, it was still “more democratic.” I saw little mention from Americans of the “dancing boys”, DynCorp, the role of Afghanistan’s opium fields in managing global heroin supply chains (and helping fuel the “opioid epidemic” in post-Soviet nations long before it came to the USA, a part of their glorious history in the Cold War Americans seem to have conveniently forgotten), or even the Washington Post’s limited hangout about the many awful things the US “enabled” (I would say “implemented”) in the nation released just two years ago. Let’s examine just one part of the WaPo “investigation”:
“Mansions known as ‘poppy palaces’ rose from the rubble to house opium kingpins. President Karzai…later admitted the CIA had delivered bags of cash to his office for years, calling it “nothing unusual”…
In the interviews, key figures in the war said Washington tolerated the worst offenders — warlords, drug traffickers, defense contractors — because they were allies of the United States…CIA gave cash to warlords, governors, parliamentarians, even religious leaders…”
Greg Berthold, a forensic accountant who served on a military task force in Afghanistan from 2010-2012 analyzed 3,000 Defense Department contracts worth $106 billion. According to the Post, Berthold found that about 40% of the money ended up “in the pockets of insurgents, criminal syndicates or corrupt Afghan officials.” One warlord enriched by the USA was Abdul Rashid Dostum. In a true rags to riches story, this rapist, murderous scum was made VP & paid $70,000-$100,000 a month by the CIA to get fat & tell George W. Bush how cool he thought he was or, as they put it, “To not cause trouble.” Yet another Great Reformer (Warlord) who was doing “progressive development” in Afghanistan on the US payroll was Sher Mohammad Akhundzada. “In 2005,” the Post reports, “ U.S. and Afghan narcotics agents raided Akhundzada’s offices and found an enormous stash — nine tons — of opium.”
As the Post says, “…many Afghans saw their government as incompetent and malicious. Judges, police and all manner of officeholders routinely subjected people to extortion. In contrast, Afghans often viewed the Taliban as brutal but efficient and devout.” After some pushback against the new, US-supported system of rule-by-warlord, many of the he warlords were consolidated into the Afghan National Auxiliary Police which Human Rights Watch has dubbed, “the same people, committing the same crimes, with more power.” The ANAP was used “to absorb pre-existing jihadi militias or armed groups.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg. During the era of the USA’s “war” on the Taliban, when the supposed democrat Karzai was in office, a law was approved allowing husbands to starve their wives to death if they wouldn’t have sex with them. Unsurprising, then, that the United Nations admitted in 2011, after a decade of US-sponsored reformers and direct occupation in some areas by the US military, that “a chronic failure at all levels of government to advance the protection of women’s rights in Afghanistan” had exposed the potential for feminist advancement through warfare as a cynical talking point. As the exploitation and abuse of women and children reinforce one another, it comes as no surprise that US contractors and the military itself helped perpetuate child trafficking and the enabling of pedophilic elements of Afghan society.
All of this is pretty bleak, because the death cult that is the American Empire is intrinsically nihilistic and built on self-indulgent wish fulfillment. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere and as many people much more well spoken than myself have noted, the promise of the “New World” in the Americas for many settlers, particularly from England, was to escape proletarianization during the early days of the bourgeoisie laying waste to the feudal world on behalf of capital. In 1859, Marx noted that in the USA, “though classes already exist, they have not yet become fixed, but continually change and interchange their elements in constant flux…” Later, Marx observed, “Capital may there try its utmost. It cannot prevent the labor market from being continuously emptied by the continuous conversion of wages laborers into independent, self-sustaining peasants. The position of wages laborer is for a very large part of the American people but a probational state, which they are sure to leave within a shorter or longer term.”
In the opening of History of the Great American Fortunes, Gustav Meyers examines the situation this way:
“The noted private fortunes of settlement and colonial times were derived from the ownership of land and the gains of trading. Usually both had a combined influence and were frequently attended by agriculture. Throughout the colonies were scattered lords of the soil who held vast territorial domains over which they exercised an arbitrary and, in some portions of the colonies, a feudal sway.
Nearly all the colonies were settled by chartered companies, organized for purely commercial purposes and the success of which largely depended upon the emigration which they were able to promote. These corporations were vested with enormous powers and privileges which, in effect, constituted them as sovereign rulers, although their charters were subject to revision or amendment…The impecunious noblemen or gentlemen who transported themselves to Virginia to recoup their dissipated fortunes or seek adventure, encountered no trouble in getting large grants of land especially when after 1614 tobacco became a fashionable article in England and took rank as a valuable commercial commodity.
Over this colony now spread planters who hastened to avail themselves of this new-found means of getting rich. Land and climate alike favored them, but they were confronted with a scarcity of labor. The emergency was promptly met by the buying of white servants in England to be resold in Virginia to the highest bidder. This, however, was not sufficient, and complaints poured over to the English government. As the demands of commerce had to be sustained at any price, a system was at once put into operation of gathering in as many of the poorer English class as could be impressed upon some pretext, and shipping them over to be held as bonded laborers. Penniless and lowly Englishmen, arrested and convicted for any one of the multitude of offenses then provided for severely in law, were transported as criminals or sold into the colonies as slaves for a term of years. The English courts were busy grinding out human material for the Virginia plantations; and, as the objects of commerce were considered paramount, this process of disposing of what was regarded as the scum element was adjudged necessary and justifiable. No voice was raised in protest.”
To quote J. Sakai in Settlers:
“So central was the possession of land in the personal plans of the English settlers that throughout the colonial period there was a shortage of skilled labor. Richard Morris’ study of labor in colonial Amerika concluded: “In the main, the ultimate economic objective of colonial workmen was security through agriculture rather than industry…As soon as a workman had accumulated a small amount of money he could, and in many cases did, take up a tract of land and settle on it as a farmer.”
Where land was not available, settlers refused to come. Period. This is why the British West Indies, with their favorable climate, were less attractive to these settlers than wintry New England. As early as 1665 a member of the Barbados Assembly complained, noting that the limited space of that island had already been divided up: “Now we can get few English servants, having no lands to give them at the end of their time, which formerly was their main allurement.” And British servants, their terms up, would leave the Indies by the thousands for Amerika.
It was this alone that drew so many Europeans to colonial North Amerika: the dream in the settler mind of each man becoming a petty lord of his own land. Thus, the tradition of individualism and egalitarianism in Amerika was rooted in the poisoned concept of equal privileges for a new nation of European conquerors.”
Perhaps this is what compelled Engels to reflect, after a visit to the United States:
“Don’t you believe that America is a new country – it is the most old-fashioned place in the world…upon this primitive stage they have grafted a lot of supra-modern novelties many of which are no improvement and none of which are beautiful.”
Of course, this “New World” would soon become even more retrograde in the sense that it ceased to have, as its laboring base, semi-slaves and indentured servants more resembling the serfs of the previous era and replaced them with full blown enslaved humans, stolen from the continent of Africa. As Meyers points out: “As chattel slavery harmonized well with the necessities of tobacco growing and gain, it was accepted as a just condition and was continued by the planters, whose interests and standards were the dominant factor.” That is, as Italian Marxist and historian Dominic Losurdo says, “the tendential social rise of poor whites coincided with the consummate dehumanization” of black slaves:
“The transition from a spatial delimitation of the community of the free to an ethnic and racial one brought with it combined, contradictory effects of inclusion and exclusion, emancipation and dis-emancipation. Whites, even the poorest among them, also came within the sacred space; they found themselves forming part of the community or race of the free, albeit situated at inferior levels. White slavery disappeared, condemned by New York polite society as ‘contrary to … the idea of liberty this country has so happily established’. But the tendential emancipation of poor whites was only the other side of the coin of further dis-emancipation of blacks. The condition of the black slave deteriorated by virtue of no longer being, as in colonial America, one of several systems of unfree labour.”
We can further understand the ideology of this gestation of the USA and how it continues to be disseminated in the various events referenced earlier, as the American Empire continues to ossify and collapse, by comparing a passage from Michael Bronski’s A Queer History of the United States examining a contradiction in the Puritan conception of “freedom” to another passage from Losurdo. As Bronski says:
Compare this with Losurdo’s idea that chattel slavery is not some bizarre contradiction in the ideology of Enlightenment liberalism, but its logical conclusion:
We are in a scenario where the “Westward expansion” required to give a material basis to this Euro-American, settler-colonial ideology of the United States and several of its relatives has slowed to a crawl. In some ways, it seems to be retreating. Because of this, the mirage of the Euro-American (now slightly more diverse, as the many glib denunciations of “Woke Capitalism” have noted ad nauseum) is breaking down. Many Americans, including whatever the fuck “the Left” is in America now, have chosen to respond with moral outrage over some clandestine cabal of Bad Actors stealing their future from them. Once again, this has a historical precedent in the earliest settlers of this country and appears throughout its development.
Bronski points out that the Puritans, “critiqued the Church of England for veering toward Rome and wanted to return it to a “pure” state” and that Protestant sects through Europe, “viewed the Roman Catholic Church as emblematic of the decadent sensibility, including sexual profligacy, that they witnessed in England.” They, “viewed Italian culture itself as promoting sexually deviant same sex acts,” Bronski notes, before quoting Daniel Defoe, who wrote, “Lust chose the Torrid Zone of Italy/Where Blood ferments Rape and Sodomy.” Therefore, when the Puritans fled England, “they explicitly understood their emigration as an exodus, a direct analogy to the Jews leaving Egypt for Israel, seeking a promised land and freedom.”
In his wonderful polemic against the rise of cryptocurrency, David Golumbia points out that the “central banking conspiracy” and notion of “crony capitalism” that virtually all early supporters of Bitcoin and evangelists of “the Blockchain” prefaced the entirety of their argument on not only was previously extolled by libertarians such as the Koch brothers or the Tea Party movement, but was a commonly held belief by many early American fascists, such as Eustace Mullins. As Golumbia says:
“The association between racist populism and conspiratorial opposition to the Federal Reserve is no accident: they have been intertwined at least since the Fed was created. Berlet and Lyons trace these origins back even further, at least to the demonetization of silver in 1873, supposedly orchestrated by a “cabal of English, Jewish, and Wall Street bankers”; in some ways it goes back to the founding of the republic.”
Mullins particular brand of this theory is quite funny, as it fuses traditional European anti-Semitism with the mythology of America being birthed through a noble war against the degenerate, authoritarian British in the name of liberty:
“The most powerful men in the United States were themselves answerable to another power, a foreign power, and a power which had been steadfastly seeking to extend its control over the young republic of the United States since its very inception. This power was the financial power of England, centered in the London Branch of the House of Rothschild. The fact was that in 1910, the United States was for all practical purposes being ruled from England, and so it is today. The ten largest bank holding companies in the United States are firmly in the hands of certain banking houses, all of which have branches in London…All of them maintain close relationships with the House of Rothschild, principally through the Rothschild control of international money markets through its manipulation of the price of gold.” (Mullins 1993, 62-63)
The irony is that the legacy of the British in the American Empire is, in fact, white supremacy rooted in Anglo-American entitlement. Many of you have probably heard the old conspiracist standard of 14 of the 45 American Presidents were Freemasons. But have you ever been made aware that even more Presidents, including nearly all of the Masonic ones, are also of Ulster-Scot/Scots-Irish lineage? Have you ever heard that in all likelihood it is the history of the Ulster-Scots as the shock troops of Anglo settlers in the war against Indigenous people, and the apparent fetish for the covert society of Freemasonry among many of them, that later inspired the Ku Klux Klan? Have you ever heard that J. Edgar Hoover, himself a Mason, was part of a fraternity in college that is another direct influence on the KKK? And wouldn’t you know it, by the 1960s, at the same time that the FBI was waging an all out assault on Black Power, Red Power, and various other radical social movements rooted in the “identity politics” whose immiseration formed the material base for our modern American Empire, 1/5th of Klansmen were FBI agents or informants!
The service sector has been hit with a wave of aggressive and entitled customers. Many report that this attitude springs from quarantines and related effects of COVID-19. But in reality this was a problem that existed before the pandemic. As Amanda Mull writes:
“In 2019, one in five American workers was employed in retail, food service, or hospitality; even more are now engaged in service work of some kind.
For people currently alive and shopping in America, this economic arrangement is so all-encompassing that it can feel like the natural order of things. But customer service as a concept is an invention of the past 150 years. At the dawn of the second Industrial Revolution, most people grew or made much of what they used themselves; the rest came from general stores or peddlers. But as the production of food and material goods centralized and rapidly expanded, commerce reached a scale that the country’s existing stores were ill-equipped to handle…Manufacturers needed ways to distribute their newly enormous outputs and educate the public on the wonder of all their novel options. Americans, in short, had to be taught how to shop.”
This was accomplished by “linking department stores to the public good.” Retailers began to insert themselves into communities by using department stores to host free concerts , display fine art, house restaurants, banks, & other services that collapsed the space between civic life and consumer experience. “Customer service” emerged in this environment, when it was realized the customers must feel rewarded for their “community minded” shopping. At the same time, the number of service workers in the United States quintupled between 1870-1910. This new generation of service workers, Mull argues, “were there to fuss and fawn, to bolster egos, to reassure wavering buyers, to make dreams come true.”
According to Mull, “…the stores’ legions of service workers gave the newly flush a sense of superiority, as well as a readily accessible group of inferiors on which to impose it…The middle class began to see itself as the small-time beneficiaries of industrialization’s barons.” This new social relation between workers in more urban, middle class jobs, such as office work & those serving them, led to an “aristocratization” of the middle class which is exemplified in tipping.”Consumers could deny payment—effectively, deny workers their wages—for anything less than complete submission.” Over time, this has led to a state of affairs where “the consumer realm is the place where many people can most consistently feel as though they are asserting their agency” and “Being corrected by a salesperson, forgotten by a bartender, or brushed off by a flight attendant isn’t just an annoyance—for many people, it is an existential threat to their self-understanding.”
This “consumer realm” is structured by the work, domestically, of an army of service and “gig” workers, who now make up the majority of what can be considered “working class” people in the United States on the one hand and, on the other, a hyper-exploited mass of laborers in the fiefdoms of American capital that exist without the borders of the United States. It is also dependent upon “just in time” supply chains.
Ironically, the logistics of modern supply chains, which were globalized during the 1980s and 90s and therefore often considered a consequence of neoliberalism, were inspired by Fordist manufacturing principles so prevalent in the earlier era of Western welfare capitalism. As the linked article reads, the “just in time model…forced its way down every supply chain until each supplier, big or small, was expected to deliver products promptly to the next buyer. This increased competition between companies to deliver goods quickly, which meant firms reduced their costs (usually the price of labour)…This constant squeezing of workers has fuelled our 24/7 work culture and the mental health problems that go with it, while attempts to cut the price of labour have added to the growth of economic inequality, regardless of who sits in government.”
Recently, a friend dragged me to watch the new Spiderman movie. It puts nto not-so-live-action the “Spiderverse” portrayed in the animated film of the same name. The movie has many problems, but the one I took most issue with was its politics. It sets up a scenario where Peter Parker’s true identity is exposed by Mysterio, who he accidentally killed in the last movie. Jonah Jameson, who in this film is a thinly veiled satire of Alex Jones and similar right wing conspiratainment figures, uses this to fuel his ratings and persuades large segments of the populace that Spiderman is a ruthless, heartless agent of the deep state in the process (on the other hand, Jameson portrays Mysterio as patriotic and heroic).
Throughout the movie, the implication is that if you question Spider-Man, or even just expect him to reasonably explain himself, you are a “conspiracy theorist” who unequivocally agrees with every bit of nonsense Jameson says. A janitor played by Hannibal Buress is overtly called a conspiracy theorist by Parker’s principal when the two welcome him back after his brief trial conveniently goes his way. What’s interesting to me about this scene is not only that, in this film, Parker goes to a STEM high school, but that behind him on the wall is a mural of various Great Men of Science. The message is clear: if you do not Fucking Love Science, you are a fool incapable of interpreting the world, and should probably just stick to wiping the shit that drops from the asses of Little Einsteins off of the toilets for minimum wage.
At one point, Peter Parker even beats Dr. Strange, who is a man with the powers of a god, by reducing his ancient, mystical practices cultivated over 1000s of years of intense metaphysical exploration by innumerable deeply committed monks to a series of equations that can be solved in real-time. “That’s why Science is cooler than Magic!” Parker gleefully exclaims at the end of their duel. This scene, I guess, was thrown in to justify the fact that it is later Dr. Strange’s magic that actually saves Parker’s ass multiple times, usually from situations that he himself is responsible for. And just like in most films set in the MCU since his own, Dr. Strange does this most often through the use of portals.
So much mass media now relies on intertextuality, self-reference, and even plot points where multiple realities literally converge, that you have to wonder if the bizarre theory that the Mandela effect is the result of various versions of our reality smashing together in a bizarre cosmic earthquake back in 2012 is, like Q Anon, something of a cross between an alternate reality game and a psyop. Is there some effort being made, consciously or not, by various actors in the bourgeoisie and State institutions to reinforce the strength of sterile postmodernity and Cold War scientific investigation that has gradually been breaking down ever since the economic collapse of 2008 or so? And is it the case that the ubiquitous presence of portals in mass media not only helps facilitate this atmosphere, but also implies that we in the United States are moving into some “unprecedented” new reality?
Well, when you have the mainstream media now downplaying the phrase “Great Reset”, which it use to write off entirely as a “conspiracy theory” (and thus not really worth the time of anyone but the rubes who make the failing institutions of American “democracy” look pretty), as simply a few wholesome recommendations for how to go about rebuilding, from the ground up, the entirety of the US Empire’s political economy and national security state, it’s hard not to think so.
It’s particularly difficult to not become pessimistic when you have started to notice these things. Most people you try to talk to jump to conclusions about what you’re trying to say, associate your observations with people who annoy them, and then decide being smug and dismissive, and perhaps even defending, the state of affairs you’ve described as “good” after admitting it does in fact exist, is a fine response.
I recently was written off as some psycho for making the point that it’s probably okay for people to feel a little bit awkward about a new film by Paul Thomas Anderson, who is by all means a member of the same Hollywood royalty that indulges the Weinsteins and Spaceys of the film industry, features a plot line not only where an older person falls “in love” with someone several years younger than them, but where the child object of affection in question is just sort of whimsically enjoying their life as a child star. This latter part of the plot is simply not a reality for the vast majority of child actors in Hollywood and the romance only highlights how fucking untrue it is, especially when you consider the lives of many, many child stars such as, Nathan Forrest Winters, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, the victims of Bryan Singer and the DEN network, several of Michael Jackson’s former back up dancers, and even the original “Lolita” herself, Sue Lyon.
The main part of my tweet that was objected to was that I noted the film was coming out in the middle of Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial. That’s all. I didn’t say it was part of some disinfo op to distract people from the trial or make Ghislaine’s crimes seem sexy (although it curiously is coming out a roughly a year after Dasha Nekrasova’s shitty softcore porno flick attempted to do precisely that, and after the podcaster herself has achieved even more fame in the mainstream television series Succession). I didn’t even accuse PT Anderson of doing apologetics for child rape himsel,f even though, when one considers his close friendship with Quentin Tarantino, I probably could have. But apparently even making the association between PT Anderson’s spectacle and the lack of fanfare over the Ghislaine trial is enough to be chided as a nutjob by the same people who were performatively hyperventilating over
Epstein’s faux-suicide last year before reducing it to a massive meme and now apparently not giving a shit about it at all (in the aforementioned Dasha film, there is even a scene where its implied he maybe did commit just kill himself after all).
A similar but more even annoying response occurred when Juan Fitzcarraldo, author of one of my favorite essays from this year, made a tweet comparing Spiderman to a cop. And, wouldn’t you know it, just like in the movie there were legions of people who made the point that he sounded just like Jonah Jameson. Undoubtedly, many people will pretend like this is all irrelevant, because movies aren’t real and everyone from the titans of industry to the military and CIA just invests billions of dollars a year into mass media spectacles for no good reason. Personally, I find it very difficult to entertain that idea in light of the last year. But hey, Nancy Reagan blowjob Alec Baldwin gun horse paste Hunter Biden white boy summer amirite?