Newzlab

The Struggle Against Vile Authority Continues… but which authority? Want the perfect place to express discontent?


First –  for those of you tl;dr folks who only have patience for just a few paragraphs — a mini-rant you’ll like:

== Torches & Pitchforks? Or…. ==

Sales of private jets are likely to reach their highest ever level this year, placing an increasing burden on the planet. While many of the owners escape aviation taxes, there are few curbs on the greenhouse gases.  
With wealth disparities at French Revolution levels and the Oligarchy Party shrieking for more always-wrong Supply Side tax cuts and desperate to slash the IRS… one aspect of this growing class war proves that our would-be lords are mostly dunces! That aspect is their gluttonous belief that folks will never wake up. Never radicalize. 

Me? I don’t want things to get to French Revolution levels! Or the kind of fury that was incited by the idiotic/evil Romanov czars.  A moderate reformism, that is fiercely determined but calm, accomplishes far more! Moreover, there is a gentle radicalism that could awaken many (not all) of the dismally moronic inheritance brats to their own, ultimate self-interest. To ignore their addiction to flattering sycophants and instead help restore the Rooseveltean social contract that gave us all – including the rich – a better world.  

That radical act would be for millions to march on all private jet terminals, on the same day, with signs and chants – NOT torches and pitchforks – prodding the elites with Mildly and Legally revolutionary cries: 

“BACK into commercial First Class where you belong! Sit there in your leather seat that’s only twice as comfortable as ours, sip your mimosa, enduring our delays and our frustrations, so you’ll help fix them! 

“Chat with us, when we upgrade and thereby broaden your horizons. 

“Fly with us! Or else learn from Thomas Paine and Adam Smith and their peers how even a moderate, reasonable people can rediscover vigor.”


In fact… care to get this started? Offer a date that YOU think would be good one, for us all to march on the private jet terminals! The anniversary of commercial air travel? 9/11? Some Republican primary debate? The Dec 17th anniversary of Wright Brothers first flight? Will YOU help promote it?

And now to all the tl;dr stuff…

== Were we all ‘programmed’ by Hollywood? ==

I’m always ready to credit another contrarian who shines light on too-unquestioned assumptions. Take Jonathan Kirshner, a professor of international political economy at Cornell University and the author of Hollywood’s Last Golden Age: Politics, Society, and the Seventies Film in America.” 

I don’t quite agree with JK, that cinema became so much less critical since the 1970s. (The issues – and the world – grew more complex, but there’s still plenty of griping going on.) Still, Kirshner does zoom in-upon something important:

 “…that government will likely always be a reliable antagonist because the story line of lone, underdog individuals triumphing over the odds is uniquely American.”  

That’s consonant with my #1 assertion in Vivid Tomorrows: Science Fiction and Hollywood, about why our films nearly always contain themes of individualism diversity, eccentricity and – especially – Suspicion of Authority (SoA). 

It’s hard even to conceived how such a relentless propaganda campaign – (you got your SoA reflex from those movies, myths and songs!) – would be propelled deliberately by some cabal. An anti-authority campaign dictated by a cabal… of authority figures? 

Kirshner believes – as do I – that audiences themselves are the ones driving these narratives, not the studios or filmmakers, who chase after products that audiences will buy. He elaborates:

 …“The government is very powerful, and so opposition to power is always a good trope. We also have things that are walled behind us in secrecy and so we are allowed to let our imaginations run wild.”

Of course it’s more general than that. Suspicion Of Authority (SoA) is not always directed at Big Government. Conniving corporate kingpins will also do! And crime lords. And foreign despots and SPECTRE-style secret societies. And alien invaders, sure. Heck SoA is by now the most pervasive way to get an audience to bond with a protagonist – even in a romantic comedy! Especially if you include oppressive ‘authority figures’ like a status-conscious dad or gossipy mother-in-law.

SoA is one of the core memes conveyed in nearly all Hollywood flicks you ever loved, along with tolerance, diversity and personal eccentricity. Which helps explain why many monolithic regimes deeply fear Hollywood media and censor it, when possible.

And yes, all that propaganda that YOU suckled all your life helped to make YOU the fiery independent Authority-resisting gal or guy you are, today. 

And yes, see a whole lot of examples in Vivid Tomorrows: Science Fiction and Hollywood.

== The struggle continues ==

Oy, does even a week go by without some Trumpian factotum turning on him? 

Dig it, Trump’s been ‘betrayed’ by more folks he earlier called ‘great guys!’ than all other U.S. presidents combined.

Wherever you stand in today’s U.S. culture war – even if you love Trump – one thing is utterly inarguable. He is by-far the worst judge of character … or at inspiring loyalty… that anyone ever saw.

Of course this jpeg only scratches the surface. The “Former ‘great guys’ who betrayed me!” thing has no answer!

In contrast, when you point out the other fact from that jpeg… that almost a hundred times as many high GOPpers as Dems have been indicted for crimes including child molestation, bribery etc, by grand juries all across America (especially in red-run states)… the reflex response is that thousands of randomly recruited jurors (mostly white retirees) are part of a massive conspiracy, in collusion with GOP-appointed prosecutors and judges, that has stolen elections…

…and ‘weaponized’ the quarter million heroes of the FBI/Intel agencies and military officer corps who won the Cold War and the War on Terror… all without leaving a single tangible trace.

Riiii-i-i-ight. 

Absurd? Sure, But that incantation works for them, perfectly. 

So… stick with the “Former ‘great guys’ who betrayed me!” thing. It has no packaged response and truly terrifies em.

== Facts beat blowhard yammers? ==

Ten minutes worth watching. Brian Cohen compellingly highlights Biden’s truly impressive accomplishments, followed by someone’s interview with Biden addressing the age issue. Alas, the recent ABC poll shows that a significant number of Americans may prefer America’s least successful and most criminal past president over one of America’s most objectively successful ones.  

Far worse are those on America’s (blue/sane) side of this phase of civil war, seeking any excuse to flake out and betray the only coalition that can save America, the planet and our kids.  By jibbering off to the next version of standard, Nader-Stein-Kremlin treason.

Dig it. Biden may not be the Grant or Lincoln we want. But he has more than earned vigorous support. And yeah, if he fades a bit into taking more naps, I am willing to rely (as he does) on the 5000+ vastly skilled and qualified grownups he appointed to positions Trump had filled with jibbering horrors and potemkin stooges and ‘great guys.” 

Those hugely competent adults are why we differ from 6000 years of nations focused on kings or dictators or ‘strong men.’ 

Those grownups are why I sleep well, even knowing old JoBee may take naps. 

== The Court ==

Yes to everything being said about the Roberts Court, which is proving to be by far the most corrupt and politically biased in 140 years, now distrusted by over 75% of Americans. But none of the essays and rants about this zero in on the Supreme Court majority’s priority #1… the “Roberts Doctrine” that individual state legislatures have utter sovereignty to control their own elections, thus empowering cheats and travesties – like utter gerrymandering – so that the party in power can ensure they will remain in power, no matter what the people want. Which means…


…that democracy is meaningless, which is, after all, the stated position of the oligarchs who control AEI, Cato and other institutions of feudalism. Like the Republican Party.

Even were this not blatant betrayal and theft, the whole notion of state ‘sovereignty’ – especially to restrict voting rights – was settled in… um… 1865?

Alas, the Union side of this phase of civil war is stunningly incapable at laying things out clearly and cornering this cabal of blatantly suborned or blackmailed shills. e.g. there are ways to cancel out the writing rationalizations offered by John Roberts. Tactics that I have seen no Democratic politician or pundit even hint at. See a couple re gerrymandering at The “Minimal Overlap” Solution to Gerrymandering.

…and Gerrymandering American Democracy: More Fragile than we think.

== Final Miscellany  ==

A fascinating example of the new computer art stunningly taking off… A Midjourney AI video visualization for Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. Incredibly vivid… and the thing I resent is not Midjourney but Billy Joel, for not taking responsibility for maintenance of a song that’s a public cultural item, even if he still owns copyright!  He should have issued updated versions every decade since… with a foundation to keep rolling (burning?) after he is gone.

Across the lifespan, and across every demographic group, Americans die at younger ages than their counterparts in other wealthy nations. An inflection made this worse when many Americans refused vaccines that lowered death rates in many other countries.  And yes, the 2nd derivative of this curve seems to associate very strongly with the Trump Administration.




Source link