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Decoding Corporate Propaganda Speech

Since the advent of consumer capitalism, corporations have gone out of their way to design economically subversive messages which promote their own well-being. This practice has only heightened during the age of social media, and morphed radically after the corona became a thing. Being able to read between the lines of these messages makes a person substantially smarter when it comes to financial and political decisions. For the benefit of my blog audience, here are a few of the most common.

“In these challenging/uncertain times…”

Translation: Our bottom line is struggling, so you need to pay attention and find a way to be a good consumer despite the lockdowns.

“We’re in this together/We’ll get through this together.”

Translation: You as a spender must join the other spenders in the chip-inserting community to save our profits. However, don’t you dare feel togetherness based on religion, race, or anti-globalist philosophy. Those things are still prohibited, and we will fire you for expressing any of them.

“It is important to follow science, not debunked or discredited ideas.”

Translation: Make sure to purchase the vaccine, which will probably be mandatory anyway. Never attempt to medicate through lifestyle changes or vitamin therapy, as this could cause you to die. Of course our treatments for COVID-19 and cancer are extremely dangerous and have terrible side effects, but don’t worry about that.

“They were not consistent with our values, so we terminated their employment.”

Translation: We are not going to bother considering the context of what happened. Twitter mobs are scary, so the employee must be fired, even if they did a fantastic job.

“Let’s celebrate these empowered individuals for their contributions.”

Translation: Stand up and clap for this talentless person who needs recognition for their gender or skin color.

“Please wear a mask.”

Translation: Obey.

“We need tax cuts for job creators.”

Translation: The money NOT being sent to the Cayman Islands is being taxed too high. Stop that.

“Enough with these job-killing regulations.”

Translation: We didn’t lobby enough to make the regulation as we liked, so it needs to go. If you get poisoned because of this, at least remember that all that growth helps your 401k.

“These entitlements are out of control.”

Translation: People need less generous retirement plans. Don’t mind us as we take fat tax deductions and raid employee pension funds.

“Immigrants work harder than Americans.”

Translation: We can pay immigrants a hell of a lot less.

“We need more high-skilled worker visas!”

Translation: College graduates in America are asking for respectable salaries to pay off their student loans. This is unacceptable to us.

Uncategorized

What Is the End of Growth?

I recently slogged through the extreme future by James Canton, a somewhat outdated tract fitting the Thomas Friedman-style, “Wowsers trousers, just think of the future!” that we are all too familiar with. Across three hundred or so pages he lays out projections about the next twenty years (speaking from the ancient milestone of 2007), and warns actors both private and public of the risks entailed by failure to abide by the horizon march. Towards the end of the screed, he conjures up startling visions of what might occur if states fail to ensure streamlined business processes, access to education, and open borders. The greatest casualty according to Canton will be the mystical rocket of economic growth, which exists like a sacred idol in the bonobo village.

Canton’s fixation upon this concept made be pause, as I have many times before, trying to understand what the genuine motivation is behind it. Growth has always ebbed and flowed over time, yet the neoliberal order seems to think perpetual upward movement, whether in stocks, home building, or population expansion, is as important as the Fatherland for a Fuehrer, or the Virgin for a Catholic. Nothing else factors in this calculation, because its girth transcends and drowns the very possibility. Failure to agree and accede is portrayed not as an opposing view, but the laurels of a death cult dedicated to seismic decline, or traditional socialism.

But of course we must question the underlying merits of such a worldview. Growth may increase wealth, but it also contributes to the planet’s destruction, to the wisp of the air and the spill of green landscape where virtue finds rebirth. Expansion widens the collective GDP, while also defying intent for culture and legacy, letting purpose devolve between the anarchic barbs of nihilism, itself directed towards the accumulation of more, if by less legal means.  Liberal economic ascension permeates and fills all places, but leaves them emptier than before, embittered by the absence of nothing, by the tragic search for meaning.  

Even dismissing the philosophical considerations, what can this “growth” really provide to humanity? The effervescent obsession with mass migration and diversity—whether to fill underpaid jobs or pay our pensions—does it have any limit? If ten million souls skip from one imaginary line to the next, occupying and developing increasingly-scarcer territory, does their family left behind cease to replenish the human stores? At any point might the Salvadoran population decline, or is that nation destined to eternally reproduce—simply to keep the Stars and Stripes at maximum GDP? Might there be an hour when they wish for fatter pension pots, and tire of serving our own, turning to demand the same econo-destiny shackles be placed on the eager Guatemalan, or perhaps the souls of Congo? Per chance those new selections are expected to fill their role, because otherwise the chattering national product stats might drop.

What growth actually leaves in its wake is a rancid and soulless question; an ode to the unending desire to subjugate and own, if merely for the extent of the taskmaster’s life and pocketbook. The yolk today is not based on the simplicity of race, nor religious divergence, but rather the dibbling spots of numerals on a digitized trading screen.  The worth of man, computed by ones and zeroes, in offices he yearns to escape.

But where can he run?     

Uncategorized

The Ministry of Approved Facts

It has been debunked and discredited.”

“This is settled science.”

Most of you have probably heard one of these phrases tossed around on the Twittersphere, or megaphoned by our wonderful cable television networks. The message is meant to be authoritative and calming, typically delivered by someone in a white coat, a classy suit and tie, or with “PhD” appended to their name. Everything is fine, they communicate softly. Now get in line for your own good.

It’s fantastically convenient: the media, corporate, and political establishments circle the wagons, sternly finger-wagging at anyone who breaks the norm, despite how incompetent that position happens to be. Wherever opposition rears its eager head, they crack down, thrusting that maternal-statist inclination to setup a bureaucracy and fillet out anything “problematic” or “pseudo-scientific.” All that remains is their version of the truth, itself lathered by so many social chemicals and engineered conspiracies that willing followers are left to regurgitate a blind order they do not understand, but everyone else is expected to obey.

Remarkably, I happen to feel rebellious at the sight of their leering faces. Per chance the fault goes to excessive reading and contemplation of the right books, or simply too little of the wrong ones. At any rate, the moment an offering of these statements enters my earlobe, I begin to doubt the validity behind them. There are simply too many examples of wanton lying on the part of the institutions and authorities that humanity has been told to trust throughout history. In America alone we were lied to about the cause of the Second World War, communists in the federal government, corrupt acts of the CIA, and the Iraq invasion. The media routinely lies and misrepresents crime reports, creating the foundation for mass the mass violence permeating today.

“Yes but those are political issues, not medical!,” you might desperately shriek. Ahh, but there the story is not much better. How many folks took Zantac over the years because it was FDA-approved? Did the illustrious seal of government and established medicine make a difference? Why still do we see such vicious attacks on vitamin-based therapies, or the use of colloidal silver as a treatment? Could it be that the Ministry is protecting its financial interests? These organizations love to celebrate freedom, yet go ballistic when someone exercises those rights regarding self-medication.

The present situation causes me to speculate that in the future Americans will be mandated by law to pursue specific treatments for illnesses. Feel sick but don’t have corona? Doesn’t matter, because the hospital says you do.  Cancer treatment using destructive chemotherapy will also be mandated, as the science simply cannot be challenged. Just ask smiling Dr. Raj, whose medical school tuition was funded by Eli Lilly the Squibb. Be a good boy and settle in for the feeding tube, and just remember: we know what’s best for you.

I’m thinking hard of ways to agree, and the only problem is, I can’t stop thinking.

Uncategorized

How To Keep Cool Sleeping In Your Car

We have previously discussed how to stay warm while practicing van life or car camping. Now as the weather advances towards the extreme of summer, it is crucial to discuss strategies on maintaining a comfortable temperature against the sunlight scourge. After all, sweat might build muscles, but sleeping with a thick layer on the skin doesn’t quite hit the spot, unless sauna sleep has some type of hidden benefit.

Pick Your Location Wisely

Humidity can always be an issue depending on the region, yet there are ways to diminish the overall burden. For starters, choose a spot where the sun don’t shine (not in the traditional sense), such as a shaded area of the parking lot of neighborhood street. Run a quick orienteering check using a physical compass or an app like Digital Compass. This should give you a good sense of where the sun will rise and set, and allow for optimal positioning of the vehicle to avoid those adamant beams.

Block The Heavenly Fire

Once the sun’s placement has been determined, look at the windows and figure out if they need reinforcement. Even tinted panes can benefit from some added love, whether in the form of a peel and stick screen or the classic suction cup options. I personally have used a model similar to the Enovoe version, finding respectable success. If there is a way to lie down that locates your head away from direct window shine, consider that option. Few things are less pleasant than waking up to a bolt of sun right between the peepers.

Bed Down Right

When it comes to the choice of a mattress, materials matter. Some folks opt for raised platforms and will attempt to build a normal Sealy shindig inside their vehicle. This strikes me as unnecessary. A couple of solid foam sleeping mats topped with one or two inflatables should be adequate. The material works well against sweat and is often designed to keep body temp where it needs to be. I advise using this Wakeman foam option, the Coleman Self-Inflating pad, and the Wellax sleeping pad.

One the same subject, a sleeping bag’s nature is important. Obviously during the summer you don’t want some thick ass deep cold option like the WolfTraders version, although it works great for colder weather. Instead, a basic Coleman bag or simply a light blanket can suffice. I use an older version of the Mummy Bag, which is actually a bit warmer than is ideal. Especially in humid areas, being locked inside a bag won’t be fun, so you will probably unzip it at some point.

For a pillow, finding something light and cool remains absolutely paramount. I personally have employed a MyPillow Medium Fill for some time now, and find it to be more than adequate. The key is to use a light pillow case so your head does not sweat too much. Alternatively, there are specialized options such as the TEKAMON available for use.

Become The Airbender

The general humidity on a hot summer night cannot really be controlled, but there are valid ways to cope with it. First on the list would involve securing a good battery-operated fan. These can be charged at the library or at work with a USB cord and provide respectable circulation for between 8-10 hours on low speed. In the past I have employed the AceMining model, which is fantastic. It charges in a little over 2.5 hours and will run well past 12 hours without difficulty. In addition, the Holmes option is respectable, and actually runs much longer than the advertised 6 hours. Unfortunately, charge time clocks in around 4 hours, which is a lot less convenient. The advantage with each one is the low price tag, so you can snag 3-4 without blowing the bank. I also meant to check out the solar-powered fan offering from STYLOOC, but the reviews turned me off. Maybe they will improve performance in the future.

Preparing for the Sweat

While it is difficult to prevent the glands from opening up, there are some ways to make the experience more comfortable. Dressing light is an obvious strategy, but retiring for the day in a dry state (by cleaning off existing sweat) makes things much better, and you avoid rolling around in excess sweat from the start. Applying deodorant before sleeping will also improve on this front, holding in the sweat for a longer period of time.

Another valuable factor can be the use of a re-hydrating towel. These guys can be soaked and then rung out, but will reactivate when the body sweats during or after a sleep. The flagship brand is Frogg Toggs, but I opted for a third-party brand that offers larger sizes, because I am also a pretty big guy.

Uncategorized

How To Lose At Economic Dating

Robert De Niro is angry. He’s furious about Trump, about clowns, and the sun drying up earth into a massive desert. What’s more, he’s an actor, so you best zip up and listen. It’s true that he might have benefited from zipping things up in the alimony department, but you’re just jealous of his fame and fortune (or whatever is left of it).

Sure, I hate to be passive-aggressive on my own blog, but Robert De Niro is a great example of how the marriage industry can fell a person, no matter how progressive and giving they happen to be. The fresh word is that De Niro’s twice-divorced wife, Grace Hightower, is not content with the financial limitations he had attempted to place on her:

“Hightower, whom De Niro married in 1997, requested that the actor raise her monthly American Express allowance from $50,000 to $100,000. But the Post reported that the New York judge on the case denied her request, ordering De Niro to keep her credit card limit at $50,000 a month and to pay her $75,000 so she can find a summer home for their two children.”

Not surprisingly, her lawyer is infuriated, claiming “Mr. De Niro has used the COVID pandemic, my words would be, to stick it to his wife financially.”

In all fairness, Robert has probably been sticking it to her many times before, so Grace’s pent-up anger could be justified. Funny enough, part of Don Corleone’s defense is that he’s not making enough money:

De Niro “is going to be lucky if he makes $7.5 million this year,” Caroline Krauss, the actor’s lawyer, reportedly said. His prenuptial agreement stipulates that he owes his wife $1 million each year as long as he’s making at least $15 million a year, and the spousal support will be adjusted proportionally should De Niro make less than $15 million. He is only projected to rake in $2.5 million.

Well fancy that. Making more money in twelve months than most will in a lifetime doesn’t quite cut it because of his empowered dating strategy. It’s almost like celebrities are out of touch hypocrites who cannot manage their personal lives but wish to dictate how everyone else ought to live.

Some time back De Niro discussed Donald Trump and said “I’d like to see a bag of shit right in his face. Hit him right in the face like that, and let the picture go all over the world.”

What goes around comes around.

Book Reviews · Culturalism

Russert Family Wisdom

This past week I read through Big Russ and Me, an autobiographical tale from the late Tim Russert, one of the last genuine journalists in America. Although a self-described Democrat, he made an effort to present unbiased and competitive material on Meet The Press, heralding an era of media practice which has long since ridden off into the glorious sunset. Unsurprisingly, his book is filled with exceptional anecdotes and lessons in wisdom from both himself and his father, so I decided to recount some of them in this post.

On Meeting People

“Dad insisted on a firm handshake, and he worked with me until I developed one. ‘When you meet somebody,[…] you want to make them feel that you’re proud and happy to know them. So don’t put a wet fish in their hand. Give that hand a good shake, snap your wrist, and look them in the eye. People are people, and if they like you, they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Treat them the way you’d like to be treated.’”

On Family Honor

“All I’m asking—wait, I’m not asking, I’m telling you—is, Don’t do anything to embarrass our family name. If you embarrass yourself, you embarrass all of us. We all make mistakes, but if you go out there and do something you know you shouldn’t be doing, that’s a tough one.”

On The Role of a Father

Russert talks about growing up in Buffalo, New York during the 50s and 60s, when most men held two or three jobs to make end meet. This was simply the way of life, although I’m sure it might seem like a anathema to some of the manosphere. He sums it up as follows:

“The primary obligation of a husband and a father was to provide for his family, and if it meant working two jobs, that was what you did.”

On Identity Politics

During the 1960 presidential campaign, Russert describes the excitement among Irish Catholics over the ascendancy of John F. Kennedy. His father’s friend Edwin Dill asks him about this:

“Timmy, why are you for Kennedy?

“Because he’s Irish Catholic,” I replied.

“And if there was a barber who couldn’t cut hair, and he was Irish Catholic, would you go to him?”

On Weak Parenting

“In this respect, I believe that parents of my generation have often failed our kids. We are so eager to be understanding and sympathetic that we end up being too lenient, even as we further undermine the already diminished authority of teachers, coaches, and principals.”

On Buying a Luxury Car

After Russert made it big in the news media, he offered his father any luxury car he wanted as a gift. “Big Russ” asked only for a Ford Crown Vic, with the following explanation:

“Do I think it’s  a better car? No, of course not. But If I came home with a big fancy Cadillac, do you know what people would say? ‘What happened to Tim? He’s showing off. He got too big for us. His kid made it and how he’s driving a Cadillac.’ No, I can’t do that. A Mercedes? A Lexus? Can’t do that either. We beat those guys in the war. This is what I want: a good American car. This is who I am, all right?”

On Student Loans

His father had an interesting idea of student assistance for college which makes a lot of sense in principle when we think of the national debt problem:

“If you can’t repay those loans, that money won’t be there for the next kid.”

“The sooner you pay them off, the sooner that money will be there for somebody else.”

On the Vietnam War

‘’We can be for peace without supporting the enemy. We can be against the war without rooting for the other side.”

On Human Loss

After a childhood friend of his died, Russert’s dad attempted to comfort him:

“Would it have been better if Paul’s family had never known him? Or should they be grateful, even in their grief, for nineteen years of love and memories? Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence had suffered a terrible loss, but if they had been offered the possibility of having Paul in their lives for nineteen years, they would have taken the deal without question.”

On Advice For His Son

“You do, however, owe this world something. To live a good and decent and meaningful life would be the ultimate affirmation of Grandpa’s lessons and values. The wisest commencement speech I ever was all of fifteen words: ‘The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.'”

Culturalism · Self-Improvement

When Positivity is Delusional

A frequent criticism I’ve received over the years is that I’m too negative, at least when contrasted with the saucer-eyed, “Heeey guyyyz” entertainers potted about on the Internet dot com. The primary factor might be my voice, which has always been described as monotone, even when I am not trying to be, but at any rate the perception sticks, regardless of what is being discussed. I have of course made the distinction between realism and cynicism where folks accuse me of the latter, yet the chatterbirds continue shrieking, because they want something positive.

The problem is, positivity can often be a mask for real issues. The country is burning from communist-fueled riots, and our currency continues to hyperinflate, but no worries, because there is a nice Independence Day parade, and flags aplenty. There are monster video game birds to beat, and softer bird varieties to game in real life.  Pills can cure diseases, and even bring smiles to the depressed, providing we all remain upbeat and happy. Just listen to the music, and slowly mong to some Snow Patrol. It’ll be ok.

In this way the positivity gospel becomes so fanatical that any dissent is viewed with derision and seen as heresy. No matter how “positive” the intentions of the messenger might be, his interruption of the comfortable norm means he must be labeled as a depressing fatalist or misanthrope. That innocent act of pricking the lovely bubble of punchbowl ecstasy makes him marked for erasure, lest he otherwise white-out their splendid existence.

But of course unfettered positivity is dangerous, and the responsible souls must call it out. How can anyone fathom telling a man to wed a harlot, or buy a car at 18 percent APR, just because it carries a good attitude to the fore? Should you abandon the youth to become rabble merely so no one’s Mozilla-endorsed “be proud of yourself” groove is thrown off by an elderly curmudgeon?

Positivity advocates will of course respond by claiming they do not actually support such ideals, yet their actions are telling. There is only so much that self-talk, weight-lifting, and pro-energy dieting can accomplish before an individual is forced to be honest (read: a realist) and make changes that will  ruffle the feathers of that “slap you bro’s ass” crowd and their committed Wayne Newton smiles.

As for myself, I will continue to speak out, because while we may not successfully mobilize the masses, every mind pinged might just nudge another in the right direction.  The momentum could become a waterfall, then perhaps collapse into a gushing ocean. Things might just change.

And to be honest, that sounds pretty positive.

Culturalism · Relations and Dating · Self-Improvement

The Importance of Keeping a Journal

“Those fateful days, robust hours, frightful minutes, all lost to the shimmering gray wall of forever.”

Not sure where that quotation came from, so we’ll just say Martin Goldberg. At any rate, it touches upon one of the most direct arguments I can make for the maintenance of a daily – if not at least every other day—written journal. This remains one of the most crucial habits you can adopt in life, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the practice is relatively uncommon.

As human beings, our capacity for long-term memory is relatively limited. Most of us cannot remember in detail a single day twenty years ago, or even one two weeks passed. It could be something to do with the monotony of everyday life, yet the realization is no less disconcerting under that lens. It is probably not a stretch to say that 97 percent of your life is a frantic blur, and that is somehow acceptable. I try to even but I simply cannot.

Think of the memories, the specifics, whether good or bad, all dashed to pieces in short order, their legacies gone before a second breath. The magnitude is an overwhelming spell of terror. What’s more, those absent slices of time make up your life.

On this very hill we must consider the value of a journal. By jotting down specific notes of what went on and who was involved, the individual crafts an enduring story which can outsmart the mind and leave imprints to be rediscovered in later days. There is no more – or certainly less—of the scrambling wonder, the attempt to recall a name or face, especially as you gaze down the churning tide of advanced age. Instead of being a stumbled and haggard crone reaching for the vanished past, you can feel the touch of scrolls, the scent of faded ink, the love of days gone by but never perished. You have the ability to return, and to revisit.

Now of course at some point you may pass on into that place beyond the stars, where few souls have gone and reported back. Yet with a journal you live on. The heart of the child, young or grown to fill difficult shoes, will look at and enter the mind of his father, feel the echoes of the time, the memory he was too small to experience. Daughters will find the wisdom of their mother, what things she loved, the joy that spoke, rich tears all cried. The legacy will be one living, from time towards a horizon eternal.

All fault of a pen touched gently to the paper.

Culturalism

The Culture of Neglect

This past week I got to read through A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind, the delightful tome of a Japanese spiritualist. What struck me most about his Buddhist philosophy was the emphasis on dignity and value for all things, including the inanimate objects cluttering life. This latter approach is one less visible in Abrahamic traditions, perhaps because they tend to focus on the afterlife as opposed to the material world. Regardless, it got me thinking about how we go about living, and the relationships between individuals and their possessions.

At some point as children, we all probably mistreated a toy. Perhaps broke the arms of an action figure, or melted something down just to see it ooze. Were we all little Sids in training, or did the behavior merely reflect a lack of instilled admiration for the value of those plastic objects?  Maybe too much is made of the concept, but Shoukei Matsumoto’s book makes that and more. He evangelizes the importance of honoring everything which has served us in life, from the moment it escapes the box to the time of being laid to rest.

Beyond plastic, the viewpoint expands to other questions. How many times do people throw away food that is uneaten, or allow clothes to become rags out of sheer neglect? How often do we see working appliances or furniture chucked out on a curb because they have some blemish, or are simply not as glistening as before? They may have served long and well in some capacity, but just when usefulness seems to fade, it is like they never existed.

I thought the same about the house I am currently living in. After weeks of effort and money, the place is coming together nicely, and yet it didn’t have to be that way. Even some minor cleaning and painting—relatively cheap and time sensitive—would have mitigated the issues now slowly being dispersed. Whenever I take a ride into town, I see countless siblings remanded to the same fate: forlorn, unkempt, overgrown by ivy, and my heart weeps for them. Unremarkable structures of wood, brick, and stone, yet as I pass they seem to cry out in solemn tones: will someone please love me?

 Yet the answer is silent. Every last one of them is a casualty of consumerist melancholy, much like the items we discard because a replacement is so easy to attain. So that new candidate can enjoy the spotlight for a few months, until the same fate caterwauls destiny where many junkyards have wandered.

Here I pause and try to imagine, what if we did more with less? Suppose those food scraps all went into gardens, those fabrics turned to quilts, and those plastic soldiers received a proper funeral.

Might we have souls of peace?

Culturalism · Uncategorized

Why Ignorance Survives

Over the last two months, I have been aggressively reading and note-taking in preparation for the assembly of my book on Italian Fascism. As I worked through a section last night concerning the welfare policies of the state, I was struck by something embodied in the situation: the book used as a reference was first published in 1936, and few copies are still available. To the average American reader, it practically doesn’t exist.

This issue is far more prominent than people can begin to imagine. The only reason I stumbled upon the book in the first place was my university library, which is larger and older than that of the previous college I attended. Even after that point, it was only on account of my shelling out some shekels that I secured a personal copy on AbeBooks. In many other cases, I would never have figured out how access the text because of its mystery.

And indeed the record shows truth. Prior to entering college, I wrote a piece about the Fascist policy of Corporatism, castigating it for creating poverty, and attempting linkage with the Wall Street goonism in our own country. Of course I had no idea what corporatism entailed, or how it came to be under Fascism; I simply followed the popular interpretation of libertarian louts and progressives peons. I mean, what else was there to do?

Herein rests the epic problem of our society: the sources which can change hearts are almost always unheard of, or at least locked behind the secure door of financial declarations. One rather short book I purchased for my project cost twenty-five bucks, all so I could have a couple of citations otherwise unavailable on the Internet dot com. Like the other piece, I only knew about it because I was in proximity to the right place.

Thus we are left with a situation where most people interested in knowledge have to rely on Google, which never manipulates results or suppresses what they don’t agree with. Or perhaps spit some dollars for a JSTOR subscription to access primary sources. Apart from that, it’s whatever comes up on the Bing click or the shanty offerings in your local library. As if that is all the knowledge you need.

What a scary thought. Entire generations of the mind shaped by a selective sieve of the empowered and well-meaning who run our technology and political organizations. This is the ultimate state of modern humanity, after supposed years of evolution.

I suppose I’ll get back to my research now, and hopefully at some point, remember to forget.