TV And The Cloud People

The other day, Tucker Carlson told someone that Trump trusts television more than he trusts the pollsters, when it comes to judging the public mood. Having spent years working in TV, Trump not only knows a lot about it, but he thinks the good TV people know more about public tastes than the political professionals. The political class, of course, roared in laughter. They think Trump is a rube, of course, but they are also sure they know more about the Dirt People than the Dirt People know about themselves.

This is another case where Trump’s common sense serves him well. The people who have long careers in television, making hit shows, all have something in common. They make it their first priority to give the public what they want. Whatever political or personal agendas they have are secondary to putting on a good show. Unlike a pollster or political operator, the guy pitching TV shows has skin in the game. He has to be good at gauging public attitudes or else the show flops. The pollsters never suffer for being wrong.

The thing is though, the TV shows also tell us, the Dirt People, something about the people who rule over us. Hollywood is, after all, the class of people in American, whose duty it is to sing the praises of our rulers. It’s also their job to sell the public on the official cultural agenda. Whatever fads or social issues are being pushed by our ruling class, will be praised in our TV shows and movies. It’s why all of our action heroes are barren cat ladies now. It’s why commercials are now full of race mixing.

On rare occasions, the people making this stuff reveal things about themselves and about the ruling class in general. Someone recommended the series House of Cards to me the other day, so I have been watching a few episodes a night over the last week. As far as this stuff goes, it is not as good as I would have expected. The chattering classes swooned over it when it came out, but it is not in the same league as a show like Breaking Bad. Still, it is not terrible and it is easy to see why people would enjoy it.

Usually, political dramas are terrible because the makers are more concerned with selling a political agenda. The shows are just thinly veiled political ads for the Democrat Party and various Progressive agenda items. That means lots of shows about abortion or sexually confused people being roughed up by the honky. House of Cards, at least so far, avoids that stuff and sticks to the intrigues of the main characters. People, especially women, like watching that sort of thing and this is show clearly written by and aimed at women.

The fascinating thing is that is the politicians are portrayed as true masters of the universe. All but a few minor characters are portrayed as Bismarkian level political operators. The main character would make Machiavelli blush. Usually Hollywood portrays politicians as evil and stupid or sincere and naive. House of Cards is a one long celebration of the genius and cleverness of the political class. It’s not the issues they champion that makes them wonderful. It is their nature. They are just better than us.

That is made clear in how the politicians in the show deal with Dirt People and the news media characters. The Dirt People are all dumb and helpless without government. The main character solicits a rib joint in the first season. Once this gets out, the rib joint gets famous, but the inherent defects in the proprietor and his Dirt People habits, lead him to failure, as he inevitably does stupid Dirt Man things, like try to help his son. The main character is forced to cut him loose and let him slide back into the muck.

The portrayal of the news media is the most interesting. On the other hand, they are universally portrayed as loathsome clingers, who serve only to drag down the Cloud People. The female reporters are whores, who will bang anyone for a story. The males are feckless and stupid. The one exception thus far in the show is the owner if a newspaper that is supposed to be the Washington Post. The owner of it is a Katherine Graham like Cloud Person, but her people are all loathsome Dirt People.

This is the most interesting part of the show thus far. I’m into season two now. The main character has murdered one reporter, had one framed for a serious crime and scared another off to the hinterlands. He also has engineered the termination of a big shot editor at the Washington Post. None of this treated as a big deal. These news media types are so low on the food chain in the mind’s of the writers, that throwing one of them in front of a speeding train is no big deal. Even Trump does not hate the media that much

It is easy to overstate these things, but House of Cards is one rare example of the Hollywood people revealing things about themselves and their masters. It may be the result of Netflix producing it, rather than a Hollywood shop. For generations the people making TV shows have stuck to the script when it comes to the class structure in America.  Alternatively, this was deliberate. The makers wanted to flatter the political class by telling them things they tell themselves. The result is a window into the political class.

The Provacateur

Way back, before the olden thymes, there was a guy calling himself Ken Kesey. He is famous with Baby Boomers for having led the Merry Pranksters, a group of hippies and degenerates, that scandalized American society in the 1960’s. He and his crew drove a psychedelic school bus across country, hosting parties and handing out LSD. Tom Wolfe wrote about their early escapades in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Most people no longer recall that Kesey wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

That last fact is important. The movie version of his book is a classic that transcends generations. The movie was released 42 years ago and people still reference it today, even when they don’t know it. It’s like The Godfather or Gone With The Wind. Despite its status, Kesey is best remembered for a bus trip a half century ago. That’s because his provocative hi-jinks came to represent a key element of the counter-culture movement we associate with the 1960’s and the baby Boomer culture that arose from it.

The provocateur has always had a role in human affairs. The court jester, in many respects, was the formalization of this role. The jester was the one person who could mock public piety – to a point. Eventually, the role of the formal jester was replaced by theater and then comedians and writers. The pranksters and now the internet provocateur are an extension of this, and to some degree a revival of the classic jester. Kesey was jester for his age. Today, an Andrew Anglin is the jester of the modern information age.

For those unfamiliar with Anglin, he is the guy behind the infamous website The Daily Stormer, which has been shutdown on numerous occasions. Whether or not it was actually shut down by his registrar is hard to know, but most people believe it and that’s what is important. If it was shut down because it was outlandishly offensive, or he cooked up the story as a prank, is not important. Whether it was provocation or a prank, it has put the spotlight on the very real fact that on-line speech is now controlled by an oligopoly.

That is precisely the role of the provocateur. What Anglin is doing, by running around breaking every conceivable taboo, is forcing a debate on the topic of speech. How much speech will be permitted and who will set and enforce the limits are fundamental questions that determine the arc of a society. In America, it has long been understood that the limits are immediate public safety and they are set after long public deliberation and due process. Everyone is taught the famous line about burning theaters for that reason.

Americans have also just assumed that free expression is to sacred that no one would dare violate it, but that is not where we find ourselves today. The people in charge believe they have found a loophole. They have outsourced policing speech to private companies, who can claim to be enforcing terms of service as private companies. Under the current arrangements, FaceBorg can ban any mention of the country Niger, even though it is perfectly legal to yell “Niger!” in a crowded theater.

That’s the value of an Andrew Anglin. Yes, his pint-sized Nazi routine is tiresome and stupid to most people. His followers on-line are embarrassing to those involved in dissident politics. This was true of hippies and the Merry Pranksters too. Read a guy like David Horowitz and you’ll learn that people in the New Left worried greatly about the loose cannons and provocateurs. In the end they figured out it was best to just let those guys do their thing and not comment on the acts, but focus on the larger moral issues they raised.

That’s how a guy like Andrew Anglin should be treated. You don’t want to be seen standing next to him at a public event, but you do want to be seen supporting his right to attend public events. You don’t want to be paling around with him on-line or posting links to his stuff, but you do want to be the guy defending his right to be a Nazi asshole on the internet. When his antics threaten your assets, you want to be the guy who crushes him like a bug. The jester must always serve at the pleasure of the king.

That’s what some of the important figures in this thing have to learn. Anglin causing trouble on Gab, for example, is fine up to the point where he puts the enterprise in jeopardy. At that point, the owner needs to quietly step on him. Similarly, alt-right big shots would be wise to comment about Anglin and his antics, but not get in bed with him. Anglin is a pyromaniac who can just as easily burn down your house as someone else’s house, so you don’t invite him to stay in your basement, where you keep the flammables.

The thing to remember is provocateurs and jesters are important tools in modern political discourse. The key to victory is to destroy the other side’s moral authority. The most effective way to do that is to mock their piety and taunt them into revealing the face behind the mask they present to the public. When someone loses their marbles over being mocked by an Andrew Anglin, they inevitably say and do things that reduce their status in the eyes of the public. Don’t be that guy and don’t be the guy standing next to Anglin.

Diary: September 2017

The end of summer bums out a lot of people, but I look forward to it. I really don’t like summer very much. I’m an Ice Person, which means I’m built for a climate where the civilized people build civilized things. Let the savages have their tropical weather, where they can wriggle around as their barbarian nature instructs them. I would prefer it if the temperature never got much above 70° American. If that means cold snowy winters, so be it. I like snow and cold. I’m an Ice Person…

The podcast is going better than expected. I’ve been fiddling around with different things, seeing what works for me. One thing that seems clear is YouTube is a waste of my time. I get very few listeners via that platform and there is no reason for them to listen there versus this site. I think I’ll just drop YouTube entirely once I sort out how to post the whole podcast as parts on the site here. That’s not a technical hurdle, more of a lazy man hurdle. I just need to commit the time to doing it….

The interesting thing I have learned about YouTube is that it is just an elaborate skimming operations. They have an algorithm for checking if you are uploading content that is owned by another. That means if I use a Willie Nelson song in my podcast, I get a notice that the copyright holder has laid claim to my material. That means YouTube gets to keep the ad revenue from my upload, presumably to give it to the copyright holder, who has made the claim. There is, of course, a dispute mechanism.

The first thing that’s clear is a clip shorter than 20 seconds does not trigger the YouTube copyright algorithm. I tested this. The other thing is the notice that the “owner” of the copyrighted material has made a claim is a lie. YouTube is just pattern matching against a database. The real owner has no idea that their material is being used by another person on YouTube. What this most likely means, given the theft culture of Big Tech, is that YouTube is using this to steal from the owner as well as the uploader.

“A dog that will bring a bone will carry a bone” is an old time expression to mean that a person who will steal for you will steal from you. That’s true of Google. They steal from the people who use their services and they (most likely) steal from the people on whose behalf they are stealing. Their fraudulent traffic numbers scandal is probably the tip of the iceberg. Google is based on a theft culture. That means they will steal from everyone, including their employees and potential employees

As far as listener numbers, each week the numbers go up by about 10% versus the previous week. Depending upon who you talk to, the goal in the first year is to get to between three and five thousand listeners. That’s the base. Then, in fits and starts, you see the numbers go up quickly. That’s how it went with this blog. I was at those numbers for a while and then traffic started to leap each month. Assuming that is true with podcasts, I’m way ahead of schedule. I thank everyone for listening and recommending…

The site had record August numbers. Historically, July is the slowest for traffic and it was the slowest month this year, but well above 2016. August traffic took off, probably due to the Prog Loony Outbreak after Charlottesville. Traffic was ~30% higher in August 2017 versus August 2016. I seem to be getting famous so I’m getting a lot of “alt-curious” people visiting for the first time. I’ve gotten 25 e-mails in August from first time readers happy to have found a home. It’s good to keep Hell stocked with souls.

As to the real numbers, August had 90,000 unique readers versus 67,000 for the same period last year. It’s not an all-time high, but July and August are the slowest months for web traffic. Strangely, 1.6 million pages were served up, which is a record. Sailer says he gets a million page views a month and I know he has more readers than me, so maybe page views is not a useful metric. It probably depends upon how your site is constructed and how often you post. Regardless, the site gets more popular each month….

I’ve been mulling a rework of the site’s look and feel. The main reason is to keep it fresh, but I’m also thinking about how to curate the podcast here, rather than on Spreaker. I’m also thinking about doing some video on some empirical topics like race, crime and demographics. YouTube is a terrible company, so I’ll want to host the videos on my server. No, I will not be making an appearance. I have a face for radio. I’m thinking about presentation type videos. If anyone has a suggestions for topics, I’m all ears…

The interesting thing I’ve seen looking through the site stats is that DuckDuckGo is becoming one of the more common referrers to the site. For those unfamiliar with DuckDuckGo, it is a search engine. I’ve started using it because it is better than Google. For a while now, I’ve noticed that Google search results are increasingly erratic and I have to use their advanced features to find things. That and the revelation Google is run by lunatics seems to have pushed people to seek out alternatives.

Along the same lines, there is a search machine called Qwant. It is very useful for esoteric searches, because it vomits up everything. There’s a lot more to it and I have yet to explore it fully, but if you want another option for searching, there’s that. I’ve also started playing around with Opera’s new browser called Neon. It is a major re-think of the browser. I’m not sure I like it, but Opera has been on the cutting edge when it comes to privacy so maybe they are blazing a trail with this thing.

The fact is, alt-tech is mostly vaporware at this stage, but there is a demand for products and services not made by bloodthirsty lunatics, with no respect respect for human rights or your privacy. An opportunity invites lots of experimentation. Tech 2.0 looks like it is going to be a rework of existing ideas, but based on a traditional customer relationship. That means lots of people trying to figure out how to make that work, while avoiding the bloody hammer of the Robber Barons of Silicon Valley. Let a million flowers bloom…

Thank you to all of my readers, listeners and those who bully their friends and neighbors into visiting the site. It’s a long war and we have to support the media that supports u, so use this as an excuse to throw Steve Sailer, VDare and American renaissance a few bucks if you have it. They need it and you need them…

More Devil’s Dictionary

A couple of months ago this post generated a ton of traffic and ton of suggestions for entries. It seems like a worthy project, as our Prog rulers keep coming up with new words and phrases to fool us and themselves. In the fullness of time, someone is going to write a book on how marketing techniques infiltrated the minds of our rulers, like a virus, causing them to increasingly rely on cheap marketing gags to communicate to themselves and the rest of us. The result being a ruling elite that sounds like commercials for laundry soap.

With that in mind, here are some new additions to the list.

Show your support: This is always a demand from a company or organization for you to buy their stuff so they can spend the proceeds on themselves, while taking credit for some good deed. Currently, retail chains are having their cashiers harass customers into giving money to the Red Cross for hurricane relief in Houston. The end result will be a photo-op of the executives posing with the Red Cross, handing them a big check, so they can claim to be supporting the community.

Inclusivity: The rallying cry of modern terrorism. Every organization that is about to be assaulted by tackle-faced social justice warriors gets a committee on inclusivity. This a place where lunatics plot to destroy the organization. Google started one of these and is now in free fall. Node.js is the most recent to be attacked by the ISIS of the West.

Affirming: Lesbians and middle-aged cat ladies are riddled with self-doubt, because they chose a lifestyle that is at odds with human biology. This leads them to create organizations, usually within other organizations, that are designed to tell them that they made the right choice, even if nature says otherwise. Protestant churches have all become affirming as they embrace every anti-Christian lunacy.

Brave: The Progressive religion is built around the concept of the struggle. Prog loonies all imagine themselves as paladins fighting the monster called fascism. Therefore, anyone who sallies forth into the public square to preach the good word is called brave. The irony is that it is totally safe. Antifa is called brave, while the people they are beating with clubs are called cowards.

That’s not who we are: This is one of those phrases that is not intended for the wider audience. It’s almost always said by a so-called Conservative in reaction to something normal people are doing. The person saying it is trying to signal to The Hive that they are not associated with the bad thing in question. When Paul Ryan says to his voters, “This is not who we are” he literally means he is not one of the dirt people in his district.

Send a message: This is another code word that people in The Hive use in public, but it is not intended for the public. When a politicians talks about “sending a message” he means to signal his virtue to the rest of The Hive. The message to the rest of us, if any, is that the person saying it should probably be hurled into the ocean before she gets us killed.

Problematic: This is a favorite of Prog loonies. It means the speech or act in question could be ruled heretical. The problem is they lack the words to condemn it and an easy escape route to run away from it.

Troubling: This is the same as problematic.

Vibrant: This is a favorite term to mean no white people. A neighborhood is vibrant when it is full of boarded up houses and gang-bangers with pit bulls.

Sustainable: This is one of those words that should be included in the humor section, but the people who coined it have no sense of humor. Anything that is labeled “sustainable’ is always something that is not sustainable. Alternatively, it may be sustainable, like organic farming, but will require a great die off of humans. Whenever you hear this word, assume the person using it fantasizes about putting you in an oven.

Accepted: This is when some outlier or fringe population forces the majority to forgo its own preferences for those of the outlier or fringe population.

Passion: This is what happens to Progressive white women in the modern era. They are suddenly gripped with passion. Like Hitler, whose passion for killing Jews was all consuming, passionate women are obsessed with killing erections. Passionate women are always wildly unattractive and ear-piercingly obnoxious.

Growth: This is always used in economic debates to signal that something is good for rich people. A pro-growth policy is one that allows the rich to hoover up more money from the middle-class. When pundits  accuse a politician of promoting polices that will hurt growth, it means the billionaire who owns the pundit is vexed with the politician.

Toxic: Any argument or fact that can be screamed away, because it is obviously true, is called toxic. The users of this word believe that the magic of their incantations will make the dis-confirming thing go away. Normal men being normal in public, for example, is branded as “toxic masculinity.” White people not robbing liquor stores or shooting one another over sneakers is “toxic racism.”

Sharable: This describes something that appears to be free, but is used by the true owner to harm others or steal their property. Progs call doxxing, for example, a sharable strategy. Tech companies like sharable technology because it means they get to install their spyware on your phone or computer.

Dialogue: This is when a Prog loony screams at you and you sit and take it. You’re having a dialogue! If you refuse to put up with the lecture, then you are being divisive and polarizing, which is both troubling and problematic. It means you could be suffering from toxic racism.

Gab TV

I will be on the Devil’s Advocate, a Gab TV show, tonight at 7 PM Eastern Time. You can sign up for Gab here. All you need is an e-mail address and a the ability to click your mouse. There’s no wait period or approval process. Just click on TV at the top left.

Essential Knowledge: Part XII

Prior to the technological revolution, a common lament from geezers was that the younger generations no longer had a mastery of the written word. Instead of writing letters, they would talk on the telephone. Instead of reading books, they would watch television or go to the movies. The result was that literacy, or what passed for it, had declined. Read the letters of soldiers from the Great War or the Civil War and you see their point. Even the most humble citizen had good penmanship and the ability to express himself in writing.

Ironically, the technological revolution brought writing back to prominence. Word processors solved the penmanship issue, allowing anyone to type out well formatted printed text. Of course, the explosion of e-mail meant that people were back to writing letters to friends, relatives and colleagues. The explosion of websites, providing written information, meant that even the dumbest people were reading. A strange and unexpected result of the internet has been a greater demand for literacy.

Despite the gripes from today’s geezers about the kids and their phones, people are better at communicating via the written word. In fact, we make judgments about one another based on our writing skills. It’s why gold plated phonies like George Will can pass themselves off as deep thinkers. In order to have a successful career, you have to express yourself in writing to your peers and superiors. If you want to get involved in social issues, you better be able to write well. Good writing is essential knowledge.

The most important part of writing is knowing your audience. Writing a proposal to a client is different from sending a buddy an e-mail about your weekend. Formal work correspondence not only needs proper spelling and grammar, it should lack colloquialisms and slang. The client does not want to see “Let ‘er rip, tater chip” in your proposal. On the other hand, if you’re a blogger, you should not get hung up on formalism. The point of casual writing is to be accessible, so the reader can breeze through it over coffee.

Of course, writing should have a point. We are are flooded with e-mail and texts. There are millions of places on-line offering up content. The only reason for you to be writing is that you have a point that needs making. Before you sit down to compose your e-mail, letter to your Congressman, or blog post, ask yourself, “what’s the main point I want to express to the reader?” This not only helps you focus, it helps the reader determine if they should be reading whatever it is you have written. It’s only fair.

If you have ten points that come to mind, then try to arrange them by subject. There’s a good chance you can consolidate them into a few main points. Once you have a clear idea of the main topic, the point of what you’re writing, then the other points should be in support of that main topic. The items that don’t fit, can and should be left out, in order to not take away from the main points you are trying to make. This is especially true in business writing, which needs to be on-point and free of unnecessary chatter.

If you end up with a bunch of important points, that cannot be boiled down to a manageable number, it means you have tackled too broad a topic or you don’t know the material well enough to write about it. The exception is you are writing a book about something like the Civil War and you expect it to be a big book. Since hardly anyone reading this will be writing a book, a good rule of thumb is to have one main point and three supporting points. That keeps you from meandering on the page and losing focus.

Another good rule in this regard is to set limits. If you have a general point and three or four supporting points, put a word limit on the whole thing and then assign equal space to your points. Good proposal writers do this. They know the prospect will look at the first few pages and then jump to the important bits, like the pricing page. Clear breaks in the proposal, between the sections of the proposal, makes it user friendly. An essay that follows this format will quickly cover the material and please the reader.

The key in all expository writing is brevity. A 5,000 word blog post is unreadable, which is why they tend not to be read. If you need 5,000 words, you either picked too big of a topic or, most likely, you don’t know the material well enough to state your case. Humans can read about 1500 words of an argument before their minds start to drift. Similarly, if you are sending an email to a friend, remember that they are your friend. Making them read 5,000 words about your trip to the vet is a rotten thing to do to someone you like.

Then there is the issue of vocabulary. The temptation to use complex vocabulary, or insider language, should be resisted. Studies suggest that readers, when confronted with complex grammar and vocabulary, suspect the writer is trying to hide their stupidity. Never use big words when little words can do the job. Plain language and straightforward sentence structure, gets the point across and shows the reader some respect. The point is to clearly make your points. Leave the thesaurus on the shelf.

As far as resources, you cannot go wrong with a copy of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.  Another classic on writing is On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser. These are two classics that all good writers recommend for a reason. A personal choice is The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage. For business writing, this is a great choice. It’s a book that takes its own advise. Of course, using Google for spelling is a good idea too. I like this site for grammar opinions.

Avoid using lists. A list is great for a lunch order, a grocery run or a packing slip, but it has no place in expository writing. The reason is the reader will simply look at the headings and skip to what they want to read. Lists invite skimming. Unless you work for Teen Vogue or some other pop publication, where the readers are assumed to be dull witted, you should avoid lists in writing. Even in business writing, lists are best used as summaries at the end of a document or in a graphic to illustrate a point.

Finally, think about how the reader will be consuming your content. An e-mail to a buddy will be read on a PC or a phone. A work e-mail is most likely being read off a PC at a desk. That proposal will be printed and read as paper. The point is, reading from a phone or tablet is a different experience than the written page. If the reader is most likely using a mobile device, short paragraphs are better than long ones. If it is a web site, then you will have a range of ways to consider. Again, the idea is to make reading you easy.

Hollywood Math

A while back I watched the movie Kong: Skull Island on the Kodi. It was one of those impulse things. I felt like watching a movie and this one just happened to be easily accessible. Samuel L. Jackson’s angry black guy routine stopped being fun a long time ago, but I figured the movie was going to be mostly about the giant gorilla. As far as modern movies go, it was not too bad. I suspect it was better in a theater with high end sound and the giant screen to make the monsters look more monstrous.

For some reason, I got to wondering what it cost to make, so I looked it up. (I know, I know. I should not be using Wiki, but the Infogalactic page is out of date.) According to the published data, the film cost $185 million to make and generated $586 million in ticket sales. That looks like an amazing success, but movie accounting is a bit weird. The theater gets half the gross, so the distributor got about $285 million. That’s a gross simplification, but a useful one for looking at the mathematics of movie making.

Movies don’t always do so well. King Arthur was a giant flop this summer. It cost $175 million to make and grossed just $140 million. According to people who know these things, the studio lost $150 million on this one film. There were other massive flops this summer like the Aliens movie and the Amy Schumer comedy. The opacity of Hollywood accounting makes it impossible to know the final tally, but people who claim to know suggest that the big studios are posting losses this year as a result of the bombs.

Hollywood can withstand a bad year because of the high cost of making and distributing movies. Getting together $185 million to make a giant gorilla movie is not something you do on Kickstarter. It’s why Hollywood seems to be hooked on films with massive special effects budgets. It’s a niche only they can serve so they are trying to squeeze every penny from it. Dramas and documentaries, in contrast, have small budgets and small margins, so lots of small players can fight for those customers.

A common complaint about Hollywood is that they are not investing in new ideas and original scripts. Instead it is comic book movies, remakes of old films and sequels. The people in the business will counter with the fact that the losses are almost always accounting losses. The actors and directors are all getting paid. Once the accountants do their magic, often taking advantage of tax laws and special deals made with governments to shoot their films on location, the studios are in the black or close to it.

They are probably right in the short term. Hollywood is surely aware of what happened to the pornography business and what is now happening to the news business. Porn used to have a high barrier to entry. If you wanted to sell sex to the public, you had high costs due to a complex thicket of state and local laws to navigate. The Internet obliterated the barriers to entry. First came a wave of video makers who wiped out the skin mag operations. Then a wave of amateurs came through to wipe out the movie industry.

A similar thing is happening with the news and commentary business. First the internet undercut the ad business of newspapers. Why sell your car in the classifieds when you can sell it on eBay? Why advertise your job in the Boston Globe when you can use Monster? The only logical response has been for the newspapers to slowly move from their old distribution model to the internet. But, the cost of putting up a website is near zero now so anyone wishing to compete with the NYTimes can give it a go.

It’s not just the legacy media. Take a look at on-line audio and video. Joe Rogan does a one hour interview show that will get a few million viewers. His production costs are a fraction of what it cost to make the Charlie Rose program. Yet, Rogan reaches ten times the audience. The YouTube comic PewDiePie reaches 55 million people and he is essentially producing his show from his basement. Anthony Cumia was making his show from his basement until his success allowed him to rent a studio in Manhattan.

A similar thing is happening to radio. Podcasts are becoming a popular way to listen to news and commentary, that used to be the domain of radio. Buy a new car and you can sync your phone to the audio system, so you can tote around your own music and podcasts to play on the road. It will not be long before your car radio will let you listen to this stuff off the internet. Again, the low barrier to entry means a wider range of shows so the public can narrow cast to their taste. Old fashioned radio, as a result, is dying.

If you are in the media business, your number one task right now is figuring out how to keep the barrier to entry to high for that army of internet content makers. That’s why Hollywood is fixated on massively expensive super hero movies and film series based on comic books. They spend $100 million building out the infrastructure and then make five versions of Pirates of the Caribbean for $200 million a copy. Mike Cernovich is not competing with that, no matter how many Kickstarter campaigns he starts.

The beauty of this approach is that these sorts of films can easily be sold into foreign markets. The Chinese dudes watching Fast & Furious 19 don’t care about the dialogue or story. They want to see buff white dudes driving cars while shooting at bad guys. Given the level of writing for some of these movies, they may not even have to provide subtitles as no one really cares what’s being said. Hollywood is now in the business of creating giant special effects demonstrations that are viewed in movie theaters.

Whether this is sustainable in the long run is hard to know. Kong: Skull Island made a lot of money so a lot of people must have enjoyed it. I thought it was mostly stupid, but I watched it free at home, so I got my money’s worth. As long as these things keep making money, there’s no reason to think this model will break. It also means that Hollywood will be looking for ways to make these films even dumber. If they can get global audiences habituated to enjoying two hours of explosions, it simplifies their business even further.

Lawfare

The weaponization of the law, particularly the civil courts has become so common, that we no longer notice it. The most obvious example is when  someone gets acquitted of a crime, but then the alleged victim goes to civil court for damages. Alternatively, some hate thinker gets off in state court, but the the feds come in and charge the guy with civil rights violations. It’s an obvious abuse of the law in order to get around the jury system, but it is now just another feature of a system more concerned with vengeance than justice.

The college rape hoax phenomenon is another variation on this. A mentally unstable coed makes claims that can never be proved, but the school, fearing Title IX litigation, punishes the accused anyway. The SPLC is doing something similar with their litigation against the website, The Daily Stormer. The point of the suit is to shut down the site, because the people at the SPLC don’t like the content. Even if the case is eventually tossed, the point is to intimidate the owner and anyone who holds similar opinions.

This bizarre story is a new twist on how the lawfare game is being played.

Tumblr has released account information for close to 300 anonymous users to a revenge porn victim in what online privacy advocates say is a major violation of the First Amendment.

The 27-year-old New York victim, who first learned that an unauthorized video of her having sex with a boyfriend when she was just 17 had been posted on Tumblr ​​last winter, plans to sue the users for disseminating child pornography.

“The ultimate goal is to expose these people,” said attorney Daniel Szalkiewicz, who represents the Bronx victim.

“There is no First Amendment protection for child porn,” Szalkiewicz said.

On Monday​,​ Tumblr complied with a June 7 order issued by a Manhattan state court judge to release the email addresses and account names of 281 Tumblr users.

You’ll notice the legal base stealing. Is this woman a victim? We can’t know that until it is established that the video was shot without her consent. If she agreed to the filming, which is most likely, then she is the victim of her own stupidity. Then you have the legal fiction that this is child pornography. No one in their right mind would call this child porn. Clearly, her lawyer is hoping that fear of being tarred with “child porn” is enough to coerce a settlement. The Mafia would be envious of this maneuver.

What we have now is litigation in the shadow legal system. The lawyer has coerced the company into aiding him in what amounts to a shakedown. The lawyer is also using the media to threaten his targets with exposure and all that comes with it, unless they agree to pay him off. It is a clever legal trap. In order for these people to defend themselves, they first have to admit to viewing the material. A First Amendment defense would argue that they had a right to look at what was posted on the site, even if it was illegally posted.

Once you admit to viewing the material, you run the risk of losing the initial claim and then having to argue about whether it constitutes a violation of child porn laws. You don’t have to be a graduate of Harvard Law to see that the easiest way out of this trap is to settle as a group and get some sort of non-disclosure in place. In other words, this case is not brought in the interest of justice or to mitigate harm done to the alleged victim. It is a shake down and what most people would consider extortion, even if the court does not.

This goes back to the Servile State post. No one in this sordid relationship is free in any meaningful way. The big bad company is being forced to supervise its users, to make sure they do not violate the ever shifting morality of the people in charge of the state. If they fail in that duty, they are forced to help punish the users they did not properly supervise, by ratting them out to the state. The result here is that everyone is responsible for everyone else. It turns everyone into both a slave and slave master.

That’s the other aspect of lawfare. It is uncivilized. Into the Middle Ages, tribes in Europe still practiced the wergeld. This was the price put upon a man’s life based on his rank. If a rich man killed a poor man, by accident or on purpose, he could pay the victims family in gold for the value of his life. You can see how this can quickly get out of hand. Not only would rich people feel free to kill inconvenient poor people, they would be tempted to kill their families too. No family to pay, means to no wergeld to pay.

That’s what we have with lawfare. Instead of the law determining if a crime has been committed and then determining the guilt or innocence of the accused, the process is about determining the price of this woman’s honor, as it were. In the future, the courts may be forced to post prices for posting revenge porn so that angry ex-boyfriends know in advance the risk of hitting send. At the same time, young women will now know what they can get for agreeing to be filmed having sex with that guy they picked up at the bar.

That’s sarcasm, obviously, but lawfare is not a good thing for a society. What cases like this do is undermine the respect for law. It is why the bar associations used to forbid advertising on TV. They knew that greasy sleezeballs in their ranks would go trolling for slip and fall cases and phony disability claims. That’s been the result and as a consequence the public’s respect for lawyers has declined. If you want to have a low-trust society, erode public faith in the law. That’s exactly what lawfare is doing in America.

Diary: June 2017

I’m shamelessly ripping off John Derbyshire here with a monthly diary feature. I’ve been doing semi-regular updates on readership and so forth, but a monthly diary type post seems to make more sense. I can then cover blog related stuff and retread any old ground that needs retreading. With apologies to Derb and anyone else doing the monthly diary bit, I will be doing a monthly diary post going forward…

Like many Americans, I have been doing some traveling. Around here, the schools are done by mid-June so it is the start of vacation season. When I was a kid, Memorial Day was the start of summer. School ended that week and you had the three day holiday. For reasons I have no interest in knowing, schools now stay in session longer and they start earlier. As a result, summer holiday time is packed into the period between mid-June and the end of July. Independence Day is becoming the start of summer.

I’m sure there are statistics available somewhere to test if the result of this creeping school calendar has had some impact on travel in the high season. My experience is that even mid-week travel in July feels like the rush before Thanksgiving or Christmas. I was in Logan Airport and I stood for 90 minutes in line waiting for a rental car. They had plenty of cars, just not enough terminals to process everyone in a timely fashion and their customer service staff is clearly coming from the Epsilon Minus sub-class.

As is often the case, travel provides lessons about our current age. The fellow who waited on me at the Avis counter, for example, was either suffering from a mental illness or he was on drugs. He was in need of a bath and his clothes needed laundering. The other agents were in various states of disrepair. Most were foreigners, judging by the names I could read. My guess, given the ages, is that Avis is gaming the J1 visa program to fill the jobs the unemployed locals refuse to take, at the wages Avis wants to pay.

The argument from libertarian guy is that this results in cheaper stuff. After all, if Avis has to pay higher wages to their people and train them to treat the customers in a decent fashion, they would have to charge more for rental cars. Left out of the discussion is the ever growing tax burden needed to pay for the unemployed locals, as well the social cost of lots of people not working. What’s also left out is the cost of me standing in line for 90 minutes and having to deal with a dirty lunatic. Quality of life counts too…

Another lesson of travel comes from airports. I’ve been in a lot of airports and I have posted about them a bunch of times. Airports are a good way to explain to normal people how central planning must always fail. These schemes always succumb to the limitations of the planners.  Airports are a good example of it. Similarly, the airport is a good place to explain why libertarianism can never scale up, unless you plan to genocide the unreliable elements. Otherwise, the stupid, lazy and selfish will collapse a libertarian system…

Of course, travel is about seeing different places and people. One of the more bizarre contradictions of the blank slate types is they will celebrate the crap out of human diversity, when it comes to travel. They make no effort to hide the fact that people in different places have very different ideas about how to organize themselves. Yet, this reality never occurs to them when the topic is immigration. That’s because they never really experience diversity. They are insulated from it so they know it only superficially.

Anyway, human variety is something you can see within our own lands. It has been a while since I was in New England. As a result, I forgot that the women are crazy and the men are mostly pussies. Not everyone, but the ratio of crazy cat ladies to normal women is jarring. I listened to two women coo over a handful of savages being led through the airport, by their minders from a church group. My bet is it was a church like this one, that is run by feminist nutters and useless homosexuals.

The two cat ladies were carrying on like a couple teenage girls, who just saw members of the current boy band. That’s the thing about feminism. It infantilizes the adherent. Modern feminists have the maturity of teenagers. Feminism is just a way for homely girls to get the attention of boys, so I guess it makes sense at some level. Regardless, it should never be tolerated so I leaned over and said to the two hens, “One day, their kids will be throwing your kids off a roof.” They were poleaxed. I went to get a drink…

As far as plans for the site and other ventures, I’m plotting a refresh of the site for a weekend in July. Nothing crazy, just a little sprucing up to keep things current. Summer is the slowest time, traffic-wise for the site. This is something I’ve actually measured in other areas of the internet. Like with TV viewing, summer drops web traffic to these sorts of sites by up to 25%. That means if I break something while fiddling with the site, fewer people will give me crap about it…

I am working on doing a weekly podcast. Often, the best way to learn new things is to jump right into them and start figuring it out. If you go back to the first few months of this blog, you’ll see it was not very good and nothing like what I’m doing today. I just tried a bunch of stuff until I figured out what worked for me. I’m not doing that with the podcast venture, because I really don’t know anything about the audio stuff, so I need to get a baseline of technical knowledge before jumping into it.

There’s a technical aspect to producing audio that you have to get close to right or the product is worthless. This podcast with Greg Cochran is a good example. Greg sounds like he is on the wrong side of the room from the mic. He is a brilliant and interesting guy, but straining to hear him ruins the whole thing. I have ruined enough lives with the very rare typo in my posts, I don’t need to destroy the audiophile community by posting crappy audio of myself.

To that end I purchased a modestly priced microphone off Amazon. That’s right, I used Amazon and not the local microphone dealer. Actually, I went to the local music instrument store and they only deal in the stuff used on stage. The guy told me to buy a cheap one on Amazon. I’m using Audacity for recording myself, which is easy to use at first, but I have to fiddle with the tuning. The trial run was a bit weird sounding so I have to figure out how to clean that up. With a little luck, version 1.0 will be out next week.

As far as content, I’m going to start with a week in review sort of format. Lots of comments to posts warrant a fuller response than I tend to give so that’s a good place to start. There are tangentially related news items that would not make for a full post, but worth a few minutes discussion. Since I don’t do a lot of political posting, I thought maybe a podcast would be a good place to run my yap about what the pols are doing in the Imperial Capital. That’s enough to start and we’ll see how it goes from there.

I’m not sure I have the voice and speaking style to make it work, but I’m a terrible judge of these things. Mark Levin and Michael Savage have millions of listeners, despite their endless shrieking and yelling. Levin’s voice can break glass when he gets himself wound up. The whole radio guy voice stuff could just be nonsense. Alternatively, the break down of control may have changed public standards. With so many different voices now doing audio and video, the range of acceptable now covers just about everyone…

As far as numbers, the traffic has declined, as it always does this time of year. The estimate on unique monthly visitors is at 90K now, about 10% off the peak. It will drop a further in July and then slowly tick back up as we head into fall. Strangely, March has always been the highest traffic month. I have no explanation for it. It could be a coincidence or maybe humans become more active in the late winter and early spring in anticipation of the arrival of spring.

The number one post in terms of traffic is the page My Theory of Everything. In fact, I still get comments on those posts. Number two is this one. I have no answer for why, but it still gets passed around quite a bit. Another top-10 favorite this one. I should probably compile a greatest hits page or maybe put together an ebook of them. I’m also informed that I’m closing in on one million Google referrals, which means one million times Google as sent someone to this site. I have no idea if that is a lot, but I’ll put on my goriller mindset and say it is yuuuggggge! In all seriousness, for a one man blog it probably is a lot…

Devil’s Dictionary

Maybe it has always been true, but it seems like we live in an age of esoteric language or pseudo-language. Everyone is familiar with the gag of using “undocumented worker” in place of “illegal alien.”  Janitors became sanitation engineers and teachers are now educators. It’s a part of how the American Left makes war on our civilization. By destroying the language they destroy the truth. If words no longer have common and concise meanings, then there is no truth, only force.

There’s another aspect to this. The Progs create pleasant sounding phrases and neologisms that are packed with danger. It’s a natural outgrowth of the passive-aggressive tactics popular with the Progs. The new word or phrase is not intended to clarify or explain idea, but to warn people that the official truth has been decided and any further debate will be seen as a challenge. As everyone knows, the Left responds to a challenge with violence so the new phrase means “shut up or else.”

With that in mind, a running list of words and phrases, that have a more ominous meaning beyond the literal, seems like a good project. This will be one of those posts that could be updated over time both for entertainment purposes and to build out a comprehensive language guide for the normie trying to navigate his way through the theocracy. Perhaps one day some smart crime thinker will create a mobile app, like a universal translator, for normal people to use when dealing with HR or reading a mainstream news site.

Have a conversation: Whenever you hear someone say they want to have a conversation about something, what they mean is they want to shut down all debate and impose their will with regards to the subject. Having a conversation about marriage led to the end of the homosexual marriage debate in favor of the sodomites. Having a conversation about race means Progs screaming at white people about racism and white privilege. Having a conversation always means sitting through a lecture.

Secure the border: Whenever the topic of immigration comes up, someone will start chanting about the need to secure the border. The reason for this is so they can avoid talking about immigration, without looking soft on immigration. What they really mean when they use this phrase is they have no interest in the topic and you’re a racist for bringing it up, but they’ll throw you a bone just to shut you up.

Here’s What You Need To Know: This is a favorite of female millennial writers, who imagine themselves as brilliant because they got a gold star from their lefty teachers in school. It’s a phrase that sets themselves up as the arbiter of what is and what is not worth knowing about a topic. Unsurprisingly, what never needs to be known is anything that contradicts the one true faith. As soon as you see this in a post, it means that what you need to know is they are right and shut up.

Conservative Principles: Alternatively, “first principles” or “principled conservative.” The Conservative Industrial Complex loves throwing this around to benefit themselves and damage anyone questioning their project. As soon as you hear Official Conservatives™ talking about their principles, it means they are either about to throw in with the Left against you or they are preparing to surrender on some cultural issue.

Fact Check: The lefty scolds love this phrase. They fact check the crap out of everything, except their own beliefs. Those are off limits because you’re a racist. As soon as you see this phrase, you should assume that what comes next is some senseless nitpicking that let’s them dismiss anything they find unpleasant. For instance, when a normal person says migrants suck off the welfare system, they will “fact check” this and claim that “not that many” migrants go on welfare. So, you’re a bigot and shut up.

Inclusive: This means normal people need not apply. Something that is inclusive is something that excludes the things normal people consider to be normal. A club that is inclusive, for example, will be full of homosexual males, blue haired lesbians and people with fashionable mental disorders. Inclusive is code for fringe weirdos only.

Disturbing: Progs say this to let other Progs know that what is being described or witnessed is taboo. It’s a favor they do for one another.

Divisive: Since uniformity and conformity are the highest virtues of Progressivism, anything that contradicts the tenets of the faith are labeled “divisive.” This lets coreligionists know that the person or argument is a major hate crime. This is also a mortal sin. There’s not much worse than being divisive.

Polarizing: Like divisive, this word is used for people or ideas that contradict the faith, but have not yet become mortal sins. The person or idea is causing conflict in the cult, but not so much that it is a threat. This is a venial sin.

It’s Complicated: This means it is not complicated, but we’re going to pretend it is so we can get a bunch of our friends jobs in the bureaucracy. Health care is complicated, for example, so it means thousands of jobs for liberal arts majors out of swank private colleges.

Intellectual Case: The abuse of modifiers in modern language is rampant. What exactly is an intellectual case, versus a regular case or perhaps an emotional case?  When you see this phrase, just assume the person using it is a chattering class mediocrity trying to convince you that his preferences are canonical and everyone else is just stupid.

Moral Narcissism: Abracadabra words are so common, it is easy to blow past them without noticing. Here’s a popular example. This should be read as “magic bad word” as it has no meaning beyond that.

There’s a lot more work to be done: Politicians love saying this, usually after they rattle off a long list of their alleged accomplishments. Professional barnacles also love using this phrase when promoting whatever cause it is they represent, a cause that is fully funded by tax payers. In both cases, it means nothing will ever be solved and the racket will go on forever or until the treasury is empty.

Get our fiscal house in order: This is the politician or pundit saying he would like to rob you and your posterity of their last nickel.

Unity: This always means “get whitey.” When the black street leader calls for unity, he means to declare a war on the honky. When homosexuals want unity, it means attacking straight white males. It’s why you never hear normal white males call for unity. Everyone would interpret it as a call for mass suicide.

Healing: This means the people in charge have figured out how they are going to sweep the disconfirmation down the memory hole and refocus on the crime thinkers. For instance, after a Mohamed explodes or goes stabby, the government officials declare it a random incident of domestic violence and say it is now time for healing. It’s always a cue for their surrogates in the media to stop talking about the story.

Come Together: Shutup

Diversity: No white men.

Slashed: The tiniest of decreases, usually so small that no one will notice. An agency’s budget is “slashed” when the managers do not get their usual lavish raise, but have to suffer with a small increase. Government programs are slashed when they get all the money the need, but not what they wanted. In a sense, “slashed” means the government just took a chunk out of your paycheck.

Woke: This is the the sound a white woman makes when she is about to say something outlandishly stupid.

Outspoken: This is a compliment for someone, who is holding the megaphone, bellowing at the crowd on behalf of the one true faith. A normal person would assume it means “speaking against the current order” but in our modern managerial age, it means the opposite. An outspoken person is someone railing against the non-conformists and deviationists for their gross hooliganism. Stalin was outspoken.