September 18, 2019

The left: Give us Elizabeth "Barabbas" Warren!

Let Bernie's blood be upon the left and upon the left's children.

They chose Warren, AOC, and milkshake-throwing dorks over socialist Jesus.

Bernie was never the "most left," just as Jesus was not the "most Jewish," whether according to the Temple priest Sadducees, the info-gatekeeping Pharisees, or the purity cult Essenes.

Barabbas was just some random insurrectionary against the occupying Roman Empire, while Jesus said to not worry about the Romans because there were far larger problems headed our way -- the literal end of the world as we know it. Of the two, Barabbas was more of a polarizing, culture war, troll-the-enemy figure. Jesus' message was more universal, regarding both the problem and the audience.

Bernie was content to render unto the Cultural Right what is theirs -- the 2nd Amendment, strong borders, the Electoral College, etc. His proposed revolution fell under an entirely different domain of matters, and he meant it to involve and to benefit people from across the spectrum.

The growth of populism, socialism, whatever you want to call it, will never proceed through the left, any more than the growth of the Christian movement went through the Jews. It will go through the masses of people who are culturally alien to the left, just as Christianity only resonated among Gentiles.

Socialist apostles must ignore the left from now on, and send missions instead to the normies, respecting their unwoke beliefs and behaviors.

September 16, 2019

Socialist apostles to the normies will respect their unwokeness

Channeling her early Christian background and upbringing (Lebanese Catholic), Aimee Terese sounds like a social worker nun compared to the standard vindictive tribalistic leftoid of the current moment:

From a long thread, addressing others on the left who she sees as sharing the goal of economic populism, and the necessity of a cohesive mass movement acting collectively to overwhelm their obstacles, she says don't worry if they aren't like you socially and culturally (i.e., are not liberals), since that's irrelevant to the economic struggle:

She and her fellow travelers may not know it, but here too they are recapitulating a crucial episode at the founding of Christianity -- who is this new religion meant for, and under what terms are converts accepted? One group followed culturally restrictive practices, and went nowhere, while the culturally open group powered a small movement into an international phenomenon.

Jesus and his disciples were Jewish, and they spread their message in and around Judea -- at most reaching the Samaritans, who were so close to the Jews that they can be considered cousins rather than strangers or foreigners (akin to the Scottish and the Irish). The audience that they took their message to already shared all of the distinctive ethno-cultural traits as the messengers themselves -- they were circumcised, they followed the list of kosher dietary laws, and so on and so forth.

After Jesus' death, the chief leaders of his movement in Jerusalem were his brother, James, and Jesus' right-hand man, Peter. They saw Jesus' movement as something intended for Jews only, and did not proselytize widely outside of their tribe. If a non-Jewish person did want to join the Jesus movement, this camp thought the outsider had to first convert culturally to being Jewish -- perhaps not 100%, but enough to make it a radical break from their existing cultural practices. They were OK with watering down the kosher dietary laws, but still wanted Gentile converts to not eat blood, meat mixed with blood, or meat from animals that were not properly slain (e.g. by strangulation).

That may sound more lenient than a stringent 100% upholding of kosher dietary laws, but to the average person unaccustomed to these practices, even this diluted amount was too much to be comfortable. That put up high barriers to entry for non-Jews. Worse for their growth prospects, most Jews at the time were not receptive to claims of Jesus being the Messiah, so this camp had no room for expansion. Jewish followers of Jesus quickly evaporated in the land where he was from.

Instead, all the growth came from conversions of non-Jews living outside of Judea and Samaria, from the northern Levant, to Asia Minor, to Rome itself. They were preached to by the culturally open camp of Jewish Christians, led by Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles (non-Jews). He believed the membership badges of the Jewish tribe were beside the point of Jesus' message. If you were already Jewish, no problem, continue on being Jewish. But if you weren't already circumcised, you didn't have to undergo it in order to become Christian. If you like your foreskin, you can keep it. This new religion was meant to transcend the particular cultural practices of various ethnic groups.

Paul and his followers did believe in upholding the Ten Commandments for non-Jewish converts to Christianity, but these are not very particularistic and were adaptable to any ethnic group. Honor your mother and father, don't lie, don't steal, don't murder -- which normal human group would not already have these among its behavioral code, whether explicit or informal? The only major change would be following the commandments about abandoning the worship of other gods -- the early Christian movement was monotheistic, so following those two unfamiliar commandments is the bare minimum needed for converts. Other than that, your existing culture already had the other ones covered.

From that initial decision -- to err on the side of laxity rather than stringency in adherence to certain cultural norms -- the trend over the centuries has been to ignore the culture of the originators. Circumcised or not, avoiding meat from strangled animals or not, observing the Jewish Holy Days or not -- that is all irrelevant to following Jesus' teachings, holding him to be your savior, and the rest of the distinctive beliefs and practices of Christianity. If anything, the tendency has been to not merely ignore the original culture, but to consider adherence to it heretical, as though the adherent wanted to return to a pre-Christian way of life.

So too, in our own age, will the successful camp within socialism break it out from a narrow little sub-culture, sending missions to all sorts of culturally different groups, and not thinking of altering most of their existing thoughts, feelings, and practices. Whether or not the converts like to cat-call women, tell ethnic jokes, eat meat, use "gay" as an insult, prefer dancing over reading, or whatever other normie practice -- what does that have to do with holding together a mass movement and using collective leverage against their obstacles?

The historical record shows that if anything, compulsory adherence to these liberal cultural norms is associated with heretical forms of socialism -- e.g., today's SJW-ism that is linked to widening inequality, stagnant wages, destruction of the welfare state, and greater authority for the elites over the commoners in general. When a proto- form of socialism existed, during the New Deal era, these matters were irrelevant. Follow them if you were already culturally liberal, don't follow them if you were already culturally conservative. It's completely orthogonal to the matter of applying a group's leverage to achieve collective material goals, through labor unions and political coalitions.

The two core regions of the dominant coalition of the New Deal, the Democrats, were the culturally conservative Deep South and the culturally liberal Northeast. Any attempt at economic populism, or socialism, that not only writes off one of these halves but derides it as backward or evil, is destined to fail. Today the relevant contrast is the coasts and flyover country, but the logic remains the same.

Where will the apostles to the normies come from? Paul was not only on the periphery of the Roman Empire, he lived outside of the Jewish homeland, in southern Anatolia (Tarsus), which had already been heavily Hellenized before the Romans showed up. He must have been inclined by such an upbringing to view Gentile cultural beliefs and practices as no great threat to leading a righteous life. He hardly found them superior to those of his own diaspora people, but he was familiar with Gentile culture in a way that Jews in Judea would have found more strange and disturbing.

I expect today's apostles to cultural outsiders -- i.e., to the normies, given the sub-cultural background of lefties -- to hail not only from peripheral places vis-a-vis the American imperial center, but also from a relatively more culturally conservative upbringing. Aimee T. has a Lebanese migrant father, lives on the margin of the Anglo empire, in Australia, and was brought up as a Catholic school girl. People like that know from their own social circles that those who tell ethnic jokes, want sex to lead to pregnancy, etc., are not vile monsters, and that they're just as receptive to material populist action as are their cultural inverses.

As for politicians, Tulsi Gabbard comes from American Samoa, far from the imperial center, and even when she moved to Hawaii, that's still far from the center. She was brought up in a culturally conservative environment, and she joined the military  -- she knows personally that cultural conservatives aren't monsters, and are just as open to material populist changes as a liberal computer coder.

Bernie Sanders chose to ditch his cosmopolitan imperial-core upbringing in New York City, to live among the cultural conservatives in rural Vermont -- who he knows from extensive experience are just as open to socialist economic programs as liberal New Yorkers.

Related: monotheistic socialism vs. polytheistic identity politics

September 12, 2019

9/11 made music fun and danceable, against existing soft, numb, emo trend

Here is an interesting podcast with Matt Christman from Chapo Trap House about 9/11's impact on pop culture, especially music. They focus more on the political angle -- what things must or must not be said in pop music in the wake of 9/11, did the culture of fear kill off aggressive rock music from the late '90s, and so on.

Characterizing music of the early 2000s, they identify the zeitgeist of numbness, sadness, schmaltizness, etc. as 9/11's cultural impact. My take has always been the opposite, and now that I've figured out the 15-year cultural excitement cycle, it's possible to separate what 9/11's effect was, and what would have already happened with or without a major terrorist attack.

The early 2000s were a vulnerable phase, a refractory period after the manic climax of the late '90s, and before energy levels had recovered to baseline during the late 2000s. So anything that typifies a vulnerable phase will be unremarkable to find during the early 2000s. Namely the soft, ethereal, numb, emo, schmaltzy trends that also characterized pop music of the late '80s and early '70s -- which were hangovers after the previous manic phases of the early '80s and the late '60s.

What made the post-9/11 zeitgeist feel so different was the social and cultural unity that it brought out of people from all walks of life, both normie and indie, teenagers and geezers. It was not as socially unifying as a steadily rising crime rate, as experienced during the '60s through the '80s, but it was of a similar kind, if lesser in degree (a one-time spectacle, not decades of constant crime stories).

And when people perceive an imminent risk of massive violent attack, they tend to discount the future, live more in the present, and want to party with others and enjoy their company while it's still possible.

So, 9/11's cultural impact would be something that looked unusual for an otherwise soft, numb, emo period -- one which, as the podcast hints at, was already under way before 9/11. (See the year-end charts for 2001 for reference.) It would be unusual in being more socially bonding and party-centered, relative to the backdrop of a vulnerable phase culture where people want to be left alone and sleep under a pile of blankets / sink to the bottom of the sea.

In two recent posts, I identified dance-punk and crunk as two such signatures of 9/11. I'd thought of them in that way since the 2000s, but these recent posts detail how they are clearly not what was to be expected given their backdrop (a vulnerable phase). Those posts are brief, so I won't rehearse them any more here. They're relevant to today since we've been in another vulnerable phase since 2015, and yet there's been no such trends this time around (since there's been no 9/11), while there is plenty of soft, numbing, emo music all over again.

Instead, I'll end with a real deep cut from the dance-punk craze of the first half of the 2000s, in honor of 9/11's enduring cultural influence. I was living in Barcelona when this was out, and got turned on to them by the long-term housemate who I was renting a room from. It was his friend's band. Nothing replaces face-to-face recommendations -- you couldn't hear this after reading some centralized website, no matter how obscure their branding. You had to get out, interact, and listen to what other people had to say.

"NYCgaps" by Delorean (2004):

September 7, 2019

Unsolved Mysteries in context of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle, including moral panics

I got curious about how widespread the musical trend was during the late '80s for songs that are heavily layered, atmospheric / ethereal, with at most simple repetitive beats and motifs to create passive trance vibes. Earlier posts here and here looked at pop music, but I thought about movie soundtracks and TV theme songs. Then I remembered!

Listen to the entire soundtrack here and here (two parts). Perfect for scaring the trick-or-treaters next month (assuming any still come by in these helicopter parent times).

Watch the entire original series hosted by Robert Stack on YouTube here, or on Amazon Prime.

* * * * *

Unsolved Mysteries debuted in the late 1980s, a vulnerable phase of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle. Its peak year for ratings was the '89-'90 season, and although it still did respectably into the '92-'93 season, it fell off a cliff afterward. This tracks the trend in the crime rate -- as crime rates plunged after their 1992 peak, audiences lost interest in a show based mainly on crime. Someone somewhere was apparently solving the crime problem, so why bother tuning in to a show that expected the audience to help solve outstanding crimes?

Then the show was miraculously revived on a different channel in 2001-'02 -- during the next vulnerable phase of the cycle. And wouldn't you know it? -- they're reviving it yet again! Perhaps to appear during the current vulnerable phase. The announcement of new episodes was made by Netflix in January 2019, so they'd better hurry and get it out by Halloween, because audiences will not be quite so interested in such a show during the 2020s, as the warm-up phase kicks in, and the backlash against victimhood culture will begin. At least they've re-released the original Robert Stack episodes, and the soundtrack / score, during the late 2010s vulnerable phase.

(The Dennis Farina episodes from the late 2000s were not new episodes, but repackaged ones from the original run, without the haunting persona of Stack's performance.)

The show was a product of the vulnerable or refractory phase, when people are so anti-excitable, so averse to social stimuli (which would be a sensory overload), that they develop a victimization complex for those 5 years of the cycle. Their energy levels are so low that they feel passive, and can only be acted upon -- and given how painful they will perceive stimulation during a refractory period, all actors would be perceived as wrongdoers, and everyone feels like a helpless victim.

In that mental and bodily state, they will naturally empathize with characters on a TV show who are victims of some kind or another.

Not coincidentally, America's Most Wanted also debuted during the late '80s vulnerable phase.

I have yet to write a comprehensive post on how the rise and fall of society-wide moral panics maps onto the excitement cycle. This review of the phases of feminism across the excitement cycle provides a guide, though. Exhibitionistic, invincible, sex-positive feminism peaks during the manic phase, followed by victimhood feminism during the vulnerable phase, followed by a return to normalcy or losing one's overly inhibited ways during the warm-up phase. For now, all that matters is that major moral panics erupt during the vulnerable phase.

In fairness, U.M. does not give free rein to the crazies of a moral panic, but does present "both sides" and ask the viewer to judge for themselves. Still, not something you would see in a phase where the panicking side is under a backlash by an increasingly skeptical populace.

I'm only halfway through the 1st season, and it's saturated with the moral panics of the late '80s. Foremost is the Satanic Panic -- it's so prevalent that it even makes its way into the Son of Sam episodes. Those murders took place during a warm-up phase (late '70s), when people are coming out of their shells, and nobody thought of a Satanic ritual angle at the time, nor during the succeeding manic phase (early '80s). It wasn't until 10 years later, when people were now in a panic mode owing to the vulnerable phase of the excitement cycle, that all sorts were willing to spread and believe theories that the Son of Sam murders were part of a broader Satanic cult committing ritual sacrifices.

But there's also a lesser known moral panic that most people have forgotten about by now -- alien abduction. Not just sightings of UFOs, or visits from aliens, but being victimized and violated by them -- abducted off to their ship, held captive in a clinical setting, typically naked, and probed and otherwise touched bodily and even sexually without consent by the callous perpetrators from beyond. It's no different from being kidnapped and sexually molested or raped, which people in a refractory state are hypersensitive toward, often to the point of paranoia (e.g., "being creepy in the DMs" is tantamount to rape, in the current #MeToo vulnerable phase).

In the U.M. episode, an expert says that women who claim to have been abducted often complain about problems to their reproductive system, and the man interviewed says he recovered a childhood memory of an "alien" man sitting on his bed, lifting up his shirt, and touching him. Those are clearly references to sexual molestation, whether the people want to project it onto aliens or not. So, alien abduction was part of the broader rape panic of the late '80s (including the "date rape" panic, childhood ritual sexual abuse, etc.). It was sci-fi rape.

"Anal probe" became a common phrase when talking or joking about UFOs, because it was so common to hear about such things from the purported witnesses -- they were made into victims, not just neutrally visited by the aliens. Come to think of it, that dismissive and pejorative phrase likely came from the warm-up phase of 1990-'94, when people no longer felt vulnerable and victimized by everything, and there was a backlash against overly credulous victimhood culture.

Not coincidentally, the Urtext on being victimized by alien abduction -- Communion by Whitley Strieber -- came out in 1987, hit #1 on the NYT Best Seller list, and was made into an indie movie starring Christopher Walken in '89.

Two posts to follow will look at Unsolved Mysteries' place in the crime-and-cocooning cycle, as well as the status-striving-and-inequality cycle. I didn't realize how many themes it touches on until watching again for the first time in 30 years.

September 4, 2019

15-year cover song echoes: "Rock On" in glam rock and dream pop

The original by David Essex and cover by Michael Damian both come from the refractory phase of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle (1973 and 1989), and both made the year-end charts.

As discussed before here and here, this phase focuses less on catchy bouncy melodies because that would be too stimulating. The performers' and audiences' energy levels are still in a crash after the previous manic phase, and they have not yet been restored to baseline levels by the following warm-up phase.

This state leads them to focus more on layers, echoes, and drones in ethereal textures that wash over them as they lie still, unable to get up and move around. Soothing repetitious motifs keep them in a passive trance.

Such a dream pop style shows up in both the indie and mainstream worlds during the vulnerable phase. The genres from the first half of the '70s are glam rock, early krautrock, and cosmic music -- not the most dreamy, spacey, heavily layered and overly produced music, but certainly in that direction.

In the glam rock example above, by the end there is very heavy vocal self-echo and layering, like a chant. The bass line is simple, repetitive, and trance-like. Otherwise it's very sparse, more of an unsettling kind of minimalism like being alone in the woods at night, hearing only the repetitive chant of crickets, frogs, and droning breezes.

The cover has a standard rock instrumentation, but it's really more of a dream pop song than a proper rock song. No guitar riffs, no rhythm guitar, no killer solo, no vocal range. Although it does have stronger percussion, it's still not very danceable -- you're drifting along passively under the multiple layers of cool soothing textures. A little less vocal layering in this one, since it's richer instrumentally, and they're filling that role instead. Like I said before, the late '80s are a mine for mainstream dream pop songs.

I always think of those late '80s overly layered dreamy hits as roller rink music. Most people aren't moving their legs, torso, and arms enough to count as dancing -- they're just coasting on by in the same direction, with minimal rhythmic movements, melting into a crowd like a school of fish in the ocean.

Or maybe I'm only remembering it that way because that's when I was going to the roller rink -- late '80s / early '90s, toward the end of elementary school when you're just beginning to get social and want to be around the opposite sex. I either wasn't born or was just a toddler during the roller disco days, when there may have been more actual dancing going on.

And even if I hadn't been too old to go roller skating into the mid-late '90s, the roller rink was already going extinct due to the helicopter parents of Millennials not allowing them to congregate in shared public spaces with minimal supervision. Really stunted their social development. Hearing roller rink music makes me nostalgic not just for that particular space, but the whole socially outgoing period that began in the '60s, before closing itself off into the cocooning period circa 1990 and lasting through today.

August 30, 2019

Angela Nagle interview on the anti-woke left (further discussion)

Angela Nagle just did a long and wide-ranging interview with Justin Murphy, mainly on topics relating to the anti-woke left.

They ponder why there are so many women at the forefront of the anti-woke left, including attractive women. Another question, though: why aren't there any hot guys? From my exposure to the online left, the women don't seem to have anyone who they're ga-ga over within the left. No one who amasses an army of "reply girls".

I've heard them refer to Hasan Piker from The Young Turks, but that's understandable for someone who's on camera. I think the Red Scare ladies once said Nick Mullen from Cumtown is conventionally attractive, and he's certainly anti-woke and on the left. But generally, hot guys seem to avoid the left like the plague, while cute girls are if anything drawn more into it.

My hunch is they're more Independent and non-partisan, or somewhat to the right. I wouldn't be caught dead identifying as a "leftist" -- though not as a right-winger either -- and babes call me "hot," "cute," "gorgeous," etc. in their low-effort pick-up lines in dance clubs. (I don't see it or feel so, but then guys can't really tell what hot guys look like.)

Seems like the goal of spreading the message of anti-woke leftism should be for the women on the left to reach out to men and women who are Independent, socially moderate or conservative, and economically populist. The leftist women can't preach to the converted men, and male leftists are far less able to interact with men or women outside of their leftist bubble. Those few who are, like Michael Tracey or Kyle Kulinski, tend to balk at labels like "leftist" anyway.

They discuss my post on the ethnic composition of the anti-woke left, to which I'll add a couple more examples that I was reminded of yesterday. Nathan J. Robinson, evangelical woke-ist, is so WASPy he even fakes a British accent. And "shoe0nhead" from Twitter, anti-SJW Bernie/Tulsi supporter with a large following, who's Irish and Italian (though identifying more with the Italian side).

Murphy is still unaware that "the list" is only an appendix to a fleshed-out argument. He does favorably cite Anna Khachiyan's summary of my argument, but evidently the full post was too taboo for the social media commissars to present or link to, so he'd only seen screencaps of "the list" itself.

Nagle read the full post, though, and was more or less open to the argument. As far as I can tell, then, the only ones who at least skimmed the body, rather than rely on the commissars' screencaps, were Anna, Angela, and Aimee Terese -- not surprising why they're thought leaders on their side. They're not hidebound by silly taboos and parental advisory stickers.

It also makes me wonder if having immigrant parents, or being immigrants themselves, inclines people even harder against wokeness, since all three have at least one parent who migrated at some point. Obviously I mean within the ethnic groups already composing the anti-woke left -- excluding WASPs, Ashkenazi Jews, and upper-caste South Asians, mainly, but including the other Ellis Island groups and white Southerners.

Nagle is more defiantly anti-woke than Irish-Americans whose families have been living here awhile. Khachiyan is more anti-woke than Armenians who've been living here for several generations. And Terese is more anti-woke than Levantine Christians whose families migrated to the Anglo West 100 years ago.

Perhaps they have a keener sense of the uprooting and destabilizing effect of the expansion of the American empire, and are more ambivalent about its woke solution -- just reserve some seats at the elite table for the groups you bring under your sphere of influence, and who cares if those people have to abandon their homelands for the imperial core? (Terese's father moved to Australia rather than America, but it's still part of the broader Anglo empire.)

An earlier post predicted that over time monotheistic socialism will replace polytheistic identity politics / wokeness and the American imperial cult. This is on analogy with the rise of Christianity that ended the pluralistic polytheism and imperial cult of the Roman empire. Notice where Christianity came from -- the periphery, not the core. Its founder, Jesus, was an imperial subject but not an immigrant or coming from immigrant parents; he remained in and around Judea, where he was born. But Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, who spread the teachings and practices far outside of its home region, was not only an imperial subject but a member of a diaspora, his Jewish family living in southern Anatolia (Tarsus) rather than the Levant, let alone Judea. Still hailing from the periphery, though, like Jesus.

Nagle mentions that she's escaped woketard capital Brooklyn for Pittsburgh, probably the most anti-woke large city in America. It's in Appalachia. According to a recent survey, it's the least gay city, along with its southern Appalachian sister steel city Birmingham, Alabama. It's one of the least WASPy or Jewish cities, is full of the other Ellis Island ethnics, and is totally surrounded by Scotch-Irish hillbillies (including my mother's side of the family, a few counties to the west in Ohio). Disillusioned academics probably associate the look and feel of the city with Wonder Boys, while for romantics it will bring to mind Flashdance (as detailed in this post, one of the most darkly lit mainstream movies ever filmed, whatever you think about the plot and acting).

Nagle brings up Tulsi as an anti-woke role model for women, emphasizing how rare it is for someone on the left to be putting so much on the line for anti-imperialism (regardless of whatever label she would put on it). That ties back into my argument about wokeness serving the role of imperial integration -- it's the pluralistic ideological glue holding together a multi-ethnic sphere of influence.

If the left's ideological commitment is to wokeness, then they are materially committed to imperial integration (as long as our subjects receive fair and equitable treatment). Anything that would help to disintegrate the empire is contrary to wokeness, and thus anathema to most leftoids in America. That's why the woke-ists hate Tulsi so much. It's also why they aren't talking about removing American forces from Germany, Italy, and NATO generally, as well as from South Korea and Japan, where they've been stationed forever.

At most, the US left might object to a particular war or bombing campaign -- but not to the continued presence of our military around the entire world. It's not as though our occupation of the NATO countries is resulting in massive death and destruction, and the elites of all nations concerned are getting along perfectly well with each other. No one is calling each other ethnic slurs within NATO. American soldiers and generals don't make slant-eye faces at their Japanese subjects anymore, and aren't dropping more atomic bombs on them. So what is there for a woke-ist to object to? They are not anti-imperialist, but merely against the poor and inhumane treatment of our imperial subjects -- woke-ists are not against their subjection under us in the first place.

On the future of wokeness, Murphy thinks there's a backlash coming soon, while Nagle is less optimistic. I agree with a backlash coming around next year, as the 15-year cultural excitement cycle leaves the vulnerable refractory phase, where everyone feels victimized, and enters the restless warm-up phase, where they want to come out of their shells and mix things up again.

In this post I detailed how feminism changes across the three phases of the cycle, looking over multiple cycles. (Here is a quick recap of the excitement cycle model.) The next 5-year phase from 2020 to '24 will feel more like the late 2000s or the early '90s, with an explosion against political correctness, proper manners, and sensitive behavior. It may or may not have a populist / socialist cast to it, but it will be anti-woke for sure. Of course, during the next refractory phase (around 2030-34), we'll be in panic mode all over again.

Over the medium-to-long term, however, I see a rising persecution by the woke-ists against the socialists and anti-imperialists, as detailed at length in the post on monotheistic socialism. That historical analysis looked at many other examples, not just the breakdown of the Roman empire during the Crisis of the Third Century, but also of the Ottoman empire, and of the Fatimid Caliphate. As the American empire begins to seriously come apart, there will be a ruthless crackdown by the woke-ists, who believe that such an imposition will put the empire back together again.

But over the much-longer term, wokeness will die out in America just as polytheism and the imperial cult did in the Italian peninsula after Rome was over, and just as the millet system vanished from Anatolia after the Ottomans were over. A more single-minded moral system will replace it, and it seems clear that as of the Industrial Revolution, that will be some form of socialism (not the SJW-ism heresy of today).

Finally, Nagle says she's thinking of doing a podcast in lieu of getting back on social media platforms, because they're so toxic. I think she should start a blog instead, and write medium-to-long posts on her own schedule, without aiming the output at the online talk radio call-in show that we call social media. I've never understood the appeal of social media, and have never used them to "generate content". Such a pointless waste, unless you're terminally bored and your "content" is shitposting and food-fighting.

Even better, she should start a group blog with the three other women-of-A. Or two blogs between the four of them. Or something. More intimate, more productive, more collaborative (including when they comment on each other's posts), in a way that you can't do in 240-character tweets, or on a podcast where four hosts might talk over each other. Moderate the comments if they don't want retards piling in constantly. The last time blogs surged in popularity was the late 2000s, so it's only fitting for the same phase of the excitement cycle to see them come back into social-emotional style.

August 29, 2019

Wokeness' Puritan origins: A material analysis

Expanding somewhat on one of my comments to the post on the ethnic composition of the anti-woke left:

Wokeness is not unique to 21st-century America -- it's a variation on a timeless and placeless theme. The British Empire had something similar during their imperial heyday (Victorian: stiff upper lip, and White Man's Burden), as did the Roman Empire at their height (2nd C. AD: Stoicism, and polytheistic tolerance + imperial cult).

The function is social control -- to keep the commoners from getting too unruly, and to legitimate the elites. Isn't that needed for any society? Somewhat -- but especially so for a sprawling multi-ethnic empire whose leaders have soaring levels of wealth and power compared to the commoners.

There are two aspects:

1) Restraining libidinal desires for both the commoners (moral panics targeting urges of common folk), and the elites (self-denial, stiff upper lip, etc.). This keeps the mass of people from getting too rowdy and unruly to be governed by the elites. And it also legitimates the elites as being dispassionate altruistic stewards rather than parasites driven by selfish base urges like greed, lust, and gluttony.

2) Promoting harmony among varying groups in a multi-ethnic empire. This means buying off elites from peripheral groups who normally wouldn't be influenced by the imperial core, if it weren't an empire. It's both material funneling of resources to such secondary elites, as well as cultural / symbolic pluralism like honoring their regional gods (polytheistic tolerance) -- provided that everyone upholds the imperial cult. Without this buy-off, newcomer groups would chafe at being ruled by foreigners, and be a constant thorn in the side of the imperial core.

Puritans in America were just the initial material elites -- representing the mercantile and financial sectors of society, not the agricultural sector or the military sector (Southern slave-owners and martial elites, who lost the material and cultural war against the mercantile / financial Yankees).

The particular American form of wokeness is just a local version of the British imperial and Roman imperial ideology -- Stoicism and buying off exotic elites, to promote domestic social control and imperial integration.

This accounts for why American-style wokeness is not found very much in the left wings of other countries -- if they aren't multi-ethnic empires like us, they have no material reason to uphold identity politics among ethnic groups.

And if they're leading smaller-scale societies -- rather than a towering empire -- they don't have as much to prove about being responsible and virtuous. The greater the degree of wealth and power you're in control of, the greater your sense of responsibility is expected to be. If far less wealth and power is at stake, then who cares if the nation's leaders have a sweet tooth and get horny?

Trump, of course, violates both aspects of wokeness. He doesn't care about imperial integration, and regularly says he wishes we would cut loose our occupation of Germany, Italy, and NATO generally, not to mention South Korea and Japan. And he is infamous for gorging on junk food, paying pornstars to screw him, and unleashing his rage.

It's a clear signal of an empire in decline, and the elites would rather complain about the symptom, as though that could reverse the decline of the empire. The only way forward is to accept and speed up the breakdown of the empire, and enjoy having leaders like the normal, non-imperial countries have, whose private lives we won't care much about.

Lastly, this material analysis rejects the idealist / culturalist view that emphasizes the Puritans' control of the press and the academy (for a time, since overtaken by the other primary elite, Ashkenazi Jews). Control over cultural institutions stemmed from their material standing as the mercantile and financial elites, and their leading an empire toward integrating more and more exotic groups. The military may have conquered those groups in war, but the mercantile sector has to integrate them afterward, in peacetime, to keep the economic and political system well-oiled and harmonious.

August 28, 2019

Big swings in polls reflect response bias, not true change

Since nobody has remembered anything about polling from the last election, it's worth emphasizing that there is no such thing as a wild swing in polling support.

A recent Monmouth poll showed Biden dropping from his usual support of just over 30% to 19%. That had the effect of putting the frontrunner in 3rd place, behind Bernie and Warren, each of whom had 20% support.

Harris' average on Real Clear Politics was steady at 7%, then more than doubled to over 15% after the first debate where she slammed Biden over his busing record, only to tumble back to 7% after the second debate where she was the one getting slammed by Tulsi over her severely punitive record as a prosecutor.

Neither of those two changes is real, although they may reflect a subtle change in the same direction. Biden's continuing cognitive meltdown may be making some supporters less supportive -- but only by a small amount, a few points perhaps.

I reviewed this stuff during the final stage of the 2016 election, which really turned out to be important after the pussy tape made everyone think Trump was done for. He did take a little hit, but not the plunge that most polls suggested.

The only reason that wild swings show up in polls is that some people become more likely to participate, or less likely, so that you don't have a snapshot of the same overall group of people before and after some major event or series of events. This is response bias -- how willing various demographic or partisan groups are to participate in the poll in the first place.

This can only be corrected by tracking the same panel of people over time. By recruiting them for a long-haul series of polls, you're sure not to miss some group of them who might go into hiding when their preferred candidate gets womped in a debate, or to overcount some group who is eager to participate because their candidate did the womping and it got them all hyped up.

Usually these major events are debates, as in Harris' case. In reality, support for her has been constant at 7% -- the apparent pump and then dump are back-to-back illusions, due only to her two debate performances hyping up her supporters and then demoralizing them into hiding.

But in Biden's case, it could be a week or two of heavy media coverage of his brain going haywire. That will demoralize his supporters, who will be less willing to take part in the poll. They don't want to have to say, "Yeah, I support that guy whose brain is melting right before our eyes." But that doesn't mean they don't still support him, or won't wind up voting for him in the primary. Could these malfunctions cost him a couple points? Sure, but not double digits.

There's more detail in my old post, though if you want the technical analysis, read the source article by Gelman et al (2016), "The Myth of the Swing Voter".

August 26, 2019

Ethnic composition of the anti-woke left

Here's a revealing insider observation of the antagonism that the woke left levels against various white ethnic groups who are supposedly their fellow travelers on the left:

Of course, the KKK would have exempted Southern whites, and yet the woke left hates their guts as well. Nowadays, Irish, Italians, etc., find themselves targeted alongside white Southerners, so the woke-ists cannot consist of some group that itself includes white Southerners, or who are welcoming to them at any rate.

An Appendix to this post goes over the ethnic backgrounds of particular members of the anti-woke left that I'm aware of, to substantiate the point made in the tweet above. What follows is a more general discussion. For now I'll just note that Aimee Terese, our post-prog princess, is half Lebanese (Catholic) and half white Australian (similar to the rowdy Celts of the American South).

* * * * *

Wokeness is an elite class ideology, so those ethnic groups most likely to play an elite role will wield it, while those who are less likely to belong to the elite are more likely to be its targets. And it deals primarily with matters of race, ethnicity, and national origin -- namely, which groups will be allowed representation within the elite (and how is this choice to be rationalized). It only secondarily deals with gender, sexual orientation, and so on.

The two major elite ethnic groups in the US are WASPs, the original one, and Ashkenazi Jews, who joined during the Great Compression.

White Anglo-Saxon Protestants refers to those primarily in the Northeast, though also where they settled in the Midwest and West Coast (especially northern California), and generally those who came from a Puritan religious background, upper-class social stratum, and who have formed the elite going back centuries -- not Scotch-Irish hillbillies in Appalachia.

Ashkenazi Jews are those from Central and Eastern Europe, who were adapted to a professional middleman minority niche for centuries, not the ones from the Mediterranean or the Near / Middle East.

As the American empire has expanded over the past several centuries, it has like all other empires relied on buying off a number of aspiring elites from various foreign ethnic groups that the empire comes to control. Some elites from outside the Italian peninsula were given precious Roman citizenship (like Paul the Apostle). The Ottoman Empire used the millet system. And the Iranian parliament has some seats reserved for the elites of several minority groups. These are the secondary elites allowed into the upper stratum by the primary elites.

The main group bought off by the primary elites are the African-Americans, via affirmative action to promote the "talented tenth" of their group into elite positions. More and more, though, this program supposedly intended to redress slavery has come to promote elite immigrants who recently arrived from Africa (like MSNBC anchor Joy Ann Reid, whose parents are from Ghana). Members of this group have a vested interest in wokeness, hoping that they will be one of the 10% of their group who are handpicked to join the elite.

The other major group being bought off and integrated into the elite are upper-caste South Asians, mainly Indians but some Pakistanis as well, and including Hindus as well as Muslims. They wrote the book on ethnically stratified class structures, so this is not only nothing new to them -- they will be more adept at navigating it than the WASPs or Jews in the primary elites. After decades or centuries, they may even join the Jews as a new primary elite group, though I still think they're too culturally different from Americans to be considered legitimate by them as primary elites. Wokeness is central to their carving out a similar class niche as they enjoyed back in South Asia, so they will be largely in favor of the ideology.

East Asians invented standardized testing for elite positions, and their Mandarins are eager to become a talented-tenth in the US as well. They're invested in wokeness to get this set-aside.

"Hispanics" are following the same strategy, although they don't have an existing caste system like India's to furnish the talented tenth, and they don't have the African-American legacy of slavery to demand immediate representation in the elite as redress. But the basic behavior is the same: those who are smarter and lighter-skinned than their groupmates will advance themselves as leaders of their people, destined to hold on to the handful of elite spots that are carved out for their group in the interest of incorporating their people into the empire. As with the other secondary elites, wokeness creates the set-asides for their aspiring representatives, so this group will not be motivated to put an end to woke capitalism and woke imperialism.

Rather, opposition to wokeness on the left is most likely to come from the ethnic groups who have already been assimilated into the American system -- and who therefore do not need to be bought off during the current round of expansion -- but who were not exotic and foreign enough in the old days to require being bought off with set-asides back then either. And, in contrast to the Ashkenazi Jews, do not have higher average IQ that makes them more inclined toward an elite niche.

These are the non-exotic, common-people ethnic groups. The founding stock who weren't Puritanical WASPy commercial elites, more concentrated in the South than the North. And the Ellis Island groups other than the Jews -- Irish, Italian, Polish, etc.

So although the backlash from within the left itself against wokeness is mainly a class issue, it correlates enough with ethnic background to make it a cultural issue as well. Evidently, both sides on the left are aware of this -- the woke side knowing that Italians are safe targets for derision as bad whites, and the Italians speaking out (or at least privately muttering) against the anti-Italian bias from the woke-ists.

This faultline within the left, and within the Democrat party, represents a fracture of the New Deal coalition, when these groups were not only united in purpose, but were the dominant party over the Republicans.

After neoliberalism broke down the proto-socialism of the New Deal era, improving the material welfare for all groups become replaced by equal representation of ethnic groups within the elite class -- and too bad if you're from a group that gets set-asides, but you're part of the 90% that didn't get chosen as the talented tenth. This benefits only the aspiring elites within an ethnic group, not that group as a whole. Yuppies win, the majority loses. And members of those groups without specific set-asides cannot rest assured of their chances to enter the elite, making them even more wary of the new system and its ideology.

As it happens, these same groups are the ones whose defection from the Democrats swung the 2016 election to Trump, the would-be realigner who promised radical changes to the neoliberal status quo, unlike Hillary Clinton. See this recent post with data from the General Social Survey on election behavior by white ethnic groups. Italians swung the most, then the Irish, with Germans, Scandinavians, and Slavs swinging to a lesser degree but still in Trump's direction.

WASPs and Jews actually voted less Republican than usual in 2016, revealing their pro-elite and anti-populist bias, compared to the other Ellis Islander groups and to commoner founding stock like the Scotch-Irish. The anti-woke groups swung toward Trump, the pro-woke groups swung away.

That is what flipped the cities and large counties, which is how Trump won (the reservoir of rural voters was long dried up). Some of them flipped entire states -- Poles flipped Wilkes-Barre, which helped flip Pennsylvania -- while others only flipped their blue urban area without flipping the entire state (Staten Island, or Suffolk County in Long Island).

These non-exotic, common-people ethnic groups are sick and fed up with the neoliberal order, since they don't even have the chance at getting into the elite through ethnic set-asides, and they don't already belong to the primary elites of WASPs and Jews. Other minority groups may be content with neoliberalism, as long as it opens up a little more of the elite to their set-aside group. But they don't need radical change for that.

This split was seen during the 2016 Democrat primary, where the old white ethnic groups loved Bernie, while the African-Americans and Hispanics were more in favor of Clinton. Staten Island and Suffolk County were Bernie's two best counties in the NYC metro area, while he got clobbered in those with more non-white populations (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, etc.).

And that split has not gone away -- during the 2020 season, it is alive in the woke vs. anti-woke battle within the left. Already a bunch of Bernie's support in Brooklyn has defected to Warren. Those are the WASPy, Jewish, upper-caste Indian, and other model minorities and talented-tenthers who helped to elect AOC. While they have turned their backs on Bernie for Warren, the Staten Islanders, further-away Long Islanders, and even the Bayridge long-timers in Brooklyn (right across from Staten Island), will be more likely to stick by Bernie -- assuming he does not fully surrender to wokeness during this cycle.

* * * * *


I've only been reading the anti-woke left Twitter people since last November, when this battle broke outside of the leftoid echo chamber. Most importantly, Angela Nagle writing a left case against open borders, an utter taboo for the woke-ists. I don't know who all of them are, but I've got a decent feel from the ones I read and who gets retweeted by those accounts.

A person can be anti-woke in various ways, and to varying degrees. But they have to have made some overt, regular commitment against woke-ism -- not just refraining from participating in woke pile-ons.

The anti-woke side is smaller on social media than the woke side, so just about all groups will be represented on the woke side. The question is, who is bold enough to go on the anti-woke side? How lopsided is some ethnic group in siding with the woke or the anti-woke side?

I'm just looking for what info is already available online (like does their Twitter account mention being Irish, although they might not say what other groups they belong to). It's not a 23andme test, so these results may not be the whole picture, but the basic impression is clear enough.

It's striking how many of the woke-ist attackers have Anglo, German, or Scandinavian surnames (Pritchard, Soeller, Schuetz, Jensen, etc.). And just about all the Jews on the left are woke-ists. The only exceptions are partial -- Jamie Kilstein is half Jewish, and so is Anna Khachiyan. In her case, it's more her Armenian father speaking out against the woketards, than her Jewish mother. I'm not sure about Kilstein's case, I've only heard him on one podcast with Unauthorized Disclosure, on the very topic of needing to put class and empire over identity politics.

The only major exception for Germans I'm aware of is Benjamin Studebaker of the What's Left podcast. That family is Protestant in origin, too, so even more of an exception.

Below is a list of groups, and Twitter names belonging to them. They're mostly the non-exotic, common-people groups, the electoral base of the New Deal Democrats. There are only two prominent ones who I don't know for sure. Amber Frost refuses to say, but she has said at least some degree of white Appalachian, and her non-European facial features look to me more African than Asian (which is what others tend to guess). And "foolinthelotus" is from a Christian Chicagoland family, which is likely white ethnic, though not necessarily.

I don't know if Zaid Jilani and basantyagi are flukes or representative of a coming trend, but it's intriguing that among South Asian leftists in the US, it's the Muslims who are present on the anti-woke side. Usually Muslims in the US are looking to get set-asides for their group, and play the odds of getting chosen into the top 10% of their group. Perhaps it's because the Muslim caste system is less stratified in South Asia compared to the Hindu one, making Hindu Brahmins even more inclined toward woke hierarchies.

Notice that white-passing or white-"adjacent" groups like the Lebanese and Armenians are willing to go against woke-ism. They can call themselves "brown," but they pass -- Mediterranean, maybe, but not "brown". Ralph Nader is a Lebanese Christian, and no one thought he was non-white (he also refused to go along with idpol during his campaign, sticking to economics and foreign policy). And "American Top 40" DJ, and voice of Shaggy from Scooby Doo, Casey Kasem was Lebanese Druze, and nobody thought he was non-white. Presumably if there were more Persians here, they would eventually side with the Rania Khalek / Anna Khachiyan / Zaid Jilani side, against wokeness.

White Southerners



Angela Nagle (not on Twitter)



Irish / Italian

Shialabeefsteak (and German)

Irish / Polish


Italian / Polish


Slavic Catholic

nobody_stop_me (Belarusian)
LizFranczak (Polish)
toms_spectre (Polish)
kgosztola (Hungarian)

Catholic, unknown ethnicity

HillaryFan420 (?)

Armenian / Ashkenazi



aimeeterese (Catholic)
RaniaKhalek (Druze)


Zaid Jilani

Indian Muslim



Amber Frost (not on Twitter)

August 23, 2019

15-year cover song echoes: "A Whiter Shade of Pale"

Both the original by Procol Harum and cover by Annie Lennox are from a manic phase of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle (1967 and 1995). Both are slow songs, showing that "manic" does not mean constantly bouncing around in a frenzy, but sometimes feeling carefree and almost invincible -- as opposed to the refractory period feeling of the vulnerable phase, or the return to normal energy levels during the warm-up phase.

This pair also fits into a pattern that I've discussed before, one with very few examples. That is, a mellower cover of an intense original -- but using more synthetic instrumentation than the original, rather than more acoustic. The usual move is to switch from electronic to acoustic in order to reinforce the mellower interpretation (e.g., the "Unplugged" era of the 1990s).

Here, the original is not fully acoustic, but it does have a piano, and sounds more naturalistic at any rate compared to the distinctly more synth-y and danceable cover version. You'd think the synthetic timbre and danceability would be reinforcing a higher-energy interpretation of the original, but it's much more mellow -- a pleasing surprise.

August 21, 2019

Political junkies are all busty women and boob men

I've had a hunch about this for awhile, but three posts today drove the point home (here, here, and here). Political junkies are either busty women or the boob men who are drawn to them, rather than what you'd see in the population at large -- some boob men and some ass men, some buxom women and some bootylicious women.

Those three are from the anti-woke part of the Left, but you see the same boob orientation on the Right, where they're fixated on AOC and Ben Shapiro's sister (e.g., here, and the MAGA grifter women who show off their front rather than backside).

The only ones from Twitter who I recall carrying some meat in the seat are "haramgirlfriend" and "as_a_woman". But they're both busty, too, so it's not such an exception to the rule. And most of their reply guys focus on their boobs, not their asses. I don't read many accounts, so there could be others, but the basic point remains. I can't think of one who is a member of the IBTC, while having curvaceous hips-ass-and-thighs, which is a common body type.

You see this with political figures as well: the majority of junkies obsess over AOC's chest, while Tulsi's apple bottom goes sadly unnoticed.

The only place I've seen ass appreciation is in the subreddit for Cumtown, but then they're the least strictly political. Some of the Chapo Trap House hosts use "PAWG," though only ironically, as far as I can tell. (If they really are ass men, they're using an ironic tone to cover that up, being surrounded by boob men in their social / online circles.)

In what way is the political junkie world unusual, so that it's far more boob-oriented than the ordinary world? Not something that distinguishes Left from Right, since this holds across the ideological spectrum.

The main difference to me seems to be cerebral vs. corporeal, with cerebrals being boob people and corporeals being ass people. Wanting to engage in online discourse all day long could not be any less kinesthetic of an activity, compared to wanting to work with tools / crafts, play sports, or go out dancing.

The link is how animalistic their inclinations are -- using tools, physically playing around, and dancing are found throughout the animal kingdom, where the default sexual position is from behind, hence the focus on the hips-ass-and-thighs. Symbolic language, abstract concepts, logical arguments, rhetorical tricks, irony, meta-ness, etc., are uniquely human, as are the face-to-face sexual positions, and the focus on the front-facing body parts.

August 19, 2019

Elizabeth Warren is 2016 Ted Cruz, a cosplay insurgent attacking the populist realigner, a polarizing culture warrior with no broad appeal

As Warren continues to rise in the Democrat primary polls, while Bernie stagnates or declines, it's worth emphasizing what her role is. Quite simply, she is the Democrat version of Ted Cruz from the 2016 GOP primaries -- a total insider and supporter of the status quo, but who has branded themselves as a rebel who will take on the system. Their purpose is to eclipse the actual realigner candidate, who is running on a populist platform with broad appeal, as opposed to the polarizing culture war platform of the pseudo-rebel.

The What's Left? podcast has been covering this relationship of Warren to Bernie for months. Warren's faux populism is detailed in this excerpt by Aimee Terese:

I pointed out the need for the Sandernistas to keep Warren out of the primary, back in January 2018, after the complete failure of the Trump realignment meant that Independent populists had to look to the other populist realigner to pursue their goals -- El Bernarino. Warren would only confuse matters and split much of the vote away from him:

Zogby polling for potential candidates shows Bernie with a solid 10-15 point advantage over Warren, as of late 2017. So the first move is to persuade Warren not to run, and better yet to endorse Bernie early on to solidify his status as the only populist candidate...

So please, let's encourage as many Oprah Winfreys, Mark Cubans, and Mark Zuckerbergs to run as possible [to split up the Establishment vote]. And lean on Warren to not run herself, if she were considering it, rather than split up the populist / progressive team.

Obviously that effort failed, if Bernie's people took it to begin with. Now we're seeing a repeat of the 2016 GOP primary, where the conservative media were either in the tank for Cruz, or at most said they "liked both" Cruz and Trump, to not alienate their audience. Now the lefty media, both MSNBC and Jacobin alike, are either 100% committed to Warren and glibly dismissing Bernie, or are at most saying "we like both," so that they hold together as much of their customer base as possible.

The only problem is that the Democrat voters are much bigger pussies than the Republicans were in 2016, and are pissing their diapers at the thought of taking down the rigged system and putting something better in its place. Liberals would rather troll the conservatives, even if it means losing again. As the opposition of this historical era (going back to 1980), they are used to being the losers -- so why not at least make the enemy miserable, to not feel so pathetic in certain defeat?

Well, the libtards may be content with Warren -- eager, in fact -- but what will non-partisans think about her? Especially ones who were pedal-to-the-metal populists last time? Why don't we just ask one -- me from 2016.

As early as April 2016, I wanted a Trump / Sanders unity ticket, mainly for ideological coherence (realigning the system out of neoliberalism, into something populist, and dropping the culture war as a political issue). But also for strategic value -- Bernie could've helped Trump rack up bigger wins in the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Pacific Northwest, while Trump would shore up Bernie's abysmal performance in the Deep South and Florida. I said that would defeat an Establishment unity ticket of Clinton / Cruz, even allowing Texas to go for the status quo choice.

Before Trump, the last person I voted for was Ralph Nader in 2000, the first time I could vote. If I'd have been old enough and thinking politically, I would've voted for Perot in '92 (my mother's side of the family was really into him).

A hardcore Trump supporter (at least back in 2016), who wanted Sanders as the running mate, and whose only prior vote was for Nader -- if that person doesn't resonate with Warren, none of the other Independent populists will.

And resonate she did not -- I vaguely approved of her before, but came to bitterly despise her during the 2016 season, when she went all-in for Crooked Hillary over Bernie. She turned into Hillary Clinton's even more annoying Mini-Me.

Right after Warren endorsed Clinton (various comments to this post):

That's basically what sellout pseudo-prog Pocahontas Warren said in her endorsement of Crooked Hillary -- other people's lives are on the line, so the Bernie voters can't in good conscience vote 3rd party, write in Bernie, or stay home. If they don't fall in line behind the Wall Street warhawk, they've got innocent people's blood on their hands. Very subtle, very persuasive...

It's waking up a lot of well-meaning progs to the fact that supposed icons like Pocahontas Warren never were progressive, but were only putting on an act -- kind of like Ted Cruz pretending to be an outsider fighting for the little guy, when his roots are in the Dubya administration and Goldman Sachs...

Warren et al. are not progressives -- they don't give a damn about providing a more generous or secure social safety net, let alone bringing back good-paying jobs for those who are chronically relying on welfare. Instead, they only want to grandstand about their superior moral values, rather than do anything about the problem.

Later in July:

One of the party-wide changes this season has been the unmasking of supposed fellow travelers in the media, who now stand as bald-faced shills for the Establishment, against their populist-craving audience. For the Democrats, it began with Elizabeth Warren and then Rachel Maddow, right as Hillary clinched the nomination.

And while live-blogging their Convention (comments from here):

Michelle, Warren, Booker... Christ, this coalition.

Sassy mammies, naggin' grannies, and prolapsed fannies

Last time around, the Bernie delegates booed the hell out of Bernie himself when he endorsed the neoliberal Establishment candidate and told them all to vote for her to stop Trump. This time around, will they bother boo-ing? So many have become crippled by Trump Derangement Syndrome, they may actually cheer Bernie on as he says to forget all about populism, and vote for the Joe Biden / Bill Kristol ticket, because the specter of white nationalism is simply too menacing to focus on mundane economic issues for the foreseeable future.

Since Bernie will not get the nomination, the worst he could do is to allow himself and his supporters to be folded back into the neoliberal status quo, on the most risible grounds imaginable ("it's always going to be Germany in the 1930s"). He might as well go down fighting and martyr himself for the populist cause (figuratively speaking, to any feds listening in). He'll live on as a legend and inspiration, rather than fade out into obscurity.

He should not follow Trump in cucking to the Establishment -- look at how bitterly hated Trump has made himself even among his own voters, for refusing to fight for his platform upon taking office, and becoming just another generic Republican piece of shit. Not to mention what the other side will think of you no matter what -- at least make them respect you as a fighter.

That goes for Bernie's supporters as well -- if the neolib Establishment is intent on wiping out your faction, you have to be willing to take them down with you. Otherwise your loss is their gain -- your loss must be their loss too.

August 17, 2019

Taylor Swift lezzes out to late '80s singer-songwriters with "The Archer" and "Lover"

Earlier posts here and here have looked at the regular appearance of the dream pop genre during the vulnerable, refractory phase of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle, among both indie and mainstream artists.

"Delicate" by Taylor Swift comes pretty close to fitting into this pattern, but doesn't have enough of an instrumental drone, or vocal echoes / self harmony, to fully qualify. However, a new non-single song "The Archer" does (from her upcoming album). This is the final year of the current vulnerable phase (late 2010s), so it's just sneaking in before closing time at the emo bar.

Her new single, "Lover", is another good fit to the current mellow and vulnerable atmosphere. Between the two of them, I pick up vibes from a previous vulnerable phase -- the late '80s. Especially the singer-songwriters who were actual lesbians, or were popular among them: "Sweet Jane" by Cowboy Junkies (itself a phase-matching cover of a Velvet Underground song from the early '70s vulnerable phase), "Baby Can I Hold You" by Tracy Chapman, and even a little hint of "Rockin' Back Inside Your Heart" by Julee Cruise (or similar Angelo Badalamenti tune for David Lynch).

Taylor Swift is a closeted lesbian herself (her last girlfriend being Karlie Kloss), so it's natural for her to channel those vibes. It is unusual, though, for such a babyfaced lipstick lesbian to do so. She could use them to pivot toward a more mature audience during the upcoming restless, warm-up phase, which will echo the early '90s. That's when people are worn out of being worn out, and are intent on overcoming whatever vulnerable state they had just been in.

I could easily see her covering -- or at least channeling -- songs by lesbian / androgynous artists from the early '90s, like "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" by Sophie B. Hawkins or "Why" by Annie Lennox. These are not about letting yourself drown in vulnerability, but about rebuilding yourself or finding new confidence after being so beaten down during the vulnerable phase. It remains to be seen, though, if Millennials can pull off a mature persona.

These singer-songwriter tunes from Taylor Swift remind me of a photo shoot she did for Wonderland at the very end of the last manic phase, as it was about to shift into the current vulnerable phase (late 2014). These were included in an earlier post covering the revival of intimate portraits during the vulnerable phase. No matter how many times I see them, I still can't believe that's her. She's so smolderingly dark and hot, whereas she normally comes off as a libido-less lipstick lezzie. Maybe it's that these songs are about taking the risk of exposing herself, rather than hide behind her closeted persona. Whatever it is, they go very well together.

"The Archer"


August 14, 2019

Dem running mates are more right-wing than nominee, so Biden's will be a Never Trump Republican

With the fragmenting of Bernie's coalition from 2015-'16 -- some going for Warren, some for Biden, some for the nobodies -- it's guaranteed he won't be the nominee this time around either.

For a year or so, I've been hammering the theme of this election cycle being a repeat of the frustrated realignment of 1856, at the end of the Jacksonian era, when the opposition (Whigs) split into a realigning party (the GOP, for abolition of slavery) and a status quo party (American, Constitutional Union, etc., against abolition).

Typically, an ineffectual end-of-an-era president like Trump (or Carter, or Hoover) gets replaced by a realigner from the opposition party, which then becomes the new dominant party and establishes a whole new historical era. Carter was replaced by Reagan, who ended the New Deal and inaugurated neoliberalism. Hoover was replaced by FDR, who ended the Progressive Era and inaugurated the New Deal.

So after Trump's one term, that's it, right? Not so fast -- with polarization as strong as it was just before the Civil War, we're getting a fragmentation at every level of political organization. The two major parties are polarized, factions are polarized within a single party, camps are polarized within a single faction, all the way down until only micro-cliques are left that show basic solidarity within themselves.

With no organized, cohesive opposition to the status quo -- indeed, with a major faction of the opposition running on a solidly status quo platform -- there will be no dethroning of the dominant party and its era this time around. Maybe after the next recession / depression, that will force the opposition to get its act together and come up with something radically different.

I think most Bernie supporters have accepted the high probability that he won't get the nomination, and that one of the status quo candidates will -- literally anyone other than Bernie, including Warren. She was such a defiant neoliberal Reaganite that she only switched to the opposition in 1996, after Clinton had a proven track record for destroying the New Deal.

What will be hard for them to imagine -- but which they must steel themselves for in advance, so that they don't get wiped out later -- is that Biden's running mate will not be a populist, socialist, left-winger, progressive, or whatever, as an appeasement to the Bernie supporters to keep them on board for the general election.

On the contrary, he will be further to the Republican side than Biden himself -- and given how staunchly neoliberal and militaristic Biden's record has been, that leaves little room for anyone other than a Never Trump Republican.

This issue always comes up during Democrat primaries, and the dumb left-wingers never, ever learn. So let's review the history.

2016: Hillary's running-mate was Kaine, further to her right. NOT Bernie, or anyone close.

2008, '12: Obama's running-mate was Biden, further to his right. NOT Kucinich etc.

2004: Kerry's running-mate was Edwards, further to his right. NOT Dean or similar.

2000: Gore's running-mate was Lieberman, the furthest right of any Democrat. NOT Bradley, Nader, or anyone like that. Zombie Biden may well dig up zombie Lieberman's corpse as his running mate.

1992, '96: Clinton's running-mate was Gore, further to his right. NOT Jerry Brown or another liberal. In the early '90s, Gore was not an environmental activist -- he was most distinctive for being one of a few Democrat traitors who voted for Bush's Gulf War. And his wife, the would-be Second Lady, was the head of the Parents Music Resource Center -- the busybodies who forced the "Parental Advisory" stickers on album covers. She was to the right of Hillary.

1988: Dukakis' running-mate was Bentsen, further to his right. NOT Jesse Jackson.

1984: Mondale's running-mate was Ferraro, further to his right. NOT Jesse Jackson. Mondale was a Minnesota New Deal liberal, Ferraro was a moderate-to-conservative who had made her brand NOT being a bleeding-heart liberal.

You have to go all the way back to 1976 to find a running-mate to the left of the nominee -- Minnesota liberal Mondale as the running-mate for conservative Southerner Carter. They were chosen again in '80, as incumbents.

Of course, 1976 was still the New Deal era, when the Democrats were the dominant party. Ever since Reagan won in 1980 and realigned the system into neoliberalism, the opposition Democrats have used their running-mate to try to placate the voters of the dominant party who are closest to them -- potential swing voters -- and not those who are within their own party, but further away from the dominant party (anyone to the left of Dukakis, Clinton, et al.).

Republicans in the Reagan era can afford to choose more extreme figures for their running mates -- Palin, Cheney, Pence (more conservative than Trump), etc. They're in the dominant party, so they'll win just by inertia. Putting up a ghoul like Cheney isn't going to rub off on Bush, who most will see as Reagan's inheritor, and most voters wanted more of Reaganism in the 2000s.

Since we're still stuck in the neoliberal era, the Democrats will not select a running-mate for Biden who is to his left, but one to his right, who might coax some Republican swing voters over to the Democrats' side. Because the Democrats are rejecting populism, and insisting on elitist austerity, they will not try to coax over the legions of Trump voters who might give Bernie a chance for his populist and anti-militarist stances (two of Trump's signature issues from 2016).

Nope: they're going to try to lure a handful of socially liberal or moderate yuppie suburban Republicans who chafe at Trump's tone, "the tweeting," up-ending of norms, making Republicans look racist and xenophobic and bla bla bla. If you don't want Trump's stink on you, make the change to Biden and -- who, exactly, will entice them? Joe and Joe! Biden / Lieberman 2020. If not that, then some Never Trump Republican.

That brings us back to 1856 -- the presidential nominee for the status quo faction of the opposition was the most recent president for the opposition, Millard Fillmore. His closest counterpart today is Obama, but he's term-limited, so his second-in-command will have to do -- Biden it will be.

Fillmore's running mate was not someone further away from the dominant party (the Jacksonian Democrats, controlled by Southern plantation slaveholders), such as someone from the abolitionist faction of the opposition. Hell no, they wanted a bipartisan unity ticket, and chose a former operative from their enemy's party, Andrew Donelson. He was mainly involved in the Jacksonian Democrats' media organizations.

If the parallel holds this time, that would mean someone who was an operative for the Reaganite GOP, mainly in the media sphere, and who would defect from that party -- but not to realign the system, only to ensure the status quo. Some anti-populist, anti-Trump Republican from the neocon media -- Bill Kristol? Max Boot? They're common enough figures on liberal media, Democrat voters might actually recognize their names.

At any rate, whether it's Biden / Lieberman or Biden / Kristol, the Sandernistas had better be prepared to burn down whatever remains of the Democrat party after this election cycle, just as the abolitionists killed off the Whig party and founded a new one, the GOP, to pursue realignment. They must also be prepared to welcome aboard those legions of populist, anti-militarist Trump voters -- otherwise they've got less than nothing, no takeover of their own major party, and no defections from the other party.

None of that will happen by the 2020 election, so like the end of the Jacksonian era, the end of the Reaganite era will last for two unbearable back-to-back terms, not just the usual one. (Trump is not going to be the nominee, as documented here before. It doesn't matter who it is instead -- everyone in the GOP is a Reaganite, after the failed populist insurgency of Trump's 2016 campaign.)

Bernie supporters should carry out the rest of this cycle's work with an eye beyond it, toward the 2024 realignment, when they will be better able to kill off the Democrat neoliberal establishment, and convert legions of populist Trump voters.

They can start by telling their fellow libs to STFU about crying racism, white supremacy, fascism, Nazism, etc., whenever someone puts the American masses' welfare over integrating the entire globe into an American-run empire-and-labor-market. Nothing could be more contrary to populism, and alienating of potential defectors.

August 11, 2019

Epstein in the bigger picture

The elites have killed off Jeffrey Epstein to protect their own reputations -- formally and in the precise details -- informally and big-picture, people already know what's going on.

I'm not interested in the Epstein case for its own sake, but rather how it relates to other topics I've covered over the past several years. So in lieu of a comprehensive and definitive post, below is a loosely structured series of remarks on the case as it relates to broader topics.


Mostly it's the Right who are following the case, since it straightforwardly advances their party's interests against its rivals. Almost all of the criminality and shadiness in the Epstein orbit was from the Left / liberals / Democrats. The only exception on the Left are the diehard Bernie realignment supporters, since they too want to see the Democrat establishment blown apart.

But this partisanship means nothing will be done about it. Something this big needs broad bipartisan support, and right now it's a large chunk of socially conservative Republicans and a small minority of Bernie Democrats. Even combined, that's too small to achieve anything.

Social conservatives can't even get their own party's politicians to uphold basic sexual morality, forget anything bigger -- the Reaganite Supreme Court defended internet pornography, struck down sodomy laws, and sanctified gay marriage, while the New Deal era was famous for moral censorship of movies, TV, music, and comic books, vice squads breaking up gatherings at gay bars (Stonewall), and so on and so forth.

And Bernie Democrats have yet to reverse the sanctification of deviance among their fellow Democrats. So far, they are deferring to the "do anything" sexual morality, and minimizing their concerns about the exploitation of the weak by the powerful. Once you go with laissez-faire sexual morality, you're committed to libertarian outcomes like obscenely wealthy elites buying underage girls from poor countries to sexually traffic them among fellow elite members in the first world. Hey, "no one held a gun to their heads"...

In order for there to be bipartisan action about a large-scale public sex scandal involving underage victims, the perpetrators would have to be enemies of both sides, perhaps in different ways. The last such event was the revelations during the early 2000s about the Catholic church's abuse of underage boys, mostly from the '70s and '80s. The Left hated organized religion, and the Right hated the particular church -- Catholic rather than Protestant, and representing Ellis Islanders rather than founding stock. That combined pressure caused the organization to conduct a massive internal review, which was made public, and the awareness of that scandal persists to this day on both sides of the spectrum.

So far, the organizations of the Right that are just as responsible for covering up widespread sexual abuse of minors, have emerged unscandalized and unscathed, because there was no buy-in from the Right on the attack.

The most notorious is the Boy Scouts, whose abuse was part of the broader trend during the '70s and '80s. During the early 2010s, the LA Times spent enormous amounts of media capital exposing the full extent of this abuse, making troves of original documents freely available online. But there was almost zero mainstream conservative / Right / GOP interest in this story, because they like the Boy Scouts in general. They may not like homosexuals serving as scoutmasters, but that's not inherent to the institution, which they fundamentally like and trust, leading the Right to circle the wagons around their own organized cover-up of homosexual underage abuse.

And it's a joke to imagine that none of the Protestant churches had a similar record to the Catholic church during the '70s and '80s. But again, the Right fundamentally likes and trusts these institutions, so they'll see any abuse of underage boys, and organized cover-up thereof, as a regrettable anomaly and not something inherent to it. That would leave only the Left that hates all organized religion as the ones who'd be interested in abuse among Evangelicals or Mainliners.

Sectors within elite society

The elite is not a uniform class on a material level, so it is not uniform on a cultural level either. Some sectors of the elite gain their wealth from overseeing activity that is labor-intensive, and other sectors from activity that is informational and not labor-intensive. The labor-intensive sectors are moral conservatives, the informational sectors are moral liberals.

This difference in the forms of economic activity within the elites, and the correlated difference in moral worldviews, gives rise to the informational sectors being more prone to sex abuse scandals like the Epstein case, the Weinstein case, etc. And why so many in academia -- but not so many in military contracting -- are implicated in Epstein's crimes.

That's the best way to explain the Jewish angle in all these cases -- they cluster in the informational sectors (high verbal rather than visual IQ, cerebral rather than corporeal), and will be over-represented in the evil done by such sectors. But so will the gentiles who are involved in those sectors, or their political vehicles like the Democrat and Labour parties -- Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and so on.

The material sectors are not dominated by Jews, so any evil done there will reflect poorly on the Celtic and Germanic groups who dominate them. Rapes by the military stationed in Okinawa -- not Jews. Groping the immigrant peasant women who work on industrial-sized farms in Kansas -- not Jews. Texans trading underage boys with fellow oil barons from the Gulf -- not Jews.

The only solid Republican who is squarely involved in Epstein's crimes is Les Wexner, magnate of the Victoria's Secret (etc.) empire. Wexner's business is industrial-scale manufacturing, which means he supports Republicans, primarily so they can sign de-industrializing trade bills that allow his company to off-shore production to cheap labor colonies in the third world. Labor-intensive businesses have a vested interest in lowering the cost of labor. And yet, here he is mixed up with informational-sector elites. Why?

Because the Victoria's Secret fashion show, the Angels models, etc., made an interface between the media / entertainment sector (informational) and the manufacturing sector. Blind Gossip's insider source says that the VS models were among those who sexually served Epstein's clients, although it's unclear whether those models were underage or the more famous older ones.

This also explains why Trump ever got mixed up with Epstein. Contrary to widespread belief, Trump is not one of the rare Republicans who is linked to Epstein, and his link does not support a "both sides" argument. Trump only registered as a Republican in the early 2010s (after a stint as GOP during the '80s), preparing for his 2016 campaign. During the period of Epstein's underage sex trafficking ring, Trump was either Reform party, Independent, or Democrat (he publicly called for Speaker Pelosi to impeach President Bush, on CNN in the late 2000s, over the Iraq War).

And during the 2000s, Trump was not involved in the material sectors -- he was only a real estate developer back in the '80s, and gave it up after the early '90s recession wiped him out. He then pivoted to media / entertainment, and became the star of The Apprentice, and made big bucks by licensing out that media brand to actual real estate developers (and water bottlers, steak producers, etc.). During the Epstein years, Trump was a non-Republican from the media industry, who got Bill and Hillary -- not George W. and Laura -- to attend his wedding. He fit right in with the others in that world.

Still, I doubt that Trump did anything with the underage girls. His sexual deviances have been well known for a long time, and no one ever said he wanted to pay for or otherwise coerce young / underage girls into sex. He definitely gets off on pursuing socially taboo sexual targets -- his friends' wives, pornstars / Playboy bunnies, and most notoriously, his incestuous desires toward Ivanka. That's the only underage girl he's ever given a bad touch to, though desiring her because she was his daughter, not because she was underage.

Elite initiation ritual, or supplying demand?

On the general topic of elites having sex with underage boys and girls, in an organized and institutionalized fashion, there are two main explanations. The first is that the elites do not really want to have sex with underage people, but submit to doing so in order to assure their fellow elites that there now exists sufficient blackmail material that they can be trusted within the elite circle. It's an initiation ritual to cement trust within the in-group. The second is that the elites are guided by overweening ambition, given to an unusual degree of sin and perversion, and use their high degree of wealth, power, and influence to get what they want, even if it's not legal.

I favor the second, since initiation rituals are rare in frequency (usually one-time only), intense, and painful for the initiate. Getting jumped into a gang, getting hazed into a college fraternity, jacking off while sealed in a coffin to get into Skull & Bones (or whatever it is they do), and so on and so forth. In primitive societies, initiation rites may involve getting kidnapped without warning, beaten down, having to sexually service the older high-status males, and the like.

With the Epstein case and related cases, the events are periodic and ongoing, not rare or one-time only. They appear to be garden-variety sexual encounters, aside from the underage of the boy / girl -- not some incredibly intense sensation like getting the shit beaten out of you. High-intensity would be all-day orgies or some Rome-in-decline level decadence. And it doesn't seem painful for the "initiate" -- they seem to be eager participants who are getting pleasure out of it.

And it's not clear what organization or institution they're being initiated into -- "the elites" doesn't work, since they're elite by their wealth, power, or influence. Initiation is always into a particular gang, a particular fraternity, a particular secret society, a particular boarding school, a particular church, a particular monastic order. Commonalities can be found across all of these institutions, but they also come with their particulars to distinguish membership in their group as opposed to a rival group.

What is the organization that the Epstein activities are initiating the clients into, as opposed to some other elite organization with similar yet distinctive rituals? There's no answer.

So then we go with the "supplying demand" explanation. It could not be more obvious how sinful our elites are, and how willing they are to use their wealth, power, and influence to get what they want, legal or not.

This also explains why we didn't see such things during the New Deal era. We had elites back then, but they did not pursue hyper-competitiveness and laissez-faire -- they had bad memories of the near explosion of all societies by hyper-ambitious elites circa 1920. JFK had an affair with Marilyn Monroe, but did not retain the services of a sex trafficker of underage girls. Elites reined in their sins and ambitions more. Someone should look into the elites of the Gilded Age and the Fin de Siecle, who were more degenerate.

And yet there were still elite initiation rituals during the New Deal era, for fraternities, secret societies, churches, monastic orders, and so on and so forth. As usual, they were rare, intense, and painful.

Any theory of what's behind the Epstein-type sex rings needs to also explain why there was no such thing during the New Deal, and only the "supplying demand" explanation works there.

This also explains why Epstein-style revelations are doing so much to destroy the public's trust in the elites. If it were only a bizarre initiation ritual, we'd just write it off as the goofy stuff that weird elites get up to, to make themselves feel special. We would look down on their behavior, but not on the institutions they represent or control.

The public can tell that it's not just some initiation ritual -- can't you just beat the shit out of each other, or starve each other, or make each other clean up filth? That's how the institutions do it that the public still trusts -- the military, frats, churches, etc. Having sex with underage boys and girls? Uh, why do you need to do that in order to join the organization? Sounds more like you actually want to participate in that, knowing it's illegal.

So the public concludes that this Epstein stuff is just the elites abusing their wealth and power to satisfy their own individual sins, even if they're illegal, rather than pursue the collective welfare. That destroys our trust in them, in a way that their undergoing an initiation ritual does not.

Other topics in the comments

Those are the three big topics I've discussed over the years, and that relate to the Epstein case. But if I think of anything else, I'll write it up in the comments section.