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Our Reality Problem: The Eclipse of Reason and America’s Crisis Cult

There is a running joke in the Road Runner cartoons when Wile E. Coyote, the archetypal ravenous fool, runs off the cliff in pursuit of his prey. Each time, he is at first unaware that he has run out of road and keeps running on air, and doesn’t really fall until he realizes what happened. The mute troublemaker holds a sign: “yikes!” We’re there, folks. Sometimes this mid air moment occurs in slow motion, could take years even. But, you know, gravity. Even Icarus fell.

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Why the Alt-Right Vanguard look like Hipsters

Gone are the accouterments of the old neo-Nazis and skinhead punks. Gone are the black shirts, the khaki fatigues, gone are their wardrobe’s variations on confederate flags or regurgitation of Nazi emblems. Gone are the steel toed jack boots and shaved heads of the aggressive prison-tattooed machismorati. When the white supremacists moved from Idaho to Metropolis, they stopped of at Urban Outfitters. So there is Steve Bannon, who sports three layers of untucked shirts and cargo shorts and a pair of Birkenstocks. Under grey awnings he sports a permanent stubble. And Richard Stevens, that Eddie Bauer model, whose National Policy Institute presents the aura of yet another run of the mill political think tank.

A key part of this cultural move is to re-brand white nationalism with a more laid back, authentic, communicative style, poses as an inclusive ideology.

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Dystopia’s Savage Grace: A Review of American Honey

Jean Baudrillard once made a startling claim, or perhaps it was more a kind of desecration of our shared illusion, when he stated that it is banal to claim that the apocalypse is in the future. Rather, the apocalyptic event is something that occurred in the past. It’s a kind of statement that is like tossing a rock into the middle of a pond, it’s ripples will find every edge of our social reality. The apocalypse is everywhere around us, we just have to be able to call it for what it is: the dystopia of the present. Much of our movie culture, as evidenced by the domination of Disney and Marvel blockbusters, is enthralled with fantasy, rosy hopes, and glossy, polished reflections of our spectacle. It takes a special motion picture to tear the veil away and have the courage to find the dignity within the desert of the real.

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O.J. and Trump: A Comparative Study in Post-Truth Justice

I think that to watch this (O.J.) documentary, you can get a harbinger, a microcosmic impression through a media-circus kaleidoscope, of a country that is preparing for a phenomena like President Trump. The social forces at work in letting Simpson off the hook are the same ones – if the racial vectors are switched from black to white – that elected Donald Trump. So that Trump too is a story of all of those same things – celebrity, domestic violence, race, tv, a media circus, money, a brain damaged sociopath, cities ravaged by racial profiling and corruption and a public that was fed up with it all.

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Against Optimism

We tell each other that our reality is what we make of it, that if we just knew The Secret, we could generate our own prosperity, that God would meet us halfway and provide. We’ve mesmerized ourselves, told ourselves that everything was possible. This is the utopia of self-determination, where we could all be winners. We encouraged each other’s self esteem, told ourselves bromides about our own pride. We told ourselves not to focus on the negatives, only the positives. We were superstitious of negative thinking, told ourselves that it wasn’t okay to be down. That depression was negative, not a normal human feeling indicating that something was wrong. We treated the symptom, took some pills and a dose of pop psychology, never asked what was wrong, never figured it was a sick culture at work.  We, without basis, told ourselves that we should be happy, think positively.  We put up signs in our houses, “live, laugh, love,” we prayed away negative thoughts as sinful.  We went to Tony Robbins seminars, Joel Osteen, Amway, Creflo Dollar, bought books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad.