Friday, March 10, 2017

World's Greatest Blog Post of, like, right now....

It dawned on me today how tough marketing and branding must be. Like, whether a client contracts the services of a marketing company, or a start-up is trying to do it in-house, everyone's just trying to come up with a name, a logo, feelings to associate the brand with, etc. Not to mention a whole marketing strategy to give their brand/product an authentic feeling in a marketplace of ideas where, let's be honest, there are few truly new ideas.

Nonetheless you have to sit there, look at the product, and come up with all the ways this product is better than competing products, and all the ways it will make a buyer feel fulfilled. It's hard work. Seriously, how do you convince anyone that your brand of toilet paper is better than a competitors toilet paper? Both brands have different types with different levels of softness. And the brand is the last thing most people thing about when buying TP (All I'm thinking about is what I'll want to use an hour after eating spicy Pad Ki Mao from my favorite Thai place).
So yeah, hard job...
...then the GOP calls their healthcare bill "The World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017".

No one thought "Ok, here we have the world's greatest healthcare plan, and yet how do I CONVINCE people it's the world's greatest?" No, they just gave it the name the way my 5 year old nephew might describe the family cat.

No nuance, no irony. It's just pure, literal condescension. This is the Republican Party of today. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

On February 8th, ICE carried out a raid against people exiting a hypothermia shelter at a church in Alexandria, VA. They waited until a group of men who appeared to be mestizo broke off from the group and then pounced. They released one and took the others. The detained men were loaded into a van already full of hispanic men, according to witnesses, and were taken away.

Questions from a local news source yielded a different story than what was described by witnesses.
  The official could not confirm other aspects of the men’s story, and insisted ICE does not detain people in vans, as the men described.
 “ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy,” the statement continues, “ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”
 The witness accounts were recorded in further news sources. What's clear from ICE's chilling response to this, as with practically any body now of a federal government controlled by Donald Trump, is that there will not be accurate information divulged to the public regarding their actions. Given the population being targeted, homeless immigrants, it will be very difficult for the detained men to receive any kind of assistance. ICE detention centers are growing, with the private prison industry earning huge profits because of it.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

We've gone about this all wrong...

 It's now obvious to me that the best way for the Left to change society is to start producing our own media.

 "What?" you ask, "Are you daft, Wannabehero? The Left produces, and has produced, a great deal of media! Where have you been?"

 Oh, I've been around. But we've gotten it wrong, folks. We've been producing the wrong kind of shit. What we need to start creating is utterly meritless schlock that appeals to mass audiences and disseminates leftist propaganda. I'm thinking along the lines of a film, directed in the style of Michael Bay, about the Spanish Civil War. Or a reality TV show about organizing a union in the style of Rupaul's Drag Race. 

 How did I arrive at this realization? Well, like most occasions when I have an idea, I was in the shower this morning and....

 In 2005 I was working for SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, as a field organizer. It was my first real foray into professional activism. A few weeks into the job another organizer, who for the purposes of this story I will name Anne, and I were conducting site visits in Maryland as part of a campaign to organize Aramark and Sodexo workers. I cannot remember the exact location, but at one point a fire alarm went off at either a hospital or college campus we were visiting where Aramark had subcontracted cafeteria workers, and we found ourselves outside waiting in a crowd of people. Anne started chatting with some nearby folks to see if any of them were cafeteria staff. Finding none that were, she nonetheless made pleasant conversation.

 I'm not sure how the subject of Hillary Clinton came up, but it did. A woman Anne spoke to felt strongly that Hillary Clinton demonstrated her ambitious character by not leaving Bill following his admission that he'd had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Anne, on the other hand, found it endearing that Hillary had decided to stay with Bill and fix their marriage. I remained silent. Having been in high school in the mid-to-late nineties, I was sick of the Clintons. This discussion was the product of utterly meaningless tabloid drivel, drivel that had completely dominated political discourse for a decade. The United States had just re-elected George W. Bush to the presidency, a man who had blundered the US into an illegal war in Iraq, a war Clinton had voted for and her husband had laid the groundwork for. I, at that time a committed anarchist, had become a labor organizer specifically to cut through the nonsensical image-based politics of the Democratic and Republican parties in order to wage class war. What Hillary Clinton did with her personal life was the farthest thing from my mind then. 

 Now, it is absolutely true that Bush and his clique were bad and Clinton did vote for the war (and rightfully suffered for it), and the subject of whether Clinton chose to stay with her husband was and is superficial. But whether we like it or not, and as Trump's election has clearly demonstrated, more people relate to politics through themes found in entertainment than through breaking down their real interests and seeing how they line up with the political process. I could have probably engaged with the Clinton hater on why her hatred  only served to distract her from questions like "Why has the purchasing power of the average worker consistently dropped for 40 years?" or "What is happening to our civil liberties?" Perhaps such a conversation could have yielded results, but unlike asking whether Bill Clinton is really all bad or whether his wife's decision to stick with him means something, the former questions are systemic questions and systemic questions aren't easily answered. 

 For the many, many Americans disengaged from politics due to a lack of knowledge, interest, or both, the decision of who to vote for can easily come down to simple assessments of carefully curated media images of who you'd rather have a beer with, or who seems more charismatic and optimistic, or who is better at business. If you are the type who absorbs 80 hours of television a week, then Bush's compassionate conservatism,  Obama's hope and change, and Trump's "YOU'RE FIRED", mean a great deal.

 Therefore, we need to start over and start thinking simple. Really simple. Like pea-brain simple. We have to approach the MASSES, people! I'll actually start this off with my second idea: A Rupaul Reality TV show centered around union organizing... I don't have the faintest idea how to write a Reality TV script, but can't we just imagine the shenanigans that would ensue with Rupaul training people on how to salt a workplace? Or teaching people how to effectively negotiate across the table from a union-busting lawyer? I actually think Rupaul would be perfect for the latter because....

 Yeah, exactly, you don't even know what to do with yourself after looking at that picture. All you want to do is reward this fierceness with higher wages and better health insurance.

 Ok, next is the Spanish Civil War movie idea, a la Michael Bay. I'll begin the process with this intro scene, and hopefully far more qualified people can take it from there:
Camera pans around and around, and around, like ten times, our heroine MEGAN FOX, who is covered in honey and is only wearing a thought. 
Camera pans back, MEGAN is revealed to be a platoon commander in the P.O.U.M, a revolutionary Marxist militia operating in Catalunya. 
Cue explosions, multiple cuts, like a million edits so we get 30 angles on the fireball 
NIC CAGE emerges from the fire as General FRANCO. 

MWA HAHA! We will have Fascism!

Camera spins... and spins, and spins again around MEGAN FOX, who is slowly standing up, determined, completely unintimidated. She's glistening. 
It's on now! 
FRANCO is screaming. The whole world explodes behind him. MEGAN runs at FRANCO, she's completely unhinged, explosions everywhere, she's got like crazy mad shiny honey titties. They both leap into the air, screaming, and as they collide...
 Now I know what some of you are thinking: This is incredibly condescending. I'm literally talking about the people I want to influence like they are morons. And you'd be right. I am. They are morons. And as evidence I offer this fucking pig...

...who is now the President of the god damned United States. He attained this office by fooling 63 million mouth-breathers into thinking he knows how to run a country in spite of the fact that he's never run a successful anything, let alone a business or marriage, in his entire fucking life. He wasn't alone in this effort. He benefited from a media system that sold his sorry brand and manipulated people for profit for years. They did it with some of the stupidest, shallowest programming they could. All I'm saying is even though him and all other stupid, pop-culture trash shouldn't matter, it inevitably does, and we should start employing the same idiotic weapons to serve a higher purpose, namely indoctrinating those same masses with some class consciousness and leftist ideas. 

 Because if we don't then major media companies, Trump, the GOP and the Democrats, will. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Broodings on Bay-ing


  The Rock (the film, not the former wrestler) may be the single most important cultural contribution ever by someone masturbating furiously with an American flag wrapped around their penis, i.e. Michael Bay. I learned this when I was unable to sleep last night due to my brain running at light-speed the moment I lay in bed, and I decided a Michael Bay film would be the ideal form of media to take advantage of the passive, mind-erasing relationship between film and viewer. I was, indeed, successful as I only got about half-way through the film before passing out.

  The film's principle contribution to AMERICA FUCK YEAH-ness definitely lies in its total commitment to just how bad the troops, in this case personified by Ed Harris, have been betrayed. They get no respect, so they come up with a way to get even and get the attention they deserve by invading Alcatraz Island, taking a bunch of tourists hostage, and threatening to fire missiles with VX nerve gas at San Francisco. Ultimately Ed Harris can't follow through with his threats to do this because he could never harm all those innocent people (minus the hostages, apparently). The real troops don't do that! But Ed Harris gets betrayed again, this time by the troops who stopped being real and started selling out for money. There are also great conversations between two dudes who I think were in the West Wing talking about all the secrets and dirty lies they've covered up, and how they have to keep Sean Connery locked up in federal prison. See, he knows the location of a roll of microfilm containing The Truth™ regarding the alien landing at Roswell and JFK's assassination. The Truth™ was really big in the 90's, by the way. Everybody was looking for it.

  Ed Harris is the true American, embodied in the selfless soldier, betrayed by feckless, power-obsessed bureaucrats and greedy capitalists. The Rock was truly a film with a statement in the somber days of the Clinton presidency. Oh, America! Would that you had not lost your soul then! Morality and honor no long occupied the White House, and no one cared about all those poor, forgotten, highly-equipped and excellently trained soldiers!  What was to be done? What indeed!?

  Aside from all that, I should point out that I was able to learn at least one life lesson from the film: If I'm ever in a firefight, and I'm trying kill this one loner determined to stop what's going on, and neither I nor any of my comrades can seem to land a shot... well, I'm just putting my gun down and walking away because, clearly, I'm the bad guy. It probably wouldn't even get that far, though, because I'd pick up on earlier clues. Like the fact that the dude I'm trying to kill keeps saying witty shit about being in way over his head before masterfully finding his way out of his present situation. I mean, if you can talk like that during a gun battle you are probably a will-to-power type, and have more control of your reality than you think

  The Rock, directed by Michael Bay, and starring Nicolas Cage (RAGE), Sean Connery, and Ed Harris, is like a microscope for those seeking to explore the wonders of Trumpanzee land. I highly recommend watching with friends, colleagues, and fellow will-to-powerists. I give this film 50 stars and 13 stripes.

Friday, January 20, 2017

How'd We Get Here...

  I suppose it goes without saying that everything I said in previous posts about Trump being incapable of winning the Presidency belongs in the dustbin of history. I've chosen not to erase any of it, though, perhaps as a reminder to never take anything for granted again.

 Since the day after election day, I and many other people have tried to figure out how all of this even happened. How did everyone left-of-center get it so wrong? The answer is provided in Adam Curtis' Hypernormalisation, released by the BBC in 2016. The documentary was released before election day, but Trump plays a prominent role nonetheless. I've attached a youtube link, because the BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. If you happen to live in the UK, I'd recommend watching it from their site as the quality of the youtube vid is simply not as good.

 Once you've watched it, you'll wonder why you thought the election would end any other way...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Nah, he's just that nuts.

Back when Bernie still had a chance, I remember thinking that the "electability" argument that supposedly favored Clinton was empty given that she was the anti-thesis of everything being fought over in the 2016 primaries. Drumpf, I thought, was going to make mince-meat out of her by pointing out how he had, in the past, extracted favors from Democrats for political donations. He could talk about how she might not be a Republican, but she's still part of the Belt-way "in-crowd" that led us into Iraq, or at least refused to use their political capital to stop it. He could have hammered her on flip-flopping on trade, or being married to the man who signed off on Glass-Steagal... he could basically have made himself out to be the embodiment of the populist sea-change many were predicting. Back then, there was a collective assumption that somehow Drumpf's verbosity, immaturity, and thin skin were all a brilliant ploy to defeat his Republican foes in a time when many Americans wanted someone to shout down the establishment. Behind all the bluster, as awful as it was, we thought, there was a shrewd tactician, a deal-maker, a man with a plan. I mean, a really racist plan, but a plan nonetheless.

This assessment wasn't irrational given what we knew then. In fact, the only flaw in this logic was that it was rational at all and completely over-estimated The Donald's capacity for strategic planning. After months of gaffs, Drumpfs doubling down on his accusation that President Barack Obama was the founder of the Islamic State firmly grounded his campaign in another plane of reality. If one needed anymore confirmation that Drumpf simply has no idea what he's doing, that was it.

This is all irrelevant if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, which is likely. But Drumpf's ascendance in spite of his lack of capability reveals something a bit frightening: Ascribing agency to a complete imbecile was likely an attempt to avoid confronting the reality that one of the most powerful political parties on the planet managed to nominate one of the most incompetent and dangerous nominees ever. Just as conspiracy theorists construct elaborate plots to give order to a universe they don't want to admit is actually quite chaotic, lefties like myself simply didn't want to face that the Republican Party is actually racist and insane. I admit now, freely, that I held out some kind of hope that wasn't the case.

I really wish I was wrong.