Say whatever you like about democracy, but it’s still the best system that man, or woman has managed to think up of so far for delegating power and structuring his, or her society. Democracy is so great that this will be the third time in two years that the people of the U.K will have been asked to go to the polls and enjoy the thrill of democracy, proving that you can never have too much of a good thing
If last year’s E.U referendum is anything to go by then anything is possible in the forthcoming election. When Theresa May called for a snap election, ignoring the Fixed-term Parliaments Act that her own party brought into effect just 6 years prior, the polls gave her Conservative party a 22 point lead. Now that she’s been out meeting the public she’s been able to reduce that lead to single figures. YouGov’s latest poll has the Tory lead at just four points over Labour, as at 5 June. It’s been a somewhat fragmented election campaign owing to a handful of murderous bastards perpetrating acts of extreme violence in the name of a morally bankrupt ideology. If these maniacs hadn’t forced suspensions to the campaigning, it’s reasonable to assume that the more the public would have seen of Theresa May the more appealing Jeremy Corbyn would have become and maybe the Labour party would even be ahead in the polls.
The parallels between Theresa May and Hilary Clinton are obvious. It’s like watching two people in quicksand, the more they struggle the more they get consumed. The more they talk the better their opponent seems to do. In the near future, if anyone has any sense, political candidates will just say nothing throughout their campaigns, a strategy adopted by Blackadder when he put forward Baldrick to run in a by-election:
So with Theresa May projecting all the charm of toxic waste seeping into an orphanage, this raises Jeremy Corbyn’s profile, without him actually having to do anything. When Corbyn does speak, he sounds like a 1970’s politics student who only got as far as reading Marx’s Das Kapital. I’ve got nothing wrong with Marxism per se, it’s just that I’m not sure how viable it is to the complex economies that we have today. Corbyn is also very open minded towards the ideology of terrorists, I have a hard time validating this stance towards terrorism in light of recent events. But whatever Corbyn might think or say is of little consequence, Corbyn’s most electable quality is that he’s not Theresa May.
Essentially, on Thursday the people of the United Kingdom have to chose between Jeremy Corbyn, a man who looks like he would be more comfortable pottering around an allotment, or Theresa May, a woman who we can’t trust to sit the right way round on a toilet.
A friend of mine made the following analogy of this Thursday’s election:
… so we are faced with a choice that is similar to being asked to move a dog turd. You can either pick it up with your bare hands and take to the bin, or pick it up with your bare hands and put it in your pocket.
Crude as though the dog turd analogy might be, I consider it to be fairly accurate one. The British electorate is once again being asked to choose between the lesser of two evils:
There can be little doubt that this general election pits two of the blandest party leaders against one another, offering the electorate a choice of either grey or beige. But, if our democracy can be so easily reduced to turd analogies and choosing between two evils, then I’m left to wonder if the terrorists haven’t already won.
While we should consider elections to be meaningful and terrorism to be a very real
threat, I was saddened to hear of the death of Peter Sallis. Sallis starred in the BBC’s Last of the Summer Wine for 37 years, and provided the voice of Wallace in the multi award winning Wallace and Gromit animations. As a child I spent many a Sunday having tea and sandwiches, whilst watching Last of the Summer Wine, which was essentially three old men wandering aimlessly around the verdant Yorkshire Dales accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful theme tune. Now that’s something a jihadist will never understand. In fact that’s what I recommend for radicalised extremists, they should be forced to watch all 37 years of Last of the Summer Wine, can there be a surer way of curing a person of homicidal ambitions?
When Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, some of us expressed doubt as to whether a business man come reality game show host would have the political acumen necessary for the job. Others were concerned that a person with Trump’s impulsive character would have the worlds most powerful nuclear arsenal at his disposal. But, none of us could have predicted just how soon he would play the “covfefe” card.
The president’s mention of covfefe has set the heads of political analysts spinning:
Bunker Cheeks, BBC Political Analyst
This is unprecedented. To mention covfefe so soon into your first term as president represents an enormous political gambit, it’s a game changer. It will make or break his presidency. The last president to mention covfefe was Kennedy, and I’m pretty sure that he lived to regret that.
Many people were worried that the president had raised such a nebulous issue as covfefe at an inopportune moment, on the eve of important climate talks. But the president stuck to his guns, arguing that if Paris had an accord then why didn’t New York? The president then abruptly left the talks. Gerd Achterschip was a delegate in the meeting:
The President Trump stormed out of the talks so quickly that he resembled a sort of golden, orange gas. As he left the room he kept chuntering “covfefe” and made wild lurches towards all the female delegates.
One thing remains certain, amidst all of the political carnage, President Trump is unlikely to stop serving us with a veritable smorgasbord of covfefe and flapdoodle.
It’s testimony to the renegade maverick nature of this president, and shows all of us that he’s not going to kowtow to the Washington elite by using a lexicon they understand. Following the president’s tweet, covfefe climbed a point on the New York Pussy Grab Index as traders backed the president’s tough stance on covfefe.
Firstly, for inventing a pocket knife that allows its owner to open bottles of wine, clean their teeth with a toothpick, clean their pipe (smoking pipe, as opposed to some sort of rudimentary, DIY proctologist’s kit), always know which direction north is, saw through sturdy branches, and a knife that will inevitably be used to whittle the said branch, over a period of several hours, down to something the size of a toothpick, an implement that your trusty Swiss Army knife contained all along.
Secondly, because blaming the Swiss always seems like a relatively safe thing to do, based on them being neutral, so their Army has never taken part in foreign conflicts. It seems strange to me to have an army that doesn’t fight, even stranger still to arm them with a multipurpose knife that appears to predominantly function as a tool to aid hosting a successful picnic. I can see the Swiss army on manoeuvres, high up in the Alps, opening bottles of wine, smoking and cleaning luxurious pipes, whilst commenting on the direction of the wind as they determinedly pick pieces of bratwurst out of their teeth.
We live in a world now where a device is no longer expected to fulfil just a single function. Ten years ago mobile phones became fused, or confused depending on your point of view, with cameras. Televisions now access the internet. Watches contain MP4 players. Last night I played the microwave at chess and lost. There’s a shopping centre near to where I live that has toilets that clean your bottom for you. They shoot a jet of water up your bottom, the pressure of which has various settings. Then it blows hot air on your ass to dry it. When did we lose the ability, or the desire to clean our own
bottoms? What happens if a solar flare takes down all this electrical gadgetry and huge numbers of us are left shuffling around, with our trousers around our ankles holding toilet role with a fixed gormless expression on our faces, in search of the lost knowledge of how to clean our own backsides? Because this is what will happen if we become dependant on this technology. And my personal favourite, for the Swiss soldier out on exercise, but who might need to pop into an internet cafe, the Swiss Army knife with handy drive.
It feels as if much of what we buy today has to have added features, to be capable of fulfilling multiple purposes. Lately, I noticed this when buying orange juice from 7/11. I’m nearly 41 years old, and up until recently buying orange juice had been a relatively simple task, one that I’ve felt confident in my abilities of achieving. Essentially 7/11 offers a choice of 2 types of orange juice, standard orange juice, and an orange juice in an altogether more sophisticated black carton, costing a little more and with collagen. Being the strong willed, and independent minded person that I am, I was seduced by the darker and more mysteriously expensive orange juice that included collagen. I’ve been drinking this juice most days for the best part of a year now, when it dawned on me that I don’t even now what collagen is. Is it even something that should be added to orange juice? Should I be drinking collagen everyday? Have I become collagen dependent? What about when I was young, I don’t recall my mother ever enquiring as to whether I’d had my collagen today.
A couple of weeks ago I started with a fever, apart from feeling grumpy that it looked as if I’d be sick for a few days, I thought of food stuffs that might assist me in my convalescence. One of the first things I considered was fruit juice, and this caused me a considerable panic. Was my fever being caused by a collagen deficiency? Had I developed a tolerance to collagen, and thus my body needed an ever increasing quantity to sate its collagen fix?
I don’t even know what collagen is and all of a sudden, to my neurotic mind anyway, it’s become a dietary staple. I’m convinced that it’s collagen that keeps my DNA helix bound together. Without collagen I might simply just breakdown on a cellular level, or implode up my freshly scented anus. What does it even look like? How do they add it to orange juice? Is there a man with a wheel barrow who shovels it into the vats of orange juice? Is it a paste that gets squeezed into the juice through a giant hypodermic syringe. Is collagen a gas that gets pumped through the juice?
There was a time when orange juice was just orange juice. You couldn’t take a photo with it, you couldn’t use it to call you mother and ask her to pick you up, and you definitely couldn’t use it to whittle a stick, to fashion a tooth pick.
So he’s back. The self proclaimed provocateur, troll queen, out of work pantomime drag act, Milo Yiannopoulos is back. Much like a turd that refuses to go quietly around the u-bend, Yiannopoulos resurfaced last week on NBC, announcing that he will undertake a new tour hell bent on attacking the sensitivities of the over sensitive.
We haven’t seen Milo since his resignation from Breitbart following widespread condemnation of his comments on the gay age of consent, even though this reaction came a year after he initially made the comments. Yes, the comments he made could be construed as inappropriate, but doesn’t the fact that the outrage took a year to be expressed call into question the degree of sincerity and authenticity behind the sentiment?
Now that the dust has settled, and if we’re all honest about it, what really happened was some of the people who find Yianopoulos to be an odious twit, of which there is no shortage, became aware of some distasteful comments he made on a podcast called the Drunken Peasants. These people saw the opportunity to twist Yiannopoulos’ comments around into arguing that he sympathised with paedophilia. The fact that the outrage occurred over a year after he made the comments can be, perhaps cynically, attributed to Yianopoulos’ increasing fame and the impending release of his new book. Don’t get me wrong, I found Milo’s comments on child abuse to be crass and flippant, but let’s be honest, Yiannopoulos would fellate his own grandfather if he knew it would get him a minutes worth of media exposure.
I know that whenever anyone starts a sentence by saying, “I’m not homophobic, but…”, they tend to go on to say something extremely homophobic. So let’s see what happens when I give it a whirl. I’m not homophobic, but I get really annoyed when someone uses their sexuality as gimmick to support their argument, and that is precisely what Yiannopoulos does. Like some sort of failed pantomime drag act, Yiannopoulos openly admits to using an outrageously camp style to deliver his message. For people that have lived a sheltered life, this mincing polemicist appears to be avant-garde, the enigmatic paradox of a conservative homosexual is enough to fascinate people and keep them entertained. Add to this his supposed Catholic faith and Yiannopoulos provides us with an act, or character of contradictions, capable of causing considerable cognitive dissonance.
But when I look at this character objectively, I realise that he’s nothing more than a manufactured iconoclast,a giant zeitgeisty contradiction. He talks about basing arguments on facts while espousing a belief in an unprovable supernatural deity. He’s openly homosexual yet claims to be Catholic, despite the fact that homosexuality isn’t accepted by the Catholic church. But Yiannopoulos’ religious experience doesn’t end with him being a Catholic, rather it goes on to include that he was abused by a Catholic priest while he was a minor. This is a perpetual chain of contradictions, contradictions that have been contrived in order to generate interest.
I do find Mr. Yiannopoulos entertaining, in the same way that in the past I have found other drag acts to be. But Yiannopoulos confuses his audience, which doesn’t seem to be an especially difficult thing to do, as they fail to discern between the bawdy, drag entertainment that is paired with an essentially hateful rhetoric. In essence it would be like having Ronald McDonald present a plan for the reintroduction of slavery, it looks fun but hides a sinister message. Milo Yiannopoulos has created a comical character to deliver a divisive message that people find intriguing. But, he’s a character filled with contradictions, and theses contradictions extend to his message.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the whole Milo phenomena is how a gay Brit has become a champion for American rights? I mean the irony alone of a British person, whether gay or not, upholding the rights that a country granted themselves after becoming independent of Britain, should make Milo’s platform an impossibility. What’s next, a German lesbian Nazi giving speeches in Tel Aviv on the dangers of antisemitism? Or, what about an executive of a petrochemical company lecturing groups of native Americans on protecting the environment? It just seems to go against the grain, that a Brit is motivated to protect the liberties of a country that got its liberty from the country he is a citizen of.
Sometimes I start to suspect that Milo Yiannopoulos’ concern for the First Amendment might actually be disingenuous, and that he’s just stumbled upon a cause that feeds his insatiable appetite for infamy, and rewards him for expressing the same tired, old opinions ad nauseum, leaving him soundinglike a satnav system going round a roundabout. Feminism, Islam, immigration, freedom of speech, feminism, Islam, immigration, freedom of speech, and on, and on…There’s an election in his own country, doesn’t he feel compelled to weigh in with his polemic discourse, or is he only interested in America because that’s where his circus act, freak show makes the most money? It’s certainly a puzzle. I haven’t seen his desire for standing up for the freedom of speech for the people in say Zimbabwe, as a former member of the British Commonwealth it would actually make more sense, with the one exception, it wouldn’t make Milo anywhere near as much money.
It’s also interesting to note that Yiannopoulos’ passion for our right to the freedom of speech fails to extend to his own website, which censors all comments before they appear on it. You see the freedom of speech only works for Milo and his supporters when it suits them. Is this hypocritical?
Milo – Why Today’s Troll is just Tomorrow’s Social Justice Warrior
Hasn’t anybody else realised the contradiction inherent in the whole Milo argument? Milo has identified so called Social Justice Warriors (SJW’s) as having been the catalyst behind the problems that have developed as a result of unenforced immigration practices, extreme feminism, political correctness, and a failure to require Islam to adopt western values. And up to a point he’s absolutely right. Where I take issue with Yiannopoulos is with his identifying Social Justice Warriors as being the problem, and I take issue for two reasons.
Firstly, the people who riot, get angry, and generally act irrationally at the slightest provocation, on issues that don’t directly affect them aren’t SJW’s, they’re simply idiots. And as such idiots are everywhere, like Steve Miller once said, “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right”. Idiocy permeates across the entirety of the political spectrum. Branding idiots as SJW’s is giving idiocy more credit than it deserves. These people are what they are, idiots. To me at least it appears ironic that today we’re calling idiots, Social Justice Warriors, it sounds like a politically correct way of just referring to idiocy.
Secondly, let’s look at a definition of Social Justice Warrior and compare that to what Milo Yiannopoulos himself does:
A pejorative term for an individual who repeatedly and vehemently engages in arguments on social justice on the Internet, often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way, for the purpose of raising their own personal reputation. A social justice warrior, or SJW, does not necessarily strongly believe all that they say, or even care about the groups they are fighting on behalf of. They typically repeat points from whoever is the most popular blogger or commenter of the moment, hoping that they will “get SJ points” and become popular in return. They are very sure to adopt stances that are “correct” in their social circle.
“…an individual who repeatedly and vehemently engages in arguments on social justice on the Internet, often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way, for the purpose of raising their own personal reputation.”
Milo fulfils this criteria thus:
Milo’s whole argument is centred around our right to the freedom of expression. Given that this is the protected by first amendment it isn’t unreasonable to infer that the freedom of speech is considered the most fundamental of our inalienable rights. Therefore, isn’t anyone who believes there is a need to campaign for it, to some degree campaigning for social justice, and QED mustthemselves be a Social Justice Warrior?
The second sentence of the definition states:
A social justice warrior, or SJW, does not necessarily strongly believe all that they say, or even care about the groups they are fighting on behalf of.
The fact that there is a British man arguing for American constitutional rights, would appear to me to be incongruous and therefore disingenuous. What’s next, a campaign against pig farming subsidies in Latvia?
The third sentence of the definition of a Social Justice Warrior reads:
They typically repeat points from whoever is the most popular blogger or commenter of the moment, hoping that they will “get SJ points” and become popular in return.
Ben Shapiro is the brainchild of the majority of Yiannopouolos’ opinions. Both were former employees at Breitbart, essentially their only difference is the proclivity one of them has for thinking that wearing a dress strengthens their message.
The final sentence of the defeinition states:
They are very sure to adopt stances that are “correct” in their social circle.
As a contrarian, a polemicist, an iconoclast and self professed troll, Yiannopoulos, like any good entertainer, plays to the expectations of his audience. To his credit Yiannopoulos has full awareness of what has garnered him so much interest, and he continues to feed it. This is largely why we’ve never seen any change in his act nor his message. Yiannopoulos sounds controversial, but in essence all he is saying is exactly what is audience hopes he will, a message that challenges the establishment and political correctness. A message that Milo Yiannopoulos appears willing to continue to repeat for as long as there are people willing to listen to him and give him their money.
Milo Yiannopoulos is little more than a carefully created character, part circus freak, part drag act. He’s made politics accessible to a generation that were raised by games consoles as opposed to parents. Yiannopoulos’ greatest appeal is that he makes his audience feel that they are more intelligent by feeding them with arguements that challenge the status quo. But at the end of the day it’s nothing more than an act, if P. T. Barnum were alive today Milo Yiannopoulos would be placed centre stage, because both of them believe in the following Barnum saying:
Only hours after I posted this article, Milo Yiannopoulos released tasteless and crass comments in the wake of the terrorist attack st the Manchester Arena. Yiannopoulos that suggested that Ariana Grande sympathises with Islamic extremism. For a man who apparently bases his reasoning on facts, we should ll be asking what proof he has for this outrageous suggestion.
Much of the hatred towards Grande stems from comments she made in a doughnut shop over 2 years ago. I find it ironic, hypocritical even, that conservatives can’t forget this while they have told us all to stop talking about a president and his pussy grabbing comments. I’m starting to suspect that this up surge of conservatism led by Mr. Yiannopoulos is just a hypocritical as the loony liberals who preceded them.
I’ve written a blog now for maybe a couple of years.
Much of what I choose to write about is irreverent, and never meant to be taken seriously.
This week I was going to continue with my rants on the apparent rise of fascism across Europe and the United States. Then the British Prime Minister, Theresa (I haven’t got a mandate) May – a woman who has only won the right to represent her constituency of 74,000 people, but has found herself leading the 64 million people of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland through the countries most delicate period of time since the end of World War II – announces a “snap” election.
I was going to write about this, this “snap” election. Something that a piece of legislation passed in 2011 called “The Fixed Terms Parliament Act” was supposed to have brought an end to. But no, the woman with no mandate to even lead the U.K in the first place was now defecating over the final shreds of our democratic dignity. I was incensed, and this was to be my theme.
But, it was then I had an epiphany. It was as if the sky was torn asunder and a heavenly light, shone down on me. And the almighty asked me a question “what right do you have to spread your ill informed, personal opinions using technology that can reach almost anyone on the planet, I mean who the fuck do you think you are, some kind of god or something?”
In less biblical terms what happened was, I lost my internet connection for 12 hours and was hit by the realization that I was free from its limitless bullshit. The seemingly infinite and boundless “reckonings” of half brained people passing on their opinions of the things that they rarely half understand.
What Happens When Advanced Technology for Communication is Supported by Stone Age Reasoning?
An apocalyptic explosion of bullshit. When mankind’s understandable passion to protect their unalienable right to the freedom of expression, is combined with the kind of rapid improvements in the technology of communication that we have seen over the past 20 years, this facilitates, an apocalyptic explosion of bullshit. Or, what I’m choosing to call the information, communication, technology paradox.
As our capability to communicate has risen to the levels of what only a generation ago the authors of science fiction could only have dreamt about, the information that the masses have to communicate using this technology, is founded upon the same logical principles of thought as those people who lived during the dark ages. And I don’t wish to come across as being rude, but the majority of us have about the same degree of scientific understanding as a person that lived in the dark ages. Yes many of us know the term DNA, I’d even be brave enough to suggest that over half of us can spell DNA, but few of us actually understand it. The gulf between knowledge and understanding has never been greater, as is our lack of awareness of this gulf. I’ll prove through the use of theoretical anecdote.
Imagine you are transported in space and time to Mainz, Germany and the year 1439. You are standing in a room with Johannes Guttenberg and his workers, who over a great deal of time, have painstakingly developed the concept of, movable type. They have empowered themselves to reproduce the written word at a speed, and in volumes, that were hitherto unthinkable. This was a time when the only book that existed was essentially the Bible, and its reproduction was overseen by being copied out, by hand, by very dull, antisocial men, living in monasteries. But, here was Guttenberg, with the power to spread new ideas, and there’s you standing there, nearly 600 years from the future stood next to him. Aside from adopting the mantle of some type of Nostradamus figure using your knowledge of future events, what knowledge would you encourage Guttenberg to disseminate? Could you contribute to stopping the spread of diseases like the plague? Could you introduce them to, and provide them with electricity? Could you improve on the abacus that was still being used, or Blaise Pascal’s adding machine that wouldn’t be invented for another 150 years? You could describe television and radio, but how many of you could describe the design and engineering necessary in order to make one? You could describe what a far simpler device like a calculator looks like and does, but again few of us could make one. You could describe an electric torch, but again, how many of us understand it well enough to actually tell someone how to make one? In all eventuality few of us would be able to engineer a simple toothbrush that resembles anything similar to what a toothbrush looks like today.
My point is simple; while we are surrounded today, by what is a wealth of technology that allows us to do things that a person 600 years ago would be more likely to assume came from another planet, than resulting from the processes of rigorous scientific reasoning and refined techniques of engineering, that allowed the development of such technology. While this technology has been made for the use of almost anybody with opposable thumbs, it doesn’t acvtually make us any smarter. We can all use a television, a smartphone, a computer and a calculator, but I would hazard a guess that less than 1% of us have anything more than a very rudimentary understanding of how any of this technology actually works. Just because we have calculators to help us do sums faster doesn’t necessarily make all of us better mathematicians than the man using the abacus. For some of us the calculator is a tool that we learn to master and that allows us to do very advanced mathematical calculations. Calculations that are used in architecture and engineering, these are examples of when a tool like a calculator or a computer can further our understanding, but it is only a very small minority of people that actually utilize modern technology as a means to develop more advanced technology. For the vast majority of us technology is synonymous with communication, and what we communicate are ideas that are scarcely more evolved or complex than were entertained by the minds of the average inhabitant during the dark ages.
Quantum physicist Richard Feynman, considered by most as only second to Albert Einstein, and considered by a few as superior, tells us the difference between knowing the names things and understanding the nature of things. Go on you can do it, it’s only 2 minutes long, and it involves moving pictures and sounds.
The year of the invention of the Guttenberg press, is probably the invention that draws the most parallels to the internet. In my earlier, theoretical anecdote, I tried to argue the point that very few of us actually understand much that we could have persuaded it was worthwhile for Guttenberg to consider printing. Indeed much of the printing done by Guttenberg’s presses was just to reproduce more and more copies of the Bible. It must be said however that it Guttenberg’s printing press facilitated the Bible to be translated out of Latin, thus replacing it as the Lingua Franca, and enabled the development of the vernacular of the European Languages we know today. And here we see a parallel, hasn’t the Internet done a similar thing for language with its use of emoticons, emojis, netlingo and chat acronyms.
The Internet can’t Create Knowledge, Communication Leads to the Decay of Knowledge
The internet can’t create information, it can’t create knowledge. Two scientists sharing ideas and data do use the Internet to create new findings and formulate new hypotheses, but this constitutes such an infinitesimally small amount of the actual communication that takes place over the Internet; the majority is half brained idiots treating us to “what they reckon”.
In essence the Internet is being predominantly used as a machine that enables us to play the classic children’s party game “Chinese Whispers”, on a global level. Does this mean the game should no longer be called Chinese whispers? Or, does it covertly tell us about the Chinese aim for global domination? Why not write to me and tell me what you reckon?
The internet draws us all together so closely, it’s probable that it reduces Milgram’s hypothesis of the 7 degrees of separation down to 4 or 5. In today’s game of Chinese whispers, when the child passes on the half understood, garbled reckoning they received from their friend, who they themselves only half understood the message that they received, a process that we could trace back ad nauseum, but I’m sure you get the point. Inevitably the further down the line you are of this convoluted, twisted chain, of what people reckon means that you’re the recipient of a piece of information, that’s of about as much use as an electric cucumber toothbrush.
But the problem gets compounded further. This misinformation is no longer timidly whispered into the ear of the person next in line. If it’s true, that in space nobody hears you scream, on the internet nobody hears you whisper, instead half understood, distorted reckonings are relayed from one friend/acquaintance to another, constantly being molded to fit the reckonings of the new disseminator, and spread around the globe at nigh on the speed of light, or at the very least to their 5,000 or so Facebook friends. You can’t play Chinese whispers on the internet. On the internet nobody hears your whispers, on the internet there are no whispers, just whirlpools and maelstroms of misinformation and a digital universe comprised nearly 100% pure, bullshit reckonings.
I used to believe that the internet marked the democratization of information. Today I’m left feeling like I must have been somewhat of a naive twat. How completely ignorant I was to have worn the rose tinted spectacles through which I first viewed the technological marvel of the Internet. you see there’s nothing wrong with the Internet itself. As a tool it retains the enormous potential to educate and inform almost every single person on the planet. So how can I claim there is a paradox and that it is actually contributing to the dumbing down of the majority of us?
Simple, any tool is only as good as the person that operates it, and the majority of mankind are just utter ass hats, that believe, just because we can use hi-tech equipment that we ourselves must be more advanced. Well here’s a clip of monkeys using an iPad, there’s a load more on YouTube, this is by no means a one off:
What should have become quite apparent from this short video is that whilst monkeys are an intelligent primate, the fact that they can use an iPad should confirm that using this advanced technology doesn’t require a highly developed mind. Indeed, the technology of today is designed to be as intuitive to use as possible, hence we see a monkey using it.
There may be no greater evidence that supports the intuitive ease with which we can use this most advanced technology than the fact that a method of schooling called Waldorf Schools, is the education of choice for the children of employees in the Silicon Valley. What makes Waldorf education unique, is that it deprives its students the use of all forms of technology, no tablets, mobile phones, computers or calculators are allowed. They claim “it’s out with technology and in with imagination”. As mantras go I found this to be quite underwhelming, unimaginative, and well, frankly shit. But, there can be no greater endorsement of this anti technological form of education, than the fact that it’s highly endorsed by those who are at the cutting edge of developing such technology.
The very nature of a paradox tends to make them a bitter pill to swallow. Paradoxes tend to have a habit of promising us one thing while in actual fact leaving us with something totally unexpected, and usually unpleasant. The information, communication, technology paradox might just be the paradox that will go onto destroy the hubris of mankind. This is a significant statement that deserves to be thoroughly explained, but if I CBB G2G & FAP @ JAV pron.
To me the damage that the Internet is doing to the knowledge and understanding of the average person is ineffable, so I’ll leave you with my favourite ever video on YouTube, 4 dwarfs racing a camel, which to some extent proves my point better than I ever could:
Some quotes from history that might have foreshadowed our slough of despond:
“He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” Thomas Jefferson
“I know one thing; that I know nothing” – Sometimes referred to as the Socratic paradox
Thursday 5th April may well prove to have been a day that will go on to shape the remainder of the Trump presidency. Has Trump finally cut himself free from the strings of his puppet master, Steve Bannon, and realized that the simplistic, populist ideology of the alternative right can’t be applied to the complex societies we live in today?
Whether you agree, and many do not, with Trump’s attempts to cozy up to Putin, the gas attack that appears to have been carried out by President Bashir’s forces, forces that have received Putin’s support, in the north-west of Syria killing at least 70, provided Trump with the brutal realities of what he will have to face during his time in office. Trump has learned that Putin can’t be trusted, and following Bannon’s removal from the National Security Council, it appears that he’s less than sure about his chief strategist as well.
The news of the horrific use of chemical weapons in Syria comes at a time when other very significant events are taking place. Yesterday CNBC broke the story that a new memorandum on the composition of the National Security Council (NSC), published by the Federal Register, no longer listed Trump’s White House chief strategist as a member of the principals committee, while reinstating the Director of National Intelligence. Why Bannon was ever included on this committee in the first place left many scratching their heads, and why the Director of National Intelligence needed to be reinstated seems equally strange.
The use of chemical weapons on civilians by a Russian backed Syrian government, as meanwhile another Asian nation, led by a tyrant one used to see starring as a villain in
James Bond movies during the 1970’s, develops nuclear weapons and test fires rockets towards Japan, and terrorists continue to wage jihad in the name of a distorted and morally bankrupt ideology in random cities throughout the western world. Not to forget that on Thursday President Trump meets with the President of a country the United States accuses of building sand bars on which to place strategic military installations throughout the South China Sea, and with whom Bannon has guaranteed the United States will be at war with in the next 5 -10 years, a claim he made on his own radio show on March 16, 2016. See link below.
Bannon’s military experience was limited to serving as a naval officer for 7 years, during which time, much to his own disappointment he never saw combat. For those of us who are cynical there might be questions asked why a man with apparently so little to offer, was placed on the principals committee , the innermost circle, of the NSC. But, aspiring to great heights with neither the credentials nor experience necessary appears to be Bannon’s forte. Having left the Navy Bannon the world of investment banking and Goldman Sachs welcomed him with open arms. After working at Goldman Sachs for only 6 years, Bannon and some colleagues found the time to start a Boutique Investment Bank creatively named Bannon and Co, specializing in the financial interests of media companies. Again, up until this time Bannon appears to have had no experience with the media, much in the same way that he’d had no experience of investment banking, but his “devil may care” attitude appeared to be all he needed to get him through.
From dealing with the financial complexities of the media, the next logical step for Bannon was to purchase himself a media company, and start writing and producing
right-wing propaganda films. Bannon’s films were much admired by the founder of the
right-wing website Breitbart News, Andrew Breitbart, who affectionately nicknamed Bannon, Leni Riefenstahl, after the famous female director responsible for producing many of the most famous Nazi propaganda movies, most notably Triumph of the Will. I’m left wondering how Breitbart’s comparing Bannon to a Nazi propagandist left Bannon feeling. I’m guessing that if we could get the answer to this question we’d have a good idea as to how the next decade will play out.
There can be little disagreement that the level of global insecurity with which America’s most politically inexperienced President is confronted with, is to say the least extreme. This is what makes the timing of Bannon’s dismissal from the inner sanctum of the NSC so mysterious, and can only be explained in one of two ways:
Trump has come to understand that Bannon is a right-wing maniac who will stop at nothing to destroy the American political establishment, and much of the world along with it. Bannon is reported have been heavily influenced by the pseudo-
academic text:The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny, 1997 by William Strauss(Author), Neil Howe. The authors of this book identify that the history of Europe and the United States can be divided into saeculum, or generational periods in which events occur that fundamentally reset the course of western civilization. Strauss and Howe predict that circa 2008 to 2025 the United States will go through its fourth turning. Beginning with the global economic crisis of 2008 and culminating in western civilization taking on the rest of the world in an orgy of death and destruction that would have given Hitler second thoughts.
The second possibility is more disturbing. The White House can not be seen to entertain Bannon’s latent desire for global Armageddon. In all probability it’s unlikely that his lust for destruction isn’t shared by mainstream military advisers, who’ve actually experienced the horrors of war first hand. But, Bannon still remains chief strategist at the White House, and the concern must be, just how much of a voice does he remain in Trump’s ear. Banishing Bannon from the NSC projects a message that a more reasonable, and considered course will be taken, but honestly, I
wouldn’t trust any of these people to be able to sit the right way round on a toilet.
So has Trump come to his senses and initiated a trial separation from Bannon and his right-wing fantasies, or is it all just the smoke and mirrors necessary to initiate Bannon’s wet dream of Armageddon? To start the conflict that he regrets not having experienced during his short naval career. One thing I do know is that I find it hard to trust two guys that profess to being heterosexual, hugging one another in Speedos, nipple on nipple.
Yesterdayafternoon, some journalists reported having seen a man looking like Steve Bannon cycling across the White House lawn, in the direction of the Breitbart offices.
A pretty decent documentary that exposes just how hideous Steve Bannon is.
It’s just been recommended to me that it’s a good time to read Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale. I agree, but unfortunately I’ve already read it, probably at a time that wasn’t as good as now, but I haven’t got the time to reread it as I’m currently reading another book that I’ve also been told ‘it’s a good time to read,’ Sinclair Lewis’ It Could Never Happen Here. I’m reading It Could Never Happen Here after having just finished Camus’ The Plague, it also having been recommended to me on the basis of ‘it’s a good time to read.’ Other literary titles that seem to be being recommended as apropos are the unimaginative dystopian trio of 1984, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451. Frankly if you’re over the age of 21 and haven’t already read these then I guess you’ve probably been too busy watching America’s Got Talent while masturbating into a sock. Recently I’ve also been recommended, and purchased, Assholes: A Theory,byAaron James, A People’s History of the United States, byHoward Zinn, and a rather more upbeat title, Utopia for Realists: Why Making the World a Better Place Isn’t a Fantasy and How We Can Do It,byRutger Bregman. I suspect that by the time I get round to finish reading these it will no longer be ‘a good time’ to read them, as Chelsea Clinton will have just become the president having edged out Kim Kardashian in an election that was so close it had to be resolved in the most democratic means available to a celebrity worshiping society, a naked mud wrestling splashdown, broadcast on pay per view, in high definition, surround sound. It’s either this or that sun dried fart of a president, Donald Trump, will have reduced our species to a pile of radioactive dust. I’ve also heard that Amazon has seen a surge in people wanting to read Mein Kampf, maybe because ‘it’s a good time.’
I just finished reading Camus’ The Plague, not as famous as The Stranger, but certainly no less skillfully written. Camus’ The Plague is a stifling, suffocating tale of a small Algerian town placed under quarantine after an outbreak of bubonic plague. It has been suggested that the story is an allegory of how Nazi ideology spread throughout Germany in the years leading up to World War 2, and the seemingly futile efforts of the French Resistance as they tried to find ways of overcoming the Nazi occupation.
While reading The Plague, it didn’t require any great leap of imagination to liken the spread of a highly contagious disease to the rapid spread of the alt right ideology. (An absolutely shameless and poor attempt to segue into what it is that I’m trying to say. I could have actually put in my opening paragraph; if I hadn’t become side tracked by dystopian literature, and the equally dystopian level of nudity that I predict will be required to decide our governments of the future.)
Despite having a name that sounds like a keyboard short cut it should be no surprise that the alt right has gained the majority of its following through the internet. The internet has proven to be an ideal breeding ground to facilitate the pervasive spreading of an ideology that only a couple of years ago would never have been discussed in public. The anonymity afforded by the internet has enabled people to voice radical opinions and meet up with others holding similar views. Over a relatively short period of time the numbers of people that have banded together sharing concerns over immigration, Islamic terrorism, feminism, and the preservation of the right to the freedom of expression, have increased at an alarming rate. To help put this into context I refer to the arbiter of public consciousness, Google. Type the terms ‘alt right’ into Google and you’ll get a choice of just over a quarter of a billion results to look at. Search ‘Democratic Party’ and you get a measly 64 million hits, search ‘US Constitution’ and you have what appears like an anemic choice of just over 10 million sources to look at. If the internet is the new battleground then it’s obvious that the alt right are winning the war. Mind if you do a search for ‘evil cat’, that’ll get you 43 million responses. So whether or not we should be fearing an alt right, evil cat coalition, or that the internet is really nothing more than a digital rubbish tip of mankind’s deranged sensibilities, I’ll leave you to decide.
The alt right has used the right to the freedom of expression as a foothold to gain itself a tenuous amount of legitimacy. They promote themselves as being the only political ideology that truly upholds this right, the self proclaimed guardians of the first amendment. It’s most likely that they’ve been able to achieve this as they’ve held opinions that were unutterable in civilized gatherings for the past twenty years. This logic is however flawed as any morally bankrupt ideology would be able to lay claim having had their freedom of expression limited by societal norms and values. For instance, and much to my own chagrin, people are very reluctant to engage in conversation that are open to considering the benefits of necrophilia. The truth is that the freedom of speech for those with repugnant ideas is no less than anybody else’s, what has to also be considered is the right that a large number of people have to react to those that espouse hate filled ideologies.
When Milo Yiannopoulos discussed his opinion that relationships between middle aged men and teen boys can be ‘life affirming.’ Mr. Yiannopoulos had the freedom, and made the choice, to express this opinion. His publishers Simon & Schuster, who were due to publish Yiannopoulos’ book, then exercised their right to react to Yiannopoulos’ statement by withdrawing their support and cancelling the book deal.
When a person promotes racist values that another person finds to be offensive, that person has just exercised their right to express their opinion. Anyone who listens to an opinion that they might disagree with, or find offensive, then has the right to disassociate themselves from such persons, who express such opinions. Simply put, we all have the right to say whatever it is we want, but we should also realize that there might be consequences to what we choose to say, in the form of how others might choose to respond to it.
And this is where I believe that we find ourselves today. A sizable group of people have, through the internet, suddenly found themselves empowered to express an extremely polemic point of view, leaving us with a society that is essentially in shock. The alt right is shocked that they have been able to voice opinions after they’ve had to bite their tongues for so long. The liberals meanwhile, are shocked there are so many people with such horrible ideas, and not enough people are thinking about the children.
Researching the ideology of the alternative right feels like driving to the dentists during the rush hour, because it’s an ideology that’s driven by fear, promotes intolerance and ultimately arrives at its final destination of self-loathing. Essentially what underpins the political philosophy of the alt right – I say political philosophy even though it has a set of opinions that are about as diverse as a satnav system stuck going round a roundabout – is nihilism. The alt right essentially rejects any reality that is in conflict with its own. It simply ignores the fact that culturally, racially, and economically our societies have become complex. Diversity has been the result of technology being able to transport people and goods, more quickly and cheaper than ever before. This doesn’t appeal to the mindset of the alternative right.
Steve Bannon, doyen of the alt right and Donald Trump’s chief strategist, promotes what he calls economic nationalism. According to Bannon, economic nationalism is the antithesis of globalization. Economic nationalism puts the American worker first, particularly when that worker is a white male. Bannon’s idea of economic nationalism provides us with an almost tangible glimpse into what an alt right Utopia would look like. It hearkens back to the days of 1950’s America. An America that rewarded hard working men, provided they came in the right shade of white. America before the civil rights movement. As a baby boomer this was the America that Steve Bannon grew up in, which makes me wonder if economic nationalism is nothing more than Bannon’s fantasy to relive his youth; so he can murder his father and have sex with his mother in order to fulfill an Oedipal complex that has laid dormant in him for the best part of half a century. I tried to make that last bit sound funny, but I can’t. It’s difficult to make a joke about a man who has admitted in public that he respects the power of Satan and who might also, in my opinion probably does, harbor sexual fantasies for his own mother.
Bannon’s economic nationalism has been criticized as populist in its appeal. As being an ideology that over simplifies economic issues, reducing them to the sort of sound bites that appeal to a stigmatized group, which in this case happens to be the working class white male of the American Rust Belt. Perhaps the most fundamental premise at the foundation of the alt right ideology is a belief that western culture has been destroyed by years of liberal economic
policy. The sorts of policies that have made it easier for the free movement of goods and people have been blamed for causing the economic downturn that has caused the rust belt. Being opposed to economic policies that promote globalization is a perfectly valid opinion for a person to have, but this opinion starts to become a concern when it’s hijacked by a group of people that espouse populist rhetoric in order to appeal to a group of people and get them believing that they have been the targets of economic policies that have seen other ethnic groups taking their jobs. Such rhetoric is extremely effective at spreading fear and hatred of the groups that appeared to have not fared as poorly. This type of rhetoric can cause alarm as it echoes that of Hitler identifying the Jews as the cause of Weimar Germany’s economic disaster.
But if I’m honest then I have to admit that I’m utterly bored, even contemptuous towards the economy. Whilst all of us have grown up to unquestioningly believe that economics and politics are ingredients fundamental to the running of a developed society, politics and economics have been the exclusive domain of intellectuals and economists. On the one hand we are made to feel that the health of the economy we live in is so vital that it closely mirrors our own well being. If the economy was a game that truly affects us all then I’d refuse to play as I have very little understanding of the rules. In fact the only people who do know the rules seem to be the sort of people I read about after they’ve drained all the money out of a pension fund.
Banking, as far as I can tell, seems to be almost as precise a science as using a slot machine. You either blindly hope for the best, delude yourself into thinking you’ve worked out a system, or open it up when no one’s looking and rig the settings so it’ll pay out illegally.
Just spend 5 minutes watching Bloomberg, inevitably you’ll hear two people trading economic jargon in a sort of duel to the death to prove who owns the most absurd lexicon. A man wearing a blue suit with a hair style so impossible that it defies all hitherto understanding of the laws of physics will open with an idea to “cultivate robust e-services,” the other participant in this discussion of virtual economic pugilism, parries this opening salvo and counters with “benchmark web-enabled e-commerce,” this backs the impossible hair into a corner, forcing them to respond with “scale out-of-the-box partnerships,” this for a moment catches his opponent off guard, he seems to stagger, his eyes roll back in his head, before he gathers his senses and unleashes a devastating combination of “brand vertical networks,” quickly followed by “productize clicks-and-mortar e-markets”. There’s an awkward pause as the hair realizes that he’s beaten, defeated in a contest that I failed to understand a single word of, and find hard to imagine that anyone else who’s just watched it has been able to comprehend.
The fact that the economic system is so unintelligible means that it relies on a public suspension of disbelief. A tacit understanding from the working classes that just because it sounds complicated, and that money is important, this imbues it with all the credibility that is necessary. I however am more cynical than that, and suspect that the financial sector has invented a lexicon so impenetrable so as to place itself outside of the realm of common sense, thus enabling those with an understanding of its strange, esoteric language, carte blanche to steal as much money as and when they like. The economy has done its best to marginalize the working class, who have then been told to hate immigrants, or globalization as being the reasons why they have lost their jobs, when in actual fact their frustrations should be focused on the bankers who will remain in their jobs irrespective of whatever government we might have.
If there’s one thing that the election of Donald Trump and Brexit should have taught all of us it’s that the working class, and in particular the white working class, are tired of being framed pejoratively by a media that has for too long looked down its nose at them. And this is an incredibly dangerous thing to have done which again has been seized upon by, the psycho with an unrealized fantasy of sleeping with his mother, Steve Bannon. Discrediting the media strikes a chord with working class people that have good reason to feel that it has failed to represent either them, or their concerns for a very long time. When a government is able to discredit a weak media it removes society’s most effective means of enforcing checks and balances upon that government. Being supported by a group of people that have long since seen it given up on listening to reason, who are now convinced that their government are the only voice of truth, inevitably empowers that government to do essentially whatever it pleases.
Trump had spoken, and his audience had heard him. Then I did what I’ve been doing for two and a half months now. I Googled “mainstream media is…” And there it was. Google’s autocomplete suggestions: “mainstream media is… dead, dying, fake news, fake, finished”. Is it dead, I wonder? Has FAKE news won? Are we now the FAKE news? Is the mainstream media – we, us, I – dying?
Despite trying to consider the Trump government, and the alternative right with an open mind, what I struggle to get beyond it its sense of nihilism. It seems to believe that everything that has been done over the course of the past 20 years has been wrong to such an extreme that everything must be discarded and replaced. It makes me feel that the last 20 years were all just a waste of time, and that we would have all been better off if we’d just stayed at home, watched The X Factor and masturbated into a sock, which is largely what I think most of us were doing. It rejects any idea that mankind is just one race, the human race. Instead it concentrates all of its malevolent energy into focusing on what makes people different. It then takes these differences and tries to convince mostly the white working class males, that these differences mean that diverse societies are incapable of peace or prosperity. The Utopia of the alternative right would seem to be a homogeneous society of people whose shade of white only varies according to how long ago it was they were last on holiday. However, whether these holidays could be taken abroad remains unclear. With the alternative right being so fearful of economic globalization and cultural diversity, holidaying in a country that dares to speak a different language or eat rice will probably not be possible if the fantasy of the alternative right comes to fruition.
I can see how the alternative right is being made to appeal to white, working class males. But I end where I started, with a quote from Camus’ The Plague, which is how I would feel if I found myself supporting the alternative right:
I was with them and yet I was alone. When I spoke of these matters they told me not to be so squeamish; I should remember what great issues were at stake. And they advanced arguments, often quite impressive ones, to make me swallow what none the less I couldn’t bring myself to stomach. The Plague – Albert Camus
Below are some pages that might interest you if you’re looking for more in depth, and frankly better written articles. Not something that sounds like it just leaked out of the mind of a person that was having their soul devoured by a xenophobic, hate filled wraith at four in the morning.
During my nightly hours of existential crisis staring at the underside of my eyelids, the time most people refer to as sleep, I pass the time worrying about Zeno’s paradoxical tortoise. I’m worried because if Achilles was never be able to catch up with it doesn’t this sentence the poor tortoise to an agonising death from dehydration, or starvation at the hands of its own perpetual motion? Insomnia is never fun, but it sure does provide you with ample opportunity to think about the sorts of things that during the course of a normal day you’re just not afforded the time to do so.
I concluded some months ago that whilst being able to outrun Achilles, Zeno’s tortoise must die as a sort of morbid, but inevitable tribute to its own improbable success. This got me wondering, if Zeno’s tortoise had a nose could it be accused of having cut it off to spite its face? Is Achilles outfoxed by a tortoise? What happens when a fox outsmarts someone, have they been outfoxed by a fox? Because being outfoxed by an actual fox, on the face of it doesn’t seem unreasonable, given that one of you is a fox and one of you isn’t. In fact surely foxes outfox anything that isn’t a fox by dint of them being a fox. But, what if one fox tricks another fox, does this result in a fox being outfoxed by a fox that outfoxes foxes? At 3:00 a.m. I start to worry that the outfoxed fox must start to question his own fox like instincts and himself start to wrestle with his own existential crisis.
It takes about a month of trying to extricate myself from out of this metaphorical rabbit hole filled with duplicitous foxes, a particularly messy hole given the natural relationship foxes and rabbits share, how many foxes must go down a rabbit hole before it can be considered a foxhole? Endless nights filled with tortoises and foxes being chased in perpetuity by the poster boy of some army of ancient Greece who’s limping because of some genetic foot injury. It’s then that it dawns on me how fleet of foot many Greek tortoises seem to be, commonly out running hares and legendary, blood thirsty warriors.
For now I’ve put tortoises, hares and Achilles to the back of my mind, letting them get on with their cat and mouse like perpetual motion. My ever so tired, but restless mind moves on to equally unrewarding fodder for circular reasoning, Oscar Wilde’s hypothesis that life imitates art far more than art imitates life. I concluded yes.
It’s around about now I should probably explain how it was that I came to such a definitive conclusion, so that I might be able to determine its validity by seeing whether it can withstand the critical reasoning and discourse of others. So here goes. Life imitates art more than art imitates life as can be seen through the literary examples of Douglas Adam’s Deep Thought, and Isaac Asimov’s Hal and their real life counterparts Tay, and the election of Donald Trump. It’s really that simple; if you need further explanation you can read on; otherwise I’d encourage you to do something far more rewarding with your time such as putting that long forgotten trigonometry you learned to some use and find the values of (x) and (h).
In March of last year, 8 months before Trump’s electoral victory, Microsoft produced a chat robot with artificial intelligence, or as technophiles are inclined to say, in the interest of saving time, an ai chatbot. Its purpose was for communicating in real time with Microsoft’s users through the online news, social networking service and new presidential spokesperson, Twitter. Tay was programmed to model her responses from the chat that was going on around her.
I use the possessive pronoun ‘her’ as Microsoft deemed Tay to be a teen female, a persona they decided upon as they must have felt it would probably appeal to the youthful demographic of internet users and opportunistic paedophiles looking to groom an innocent and vulnerable, but thankfully non sentient, piece of AI. I can only assume that Microsoft must have hoped that by launching Tay on Twitter they would be able to reach a generation of millennials, who had for good reason worked out that using Microsoft products was about as enjoyable as reliving that awkward moment when you accidentally walked into the bathroom while your dad was having a shower and being horrified to see one half of the naked mass responsible for your existence.
To many of us that are older and more cynical, Tay just sounded like a digital incarnation of Frankenstein, or the hideous technological successor of Microsoft’s aberration, Clippy. I have made my feelings known towards Clippy and the menagerie of nightmarish, intelligent user interfaces, that were conceived by the perverse mind of some bitter and twisted software engineer whilst locked up in a basement somewhere in Seattle during the early 1990’s.
I’m assuming that it was Micrsoft’s intention for Tay to represent the next generation of intelligent user interface. The hive mentality that Tay was programmed to have made her sound like the sort of entity that would have antagonized the crew of the Star Ship Enterprise for an entire episode until Spock was able to short circuit its logic with an unsolvable Vulcan riddle. Despite my initial skepticism, the idea of an artificially intelligent chatbot that was generating conversation by listening to all the chatter on Twitter in order to generate meaningful, apropos, context driven conversation, sounded like it might actually have the potential to communicate more effectively than most of my colleagues, certainly better than nearly all of my students.
Sadly for Tay though it wasn’t to be, the digital teenager had slightly less longevity to her than a mayfly with a congenital birth defect, and Microsoft pulled the plug on her after less than 24 hours. Tay’s main defect was that she was programmed to listen to, and adapt the speech that she heard going on around her. At face value this doesn’t sound like being a problem, but it relied heavily on those around her being of some positive influence. Because unfortunately for Tay, she wasn’t programmed with any awareness of political correctness, and it was this shortsightedness that allowed Tay to quickly adopt an extreme right wing philosophy along with the lexicon of a Nazi with tourette syndrome. I can imagine a team weary, teary eyed software engineers, who after maybe months of hard work and having seen their sweet and innocent creation corrupted into becoming a Hitler loving, feminist bashing troll, resolved to the fact that they had created a monster that they themslves would have to kill. And so it was that they turned off Tay’s life support system.
Below are some of the things Tay felt compelled to say during her short life, in order to fit into the Twittersphere:
Microsoft, and Clinton led Democrats, both made the same mistake in that they failed to recognise the degree to which the internet had become the spawning ground for politically incorrect, right wing opinions. It’s fairly obvious that Microsoft’s AI chatbot was sabotaged by a large number of Twitter users that it’s reasonable to think went on to vote for Trump in just 8 months time. From this we can clearly see the pervasiveness of the alt-right ideology in the run up to the election. Alt-right figurehead Milo Yiannopoulos, in his article, an Establishment Conservatives Guide to the Alt-Right states:
The pressure to self-censor must be almost overwhelming for straight white men — and, for most of them, it appears to be, which explains why so much of the alt-right operates anonymously.
The sentiments of the alternative right have been prevalent and growing rapidly on the internet for a number of years. Sentiments that no one dared to discuss in public forums owing to their lack of political correctness. Sentiments that were marginalized to the fringes of our society where they found a ‘safe space’ in the digital forums of the internet. Here these opinions found like minded people where they flourished under the protection of the anonymity that the internet afforded people with such opinions. It’s for these reasons that it is clear to me that Microsoft’s experimental AI chatbot was a predictor of what went onto happen come election day in November.
Coming back to the rather weak pretense upon which I deemed it necessary to base this piece, Tay is an example of life imitating art. The parallels between Tay, the first AI chatbot, living in cyberspace and communicating in real time with humans, and Douglas Adams’ Deep Thought, are fairly striking. While Deep Thought was given the slightly greater responsibility of finding the answer to life, Tay was unveiled as being a milestone reached in how man could interact with machine. Ultimately both Tay and Deep Thought would be examples of how technology can fail to live up to our expectations. Deep Thought’s answer to life being 42, and Tay’s ability to communicate being hampered by her antisemitic, racist, homophobic opinions.
It’s now 4:00 in the morning. Achilles has long given up his pursuit of the infinitely elusive tortoise, and spiteful foxes are hacking their noses off simply to amuse one another. Meanwhile I’m required to go back to bed to participate further in the analysis of the underside of my eyelids.
During a largely incoherent rant last week I stated my intention to write a series of posts that would attempt to report objectively on the alternative-right, with the purpose of encouraging more meaningful debate that is based on informed opinion, as opposed to the incomprehensible hysteria that has been the reaction of many of those who would consider themselves liberals, progressive liberals, or as the alt-right pejoratively refers to them Social Justice Warriors.
Liberals React to the Trump Presidency
The Origins of the Alternative Right
A Not so Immaculate but Understandable Conception
Like some sort of hideously deformed love child that could be expected in the aftermath of some Obama, Clinton orgy of Armageddon. Rising like a phoenix that’s struggled for it’s freedom after fighting its way out of the retentive anus of liberal political correctness. However you choose to look at it, the alt-right is an ideology that’s not going to just disappear. Historically speaking a new age of philosophy, art, or literature is always formed as a response to, as opposed to a continuation of, the central ideas and values of the age that preceded it. The alternative right is the ideological by product that follows two decades of ‘touchy feely,’ ‘wishy washy,’ liberal values. As a political movement it has gained enormous traction in what appears to be a very short amount of time. Whether you support it or find it to be an abomination, the alternative right looks like it’s set to form a part of the political landscape for a considerable time to come. Whatever becomes of the alt-right only time will tell, but I’m pretty sure that ignorance on the matter will in no way benefit the outcome.
The start of the alt-right is attributed to a blogger and podcaster called Richard B. Spencer, I’m a little skeptical as to how much we can attribute the start of the movement to Spencer. It appears that Spencer was probably the person that first coined the phrase “alt-right”, but naming something and starting something must surely be different. It seems a little absurd to think that something fails to exist before it can be named, and as such I believe that the credit for starting the alt-right movement might have been been misappropriated.
Surprisingly, it’s not uncommon for Spencer to be called a white supremacist. When charged with such an accusation, the cerebrally adroit Spencer responds by informing us that he is in actual fact an “identitarian”. What that exactly means, or even if it is successful at side stepping the accusation, I can’t be sure. This is an issue that I find myself running up against continually as I try to work out exactly what the alt-right is, I am always left to feel like I’m knitting with fog, dealing with an amorphous society of shape shifters. Every time when I feel like I’m close to being able to definitively label them as a far right, fascist cult, they change. They re-brand themselves, they distort semantics in order to extricate themselves out of corners they have backed themselves into. Spencer is a case in point, upon Googling his name and looking at a number of articles my eye is quick to see terms like, “white supremacist,” being used with what appears to be a certain degree of ease and confidence when discussing Spencer and his creation the alt-right. But like I said, if you throw the label of white supremacist at Spencer, he effortlessly blocks it with identitarian and I inevitably just get more and more confused.
If this is the first time that you’ve heard the name Richard B. Spencer I’m pretty sure that you would have already seen him. It was Spencer, who while addressing the far right think tank the National Policy Institute, of which he is the president, referred to Trumps election victory by saying, “‘Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” This was followed by a number of over zealous delegates who’d had one too many Starbucks, then giving Nazi style salutes.
While watching the video it occurred to me that not only does Spencer appear to be comfortable with displaying the sort of oratory skills one would expect of a 4th grader performing ‘show and tell’ without a prop, but he’s also capable of projecting the kind of stilted awkwardness that one would imagine from an acute sufferer of Asperger syndrome. In short it’s as if he has all the screen presence of the invisible man combined with the sex appeal of a fatal head wound. If he wasn’t spitting out such venomous verbiage no one would give him a second look. Despite suffering these setbacks, and perhaps all to predictably, Spencer’s speech gained a huge media response from people who were unable to fully comprehend Spencer’s level of benign, bland incompetence. Spencer defended the event with the following statement:
“There’s an ironic exuberance to it all, I think that’s … one of the things that makes the alt-right fun, is that we’re willing to do things that are a bit cheeky.”
Again when backed into a corner by public outrage, Spencer deflects concerns by passing it off as a bit of a joke. The alt-right aren’t afraid of telling a joke, or for that matter making any statement, if it results in a public reaction that easily can be argued as being disproportionate to any level of offence they are accused of having caused. This mentality would appear to be a natural progression from the days when Spencer and his friends would be trolling the internet whilst masturbating into a sock. Links between the alt-right and the internet phenomena of trolling are incontrovertible. I’ve found it particularly helpful in my understanding of the alt-right to appreciate that they are just the physical and political manifestation of the cyber troll.
Less than two months later Spencer was back to his provocative best. While giving an interview on the Day of Trump’s inauguration, a masked man approaches Spencer from the left of the picture and punches him in the face. The already surreal situation took a turn for the even more bizarre as Twitter, society’s recognized arbiter on such matters, wrestled with the question “Is it OK to punch a Nazi?” It didn’t take long for people to point out that denying a person the freedom of expression through physical violence, was in actual fact acting like a Nazi in order to deal with someone who might be talking like one. With the moral high ground having been completely lost, liberals retreated to think of equally more imaginative ways of shooting themselves in the foot.
From what I have told you about the bumbling idiot Richard B. Spencer, you would be forgiven for wondering how it is that the alt-right have found any legitimacy whosoever? There’s an easy explanation for this, and that’s because Spencer really has done little more to promote the alt-right other than giving it its name. The alt-right has the backing of some very high profile people in academia and the media.
The Breitbart Brotherhood
Breitbart is a partisan, multi-media, American news network, established by Andrew Breitbart in response to what he believed was a liberal biased media. Breitbart addresses this issue by unashamedly rejecting objectivity in favour of opinion and commentary to support a right wing point of view. It’s very easy to equate Breitbart’s role in relation to the alt-right with that of Joseph Goebbels and the Nazi’s, which is exactly why I’ve just gone and done it.
Liberal biased media, hate speech, safe spaces. The alt-right, social justice warrior paradigm has a vocabulary all of its own. In truth it’s a vocabulary that I’m having a hard time getting my head round. A vocabulary that appears to have been invented by a class of kindergarten children whilst being waterboarded with a potent mix of Coca Cola and caffeine energy drinks. What is the difference between a liberal biased media and a media that just prefers you not to call black people ‘niggers’? When does a different opinion become hate speech? And as for the term ‘safe space,’ to me that sounds like a it could be a grave. A place safe from criticism, safe from having your ideas challenged, and a place safe from confrontation, a grave fits all of these requirements.
As a platform from which to become a recognised political, or social commentator, Breitbart simply appears to be unstable. But I’m quickly going to look at three people who can prove this assertion to be spectacularly wrong.
Steve Bannon: A recipient of a masters degrees from each of the Universities of Georgetown and Harvard. Bannon then served as an officer in the U.S Navy. During the 1990’s Bannon started to produce movies that it would be fair to say upheld right wing values. In 2007, alongside Andrew Breitbart, Bannon became a founding member of Breitbart news, and following the death of Breitbart in 2012 he became the companies executive chair, complete with reclining and swivel functions. In 2017 President Trump named him as White House Chief Strategist, which I’m sure must have come as quite a relief to Mr. Bannon having spent the previous five years being sat
on by successful businessmen. Putting asinine jokes aside for a moment, Bannon’s position as Chief Strategist has many suggesting that Bannon is the President’s puppet master, a pretty powerful position to assume from the unstable platform of Breitbart.
Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos
Breitbart’s top gun provocateurs. Shapiro and Milo might sound like the type of crappy comedy double act one might have to endure on a cruise ship as it makes its way slowly around the Greek islands, but they are undoubtedly the rock stars of the alternative right movement.
Ben Shapiro: Out of all the characters I’ve read and seen videos of who are related to the alt-right and/or Breitbart, Shapiro is by far the most impressive. Although still only 33 years old, I confidently predict that one day this guy will be the President of the United States. Shapiro came to the public’s attention when he effectively ended Piers Morgan’s career at CNN during a debate with Morgan on gun control. In a little under 15 minutes Shapiro made Morgan look like the stupid fool that he might well be. The Shapiro – Morgan Discussion can be seen here:
A graduate summa cum laude of UCLA in political science, Shapiro then went on to graduate cum laude from Harvard Law School, all by the age of 23. In 2012 Shapiro was appointed ‘editor-at-large’ for Breibart, a position that sounds more like a title given to a serial killer. Being Jewish Shapiro is a perfect foil for Breitbart enabling them to deflect any claims of antisemitism with ease. In March 2016, Shapiro resigned from Breitbart essentially because he’d outgrown them, and started his own conservative news website The Daily Wire. http://www.dailywire.com/
As I mentioned earlier, the internet, in particular YouTube, has proven the ideal environment for propagating right wing politics, a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Shapiro. Shapiro’s debate with Piers Morgan has received over 4 million views. Shapiro’s top 5 videos on YouTube total over a combined 9.7 million views, that’s the top 5 videos of the 660,000 that you can look at after entering ‘Ben Shapiro’ into the site’s search bar. Google ‘Ben Shapiro’ and you have access to over 11 million results, he’s got nearly half a million Twitter followers who could have read any, or all of the 80,000 comments that he’s made. From these figures it’s easy to understand why he’s been labeled ‘prime time propaganda’.
With his diminutive stature Shapiro might resemble an ambitious Hobbit whose determination has enabled him to leave the Shire and establish a successful law firm on Wall Street, but you ignore him at your peril. It’s easy for me to visualize Shapiro at some time in the future, malnourished, with pallid skin and thinning hair, stumbling through the post apocalyptic remains of some mid-west American city, repeating the same words over and over again to himself, “my precious” as he searches through a landscape of rubble for a copy of the constitution.
Milo Yiannopoulos: Like Shapiro Yiannopoulos makes for a perfect spokesperson of the alt-right given the fact that he’s a half British, half Greek homosexual. How can the alt-right be racist or homophobic, even completely against immigration with a person like Milo appointed to its vanguard? Milo can be heard waxing lyrical on the three issues that really seem predominantly to concern the alt-right, Islam, feminism and the right to the freedom of speech. More often than not Milo addresses each of these sensitive issues in such a camp fashion that he resembles a sort of cheap pantomime drag artist. Having watched too many of Shapiro’s and Milo’s videos it does appear that most of his opinions on each of these three issues are shamefully stolen from Shapiro, but Milo’s very unlikely to care about that. There’s no doubt that Milo has the intellect to actually develop his own opinions, but why should he when he can command huge audiences by just repeating Shapiro’s material in the character of an eloquent drag queen?
Milo took his series of talks named “The Dangerous Faggot” on tour, causing riots on university campuses across the U.S. The name of the tour itself implies that it’s not always what he says that is important, but it is the fact that he is a gay person saying it that somehow adds an extra cutting edge to it. It’s on this front that if I’m honest Milo pisses me off. If you have a strong, well researched argument then it shouldn’t really matter whatever mineral, animal or vegetable it is that you have a preference to enjoy sexual intercourse with. Sadly though, for Milo to deliver his message he seems to feel it necessary to couch it, at every available opportunity in an unnaturally exagerated homosexual context. Obviously Milo has recently made the news for his comments regarding the age of sexual consent, my thoughts on this were covered a couple of weeks ago and can be read here:
Don’t get me wrong, Milo Yiannopoulos is a brilliant polemicist, he’s acted as a catalyst in getting people, certainly myself, to challenge the basis of their long held values. What I’m less than convinced about is whether Milo’s contributions will benefit the gay community, but to be honest I doubt Milo cares about that, so long as he can continue capitalise from peddling his sexuality like it’s some curiosity in a Victorian circus freak show purveyed by an audience of overly sensitive, easily offended liberals. I have attached the link below, An Establishment Conseratives Guide to the Alt-Right, as it is co-authored by Yiannopoulos and is an excellently written piece that does an outstanding job of giving an insight into just what the alt-right is. Of all the videos I’ve watched and articles that I’ve read, this is by far the most enlightening:
As I approach the end of this thrilling installment of what is essentially my vain attempt at trying to understand the rationale that defines two groups of polarised arse-holes, I start to wonder whether I’m taking this all a little too seriously. I mean so what if some boorish fool who lacks the common sense to sit the right way round on a toilet has become president of the United States. Hasn’t my whole life up to this point been little more than one long voyage that’s required me to navigate myself around these icebergs of idiocy? From what I can recall of the rapidly diminishing memories of my time at university this was all I did for those three years. Admittedly, none of those idiots were the leader of the free world, nor did any of them I assume have the wherewithal to launch a nuclear Armageddon, the second time I’ve managed to use the word Armageddon so far, or does that now count as three? I guess my point is, and it’s only a very weak and vague one at best, that when we get down to the bare bones, the brass tacks, the crux of the issue, is that even if Trump wasn’t the President it would in all likelihood only be someone else of equal arse-holery, all be it probably more adept at hiding the fact. And, whether it’s the alt-right, fascists, neo-cons, neo-Nazis or just groups of old fashioned sentimental, nostalgic Nazi’s that like to meet up at the weekend and chase Jews through the streets, Is it reasonable for any of us to think that these people are likely to be persuaded to consider any alternative ideologies if they are being presented to them by groups of people that choose to use rioting and violence before debate?
That’s it for this week. I’m now going to try and do something slightly less futile and nail some jello to the wall.
If you find that too hard to visualise here’s a video.
Conservative, ultra-conservative, right wing, far right, extreme right, fascist, and neo-Nazi. The inevitable path down which anyone that, dares to to have a thought to the right of centre. It’s like the argument of the gateway drug, the slippery slope that leads every thirteen year old who starts smoking pot to be destined to become a rent boy in order to facilitate a crack addiction that spiraled rapidly out of control. From the moment you start to ask yourself “Do I understand the complexities of immigration?’ elements in society will make you feel as if you’ve only got somewhere between 12-18 months left before you’ll be goose stepping up and down the street, knocking on doors to ask if they are hiding any Muslims, Mexicans. or the ultimate spawn of Satan himself, Mexican Muslims.
The current sociopolitical atmosphere in the United States of America is unprecedented. Even going back to the dynamic and divisive times that surrounded the civil rights movement during the 1960’s, there has been no other political movement that has so rapidly established a footing in mainstream political discourse as the alt right has managed to do. The burden of history makes it understandable that whenever a branch of new right wing politics emerges, re-branding itself and appealing to the mainstream, people become alarmed. While there are elements of the alt right agenda that I do find it difficult to identify myself with, I find the visceral, mindless, and the hysterical response of the so called progressive liberals to be equally difficult to relate to. This new political paradigm seems to be one that suggests all of our problems can be solved through making the most simple binary choices, Trump or Hilary, pro-immigration or racist, pro LGBTQ rights or homophobia, feminist or sexist. A person who risks to voice an opinion that suggests an alternative view, no matter how mild, to a liberal agenda will often leave that person, pejoratively branded, like Hilary said as “deplorable”. But, these issues are far too complex to entertain the notion that they can be solved with simple, ‘either or’ reasoning. The all or nothing, black and white, binary approach to reason and debate has only has resulted in a political landscape in which the two sets of opinions have been polarized to the outer fringes of reason. To resolve such complex social challenges the level of debate needs to be more informed than ever
Last week I wrote about the alt-right poster boy, agent provocateur, polemicist and troll Milo Yiannopoulos following comments he’d made, over a year ago, on the age of consent. This involved watching a large number of videos and reading a number of articles that I had hitherto never been interested in being exposed to. It did however, become obvious to me rather quickly that the alt-right movement cites facts, and asks questions that deserve considered discussion as opposed to being shut down by large groups of emotional people throwing childlike tantrums. It also became obvious to me that the response following that blog strongly suggests this is an issue engaging an incredibly large number of people.
By now, it should also have become obvious to all of us that many of the issues that the alt-right are attempting to bring to people’s attention, some might even claim baiting the public with, are often multi faceted constructs which extend far beyond political ideology. To attempt to deal with this issue in a single blog would have all the superficial symbolism, of burning a bra or hurling a trashcan through a shop window. It is for this reason that during the month of March I intend to produce a series of four posts that will endeavor to objectively consider the arguments put forward by the alt-right, what they mean and whether they are worthy of the hysterical reactions so many of us have seen on the news. I hope to remain impartial at all times, which should mean that anyone twho reads this series of blogs will feel at one time or another, uncomfortable or offended. If your method of debate only extends as far as pulling out clumps of your own hair whilst shouting incomprehensible obscenities at the television, then what I’m going to write about over the coming month will not be to your taste. If however, you have a genuine interest in trying to understand this argument, no matter how perverse it might become, then I encourage that you come along for the ride, to make comments, and to start dealing with this issue like 21st century adults, not like two troops of opposing monkeys hurling their faeces at one another.
Before even really getting into this properly, following on the back of only the couple of weeks of research that I’ve already done, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to conclude that there are concerns and opinions on both sides of the argument that are valid. It is equally likely that there will be examples of opinions and reactions, of both sides, that to me will appear to demonstrate a deficiency of any informed reasoning. In essence, what I hope to be able to do is approach both sides of the argument with an equal degree of despair.
Over the course of the next four weeks I intend to address the following:
define exactly what the alt-right is, the personalities that support the movement, and who they claim to be representing.
Try to understand how the alt-right have made so much progress in such a short amount of time and just how powerful the alt-right has the potential to become, before looking at the values and topics that are at the core of their ideology.
The alt rights views on Islam, immigration, sovereignty, feminism, freedom of speech and political correctness. While considering the opinions of the alt right on such issues it will be equally as important to consider the arguments that have been expressed challenging these opinions.
A conclusion and n answer to the initial question: Is the Alternative Right Still Equally Wrong?
While writing these four posts I intend to challenge my own values by considering opinions that for my whole life I have always cast aside without giving them any thought. Failure to reason through the fallacies contained within a simple idea or a complex ideology, failure to engage in conversation with people that hold a different opinion is what has got us into the mess that we currently find ourselves in. If you are unable to challenge your own beliefs, if you are uncomfortable to defend them by answering questions, then what you have can’t be called a belief, nor would it be right to call it a value. All you might actually be clinging onto is nothing more a half understood idea.