Saturday, May 23, 2020

Joan Didion's 'On Morality': The Extremist Test

There's a Bob Dylan lyric in Highlands that always makes me smile: "She said, "you don't read women authors, do you?"" I typically don't. Despite what I'm sure would be Moonbeam and Steinem's insightful CNN-style psychological "analysis" to the contrary, that has less to do with the Holy Uterus than the fact (and it is a fact) that women rarely write anything I'm interested in reading. It's the same with standup comedy. I'm not all that interested in a narcissistic "female perspective." I'm not required by social law to interest myself in such things, either. Because, you know, I'm a man. Sue me. But only after you read a volume or two on middle age suicide and the male prostate.

I mercifully digress.

There is one very significant exception: Joan Didion. I bought We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live, a non-fiction collection, with Orwell's. She's fantastic. Slouching Toward Bethlehem's essays/articles are on par with Mencken's, if less vitriolic and venomously entertaining! On Self-Respect and On Morality are worth finding and devouring.

Here's an excerpt from On Morality, written in 1965. That's significant, as you'll see. Crusading moral certitude isn't new. We were hatched in that fire; it's part of the American DNA and what makes us particularly susceptible to propaganda and makes this technologically amplified conflict between our moralistic ideological religions so dangerous. Didion's Lionel Trilling quote deserves its own space and I literally squealed when I saw she used the word, "agitprop!" And the last paragraph? Ooof! We need a test for those infected with the Extremist Virus. Joan Didion has it:

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Propaganda or Education; Patriot or Traitor

In one of many examples of how he knew the herd better than it knows itself, Edward Bernays, the man who took "propaganda" and rebranded it "public relations,"pointed out in the late 20's that whether you perceive something as "propaganda" or "education" depends upon what you've adopted to explain the world for you: your belief system; which god you worship. That's shamefully self-evident and explains why most are, almost literally, physically unable to consume "their" "news."

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Crowd: Mencken or LeBon?


Several times over the last few years, I'd bounced a counterargument around in my notebooks: the possibility that LeBon's character sketch of The Crowd has it backwards. The existence of a mob mentality is unquestionable, but maybe it doesn't psychologically transform an otherwise reasonable individual into a frothing barbarian. Instead, perhaps the induced hypnotic flock-state simply unleashes the domesticated savage's suppressed impulses; ones that are always boiling just beneath his thin civilized veneer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

5/19/20 - The Stalker Militia, A Hydroxy Hardon, Woke Youth

So, about that whole "in this together" thing... Topics include Trump's bizarre and supernatural hydroxychloroquine erection, quarantine and consumerist withdrawal, free-rage extremism and Michigan's armed stalkers closing the capitol, ideological bleed-over, identity politics infecting the virus, humble ignorance, a COVID-exploiting Woke Youth Recruitment video seizing the national airwaves, and what happens when I go off my gated social media reservation and why it's becoming nearly essential to completely disconnect. This one gets harsh. Beware.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

5/9/20 - Stories, Hope, and The Propaganda Paradox

Todd's adventures in leaving the house after 5-weeks, a quick review of the crappy Vaporesso Target PM-80, the supposed "wisdom" of the bewildered herd, belief and truth are mutually exclusive, atheists: leave the non-phallus swinging faithful alone, the crucial crusading distinction between religious & ideological zealots, and why the simple human need for hope probably makes us powerless against tasty propaganda.




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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

4/29/20 - Social Media Disease: A Cacophony of Nothing



Todd's merciful Bat Plague boycott continues with more spiritually uplifting content like: "F**k Subaru. I hate them and you should, too." Also, 2020's Jill Stein; Steinbeck, Salinas, and digital detox; social media "should" be regulated like radio; carnival barkers and data overload are killing democracy; the Wisdom of the People™ doesn't exist therefore populism is pandering to a screeching herd; and rejoice! The Devil's all up in ya! Can you feel him? 



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