A Short List of Things I Do Not Care About

smokin' JayWilliam Burroughs used to write, back in the jet-age 60’s, about starting a riot with a tape recorder. You ask some people their opinion of a different group, and record their responses, then take them to members of that group, and ask what they think of it, and record their responses, then take them back to the first group, etc., etc.

Social Media is that tape recorder. It’s also the riot.

So here’s a list of things going on in the Riot, that I am shrugging my shoulders on:

  1. John McCain. I voted for McCain in the primaries against George W. Bush in 2000. I voted for him against Obama in 2008. He was good enough for my approval then, and I’m not suddenly going to decide that he’s the Enemy because he didn’t like Trump. I didn’t vote for Trump, so I’m not going to do that.

    But I also don’t care that he’s dead. He was old, and sick. That happens. He lived a full life. His family can mourn him. He wasn’t a hero to me; he was just a politician. I have nothing to say about that political circus that was his funeral other than “McCain finally became the Media’s favorite kind of Republican: Dead.”

    I expect we’ll get the same when George H.W. Bush finally dies, a lamentation for the Old Good Kind of Republicans, who are totes magotes different from the New Evil Scary Kind (never mind that Bush was the New Evil Scary Kind back when he was actually President. We have always been at war with Eastasia). But George W. probably won’t, because he’ll live too long to be useful against Trump. They’ll probably feel authorized to give him Hunter Thompson’s Nixon sendoff.

    Or not. I don’t care. Here’s the only sensible thing I’ve read about John McCain in the last week.

  2. Anything pertaining to the NFL. The NFL lost me permanently last year when it decided to become a political organization, in which one kind of Cheap Political Theater was acceptable and one kind not. Overpaid Jockulas braining each other for millions acting like Bold Martyrs of Truth? Whatever. But allowing that and fining a guy for wearing 9/11 memorial socks? That means you’re a political organization, and not my kind. So I don’t care who wins the Super Bowl, and I don’t care what teams do what. None of them are my heroes, and if the sport dies tomorrow and everyone plays soccer instead, I will nod bemusedly and then go back to playing Crusader Kings 2.

    By the same token, I don’t care about Colin Kaepernick. I don’t hate the guy. I don’t know if he really means what he’s said, if it was all an act for attention, or if he just zoned out on mushrooms and then felt like he had to commit to the bit. I don’t care that Nike made him their poster boy, and I don’t care that people have decided to burn perfectly good shoes in protest of this. Everything is political now, so this is the sort of thing that’s going to happen. Your shoes are political. Your car is political. Your fast food is political, as are farm-to-table restaurants in Lexington, VA (and the smoking holes left of them). Ill-thought actions, meet foreseeable results. Have fun yelling at each other over it.

  3. Whatever Stupid Movie They’re Rebooting Now. You know, that one? The one that comes from the pre-internet age, the last era with shared cultural touchstones? The one that’s going to be ruined by adding/removing X? I don’t care. It’s going to be boring, I’m not going to see it. I would say Hollywood hit Peak Cultural Ouroboros with Ready Player One, but that would imply that I didn’t think they could crawl up their own rear ends any further, and I’m not prepared to make that claim. It would also imply that I cared enough to actually watch it. And I do not.

    All of which means, the only way I’d probably end up watching an episode of Jack Ryan is if I fall asleep binging The Man in the High Castle. The only really good Jack Ryan movie was Hunt for Red October.

  4. Whatever Celebrity X is Doing. Pick one. Taylor Swift. Brad Paisley. That Guy who was in That Thing. Sarah “I Slummed America So You Don’t Have To” Silverman. Whatever Late-Night Mouth of Sauron who said That Thing that people are all OH NO YOU DIDN’T and I CANNOT EVEN about. Or whatever YouTube personality fell afoul of MiniTruth and got unpersoned (I might care about that last one slightly, because it’s creepy).
  5. Brett Kavanaugh. Dude is going to get confirmed. It’s going to happen. And then he’s going to reduce everyone to Handmaids and eat babies. Just like immediately happened when Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas were confirmed. Because it’s not like Roe vs. Wade has been UNDER THREAT for the last 30 years, and is somehow still on the books, or anything. You know, kind of how Donald Trump can’t throw all the Muslims out of America, because George W. Bush already did that, and anyway we all died in the atomic wars that Reagan started.

    Enjoy the Kabuki.

On Publishing and Platforms in the Age of Trump

Basically, this whole post by Peter Grant at Mad Genius Club:

First, the publishing world, like the rest of the ruling class, just can’t even with the last election, and by golly, they’re going to react to it. And after noting how they think “Trump voters have created space in the political conversation for heretical ways of discussing class, gender and race” (by which they of course mean not the ways Trump voters want to discuss those things, but the way voices they like want to discuss them, because that’s what “heretical” means or something), Peter suggests:

If you ask me, I don’t think President Trump has so much “shaken up the book industry” as exposed the fact that it appears to have fundamentally departed from the essential foundation of commercial business – namely, to make a profit. If businesses don’t make a profit, they fail. Period. If we, as authors, write to make a living (as I do), and we don’t make a profit, we fail. Where do you see that realization in the views cited in that article? I don’t . . . and I suspect that’s the reality behind the publishing and book-selling industry’s (and many authors’) woes. Both appear to have lost sight of the reality that, first, last and always, publishing is a business. That’s why so many parts of it are failing.

Art is commerce.

Art Is Commerce.

ART IS COMMERCE.

Second, Affiliate Marketing is Going to Run Into Regulatory Problems. I don’t care, because I don’t have enough blog traffic to even get on Amazon Affiliates anymore. This is of a piece with Google and Facebook getting Big Enough to provoke grumbling about it being Standard Oiled. We love success stories in America. We also love watching them fall.

Third, Big Tech is taking a political side. As if I needed another reason to contemplate deleting my Facebook. Honestly, the only reason I’m ever on there is to post picture of my children and catch up with the occasional college pal.

If our perspective as authors, and/or the subject matter of our books, and/or how we cover other opinions, clashes with the point of view espoused by social media outlets or vendors, we may find ourselves censored, and/or our books “muted” in terms of public visibility. To name just a few examples:

  • What would happen if our blog platform (e.g. Blogger, WordPress, even many you may never have heard about) decided to “de-platform” (i.e. shut down) bloggers with whose views it/they disagreed?
  • What if book review sites such as Goodreads, Shelfari, etc. decided to ignore our books, or remove reviews of them posted by readers?
  • What would happen to our sales if a dominant vendor like Amazon.com decided to omit our books from the “Customers who bought this item also bought” lists that are included on the page of every article for sale on its Web site?

Those are some of our most important avenues to reach potential readers. They may become restricted, even closed to us, if their owners and operators decide to promote only (or mostly) products – including books – that meet their definition of “politically correct”.

The question isn’t “Will this happen?” If they’re that shaken up by The Trumpening, they’re going to pull out all the stops to keep us peasants in line. The question is, “What do we do about it?”

Anyway, Read the Whole Thing.

The Revolution is Coming, Friends.

Not this election cycle. Maybe not the next one. But it’s coming.

In today’s America, a network of executive, judicial, bureaucratic, and social kinship channels bypasses the sovereignty of citizens. Our imperial regime, already in force, works on a simple principle: the president and the cronies who populate these channels may do whatever they like so long as the bureaucracy obeys and one third plus one of the Senate protects him from impeachment. If you are on the right side of that network, you can make up the rules as you go along, ignore or violate any number of laws, obfuscate or commit perjury about what you are doing (in the unlikely case they put you under oath), and be certain of your peers’ support. These cronies’ shared social and intellectual identity stems from the uniform education they have received in the universities. Because disdain for ordinary Americans is this ruling class’s chief feature, its members can be equally certain that all will join in celebrating each, and in demonizing their respective opponents.

It both explains the Trump phenomenon as a manifestation of this regime change, and explains why he is likely not the solution for it. Read the Whole Thing.

Birther Trump is Not a Birther

So, I was at the gym this morning, and in between sets I tend to gaze up at the TV. The one closest to me always has MSNBC on, which is fine, as it’s good to absorb the framing of the other side (for the record, I’m a declared Gary Johnson supporter, but I’m not very happy about it, which is sort of defeating the purpose. But some rictus in my soul wants not to vote for Trump, and every time I consider doing that, he says or does something that makes me realize that he’s a Democrat in GOP clothing, and I don’t want to vote for the more-tolerable Democrat in the race). And the crew on Morning Joe were discussing Birtherism, and seizing upon it as the way to upend the narrative of the last few weeks. The gist I got from Joe et. al was that The Donald had refused to admit that President Obama was born in the United States, that he was still a birther.

So I get on twitter, and I check on things, and I find this link to the Trump Campaign’s press statment on the issue.

Now, when you read it, you will likely be a) rolling your eyes, b) laughing in admiration, or c) both. Basically, he puts Birtherism on Hillary (which is true, her gang started it in 2008), and credits himself with bringing the issue to a close by forcing Obama to release is birth certificate.

chutzpah

But that’s not what’s important to me. What’s important to me is that the statement, released yesterday, contains these words:

Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.

Now, either the derps at Morning Joe don’t know this, in which case they suck at their jobs, or they do know this and are ignoring it, in which they know what their real jobs are: soulless Outer Party flacks in the business of denying reality for the sake of their Inner Party masters.

I mean, I know they’re a prog network, but this is the willful contradiction of evidence right under their noses relevant to the topic under discussion. How the hell do you even do that?

Of course, I didn’t watch the whole thing, so their may have been one of those “he said it, but he didn’t say it in such a way that satisfies our fine sensibilities” dodges. So I am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt as regards the sophistication of their sophistry.

This election…

Larry Correia Won’t Vote Trump, Either.

Good.

He posted on Facebook that he said so, and reaped the whirlwind of idiot Facebook comments. He re-posts his post on the blog, with edits responding to each genre of protest, and it is a delight.

A few delights:

WHAAA! NO LABELS! You shouldn’t call people Trumpkins!”

Forgive me No Labels Police. Writing out Coalition of Authoritarians And Low Information Voters Motivated By Anger And Fear Who Are Now Fully Invested In A Cult of Personality That Will Allow No Dissent got a little long to keep typing.

This is a good one:

Lots of You Sound Angry. Well, yeah I’m angry. A plurality of half wits picked the most uniquely unsuited candidate in Republican history. Duh. But I’m also perfectly rational writing about it. We might be at the fall of the Roman Empire, but at least I live in Byzantium.

Well. Played. And then there’s this, which defines the bright line that keeps me from his camp.

Then lots of posts from the despondent republicans rationalizing having to vote for an authoritarian clown, because he might be better than the harpy.Truly, I feel for you guys. I get why you’re doing it. Just can’t in good conscience pull that lever myself. Have fun explaining, defending, or owning all of his terrible decisions until November though.

Not just until November. That’s only if he loses. If he wins, you’ve tied yourself to him for the next four years.

And I won’t. I just won’t.

 

Observing the Election as a Disinterested Bystander

I’m voting for Gary Johnson. That means I don’t care enough about NotHillary to make NotHillary President. That means I’m a bad Republican, a bad patriot, and a dirty cuck.

At least, so speaks the voice from the whirlwind of Twitter, right now.

My thoughts are thus:

spideylol

And I mean that. I’m not playing the game this time, following the polls, watching the back-and-forth between the American equivalent of Cersei Lannister and Mace Tyrell. One of them is going to win. Neither of them represent me.

I’m interested in whether Scott Adams’ persuasion framework about Donald Trump turns out to be right. If it is, then we’ll have found a new way to think about politics. If it isn’t, I can go right back to not paying attention to the thoughts of Scott Adams.

I’m interested in whether Hillary can keep the mask  on long enough to win the White House. If she can persuade enough American voters that she is a responsible leader. Her operating meme, carried over from 2008, is that she’s the adult in the room, the responsible leader. But getting outflanked on the left by Bernie Sanders has made the shrill come out. If and when she sews up the nomination, she will get the chance to pivot to the center, especially against Trump, who has specifically set himself up as a firebrand.

So the question is: can Trump sell “not-crazy” better than Hillary can sell “not-incompetent”?

I don’t claim to know, and in any case I’m giving my vote where I best like it. Everyone else may do as they please. I won’t judge a single #NeverTrumper who caves on Election Day. I’m expecting most of them to do it. They usally do.