TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label Memory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memory. Show all posts

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Bereavement and Responsibility


Angel of Death (1881) by Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1919). Sometimes identified with the angel Azrael, the angel of destruction and renewal. Image Source: Wiki.

To my dear readers, my posts have been thin on the ground since March, when my father went into the hospital for heart surgery. He died on 19 June 2019. I wrote about his thoughts on death in the 2013 post, Zero Scrap Value. Two posts inspired by conversations with my father are A Sad Story and The Banality of Evil. A post with reflections on my father's generation of Angry Young Men is The Silent Generation's Separate Peace. In honour of his love of Bach:

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. Performed by the Chimei Symphony Orchestra in Taipei, Taiwan in 2005; conducted by Naoki Tokuoka. Video Source: Youtube.

It has been difficult for me to maintain my regular writing schedule, since I visited my father nearly every day in the intensive care unit for four months. My forthcoming non-fiction collection, Inside the Potemkin Village, will include my reflections on this experience and other essays on how we deal with death and inheritances; these pieces will also build on posts I wrote here, such as The Death Rites of the Toraja.

I am deeply grateful to those who knew what was happening and extended their love and support to me and my family. In the blogosphere, I especially want to thank Dia Sobin of Trans-D Digital Art. In the vlogosphere, I was incredibly touched by a message from Luke Slytalker, who covered the Dark Overlord hack in January 2019. Thank you so much to Luke and his followers for prayers and well wishes. He wrote:
"Larissa is a great researcher and one of the hardest working, most dedicated people I have talked to. She is an example of perseverance, passion, and how to soldier the F up and do what needs to be done, even in the hardest of times. I’ve taken notes. I’m very sorry for your loss. Prepare for silver linings and the universe to open up to you in the most miraculous of ways."

Good vibes and prayers for Larissa (19 June 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

Everyone who works in the alt media can confirm that it can be a lonely experience, akin to staring into a distorted mirror. Blogging and vlogging constitute a new civic responsibility to identify and explain how the world is changing and to maintain creative, critical, and constructive voices inside the technocracy. I am so glad to know Luke and share that responsibility with him.

Members of the alt media are easy targets because we saw the writing on the wall early on, and voluntarily abandoned the established architecture that presides over public opinion. We are now being censored, our work arbitrarily erased by Thoughtcrime bots and programs. We are ridiculed and censured by the mainstream media as sources of disinformation and Fake News. Nonetheless, we labour here so that in the future, no one can say that everyone ignored the signs, and sleepwalked into a global tech-totalitarianism. This is a civic responsibility instilled in me by my father, and my work written in that spirit is dedicated to him.


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Terminalia: Boundaries in Space and Time


Click to enlarge. The Feast Before the Altar of Terminus. (c. 1642) By Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609 - 1664). Print, Italian, 17th century etching. 23 x 18.4 cm (9 1/16 x 7 1/4 in.) B.16. Harvard Art Museums / Fogg Museum, Louise Haskell Daly Fund, S6.97.1 Department of Prints, Division of European and American Art. Image Source: Wiki.

There is a saying in the country that "good fences make good neighbours." The origin of that sentiment comes from the ancient worship of the Roman god, Terminus.

Text Source. From: Samuel Ball Platner, Thomas Ashby, "Terminus, Fanum" in A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (London: Oxford University Press, 1929), p. 512.


Image Source: Particulations.

Click to enlarge. "Terminus is often pictured as a bust on a boundary stone, here the concedo nvlli or concedo nulli means 'yield no ground.'" Design for a Stained Glass Window with Terminus. (31 December 1524) By Hans Holbein the Younger. Pen and ink and brush, grey wash, watercolour, over preliminary chalk drawing, 31.5 × 25 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel. Holbein designed the window for the scholar and theologian Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. Image Source: Wiki.

Today, February 23rd, was once a holiday known as Terminalia, when landowners in the Roman Republic, and later, the Empire would meet at fence lines and renew the boundaries of communities. They would decorate their property lines with flowers and offer food to Terminus. They might also sacrifice a baby animal to him. Accounts of the ritual vary. From Carnaval:
"On this day, landowners would honor the boundaries of their land at the bound[a]ry markers. Garlands were placed over the bound[a]ry stones, and altars were built near them. Offerings of grain and ho[n]ey were given by the children, and the adults would offer wine. Everyone was dressed in white, and were required to keep silent throughout the offerings. A picnic feast was held at the end of the ritual."
From Agile Complexification Inverter:
"The festival of the Terminalia was celebrated in Rome and in the country on the 23rd of February. The neighbors on either side of any boundary gathered around the landmark [the stones which marked boundaries], with their wives, children, and servants; and crowned it, each on his own side, with garlands, and offered cakes and, bloodless sacrifices. In later times, however, a lamb, or sucking pig, was sometimes slain, and the stone sprinkled with the blood. Lastly, the whole neighborhood joined in a general feast."
L'Avenaz Roman boundary marker in La Giettaz - French Alps. Image Source: Savoie Mont Blanc.

Busts of Terminus form a boundary. Image Source: Rome Across Europe.

Hadrian's wall just east of Cawfields quarry, Northumberland, UK in October 2005. Image Source: Velella / Wiki. See also: the Antonine Wall. The Wall in the Song of Ice and Fire books and Game of Thrones TV series by George R. R. Martin is based on these structures.

Public festivals for Terminus marked the limits of Rome, be it the city or the empire. At this point, agrarian life collided with military culture. The offerings were a celebration of division between people:
"The rites of the Terminalia included ceremonial renewal and mutual recognition of the boundary stone, the marker between properties. A garland would be laid on this marker by all parties to the land so divided."
After the offerings, neighbours would sing to the god and hold a feast together. It was a complex set of ideas, honouring being cut off from each other and yet being unified in that experience. The poet Ovid described the solemn atmosphere and the larger Roman military context in his poem, Fasti (On the Roman Calendar; read it here or here), translated in 2004 by A. S. Kline:
"When night has passed, let the god be celebrated
With customary honour, who separates the fields with his sign.
Terminus, whether a stone or a stump buried in the earth,
You have been a god since ancient times.
You are crowned from either side by two landowners,
Who bring two garlands and two cakes in offering.
An altar’s made: here the farmer’s wife herself
Brings coals from the warm hearth on a broken pot.
The old man cuts wood and piles the logs with skill,
And works at setting branches in the solid earth.
Then he nurses the first flames with dry bark,
While a boy stands by and holds the wide basket.
When he’s thrown grain three times into the fire
The little daughter offers the sliced honeycombs.
Others carry wine: part of each is offered to the flames:
The crowd, dressed in white, watch silently.
Terminus, at the boundary, is sprinkled with lamb’s blood,
And doesn’t grumble when a sucking pig is granted him.
Neighbours gather sincerely, and hold a feast,
And sing your praises, sacred Terminus:
'You set bounds to peoples, cities, great kingdoms:
Without you every field would be disputed.
You curry no favour: you aren’t bribed with gold,
Guarding the land entrusted to you in good faith.
If you’d once marked the bounds of Thyrean lands,
Three hundred men would not have died,
Nor Othryades’ name be seen on the pile of weapons.
O how he made his fatherland bleed!
What happened when the new Capitol was built?
The whole throng of gods yielded to Jupiter and made room:
But as the ancients tell, Terminus remained in the shrine
Where he was found, and shares the temple with great Jupiter.
Even now there’s a small hole in the temple roof,
So he can see nothing above him but stars.
Since then, Terminus, you’ve not been free to wander:
Stay there, in the place where you’ve been put,
And yield not an inch to your neighbour’s prayers,
Lest you seem to set men above Jupiter:
And whether they beat you with rakes, or ploughshares,
Call out: "This is your field, and that is his!"'
There’s a track that takes people to the Laurentine fields,
The kingdom once sought by Aeneas, the Trojan leader:
The sixth milestone from the City, there, bears witness
To the sacrifice of a sheep’s entrails to you, Terminus.
The lands of other races have fixed boundaries:
The extent of the City of Rome and the world is one."
There is a sense that in Rome, worship of Terminus's boundaries became more aggressive over time. The boundary line had to be decked with sacrificial blood, whereas in an earlier, gentler period, it was enough to burn grain and honeycombs to appease the stubborn god. Perhaps there is a tiny kernel in the changing mood of Terminalia in the contemporary debate over nationalism and immigration, borders, border zones, and border fences and walls. Perhaps not. Regardless, attitudes to boundaries do vacillate over time, between openness and closure.

The US-Mexico border wall in Tijuana, Mexico. Image Source: NYT.

Hungary's border fence. Image Source: euronews via republic buzz.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

World War III Projections 3: Venezuela, The First Caribbean Domino?



Today, Venezuela's government is being forced to change through a strange internal and external consensus. While the anti-Maduro parts of the Venezuelan population are justifiably happy, there is a larger dimension of these events to consider.

Image Source: Growthlines.

The alt-media conspiracist outlet, Abel Danger, predicted earlier this month that Venezuela would be the first domino to fall in a new American- and British-led initiative, which will decimate Latin America and the Caribbean Basin in a long-term series of large wars. This supposed effort follows the same model as was used to devastate the Middle East over the past several decades. From 8 January 2019, The Terrible Forthcoming Destruction of the Caribbean Basin:
"President Trump has announced the withdrawal of US combat troops from the 'Greater Middle East', but the Pentagon is still pursuing the implementation of the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski plan. This time the aim is to destroy the States of the 'Caribbean Basin'. This is nothing like the overthrow of pro-Soviet regimes, as in the 1970’s, but the destruction of all regional state structures, without consideration for friends or political enemies. ...

In a series of previous articles, we presented the SouthCom plan to provoke wars between the Latin-American nations in order to destroy the structures of all the States in the 'Caribbean Basin'.

Preparations for wars of this magnitude, intended to follow on from the conflicts in the 'Greater Middle East' according to the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski strategy, requires a decade.

After the period of economic destabilisation and that of military preparation, the actual operation should begin in the years to come by an attack on Venezuela by Brazil (supported by [Israel]), Colombia (an ally of the United States) and Guyana (in other words, the United Kingdom). It will be followed by others, beginning with Cuba and Nicaragua (the 'troïka of tyranny' according to John Bolton).

However, the original plan may be modified, particularly because of the return of the imperial ambitions of the United Kingdom which may influence the Pentagon."
The same article was reposted at Information Clearing House. It originally appeared on the Voltaire Network Website and was penned there by Thierry Meyssan. Meyssan is a left-wing French journalist and 9/11 truther who has investigated far-right movements. He has also worked for Russia Today and Odnako (Однако) and is apparently now based in Damascus, Syria. To me, it looks like he's a spy.

10 December 2018: Russia provided two nuclear-capable 'Blackjack' aka 'White Swan' bombers to Maduro's régime. Image Source: Federico Parra / AFP / Getty Images via The Guardian.

Meyssan is convinced that the European Union project will be dropped, or perhaps left to the Germans to sort out. The European powers will return to their old plans of imperial colonization abroad in competition with, and sometimes in cooperation with, the United States. Venezuela is the first domino to fall. On 15 January 2019, he wrote:
"[O]ne of the consequences of the successive ends of the bipolar and unipolar world is the re-establishment of colonial projects. One after the other, the French, Turkish and English have publicly declared the return of their colonial ambitions. We still need to know what form they will adopt in the 21st century."
While from a dubious source, if it is correct, it is terrible news for everybody. This larger context may explain Trump's plan to build a wall along the southern border of the United States. The wall construction may anticipate a widespread southern conflict and block the flow of soldiers and refugees. The Russians have provided nuclear-capable bombers and a Kalashnikov manufacturing plant to the Maduro administration. The latter has led to a spread of guns all over the Caribbean. Freelance journalist Colin Freeman has begun covering this story.

Note also that the 8 January report suggests that the Caribbean and Latin American conflict is believed to have been laid out over the past decade, prior to Donald Trump's election. This would mean that the planning for the conflict occurred under the Obama administration. If this is even partly true, it means that the 2016 American election, Brexit, the debate over the wall in the United States, the fierce political fights between liberals and conservatives, the Democrats' moves to impeach Trump, and the US government shutdown have been a big puppet show. Perhaps the puppet show kept eyes off the actual theatre of operations while pieces were moved into place.

Other small outlets made similar reports in the first half of January. As the Trade Union and Worker News in Africa put it, with yet another article by Meyssan, Goodbye Middle East, Hello Latin America. Whatever the evolution of the Venezuelan régime, nothing can justify what is being prepared against its population.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Martian Moment in 2018


Image Source: Strange Sounds.

It may sound odd, but the event that stands out in my mind as encapsulating the year of 2018 was astronomical. Mars was brightest in the night sky from 27-30 July 2018; it reached opposition with the sun, and then shortly afterwards came closest to Earth on 31 July 2018. Mars had not been so close to the Earth since 2003.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Housing Crash by Any Other Name


The Roscommon house eviction in Ireland is going viral on the Internet. *FOOTAGE* OVER 1000 PEOPLE PROTEST ROSCOMMON EVICTION (17 December 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Several reports and experts are predicting a huge meltdown of stocks, real estate, and bonds by 2019 or 2020. While we wait for global collapse and, as Kim Dotcom said, "buy crypto and gold," the question of how else to prepare for, and deal with, a huge crash becomes one of adjusting perspective.

More scary tweets from Kim Dotcom, who has been predicting an economic crash all year.

It starts with eroding property rights, headlined by a recent incident in Falsk, outside Strokestown, County Roscommon, Ireland on 16 December 2018. When Belgian KBC Bank hired Northern Irish security guards to evict a small family from a foreclosed farmhouse on Tuesday, 11 December, an armed gang of some twenty men assembled by the Sunday after the family had departed. Just after 5 o'clock in the morning, they attacked the bank's eight guards who had taken possession of the house with baseball bats. They burned out the security guards' four cars, injured their attack dog so badly it had to be put down, and left three guards in the hospital. It looks like the owners of the foreclosed house may shortly be reinstalled in their home.

This vigilantism was obviously the product of local and social media buzz building between last Tuesday and last Saturday. The townsfolk felt that the foreclosure was unnecessarily brutal and they also disliked the fact that the eviction was scheduled right before Christmas. It was inhumane. From The Irish Examiner:
"One man said: 'I felt sorry for the family because I knew them for years, I grew up beside them and I suppose like every family they did try their best. They should have been given time and there should be more people out at that gate.'

A woman said: 'It is shocking. You wouldn't throw an animal outside the door, they were treated like animals.' ...
Independent Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice claims up to 40 to 50 people are walking away from their homes because they are afraid of going through the court system. ... 'A lot of people are losing their home or a piece of land. We are dealing with too many cases, we’re trying to deal with the banks and the vulture funds,' he said."
The bank's hiring of Northern Irish mercenaries was the final straw. One Youtuber remarked: "this is a joke we need to have some balls like the French and yellow vest these orange bastards." Another commented:
"Eviction has a particular connotation, in Ireland, since famine times, and before. There is a visceral reaction to the concept, in the gut of every Irish person over a certain age. A horror of eviction is buried deep in our [psyche], and in our cultural memory. KBC bank clearly has no grasp of the cultural sensitivities in the matter, or cares less. I can't comment on the case details, because I don't know enough to do so. But there is always a right, and a wrong way, to approach every issue."

The aftermath of the Roscommon attack on the security guards who were hired by the KBC Bank to repossess a family's house. Anti Irish Bankster terror gang burnt out after stealing pensioner's home (16 December 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Roscommon Eviction Interview (16 December 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Black Friday and the Aesthetics of Fascism


Window-mounted cat beds, Amazon review: "It's been nine months and Tucker still loves this bed ten times more than anything else I've bought him." Image Source: Buzzfeed.

In North America, Thanksgiving weekend is the cornerstone of consumption-based capitalism. Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November, this year on November 22nd, followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have become pre-Christmas discounted shopping bonanzas. Stores are selling everything you could imagine, down to the window-mounted cat bed. This weekend is lucrative enough to tempt merchants in other countries to use the same gimmick to boost their fourth quarter sales.

Kohler Pedestal Sink. These sinks retail at Home Depot in the USA for USD $600-$800. Image Source: Miley Photos.

Essex Metal 24" Console Bathroom Sink with Overflow by Cheviot. Regular priced at Wayfair for CAD $830.25, on sale on Black Friday for CAD $584.99. Image Source: Cheviot.

Waldorf Ceramic 24" Wall Mount Bathroom Sink with Overflow by WS Bath Collections. Regular priced at Wayfair for CAD $1109.99, on sale on Black Friday for CAD $849.99. Image Source: homeclick.

This week, I saw some Black Friday examples which reminded me of an earlier commentary, Fascism at a Hairpin Turn. In a series of posts on this blog, I am considering how 1940s' fascism became a part of modern global culture in ways which are poorly understood. Above, are sinks by Kohler, Cheviot and WS Bath Collections. Kohler Co. was founded in Wisconsin in 1873 by Austrian Americans; it employs a sharp German aesthetic in its high end lavatory designs.

I was struck by the aesthetic similarity between today's sinks and 1940s' institutional sinks. Below, are sinks in an autopsy room and in another room from the French concentration camp near Strasbourg, Natzweiler-Struthof, where human experiments were conducted.


Sinks at Natzweiler-Struthof. Images Source: La Vie est Bonne.

Of course, sinks made outside fascist Europe in the 1940s would also resemble today's designs and their modernist style could be pre-World War II, derived from interwar Bauhaus. When I mentioned this similarity between past and present, my friend, C., said,
"The fascist aesthetic ... merged what ... [the fascists] wanted of [the] modern aesthetic (some aspects of architecture and NO aspect of the fine arts) and aspects of the neoclassic as well as empire styles, both of which were adopted as official styles by Napoleon's ... régime. ... Makes one think that everything that happened[,] including sinks, New York skyscrapers, and concentration camps were all a part of leaving the feudal system."
The Nazis definitely took that white porcelain neoclassical look and made it theirs. Going forward from 1945, there is no way a designer could be ignorant of that aesthetic reference when creating a consumer product in that style. This is why it was startling to see Nazi-esque sinks on sale on this Black Friday at Home Depot. I can't say that the example of the sinks proves anything in terms of demonstrable historical aesthetic lineage because I have not researched that. But it made me ask why and how that aesthetic has been absorbed into mainstream North American culture and values.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Anniversaries: End of the Great War


"A soldier of Company K, 110th Regt. Infantry (formerly 3rd and 10th Inf., Pennsylvania National Guard), just wounded, receiving first-aid treatment from a comrade. Varennes-en-Argonne, France, on September 26, 1918. (U.S. Army/U.S. National Archives)" Image Source: The Atlantic.

The hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I just passed on 11 November 2018. Normally, I watch the coverage of remembrance ceremonies, but this year, I was working on a writing project at a microbrewery, where everyone observed a minute of silence to remember the fallen soldiers, while the town's church bell tolled outside.

As memory fades of the 20th century world wars, I appreciate more and more the need to remember these conflicts, in order to avoid another century of bloodshed and particularly a third world war. The two world wars were both terrible and unprecedented in their own ways. If the Great War brought about the death of innocence, World War II led to the death of humanity, the death of the modern conscience.

My 2014 post on the anniversary of the start of the Great War is here. All my related posts on World War I are here.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: London's Dragons, Druids, and Pumping Stations


Image Source: Bob Speel.

The countdown this week is devoted to arcane secrets which lie in plain sight. We start in the streets of London, where for seven years, the brilliant and acerbic vlogger swilliamism (aka Samuel William) has explored the dark nooks and crannies of the UK's capital. During his lunch breaks from work, he peeks behind the white façades with his digital camera, and reveals unnerving little details.


Occult Symbols in London (23 April 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The Symbolism Of The Dragon (20 May 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Sam describes London's history with low key sarcasm. His videos have titles like: Where's Daddy's Pig?; Proud Taxpayer Day; Theft Appreciation Day; the eye-opening The Strange Mystical Horse and the companion video, The Strange Mystical Dead Horse; The Fresh Face of Fascism; Hello Data Subject; Very Nearly Grenfell; and A Day At The Arms Fair.

This vlogger's paranoia is not entirely joyless, like the time, inspired by fears of Santa Claus, he gave up Christmas to break his social conditioning. His main channel concentrates on the symbolism of London architecture, and he expresses his opinions more explicitly on his back-up channel.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

9/11 Anniversary: A Late Witness


9/11 - The Smoking Gun Interview - Barry Jennings (23 August 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

September 11, 2001 is a date in history that I wish had never happened. The world felt more bleak, empty and harsh after this watershed and it has never recovered. This disaster transformed the global political atmosphere.

I don't subscribe to 9/11 truther conspiracy theories, which now form an enormous subculture on the Internet. For truthers, 9/11 is the final Red Pill you need to swallow to see the world for what it really is. There are thousands of rabbit holes there, but I prefer not to fetishize a tragedy with alt-research to confirm what I already know: this nightmare-made-real made everything worse - and it is an intrinsic part of everything else that made everything worse.

Although these videos are widely shared on truther channels, I am posting this interview today to remember 9/11.

These are the testimonies of Barry Jennings, Deputy Director of Emergency Services Department (New York City Housing Authority). He was interviewed on 11 September 2001 by local ABC news, and years later by government officials. He was then tracked down in June 2007 by Loose Change (2007) documentary filmmakers Jason Bermas and Dylan Avery; the video below provides extended material.

Two Barry Jennings Interviews (WABC-TV, 2001 / LTW, 2007) (23 August 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Barry Jennings died on 19 August 2008, two days before the release of the draft of the Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 (20 November 2008), which does not mention his comments. There is a Website (here) dedicated to Jennings's testimonies and death.

Jennings vividly described the destruction of World Trade Center Building 7, which he entered at 9 a.m. that horrible morning. With the help of New York firefighters, he emerged from the building's rubble, a survivor climbing over dead bodies, some four hours later. The FDNY halted work in the building at 3:30 p.m. Jennings had been rescued four hours before WTC 7 collapsed at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11.

WTC 7 was rebuilt and reopened on 23 May 2006 (architect: David M. Childs). The Twin Towers were replaced by One World Trade Center (architects: David M. Childs and Daniel Libeskind), which was fully completed on 29 May 2015.

Image Source: Eddy Cards.

One World Trade Center aka the Freedom Tower (2015). Image Source: Getty Images/USA Today.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Fascism at a Hairpin Turn


The undercut was an Edwardian haircut which remained popular through the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. It became the iconic male haircut of Nazi fascism. It did not become widely popular again until the 2010s. Today, it is sported in different variations by hipster urbanites on the left and the right, with only some individuals aware of the hairstyle's political message. Image Source: The Bold Italic.

Social control. Censorship. Totalitarianism. They won't arrive in the 20th century varieties we expect. Nouveau Nazis have appeared in dozens of movies, including Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984); V for Vendetta (2005); The Man in the High Castle (2015-present); The Handmaid's Tale (2017-present), and Fahrenheit 451 (2018).

Greater Germanic Reich | Man in the High Castle (5 March 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

An alt-historical adaptation of Philip K. Dick's Man in the High Castle (1962), produced by Ridley Scott, considers what America would be like if the Axis Powers won World War II. The new adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (1985) depicts fascists as rigid, hypocritical, psycho-Christians, who impose a violent, patriarchal and puritanical monoculture, viciously suppress women's rights, and divide American society into uniformed, hierarchical, militaristic-gender castes.

The Handmaid’s Tale Trailer (Official) (26 April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Elisabeth Moss Describes A 'Fictional' Totalitarian, Right-Wing Regime (21 April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Because of these cultural representations, we expect totalitarianism to dress itself in brownshirts and jack boots. The subtext in liberal adaptations is that Donald Trump's America is an alt-right neo-Nazi régime.

Neo-Nazis have certainly reemerged during Trump's administration more boldly than they have in the previous sixty years. Yet fascism is also exploding into the mainstream from other political quarters. It must be combated at all costs, but to do that, you have to understand what fascism is and how it works. That requires recognizing the menace you can't see coming, as much as the threat you're sure you know.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Tweet of the Day: Hong Kong Then and Now



If you can't see the above gif of Hong Kong in 1964 and 2016, go here. One of my favourite movies of all time is Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love (花样年华 [Golden Years]; 2000), a beautiful and haunting romantic tribute to Hong Kong in 1962, which you can see here, while the link lasts.

How China is Destroying Hong Kong's Freedom - Real China Interviews (28 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Redefinitions of Currency 3: Kim Dotcom's Scary Tweets



Kim Dotcom (aka Kim Schmitz), the Finnish-German-Kiwi Internet pirate, has decided that the USA is going to go the way of Venezuela. Dotcom is piloting a new crypto-powered ecosystem, K.im, and his own branded KimCoin, to reward content creators. This month, the Megaupload and Mega founder, Assange ally, Deep State foe, and founder of the Internet Party has also been writing scary tweets about the future of the US and global economy.

Dotcom has an axe to grind, because his companies' copyright violations led in July 2018 to a New Zealand court ruling that he could face extradition to the United States for racketeering, money laundering, fraud, and criminal copyright charges. While this gives him a motive to trash talk the US, and he is fundraising for a new project to cover his legal bills, Dotcom really believes that America's economy is about to go bust.

He has thought so for awhile. Originally, the hacker was based on the top floor of the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong. But Dotcom moved to New Zealand because he felt it was the best place to start and raise a family during and after World War III. As he put it:
"You wouldn't want to be stuck in a penthouse at the top of a hotel tower when it's end days. ... That's why I was looking for a place. And I thought that if I had somewhere in the South Island, shielded by mountain ranges on both sides, I would install a really sophisticated solar power plant. I was thinking if I had something like that, you could survive. New Zealand strategically is the safest spot in the world. It has everything that is required to sit it out and start again."
Dotcom is not alone. The very rich are talking about the end of the world and building bunkers in preparation. They see the future just like the backwoods and doomsday cult preppers, except billionaires build nicer bunkers.





Monday, June 25, 2018

Time and Politics 27: The Outsider's Future Return


ZIMBABWE RALLY EXPLOSION, WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? (24 June 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Earlier today, in the run-up to national elections, the Zimbabwean president survived an assassination attempt. I have a new post up at my other blog, The Dragonfly, about how I wrote letters to defend his political opponents when I was a teenager.
The post also concerns state, corporate, or social oppression of citizens perceived to be dangerous, criminal, or agents of unwanted change. Through isolation, silencing, discrimination and erasure, these individuals are forced for a time to watch the world from an externalized perspective. For the ones that survive, I maintain that this changes their outlook and larger motivations forever.

This is relevant when considering the plight of Julian Assange; shadowbans and censorship on social media; tech giants' obviously discriminatory and politicized campaigns against 'fake news'; and the silencing of journalists and commentators who are deemed unfriendly to any main line. One could also point to political refugees and immigrants, cut off from their parent societies, and entering the limbo of detention camps and subsidized homes as they attempt to start new lives in foreign countries.

In this post, I consider that past alienation - whether endured by individuals on the political left or the right - may shape so-called unpeople or outsiders into future leaders. In other words, those whom we oppress, isolate, and silence today may, through that experience, define our reality tomorrow.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Elections and the Erased Citizen


41-year-old Iván Duque, Colombia's new president from the center-right Democratic Center party. Photo dates from 11 March 2018. Image Source: Voa News.

The Colombians have just chosen a conservative candidate in national elections. Newsweek:
"With 84 percent of the vote in, Iván Duque of the center-right Democratic Center party won Colombia’s second presidential run-off Sunday in a post-war electoral process after more than 50 years of internal conflict, defeating left-leaning candidate Gustavo Petro of the Colombia Humana coalition. This is also the first time the South American country chose a female vice president."
Today, at my other blog, The Dragonfly, I reflect on the fate of activists and journalists who disappeared in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s. More than 51,000 people in Colombia are registered as disappeared or missing, in a story of erased citizens that continues to this day.

Colombia's Duque Says Limits on Trade Would Hurt Emerging Economies (23 March 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Colombia election: Ivan Duque may jeopardise FARC deal | Al Jazeera English (16 June 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Unspoil Your Spyware


Samsung self-hypnosis screenshot (Hat tip: Vigilant Citizen).

Last year, WikiLeaks' Vault 7 release included information on how the CIA hacked Samsung's smart televisions. The hacking tool, Weeping Angel,  turned the F8000 TV into a hot microphone, which recorded audio in the room even when owners thought their TV was off.

Samsung self-hypnosis screenshot (Hat tip: Vigilant Citizen).

Later in 2017, the South Korean corporation endured negative publicity as its heir, Lee Jae-Yong, went to prison. In 2016, Forbes considered Lee to be the 40th most powerful person in the world, indicating that this conviction was impressive. The 49-year-old only served one year of his five-year sentence. He was treated as a bystander in his country's huge political corruption scandal.

But Samsung takes a 'What, Me Worry?' attitude to all this. A corrupt Vice-Chairman; TVs as spyware; what's the problem? Why not respond to the negative publicity with a new brainwash feature?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

When Death Confronts You


The mummified corpse of one of Sir John Franklin's men from the ill-fated 1845 Arctic expedition. Image Source: pinterest.

There is a new post up on my other blog, The Dragonfly (here), which describes my work on the 1845 Franklin expedition. Ridley Scott has produced a new television series on the same subject, which plays on the explorers' horror as they confronted death in an endless, barren wilderness. The show premieres on 26 March 2018.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tweet of the Day: Recession Anniversary


Celebrities on Steamships


"The gem of the Cunard line, the Queen Mary, is seen berthed in New York in 1938, two years after its maiden voyage."

The BBC has reported that photographer Ian Wright discovered professional photographers' images of celebrities traveling on the Cunard Line ships in the early 20th century. The archival trove, held at the George Grantham Bain Collection Library of Congress and Cunard Archives. Wright combed through over a quarter of a million photographs to put together a book. His research reveals the celebrities of the 1910s through the 1930s as they traveled the globe in opulent and glamorous surroundings of these finely-appointed ships. Cunard photographers developed the photos in on-board darkrooms.

The photos are © the Bain Collection and are reproduced here under Fair Use, with quoted captions cited from the BBC report. 39,744 glass negatives from the whole collection are available online. Library of Congress news photos from the 1910s are posted online here. There are more Cunard pictures here.

The famous author before his death in 1910: "Count Tolstoy stands on board the RMS Lusitania. The ocean liner was later famously torpedoed by a German U-Boat at the beginning of World War One."

Actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, on their honeymoon on the Aquitania in 1920.

Jean Acker, actress and wife of actor Rudolph Valentino in the early 1920s on the Aquitania.

"As she arrives in America from France on 18 April 1925, actor Gloria Swanson smiles at photographers. However, she had been gravely ill in Paris during the preceding months, following an abortion that had gone badly."

Marlene Dietrich, German star noted for the famous film, The Blue Angel (1930), photographed by Bill Probst.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love in the New Millennium 12: The Song of Songs


ANCIENT EGYPTIAN LOVE SONG (19 November 2012). Video Source: Youtube.

For Valentine's Day, hear Canadian musician Peter Pringle perform an Ancient Egyptian love song. Pringle specializes in building and playing recreations of historical instruments. He sings in old languages and tries to reimagine the music of our ancestors as closely as possible. He explains how he constructed this Ancient Egyptian harp, here. My earlier post on Pringle is here.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Of Hauntings and Homelessness



A few years ago, when I was living in England, I walked through a back parking lot behind a grocery store on my way home. There were two vagrants there, sharing a bottle of wine, and I heard them talking:
"I never expected this."
"Expected what?"
"To be brought low."

Image Source: RT.

They are in growing company: in November, 2017, The Guardian reported that one person is homeless out of every 200 people in the UK. In London, one person in every 59 people is homeless! The epidemic is masked by unreported situations, people who are sofa-surfing, people living in their cars. The rot is spreading to London's leafy suburbs. Numbers are similar for the UK's other big cities. In Scotland, one household goes homeless every 19 minutes; over 6,000 children will be homeless on Christmas Day this year; and 184,000 families are one paycheque away from losing their home. This is mainly due to high rents, soaring property taxes, and housing benefit cuts.