Category Archives: media culture

Colbertgasm Update

For those of you that haven’t heard, COLBERTGASM was an amazing success. I’ve also been a lazy ass about spreading word of the Discordian Society’s immense and total spagtacular victory. Recently, I became motivated to give the project wiki an overhaul – check it out:


I’ve included many video clips of Colbert’s Discordian references – if you know of any more, let me know!

Let ColbertGASM stand as a flag that you can do crazy cool stuff by organizing people over the web. The OMGASM is a great way to organize people and find help for zany projects. Are you missing an artist, web designer, editor, idea machine, whatever for your mission? Want to create a mission for other Discordians to go on? Use OMGASM to amass an army of net Discordians waiting to do your bidding. If it’s fun, they’ll actually do it. And with an army of spags, you can do a lot of unbelievable stuff. Proof is in the link above.

Don’t just read about fun — GO HAVE IT — RIGHT NOW!


Why Discordia is more relevant in 2008 – Discussion

Ripped this discussion, built on Cram’s earlier post and musings, from the forum.  Enjoy.

LMNO:  Because so far, nothing else seems to be working.  Because Discordia is about models, not absolutes.

Baron von Hoopla:  Bingo.

Cramulus: [to LMNO] that’s a great angle.  Could you expand on that a bit?

GA:  I don’t know about more relevant, because I wasn’t around 50 years ago.  It seems to me that the Cold War was in pretty dire need of some lightheartedness, even more than our current War on Terror.

It just seems relevant to me because I personally had (have?) a problem with taking things far to seriously.  And because many of the people around me have concepts like ‘mandatory’ and ‘forbidden’ and apply them to things that are really optional.

I makes me sad when people tell me that things like religion are to important to joke about, or old propaganda posters too offensive.  It bothers me when I get suspended from school or hauled before Loss Prevention for reasons like “I know that this is just a misunderstanding, but we must follow procedure.”  It hurts when I look around my infosphere and see nothing but advertisements, especially when those ads are meant to make people feel bad about themselves.

The world is ruled by an endless morass of strictures and convention, and no one wants to take responsibility for them.  People are perfectly content to let the train follow its own momentum down the tracks, even though they don’t like where it is or where it is going, because this is Policy, it’s what Everyone (the everyone in “everyone knows that…”) has Decided.  Rules and traditions might be annoying, but it’s Not In Our Power to do anything about them.

LMNO:  In today’s so-called “Information Age”, most of us are constantly bombarded with stuff.  Perhaps not with ideas, so much as pure input.  While for the most part this input is pretty much bias-neutral, an increasing amount of it is being supplied by people who have an angle.  What’s more, to get through to the growing population of Jaded Couch-Dwelling Fuckheads, there has been a new approach of making the stuff more-or-less self referential, as in, “we know you know we’re trying to manipulate you.  See how cool that makes us?”

So, what do you do when you are flooded by 50,000 points of view?  The old way was to have Rules and Tradition and Procedure and Black and White. To take that stuff and cram it into a narrow worldview, distorting what little information you actually notice.  Which only serves to hold you back, slow you down, and shut you up.

Our way, the Discordian way, is to make Temporary Models, make new Game Rules, to grab hold of the stuff and ride it out, making connections as you see them.  You do your best not to have your views manipulated by stuff, and you do your best not to manipulate stuff to fit your views.  Which serves to keep you on the Edge of What’s Going On.

At least, that’s the general idea.

Continue reading Why Discordia is more relevant in 2008 – Discussion

Dogwhistles working correctly? Check.

Some interesting news here. An American has been charged with plotting to kill Obama because he is the AntiChrist.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An Indian Trail accountant is in jail, charged with threatening to kill senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

According to court documents, Jerry Blanchard called Sen. Obama the anti-Christ and said, “If he gets elected, we have a problem.”

Then according to the federal affidavit, Blanchard, a father of two teenage daughters, spells out his plan — all while sitting in the Pineville-Matthews Road Waffle House.

Secret Service agents say Blanchard told two others eating at the restaurant on July 15 he planned to buy a handgun from Hyatt’s Gunshop on Wilkinson Boulevard. He also planned to buy a rifle and a laser scope, saying “I’m worth $50 million. Obama and his wife are never going to make it to the White House. He needs to be taken out… that man will never know what hit him… I just may do that, I’ve got the money and the clout.”

Now, I wonder where he could have got the idea that Obama is the AntiChrist from?

Trolls on the internet, oh my!

I suppose I better mention it, since people will be wondering why I didn’t if I don’t.

Yes, I have read the New York Times article on internet trolling. And firstly, is it just me, or is really fucking embarassing when you have someone writing an article when:

a) they really don’t have a clue what they are talking about, and
b) the topic is removed entirely from its natural environment and dissected in the sterile lab of the mainstream media?

Its not just me, I hope.

So anyway, yes, I was alerted to this article by a compatriot troll, Ten Ton Mantis. And now I have finally read through it. The above quibbles above, I’d just like to make some minor points:

  • Trolls existed before /b/. The first paragraph implies otherwise.
  • /b/ is not the be all and end all of trolling. In fact, in the last couple of years, it has been downright embarassing.
  • At least you mentioned Usenet. Thank fucking god. However, the naive-noob tactic was just one of many used back in the day, and really only an entry level tactic. alt.syntax.tactical, for example, favour the longer term, infiltration and sockpuppet approach.
  • Lulz is not how trolls “keep score”. Its an abstract concept, and a massively overused word, when considered against actual instances of lulz. It can be excuse, justification or result, as well.
  • The troll got it dead on. Article over, amirite?
  • Um…Anonymous and the trolls were one and the same, at least originally. I understand there was a something of a split between the /i/nsurgents and moralfags, but lets be honest, for the most part, its the same people who took part in both.
  • The fact that anonymous communications allow for people to be more sociopathic is not new nor interesting. Learn2sociology, plz.
  • Jason Fortuny is a fun guy, but he doesn’t speak for me.
  • You probably got suckered by one troll or another in the course of your research. Live with it son.
  • Not all trolls are emotional fuckups. Some of the most extreme ones probably are, but I wouldn’t generalize, or imply in the way you did.
  • Sometimes trolls are social hackers, its true. And literal ones as well. Anyway, the point is, sometimes they illustrate things people tend to overlook, either in their social interactions online, how they present themselves, the amount of information they give out. Something like that. Better to get burned for it by a jerk with an inappropriate sense of humour than by the next Ted Bundy. Its not always a perfect justification, and sometimes a line should be drawn, yes, but thats a very grey area and another debate.
  • Don’t take it all so seriously is pretty much the message I try to relate as well. Sometimes the internet is useful for important stuff, but 99% of it is going to leave a very poor and shallow cultural legacy. I like to think I am doing my bit for people who think “OMFG MY MOM WONT BUY ME A FURSUIT FOR MY BIRTHDAY” or having their “artwork” criticized is a crime against humanity. Twits with no perspective and big mouths are far too numerous.
  • Weev was trolling you dude. He does have a point though, about certain bloggers. Those few suckup artists who the media like to go crawling to in order to pretend that they are keeping up with the new internet culture and soliciting feedback from voices that would normally be excluded. Like Iain Dale for example. Real fucking excluded, isn’t he? Lets try a single mother blogger who is working while trying to raise her three kids. Oh, thats right, people like that don’t have time to blog. And even when some people in some part of the world where dangerous and interesting things are happening (such as Iraq) people would rather get their views from the likes of Charles fucking Johnson than someone who actually lives there. Because, God forbid, they may contradict the media narrative.
  • I like this Kate chick. She has style. Kate, if you’re reading…well, you know how to get in touch, I’m sure.
  • Hatred? I wouldn’t go that far…of course, I would expect a MSM hack from somewhere like the NYT to give that line. But I wouldn’t try to look too deeply into a troll’s motivation. Mine, for example, the above aside, comes from my trickster and showy personality. I like to be the centre of the attention, and yet at the same time, display certain ambiguity. There are also certain people I like to upset, and if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you can probably guess what type they are.
  • I would say trolls are the internet. The interesting parts at least. Just as pirates where the ones who innovated much of our modern world, economy and culture (where would commercial radio be without pirate stations? What about the US government, who stole patented technologies throughout the 18th century?) trolls push the boundaries and in doing so create new online realities. The internet may not be so much the Wild West as a number of armed enclaves among a sea of anarchy. Sure, if you stick to places like Myspace or Facebook or your politically chosen network of blogs you’ll be mostly safe…aside from the occasional raider. But in other areas, the only things that exist, from your identity upwards, are those you choose to invent. That anarchy, while terrifying to some, is also a lab for inventing, tampering with and altering all number of social events and processes.
  • Those state legislators are idiots. You can’t police the net, at least not in the way you hope to. Hell, people cant even stop copyright infringement, and “Spartacus actions” among legally threatened bloggers are frequent. Try it with people who know how to conceal their identity and enjoy games where the roles and characters are not as substansial as they may appear, and you’re entering a policing nightmare.
  • Precisely. The law is not your hug-box. I am not responsible for your hurt feelings. I’m sure you could do something more productive with money spent on trying to police jerks on the net, such as nearly catching Bin Laden and then letting him go in order to justify the invasion of Iraq Iran.
  • Fortuny is right. OpenID and similar schemes for multiple site IDs are doomed to failure because so long as you can get more than one account, you are back where you started. So you either charge for everything, and create a gated community (urgh), or you don’t take everything so seriously. Pretty simple, really.
  • Fortuny’s morals are not everyones. Again, there are different motivations.
  • What a delightfully hopeful note to end your article on. It still doesnt change the 99% of the net which is different, however.

I think that is all I really have to say. I probably shouldn’t have had a couple of beers while writing this either, but oh well, too late to worry about that now.

Civility vs Decency

This is a spin-off from my post yesterday about Quentin Fucking Letts, but its something I’ve been considering for a while, and wanted to talk about more, as a general trend within current political discourse, especially among the “opinion-formers” in the media.

Its hardly a novel or surprising insight, I’ll be the first to admit. I know that its a particular aggravation of the brilliant American blogger HTML Mencken, of Sadly, No! fame and the more I see it within our own papers and political discussions, the more it pisses me off.

Some people, it seems, are far more in favour of civility in a discussion than actual decency. As anyone who reads me fairly often knows, I am hardly the poster-child for civil discussion. I rant, I swear, I mock and I troll. “All your carefully picked arguments can be easily ignored” and all that. But I think, underneath it, I am a fairly decent person. Not in the ‘decent left‘ sense, hell no, those people are the poster children for Civility over Decency (especially as Alan ‘Not the Minister’ Johnson’s lack of concern for human rights shows), but in the basic sense that no matter how nasty or cutting or rude I am, I’m only violent in my presentation of language.

In short, I’m not the sort of person who calls for pre-emptive attacks on enemy countries. I do not condone torture. I despise ‘extraordinary rendition’, hate racial profiling, cannot stand people who barely disguise their bigotry and blood-lust under the guise of cheerleading the “war on terrorism” and the war in Iraq especially. I don’t think we should be throwing out everyone whose skin colour is a little too dark, nor cutting benefits for those most at risk in society. I don’t think we should deny gays, atheists, Muslims, transsexuals or anyone else rights that the majority enjoys.

That’s decency. Having some motherfucking respect for the people around you, not demonizing people who have never hurt you, not acting like a jerk simply because “I’ve got mine, and fuck everyone else”. Or cowering in a corner going “oh no, the scary people different to me are here, we must deal with this immediately!”

Because, lets face it, when you dig behind the supposedly ‘respectable’ and civil writing of papers like The Sun, or the Daily Mail, or especially The Express, that is all that is left. Its dressing up ugly and vile opinions in nice sounding tones. A perfect example is that insufferable cunt Peter Hitchens, who just recently denied that homophobia has any real meaning. Well I’m sure gay people all over the world who are being killed, denied rights, attacked and smeared for their sexual leanings will be SO glad to hear that.

But you see, he said it in a nice way, with clean respectable words and no swearing, so he’s perfectly alright!

Whereas on the other hand, all those nasty people over at the Guardian who were saying rude things about Thatcher are evil and nasty leftists. Never mind that none of them are contributing to a set of beliefs designed to deny Thatcher any of her basic human rights. Never mind that Thatcher put in place policies that did ruin many peoples lives, to benefit a few. Oh no, the problem is all those horrible and sweary Guardian types, who refuse to shed a tear at the idea of Our Great Leader passing away.

Well fuck that, and fuck anyone who thinks in that way. Oh boo-fucking-hoo, the nasty little leftists won’t be all nice and civil when discussing your sacred cows? Civility is “manners masquerading as morals”, to quote Sidney Blumenthal. Its about an unspoken social code that relates in absolutely no way to the actual ethical ideas. Its a way of controlling the forms of argument, of dismissing people without actually having to refute what they say.

Noting the letters that Lett’s reprinted at the Mail, the common theme among them seems to be that Thatcher’s leadership did not enrichen or improve their lives, so why the fuck should they have to kowtow to her and her legions of brainless followers and admirers among the press corps? Letts doesn’t answer that, because he can’t. The idea of treating such a woman as a great leader worthy of such honour is disgusting, and the level of invective it deserves is well beyond that expressed in the Guardian. Presumably Letts would have us all drink tea with our little finger’s sticking out while discussing the pro’s and con’s of torture and genocide as well.

The fact is that you simply can’t fight some people and the ideas they espouse by being civil. You have to let people know that they’re vile, hateful scumbags with no sense of standards or simple human decency. You have to stand up to them and (rhetorically) kick them in the balls. Repeatedly, in some cases. This whole “oh I respectfully disagree with your views on kicking out all the ‘Muslim terrorist scum infesting this country with foreign diseases‘” bollocks has to stop.

And yes, I am an angry leftist. If you call yourselves a decent fucking human being and you look around at the state of current affairs: a supposedly left-wing government tearing down civil rights and engaging in pointless foreign wars while the gap between rich and poor rises, and a bunch of cretinous reporters in the tabloid media who are willing to give them hell over the only few things they have done right, then you’d be fucking angry too.

And if you don’t like it, Letts, you can blow me.

Framing and the stigmergic learning potential of propaganda groups

Stimergic learning is covered here.

The structure of secular conservative “framing” of events is discussed here.

Note the most interesting thing, that actually being an amorphous mass with seperated command structures but all communicating is actually an effective strategy. Its essentially an open-source platform, applied to political and information operations.

In both cases, each rely on various groups innovating and trying varying methods of attack, the communicating their effectiveness back to other groups who share their aims. The techniques are refined, then packaged for mass release. Then the process is repeated. It is constant refinement based on the ability for fast feedback AND, a mass of people willing to try various strategies.

Its essentially a Black Swan approach to events. By allowing groups to experiment, the whole movement can take advantage of successful methods, whereas failures will only impact on those directly involved in them. Its very smart, really.

Teh great Atheist Conspiracy…

I know I really should leave such things to Anton Vowl, as he is so much better at them. But I was trolling around the Daily Mail messageboard on a slow Friday afternoon when I saw the topic title….

are atheists infiltrating organizations such as education, government etc?

and I just knew it was going to be a clusterfuck of epic tinfoil hattery and right-wing paranoia. I was not disappointed.

In the thread about the dreaded Heinz Mayo “gay” ad, one respondent stated that atheists are infiltrating organisations that influence government, educational policy, etc.

Can atheists really do that? After all, they are not an organised as such. Is the real truth merely that more people are rejecting religion and becoming de-facto atheists, such that the proportion of atheists in all sorts of organisations is increasing because of that, i.e. it’s mere statistics?

Is it really a conspiracy?

A sensible start….surely this cannot last. Atheism debates are like those on abortion…pure flamebait.

YES Mikey my man, oh yes!! Read Peter Hitchins, an ex-communist..

The communist party used to say…go out and submerse Into the establishment, government, schools, authorities…I’m not quoting but find out Mikey. Look at government… the number of ex-communist party members and ex-marxist types…


Just look at the members in the NUT to find out how far these people have infiltrated education and the ‘elf and safety brigade in local councils are teeming with them. Even the higher ranks of the police have them in abundance.

Reminder: if lots of educated people agree, its not because of superb reasoning skills and access to more factual information, its because they are being manipulated by a conspiracy.

I haven’t read anything this funny in a long time! “These people” indeed. Atheists were around long before anyone caught religion, and do you know what? We’re not communists, marxists or fascists, we’re just people who lead ordinary decent lives without believing in any gods – and you sound so horrified, as if we’re trying to undermine society!

Atheist disinformation agents have even infiltrated the Daily Mail!

i think you are right. you only have to look at Great Britain with high teenage pregnancies, broken homes, political correctness and not being allowed to make judgements about peoples’ lifestyles. There are people being shot dead for being in the wrong place.

I think having christian values did keep people on the right track.

Goddamn those fucking Atheists and their lack of morals making it unacceptable for me to persecute teh gheys. I see no unintentional irony in my previous statement whatsoever, either.

The people that have infiltrated our society have no religious preferences. They probably call themselves atheists but their religion is Marxism. They don’t worship a deity, just an idea that is a proven failure. I suppose that’s the difference: nobody has ever proven that God does not exist whereas Marxism has been tried and has failed miserably.

But that won’t stop those who are hungry for power over the proletariat. Antyjax is obviously familiar with the type, and there are thousands of them, in education, local government and the criminal justice system. It isn’t an organised conspiracy, but each of them are following the teachings of Gramsci and the Frankfurt School.

I’m sure that sounded really smart in his head.

Atheists tend to have the evangelical zeal of all religious zealots. They are so arrogant in their personal beliefs and self esteem, that they will not brook alternative belief systems!

All the PC claptrap, about renaming Christmas and the like, are all down to Atheists in Local Government.

What makes their actions all the more disgusting are their attempts at blaming Muslims, or Hindus, etc.. These unfortunates find themselves beset by Press Commentators, blaming them for something for which they have no knowledge, or inclination! To the contrary. They mostly enjoy the family aspects of our CHRISTIAN celebrations!

(The Muslims also hold Christ in high esteem and see no reason why they should not celebrate Christmas alongside Christians!……… Go to Saudi Arabia and you will find that out in short order!)

Yeah, goddamn Atheists and their Winterval! Religious nutters of the world, UNITE and let us be rid of this menace.

The point of the Bible, and Christianity is to promote harmony and a moral life. The 10 Commandments are good rules for morality, and which every decent human being will follow naturally. As our community has gone away from the church and the fear of what comes next (heaven, hell?), we are heading for barbarism. This is already clear by what is happening in every inner-city and now suburban streets with young men and woman being killed in cold blood for little or no reason. All religions have their own version of the 10 Commandments which again are moral pointers for the followers.

To go to the original question, Jax has answered it pretty well in my opinion. So yes I do really believe that atheists have infiltrated government at every level, hence it will reach the education system. Private church schools, I suspect, are an exception.

Britain was harmonious back when peasants believed the King ruled by the divine grace of God, and I approve of this system. Speaking as an agnostic.

I am more alarmed that teachers are using their jobs to poison the minds of our young children with their left wing convictions. It isn’t as if the teaching profession can be proud of their acheivements as so many children leave school without the ability to read or write properly. Universities are having to train youngsters the basics before they can persue the courses at Uni.

As for the police they have alienated the majority of the law abiding population with their policy of appeasing criminals and taking ot out on the rest of us.

Because ignorance and irrational brutality are hallmarks of all Atheist thought.

I cannot see God but I can have faith In God’s existence. Science may someday come to a proof of the truth or falsehood of a creator, but It Is In no position today to do either. If you say..”I see no evidence that there Is a God” fair enough. But go as far as saying..”I know there Is no God” and you have taken a leap of faith as large as that of any theist.

Although theists are better, because they are right. Or something.

I’m a Christian and I believe In God. It’s really quite easy, I believe there Is one God. He actually Loves you, and you try to mock and sneer, and yet he still Loves you. But I don’t actually have to explain my BELIEF to you, rather you have to explain your ASSERTION that there Is no God?? And you have to do a lot better than “I know there are no God’s because there Is no evidence.” You have a BELIEF that there Is no God, and that Is fine. But you don’t KNOW. So for all your assertions, you’re not being very assertive are you?

Because asserting an unknowable without evidence is an excellent system of logical thinking.

I believe the heading of this post is misleading and would be less so if it read “are the extreme left infiltrating organisations such as education ,government,etc.
the answer is yes they are and always have done just because tony blair denied them the right to stand as labour candidates doesn’t mean they have gone away or changed their beliefs they are still out there burrowing away into all aspects of our lives,and i don’t believe it will be long before they rear their heads again and feel safe to come out into the open again.

They are in all probability atheists,but that is not the b all and end all of their beliefs but may be the basis for them.
The question is ,are they a danger to our society must be an undoubtable yes,but is far more outreaching than just are they atheist !
Many atheists are content in their non belief,and content to let the rest of us believe what ever we want.

The extreme left are not .

Atheists are a front for the Communists! COMMUNISTS!!12!

I find it unbelieveably funny how non believers get so upset about something they don’t believe in

ok, you don’t believe in God. thats your choice. but why do you get so angry and upset with those of us who do believe in God? I find that it is especially the Christian faith which gets such anger etc directed towards it

I do not for one second believe in the hindu religion. However I don’t get all worked up and angry about it. Let them believe what they do.

atheisem is a belief aswell btw

Well, last time I checked, it wasn’t Hindus who had a majority in this country. But of course that couldn’t be the reason, could it?

On numerous occasions, I have had an atheist say to me something along the lines of

“we don’t know what caused the universe”

yet they will boldly claim that there is no evidence of God. If God caused / created the universe then it stands to reason that the universe (in fact all of creation) is evidence of God. Are you able to prove that God did not cause / create the universe?

Incidentally, to answer your question about why I believe in God, there are two reasons.

1. I believe what is said in the Bible about Him. The central theme is that before God, all have sinned and the punishment for that sin is death. God loved the world so much that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross so that people can be forgiven of their sins. Only in Christianity can I find this redemptive message where salvation is based on what Jesus Christ has done, not on some works-based method present in all other religions.

2. Since becoming a Christian, I have the testimony in my life as to answered prayer, or how God helped me through a difficult situation. The personal evidence for my faith is therefore my testimony. Now others can choose what alternative explanation they give to what I attribute to God at work, but description of something doesn’t alter what it is. It only affects one’s perception of it.

Logic is really wasted on some people.

Hearts and Minds

Welcome to the modern day war zone.  Right now, as I speak, a thousand battles are being waged for your submission and allegiance.  Commanders and politicians have decided that the enemy is us and that we are to be bought to heel, as soon as possible.

No doubt some of you think I’m using hyperbole, or metaphor to illustrate an example of our socially fractured society and the commodification of identity.  And while those certainly are problems, anyone thinking about those in relation to my rant today are wrong.  Right now, you and I are quite literally at war with at least one government, namely that of the USA.

Oh to be sure there won’t be running battles with light infantry.  No air-strikes are going to be called in on your house, and I’m reasonably certain you wont get carted away to Guantanomo Bay, or any other black site that exists.  But just because guns aren’t being loaded and blood isn’t been spilt doesn’t mean this isn’t a conflict.

You see, war isn’t about the clash of armies on the battlefield anymore.  Hell, its barely even about killing, except as an advertising hook or a final solution for people who refuse to stop being a pain in the ass.  No, warfare has moved through the gentlemanly period of pitched battles and low casualties, blown apart by Napoleon and perfected in the slaughterhouse of WWI.  Its not even the dirty political warfare that characterized the Cold War, marked by futile superpower conflict and strategies designed to bleed a superpower by third world proxies, and on the other end of the scale by terrorism.

No, warfare today is about fighting on the psychological and narrative level.  Its about capturing the mind, and shackling it to the agenda of the day, regardless of what that agenda may be.

Continue reading Hearts and Minds

The Strange Times

This morning I looked out my window and I saw a unsettling and surreal painting sprawling out to the edge of the sunrise.

Jedi and zombies, vampires and ninjas, cat suits and kings, robots and chameleons, prophets and the profane, and everybody’s together, eyes match forward, getting on the train.

We call it the Strange Times. This is the state of modern living.

We live in a world weirder than any realm any explorer could ever hope to map. This is a world where your nervous system, tangled with fractals creeping like vines, extends its tendrils into the modern jungle.

Rule 34: if it exists, there is pornography involving it. There are lollypops with bugs in them. People get surgery to look exactly like Barbie Dolls. There are humans that have become lizards and tigers. The guys in suits have all become cyborgs. Children don’t just play Cowboys and Indians anymore, now they play Self Aware Artificial Intelligence versus the Benevolent Plutocracy.

It’s the strange times and every human being, even the boring ones, are unspeakably, unknowably weird.

Everybody used to be into the same stuff, you know? Everybody was at cocktail hour, everybody was into the Beatles, everybody was bathing together in the mainstream. But something happened as the stream got quicker, it forked out into a million little tributaries. The mainstream isn’t a river anymore, it’s an acqueduct and a sewer all at the same time. It’s underneath us, always moving, carrying along all these images and symbols and the familliar sound of the ocean. Ideas bump into each other, and sometimes they STICK, and that’s how we get things like a music gadget you can masturbate with, or Japanese game shows dubbed with slapstick comedy banter. It’s not because these ideas are good ideas in of themselves, it’s because the mainstream keeps juxtaposing these bits of shrapnel in new ways. It’s all being churned up, and the whirlpool keeps getting faster.

Nothing has prepared us for the Strange Times.

If you think you can study history and make some educated guess at what’s going to happen next, you’re dead wrong. Yeah humans are still humans – those poor shit flinging monkeys, trapped inside their nervous systems. When you zoom out, they’re not individual drops of water, they’re the swell and pulse of a wild ocean. That hasn’t changed in six thousand years. But these times are different. There is wholesome sex in bathrooms and righteous violence in the highschools. Kingdoms make war upon each other not by sacking cities, but by cutting deep sea internet cables. Super-memes collide and bounce off each other like sumo wrestlers, every single cell in their bloated bodies contains a lonely and confused human being. Our language is not evolving quick enough to keep pace. Words like “Good”, “Evil”, “Know”, “Learn”, and “To Be” are woefully inadequate to describe the modern world. These are the dangers of modern living.

We spent thousands of years living in caves, working the fire and the rock. Then we caught the City virus, and the city spirit used us to build hundreds of temples. We spent generations in the sun, tilling the fields for the Nobles. Then we fled into darkness of the factories, the air choked with the din of industry. In hindsight, it seemed to happen in a predictable way. Build, destroy. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Sunrise, sunset. Now we’re in a world that doesn’t sleep. If it’s light here, it’s dark somewhere else, like a snake biting its tail. People on the other side of the world are your neighbors, but there is an interminable distance between you and the guy next door (who you’ve never actually met). You see them every day, but the people on the train will remain strangers, and stranger still.

Odd juxtapositions are the sign of the Strange Times. Comedians are doing impressions of the King. The Catholic Pope looks just like Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars. We sit in the dark around a flickering campfire and listen to the news man tell us stories about the Dangers of Modern Living. The news man knows that when you juxtapose an image with the story, it creates a new meaning which is somewhere in between the ear and the eye. And if we zoom out a tiny bit, the story is juxtaposed with the house that the TV is in. And if we zoom out, that house is inside your head, next to all these other symbols and squiggles and values.

And then at some point, someone thinks its sexy to dress up like a cartoon cat.

Nobody’s prepared us for the Strange Times, and there are literally billions of humans that can’t cope with it. They could deal with being serfs, they could deal with being soldiers, those are simple lives with simple choices. Now its come time to make a new story for themselves by assembling all these weird symbols into a lifestyle, a personality, a set of values. And they just don’t know how to do it. They look to culture to get clues for how to swim and be happy and break even in this weird world, and all they see are porn models and ninja turtles and humane terrorism and the extreme left and the extreme right and nothing is centered.

If it was as easy as just dealing with the sun and the crops, however hard it might be, people would pull through and maintain. But there are million choices and complexities and nuances and shrapnel flying at you like throwing knives and pillow fights and semen and bananna cream pies.

We think it’s best to laugh.