January 28, 2020

MeToo moral panic officially dead, as theme of rape / trauma disappears, leaving only generic non-physical "sexism"

About a year ago, I noted that MeToo was winding down during the final year of the vulnerable emo phase of the excitement cycle. The refractory state that people are in during the vulnerable phase makes them hyper-sensitive to unwanted social contact, and primes them to resonate with the theme of unwanted attention or contact, or with victimization in general.

The hysterics were trying to MeToo Bernie at the very end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 -- not by accusing him directly of sexual assault, but by airing accusations against former staffers and aides of his, insinuating that the leader had a culture of sexual harassment and violence in his political operation. Then they went after Biden for being a handsy creeper who had a pattern of unwanted sexual touching toward female staffers.

Neither of those attacks stuck, which showed that the hysteria was dying down, but not over with -- after all, the mainstream press spent multiple news cycles stoking the theme of rape.

By now, as we enter the warm-up phase of the excitement cycle, the hysteria is over with altogether, and before long a full-on backlash will erupt. The latest round of attacks relating to the battle of the sexes was Lyin' Liz lying that Bernie said he didn't think a woman could be elected president. There is not even a tangential aspect of rape, physical harassment, touching, trauma, invasion of personal space, or any related part of the overall theme.

The lying press, including half or more of the left, have tried to smear Bernie indirectly by pointing to politically incorrect statements made by Joe Rogan, who has only said positive things about Bernie and Tulsi during this electoral season, and whose favorable comments the Bernie campaign put into a video clip. But they didn't involve the theme of rape or any physical harm by men against women.

If anything, Rogan's "problematic" statement was anti-rape in theme, as he said he didn't want men dressed as women to fight in the mixed martial arts ring against actual women. Anyone claiming that cross-dressing men should have the right to pummel a woman's skull in, against her desire (she would only want to fight other women), are clearly the women-haters and rape apologists.

But that doesn't matter, because identity politics is for elites only -- and culturally liberal elites have decided that tranny degeneracy, up to the point of allowing someone with male hormones and muscle to beat the living shit out of a woman, are to be sanctified by woke norms, and that the collective protection of women from violent men must be sacrificed if necessary.

In any case, neither Rogan himself nor his legions of listeners were accused of physical harassment or sexual violence. They were smeared with generic accusations of toxic masculinity, sexism, problematic beliefs about women, etc.

By this point in the excitement cycle, the feminazis have realized that the theme of rape does not resonate anymore with a morally panicked audience. So they have to fall back on all-purpose accusations that someone does not adhere to woke gender norms. OK, BFD then. They can impotently hector us all they want at this point, but it won't be an outright witch hunt that is feeding and being fed by a morally panicked mob.

This reflects the normalization of our energy levels -- they are no longer plunged into the refractory state, but are returning to baseline, albeit not rocketing off onto another spike just yet. We are only entering the warm-up phase now, not the manic phase, which will hit during the late 2020s. Not being hyper-sensitive to unwanted contact anymore, we aren't marks for appeals to protection from unwanted violation of physical privacy. If you don't want to be touched, reject the person or go somewhere else or whatever -- it's not going to overload your nervous system and be the end of your life.

In this new "back to baseline" state, we don't feel the need for a savior to swoop in and rescue us from all the would-be rapists out there. This will generalize into no longer feeling the need for saviors in general to deliver us from would-be victimizers -- and that will end the leftist bubble since roughly 2015, as well as the Trumpist bubble of the same time. But that's a topic for a separate post.

(In the meantime, see here for an analysis of these leftist "savior for the victims" bubbles occurring during the vulnerable phase of the cycle, and then evaporating after that phase is done with.)

January 27, 2020

Updates on transition out of vulnerable phase of 15-year cultural excitement cycle

Maybe it's just around here, but public spaces have been absolutely DEAD since sometime between Christmas and New Year's, or a solid month already. Regardless of which type of public space, typical demographic that uses it, time of day, weather, or anything else. I've never seen everywhere so deserted all at once and for weeks on end. And the handful of people who are there are making for a very low-energy atmosphere.

At first I thought this might mean the vulnerable emo phase is merely extending into the first calendar year of the next phase, the restless warm-up phase when people come out of their cocoons. Certainly the timing doesn't have to get right down to the changing of the calendar year. So maybe this is just a final bottoming out of the "leave me alone" attitude that has grown steadily since about 2015.

However, this seems like a qualitatively different state -- not just a higher quantitative degree of the kind of emo, withdrawn, refractory behavior of the previous 5 years. It's like people have ended the refractory phase, but in order to fully come back out into the open with a new pro-social attitude, they need to go into a brief chrysalis and then emerge after a metamorphosis. Over-sensitive juvenile emos, no more -- now, socially open adolescent or adult types.

This kind of social cocoon is not to fend off stimuli that might overload the nervous system of someone in a refractory state. It is to protect them while they undergo a metamorphosis, from an immature to mature form. Why can't they be disturbed, why do they require seemingly total isolation for at least weeks and perhaps months on end?

Maybe there's so much re-wiring of their mental and physical programming, that they simply can't function well in normal social situations, which would require a stable set of programming, not one in major flux. Plus, a torrent of social stimuli would interrupt that re-wiring process by making their minds and bodies pay attention to incoming external stimuli, instead of devoting all resources to the internal re-wiring process.

It's like closing a store to the public for days, weeks, or months while it's being re-modeled or re-developed. You don't merely allow fewer-than-usual customers inside -- if the plumbing, wiring, HVAC, etc., are being torn up and re-built, you can't have any customers at all putting demands on those systems. They'll have to come back in awhile, when all the changes have been made and the systems are back online in new-and-improved form.

Unfortunately I can't reflect on what happened the last time the cycle changed from vulnerable to warm-up phase. I was living in Barcelona for the first months of 2005, and I was not part of the usual social climate there, being an ex-pat who'd been there less than a year. I did, however, notice major changes by the summer of 2005, when I was back in America, compared to the early 2000s, and that shift only became more pronounced throughout the rest of the late 2000s.

So perhaps this chrysalis stage will last through the winter and/or spring, and be finally done away with when the warm weather returns with the mating season? We'll have to wait and see. Hopefully it's sooner rather than later.

I'm also not clear on whether this affects the mass-market pop culture that so closely reflects the changes in the excitement cycle. I'd have to look at the first months of 2005 for the Billboard charts or something -- not just the #1's (which Wikipedia does have), but the new entries into the Hot 100 (the #1's have generally been out for awhile by the time they hit the top). And Billboard doesn't have that info on their site.

I have noticed that the radio has remained heavily emo in tone -- almost more so than last year. That's true for stations that play more upbeat music, and from earlier decades -- I've never heard so much late '80s soft rock on the stations that usually play happy manic-phase music. Contempo stations are relying on the emo tunes of the past 5 years still, rather than trying to hype up the brand new stuff, whatever it is.

You'd think after the new year, they'd want to make a clean break. But they're doubling down on emo for the time being. If their audiences have entered a final chrysalis, it would only make sense for the radio stations serving them to do so as well.

The first clear test will be Dua Lipa's upcoming single "Physical," to be released on January 31. The restless warm-up phase is characterized by dance crazes, and a disco-oriented social-cultural atmosphere. There was proto-disco in the early '60s, original disco in the late '70s, neo-disco in the early '90s, neo-neo-disco during the late 2000s, and soon neo-neo-neo-disco in the early 2020s.

There were a couple initial moves in this direction late last year with "Don't Start Now" by Dua Lipa and "Say So" by Doja Cat (currently climbing the Hot 100). But these aren't such a clear break with the mellow, dreamy, emo phase and its start-and-stop rhythms for dance music. We need to hear something like "Hung Up" by Madonna, which didn't come out until October of the first year of the warm-up phase. It could always come earlier this time around -- but you'll know it when you hear it. And so far, we haven't heard it.

Dua Lipa modeled the cover for her upcoming single on the cover of Madonna's 2005 album that "Hung Up" comes from, so let's hope there's musical similarity as well, and we can kick off the neo-neo-neo-disco era already.

January 23, 2020

Aimee Terese's Tom Petty-inspired medley

Just a little serenade below Aimee Terese's barred window in Twitter jail, from tribute band Tom Petty and the Hot-Takers. (Who better for inspiring earnest reply-guy melodies?) We'll find some way to break you out, but to keep our anti-woke left princess in good spirits in the meantime...

Only had the patience to do one full song, the rest are passages assembled together in a medley.

* * *


Well she was an Australian girl
Sick of Pocahontases
She couldn't help noticing there
Was a populist desire, outside the left

After all there was the groypers' world
With alienation to undo
Yeah if she got crucified trying, she
Had one alliance she was gonna seek

Logged on
Have a Red Bull baby
Gonna post all night (gonna post all night)
She was an Australian girl

A silent Super Tuesday night
She sat alone with her laptop screen
Yeah she could see the votes roll in
Out on 538: Joe's wall remained unbreached

And for one desperate moment there
She crept back in their memories
God it's so black-pilled, when Soc-Dem is so close
And still so far out of reach

Logged on
Have a Red Bull baby
Gonna post all night (gonna post all night)
She was an Australian girl

* * *


We don't
To simp for the DSA
Don't have to simp
For the DSA

No we don't
To simp for the DSA
Don't have to simp
For the DSA

* * *


Realigning is the hardest part
Every day you mute one more 'tard
They deal in bad faith
They deal in bleeding hearts
Realigning is the hardest part

* * *


Now all the vampires at the anarchist rally
Move left down Weird Twitter Boulevard
And all the radlibs are lurking in the group chat
And the good posts are flagged by woketards

Now I'm re-, replyin'
Yeah I'm re-, replyin'

Replyin', now I'm replyin', now I'm
Replyin', now I'm replyin'

I wanna sail down Sydney Harbour
I want her avi at half-mast to fly
I'm gonna reply over and over
Gonna log off this site for awhile

Now I'm re-, replyin'
Yeah I'm re-, replyin'

January 22, 2020

Manic Pixie Dream Girls are corporeal ass women, not cerebral boob women

We'll soon see a return of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl type, now that we're into the restless warm-up phase of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle, since that is the phase during which they appear.

That post looked at their character traits, and a pair of follow-up posts (here and here) showed that these girls are overwhelmingly born during the manic phase of the excitement cycle. They imprinted on a social mood that was carefree and invincible -- just what she needs to take the initiative and coax a wary love interest out of his vulnerable-phase cocoon.

Having covered their personality type, we continue on to their physical type. Height plays no role, ranging from 5' shorties to the 5'8 tall-for-a-girl end, although no one in the model-tall range. Not surprising: guys do not care how tall a girl is, one way or another. Still noteworthy, though: "taking the initiative" here does not mean being a tall amazon aggressor.

They have hourglass waist-to-hip ratios, which is not too surprising since that's what guys prefer in general. But it is worth noting that they are not relatively slim-hipped women with higher testosterone -- that's not the source of their taking the initiative with the guy. They have a feminine, fertile shape, reinforcing their role more as nurturers -- coaxing the guy out of his shell to heal him of his emo sickness, not strutting over to seduce him like an aggressor.

And to return to a perennial theme here, are they boob women or ass women? They are not busty: most have a B cup, with somewhat more A than C cups. Not being a boob man, I'm blind to them, and this was all news to me. I had no idea Natalie Portman was an A cup (guess she didn't get that particular Ashkenazi gene).

The only D cup is Katy Perry, but that's not such an exception anyway. First, she has a thick lower body. But to the point, I listed her because of "Simple," and in that 2005 video they dressed her in a baggy shirt so you can't tell what they're like even if you're paying attention. Their intuition told them it just wouldn't be right to have that persona coming from a girl with giant jugs.

Why not? Perhaps the sexuality would be too forward (literally) and threatening to a guy who is still wary about leaving his refractory-phase cocoon. Ass men would have no trouble ignoring them, but boob men would. The guy needs to focus on her facial expressions without distraction, to get back into the hang of back-and-forth social interactions with the opposite sex.

An ongoing theory here is that boob women and men are more cerebral, while ass women and men are more corporeal (see here for a recent post looking at political junkies being mostly busty women and boob men). So there's another reason she can't be the busty type -- she would likely be more cerebral, and that goes against the MPDG type.

She must be corporeal -- a touchy-feely free spirit in tune with nature and physical activities (like dancing), whose plans to get the guy out of his funk do not involve over-analyzing things, devising Rube Goldberg contraptions, etc. "Let your mind go, and your body will follow" (SanDeE from L.A. Story). Guys coming out of a refractory phase need to be rehabilitated physically, not just mentally, and corporeal girls will be best able to perform this role.

That means they're mostly ass women, by which I mean the gestalt fertility zone -- belly, hips, ass, and thighs, as distinguished from the mammary zone. That doesn't mean they have Kim Kardashian-sized bubble butts, just that they're on the thick side below the waist (including indie darlings like Zooey Deschanel). And some are slender above and below. But if they have a tendency toward one zone over the other, it's definitely the fertility zone. In performances or pictures, they play up their lower half, not their chest.

In fact, what first tipped me off to this was the photo from an album cover by Au Revoir Simone, who I mentioned before (click for a larger view):

That picture doesn't show it, but they're not busty as well, nor do they attempt to draw attention to their chests. In their videos for that album, they're comfortable showing off their lower bodies and engaging in corporeal activities -- carefree dancing, playing hopscotch, bouncing their thighs and slapping their knees to the rhythm while seated on a bench, and the like.

I highlight their example because it goes against the overall stereotype of their upper-middle-class indie-world social scene. You'd think they'd be cerebral, dismissive of dancing, and averse to showcasing the lower body because that's what vulgar proles pay attention to. But just because the overall scene may be like that, doesn't mean there aren't exceptions like Au Revoir Simone, a corporeal minority within a scene of cerebrals.

As for social media personas, this all reminds me once again of Alison Balsam (@foolinthelotus on Twitter before she left) -- an early '80s manic-phase birth, a fertility shape rather than a mammary shape, and a dance lover. She had to have been a Manic Pixie Dream Girl during the late 2000s heyday -- the signs are still there, albeit somewhat obscured by the vulnerable emo phase she was posting in (late 2010s). Much like the type portrayed in entertainment media, there wasn't anyone else like her among the big-ish accounts -- no "Alison Balsam clones" or "that whole Alison Balsam crowd". The unique ones make an impression, and people can't get over it when they're gone.

January 20, 2020

Bernie / Tulsi should make "Apache" their anti-Warren theme song

Returning to the topic of campaign soundtracks, Bernie's team desperately needs something to troll Lyin' Liz with -- an all-occasion retort that says no one is taking her seriously, she should shut up and drop out, and we're going to have fun while bullying you.

Most importantly, it must resonate with a wide audience -- not only the song itself, but the intended message. No deep cuts, no inside jokes. Attacking Warren ought to do double-duty and bring back some of the cultural moderates ("conservatives" in a Dem primary) who have left Bernie for Biden because they see him as a progressive wimp. So, something that over-40 white people would instantly recognize, whether or not the SJW campus crowd would get it.

Warren's most glaring self-own has been cosplaying as a Native American in order to steal an affirmative action spot at the Harvard Law faculty. She's been committed to the bit for decades, and didn't give up even after her DNA test conclusively proved her bloodline is 0% from the New World. This fatal flaw is universally known, especially after Trump cursed her with the nickname Pocahontas.

A Native American-themed song it is, then. Something that also suggests "going on the warpath" against her, with their distinctive drums or war cries. But something upbeat and fun, to make it irreverent and trolling rather than a true war anthem (like the metal songs listed before).

The perfect fit is "Apache," which will also resonate with our phase of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle, as it was first released in 1960, the first year of a warm-up phase. The original version by the Shadows works best for these purposes, as it has a more prominent war drum beat, and the guitar is more aggressive than the mellower and more expressive versions by the Ventures or Jorgen Ingmann.

The 1973 version by the Incredible Bongo Band won't work here because it's known mainly to (late) Gen X-ers and Millennials, through innumerable appearances in rap music. Plus it doesn't sound Native American, or have the martial drum beat -- it's funky psychedelic counter-culture music.

Using this song will flush out the woketards on two levels. First, it will trigger them as being problematic cultural appropriation (not composed or performed by Native Americans), whereas normies enjoy the song for what it is. And second, it will make them say that Warren is a victim of racism for being labeled Pocahontas, whereas normies realize what Trump meant -- to highlight that she is not Native American, and remind people why she lied about that.

A successful realignment of the Democrat party, or its replacement, requires silencing or ejecting these wokies, while bringing in a large chunk of defectors who normally favor the GOP (who likely identify as independents). If your campaign refuses to use this ammunition against an old-guard neoliberal candidate like Lyin' Liz, then you are not the realignment.

If Bernie's campaign doesn't have the balls and basic sense of humor to use it, then Tulsi's campaign ought to. It would fit right in with her image as a surfer, too. And even if Bernie's staff and prominent surrogates plead with his supporters not to use it, they must defy the incompetent leadership and blast it anyway, especially on Facebook where it may reach some Biden supporters who don't care about posting the obvious songs rather than the deep cuts.

As I pointed out in the metal anthems post, Trump has already used at least two of those, and Bernie only one. If the Democrats won't hammer Lyin' Liz with "Apache," do they have any doubt that a Trump general campaign would not? He would personally lead a tomahawk-chopping dance on stage, while everyone in the crowd followed along. Someone's going to slam her with that song -- it might as well benefit the realigner Democrat rather than the failed realigner Republican.

January 18, 2020

Unlike mega-donors, micro-donors have no say over how funds get used; Bernie's campaign as a subscription entertainment series

One consequence of the Bernie campaign relying on small donors is that the people who provide the funding have no say over how it gets used -- either how their own particular micro-donation gets used, or how the total pile of funds gets allocated.

It is similar to the tithing that the lowest-level members of a church pay to their head officials, or the taxes that ordinary citizens pay to their government. You can opt out, but then you don't get the benefits of paying in -- you're out of the church, out of the citizenry. If you aren't a regular donor to a campaign that relies on micro-donations, then you're out of the "movement".

This funding mechanism is totally opposite to the mega-donor model. There, the people who make most of the money appear in the coffers have all sorts of strings attached -- general favors that can be called in later, or specific agenda items or strategies they want pursued by the recipients. The funding comes from above rather than below. And it is the recipients who will be "out of" something if the donor chooses not to pay -- the recipients need their patron more than he needs them, since he can find some other group to patronize.

For micro-donors, "voting with their dollars" is not control over the organization that they donate to. First, any single one of them has no favors that can be called in later on. And second, there is no way for an individual small donor to attach strings to their micro-donation.

Generally the donation does not even include a checklist of items for the micro-donor to express their priorities -- but even if there were, how would the micro-donor ever know what the aggregate priorities from all micro-donors was? And even then, how would a micro-donor know if the officials actually went ahead and spent the funds in the way expressed by that aggregate data on priorities? And even if they could find out how the funds were spent -- how would a micro-donor ever be able to hold the officials to account if they spent them against the wishes of the aggregate priority data?

If the strings were attached at an individual level, how could a specific micro-donor know how his particular funds were spent, let alone hold the organization to account if they went against his wishes?

In order for them to have any degree of control over the use of their funds, the small donors would have to form a collective that acted similar to a mega-donor. For example, individual workers forming a labor union, and the union donating to a campaign. That somewhat repeats the same problem -- how do the individual workers hold the union representatives to account? But it is less of a problem in degree because it is intermediate in scale -- it's easier for individual workers to hold their union to account than for individual donors to hold a national campaign to account.

Even if the unions form a large-scale, national-level federation like the AFL-CIO, that is still more accountable to individual workers because of the federated structure. For isolated individuals donating small amounts to a national campaign, there is nobody more powerful than you to operate on your behalf vis-a-vis the campaign. It's you or the campaign officials. With a union federation, there are various tiers of labor reps who can advance your priorities, if the senior federation officials are not behaving how you'd like.

And of course, sometimes those intermediate-level officials will get vetoed by the senior leadership. But at least it's your own senior leadership that is acting -- if their choices don't get results through political activity for the low-level workers, they know they'll start opting out and the senior leaders will be out of a job. Campaign officials are not working strictly to advance the interests of some group of workers like a union or federation is -- they're responding to pressure from all sorts of groups.

However much control you're delegating away in a labor federation, you're delegating even more away by micro-donating to a big campaign. There's practically no accountability at all.

This explains why there is so much frustration among Bernie's utilitarian micro-donors. Some will give blindly no matter what, and don't really care how it's used. But given that this is a supposedly revolutionary campaign, a larger-than-usual share of his micro-donors are giving money for practical reasons -- they want to see issues A, B, and C advanced, and they do not want to hear at all about issues X, Y, and Z. They want strategies 1, 2, and 3, but not strategies 7, 8, and 9.

Why isn't Bernie buying more TV ads in some state? Why is Bernie talking like a woketard about cultural issues, instead of slamming open borders as "a Koch Brothers proposal"? Why isn't he beating up on Lyin' Liz Warren?

"What the hell are we giving you all this money for, if you're not going to do as we say?" But then, there is no way for micro-donors to have a say in the allocation of funds at such a large scale. Hence the frustration.

It could be that the majority of his micro-donors do want Bernie to have less of a TV presence, to push woke issues, and to refrain from counter-punching his formidable attackers. But I fucking doubt it.

You see, there is somebody who's making these decisions -- but it is the campaign officials themselves, who have freed themselves of the mega-donor relationship, where they would be mere clients of a super-wealthy patron, but who have also freed themselves of accountability to micro-donors because of the lack of collective weight behind any one of their micro-donations. It is akin to actually existing communism, where the large private owners have been expropriated, but the professional-managerial class takes their place, while workers still have little control over what happens in the workplace or broader society.

The interests of the campaign officials is not necessarily the same as the individual donors, either separately or collectively. Especially in this case, where the campaign officials want to stay connected to the existing national-level patronage networks after this specific campaign is over. They want to work at some progressive think tank, speak on some progressive media show, earn a salary from some progressive politician or NGO, or whatever else.

What happens if micro-donors want Bernie to go no-holds-barred against his rivals, given how uphill his battle is? Or if they want Bernie to minimize the woke progressive crap (whether to accord with their own values, or on purely pragmatic concerns about alienating large numbers of potential supporters)? Suddenly the source of funding and the spenders of funding are diametrically opposed to each other, but unlike the mega-donor model, here it is the senior campaign officials who will veto the funders.

It's hard to tell what share of Bernie's micro-donors are these utilitarian donors who have no power and get frustrated, vs. how many are blind-faith donors who don't care if the actual allocation of funds produces certain results or not, who are donating more for expressive reasons.

I suspect the latter outnumber the former (with a third group who are neither, all being under 50%). Indeed, the most similar model here is not tithing to a church or paying taxes to a government, which do produce some kind of material results for the funders, however much they may grumble about them. No, the most comparable model is a subscription to entertainment "content" -- we'll fund you enough to produce the content, and as long as it entertains us, we'll renew our subscription. If it gets too boring or veers off into gauche taste territory, then we'll cancel our subscription.

Contra their claims about wanting Bernie to be a commander-in-chief, or organizer-in-chief, they really want him to be a podcaster-in-chief -- not for conducting foreign policy a certain way, enforcing laws a certain way, etc., but to lead the charge in an informational war within the media-entertainment industry.

That is the second layer of frustration that the utilitarian Bernie donors must suffer -- the bewilderment upon seeing that a large chunk, maybe a majority, of their fellow regular donors don't seem to care one bit how the money gets spent, like it's all just paying into some indie filmmaker's kickstarter. If the movie's entertaining, we get bragging rights for producing it; if it's boring or gauche, well at least we tried to make something cool, more than can be said of those who didn't donate to it.

Ultimately this problem reduces to the class make-up of the Bernie donor pool -- although it is more working-class than other donor pools, that isn't saying much, and it is mainly not blue-collar workers, who would bring a utilitarian focus because they are hard-up, rather than a focus on being entertained because they're already comfortable economically. Temporarily struggling professionals, like AOC during her stint as a bartender, are not blue-collar workers. Their self-conception, ambitions, collective affiliation, and the rest, are squarely aimed at professional-class interests.

To bring about major economic changes, a realignment campaign cannot rely on micro-donations from professionals (aspiring or actual) who want an entertainment product. Little-guy funding must come from member-based organizations like labor unions and their federations, responding to the utilitarian interests of working-class people.

That will not change overnight; the point here is to explain why there is such apparent incompetence in the Bernie campaign, from the utilitarian working-class view. There must be some greater force at play, then. First, the agency problem of micro-donors vs. a national campaign staff. And second, the professional-class demand for a serial entertainment franchise that generates so much content that it can be binged all day, every day, with no boring lulls in the production schedule. The pool of micro-donors do not constitute a movement, but a fandom.

January 16, 2020

Bernie's last chance: Slam MeToo as witch hunt to distract from class, pick up indies and Biden's cultural conservative whites

In 2016, Bernie was the non-woke candidate in the Democrat primary, since Hillary was hyper-woke. In a contest, everything is zero-sum -- not only ultimate success (a winner vs. a loser), but what qualities the candidates have. If Bernie "supports women's rights," but Hillary is blasting that theme 24/7, then in relative terms, Bernie is the non-woke and Hillary the hyper-woke candidate.

We would have to zoom out to a larger ideological scale to see Bernie as woke -- e.g., if he faced a general election against Ted Cruz. But on the relevant scale, we only look at the actual Democrat candidates in that primary. And in that primary, Bernie was the non-woke choice. In the context of the 2008 Democrat primary, it was Hillary who was the non-woke candidate, running against Obama. That's why West Virginia Democrats chose Hillary in '08, but ditched her in favor of Bernie in '16.

The way things are going in 2020, it's possible that West Virginia will choose Biden, who has largely refrained from the shrill progressive culture-warring that Hillary indulged in ("deplorables," Alt-Right speech, etc.), whereas Bernie has been hijacked by the broader "progressive movement" in the wake of his expectation-shattering 2016 campaign.

This has broken down Bernie's coalition from '16 by shifting those who prioritize progressive cultural issues into Lyin' Liz's camp, and alienating a decent chunk of his culturally conservative white supporters into Biden's camp. Again, everything is relative in a contest -- I don't care if "culturally conservative Democrats" accept gay marriage as fait accompli, if they balk at theatrically reading out the names of "my dead gay tranny POC" like the relatively more woke candidates do.

The defectors to Lyin' Liz were class-motivated -- they are professional-class, and prioritize economic and foreign policies that will benefit the top 20%, with zero regard for the bottom 80%, whom they regard with utter contempt, especially if they live in flyover country or outside of the top 10 metro areas. Their fixation on progressive cultural issues is just a mask for this professional-class war against the working class, but also against against the ownership class, whose manager they demand to speak to in order to get a comfier ride during their professional-class ambitions.

The reason why so many "socialists" defended Warren and concern-trolled Bernie throughout 2019 was because they identified the common class interests with the Lyin' Liz crowd. The socialists, too, are mainly professional-class and are angry that their capitalist overlords aren't giving them enough to satisfy their yuppie status-striving ambitions.

"How am I supposed to live in Brooklyn / Austin / LA / Seattle, without free healthcare and my student loan debt canceled?" Well, in the meantime before the revolution, you can always move back to whatever hick town you actually come from, where life is more affordable. The horror! The indignity! They simply demand to ride high-on-the-hog in the most expensive status-striving zip codes literally on the face of the Earth. They couldn't care less if the bottom 80% languish in squalor back where they actually come from -- it's free stuff for the top 20%, not welfare for the entire nation.

Naturally, these socialists prioritize progressive cultural issues over economic revolution, such as re-industrializing the economy (the center of all socialist revolutions), or de-scaling our over-extended empire (which they only object to on progressive cultural grounds -- empire is just racism backed by an army, to them, so they don't care if the Pentagon continues to occupy Europe via NATO and threatens our own nuclear annihilation by antagonizing Russia, which would only amount to unobjectionable white-on-white violence).

In sum, these SJW-ists -- by whatever label they choose -- will be difficult to get back into Bernie's camp for 2020. Especially now that Lyin' Liz has gone nuclear with her risible #MeToo smear against Bernie. No one believes it's true, since moral panics peak during the vulnerable phase of the 15-year excitement cycle, and we're moving into the first year of the warm-up phase when the backlash to that hysteria will begin.

Even among believers of the smear, contrast their reaction to the other cases during the 2015-2019 hysteria -- they don't fear Bernie, don't feel violated, etc. Now it's just an emotionally empty symbol that they're using to beat him with, since the emotional resonance with themes of rape, trauma, etc. is no longer there. Now it is more openly visible as a tool for the professional class to weaken a politician who threatens to improve the entire nation and not just pamper the bratty top 20%. It's their way of declaring that there's no going back to the Bernie coalition, they're ride-or-die for the candidate who is even more of a girlboss than Crooked Hillary Clinton.

The silver lining here is that Bernie can use this opportunity to get back the culturally conservative whites who left him for Biden over the issue of too much wokeness. Before this smear by Lyin' Liz, it would have been a hard sell for Bernie to walk back the past 4 years of gradual woke-ification of his image and message.

But now he can credibly claim to be a martyr of the excesses of MeToo, and that he was targeted because he wants the best for the entire nation, not just the class of spoiled yuppie girlbosses and their cuckolded partners. He can launch into a broader diatribe against identity politics as a distraction from material issues, used by the top 20% to rationalize their exploitation of the bottom 80%, who in their minds are nothing but racist sexist flyover scum and therefore deserving of their de-industrialized shithole country of the neoliberal era.

This will bring back any working-class whites who left Bernie over wokeness, but it would even bring back some of his professional-class white supporters. Not all professionals are woke -- indeed, the culture war is largely a within-class battle between elite liberals and elite conservatives. Their positions are moralistic rationalizations for why their half of the elite should hold power over society, which would bring in the flow of material and intangible status benefits to their side rather than the other's.

(This within-class war is more intense because more is at stake: no matter which side wins, the elites will continue to exploit the commoners, so punching down on the flyover proles is of secondary concern to them. But if their side wins the within-elite battle, they'll win control over society and get a shitload more stuff than their elite rivals. So most of the culture war is elites battling their elite rivals.)

Some of these professional-class cultural conservatives, who vote in Democrat primaries, were with Bernie in '16 because he was the non-woke candidate, and they prioritize non-wokeness over economics of either stripe (elitist or populist). They're materially comfortable enough that they focus mainly on the culture war, and they want to see the non-woke Democrat win -- even if, as in Bernie's case in '16, that meant they might have to pay higher taxes or whatever. Small price to pay, for comfortable people, in order to keep their country from going down the cultural sewer. They tend to be over 40 (not the campus radical set), which fortunately means they're more influential on the outcome of an election.

They may already watch Fox News over their culturally liberal competitors, and especially Tucker Carlson. If Bernie did the right thing in response to Lyin' Liz's smear, he could make regular appearances on Tucker or the cultural moderates of The Five, and not only coax back the Democrats in the Fox audience, but convince enough independents and Republicans to vote in the Democrat primary, just so they can strike back at the MeToo witch-hunters among the coastal elites, whatever their plans may be for the general election.

This is the only way for Bernie to improve his chances in the wake of Lyin' Liz's feminazi hit job. All other responses leave him at best the same, or weakened -- they won't like his weak response, which amounts to an abdication of his leadership role, so they would likely go to Biden (not Lyin' Liz herself), who is objectively more of a fighter and leader (just not for the issues the Bernie supporter wants).

Such complicated dynamics emerge from multi-candidate contests, where Lyin' Liz will not only steal Bernie supporters directly, but attack him in ways that alienate them into choosing among the other candidates (or staying home). All of which helps Biden, naturally given Lyin' Liz's role as a suicide bomber for the neoliberal establishment Democrats.

And after she detonated the vest right next to Bernie on the debate stage, he should call her out directly as a suicide bomber, a kamikaze pilot, whose sole mission is to keep the brutal status quo in place, by any means necessary. Bernie-to-Biden voters hate Lyin' Liz to begin with, and with that disgusting stunt she just pulled, they must be seething along with the Bernie loyalists. It's the perfect opportunity to persuade those defectors into returning to the Bernie camp.

God knows it's going to be nearly impossible to do so for Lyin' Liz supporters from here on out -- and her pool is tinier anyway, compared to Biden's. And in this move, Bernie would not even be attacking Biden directly to poach his voters (which he could still do later) -- he would simply be robbing Biden of the mantle of non-wokeness, becoming the warrior against the polarizing culture war.

Bernie's campaign has been doing the wrong things for the past 4 years regarding the maintenance and expansion of his coalition, so they will likely continue after this event and either remain in a distant 2nd place, or deflate even further. But any surprise would be welcome -- maybe getting so viciously shivved by a progressive feminazi on national TV will wake some of those leftoids up and put them in do-or-die mode for once.

January 13, 2020

The high-T white working class war anthem playlist for realigner candidates

Those who want to realign the Democrat party -- or to found a new party in its wake, if it implodes like the Whigs -- will require a big chunk of the white working class who voted Trump to permanently defect away from the GOP.

There is no untapped reservoir of non-voters who will swoop in like a deus ex machina to save the moribund progressive movement -- nobody wants that garbage any more than they want yet another re-brand of "compassionate conservatism" and endless wars. Those two movements belong to the neoliberal Reagan era, and something new and different will come about from a realignment of the parties, displacing the GOP from dominant status and elevating the Democrats or their replacement party.

Wary white working class people will need some convincing that the realigner Democrat is not only welcoming toward them, but willing to lead a war on their behalf. Otherwise they will refuse to enlist in that army.

For the neoliberal era, Democrat candidates -- whether they label themselves liberals, moderates, progressives, or even socialists -- not only look down their nose at ordinary people and their culture, they are only looking after professional-class and capitalist interests, and would never lead the charge for the working class.

Obviously any coalition within a stratified society will have those elite interests represented -- working-class people know and accept that the elites will get something for themselves, but they're not going to sign up for the fight unless they themselves will get something big as well. They did enlist in the New Deal army, but they refuse to enlist in the neoliberal army.

Toward the goal of shaking things up to bring in the white working class, cranking up the T-levels in order to fight harder against the enemy, and keeping the collective's spirits high, here is a simple playlist of songs that realigner candidates would include within their broader campaign soundtrack. They don't need to be played back to back, in a loop, but inserted at key moments when a war charge is called for.

They are all from the highest-T period of music, the first half of the 1980s. This was a manic phase during the cultural excitement cycle, and near the peak of the socially outgoing / rising-crime era of 1960-1990. And they're all hard rock / heavy metal, which signals the distinct appeal to the white working class, as opposed to professionals of any race, or to the black working class who do not vote GOP and cannot serve as a source of defectors to secure a realignment. Hailing from the '80s, they appeal to older voters (Boomers and early X-ers) in a way that Democrats struggle pathetically with.

I excluded anything that would be too niche for mainstream audiences, anarchic, only male in its appeal, or that had even one line that could be interpreted in a demotivational, backing-down way ("I can't see no reason to put up a fight," or "I knew right from the beginning that you would end up winning".) It would have to fit in well in a stadium to rally the fans around their team, not just some narrow little sub-cultural cocoon.

Most of these will make the professional-class Left drop dead from embarrassment, "you're posting cringe bro," etc. But that's the point: it signals to the working class that the elites are going to give up prioritizing their own music, tolerate that of a different group, and choose winning (no matter what songs they have to grin and bear listening to) over self-aggrandizement and self-indulgence. It would honestly signal a shift from worthless decadents to competent warriors.

Trump has already prominently featured at least two of these nine songs that I know of, while Bernie has only featured one, so the realigning Democrat / replacement party is going to have to play catch-up. But better late than never.

And in a situation like this flagrant attack by neoliberal Lyin' Liz against Bernie, they're going to desperately need to break these out during the 2020 primary, which will prepare them for the true realignment in 2024 or later. Bernie refuses to fight, and has capitulated to the professional-class progressive movement.

If the dickless weenies who control the Bernie movement won't use them, then Tulsi could feature them in her social media videos, whether they're the anti-status-quo ones or the workout videos that show how full of vigor she is to fight the enemy on your behalf. (That would also spawn fan response videos using similar songs -- "No One Like You," etc.)

Forget "uncucking the polls" or refraining from hard-nosed analysis until the damage has already been done. If you want to boost campaign morale, put these songs into regular rotation. In chronological order:

"United" by Judas Priest (1980)

"Back in Black" by AC/DC (1980)

"Ace of Spades" by Motorhead (1980)

"Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne (1980)

"Rebel Yell" by Billy Idol (1983)

"Metal Health" by Quiet Riot (1983)

"Balls to the Wall" by Accept (1983)

"We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister (1984)

"Rock You Like a Hurricane" by Scorpions (1984)

January 12, 2020

Early '90s alterna Manic Pixie Dream Girls

In the post below about Manic Pixie Dream Girls being born, appropriately, during the manic phase of the 15-year excitement cycle, there's only one off-hand mention of the type from pop music during the restless warm-up phase of the early '90s (the phase when this type shows up).

It's worth fleshing that out with more examples, though, because at the time and ever since, the focus has been on the hard-edged aggressive women of the early '90s heyday of alternative rock, rather than the traditionally feminine helpers and partners of men. There's also the focus on the irony trend, when there was a notable counter-trend of heart-on-their-sleeve sincerity.

The background for this phenomenon was the vulnerable refractory phase of the late '80s, when soft rock and emo power ballads were the norm, and when there was a widespread fixation on being victimized (most obviously in the "Save the children" movement). During the warm-up phase of the early '90s, people were out of their refractory state, and women had to let men know that, hey, it's OK now, you can come out of your shell and we won't require a schmaltzy prostrating power ballad in order to trust you. We can just mix it up with each other again, and we women are only too eager to nurse you out of your funk if necessary -- how else are we going to connect?

That is the broad role of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and in pop music it's a more impressionistic persona that the performers convey, rather than a clearly defined character who plays such a role over the course of a narrative movie. But the basic traits are still all there -- quirky, eccentric, adorkable, directly addressing her male love interest, who may have trouble leaving his emo funk behind, but using her feminine charms and allure to pick up his spirits and get them together as a couple.

Other than that, they come in various flavors. However, all of the female singers below were born in the manic phase of the late '60s, and imprinted on that mood at an early age (as well as imprinting on the next manic phase, the early '80s, when they were 15 and just getting out of puberty). As with the actresses born in the late '60s, these musicians were best suited to playing the role of leading the charge out of the emo phase (the polar opposite of the one they've imprinted on and find most natural).

Many of the other alterna stars were born in the late '60s as well, but I'm leaving aside the hard-edged in-your-face ones (Liz Phair, PJ Harvey, Veruca Salt, etc.). This is only looking at traditionally feminine ones who want to help weary guys come out of their late '80s emo cocoons.

Mazzy Star

Hope Sandoval is not as manic as the others, but no less of a pixie (5'0, size 0). As a waif, seemingly abandoned by her caretakers, she projects an anxious attachment style, but that insecurity does not diminish her eagerness and sincerity to form a deep connection. The anxiety only emphasizes how much she wants a partner, which combined with her petite frame and pouty lips, make her seem like a child who's upset that the immature boys aren't paying attention to her on the playground yet, but she's going to keep on trying until they do.

Guys in a social-emotional refractory state are behaving like prepubescent boys in a way -- "keep those annoying girls away, we don't want to play with them." But men in such a state are doubly wary of leaving their shell because they anticipate the women being in the same "leave me alone" state -- so it falls to the women to send the first signal that the anti-social withdrawn mood is over.

"Blue Flower" and "Fade Into You" (1990, 1993; live '94)

Juliana Hatfield Three

Another waif with an even more childlike voice -- this serves the purpose of not setting off the guy's alarm system. She couldn't be any less threatening -- "Don't worry, I won't bite". Guys coming out of a refractory state need to be approached more gently, so it's not a job for the hard-edged aggressive type of woman. It has to be a disarming pixie.

"Spin the Bottle" (1993)


This case is approaching a hybrid of the disarming feminine nurturer and the in-your-face badass chick type of the same era. But she stays just enough on the nurturing side of the line, without it being primarily an aggressive come-on. Pretty sensual though, especially in a live performance -- I never expected her to have such a ripe body, based on the "Human Behavior" video that introduced her to the world.

"Come to Me" (1993; live '94)

Lisa Loeb

Not the purest example of the type -- more of a neurotic overly attached girlfriend, rather than one coaxing you out of your shell to begin with. But that's still the opposite of being refractory and not wanting attachment whatsoever. Plus her image was an eccentric waif, and the video was in constant rotation on MTV. So it's still worth including in this survey.

"Stay (I Missed You)" (1994)


Just look at how unaffectedly smiley the lead singer is, and remember this is an all-girl early '90s punk-inspired band. Hence the label "cuddlecore". Her warm welcoming vibes are too infectious to resist -- you couldn't possibly want to languish in your goth/emo cocoon any longer, could you, anon?

"New York City" (1994/5?)

January 11, 2020

Manic Pixie Dream Girls were born during manic phase of excitement cycle: Will the next be born '95-'99?

While we're still working our way out of the emo trauma-porn hangover of the past 5 years, it's worth looking for clues about where the changes will come from as we leave behind the refractory phase of the excitement cycle and enter the restless warm-up phase.

I was just thinking about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl character type, which an earlier post showed clusters in the warm-up phase of the cycle, as people are coming out of their shells. She serves to coax the guy out of his refractory cocoon, letting him know it's OK to interact again -- that we're out of the phase where all social contact feels over-stimulatingly painful.

Who will play such a role this time around? I looked at the previous wave of them from the late 2000s (and the lesser crop from the 2010s), and they were nearly all born between 1980-'84 (with one born in '79, and another in '85, just outside this range by one year). That birth range was the manic phase of the early '80s. Then I checked the early '90s MPDG's, and though there weren't as many to study, they too were born in a manic phase (the late '60s: Sarah Jessica Parker from L.A. Story, and Julia Roberts).

So, this time around, will the actresses who play the role be born during the manic phase of 1995-'99? I have no idea who that could be, and this role tends to be a break-out role for the actress anyway.

Pop music doesn't offer too many examples of the role, since it has to be set within a character drama (or dramedy) narrative, where you can set up the withdrawn guy, the adorkable girl, her coaxing him, him resisting at first, and so on and so forth. It's hard to pack all that into a 4-minute pop song.

Nevertheless, I pointed to Katy Perry's deep cut "Simple" from 2005 in that earlier post, and during the late 2000s she projected a witty-banter, partner-in-crime, free-spirit persona. She's born in '84. Avril Lavigne, also born in '84, put on such a persona in 2007 with "Girlfriend," after she'd gotten out of the emo phase of the early 2000s (akin to the late 2010s emo phase, when she reverted to the emo type with "Head Above Water").

But the Manic Pixie Dream Girl wasn't meant for the Billboard Hot 100 kind of music. She was more of an indie girl. Not that I was big into the indie scene in the late 2000s, but even I remember Au Revoir Simone -- and sure enough, all three of them were born in 1980! In case you forgot or never experienced them during that phase (before their moody music for the Twin Peaks revival during the vulnerable phase of the late 2010s):

"Dark Halls" by Au Revoir Simone (2007)

That band in that time reminds me of our dear, departed anti-woke leftist Alison Balsam (@foolinthelotus on Twitter before she left). I'll bet she was like that during the late 2000s, and she too was born in the early '80s.

From the early '90s warm-up phase, the most visible Manic Pixie Dream Girl was Lisa Loeb ("Stay" in 1994), and she's born during the late '60s manic phase.

Everyone's so focused on the political domain these days, though -- who could coax us out of our self-centered partisan cocoons, and deliver us into a Manic Pixie Dream Government? Why, it's another early '80s birth -- Tulsi Gabbard, the most soothing, reassuring, and fun-loving free spirit in politics. (Her proto-form, Marianne Williamson, was also born during a manic phase -- the early '50s.)

On the younger platforms of social media, podcasting, etc., I'd expect the type to come more from the '95-'99 cohort, though. They've been listening to the Red Scare podcast to cope with the bad vibes of the late 2010s, but soon they're going to want to do their own thing.

They'll go from analytically criticizing the trauma porn industry and the absurdities of #MeToo, to becoming Manic Pixie Dream E-girls who sound the wake-up alarm to the male half of the audience, that it's OK to come out of your cocoon and mix it up with girls again. "We promise we're over that mood, and we're in a flirtatious, getting-to-know-you mood now." It won't even be that political in scope -- although they may identify as feminists -- but more about the social-cultural mood and the relations between the sexes.

I've left out the matter of explaining why the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is born during a manic phase -- or equivalently, why she was a certain age during another of the phases -- although the simplest explanation is that they absorbed the manic mood of their birth year and carried it with them for life, as a social imprinting. But if I think of something more satisfying, I'll post it in the comments, where you can spitball ideas as well. The main point here is descriptive and predictive, without necessarily understanding why the world works the way it apparently does.

January 10, 2020

War is collective, fat-tailed, prolonged; lulls are not de-escalation

From my cursory reading of Twitter political people on both the left and right, there is a widespread misunderstanding about the nature of these phases after a major military or foreign policy event. They do not represent a de-escalation, calming down, standing down, blowing off steam, retreat, or anything of the sort. All the tension is still there, if anything it is building up so that the next major spectacle will be of greater magnitude than those spectacles we have already observed.

The basic confusion comes from analogizing a collective antagonism with an individual one. If two individuals get in each others' faces at a bar, exchange a punch or two, and then walk away after a brief stand-off, then the whole thing may be over. We can breathe a sigh of relief that no more fighting will be taking place between them.

But collective phenomena generally have a positive feedback loop, whereby growth feeds into more growth, since there are multiple individuals impacted by each individual's actions. For example, if instead of an individual vs. an individual, it's a clan vs. a clan in a fight, then we don't conclude anything about "it's all over" once one round of fighting is done with. The side that lost may want revenge.

And in any case, when the other side injures or kills one of your side, you want to deter them by inflicting greater harm on them -- thus, one injury begets multiple injuries, each of which begets multiple injuries, as each slight must be deterred against by an ever greater magnitude of retaliation.

That process is like exponential population growth, where one individual begets multiple offspring, each of whom begets multiple offspring. Or the spread of an epidemic disease, where each infected person transmits the disease to multiple others, each of whom transmits it to multiple others.

The growth of these processes does not require the agents to be constantly engaged in the activity which produces the growth. Exponential population growth does not require the individuals to be constantly getting it on, or constantly popping out babies. When an epidemic disease is spreading, there may be a day or two when no new people are infected, maybe even a week.

We don't measure the growth of a human population on the time-scale of days, weeks, or even months. It takes 9 months from conception to birth, so we'd only start with the scale of years, and perhaps going by decades. Nor do we measure the rise of an epidemic disease on the time-scale of hours or days -- maybe weeks, months, even years, depending on the rate of transmission. On smaller time-scales, these processes would show all kinds of whipsaw, jagged rises and falls -- while on the relevant time-scale, we would observe much smoother patterns.

War is no different (nor is any form of collective conflict, from gangs and clans up to nation-states and empires). Warfare does not require the actors to be constantly invading, bombing, or besieging each other.

There are a variety of ways to measure the intensity of the conflict -- number dead, number injured, amount of property gained or lost, amount of territory gained or lost, and so on and so forth. No matter which one we pick, it will show the same positive feedback loop, based on the logic of retaliation.

These variables -- number of infected people during an epidemic, number dead in a collective conflict, etc. -- are distributed in a fat-tailed way, where most cases don't amount to much, but a few cases go out to the extremes -- and crucially, they fuel their own growth out into the extremes (autocatalytic). Most spats between nations don't lead to any number of dead -- some dork from one country gives another leader the cold shoulder at a summit, and although it's clearly a sign of cold relations between the two nations, it is not part of a war, and no one dies.

But then, there are the occasional cases where the spat is part of a self-fueling growth process, and one event leads to even greater events, perhaps resulting in dozens dead, hundreds, thousands, millions, or tens of millions. It is impossible to predict beforehand how far out into the extreme the process will go -- it takes on a life of its own. The point is, once it starts, it can easily increase by orders of magnitude, because it is mostly driven by its own growth and is not subject to a heavier dampening mechanism.

Even more disturbingly, these distributions have the property that no matter how far out into the extreme you have already gone, you are expected to go out even further. The clearest example is a power-law distribution, whose conditional expectation is given here (under the answer with the green checkmark). It says, given that the variable (X) has already exceeded some particular value (x), its expectation (E(X)) is a positive multiple greater than 1 of that already-exceeded value (where b/(b-1) is the multiplier).

To make up a numerical example, say the variable X is the number of dead in a war, and the particular value, x, that it's already exceeded is 10. Let's say the multiplier (b/(b-1)) works out to 1.5, or a 50% increase. Then we expect the number dead to reach 1.5 * 10 = 15. It's worse than our initial milestone led us to think.

But here's the sick thing -- this multiplier is not dependent on how far out into the extreme you are. Its formula does not include any measure of how far it is from the average. You could be far out into the extreme -- 10,000 already dead -- and still, the multiplier tells you to expect 1.5 times that, or 15,000 dead. If you reach 1 million dead, expect 1.5 million. If you reach 1 billion dead, expect 1.5 billion.

For thin-tailed distributions, like the normal or bell-curve distribution, the further out toward the extreme you reach, the less further you can expect to go. For really extreme values, the expectation is that you go no further at all -- E(X) = x, conditional on having reached a very extreme value x. For example, if you tested into MENSA as a child with a 130 IQ, you can expect to keep that same value all the way through adulthood -- your initial IQ isn't going to fuel its own growth to 150, 180, 210, and beyond. One IQ point does not beget multiple IQ points, each of which begets multiple points, and so on.

Now, just because we "expect" a multiple of the value already reached, for fat-tailed distributions, doesn't mean we'll actually reach that -- it could land short, it could stop altogether, or it could exceed the expectation. For a self-driven growth process, you can't conclude it's over until it's over.

At the least, you need to observe falling values over the relevant time-scale -- if, one week after the next, the number of people infected in an epidemic keeps dropping, that's enough to conclude that it's no longer rising but is burning out. Population growth could hit a saturation level and neither grow nor shrink, or their way of life could be pulled out from under them and their numbers plummet year after year.

(That is more likely to see due to migration into and out of an area, a la the "boomtown to ghost-town" phenomenon, not so much due to changes in birth and death rates. But still, the relevant time-scale is years or decades.)

Other examples are the social adoption of fads, where each adopter can serve as a model to multiple imitators, each of whom can be copied by multiple imitators; or, as Art De Vany showed, the success of movies (and by assumption, or by related research I haven't read, other forms of entertainment), where a hit movie grows by each viewer passing on positive word-of-mouth to other people, each of whom may see the movie and pass on positive word-of-mouth to others.

You cannot predict beforehand how far the growth will go -- will some fad be adopted by only hundreds of thousands in the US, or by millions, tens of millions, etc. Or, will some hit movie hit $1 million in profit, $10 million, $1 billion, $10 billion, etc. The process has to work itself out, and only when you see fewer and fewer people practicing a fad on the time-scale of months or years, or the number of tickets sold falling week after week after week, do you conclude that its growing phase is over.

You certainly do not conclude that a smash-hit movie is "done for" just because its ticket numbers are low measured on a Wednesday, compared to last Saturday when it was doing gangbusters. That's part of the natural rhythm of when viewers go to the movies, making the time-scale of days irrelevant -- it's weeks.

Likewise, only a fool concludes that the Iran War is "over," or "cooling off," or "winding down," or even "hitting a pause" / "standing still". We don't measure such a process on the time-scale of days, so we know nothing about where the next value will be -- it hasn't even been a week since their missile attacks on the US base in Iraq. For an empire like the US facing off against a regional power like Iran, it can be no sooner than the scale of months, perhaps years, depending on how intense the war is.

As welcome as his direct appeals to Trump have been, Tucker Carlson -- the only anti-war voice in the mass media, let alone who have Trump's ear -- has not "talked Trump down off the ledge". He may be limiting the damage done per episode by convincing Trump to minimize his retaliation, but that is not the same thing as halting the growth process. It's going to keep growing, getting worse than it already has gotten.

Even if Tucker had no impact on Trump, the admin would still go through lulls in its overall escalation of conflict against Iran. Tucker is trying to heal only one of those infected by the anti-Iran disease within the US power structure, albeit an influential one -- all those other ones are still infected, and infecting others, including influential ones. That is not going to reverse the growth of an epidemic, which I'm sure he's under no illusions of doing. It requires a full-scale realignment of foreign policy to do that.

What does the trajectory look like in this case? Well, when Trump came into office, tensions were simmering down, owing to the Obama admin's nuclear deal -- although from a different perspective, that was just a temporary lull during a 40-year campaign to weaken them and absorb them into our sphere of influence.

In any case, Trump staffed a bunch of Iran hawks into his admin, which was the first milestone. Then he abrogated the nuclear deal, another major milestone. Then he came this-close to striking Iran last summer when they shot down one of our drones. Now we have reached two major milestones almost simultaneously -- Trump ordering the assassination of their top military leader and national hero, Soleimani, and Iran retaliating by hitting US bases in Iraq with their missiles. Both of those were first-of-their-kind events between the two nations.

On the relevant time-scale, we'll have to wait over the next months, or up to a year, to see if the conflict has begun to simmer down. So far, all we have observed is growth upon growth upon growth -- notwithstanding the lulls in between each of those milestones, which again are like the ticket sales during Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, between weekends.

So far, the near-term looks only to escalate, since the Trump admin has imposed further sanctions on Iran, and Iran has said the strikes this week were only the beginning of the campaign to drive the US empire out of the Middle East. Even if nothing happens for the next 6-12 months, that does not mean things have cooled down -- lack of escalation does not mean improvement, it may mean things have reached a saturation level, or it may be a longer-than-usual lull before it explodes all the more violently when the next milestone event is reached.

In either of those cases, all the tension from before is still there, threatening to blow up in the future -- the tension will not have dissipated, until we see major concessions from one or both sides, such as the US pulling more troops out of Iraq, shutting down bases in the Middle East, slashing the funds for such activities, and the like.

In the meantime, don't mistake lulls for the dissipation of tension. This is not an acute beef between two individuals in the heat of the moment -- it is a chronic conflict between large-scale collective actors. And remember the property of the power-law distribution -- for each milestone you have already reached, expect it to go some degree further, and that multiplier will not diminish no matter how extreme the milestone may be.

January 7, 2020

Expansionist realignment in Iran after overreach by US, Saudi, Israeli expansion

The assassination of general Soleimani of Iran -- not just their top military leader, but a national hero beloved by all sides of Iranian society -- heralds a realignment in Middle Eastern geopolitics.

The current era began circa 1980, coincidentally or not in tandem with the neoliberal transition in Western nations. The Islamic Revolution in Iran swept away the era of the Shah, the Saudis under the new ruling clan the Sudairi Seven switched from leading a regional movement against Israel to forming the Gulf Cooperation Council to pursue Gulf wahhabi interests, Israel left behind the Labor Zionist era and entered the Likud era, Turkey went from secular nationalist to Islamist, Egypt (and Jordan) got bought off by the Pentagon to not continue the Arab-Israeli wars, and Saddam Hussein rose to power in Iraq (de facto, then de jure) and launched the Iran-Iraq War.

Throughout the current era, Iran has been primarily defensive and reluctant to expand its sphere of influence outside its own borders. They did not try to occupy Iraq after the Iran-Iraq War, and did not even cross the border into Afghanistan when the Taliban (or their Sunni fundamentalist allies) murdered Iranian diplomats and a journalist on Afghan soil in 1998. They've mainly been concerned with withstanding the economic and military onslaught of Iraq under Hussein, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US.

More recently they have been key players in the Axis of Resistance, a mainly Shia group of peoples who are all the target of the superpower intervening in the region -- the US -- and its local strongmen, Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Axis is led by Iran but includes a good share of Iraq (which is majority Shia), Hezbollah and Shia fellow travelers in Lebanon and Syria, and the Houthi in Yemen. Their goal is national liberation from either the US occupation, Israeli occupation (southern Lebanon), or Saudi-sponsored Sunni extremist armies (such as al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the rest, who are aligned with the Pentagon).

This activity of Iran has taken the form of mediating among all the various parties, and not using any kind of leverage to bring the lesser partners to heel and do the bidding of Iran. Soleimani was the central figure in this role of mediation, supervision, and mentorship.

But as detailed in this post by Elijah Magnier, the Axis of Resistance was still not entirely solidified in its goals and willingness to take the fight to its enemies. This is understandable since it is not that old of an alliance.

And aside from Iran, the nations of the Axis have not been strong geopolitical powers since at least 500 BC: the Neo-Babylonian Empire was the last expansionist power from Mesopotamia, the Neo-Assyrian the last from the northern Fertile Crescent, and the Levant has never spawned a land-based expansion in Asia (although the Phoenicians did spread a sea-based empire around the Mediterranean coastline). Iran has done so several times since 500 BC, for centuries at a time, the first being the Achaemenid Empire and the most recent being the Safavid Empire that lasted into the mid-1700s.

This reliable historical pattern means that Iran will be playing the major role in the Axis -- and it also means that it will have to be more hands-on in order to make its sphere of influence most effective at deterring its encroaching enemies. If it continues to be reluctant, as during the current era, there will not be enough cohesion and the Axis will remain weak relative to its enemies.

Such a major shift in geopolitical priorities -- from staying in the background of its junior partners' politics, and moving actively into the foreground -- will require a realignment in Iranian politics. And Soleimani's martyrdom appears to be the first triggering event that will lead to such a realignment. Now they have learned that it is not enough to play a mediating role like he did -- his successors must go beyond that, to setting up a stronger Iranian presence within the Axis member nations, and using some degree of leverage to discipline them and keep them unified.

Moreover, because Soleimani was beloved as a hero by all sectors of Iranian society, his assassination will unite factions who have been in opposition to each other during the current era -- the hardliners vs. the moderates / reformists. There will still be some kind of political division in the new era, but it will be different -- some group within the hardliners will defect to the reformists, or vice vera, and create a new stable system of coalition partners, pursuing a new stable national and foreign policy.

For example, the group within the military who want to remain defensive will tend to be discredited by these events, and more influence will go to the military groups who want to outright expand Iran's presence in the region. And within the moderate reformists, influence will be taken away from those who thought they could just coax in global financial investors and not have to worry so much about regional geopolitics -- the gambit of the Iran nuclear deal. Meanwhile, influence will rise among those reformists who see a strong regional expansion -- or at least getting a nuclear weapon -- as a security precondition, to safeguard their main goal of financial / technological / cultural development within Iran proper. Once those two formerly opposing factions unite, they will pursue a common goal of regional Iranian expansion.

I'll be writing more about Iran and the region; this post is only about domestic realignment within Iran during the 2020s.

January 4, 2020

Online personas get paid in social currency, if not hard currency, but it's a status contest just the same

The anti-woke Left princess has detonated the vest again, responding to a Bernie supporter (and fellow anti-woke Leftist) who framed Liz Warren's campaign as originally leftist / socialist, but now marching to the center / re-entering the Earth's atmosphere:

After he said he laughed upon reading a tweet about "him and his ilk," she said he'd be laughing all the way to the bank.

That set off a cackling hysteria among the online personas about "getting paid to post" -- how risible! That was what really set them off -- Aimee suggesting that they benefit from framing political events in a certain way. "Where's the money in my bank account, then, galaxy brain genius?"

But Aimee means a "social currency" bank, not a hard currency bank. Because we don't have a handy literal phrase for non-monetary status contests, she used "bank" as a figure of speech.

Ironic deflection about "I don't get paid to post," coming from social media figures, obfuscates the nature of status contests among post-Boomer generations. See this foundational post on the generational structure of status competition, as well as a recent follow-up (also motivated by a perceptive Aimee Terese tweet).

Post-Boomers cannot compete in the niche of material wealth accumulation, since it is saturated with Boomers who will not leave the battle arena until they drop dead.

Gen X-ers moved on to the niche of lifestyle competition, but that has wealth requirements of its own -- just a lot lower than a house in a wealthy zip code, two homes, several new cars, etc.

Millennials don't even have the money for that, so it is competition over persona construction -- or personal brand building, social media points, leveling up your public-facing character / avatar, etc. Clicks, likes, followers, and perhaps some hard currency if you leverage those into a patreon.

That is what Aimee means when she says that a semi-popular social media persona is benefiting by framing Liz Warren's campaign as originally left-wing / socialist, and only now marching toward the center / re-entering the atmosphere. It excuses the SJW dupes who fell for her con job, as well as the professional Left who played her up as nearly-as-great-as Bernie for most of last year. Any persona giving such a take benefits by getting shitloads of clicks and other character-leveling-up points from those very same leftoid dupes -- who else would fave a whitewashing of Warren and the dupes who fell for her con-job?

Someone like Aimee, Shialabeefsteak, her podcast co-host Benjamin Studebaker, and the like, are not going to have their tweets and takes go as viral as the whitewashing take because nobody in the consumer base of social media -- left, right, or otherwise -- is demanding hard-nosed realist analysis, even if it's depressing. They want an emotional rush, and they will not reward online personas who do not give them what they want.

As material deprivation intensifies, count on the newer waves of status-strivers to deny that they're striving and competing for any kind of status or points, just because they're not getting paid in hard cash. Post-Boomers cannot get handsomely paid for anything, so they are re-locating to battle arenas that do not have upfront monetary costs to enter the fray and rise to the top of one's own pile of skulls.

On a related concluding note, this little spat also shows how hamstrung the Bernie "revolution" is in its attempt to take over the party elites, compared to the Trump "revolution" of 2016. As a non-progressive, I easily deciphered Liz Warren as a neoliberal con-jobber back in 2016 when she refused to endorse Bernie, then eagerly campaigned for neoliberalism incarnate, AKA Crooked Hillary. Way back then, I compared her role to that of Ted Cruz, the neolib / neocon who put on an act about being anti-Establishment in a bid to torpedo the true anti-Establishment campaign, Trump's.

The professional Right was almost entirely on the side of Cruz -- and those who were not, were at least sympathetic to him, saying he was just-about-as-great-as Trump but not exactly, etc. Just like the professional Left lining up behind Warren in 2020 -- even if they say they support Bernie, they're sympathetic to her, framing her as progressive / left / socialist but just not as much as Bernie, arguing for her and Bernie to sign a truce pact, bla bla bla.

However, the Trump supporters in 2016 were willing and eager to blow up not only Ted Cruz's campaign in that particular year, but his whole image and persona -- even if it meant alienating a large share of the conservative movement base, and whole swaths of GOP territory (the Great Plains). That full-frontal assault succeeded in the primary, and was crucial for Trump to win the general -- he was the anti-Ted Cruz, "not a true conservative" Republican, and voters were only too happy to choose him in historically blue states.

Bernie supporters in 2020 are unwilling and fearful to blow up Liz Warren's whole image and persona, especially if it would alienate large sections of the liberal / progressive movement base, and whole swaths of blue-no-matter-who territory (the Bos-Wash megalopolis). That is a sign that they will fail to win the primary, and even if their guy were chosen at the Convention (despite losing the primary), why he would fail in the general election -- Bernie will have been cornered into being another generic progressive representing the bi-coastal culturally liberal elites and their pet NGO projects.

January 1, 2020

So long to the most emo 5-year phase ever, welcome back to baseline emotional levels

That's it -- the vulnerable, refractory phase of the 15-year excitement cycle is finally over, having begun in 2015. We're not going backward to the manic phase of 2010-'14, but forward into the next restless, warm-up phase (akin to 2005-'09). The next manic phase will happen after that, starting in 2025.

This cyclical change in mood / energy levels is absolutely crucial to keep in mind when looking back on the year, or especially the decade. In a way, there is no such decade as the 2010s, because the first half was a manic phase of soaring energy levels, and the second half was a crash into a refractory state. You don't get any more stark of a contrast.

History does not proceed with "one damned thing after another," but goes through dynamics, which generally produce some kind of cyclical behavior. All of this doom-and-gloom emo bullshit of the past 5 years is not the continuation of the 5 years before that -- exactly the opposite. You can say the mood of '15-'19 was "the result of" the mood in '10-'14, in the sense that a climax leads mechanistically to a refractory state. But that's not what most people mean when they try to portray the trajectory of a decade, which is always done in a simple linear way.

The upcoming mood will not be such a stark contrast as between a climax and refractory phase. It's leaving the refractory state and returning to baseline levels. We'll notice that things aren't quite so heavily negative, painful, hysterical, and so on -- but it won't be the opposite either, which requires the sustained spike in energy levels during a manic phase. There will be some negative and some positive, some pain and some pleasure, some anxiety and some calm. In any case, we aren't going to be mired in the depressive, hysterical state of the past 5 years, and that's good enough for now.

Political junkies will be surprised at how little of the previous mood will carry over into 2020 -- despite it being such a major election year. The whole #MeToo thing is dead by now, no one cares about the 24-hour news cycle anymore, and no one's afraid of crypto-Nazi armies laying in wait under every bed in homes across America.

I've been saying that Trump will bow out before the nomination, but even in the off-chance that he remains the nominee, no one will think he's a fascist threat, that his supporters are the re-birth of Nazi legions, or whatever other crap the liberals could half-way get away with back in 2016. Even back then it wasn't enough to win -- it will fail all the more pathetically this time, since people won't be in the painful victimization mindset anymore.

When the GOP wins re-election, absolutely no one will care -- it will not be the most important election, signaling imminent doom, etc etc etc. That reaction comes from emo audiences (as there were on both sides in 2016), but they won't be in an emo mood by the end of 2020 and during inauguration in '21.

Nobody remembers anything, but if they wanted to, they could look back at the second W. Bush term -- that was mostly during a restless warm-up phase, not an emo phase, so the general public didn't react so negatively and hysterically and painfully to it. That was more his first term, which was during an emo phase (the first half of the 2000s). People were too busy re-connecting with one another during the late 2000s to give a shit about what Bush was doing. Even if they conceded it was all bad stuff, it didn't rise to the level of new coming of Hitler, so they put it mostly on the back burner until a few days before the next presidential election.

The hysteria phase of moral panics is going to collapse into the backlash phase. Some of that will be rational in tone, some will be irreverent, some will be in-your-face hostile. Political correctness, AKA wokeness, won't be taken seriously by normies any longer (not until the next vulnerable phase beginning in 2030). It'll be a return to the anarchic (not anarcho-) humor of the late '70s, early '90s, and late 2000s. As well as a revival of the rational skeptics using logic to rebut the claims of the woketards -- which they could have been doing for the past 5 years, but have not been in the proper mood themselves, or could not have found a large receptive audience that was in the right mood. Over the next 5 years, that will change, and they'll be back.

On the right, I also predict the decline of the groyper phenomenon. It was a kind of mellow hibernation, and now that people will start to stir awake and emerge from their winter dens, they won't find the same emotional appeal to living in a remote, isolated, cozy David the Gnome environment (that cartoon was from an emo phase as well, 1985). They may retain their avatars, but the ideal mood will change -- it won't be about cozy isolation any longer. More likely, the avatars will change to some wholly new creature to embody the shift in mood.

But before those large-scale changes take place, first people have to just snap out of it. That will take place over the current year. Key signposts along the way will be major pop songs that emphasize the themes of resilience and reckoning with your past. Until the new examples come out, here are two from those earlier surveys, both from 1990, the first year after the emo phase of the late '80s. Unlike the past several end-of-year transitions, this time it really is "a new year, a new you".