A Very Jewish Movie

The Adam Sandler movie Uncut Gems is maybe the most explicitly Jewish movie since the 2002 movie The Pianist. That is a difficult to define category, as there are loads of small independent films never intended for a wide audience. Movies like Uncut Gems and The Pianist are commercial films intended for a general audience, but also intended to reveal things about Jewish life to that general audience. These movies offer a window into the collective psyche of diaspora Jews.

That is the main layer with Uncut gems. The film tells the story of Howard Ratner, who runs a sleazy jewelry store in New York City. Howard is a degenerate gambler, always dreaming of the big score, as he is always in debt to loan sharks and bookies, due to his gambling. That means he is constantly hustling to come up with cash through his jewelry hustle and other means. Superficially, the movie is about his quest to get and sell an uncut rock full of Ethiopian gems.

The story takes us through Howard’s life and by extension through the inner life of New York City Jews. Howard is a sleazy pervert, the anti-Semite’s caricature of the typical Jewish man. His father in-law, in contrast, is a stable, hardworking guy, who has enjoyed a successful life. His wife is the typical Long island Jewish housewife, which means Howard has a gentile mistress. That is permanent dynamic that seems to define the sex roles among Jews, just as it does Italians.

We follow Howard as he interacts with the world in his bid to get the Ethiopian gemstone sold at auction for what he thinks will be his big score. Meanwhile he tries to hustle basketball star Kevin Garnett, places bets on basketball games, hassles with his flaky mistress and gets beat up by his loan shark, who happens to be his brother-in-law by marriage. Eventually, all of his schemes collapse and his entire life rides on a complicated bet on a basketball game in order to clear his debts.

Interestingly, the loan shark is Armenian, having married into the family. Armenians are known for being as aggressively ethnocentric as Jews, so having an Armenian loan shark, especially one that married into the family, as the main antagonist of Howard’s life offers a glimpse into the Jewish worldview. In a world of ethnic rivalry, the life of the individual will be shaped by those ethnic rivalries. In other words, for members of the Tribe, life is a lifelong struggle between ethnic groups.

Another interesting aspect about the non-Jews in the film is how Howard relates to the blacks in his life. On the one hand, he treats them like furniture. They have no connection to him, other than as opportunities for profit. He tries to hustle the basketball star Kevin Garnett. His primary clientele at his jewelry store is inner city blacks, who wish to look like extras from a hip-hop video. It’s clear throughout the film that the blacks in his life have no real meaning to him as individuals.

Despite this, he has an all too familiar deep affection for black culture that even the blacks notice. In one scene, Keven Garnett ask him why Jews have such a love for basketball, which is one of those jokes that only Jews and people who notice things would appreciate. He also has a thing for hip-hop and its culture. He has a deep fear that his mistress will go off with some local rapper, which becomes the source of a rift between the two of them. He fears being cuckolded.

Another aspect of Jewish life on display in the movie is the cultural and ethnic pressure on Jewish men to succeed. Howard is a bum, but what prevents him from embracing that aspect of his life is the need to be seen as successful within his family and within Jewish society. He is a man torn between his desire to live his life as he would prefer to live it and the ethnic duties that largely define who he is as a man. One theme in the film is his possible divorce from his wife after Passover.

This is something that Jewish novelists like Phillip Roth have tackled. On the one hand, Jewish males are driven to succeed. On the other hand, what defines Jews is their permanent outsider status. Therefore, achieving success and status in the larger society in which they live is not an option, as that’s assimilation. That means the dilemma for the ambitious Jewish man is finding the balance between success in the greater culture, while remaining outside of it.

Of course, in this age, maintaining the outsider identity is impossible for a people who are now the ultimate insiders. It’s why Jews are becoming increasingly schizophrenic in modern America. One face is that of Michelle Goldberg, the shrill anti-white columnist at the New York Times. Another is the patronizing Ben Shapiro, who steadily re-writes the origin story of the West to begin with his family tree. Another is the Jew stripped of all but his superficial identity as a Jew, consumed by modernity.

That is what ultimately makes Howard a sympathetic character. Like the Jewish people, he is not built for modernity and is ultimately destroyed by it. This is proving to be true for Jews in modern America, despite the fact they played a key role in developing the modern American culture. Howard meets his demise at the point of his greatest triumph, when everything he sought is within reach. Fittingly, his demise comes at the hands of the other ethnocentric tribe in the film.

That is the ultimate lesson of the film. Just as Howard is not built to survive in the modern world, the Jewish people are not built for it either. This is a topic within Jewish intellectual circles. A highly ethnocentric people evolved to compete as numerical underdogs need the outsider status to maintain group cohesion. Just as Howard needs some hard limitations on his behavior, Jews need that outsider status to maintain their sense of identity and ultimately their existence.

As far a film goes, and ultimately movies are about entertainment, Uncut Gems is an ugly, difficult to watch story at times. Because everyone in the film is described by their failings, you cannot root for any of them. Unless you’re black or Jewish, you cannot identity with them. At the same time, it is like getting a glimpse into a culture that is systematically hidden from view, despite being in plain sight. Unless you are an anti-Semite, it is an interesting cultural exploration.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

Site Update April 2020

It has been a while since I have posted anything about the site performance or plans for the site, so this is overdue. Once I upgraded the server last year I did not have to worry so much about traffic patterns and so forth. I now have plenty of bandwidth and horsepower to avoid having the site tip over. The nice thing about the current age is you can always get more disk, memory and bandwidth. In the coming crash, I expect the prices for server space to collapse with everything else.

For reasons I have never understand, March is the busiest month of the year in terms of traffic and number of comments. This March saw over 220,000 unique visitors to the site, after netting out robots, crawlers and so on. I credit some of the increase to longevity, as I’ve been at this for seven years. Some of it due to fewer people writing in this format. We are up to our eyeballs in YouTube performers, but very few people write short essays anymore. It is an under-served audience.

As far as the podcast, I have no way of knowing how many people listen every week, as the metrics are pretty much useless. YouTube provides stats, but I’ve seen my listen counts go backward, so something is wrong there. Maybe when they ban people they ban their history. Spreaker’s numbers are an estimate, but I don’t think many people use their app or site. iTunes is probably the top platform for consuming audio, but they don’t provide data to you unless you pay them for it.

The only thing I can go on is the number of people who tell me they recognize my voice or e-mail about the show. Having an unusual sound, something I never knew until I started this, means people will just walk up to me and ask me if I’m the man behind the podcast. It’s happened in Europe and here, so I guess that means a lot of people on this side of the divide listen at least a little. I get a lot of e-mail about old shows, so people must be going back through the catalog too.

On the media front, some people have suggested I give D-Live a try. I’m not a fan of consuming video, so I have no interest in doing video, but our folks are doing what amounts to radio talk shows on the D-Live platform. I’ve listened to White Art Collective on there from time to time. Fuentes is now their biggest act, so it would say the tolerance levels are much higher on D-Live than other platforms. I’m thinking a Saturday night or Friday night show would be fun, but I’m open to suggestions.

Similarly, request lines are open on the podcast, as far as topics. I like to do a commentary about the news once a month and a world report once a quarter or so, but otherwise I just do what comes to mind the Sunday before the show. I’m getting requests to read and review books from small publishers lately, so I thought doing a show on a book or books might be fun. I did a show on Shapiro’s book a while back and that got a good response, but that may just be because I trashed him.

As far as the site, on the drawing board for over a year has been a plan to modernize it a bit, but time is my enemy. Some suggested a message board for donors, which is a possibility. Someone else suggested a badge for donors in the comment section, which seems like a good idea. I’ll need to do some coding for that, which is why it has not happened yet. Again, time is my enemy. I like the plain style I use, so I will not be doing any big changes on that front. Plain site. Plain language.

The travel schedule has been squashed for this year, I think. All events I was expected to attend have been postponed indefinitely. This summer I hope to escape Lagos, but this lock down could delay that depending on what happens with economy. There’s rumblings that the mortgage market is in trouble, so house buying could be a totally different thing in a few months. Even so, if I do escape, travel will be out of the question for a while, so I probably will not be on the road for the rest of the year.

The floor is now open…

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

Fermi’s Paradox

Fermi’s paradox is named after the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, who famously asked, “Where are all the space aliens?” Whether he actually said that is unknown, but he did wonder how it is that we have yet to find any evidence of life in the universe, other than on earth. According to the Drake equation, there should be quite a few extraterrestrial civilizations that we can detect from earth. Here is a famous paper on the topic written back in the 1970’s explaining the problem.

For those interested in listening to a long discussion on the subject, this episode of the Future Strategist with Jim Miller is a good listen. He interviews Greg Cochran, who knows a great deal about the topic. This was before Greg unfortunately succumbed to the The Madness, so it is free of that stuff. Miller and Cochran go into the background of the topic and offer some possible reasons for why we have not discovered any signs of intelligent life anywhere in the known universe.

Problems like this are fun and make for great science fiction plots. The great science fiction novel The Mote in God’s Eye is about man’s first contact with an alien civilization and touches on why it took so long for humans to find aliens and vice-versa. A main topic of the book is the idea that the alien civilization has Malthusian cycles, where they eventually overpopulate their world and destroy themselves. As a result, they can never advance quite far enough to explore the universe.

The novel does not get too far into this, as it is mostly a plot devise to move the story along, but it is a possible reason for why we have not found intelligent life in the universe and why we can no longer go to the moon. That is, we have regressed due to social evolution of some sort that we don’t fully understand. It now takes ten years to build a tall building in New York City, when a century ago it took a year. We don’t build dams or bridges anymore. We can’t even maintain the ones we have now.

This is where people will say, “We could go to the moon if we really wanted to do it. It’s the government that cannot do it. Private industry could go if it was worth it.” Maybe that’s true or maybe that is just a coping strategy to mask reality. All we know is we have not been to the moon since 1972 and we lack the facilities to do it right now. Even those vaunted private explorers are struggling to do things we could do decades ago, like launch something into space and bring it back again.

Social cycle theory is not a new idea. In the 19th century, Italian sociologist and economist Vilfredo Pareto developed a theory where power in a society passes back and forth between the clever and the aggressive. Most famously, Oswald Spengler theorized that human societies are born, blossom into maturity and then, like a person, decline into old age and eventually death. Ed Dutton and Michael Woodley have built on this concept using modern studies of human intelligence.

In other words, the reason we have not been able to travel the stars is that intelligent life can never advance to that point. Our civilization lifespan prohibits us from reaching that level of technology. That does not mean there is no progress. Clearly, we have reached a higher level of technological achievement than the Romans, but there’s always a dark age to reset things. What comes after this cycle will learn a lot from us, but maybe make it as far as Mars, before the great downturn ends their run.

Current events offers some insight into why we may never meet space aliens. The panic over the virus is something new to modern society. This virus is not a threat to humanity, but it is treated as one. We know there was no panic over the Swine flu, the Asian flu, the Hong Kong flu and so on. There was no panic over the great influenza outbreak of 2017 that killed 80,000 Americans. Yet with the death toll soaring to 4,000 with the Chinese flu, America is paralyzed with fear.

It could be that when a civilization becomes sufficiently advanced, three things happen that change how it interacts with the world. One is the birth rate falls. This is something we have seen all over the world. Once a society can reliably feed its people and it reduces interpersonal violence to a certain level, total fertility rates fall. At the same time, the society feminizes. Women begin to take up positions of authority in both civil and government institutions, changing the nature of those institutions.

That’s the third thing, what we are seeing today. A society dominated by women is extremely risk averse. The focus first shifts to elevating the value of life, then to guarding the children against any potential risk. We saw this happen in the 90’s and 00’s with the millennial generation, who were sheltered from everything. Finally, the society shifts to organizing against any threat, even those that promise to merely trim a few years off the lifespan of the octogenarians.

A society that is hyper-focused on preventing even the slightest risk is not a society taking great risks to explore the stars. Maybe that’s why the cost of going back to the moon is prohibitively high. The safety precautions that would be required make the venture pointlessly expensive. The reason it takes ten years to build a building that a century ago only took a year to build, is that today’s society is risk intolerant. If just one worker gets a hangnail or stubs a toe, the cost is considered too high.

Another possibility along the same lines is that in addition to the obsession with safety, the low fertility rate simply reduces the population. This is beginning in places like Japan and Italy. In a world of growing populations, the point of technological advance is to provide for more people. In a world of shrinking populations, the point of technological advance is to protect the people. That means more automation and less actual work, which could result in physical harm to the remaining humans.

What we may be seeing is the early stages of a new social model, one imagined in science fiction a century ago. Once a species becomes sufficiently advanced, the population shrinks, but lives in greater comfort. Perhaps in time lifespans will extend so a small number of humans, cared for by automated cities, live long lives almost like children in a daycare center. A species of pampered toddlers is no going to risk it all to explore the stars and come visit earth.

Of course, the Chinese flu is a great reminder that the free flow of people means the free flow of germs, many of which are deadly to those unfamiliar with them. The Europeans expansion into the New World probably killed off 90% of the indigenous people in the Americas. No one really knows for sure, but the great weapon used against the Indians was the pathogen. Small pox and influenza have been the greatest killers spread by man in all of history.

Maybe once a species overcomes all of the problems listed above and reaches the point where it can explore the stars, it has also realized that the spread of pathogens is too high of a risk. Maybe extraterrestrials explored a few places before they could reach earth and the result was a horrific die off. Maybe the alien bug killed them or maybe their bugs killed everything they touched. As a result, they hide from us any sign of life, so we don’t make the mistake of infecting the universe.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

Boom Times For Doomsday

Imagine a variant of the flu that is four or five times more lethal than the common flu and it is spreading quickly. The experts are not sure exactly how lethal this new flu variant will be, other than it will be considerably worse than the common flu that hits every fall and winter. Further, they are unsure of the origin or how to combat it with drugs and therapeutics. Before long, it is a serious problem. This new influenza is a pandemic spreading rapidly all over the world

Now, you don’t have to imagine it, because you lived through it. The Swine Flu pandemic of 2009 infected about a billion people worldwide, according to most estimates. As is always the case with these things, the number of infected is always a best guess, as many are infected but are never confirmed. The death toll is a little easier to grasp, as it is hard to ignore a corpse, but many flu deaths are classed as other things. It probably killed half a million people.

The salient thing about the Swine Flu epidemic is that no one remembers it, until someone mentions it. Even then, most people probably think it killed pigs. While it caused lots of disruption and killed up to half a million people, most people did not notice it. No one remembers the SARS outbreak, which was way back in the dark ages of 2002 or the MERS pandemic in 2012. Both of those were much more lethal than the current virus spreading around the globe.

This is a good thing to keep in mind when watching the panic ensue on-line and in the mass media. While these virus pandemics are serious, they are not uncommon and they don’t usher in the end times. Human society is actually quite resilient to these sorts of pestilences. Sure, it is very serious, but it not the plague. That was many times worse than the worst case scenario for the Covid-19 pandemic. The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s population.

The Covid-19 pandemic is serious, especially if you are very old or have respiratory issues or you smoke. Like the common flu, the most vulnerable are always those with the weakest immune systems. For everyone else, the risk drops considerably, as our immune systems can fight off the virus. As was true of SARS and MERS, the spread of these potent strains of flu tend to stall with public awareness. We don’t give ourselves any credit for reacting sensibly to these things.

A big difference this time, of course, is the political situation. In 2002, when SARS appeared, the Left was wrapped up in anti-war hysteria. When MERS appeared in 2012, the sainted Obama was on the throne. Now, the evil Orange Man and his Russian handlers are wrecking our democracy, so the Left is going all in on the Yellow Panic, hoping to make this his Katrina. This is magnifying the normal racket that comes from Doomsday Inc., whenever there is a scare like this.

Of course, this is a boom time for Doomsday Inc. There used to be an old joke about these guys in the financial world. The line was, “the bears have predicted 10 of the last two market crashes.” It is a variant on the old line about a stopped clock being right twice a day. For Doomsday Inc., all signs always point to the great calamity they are sure is right around the corner. Past performance, of course, is never an indication of future events. This time it is different.

It says something about modern times that a significant portion of the public thinks the whole thing will come crashing down at any moment. The evidence is strongly against that view. Just a decade ago the financial system faced the greatest threat since the 1929 market crash. The mortgage meltdown was supposed to be the big one, but it was not the big one after all. The Y2k scare was another boom time for the doomsday business, something similar to what we see now.

Doomsday Inc. seems to feed on a sense of detachment many feel toward modernity and its consequences for society. There’s fellowship in telling scary stories about the looming disaster. It feels good to be scared. In fact, one feels most alive when scared, so that’s part of the rush these people get from indulging in these fantasies. It’s like playing a live action video game. The doomsday enthusiast gets the exhilaration of being in real danger, without actually being in danger.

In fairness, the doomsday fan spawns an on-line adversary that gets a similar emotional rush from these events. The dismissive cynic relished these times, because he gets to pretend to be the cool, level-headed guy when everyone is panicking. These guys show up in comment sections and in response to twitter posts. They take pleasure in telling the doomsday types that they are a bunch of hysterical sissies. These are great times for the dismissive cynic. It’s their time to shine too.

There is third type that comes out at these times. This is the person, who is sure everyone is panicking except him and everyone they know. There’s an urban myth quality to him. “My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw people in hazmat suits down at Costco buying all the water.” He would never panic like that, but he is sure everyone else is ready to go bonkers.

What ties all of these types together is a sense that the current arrangements are simply too fragile to last much longer. Something is going to pull the wrong peg out of the pile. Like the kid’s game, the pile will collapse. Maybe it will be a collapse, maybe a panic that causes a collapse or maybe just a panic that unleashes the stupid on the rest of society, which in turns causes a crash. Somehow, someway, the stupidity of mankind will overrun the system and we reach the end times.

None of this panic, counter panic and so on should diminish the reality of this Covid-19 virus that is turning up all over the West. So far, it looks to be much more serious than Swine Flu, which killed a lot of people. Those in poor health or with pulmonary issues should exercise extreme caution. This is especially true if you have old and frail people in your life. You could have the virus and not know it, so assume you have the flu when around older people or people in poor health.

Part of that caution is avoiding the scare mongers, who relish these times. They can be quite convincing. What most people are going to experience from this is inconvenience, things like cancelled events or an extra hassle when traveling. There is a great swath of area between the scare mongers and the smugly indifferent. That is the zone of prudence, where sensible people take steps to deal with what is a serious issue. In these sorts of crises, the prudent shall inherit the earth.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

The UFO Problem

Tucker Carlson has a UFO problem. Going back to the start of his Fox show, he has done segments on various claims about space aliens visiting earth. These are not claims by people, who swear they have been probed by big gray men, but the claims of people who worked in government at one time or another. He has even interviewed people, who worked on government UFO programs. Recently he had former Pentagon people on to talk about this story of a secret UFO file.

People like these sorts of stories, even if they don’t believe in little green men secretly visiting our planet. It’s fun to think about what it would be like if we did verify such visitations from another world. Tucker is not a kook, so his interest in this topic should not be dismissed out of hand. The American government has taken the issue seriously, at least according to that recent story. So much so they have had top men working on it for a very long time. They think it could be true.

The crux of the matter is that pilots have, on multiple occasions, recorded objects buzzing around in ways that cannot be explained. At least they look like objects in the videos released to the public. In these videos, pilots and crew can be heard asking questions about what they are seeing. No official explanation has been offered, so we are left to assume they don’t know either. It seems that on many occasions, American fighter pilots have spotted UFO’s.

Now, it has to be said that many of these could simply be clever pranks by servicemen with too much free time. Every year someone gets busted for making a contrail penis in the sky, so these guys like pranks. Others could simply be anomalies that have a boring technical explanation, so no one bothers with them. Maybe this is just another part of how the government keeps people distracted. The secret UFO files are just part of the ongoing psyops to distract the public from noticing too much.

The trouble with the various ways of dismissing the UFO stuff is it often sounds as conspiratorial as the theories explaining why these are visiting aliens. Repeatedly, we see that the people running the American government are too dumb to execute the basic functions of the state. It’s unlikely they are working a complex, multi-generational deception involving fake UFO video. The people who use text messages to plot sedition are not going to be working such a complicated scheme.

What the facts tell us about this stuff is the American government has recorded lots of these events and they remain unexplained. There is a good chance other militarizes have had similar experiences. The Russians and Chinese probably have divisions that collect up and examine unexplained phenomenon. It’s not out of the question that there is some contact between these government agencies, at least an acknowledgement that they exist for the same reasons.

The two possible explanations for the evidence are that it is the result of some completely unknown natural phenomenon or it is space aliens. Both answers would mean large gaps in our understanding of the natural world. Theoretical physicists have been at a dead end for a long time. Space exploration has been stalled for generations. Our understanding of our natural world is at its infancy. These phenomena could simply be more proof that we don’t know a whole lot.

Of course, if these are space aliens, it means some species well beyond our understanding has solved problems we cannot contemplate. For example, our best science is not all that sure humans can live in space long enough to travel beyond Mars and back, without dangerous physical consequences. If we are being visited by aliens, it means they solved the problem of carbon based life forms living in space for long periods without being destroyed by radiation.

It would also mean these aliens conquered the physical problem of traveling between galaxies. That means they either live long enough to go light years into space or they have invented propulsion devices that allow for speeds beyond anything we think is possible with what we know of physics. Alternatively, they have found a way to fold space in order to move from one location to another. Instead of physically traveling through space, they make space travel for them.

All of the possible explanations for how visitors from another world raise the age-old science fiction movie paradox. How could a race so advanced be so easily caught on our primitive video? If they have the ability to bend space, they will have the ability to bend light or at least have really good camouflage. They would see our primitive airships long before we were able to see them. These videos contradict the one possible answer for why they exist in the first place.

The answer to that could simply be that they are observing us and part of it is to see how humans react to limited exposure to the possibility of aliens. This could be nothing more than part of the simulation that is our existence. You can come up with all sorts of entirely unprovable explanations for why super intelligent space aliens are getting caught on video. If you want to believe in UFO’s, there’s always a way to maintain the belief in the face of this type of skepticism.

There is one other angle to the UFO stuff. It feeds the need to believe that our governments have super-secret stuff hidden away in super-secret government agencies run by X-Files types. For some reason, people need to believe this. It’s probably because deep down, people won’t except that their government is staffed by stupid people who got lucky. The fate of the world depends on a series or average people guessing the right way or making the right mistakes.

That could be the real psyop. The people in charge know that the rest of us need to think they have things under control. The fake UFO footage is intended to promote the idea that our government has these super-secret programs. If people believe that, they will believe the government screw-ups over foreign policy or economic affairs are really part of some super-secret scheme involving deep state actors. The real psyop is covering up the fact that we are ruled by lucky dimwits.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

The Future Of Futurism

About ten years ago, you could find any number of sites that focused on the future in one fashion or another. Futurism was a cottage industry. Ray Kurzweil and others, who made futurism a specialty, would get interviewed by big shot publications. Kurzweil was even hired by Google to be their professional futurist. The field was full of predictions about how we were on the cusp of the singularity or that we were about discover the fountain of youth. We would live forever in the robot future.

All of that petered out in the last few years. The futurist bloggers closed down and either moved to Twitter or disappeared entirely. The sites that pushed whiz-bang technology stuff have fallen out of favor. We seem to have run out of road on the technology side of things, as all of the low hanging fruit from the microprocessor revolution has been picked and turned into mobile devices. There has not been a killer app or killer device in a long time now. The future is not so promising.

One reason for this sudden lack of interest in the future could be that we are living in a simulation, specifically a quantum simulation. The beings running this simulation decided we needed to focus on other things. Alternatively, this simulation inevitably results in a lack of interest in the future. Having overcome the Malthusian limit and reached the post-scarcity world, the future is not all that interesting. The recent obsession with the future was just an echo effect.

Alternatively, the corresponding simulation to our simulation is now focused on the future, so we are focused on the past. Maybe in this quantum simulation, another version of us exists in another universe. If you spin around clockwise in this universe, your other self spins counter clockwise in the corresponding one. Perhaps when our alternative universe gets romantic about the past, we will see a new burst on interest in the future here in this version of the quantum simulation.

The main argument against this being a simulation is that a race of beings that sophisticated would not have created a simulation this stupid. They would put us in a much more interesting experiment or throw the whole thing in the trash. On the other hand, this simulation could be a child’s experiment. This world in which we exist is sitting on a child’s dresser like an ant farm. The last few decades were the result of the cat getting into the experiment and breaking some things.

The people who claim to know about public sentiment used to claim that movies and television shows about the future were a reflection of the public’s anxiety or lack of it about the present. If dystopian shows were popular, it meant the public was worried about current events. If the shows were more positive, then it meant people were feeling good about things. Presumable the lack of movies about the future would say something as well, but no one mentions it.

That is something that gets little attention about the multicultural paradise our rulers have planned for us. The business model of Hollywood is built on the assumption of a white middle-class. Devouring that white middle-class in order to create a multicultural paradise leaves Hollywood without an audience. South America has never been a great market for mass media. China and India are capable of producing their own computer-generated crap. The future of Hollywood looks grim.

That may be why the focus on the future has faded of late. Twenty years ago, the Matrix could promise a mulatto future, because it seemed so implausible. The tan future imagined by Hollywood seemed as implausible as space ships. Now, people are increasingly aware of the realities of demographics. Imagining a universe that is full of mystery meat people is just going to press the wrong buttons. Maybe that’s why Hollywood interest in the future has waned over the last few years.

That also raises another issue. Very few people, even in dissident politics, like talking about the multicultural future that awaits us. All of the commentary is either directly or indirectly about how to prevent it. Since there is no stopping the transformation of America into a majority-minority society, the most fertile ground of futurism is about a world where hostile tribes, rubbing shoulders with one another, are monitored by high tech corporations. That’s the future that awaits us.

Maybe that’s the reason futurism is no longer popular. Dystopian futures were intended to be warnings about the present. Whiz-bang futures are about current trends, or imagined ones, advancing to their natural end. Since no warning about multicultural future will make a difference, there’s no point in it. Because that future will be awful, there’s no point in thinking about it now. For people who sense they have no future, there is no market for futurism.

On the other hand, that means there is a market for dissident writers to create fiction that is positive about the fight ahead. The trouble is the people who make movies don’t want white people to be positive, so they instead make movies about gay comic book heroes and mulatto girls running the world. Still, it is an untapped market that some clever dissident could mine. Maybe the next turn of dissident politics is dissident samizdat fiction about the tribal wars to come.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

The 2020 Predictions

The best thing about the future is you can say whatever you like about it without fear of being wrong, because it has not happened yet. That is, unless you are foolish enough to remind people of your past predictions. Even though none of us can see around corners, we like to imagine what the coming year holds. Even if it is just for amusement, making predictions at this time of year is a fun exercise. So, once again here are what the omen in Lagos are telling us about the coming year.

The forecast for the Democrat primary is a three cushion shot. First, Buttigieg pulls the shocker and wins the Iowa caucus. Sanders comes in second. Biden and Warren both fail to reach expectations as minor candidates nibble away at their support. This carries into New Hampshire, where Sanders wins, but Buttigieg comes in second. This makes him the darling of the cat lady media. The Warren campaign is effectively over, but she staggers on. Biden plans to make his stand in South Carolina.

People forget that Sanders gave Clinton a run for her muumuu in the Nevada caucus in 2016, despite the party cheating like mad on her behalf. Sanders will win the Nevada caucus this time, but Buttigieg will come in second with Biden a close third. This will setup the big showdown in South Carolina. Biden, having been weakened by three bad showings will see his black support slip. The result will be a three way jumble, which will turn the race into a Buttigieg versus Sanders battle.

This will be the great shredding of the Democrat coalition. Blacks are not all that fond of Sanders or Buttigieg. The remaining working class whites are not fond of these two either. The donors who run both parties will not want to see Sanders top the ticket, so they will swing hard for Buttigieg. What will become clear to the various tribes of the Democrat party is they are not all that important to the party. They will learn what conservatives are starting to learn about the Republicans…

The chaos of the Democrat primary will have one benefit and that will be a lightening up of the tech censorship. They will be much too concerned with the primary to go troll hunting for blasphemers. There’s also the fact that a lot was learned by the good guy in the great banning wars. Just as people learned to communicate bad thoughts during the Soviet Union, dissidents are now adopting language and postures that allow bad ideas to be transmitted in spite of speech codes….

The decline of Conservative Inc. will become acute as National Review begins to look for a white knight to keep the publication going. The fact is, the readership of that publication is being decimated by the actuarial tables. The typical reader is now over 70 years old. They never recovered from 2016 and more important, they have not been able to find their footing in the age of Trump. Like the rest of Conservative Inc., National Review is a legacy operations with no natural constituency…

In sports, the Premiere League will have its first trans player…

Not only will Brexit finally happen, it will be something closer to the hard exit that the usual suspects waved around to scare people. What will become obvious to the EU and Boris Johnson is that a clean break is the best. A new trade agreement will be hammered out similar to what the US currently has with the EU. At the same time, a free trade deal will be quickly negotiated between the UK and the US. The Anglosphere will move one step closer to becoming an economic bloc…

Nancy Pelosi will send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate on the agreement that there will be no actual trial. The right thing for the GOP to do is have a public trial and let Team Trump make their arguments about the seditious plot and the Democrat connections to Ukrainian corruption. This would destroy the Democrats in the 2020 election and give the GOP a shot at winning back the House. It would be a public relations catastrophe for the political establishment.

That’s why McConnell will never allow that to happen. Instead, it will be a closed door session, where they do nothing, then a public vote. There will be a few GOP traitors like Mitt Romney who will vote to convict, but otherwise it will fail. This will give the Democrats enough cover with their base, but also give the GOP leverage to force Trump into concessions. They have several amnesty bills, for example, ready for his signature. Impeachment will be good for The Swamp…

In January, Bill Barr will announce that he is looking to some things about the FBI scandal, but is waiting on yet another inspector general report. In March he will remind everyone he is still looking into the FBI issue. In June rumors will float around about Durham doing something. By fall, the election will require putting all of it aside as that would be seen as an unnecessary distraction. The point being is that nothing will come of the Durham investigation. The whole thing gets broomed…

Finally, the big item of the year is the election. Trump will be running from behind again, but this time he will not be sneaking up on anyone. Pete Buttigieg will make sure to sashay around the Rust Belt promising everyone a fabulous economy. While having a twink president of clown world would make sense, the result this time will be similar to last time. Trump wins a slim majority in the popular vote, as blacks stay home. In one of life’s ironies, the racists are saved by the black man…

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

Happy Thanksgiving

Somewhere I lived, a radio station would put this song on loop all day so their employees could be home with their families. Someone told me it is a tradition in New England, but I don’t know if that is true. Maybe more of a habit. I knew a guy who would put that station on and listen to that song all day. He may have been the person who told me it was a New England tradition, but it was long ago.

The first time I heard this song in full was on the way back to Massachusetts from a trip south for some reason. I was driving through Stockbridge and I came upon a cop, who had pulled over a car full of libertarians. You could tell they were libertarians by their unpleasant demeanor and the “John Galt” stickers on their AMC Pacer. The cop was beating them with his flashlight along the side of the road.

I stopped and offered to help him beat the libertarians. He was more than happy to let me join in on the fun. Before long others had stopped and joined in on the beating of the libertarians. There’s really nothing like the holiday season to bring out the best in people. It was one of those times when you really understood the meaning of a holiday like Thanksgiving. All of us have a reason to give thanks, even if it just that we were never a libertarian or defective in some similar way.

Thank you to everyone who supports the effort. I truly appreciate it. Thank you to those who participate in what is regarded as one of the best comment sections on this side of the great divide. It is one of the things I count as a blessing. Whenever I’m out in the real world talking about this stuff, I’m always asked how I managed to create such a fun and informative comment section. I hope everyone has a wonderful day in whatever way in which you give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Another Trip Around The Sun

Yesterday was my annual physical, so I got to experience a little bit of the American health care system. Since I don’t have any maladies, I only experience the system on these annual trips to get inspected. As is always the case, when you are familiar with something, its quirks seem normal. When you are unfamiliar with something, those quirks and contradictions jump out to you. My trip to the doctor is like visiting a strange place for the first time. All the weirdness stands out to me.

The first bit of oddness is the check-in. Last year they started this new process where you answer a survey when you arrive for the appointment. They ask questions about your personal habits that are none of their business. One question was whether you own firearms and why. There’s no reason for the doctor to know this or ask it, but that question was on the survey again this year. A new question was to list the states I had visited in the last year. It is not hard to see where this is going.

Another new item this year is a kiosk where you check-in for the appointment. One of the things they do is take your picture. My dentist started this last year. There’s no reason for them to take a picture of you, at least not one to do with health. Most likely, the pics are being sold to the tech giants. The mass surveillance system being built out by companies like Google and Facebook will use facial recognition to track us as we go about our business, so they want a database of faces.

In this regard, the health care system is a glimpse into the future our rulers have planned for us. To the people in the health care system, I am just a talking meat stick, one of many, they have to supervise. The relationship between the patient and the system is impersonal and transactional. Health care is a process. The patients enter the system, pass through the system and come out the other end repaired, broken in some new way or dead. No one really cares, just as long as the process continues.

Of course, the American health care system is really just a massive series of toll booths and processing centers. All along the way, patients are turned upside down and given a good shake to get money from their insurer. If you have a malady, you get diverted into a new series of toll booths and processing centers, so the people manning those operations can dip into the insurance pool you represent. The business of treating sick people is a good business for a lot of people.

A good example of how this works is I had patella tendinitis a few years back. I was pretty sure that was the issue, but I asked the doctor about it. He sent me to a quack called a physical therapist. My insurance covered five visits, so he said I needed five visits, then I would be sent for an MRI. To get the MRI, I would need an X-ray. The doctor, of course, needed to see me in-between stops. The point of the process was to squeeze out every dime from my insurance plan.

If the goal were to treat my injury, they would have sent me for the MRI right away, as that would tell them the best course of action. They would see that it was tendinitis and that rest and a brace were the right course. That would not line the pockets of the quack, the X-ray company or the doctor, so that’s not what happens. This is one reason American health care is absurdly expensive. We have great health care, but you have to pass through a lot of toll booths to get it.

Another new thing this year was a giant flat screen in the waiting area running ads for various drugs and treatments. It used to be that the sci-fi movies about the dystopian future would show a world bombarded by ads everywhere you went. That’s where we are headed now. I suspect that the next time I see the doctor, he will have patches on his smock like race car drivers. He will great me with, “this physical has been brought to you by the makers of” some drug being pushed on patients.

The funny thing about the problems of the American health care system is that this is the one area where libertarians could apply their arguments. They don’t, of course, as that would take time away from selling weed and porn to grade school kids, but there is a libertarian case to be made about health care. In fact, we have a libertarian health care system operating in the United States. It is world class and provides amazing results for the patients. It is called veterinary medicine.

In America, our pets get better health care than most humans on earth. The cost, compared to any system in the West, is trivial. The service is phenomenal, as there are lots of suppliers competing for customers. In my area, I have one doctor and five veterinary clinics. I don’t need permission to make an appointment and I am not required to pay a monthly fee for services I’ll never use. It is a great example of how to operate a market-based health care system that no one ever mentions.

Whenever I mention this, the immediate push-back is that you can choose to put down your animal, but you cannot put down your granny. That is nonsense, as we end care all the time for terminal people. In Europe, they are euthanizing people now, sometimes against their will, just to cut costs. All the current system does is disguise these tough choices by shifting them onto the system. For most of human history people accepted that death was the inevitable end of life. We can accept is again.

The good news is the ravages of time have not made me obsolete, so the system recommended I remain operational for another orbit around the sun. Even though I had no issues to report, I was still relieved to learn I was not on that list. Like most men, I don’t like interfacing with the health care system, so good health means less interaction with the system. Of course, it will not be long before my social credit score flags me for refurbishment or perhaps recycling, but for now I get to live another day.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

Autumn Joy

It is a rainy and gray in Lagos, as the keeper of sacred law begins her descent into despair, anticipating the return of her daughter to the underworld. According to myth, this is the time when the goddess Demeter begins to grow sad, thinking about her daughter, Persephone, leaving her to return to Hades. As a result, the earth begins to lose its life and become increasing barren. When Persephone departs, the land falls into winter until the time when Demeter anticipates the return of her daughter.

Now, there are other interpretations of the myth. The alternative version has the barren period as the dry Mediterranean summer, when life was threatened by drought. For most people, that version does not work and it does not square with the sophistication of the people who created the myth. It’s the sort of thing a certain sort of person says in order to be disruptive. The Greeks understood not only the cycle of life, but the consequences that came from ignoring or denying this natural reality.

That’s probably why autumn has such a magical quality to it for most European people, at least those with a grip on reality. There is the beauty of it, of course, but that beauty is followed by winter. It is the ability to appreciate the majesty of nature, even when you know what follows, that separates people. On one side are those who long for an endless summer, where they never have to think about tomorrow. On the other side are those who accept the cycle of life and the reality of the human condition.

Even in a place like Lagos, the beauty of the season is impossible to miss, unless you are one of those summer people. There are those who prefer summer to winter, but would not want to live in a land without seasons. Then there are those who spend their winter bitching about the cold, swearing oaths about how this is the last winter in wherever it is there is winter. If you are around these sorts, autumn in made even better, as you get to see their torment against the backdrop of the fall foliage.

Being a level-headed occidental man, I love this time of year. Yesterday morning I got out on a bike path in the country. The leaves are just starting to turn around here. For some reason, fall has been late this year. Perhaps Demeter got her hopes up that this time things would be different. Maybe she took a class on feminism and died her hair blue, until Zeus came down and straightened here out. Women, even the supernatural ones, need a man to keep them in line. That too is the nature of things.

Out on the path, I did not encounter many people. Around Lagos, spring is when people get out and do their walking, hiking and riding. As spring turns to summer, the number of people I will see out in the woods will shrink until the fall, when it is down to the hardy souls who are outside all year round. This is true of fishing. If you are a fall fisherman, this is one of the better times, as you have the river to yourself. The people inside don’t know what they are missing, but then again, those outside don’t miss them.

This time of year in this part of the world brings the white tail rut. It is the time of year when a young buck goes in search of a bride. In reality, it is when they go insane chasing tail to the point of exhaustion. It is one of those things that you can explain to a city person and they suddenly become wiser about life. Urbanization has cut most people off from the reality of life, like the breeding cycle of animals, which means they can fill their heads with crazy ideas at odds with the human condition.

I think the thing I like most about this time of year is the shorter days or that the days are growing shorter. I am at my most productive in the fall and winter, as the ever shorter days reminds me that I have only so much time. When the sun is up until a few hours before bed time, it feels like time comes to a crawl. When you wake in the dark and come home in the dark, you have no illusions about time. Every rustle of the leaves is like a giant clock striking the hour. Best get at it.

Now, I do like winter, so the gathering darkness and dropping temperatures is not followed by something I think is awful. In fact, winter is my second favorite month of the year, just behind autumn. The only reason winter falls behind autumn on my list is that it does not snow enough here in Lagos. Instead we get ice storms that are no fun. They can be pretty, but usually it means spending an hour chiseling my car door open, while trying not to fall and break a hip. I’m not a kid anymore.

In Denmark, they call this the cozy season or the start of the cozy season. They have a word for it, “hygge” which roughly means “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” They take all their fun indoors, where they will turn the lights down, sit by the fire and have conversation with friends and family. In Lagos, we include the sound of sirens and gunfire, but the concept is the same. I’m looking forward to the hygge.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!