Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer Blockbusters! – RNC! & coming soon… DNC!

Live from Cleveland! Reality Television has hit new highs with the Republican Party’s Smash Summer Hit… the Republican National Convention 2016! This summer blockbuster has it all… Drama… comedy… scandal… intrigue… Headlining this all-star cast is non-other than Reality TV superstar Donald J Trump. Hot off of shows like “the Apprentice” …Trump brings a certain "Cult of Personality" authenticity to this otherwise zany comedic mini-series!

Although this amazing mini-series is targeting a conservative audience, this is entertainment for the entire family. Tune in while you can… the show airs from July 18th until July 21st. It is not clear if there will be any reruns after the networks are through with it!

Coming Soon! Not to be outdone… and broadcast live from Philadelphia… stay tuned for this summer’s second mega-hit mini-series… the Democratic National Convention 2016! If the previews are accurate, the DNC will prove to be every bit as riveting as this week’s RNC!

Show airs July 25th through July 28th… don’t miss it!

In the interest of a fair and balanced campaign coverage… we present as a public service… our own candidate for President of these United States… NOBODY!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Social Media & the rise of imminent violence

In the Spring of 2011, the world caught its first glimpse of the rising power of social media. During what had been called the “Arab Spring” by the traditional press, a combination of mobile phones & devices and those new-fangled “social apps” such as Facebook & Twitter… abruptly rearranged the nature of networked social change and social justice movements. Previously, this level of social connectivity had only been hinted at. As Tunisia and Egypt and the rest lit up politically, as well as technologically, social optimists around the planet held their collective breath for the revolution to come.

Years have passed since those early, inspirational days. Alas, the Arab Spring did not definitively prove to be as democratically fruitful as many had hoped. As is the way of the world, political realities are more complex, convoluted and occluded as to provide a clearly defined path to social justice. Social media continues to be a transformative power to the people. It levels the playing field that was once dominated by major networks and the “Madmen” of Madison Avenue… what we have labeled: Babylon Bandwidth.

Social media is potentially a liberating and democratizing media outlet, as exemplified by the rise of citizen journalism (aka: public, participatory, guerrilla or street journalism). You can bet that the recent focus on police shootings of our citizenry would not have seen the light of day without social media. A smart phone in the hands of a concerned citizen is a powerful thing. A smart phone and a live-stream account, takes this power to whole new level (god bless you, Diamond Reynolds).

Again, the “ways of the world” manifest as dichotomy. With the light… comes the shadow. Even as social media has made these powerful technologies available to the masses, it has become evident that these tools can be used for dark purposes. Author of:  Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization …John Robb, recently posted an alarming, trending reality in social media. In that post, he pointed out how quickly social media broadcasting has become central to social violence. Robb suggests that through our use of social media…

"We are more vulnerable to emotional manipulation than ever before.  Our use of social media has changed us… we are constantly on the hunt for pics, news, stories, and videos that grab our attention and titillate us.  Once we find them, we are then quick to share them with others.
Few things provoke outrage faster than violence and injustice.   It is proving particularly effective when the videos arrive raw and unedited from an individual rather than from the media.  These personal broadcasts have an authenticity, a vulnerability, and an immediacy to them that greatly amplifies their emotional impact.  This makes them more effective at triggering violence than any sterile broadcast from a traditional media outlet.

We've been conditioned to record our experiences using social media.   Naturally, we are seeing the same thing with violence. Recording violence and showing it to the world, raw and unedited, can be used to "elevate the act" and memorialize it.

 NOTE:   ISIS recently stumbled onto this as a way to motivate people to engage in terrorism.  In these cases, the attackers used social media to turn their bloody attacks into both performance art and solemn ceremony.  It gave it meaning. We'll see more of that in the future."

-John Robb

The rise of what Robb has called: Social Violence Networking has the potential to trigger the imminence of violence. The highly suggestive nature of social media increases both the likelihood and the intensity of social violence, via the copycat effect.

 We must all be vigilant in what information we allow into our consciousness. The manipulation of our thoughts and emotions (read: mind control) is a very real threat. There are more nefarious players out there than the Madmen of the advertizing world. Being “of this world” …living in this dualistic, materialistic reality… requires conscious choice. We must choose the light or the shadow. Knowing that dark forces utilize social media only makes our power of discernment all the more important. 

Being aware of such manipulation is half the battle. Energetically, the future of the earth and her myriad earthlings is determined by a balancing of dark and light. Those of the dark utilize fear and hatred. Those of the light utilize love and kindness. The true battle against the hidden hand is being waged covertly... within each human heart. A favorable outcome shall be determined by those among us who proceed from a place of Love and Kindness… are you kind?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Pirate Utopias Revisited

THE SEA-ROVERS AND CORSAIRS of the 18th century created an "information network" that spanned the globe: primitive and devoted primarily to grim business, the net nevertheless functioned admirably. Scattered throughout the net were islands, remote hideouts where ships could be watered and provisioned, booty traded for luxuries and necessities. Some of these islands supported "intentional communities," whole mini-societies living consciously outside the law and determined to keep it up, even if only for a short but merry life.

Some years ago I looked through a lot of secondary material on piracy hoping to find a study of these enclaves--but it appeared as if no historian has yet found them worthy of analysis. (William Burroughs has mentioned the subject, as did the late British anarchist Larry Law--but no systematic research has been carried out.) I retreated to primary sources and constructed my own theory, some aspects of which will be discussed in this essay. I called the settlements "Pirate Utopias."

Recently Bruce Sterling, one of the leading exponents of Cyberpunk science fiction, published a near-future romance based on the assumption that the decay of political systems will lead to a decentralized proliferation of experiments in living: giant worker-owned corporations, independent enclaves devoted to "data piracy," Green-Social-Democrat enclaves, Zerowork enclaves, anarchist liberated zones, etc. The information economy which supports this diversity is called the Net; the enclaves (and the book's title) are Islands in the Net.

The medieval Assassins founded a "State" which consisted of a network of remote mountain valleys and castles, separated by thousands of miles, strategically invulnerable to invasion, connected by the information flow of secret agents, at war with all governments, and devoted only to knowledge. Modern technology, culminating in the spy satellite, makes this kind of autonomy a romantic dream. No more pirate islands! In the future the same technology-- freed from all political control--could make possible an entire world of autonomous zones. But for now, the concept remains precisely science fiction--pure speculation.

Are we who live in the present doomed never to experience autonomy, never to stand for one moment on a bit of land ruled only by freedom? Are we reduced either to nostalgia for the past or nostalgia for the future? Must we wait until the entire world is freed of political control before even one of us can claim to know freedom? Logic and emotion unite to condemn such a supposition. Reason demands that one cannot struggle for what one does not know, and the heart revolts at a universe so cruel as to visit such injustices on our generation alone of humankind.

To say that "I will not be free till all humans (or all sentient creatures) are free" is simply to cave in to a kind of nirvana-stupor, to abdicate our humanity, to define ourselves as losers.

I believe that by extrapolating from past and future stories about "islands in the net" we may collect evidence to suggest that a certain kind of "free enclave" is not only possible in our time but also existent. All my research and speculation has crystallized around the concept of the TEMPORARY AUTONOMOUS ZONE (hereafter abbreviated TAZ). Despite its synthesizing force for my own thinking, however, I don't intend the TAZ to be taken as more than an essay ("attempt"), a suggestion, almost a poetic fancy. Despite the occasional Ranterish enthusiasm of my language I am not trying to construct political dogma. In fact, I have deliberately refrained from defining the TAZ--I circle around the subject, firing off exploratory beams. In the end, the TAZ is almost self-explanatory. If the phrase became current it would be understood without difficulty...understood in action.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Orlando's Triaphilia of Terror

The number "three" has always carried superstitious connotations in American folklore. In volume 2 of “A compendium of American Folklore from the Ohio Collection of Newbell Niles Puckett” …there is a section titled: Numbers, Counting in the Lore of Death. This section included references to one death or funeral followed by two more. This occult trinity is often referred to as a “Triaphilia.” The triaophilia myth-arch is most commonly summed up as: “Death comes in three’s.” Old wives tales such as this have been handed down and prevail because they occur at potent and meaningful cultural moments. They persist because their occurrence falls well outside the realm of coincidence.

This tri-specter of death manifests in the prevailing form, takes the predominant shape of the collective phobias and fears of the culture it is visited upon.

The "death comes in three’s" myth-arch, hit with a horrifically potent vengeance in early June, in Orlando, Florida. The first example came with the shooting death of a reality star from “The Voice,” Christina Grimmie. She was shot on June 10th, by an apparently deranged fan, while signing autographs, following her concert performance in Orlando. She succumbed to her gunshot wound on June 11th.

The next day, the second horror was visited upon Orlando by a lone gunman who, it was widely reported, claimed allegiance to the Islamic State. The June 12th attack, occurring inside the popular nightclub: Pulse, resulted in 50 deaths, including the gunman, who was killed by Orlando police after a three-hour standoff. This was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history; the largest mass killing of LGBT people in the Western world since the Holocaust; and the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since the September 11th attacks in 2001.

Incidences one and two of the Triaphilia of Death speak directly to our current cultural fears and fascinations. The symbolic elements of Christina Grimmie’s murder include our collective obsession with youth, especially the young female (the mythic maiden) and fame… the prevailing “reality star” version of fame is exceptionally pertinent in our modern media existence. The most nightmarish symbolic element of the first killing is obviously connected to the recent rise in gun violence in America. This specter of death cuts more deeply into our collective psyche than any politically partisan debate about gun laws.

The symbolism of the Pulse nightclub mass murders descends into some of our darkest collective subconscious phobias, which have manifested in over 160 mass shootings in America since 2001. The Pulse murders/shootings also symbolically connotate, not only Islamaphobia and the war on terror... but more significantly a deep-seated homophobic ailment that afflicts our culture. This most horrific attack that clearly targeted our LGBT  community… adds to the list of what law enforcement euphemistically refers to as: “soft targets.” Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook and now Orlando all target the vulnerable, the defenseless and otherwise harmless sectors of our society.

The third, and in some ways, the most inexplicable and bizarre visitation of Death, came on June 14th, when a 2-year-old boy was grabbed and drowned by an alligator in a man-made lake at Orlando’s Disney Resort. The father purportedly fought to save the child but was unable to free him from the alligator's grip. This third and final visitation is perhaps the most symbolic and most tellingly primal aspect of the Orlando “Death comes in three’s” nightmare. I hesitate to think of the connotations that arise. A prehistoric reptile rises from a body of the water to claim a small boy… seems almost anciently, spontaneously ritualistic. Shades of Cthulhu.

The Alligator is symbolic of ancient, primordial power. Many Native American tribes consider alligators as creatures responsible for creation. The alligator is a mediator in many Native legends because it emerged from primordial waters in creation myths and brought forth the sun and the earth. Mayan legend tells of four great alligators supporting the entire world... keeping Earths delicate balance in-tack by the strength of their backs and with fierce determination.

The third and final death of a small innocent, in the jaws of a primeval reptile, raises deeply mythic, archetypical questions of humanity’s relationship to ancient powers. It is as if these primordial powers are waking after millennia of slumber, to once again assert archaic authority. The waking of ancient powers somehow resonates with our prevailing zeitgeist. The Hopi people’s term: Koyaanisqatsi… translated as “Life out of Balance” …typifies our current sociological predicament.
I will leave further interpretation of such signs and portents to those more synchro-mystically in-tuned than I. There is, no doubt many more synchronicities and occult connections that will take us further down the (proverbial) rabbit hole. In these dangerous and increasingly deranged times, those among us who pay attention to the mythic, paranormal signs of our emerging new paradigm will undoubtedly prove invaluable. It will be our seers and visionaries who will recognize and guide us through the re-awakening of these powers. 

What our archaically re-emerging, rapidly transcendent, brave-new-world now needs is...
more shamans!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Muhammad Ali – In Memoriam

"I am the greatest! I shook up the world! I'm the prettiest thing that ever lived!" 

- Cassius Clay, 1964

"I Ain't Got No Quarrel With The VietCong... No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger" 

- Muhammad Ali, 1966

It is refreshing and downright encouraging to see the outpouring of love and respect, by the American press and the American public... toward a Muslim. As we have seen in the political arena, such has not been the case... as of late. Clearly, Muhammad Ali (January 17, 1942 - June 3, 2016) is America’s favorite Muslim… even before his passing. He is perhaps best remembered and beloved for transcending his fame as a boxer to become a champion of Civil Rights. Indeed, his transcendence went beyond race and religion as Ali is today best loved as a humanitarian, worldwide.

Muhammad Ali was beautiful and flamboyant. He hit the world stage in the early 60’s with a never-before-seen bravado. In his pre and post fight antics, he both foreshadowed and pioneered Rap and hip-hop culture, with unrivaled media savvy… To Wit: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can't hit what the eyes can't see.” And… “I wrestled with an alligator, I tussled with a whale, I handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail, I'm bad man....Last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I'm so mean I make medicine sick.”

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in an upset in 1964. Shortly after that, Clay converted to Islam, changed his "slave" name to Ali, and gave a message of racial pride for African Americans and resistance to white domination during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

In 1962, Clay met Malcolm X, who soon became his spiritual and political mentor. By the time of the first Liston fight Nation of Islam members, including Malcolm X, were visible in his entourage. This led to a story in The Miami Herald just before the fight disclosing that Clay had joined the Nation of Islam, which nearly caused the bout to be canceled.

In 1966, two years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali further antagonized the white establishment by refusing to be conscripted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested, found guilty of draft evasion charges and stripped of his boxing titles. He successfully appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971.

“I ain’t draft dodging... I ain’t burning no flag... I ain’t running to Canada. I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die.
You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese...

You my opposer when I want freedom.
You my opposer when I want justice.
You my opposer when I want equality.

Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my right here at home.”

- Muhammad Ali, 1966

Muhammad Ali rose to fame as a fighter... but it was his humanitarianism that truly made him great. This blogger will leave his phrase for those more eloquent than I. In his passing, I will say this... the marking of Ali's death serves as a reminder for us all… to put aside hate and fear… to embrace the goodness and justice that, I believe, is inherent in all of humanity. In this day and age of ethnic fear-mongering and outright xenophobia… we can all take a lesson from “The Greatest” in remembering that we are all one. At this most critical, consequential time in this tattered old planet's evolution... we are all in this together.

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room, here on Earth.”

- Muhammad Ali