A long con

Twitter, Facebook, Google and the like, they will continue to bend the knee to the establishment until it no longer becomes profitable for them to do so. They will continue the business of suppressing information that they determine to be to false, as if it is their authority to do so. And they will hypocritically follow their doctrine of “hate speech” on ideological lines, targeting whatever directly opposes their ideological line while ignoring misinformation and abuse from their own ends of the political spectrum. But their competitors, such as Gab or Minds, from what I have understood based on developments I have seen within the last couple of months, are not the bastions of freedom of speech that they promise to be. They too will ban content that they dislike, often with minimal explanation if at all.

It’s becoming increasingly evident to me that social media is a long con. I would like that social media websites allow individuals to speak freely, post what they like that isn’t pornography, incitement or private information, and/or at the very least be honest about the terms that they’re setting for their users. But sadly, I predict that they aren’t going to me. In the meantime, we’re all suckers in the end because, in many ways, we depend on social media to sustain our modern lives. As I’ve mentioned before, communication with fellow students is pretty much one of the only reasons I’m on Facebook besides the fact that people like Summer Thunder and Sean Ridley Ravensdale are there with me. At least I still have some friends there. As much as it renders us into a situation where we’re pretty much stuck dealing with social media companies run by people who are, frankly, untrustworthy, it’s also the biggest reason why the struggle to actually have some rights is an important one, even if perhaps a tragic one (on account of how, like I said, there may not be much we can do). I do not want those companies being able to just trample over me like a dog, but if I don’t the only way I can do anything is to fight, and I don’t know how.

But if I’m convinced of anything in that direction, it’s that they will not be defeated by the self-serving. The people who would’ve been all for social media companies denying the liberty of the people who use it, were it not for the fact that the people they like received . The people who are against censorship, like myself, were warning about precisely this. There is no guarantee that the forces of censorship will spare you in their wrath, instead they will eventually target you, whether for ideological reasons or out of pure incompetence. You can’t control the censor once you allow him to censor anymore than you can control the Internet, so don’t complain if he decides to censor you or someone you like unless you are opposed to it on principle.

And I extent this principle to the fake news meme I still see going around. The fight against fake news is pointless. Those of us who aren’t sheep know it’s just a way of accusing someone else of spreading lies, when the people who started the meme in the first place started saying it in response the failure of an American presidential candidate they wanted to win. They needed a scapegoat, and social media was arguably the perfect fit in an age where it is so ubiquitous that it practically dominates our lives. Those who think the powers that be will save you from this think that all they ask is to protect the public from misinformation, when really all it is is making it a crime to either lie or spread something you think is true, but might not be. All we would be doing is surrendering our faculty, and duty, to determine for ourselves through reason whether or not we are being told lies. This is something that should not be given up so that politicians could win a game they lost over a year ago.

It’s all a long con. The only difference is with one con we can’t avoid without total hermitude, but the other, we can think our way out of. If, that is, we remain free to.

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The PizzaGate conspiracy theory

There has been a lot of talk about a conspiracy theory referred to as PizzaGate, which as far as I can tell has been going around since last month (the first I remember hearing of it was not too long after Donald Trump won the election). The conspiracy theory is quite widely believed among those who consume fringe media. At first I chose to ignore the subject, despite how some of the allegations have involved the typical “Satanic ritual abuse” conspiracy trope. You’d think I would have addressed that sooner on the blog. But I didn’t know enough on the subject matter to make a judgement. But it’s still being talked about, and I think it’s time for me to address the subject matter with what I’ve been able to gather so far.

The starting premise of this conspiracy theory stems from some of the emails sent to John Podesta, the former chairman of the Hillary Clinton campaign, that were leaked earlier this year. The emails in question seem to be about John Podesta discussing with colleagues his love of Italian cuisine and walnut sauce and inviting colleagues over for pizza parties at a place called Comet Ping Pong Pizza. Apparently, some people believe that the references to various food items such as “pizza”, “hot dog”, “walnut sauce” or “ice cream” are code names for children of various descriptions (like boy, girl or “person of color” for instance). I don’t know how that connection was made other than there’s a Wikileaks Subreddit thread where it’s claimed that it has something to do with some seemingly innocuous comments made to photos of children, the context of which is not apparent to me. It’s also been claimed that Podesta et al use handkerchief as a code for something involving BDSM, which I can only assume comes from the fact that people tend to use them in bondage but otherwise seems pretty circumstantial to me. Some Instagram photos from people associated with either Podesta or Comet Ping Pong Pizza apparently involve small children in what seem to be innocuous circumstances (like a baby eating pizza for instance), and that somehow is presented as proof but, again, it seems like pure circumstance. Throw all that together with some other emails to and from John Podesta that, to be fair, sound pretty creepy, and you have the basis for a particularly bizarre conspiracy theory in which Podesta, and by extension Hillary Clinton, are accused of being part of, or at the center of, a vast pedophilic sex ring concealed from the public.

As for the “Satanic” element to all this? I imagine it comes from the belief that Comet Pizza’s logo resembles some kind of Illuminati or Masonic symbol, I’m not sure how, and as we all know the idea that the Illuminati (if it even exists) and the Freemasons (whenever they aren’t viewed as essentially the same thing) are basically orgiastic devil worshipers is a typical conspiracy theory trope, one that, I might add, tends to be levied at people in power a lot. There’s also an image supposedly pointing to the Comet Pizza sign as being a reference to Baphomet. How is it related to Baphomet exactly? Because of the crescent moons and stars that are there. Yes, you read that correctly. Comet Pizza is supposedly affiliated with orgiastic devil worshipers because of a reference to Islam, one that may have been there purely by coincidence! This would mean that, if the conspiracy theory is true, then the perverted cadre of Clintonite/Washington elites are somehow devil worshipers and Muslims at the same time, which would be utterly contradictory given that Islam is very much against idolatry, let alone worshiping any devils. However, I suppose many of these conspiracy theorists are the same kind of people who think of Islam as essentially a “satanic” religion solely based on the fact that it isn’t Christianity, despite the fact that ultimately the two religions share the same God wrapped up in noticeably different mythology and religious teachings. But all this is a tangent from the fact that this is all circumstantial. There’s no hard proof. Also, given that this is John Podesta we’re talking about, I suspect a lot of the nonsense about this being a “satanic” conspiracy stems from the earlier accusations of occultism surrounding his association with Marina Abramovic and all that bullshit about “spirit cooking”.

I suspected from the outset that this would be a typical conspiracy theory, especially when people started talking about “Satanic child abuse rings”. Given the SRA scare of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and the more recent Hampstead SRA hoax from last year, both of which were categorically proven to be false, my natural instinct is to distrust and dismiss these claims whenever I see them, not even giving the benefit of the doubt.

However, there is something wrong with the whole PizzaGate affair that I seem to be noticing. For one thing, I know that the CEO of Reddit has shut down a Subreddit dedicated to the subject of PizzaGate, which to me seems like nothing more than an attempt to silence discussion. This is idiotic for one simple reason: when you go after conspiracy theorists, you make them think that they might be right about something. After all, if the powers that be as it were go out of their way to silence the conspiracy theorist’s freedom of speech, then for the conspiracy theorist it is surely evidence that they are being silenced presumably by people who don’t want you to talk about your wild theories because they have something to hide. The other thing that really bothers me is how the mainstream media has recently used all this bullshit to push their equally bullshit war on “fake news”. On December 5th, a man named Edgar Maddison Welch went to a Comet Ping Pong Pizza building and threatened an employee with a gun before being arrested by the authorities. Thankfully, it seems that no one was hurt before the gunman got arrested. But after the event, the mainstream media seems to have come out with a slew of articles about how the incident proved that “fake news is hurting real people”. It doesn’t help when they also refer to it as an “alt-right conspiracy”, or as Stephen Colbert put it an “alt-right feverdream”.

First of all, when you refer to something you consider false, wrong or just outside what your ingroup says as “alt-right”, you lose me right away. The reason for this is because the term “alt-right” is such a buzzword, and a mess of a word at that, that lost its original meaning after both Hillary Clinton used it refer to a fictional nationalist conspiracy headed by Russia and then Milo Yiannopoulos defended the term as referring to disenfranchised anti-establishment conservatives who love freedom of speech. Both Clinton and Yiannopoulos have turned it into a joke, with one trying to paint it as a singular evil threatening democracy and Yiannopoulos selling it as basically fluff. And in the end, it lost relevance as a standalone term when Richard Spencer, who is considered to be a leading thinker of the “alt-right” movement, gave his “Hail Trump” speech. Not to mention The Daily Stormer, an actual “alt-right” website, espousing textbook white supremacist ideology whilst claiming to be the voice of the Republican Party (which they aren’t), and the fact that the “alt-right” is now trying to recruit in Toronto and espousing white identity politics not too distant from the kind of black identity politics that’s become mainstream. These are nothing more than white nationalists who view Donald Trump as a neofascist godman who wants to fulfill their dream of a white ethnostate, and in that sense they share some common ground with every radical progressive and everyone they’ve duped. Both parties, I am confident, will be sorely disappointed.

Second of all, the mainstream media’s war on “fake” media, is essentially bullshit. This whole crusade started from the fact that after Donald Trump won the presidency, everyone who wasn’t blaming it on Russia without any credible evidence decided to go after social media companies for failing to control the news that people spread on its website. No wonder Twitter decided to ban the accounts of white nationalist public figures with no explanation and no proof of them having violated their community standards. The media class is the kind that considers Breitbart to be “fake news” on the basis that it is right-wing and pro-Trump, but they won’t go after Buzzfeed, a website that last time I checked literally has articles that are basically ads! Hell, even John Oliver knew this when he was talking about native advertising on his show. Heaven forbid that they investigate what’s left of Gawker to see just how fake it is. Instead, the people writing the lists are openly going after politically bent news sites that they don’t like. We know that the mainstream media is full of shit on this one, and we know this because they have lost relevance in an age where the majority of people don’t have any confidence in them, let alone conspiracy theorists. So it should come as no surprise that when news of Edgar Maddison Welch’s attempted shooting broke out, the PizzaGate believers viewed this is a false flag operation. Because of course they did. But I can’t entirely blame them, given the poor performance of the mainstream media in general.

In the end, I find that the whole PizzaGate conspiracy theory is basically a Rorschach test. People who take this theory seriously, whether its believers or the mainstream media, see what they want to see. Conspiracy theorists see a devil worshipping pedophile sex ring run by the Hillary Clinton campaign, the mainstream media sees proof that their crusade against every other media has a moral justification, but there’s nothing real to either side on this issue. But, one party seems to be doing nothing more than validating the delusions of the other. That, I think, is a recipe for disaster.

A pizza arranged made to resemble a Rorschach test inkblot from Pizza Express.

A pizza arranged made to resemble a Rorschach test inkblot from Pizza Express.