Sounding off on that “mass spell”

So I guess, better late than never, I ought to briefly comment on that “mass spell” nonsense from this week. Last week, a group of “witches” (specifically Wiccan fluff bunny style witches) announced that they planned to cast some kind of “mass spell” on Donald Trump and, presumably, his supporters in order to “bind” him and cause him to fail in some dubious, ill-defined way.

Seriously. How do they want him to fail? What do they want to have happen to him? There’s no specification. I’ve looked. There’s nothing. I would’ve thought that typically a magician or an occultist would design a ritual tailored to a specific desire, but this “mass spell” is vague as shit as far as specific desires go. The only clarity is that they want Donald Trump to fail, but not how.

But that’s not the only thing I find wanting here. Insert magical cliche here, colored candles and heavenly hosts, even a reference to demons, for good measure, with generic progressive political platitudes thrown there. It is, without question, a joke for people who aren’t interested in all the magickal things in any way, and an embarrassment to those who are. And then there’s Michael Hughes, the man who spread this. Looking at his website, he’s the kind of guy who shills textbook pop superstitions alongside some stuff about psychedelics and UFOs (at least one of the latter two is at least actually worthy of some interest). And apparently he’s also a DJ and “psychic stage entertainer” who makes a living performing at parties. I can’t help but wonder why I’ve never heard of him until this whole Donald Trump “mass spell” shit. Hmm…

By the way, pop singer Lana Del Ray was also involved in this buzz, and is planning on conducting other ceremonies later this year. Apparently her involvement is still getting headlines, including on The Independent, and celebrity and entertainment magazines have picked up on the story, including one magazine involved another celebrity criticizing her for her anti-Trump witchcraft shenanigans.

You know, I’m starting to wonder how much of this is all about accruing attention from wide audiences. In Lana’s case perhaps even to promote a new album? I suppose it worked for Gaahl (a former lead vocalist of the Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth) didn’t it?

I honestly think this is one of those make me think “magick isn’t one of those things that you can use to influence world politics or affect the seat of power”. But then I’m reminded of the pro-Trump meme magick courtesy of the Cult of Kek and the wonderful world of 4chan. I’m still not entirely sure on the veracity of that by the way, but I am fascinated by the memetic stuff all the same. At the very least I’m more fascinated with memetics than I am with the New Age/Wiccan fluff that this “mass spell” constitutes. Then there’s all the conspiracy theories surrounding Hillary Clinton and alleged devil worshipers. Bear with me for a moment. Let’s assume it’s all true: that Hillary Clinton has a whole network of devil worshiping magicians at her disposal (or that of George Soros, of course). If that’s true, then given the results of the US presidential election on November 9th, I am guessing that either these magicians are practicing pure unadulterated woo, given that one of the “devil worshippers” is the performance artist Marina Abramovic, or they are incredibly crappy magicians. Either way, we can assume that whatever magic they may have practiced was no match for the might of Kekist memetics. Satanicviews assured me that her only magicians were her PR team (which is arguably true), and it looks like they failed all the same, funny enough possibly proving that a mainstream media isn’t exactly mind control. Ultimately I remain pretty skeptical about the whole magick and politics thing. All’s I know is that traditional witchcraft, let alone New Age Wiccan fluff, won’t do anything to influence politics.

As I said before in my post about a Bustle article on social justice witches, if a bunch of brujas (practitioners of Mexican witchcraft) in Mexico couldn’t hex Donald Trump, what chance do these witches let alone Lana Del Ray have?

Possible opportunist Lana Del Ray leads a trustafarian drum circle lighting candles to pray the Donald away.

Possible opportunist Lana Del Ray leads a trustafarian drum circle lighting candles to pray the Donald away. Also those people next to her look like they were dragged out of the 1990’s.

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The “crucifixion” of Prometheus

A while back I heard of an interesting claim regarding the Greek figure Prometheus: the claim that was “crucified” just as Jesus was according to the Bible.

The claim seems to stem from a passage supposedly attributed to Hesiod’s Theogony, which reads as follows:

With shackles and inescapable fetters Zeus riveted Prometheus on a pillar.

This appears to be one interpretation of the myth. According to another interpretation, courtesy of the University of Michigan.

He bound the changeful-planning Prometheus with unbreakable fetters, painful bonds, and drove them through the middle of a pillar. And he sent a long-winged eagle upon him.

Another interpretation, courtesy of Perseus Digital Library.

And ready-witted Prometheus he bound with inextricable bonds, cruel chains, and drove a shaft through his middle, and set on him a long-winged eagle, which used to eat his immortal liver;

In either case, I fail to see the equivalence of being bound or tied to a pillar or a rock and someone being literally crucified. You know, that thing where you’re nailed to a cross or stauros or whatever, whilst elevated from the ground, and left to die. Jesus dies whilst on the cross, while Prometheus is eventually rescued by Hercules instead, which would preclude any resurrection on Prometheus’ part. So I can’t help but the idea of Prometheus being crucified is essentially one that’s barking up the wrong tree. Not to mention, if Prometheus is being crucified here, then so is Andromeda. She was chained to a rock as a sacrificial offering in order to appease the gods, before she is rescued by Perseus. I was unaware that being chained to a rock was the same as crucifixion – whether it’s one of those t-shaped crosses were all familiar with or the stauros which may been the actual historical equivalent.

The idea of Prometheus being crucified seems to come from a book titled The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors, which was written in 1875 by Kelsey Graves. The book lists Prometheus as one of the “crucified saviors” alongside deities like Krishna, Mitra, Indra (if you can believe it), Attis and Quetzalcoatl, and posits that Jesus was essentially a clone of sixteen deities from various mythologies that were crucified or killed and then descended into the underworld only to resurrect. And if it sounds like something out of Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist films or Bill Maher’s Religulous, that’s only because it pre-dated both. In fact, the book and its author are often seen as an unreliable and debunked source on comparative religion and mythology.

So needless to say, Prometheus is not Jesus. If anything, I thought Prometheus was closer to Lucifer than Jesus.

Prometheus by Gustave Moreau

Prometheus by Gustave Moreau

The Milo debacle

So recently Milo Yiannopolous has been at the center of a real shitstorm that swept the Internet on Monday. I had intended to write about this on pretty much the night that it happened, seeing as I have spoken in support of Milo’s work here on the Heretical Domain since the summer of 2016 and I felt it would be appropriate to comment. But I had been kept busy by other matters the past two days, and I had been receiving some new information since Monday night.

Here’s the situation as I understand it: some time after Milo made his appearance on Late Night with Bill Maher last week (I’ve seen it, by the way, and it was disappointing on all fronts; all of the panelists could have performed far better than they did), a clip taken from Milo’s appearance in the Drunken Peasants podcast on YouTube from about a year ago, where they talk about a video where someone accuses Milo of defending pedophiles. In the video, Milo states that, apparently, he “gave head” to a Catholic priest when he was 13 years old and explained how he claimed to enjoy the experience and felt that not only can an adolescent consent to performing a sexual act with an adult, but also that sexual acts between 13-28 years was actually normal. I don’t know where he gets this view from, but it is my understanding that he was apparently sexually abused in his youth, and may have been distorted by this experience. Anyways, after the clip was “discovered”, Twitter exploded with tons of people claiming that he defended pedophilia or even that was actually a pedophile, and the mainstream media gobbled it up with many figures showing their virtue in true virtue signalling fashion. He also received backlash not just from the left, but also from the right. In fact, the story apparently “broke” via the Twitter account of a conservative political organization known as The Reagan Battalion – try to remember that little detail for later. Milo had released a statement on Facebook on Monday stressing that he does not support pedophilia, claiming that the clips have been selectively edited. On Tuesday Milo gave a press conference on the whole fiasco, which he also released on Facebook, and he explained it was announced that Milo had resigned from Breitbart News.

OK, now that that’s said, let me just say straight up: I can’t defend what Milo said, at all. I can defend his right to say it, but that’s about it. I think that Milo’s opinions on sexual consent, particularly within the context of homosexuality, is bizarre to say the least. He thinks that the current legal age of consent is OK, but at the same time he feels the general idea of consent is arbitrary and even “oppressive”. If I’m going to be honest, I have to say Milo, that last part sounds like something a Bizarro World gender students student might say. He apparently justified his position on the grounds that some people are more sexually active. But needless to say, it is understandable that the fact he would even have had questionable opinions on the subject of sexual relationships between teenagers and adults would be cause for concern, and it certainly gave me pause when I thought about it. He did release statements clarifying the matter, saying that he is against pedophilia, which I think is good, and on the press conference it seems he has reflected on the matter and it has been a great source of disturbance and regret for him. On that token at least, I think he shouldn’t be treated like some kind of monster to be run out of town with pitchforks, not least because he still isn’t actually a sexual predator – and if his story is to be believe he was arguably a victim. However, when he claims that the clips have been selectively edited, I think that’s open for questioning at least. I’ve seen the clips that got shared around and they definitely didn’t seem edited to me. I think that Milo honestly believes that he isn’t actually advocating for pedophilia, and probably didn’t intend to, but the position he took was simply too dangerous, and to be honest the lines between advocating for pedophilia and defending pederasty seem too thin. The most charitable interpretation of all this is that Milo is advocating for cross-generational relationships, something that one of the Drunken Peasants at least tried getting Milo to admit, but given the generations in question, coupled with his claims about pederasty in the gay world, this doesn’t seem like it’s enough to fit Milo for a halo so to speak. Then there’s the dubious comments about people in Hollywood he made on Joe Rogan’s podcast, where some people think that he was outright protecting the names of pedophiles in Hollywood. Since I don’t know any of the names in question, I unfortunately can’t comment.

So all-in-all, there’s nothing really to defend, so I don’t defend his position, but I’m not going to succumb to outrage either. There’s already too much outrage in the world these days, and no sense in me adding to it. I certainly won’t gain anything by doing so anyhow. Milo, anyways, is at least capable of defending himself. It’s just a shame he couldn’t do so on Twitter due to being permanently banned from the site.

All that said, however, I think there is so much wrong with all of this. For starters, , this is ultimately another case of outrage being whipped over something that, to me at least, was already out there for the public to see when it was new. The podcast was from about a year ago, so where were all the people outraged over this issue in 2016? Why now? Meanwhile, as cliche as this will sound, Lena Dunham talked about apparently inspecting her younger sister’s genitals in one of her books, and she didn’t get run out of town like Milo did – in fact she still got to keep her acting career and remained a prominent face of the Democratic Party in 2016 (which was probably one of the many reasons why the Democrats lost). Second of all, this all seems to coincidence with Milo being invited to speak at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend. The Reagan Battalion posted the clip on Monday, pretty much right after Milo was invited, and after all the Twitter drama and media hysteria, CPAC dropped Milo from their panel. Let me be clear: CPAC is completely within their rights to invite and dis-invite whoever they like from speaking at their conference, and I accept that they think Milo is unfit to represent their views over these comments. But I haven’t got a doubt in my mind that they might not have dis-invited him were it not for The Reagan Battalion spreading that Drunken Peasants clip. And let me tell you about The Reagan Battalion. From what I understand they are one of those conservative groups that really doesn’t like the populist, anti-establishment movement that still gathers around Trump, and they almost certainly detest Milo, and not just because of the Drunken Peasants clip either. They view the populist conservative moment as (that is when  When Milo claimed that the drama was an attack on him by establishment Republicans, I don’t think he was entirely wrong. Also, take a look at what they said on Monday as part of their statement in support of ACU disinviting Milo from CPAC for not only the DP thing but, of all things, they think he’s anti-Semitic:

Free speech is the cornerstone of our great democracy, but giving a platform for hate, racism and intolerance is fortunately not.

Yeah some conservative free speech advocates you are. If that’s the true conservative platform, I’m glad I don’t call myself a conservative no matter much further to the right I may have lurched in recent months. But more to the point, I’m fairly convinced that their motives are just as likely to be political as they are to be merely moral. They wanted Milo to be disinvited from CPAC 2017, and in the end they got what they wanted. Also, for an organization that claims to have no affiliation with the NeverTrump movement, their Facebook profile has a now-broken link to a “Stop Donald Trump” PAC, which is apparently a conservative PAC that opposes Trump on the grounds that they think he’s another liberal.

But there’s another dubious element to this story as well. Someone on 4chan claimed to be an insider on an operation to destroy Milo, in a post apparently published on Sunday night. Here’s the text of that post:

FYI the MSM has a huge fucking media onslaught that is set to go live Monday to scorch earth Milo and destroy him via the pedophile label.

I’m part of a mailing list (not giving my name for the sake of protecting my ass from retaliation) but they have been sitting on the story for a while, because they thought Milo was small fry and wanted to wait until he got big enough a thread to go nuclear on.

The journalists are pissed the fuck off Maher put him on the air and more so, pissed off that his book deal had not been revoked (and some are pissed that Milo got a book deal from the same publisher who dropped Zoe Quinn’s book, along with a larger signing bonus than most of the publisher’s social justice authors).

There are also those who want to hurt him simply as a proxy to hurt Steve Bannon/Breitbart, since their attempts to attack Bannon have largely failed. Not to mention people on the left being pissed off that most people sided with Milo over the rioters. Rioters that were paid for by Soros through a variety of fronts and laundered through companies that can’t be traced back to him.

Expect a steady drumbeat of “Milo is a pedophile” and “Milo must be dropped from CPAC”. The later is especially important, in terms of the divide and conquer long game the press is playing: the press wants a civil war with the McCain/Graham wing of the GOP and the Trump/Ryan wing so as to weaken the Republicans in 2018. The overall plan is to make the Republicans fear social shaming from the media and the left more than they already do their actual constituents who love Trump, in hopes of regaining the House and enough Senate seats to pull off an impeachment of Trump.

Believe it or not, I think it’s entirely possible. We already know that not only is the media generally extremely biased against Trump, but a lot of the media is generally against the GOP, usually out of a deep-seated ideological agenda. And they beat on the Democrats and lost, hard. I’m not surprised if they’d go to any lengths to bring the Democrats back to power, and at any rate I’m not foolish enough to believe that any of the parties in large part are interested in much more than money and power. In addition to this, we know that traditional media is failing in relevance and I think the media at large recognizes that more people trust Trump and his supporters over their word. Given that after The Reagan Battalion “broke” that story the media went into full attack mode it looks like they got what they wanted out of Milo – namely his fall from public esteem – it would seem like either there may be some truth to this or it might be a coincidence. I suspect that the media may have been waiting for the opportunity to take Milo down, given that he has always been such a thorn on their side leading people against the Democratic Party, but any real campaigning against Milo was most likely the work of The Reagan Battalion. That said, none of this changes what Milo said. By all accounts his position at large is still pretty awful by its own merits. The only difference is that there were people looking to use this for their own political advantage. And in the end, if there was a mission from the media to defame Milo and by extension Breitbart, I’d say the mission was very much accomplished. As to whether or not the Republicans will be shamed or pushed into a civil war (as if there wasn’t already conflict among the Republicans) in order to enable the Democrats to win the mid-terms, that remains to be seen.

One thing that is for certain is that the people who think this is the end of Milo’s career, while I’m guessing are somewhat hyperbolic, probably aren’t too far from the truth. His career has been tangibly damaged by this whole affair: not only has he had to resign from Breitbart, but apparently Simon and Schuster have cancelled the publishing deal for his new book Dangerous, and I see many people on the right, even people on the far-right like Richard Spencer, coming out and denouncing him.

Oh, and one last thing: it looks like Bill Maher, the man who put Milo on air, is revealing himself to be an opportunistic pile of scum. It certainly seems that way if Bills think he has any business taking credit for Milo’s downfall. In his half-hearted defense, he did give Milo a lot more exposure in the media, but honestly that’s about all he did, at least beyond incessantly talking over him throughout the show. But what alarms me more is that, if this is true, then guess what that means? During the show itself he claimed that he invited Milo to show that there can be a civilized discussion between opposite points of view (Maher being a New York liberal and Milo the right-wing populist), but after the whole drama Bill Maher went and said “sunlight is the best disinfectant”. If that’s true and he is to be credited with Milo’s downfall, then do you know what that means to me? It means that Bill Maher never cared about open discussion with the right despite his claims to the contrary. He brought Milo on the show so that he can become famous for it, only so he could be brought down by his bizarre opinions about sex from a year-old podcast being used against him. To Bill, this is just another . His talk about reforming liberalism thus now seems to be as utterly insincere unless it’s on his terms. He doesn’t care about freedom of speech and open exchange of ideas at all. He only cares about bringing Americans back to the fold of the Democratic Party, and no one can convince me otherwise. Fuck Bill Maher and the late night panel show he rode in on!

The echoes of the past that today’s intelligentsia probably don’t want you to think about

My brother had to sit through another contextual studies lecture at university, this time he was introduced part 1 of a four part documentary series by Adam Curtis entitled “Century of Self”, which is all about how the thinks the idea of a consuming self was manufactured by society, and last night he invited me to watch it because he wanted to see what I thought of it. And let me just say something up front: I personally detest Alan Curtis. I think of him as someone who trades in sophistry and generates a living from it (does that Nixon documentary he aired on Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe ring a bell?). Weirdly enough it’s not so much that the documentary I’m talking about is based on complete lies – there is factual content to be found within the documentary – but Curtis’ argument is also misleading in that he presents half-truths alongside otherwise factual information. But the documentary also provides a fascinating window into a historical parallel to the political travails of the current era.

This film (which is subtitled “Happiness Machines”) centers around the exploits of a man named Edward Bernays, an advertiser, propagandist and innovator in the realm of public relations during the 20th century, and how according to Curtis he was responsible for the creation of modern consumer culture. Right away I have a problem with the essential premise. According to the film, Bernays seemed to view humans as passive consumers who are ruled by drives that they cannot control (he even seemed to view the masses as stupid), and that by satiating their desires they can be controlled, deriving his theory from Freud’s theory of the unconscious. But strangely enough the film often makes it seem like Bernays is responsible for implanting desires into peoples’ heads that they didn’t have before, and that this is where today’s consumer culture comes from. But it seems to me that all Bernays did was exploit desires that were already there and do what we already know advertisers do today – take a desire that already exists, and appeal to that desire and convince people to follow that desire via persuasion.

I had a similar discussion in a dissertation-themed contextual studies lecture once when one of the speakers talked to us about advertising and subliminal messaging – he argued that we are driven to want something that we otherwise wouldn’t through carefully crafted imagery, while I pointed out that many of the drives being exploited via advertising – lust, envy, hunger etc – are already present in the human condition. All the advertisers do is find a way to titillate them in order to achieve the outcome of consumption. It’s not exactly brainwashing in the strictest sense. The film makes it seem like corporations and politicians create desires, but desires are not created by others. They already exist, just that they can be awoken through the power of suggestion. And man’s desires and needs are part of a hierarchy – we don’t just pursue only what we need, and then have to be conditioned into wanting more. Once we have the lower parts of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs fulfilled, we can pursue other desires, like the desire for self-improvement for instance. Hell, I’d argue that even the basic needs spring from one desire in particular – the desire for self-preservation. After all, if we didn’t want to stay alive, we would we bother killing animals for food, building shelters or fires for warmth, drinking water or even sleeping, and if we didn’t want to continue a line of succession for the species, why would we procreate?

The film seems to present Bernays as responsible for getting people to trade stocks, pushing what would become the first department store, convincing women to smoke and getting an entire generation of Americans to believe in the magic of the free market. And this guy claims he’s not a leftist. For starters, the idea of a market where people trade in stocks or bonds has been around for centuries, dating back to at least the 17th century via the East India company, and the New York Stock Exchange we know it has been around since 1817. Also the first department store was established in 1858 and the idea that begun to spread before the 1920’s, free market capitalism has a long history, the ideological formations of which dating back to the likes of Adam Smith, and women have been smoking for centuries (though there may have been a social taboo surrounding it). And you can find most of that out with only a couple seconds or a minute on Google. It’s not great that you can find flaws in Curtis’ case so easily.

Apparently, at some point during the 20th century, confidence in the idea of democracy was weakening. It was increasingly believed that Man was incapable of making informed, rational decisions, was dominated by unseen and dangerous unconscious forces, and because of that Man was by nature an “unrational” being and needed to be controlled. Bizzarely enough the Russian Revolution, which happened in 1917, was seen as evidence by the media class of the day, who were according to Curtis influenced by the pessimistic view of human nature held by Sigmund Freud, that Western democracy needed to be challenged because of the mob mentality that erupted in Russia was proof that humans could not make rational decisions, seemingly invalidating a key principle of democracy, despite the fact that Tsarist Russia was both an autocracy and an empire – the opposite of the kind of republican democracy envisioned in the United States of America. Of course, not that the Soviet Russia that succeeded it was any better (in fact, arguably it was somehow worse). Bernays’ daughter Anne recounts who her father felt that democracy could not be trusted because he couldn’t trust “all those publics” to make the right judgement and not vote for the wrong person or have the wrong desires, which sounds like what the Remoaners were saying after they lost the Brexit vote. Are you beginning to feel like you’re in familiar territory yet?

A contemporary of Bernays, a political thinker by the name of Walter Lippmann, advocated for the concept of an elite group of people to manage democracy on behalf of the people and control their opinions through communication and media. Apparently he too was influenced by Freud and was interesting in psychological persuasion techniques, like those of Bernays, to convince the people that what Lippmann’s elites said was true, one of the methods of which was to form a “barrier between the public and the event” thereby allowing for the manipulation of information for public consumption. Well fuck me if that doesn’t sound like the mainstream media we have now. Oh and by the way, Lippmann also happened to be an advocate for socialism, and he was a member of various socialist groups including the Socialist Party of America. And isn’t that just magical? A socialist intellectual arguing for an elite, aristocratic class to stand above the people? Why is that relevant you might ask? Because it sounds a lot like the thought process behind the conception of the idea of the European Union before World War II and the actual foundation of what would become the European Union afterwards. Before World War II there was The United States of Europe, a paper released by Arthur Salter which documented his vision of supranational governing entity to govern the nations of Europe. After the war, Monnet, another leftist (not a died-in-the-wool socialist, but a consistent supporter of the French Socialist party), paved the way for federalism by working to pool economic resources into what would become the European Union, which over the years would grow from a supranational economic power, to a full-blown supranational political one with its own anthem, treasury, borders and the ability to override the will of its member states, managed by an elite technocratic class who cannot be elected or ousted democratically and obsessively and single-mindedly march toward the fruition of their “European project”. It’s like a billion-piece jigsaw puzzle suddenly falling into place, to quote Dave Lister in Red Dwarf, as if I needed another reason to despise the American, British and European left.

Bernays apparently felt like they had to guided from above (like in conventional religion, much?), believing in an “enlightened despotism”. Which, honestly, sounds a fucking lot like Bob “MovieBob” Chipman’s Twitter feed, a Guardian column about Internet “hate speech” or every filum of technocratic, anti-democratic dribble spewed from the leaders of the European Union. Assuming this is true, then we have a modern media and so-called liberal class that is full of people who follow the doctrine of Edward Bernays to this day. For today’s progressives and “liberals”, you can’t trust humans to think for themselves and you can’t trust them to be active citizens in a democracy, democracy doesn’t mean anything if they don’t vote the right way, so you have to convince them through propaganda to vote the right way or else the end of civilization as we know it is inevitable. That, my friends, is the philosophy that our political class follows today.

Apparently there was talk of the idea that, because Man is unrational and driven by unconscious desires and needed to be controlled because of it, a leader could ascend to power by taking the deepest fears and deepest desires of a subject or a citizen and appeal to those desires and use them to your own purposes. When I saw that with my brother I thought “this sounds like naked demagoguery” – demagoguery being when someone neither uses conventional reason nor speaks truth to power, instead cynically manipulating deep-seated longings and even prejudices in order to ascend to power – and this is what every Guardianista, every Clintonite and every modern leftist think that the likes of Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and the European far-right are doing, to the point that I honestly ask myself, how come the former are not ardent supporters of the latter?  If they truly believed that Donald Trump existed solely to give . Oh that’s right, because Hillary was the one actually doing this. Using sentimental slogans (Stronger Together anyone?; by the way, the Remain camp called and they want their originality back) and appealing to the vapid political and social climate of the day (for fuck’s sake she even had selfies taken of her as part of her campaign) rather than honestly addressing the issues outside of towing the Democratic party line. And that’s not getting into her corporate backing or the numerous wrongdoings that are now out in the open for all to see.

Or maybe it’s not because of Hillary. Maybe it’s because the media is the one decided what the terms are for being a demagogue. Someone speaking truth to power on anything, to those people, whilst going against the established order of things is a demagogue to those people. Either that, or it’s their job to make you believe that this is the case – which, let’s be honest, it is!

By the way, if you want to see what an actual demagogue looks like in my country, consult Owen Jones’ speech at an NUS rally circa November 19th 2016.

Getting back to the point, we also have Sigmund Freud coming out with his own take on civilization, which he felt was not an expression of human progress but instead nothing more than a necessary cage for human passions that would otherwise become dangerous. Apparently Freud felt that humans constantly needed to be controlled, and freedom of self-expression was impossible because it would bring about destruction. The implication is, thus, that humans are incapable of controlling themselves and constantly need to be guided by someone else. The problem I have with this is that this is not the proper remit of a government. It is true that humans can’t contain the savagery of a lawless state of affairs on their own, try as they might, and there is the need to outsource the need for security and stability to a larger body of power (hence, government). But a law enforcement can usually only contain savagery and criminality after the fact, they cannot and should control the passions of a citizenry. The onus is on individuals to at least attempt to control their own passions. Otherwise, if you want to live in a Demolition Man or Minority Report style world then go ahead – enjoy governments that act on the thoughts, feelings and desires of others rather than on actions and real issues and actively attempt to control or outright police them at the expense of your own freedom – but I would rather not. And the idea that civilization doesn’t bring content? Sounds like something I actually used to believe not too long ago, but now recognize as bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, modern civilization has its problems and can be a limiting force on the human spirit, but the idea that civilization doesn’t bring content or progress can be refuted by literally any technological and economic advancement that has ever been made in any civilization in the realms of not just entertainment, but also medicine, security and raising the standards of living. Anyone who actually believes that people aren’t happier living in a civilized society than otherwise should spend sometime in the pure state of nature, divorced from civilization and its benefits, and then see if that makes you much happier (I’m looking squarely at the anarcho-primitivists).

Let me tell you, I find the central premise of Lippmann and Freud’s assessment of human nature and democracy and their proposed solutions to both to be ultimately insensible. Don’t get me wrong I am apprised of the fact that there is indeed the innate capacity for savagery within the human species, and the fact that human history with resplendent with accounts of violence, war and mayhem, whether it’s in the name of either God (or the gods), a higher set of ideals or simply perceived self-interest. But I am also apprised of the underrated capacity for what others might call humanity. We are, at least in part, social animals. One of the key aspects of our survival as a species is the ability and willingness to cooperate with each other to achieve a desired goal, in fact I am willing enough to concede that certain fundamental aspects of our civilization is probably doomed without it. But more importantly I’d like you to just ponder for a moment: if we are all irrational, all eternally guided by unconscious forces and we are in no position to control ourselves, then who is? Who is enlightened compared to the rest of us beasts? Who then is fit to control us besides the strong, and the next strongest after him? What is the guarantee that the philosopher kings that Lippmann and his modern inheritors (like the EU and MovieBob) advocate for aren’t going to be exactly as irrational and beastlike as the rest of us? If we are not without sin by dint of our very humanity, why are they without sin, and how is that decided? This is why I don’t like the benevolent dictatorship concept. Not simply because at the end of the day it’s still a dictatorship, but because I don’t trust the dictator be benevolent, especially given that human history is also resplendent with the fallibility or outright corruption and even despotism of its leaders and elites. And ultimately, these people, whilst holding us as utterly savage and as falling short of their ideal of a rational human, hold that the solution is to controlled by an elite class who they expect us to believe will not be more savage than us.

Case in point, we get to how the Nazis seemed to take the ideas of Bernays and the growing despair about democracy and ran with it, blaming democracy and capitalism for economic decline and unemployment and that by sacrificing individual liberty and giving up the will of the people to a totally centralized state under National Socialism. You see, the 1930’s was a time that began fresh off the heels of the Great Depression, and this caused people to lose faith in both democracy and capitalism. At the same time eugenics was a part of popular ideology and was seen as desirable, while fascism was a growing ideology that was gaining some support, including in UK (with the British Union of Fascists), Japan (with the rise of extreme militant nationalism) Spain (the rise of fascist groups such as Falange) and Italy (with the rise of Mussolini). Nazi Germany thus can be understood as an unfortunate product of its time – a time were desperation and a crisis of confidence in democracy led people to genuine political extremism (unlike the modern populist wave that is still being spun as political extremism). And guess who admired Bernays’ work and used it to build the foundations of his own propaganda campaign? None other than Joseph Goebbels. He kept Bernays’ books in his personal library and studied them attentively, despite the fact that Bernays himself was a Jew and Goebbels a Nazi (not that the Nazis didn’t believe that Jews could collaborate with the Nazi regime, of course). From there, the Nazis aggressively propagandized the German people to accept the rule of a political elite with complete control over German society that would eventually destroy anyone it deemed undesirable.

For a party that embraced the idea that democracy threatened to reek destruction upon society, we all know the barbarism they inflicted on Germany and the nations it conquered in pursuit of its ideological goals. Just think about it: the Nazi Party wanted to save the German people from the “irrational” power of selfish individualism and the destruction it was perceived as causing by inflicting an irrational totalitarian regime upon the German people and liquidating people on the basis of race, ethnicity, sexuality and political opinion? This, though it is an extreme example, is a demonstration of why I find the Lippman and Bernays way of thinking to be internally inconsistent. For an influential political intellectual and a talented propagandist, they were both fools.

And you know what I find unbelievable? If Curtis was correct then we must come to the conclusion that the Second World War traumatized the entire world, with the Western world particularly troubled by the horrors inflicted by Nazi Germany, and yet the Western World has somehow managed to convince itself that the path to saving itself from repeating those horrors is by applying the same philosophy of propaganda, and the worldview that accompanied it, that the Nazis via Joseph Goebbels built on and utilized in order to convince the German populace that democracy needed to be discarded, the state needed absolute control of public life and that Jews, non-Aryan Europeans, gays, political opponents and other “untermensch” needed to be exterminated. That is nothing short of the grandest folly that the Western world has ever imbibed in, grander even than the phenomenon of political correctness and cultural Marxism we are seeing today, itself still carried forward by the doctrine of propaganda. Among the clear lessons of World War II is not that there is a dangerous force within humanity that must be controlled at all costs, but that some of worst horrors in human history were incited by the propaganda that men like Bernays and Lippmann thought were instrumental in subduing the irrational powers that caused them!

Yet here we are, living in an age where the mainstream media in the Western world can lie to your face in order to try and control what you think, and now outright browbeating the people with the causes of activist journalists, and Western leaders view the solution to the world’s ills as being more centralized control over the lives and minds of their citizens. And at the vanguard of this is the modern “liberal” left, who have been supporting a propagandist media, corporatist politicians, authoritarianism, and social engineering and they been in the business of propaganda through the media and through universities in order to disseminate their ideology.

The connection between all of us is the zeitgeist of Bernays’ and Lippmann’s time – the zeitgeist where Freud’s view of human nature has been taken as the basis of a worldview that holds that human beings must be controlled by a higher societal force in the form of an elite class that will propagandize them by manipulating their emotions and desires, because they thought humans could not be trusted to make rational decisions –  a view that, if Curtis is right, was discredited by the rise of scientific political polling. The rise of fascism in the 1930’s sprung out of this zeitgeist, and the modern antipathy towards democracy among the progressives echoes it. For all the sophistry that’s sometimes scattered throughout the film, there is a valuable window of insight into a historical parallel, if not a historical root, to some of the modern travails of our political climate.

Fuck Edward Bernays, fuck Walter Lippmann and fuck the modern inheritors of their way of thinking.

Now I would like to address the people who took the side of the mainstream media, social media, popular groupthink and the ideological agendas that they supported: you are all fools. You have been misguided by an elite class that, despite demonstrable failure in its worldview in the past, continues to follow the doctrine of Bernays, Lippman and Goebells whilst actually believing that this will prevent fascism from claiming the world within our lifetime. The only chance you have of escaping the cycle of history is to reject the mainstream media, cut yourself off from the zeitgeist of social media and the corporate culture that lingers over it, free your mind from the boundaries of herd mentality and think for yourself. And the only chance mankind as a whole has of becoming free from this is if those of us who succeed in doing this learn to spread this authentic free thinking to others as best they can without force.

Edward Bernays (left), Walter Lippmann (middle) and Joseph Goebbells (right)

Edward Bernays (left), Walter Lippmann (middle) and Joseph Goebbells (right)


If you actually want to see the documentary here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DotBVZ26asI

The discrediting of the media

Well, that’s it. I guess we’re all Nazis now. You, me, everyone. We’re all Nazis because at some point in our lives we looked at footage of Adolf Hitler giving a speech somewhere. That’s what the Wall Street Journal seems to have implied with their hit piece against a world-famous YouTube star called Felix Kjellberg (a.k.a. PewDiePie). And yes, unfortunately we’re at a point where I’m talking about him, even though before hand I never gave too much of a shit about him. Only I’m not talking about PewDiePie himself per se, but rather the shitshow that has resulted from a joke he made that was deemed to be anti-Semitic, or jokes he made that involved references to Nazism.

The thing is, that’s all they were. Jokes. It was a kind of edgy but ultimately silly form of comedy. Otherwise, he has no known affiliation with any anti-Semitic movements. But it was on the basis of some jokes and some comedy that he got labelled a Nazi by the mainstream media. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guardian, Salon, Vox, lots of mainstream media outlets went on the attack, and the Internet took notice and I’ve seen nothing but people calling them out on their obvious bullshit. And then The Daily Stormer went and seized on this by, for a short period of time, declaring themselves to be the number one PewDiePie fan site (now they call themselves the number one Wall Street Journal fan site, in reference to the three “journalists” who wrote the hit piece on PewDiePie to begin with).

There’s not much for me to say on this matter other than this is pure hysteria. One that, in my opinion, should be familiar to those who might be older than me, old enough to be far more intimately familiar than I with the demented moonscape that is the mainstream media. The media always either looks for some kind of panic to spread or outright fabricates one of their own. And why? For attention of course, which likely results in attaining not just revenue but also societal relevance, people hanging on their every word. Once upon a time this was seen as the game of some right-wing Murdoch media or some shit, but now we see it as the game of progressive media, with almost everyone outside of alternative media playing along, and I hope that by the end we start to this for what it is – a game of cynical corporations and delusional ideologues on both sides of the spectrum who are less interested in the truth and more interested in influence and a paycheck. And for me that’s all there is to it. PewDiePie and his allegedly anti-Semitic content were just the next target of an ongoing hysteria, in concert with the reign of political correctness I should add.

Calming down…

After that rant about what the woes I’ve been feeling about my academic life, I have been talking with people about the matter in order to get some advice and counsel on the matter. After a while, I kind of realized that I had been a little harsh on myself, and my extreme dissatisfaction combined with my impatience with the others that I work with made me feel the way I did and it wasn’t actually necessary for me to do that. It was a very emotional reaction let’s say. I suppose in my own defense, for a rant on my personal blog it was acceptable to vent such an emotional reaction, but for my own sake I ought to pursue a correction and make things straight.

The reason I often get mad with my colleagues is not just because of what I perceive to be them shutting me down, but because of the fact that they blow off the course when it suits them – whether it’s not showing up on 9am when they’re supposed to, or leaving early if they can get away with it when they’re supposed to stick around until 5pm. This is supposed to be treated like you’re actually in a job, and for me I see it as a matter of upholding a contract. I signed up for the course, and I’ve obviously put some money into it, therefore I am expected to actually do what is expected of me and be punctual. This has been my mentality for all of my student life, and I believe there was even a time where this was considered…what’s the word again? Work ethic! Or as I call it, virtuous and honorable conduct. I think that this is expected of all us, and since I work in a team, and we’ve been told in the past that we have to operate as a team in order to do well. The fact that my colleagues do not observe the same standards hurts my morale, especially when we’re at a point where we can just be in the studio for hours and use that time to discuss what we’re doing at pretty much any time outside of lectures. Maybe I should detach my sense of morale from the lackluster standards of my colleagues, but it’s hard for me to because, aside from me having to deal with them on a regular basis, the mere idea that I’m the only one who actively pursues work ethic and actually tries to uphold the implicit contract. That said, the program director is kind of with me on this in that he thinks that my colleagues are pretty much lazy, and he seems to notice that I don’t always get along with my colleagues because of it. In general I’m the kind of guy who, if you made me a producer or a boss, I’ll take an artist or an artisan who isn’t half as good as whoever the most talented artists are at that time but who commits to his work, shows up on time when he’s supposed and all that stuff over a genius who doesn’t care about any of those things and is just a total punk-ass (for lack of a better word). In short, I value conscientiousness.

One thing I didn’t talk about last month, despite having then returned to university after the winter holidays, was how I did in the last semester. The big reason for this is because I never received any formal marks on paper other than for my dissertation. Eventually I stopped waiting for my marks and looked them up on my student Moodle account. I found out that my marks for this semester alone are higher now than they’ve been in previous years. The average mark I got for this semester was 75. The average mark for last year was 62, and for the year before that it was 58. To me, this means I have clearly progressed as a student and am getting better and doing what I do, and I hadn’t realized that yet. Now that I have, I think “I don’t have the right to feel beat down about anything”. I know that what I am doing is, ultimately, getting me good results. And now that I’ve seen that, I feel better and I can carry on doing what I’m doing. To me, even if I’m not doing as good as I’d like to, I think I’m seeing the results of the way I do things pay off. The only thing that remains is just taking what I do and doing it better, putting more effort into it.

I will carry remembering the principle of pride in worldly accomplishments, and I won’t allow myself to be dragged down by other people for no reason or by any emotions that become inflated in the process.

Starting to get tired….

This is a rant that I saved for when I finished the previous post about an experience I had in university, or rather a rising feeling of exhaustion and disillusionment.

Let me explain: over the past week we were supposed to be designing what’s called an art target, which is a basically a visual representation of what we’re supposed to be design, with all our design work proper being based around that general representation. Towards the end I had received a message from one of my colleagues explaining what we needed in an itemized form, and I run with it thinking “OK, let’s do this”. The next day, we got shitcanned by the program director because the art targets we generated appeared to be bland, flat and uninspired. I wasn’t fully sure what I did wrong at the time, but I didn’t say anything. All the while I just had this feeling of resentment – I followed the advice of my colleague, and we got shitcanned for doing so in my mind, and all I want to do is try and fix that, but every time I come up with something it’s always wrong, apparently, and when I try to help it feels. In addition to this I spent the opportunity, doing almost nothing but drawing some quick sketches on paper in one night, and one Photoshop the morning after, each time trying to perfect my skill at trying to convey something artistically and then I get told it’s not about how well you draw.

So as I designer I’m starting to think I’m always doing the wrong thing, or doing something the wrong way. All the while, when I got told “you’re a gamer, you’ve played games, what is it that you like about them?”, I just didn’t know what to say. And after that, I just felt like such a fraud, and that filled me with a sadness that was difficult to contain. I know everyone else got told the same thing, and it wasn’t just aimed at me, but that didn’t make me feel any better. It didn’t change the fact that I don’t know why I’m even here. My written work is great, I can analyze what I do, and I’m competent in areas such as character rigging and creating environmental assets as well, but I feel like in terms of basic design I feel like I’m just not cut out. Worse, I feel like I’m just taking cues and following instructions! And why? Because other people always project this sense of confidence and knowing what they’re doing, so, logically, it just felt like a matter taking the word of people who I assumed knew better than me. But the people I work with frequently come across such a non-committal bunch non-committal trollops with a blase attitude to the course. I’m there every morning, showing up at exactly the time I’m supposed to show up, while they usually show up later than me and one of them always has a reason not to show up, and they only buckle down and change this as of this week and even then I’m still convinced at least one of them has dedication issues. And when they’re gathering “research” for their designs, it feels like all they do is get from random work that someone did on Deviantart or some shit, while I try to go from real-world sources and recognized fictional media, sometimes including other games if I have to. I try to go out of my way to avoid quoting other games that are like what I’m working on unless I have to because it’s the best way to explain what we’re trying to do. In my mind that’s called, oh I don’t know, fucking originality! As I write this I feel like I’m letting myself get played and I’m thinking “why the fuck am I doing this?”.

But I already know why. Aside from what I said earlier about them projecting a sense of confidence and the appearance that they’re better artists than me (which judging from their actual work seems to be grounded in reality), the game I worked on used to be my project, and then they joined and convinced me that doing things their way might actually make a better game. I submitted a design document back in April 2016 and the next month we had our documents marked and my document was one of two that were judged by the lecturers to be the one being worked with. I was surprised that that happened, because by my money I had done a shoddy job of the document, and I think the target demographic I set for the game may have been a major weakness, having limited a potential audience. In a free market in the actual games industry I probably wouldn’t give a fuck, but in university we have to have a public exhibition for our games and we have to worry about people being repelled by what I might create. So anyways, we then formed groups of three for each project corresponding to each document, and we discussed how we were going to do this. They convinced me to turn the game from a supernatural-oriented beat ’em up into a fantasy oriented beat ’em up, because they thought that would be more accessible. For a while, after discussions, I thought I could still make this kind of unique, preserve some elements from the original idea I had, and make this into something I could get behind. But as time went on and we made it into a simplistic game for virtual reality, that became less and less, until now I’m convinced that this isn’t my game anymore, not since the others joined me in creating it. Now, in terms of design, it feels like their opportunity to do some World of Warcraft wankery.

Because of all that I’m hating the people I work with more than I did before, and from the looks of it I have to work with them until May. I can’t help but wonder if we’ll get into a situation where I say “I hate you”, and one of them says “well I hate you too”, and I say “well I hate you more” and all that bullshit. But then I also remember that part of it is still my fault. My fault for not writing a better design document, my fault for being convinced by them that their way of doing things had merit, my fault for not taking more control. Because of that, I felt less justifiably angry and more like the sense that I was kind of a screw-up who had no business in game design. But I can’t quit now. It’s the second half of third year. What’d be the point? All I can be certain of is once the third year is over and I continue into the Masters portion of the course, I never have to work with them again, even if it means working with only one other person. If I have to work with the same people again, I would resent the prospect. If I have to work on the same game again, which is being talked about, I would resent the prospect. And the main reason I’m continuing is for my own advancement as a technical artist, because the better I do on those terms the better my prospects will be later in life if I get into the industry. I wonder if maybe, just maybe, I’ve discovered the errors tied to pursuing something for your own advancement? Because it’s not as though I’m all in regarding the project I’m working on, particularly if I’m convinced it’s more akin to the project of someone else who hijacked my original idea to make it their own, whilst quoting other games in the process moreso than I could have done, and on purpose no less! And particularly not if I hate the people I have to work with. This is for my own advancement now, and even though being a Satanist I shouldn’t be bothered by that, I am worried that by the end of the project I will wind up being poorer, not richer, for it.