The Digital Opiate

Imagine a science fiction scenario in which you and your crew discover a planet inhabited by intelligent beings that possess no written or spoken language. This strange species communicates entirely with facial movements, eye contact, and other non-verbal gestures. Perhaps in addition to an astonishingly complex set of facial muscles, they have additional limbs used for signaling complex ideas. Whatever sounds they make are more like mood music than spoken language.

It is a crazy image, but it is a useful way of thinking about language. While it is possible such a communication could work, the one obvious problem is that initially all knowledge would have to be communicated in person. If you wanted to pass on information to the guy in the next village, you would either have to go to his village or have someone do it for you. It would also mean information could die with the holder, so the culture would need lots of redundancy to retain its knowledge.

Most likely, such a communication system would be so costly, whole categories of information would be eliminated. History would have to be truncated. Imagine the effort required to pantomime the history of the Peloponnesian War. Communicating advanced math would be impossible. Imagine describing a Lorentzian manifold with hand gestures and facial movements. Even a highly advanced visual communication system would rule out large swaths of information.

It’s not just that the categories would be constrained. The concept of history, for example, may not exist at all. If it did, it would be highly personalized, since all communication would be personal. Without a writing system or some other way to record information that is independent of the sender, the concept of a fact-based history would be improbable. This species could conceive of the past, but only in the most personal sense of it and as related to the present.

There would be something else about such a communication system. Because the lack of efficiency, time would have to be compressed. That is, the highest priority would be on the events of the present time, then those in the very near future and then the immediate past. The further events, ideas or concepts got from the present in either direction, the less important they would be to the society. The species with only a visual communication system would live almost entirely in the moment.

In the 1984 book, Amusing Ourselves To Death, Neil Postman argued that a particular medium can only sustain a particular level of ideas. The written word requires the intellectual involvement of the reader. The information presented can be tested and contemplated as it is consumed. Oral communication is more immediate, as the listener cannot playback what was just said, unless it is recorded. Video is the most superficial, as the viewer is a passive participant.

The thesis was that the superficial nature of video communication was removing facts and reason from public discourse and replacing them with emotion. People will take one side or another of an issue, because they favor the people making the argument, not because they think about the facts. Politics ceases to be about facts and arguments and becomes a sales pitch, like an ad for a product. No one thinks about the claims made in the presentation, just how they feel about the presenter.

Postman was writing before the internet. He could not contemplate how that would change public communication. The internet has immediacy. In addition to the superficiality of visual communication, it now comes as a steady stream through the wide array of screens in our lives. Even if you are not on social media, you will still absorb a steady stream of small bits of information. These are intended to elicit an emotional response regarding some pubic issue.

For older people, the legacy mediums still play a large role. Old people still read physical newspapers. Radio talk shows and television still have an audience, but the audience is generally those who came of age before the internet. Old people are on-line, but they experience it as a digital form of the legacy media. At the other end of the age curve, kids get all of the information on-line. Social media, YouTube and live streams are their exclusive sources of information.

Think about the last two months of virus panic. First the stream was intended to frighten everyone with images of overwhelmed hospitals and morgues. The factual content of the presentation was nonsensical. We did not see actual hospitals or people staggering around suffering from the virus. Instead it was models and people pitching the panic, like salesman in an infomercial. Postman’s framing of television news as infotainment has now been supercharged in the internet age.

We have moved beyond the three mediums of written, oral and visual, by adding the element of time. The rapid stream of information coming to us in mostly visual formats, or at least as superficial as the visual, amplifies the emotional aspect that was always central to visual presentations. People are bombarded with inputs that are evaluated in the moment and the appropriate emotion is generated. It is why people get so angry at contradiction on-line. That’s the point of the experience.

Our modern media environment is now something like “the feelies” in Huxley’s Brave New World. This was a popular form of entertainment that combined the senses of smell and touch in a movie format. The “movie” lacks the normal content of a movie, but instead stimulates the viewer into certain emotional states. The responses created in the viewer, combine with images, reinforce the social order. It is a form of propaganda that circumvents the rational mind and appeals to the emotions.

The live stream phenomenon is similar. These are often ad hoc, with the streamer starting his stream when the spirit moves. Some are more regimented in their schedule, but they rarely start on time and they go as long as they like. The people tuning in are not looking for facts and reasoned arguments. Instead they want reassurance and confirmation. These streams have communities that exist around the live streamer. It’s virtual information and a virtual community.

This brings us back to that civilization of aliens. They would inevitably be trapped in the present, because of the limitations of their communications medium. Their information would also be highly personal, as there would be no way to communicate without the idiosyncrasies of the sender getting tangled in the message. Part of the information the receiver would get is the particulars of the sender. Information could no longer stand outside the person. It would be defined by the sender and receiver.

We are seeing this today. Live streamers are making a living by talking and playing games as a type of performance. Their community sends them money in order to get mentioned or have their comment mentioned. In fact, the community becomes a part of the performance, a sort of codependency. The streamer interacts with the community in order to move the show along, but the community interacts with the streamer in order to tailor the experience to their desires in the moment.

Of course, it also means our public discourse must be even more shallow and superficial than what existed in the peak of the television era. It also must be even more intensely present tense. The old written information stream was an interconnected collection of facts and logic. The new information stream is a constant series of highly personalized, but disconnected bits of data intended to elicit an emotion. The digital opiate keeps the sender and receiver in a constant present.

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182 thoughts on “The Digital Opiate

  1. It seems like the alt-right picture of human character (or at least the one presented on this blog) is that men are helpless products of their environment (and genes, but here you’re positing environmental determinism). If their environment contains things that are dangerous, they’ll inevitably hurt themselves. If their environment contains things that are addictive, their brains will dissolve as inevitably as a rock rolls down a hill. The fate of mankind outside of some narrow range of evolutionary adaptedness that produced our minds is to derange under the unnatural influences until we no longer function.

    Time will tell if this is correct, I suppose. I prefer to think of the internet, like all technology or power, as a test of character. Anything powerful *can* be used to hurt yourself. You can kill yourself with electricity, or drugs, or nails and hammers. Uranium can power the world, produce light and heat in the outer solar-system or under antarctica, or can be used to blow up the world.

    Keep in mind that the internet also gives you ways to communicate with people from around the world, access to every book mankind has ever written (which you can then store on something the size of your fingernail to tote around). Computers give you the ability to express and test complex mechanisms, and to develop intuition about things far outside the range of everyday experience (quantum mechanics, orbital mechanics, etc). Unbreakable encryption can run on anyones desktop. Any mental prosthetic *can* be used to derange your mind, but if people can develop techniques and willpower sufficient to deal with the temptation, they can use it to extend their minds.

    I’d rather that people be powerful, even if some of them won’t be able to handle it, than that people be limited, hobbled, or constrained by the least common denominator of society.

  2. The Digital Opiate addict is as crippled, virtually, as the typical homeless heroin addict.

    I have mused the Zombie Apocalypse started years ago, only because they don’t have parts falling off, and can produce coherent if nonsensical speech, we haven’t noticed yet.

    But you see the non-zombies exiting their homes and the zombies screeching.

    Karen is a zombie.

  3. I grew up with television and have worked in the television industry. Yes, it’s a vast wasteland and it has negative repercussions on society and it’s follow up the internet is equally destructive. What I notice about my own life is the effects of the smartphone on my attention span. The longer I am looking at Twitter feeds the less patience I have with a good book.
    Having said that I think there is value in You Tube streaming or streaming in general as there was and is value in television, we just have to control our consumption of it.
    Which is very difficult to do because it’s easy to consume.
    The You Tube stream value depends on the content presented. At times there is content to be found in our new media access nowhere else that is both informative and valuable even though just like television most of it is a vast wasteland.
    New media does have the value of making us aware of each other. This very blog does that job and is a part of our methods of getting our voices out.
    I am not as negative of the new media effects on us just aware of them.

  4. Anyone have a movie recorded on one of those LP sized video discs? Like a movie on Betamax, it’s probably not getting much screen time these days even if you do have the obsolete machine to play it on. What happens to all the information stored on an SD card if these is no computer that can read it? What happens to all the information, all the “content” stored in the cloud when and if the technology either advances past it, or is lost from an EMP attack, or just lost through creeping incompetence ala “Idiocracy”? Future archeologists will be able to decode the printed word, and see images recorded on paper, celluloid, and even hear the sounds on vinyl. The record of post 20th century civilization vanishes without the highly sophisticated machines to play it on. Right now we all have enough to worry about without getting all concerned that generations unborn won’t know who we were. Even so, we don’t even have an oral tradition to pass it along. We could well be at the end of “history”.


    • I’ve taken a gazillion photographs, most snapped within the past two decades using digital cameras. Even the small percent I’ve printed on a fancy color machine will not survive like the old film-based photos did. There are paper copies of my birth certificate stored in a file room in my dinky West Michigan home town because the town admin doesn’t want to spend on digitization. Aside from treatise chapters and articles I’ve written, and the birth certificate, no trace of my existence will persist beyond two years following my death. From a historian’s perspective, I may as well have never existed.

      • From a historian’s perspective, I may as well have never existed
        Now that is saddening…No kids I take it so all your time and effort getting those degrees and the millions you have made will be all for nought once you pass on… Society has done it’s part in making a lot of us just drones or a cog in the machine…There is still time to unplug and start making it where you will be remembered…

        • Horatio is unique of his kind. We all represent about 3 billion years of consecutive successful reproduction. He will be the first (and last) failure of his line,

          • All men, all nations, all peoples die. In time the sun, the universe itself will die.

            What happens after no one knows but its folly to strive to be remembered for just a little longer. Just live or Be Here Now if you like.

            All else is beyond understanding and beyond our control.

        • Same here. But this thought really doesn’t keep me awake at night. My general thinking is that my hope for “immortality” rests upon my children and their children and their children’s children.

          Now of course this is itself iffy. Since White folk don’t care to reproduce much at their current level of prosperity. But it is somewhat more probable than myself at this stage in my life doing anything memorable outside of direct family. I passed my genes on, and that’s all most of us can hope for.

          • Asians aren’t reproducing and many races of Hispanics aren’t either. The birth rate in Brazil is the same as ours.

            Of the more fertile races, MENA peoples and the rest, up to a quarter billion may starve near or to death this year and maybe more for some years to come as locusts ravage crops and a broken world can do nothing for them.We don’t have the extra food.

            In any case humanity is way past its carrying capacity, past the soils health, our wounded oceans health and near beyond what the air can carry.

            Our numbers must and will go down and if we are blessed to go down easy by having smaller families , we will in time reach equilibrium and so long as our lands stat ours and my people the European descended peoples make up art least 25% of man kind all will be fine.

      • It is the human condition that almost no one is remembered .

        Countless billions have been born , lived, died and no one remembers them.

        No one knows how many civilizations there have been in human history either. For all we know there were many hundreds before Egypt all lost to time.

        Hell for all the glory of the pyramids, they are so old as to be beyond our understanding.

        Just live.

  5. Excellent overview of our current intellectual malaise, Z.

    I don’t read printed newspapers or news magazines, but I’m old enough to have retained certain expectations from when I did before the hostile takeover by electronic media. So almost everything experienced through modern platforms seems curiously bleached of context.

    Your analysis goes a long way toward explaining why. The video/internet axis is based on conveying feelings and attitudes, so looking at background or adding a wider dimension is understood by producers and video face workers as a distraction. What happened in contrast to today’s subject, or before last week, is irrelevant to the passive audience’s trance.

    Each media communication is a data point in an otherwise empty chart, a one-note samba for the hearing-impaired.

  6. The generational conflicts we experience arise in part by each generation’s media of choice/convenience – written and spoken/radio media for Silents, TV for Boomers & Xers and Internet for Y’s and Zoomers.

    Narrative and imaginative formats like the written or spoken word gave us Homeric, Norse & Celtic oral traditions, Greek comedy, tragedy and poetry. The early years of television demonstrate this legacy, with some programming that aspired to highbrow tastes as well as lowbrow game shows.

    Spoken & written media engaged the imagination and developed our capactity for “internal dialogue.” Silents had movies but it wasn’t practical for most people to consume dozens of hours of film content per week.

    Television and movies allowed some of those mental muscles to atrophy. Between the Boomer & Xer generations, more and more people spent more and more time in increasingly passive, experience > thinking pastimes. Inner dialogue fell silent or failed to develop at all, like those rare feral kids who never developed spoken language.

    The rise of suburbs and the demise of extended families accelerated this trend. Children who would have been exposed to the narrative and imaginative written and audible media of grandparents were increasingly isolated, plopped in front of the TV to self-babysit while Mom & Dad worked or played. Family interaction shriveled, particularly with the two-job family.

    The internet has improved our potential for communication, making the written and spoken word much more accessible, but our overall tastes were so degraded by television and movies that when given the practically unlimited options of internet content to consume, the vast majority of Bugs prefer Netflix (more TV & movies), shorter Netflix (YouTube) and limiting their written communication to sound-bites on Twitter and Faceberg.

    We have more media potential but lack the social and cultural awareness, training and discipline to make better use of it.

    Rather than retreating into Luddite pastoralism, dissidents would be better served to master the technology. In order to do that, we need stronger extended families with stay-at-home mothers and homeschooling. It’s the novel one-two punch of degenerating family structure and surrogate media-parenting, instruction and social education that is doing the most damage. Fix the family first and raise kids who are aware of the downsides as well as Pollyanna potential of media. Make them aware that media can be used to (((subvert))) as well as entertain.

    An anti-tech, anti-internet/cell phone approach may be workable but it’s very “ghettoizing” in terms of day-to-day life, employment and cultural engagement. It’s poor soil in which to grow an alternative culture and will drastically limit our growth.

  7. Not directly touched on yet, by host or today’s commentariat, is that the Internet provides essentially unlimited immediate grazing of information and visuals. Back in the day, books, magazines, and newspapers provided the “popular entertainment”. Then movies, radio, and later TV, with as many as three or four channels in the big cities. Popular fiction and other print media were considered déclassé, simple feeding of the masses. Movies and radio were certainly considered as such, early on, and TV as well. Sports were also considered a mindless pastime. But all had to be sought out in time and place, and until radio and TV, there were none that provided unlimited time in which one could spend it on such things. And still only a few choices.

    The Internet allows unlimited time, unlimited subject matter, and the ability to “lightly graze” as much, or as little, as one wants. No need to seek out and purchase such things as books, which require both a time and intellectual commitment to read through. Magazines and newspapers are “dead”. TV and movies are on the way to the graveyard.

    There is a new phenomenon, where people can have music on, something on the video screen, and at the same time, be clicking through the Internet. Total overload. One sees the younger people doing it. This is how passing images become all, and deep thoughts and intellectual arguments are lost. Like him or not, Trump seems to understand this, and readily and deftly plays at the Twitter level, even as he operates at a more sophisticated level as well. Elon Musk, too.

  8. I’m having trouble ascribing our problem to a particular modern situation or form of communication. Our culture has been infected with a virus by the alinsky types that targets integrity. I remeber how shocked i was in college at how fast and facile evrebody was to cheat. I was raised in the old tradition where a man aspired to be good and honest and have honor. Even as i type this, i cringe because holding these values makes one a fool in this culture. The most evil aspect of the culture is that it necissitates you become a liar to move through it. Once enough go down that road the centre does not hold.

  9. I never read Postman, but my first degree was in Literature (and I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express one night). Even in the university setting it was obvious that film and video studies were significantly more primitive than even the simplest written materials. There are penalties at the higher end of the range of expressive possibilities in exchange for making something more accessible to the midwit crowd.

    It is impossible not to read the words to a 13th century sonnet, and then watch a sitcom today, and not come to the paradoxical conclusion of Planet of the Apes…the earlier civilization is the more advanced.

    • Those born with the disability of being deaf have my sympathy. Today’s “deaf activists” who push a disability as an equal and alternative lifestyle and culture, or those like the deaf women who deliberately sought out a deaf sperm donor to ensure their progeny would also be deaf, need to be culled.

  10. The internet allows the information content to be as deep or shallow as the viewer wants, unlike TV which is perpetually shallow information in a top-down format. Just imagine going back to 1992, and having access only to the information you had at the time. It would be maddening. No wonder I was into short wave radio at the time. It was a desperate attempt to find alternate content. You would have a few good articles in subscription based magazines, but nothing, nothing like the unlimited content on the internet. I feel far more informed and make far better decisions as a result of the internet. Over 90% of the internet is shallow because humanity itself is shallow. They don’t matter anyway. They seek out video clips of Kardashians. But for the deep thinkers, even if only 5% of the population, it’s a golden age.

    • JR, Absolutly right. It is an expansive and easily used tool for those that want to explore

    • “Over 90% of the internet is shallow because humanity itself is shallow. They don’t matter anyway. They seek out video clips of Kardashians. But for the deep thinkers, even if only 5% of the population, it’s a golden age.”

      100% correct. I make this point very frequently about what a banal age we live in.

      My normal phrasing is: “In your pocket you hold an order of magnitude more computing power than was available to send men to the moon and all the knowledge that mankind has amassed since the dawn of civilization, but you mainly use it to look at stupid cat videos and celebrity gossip.”

      I say it to every normie I know if for no other reason than to momentarily shame them into realizing how much they are squandering. Most of them acknowledge it for a moment, then go back to watching cat videos or pr0n. Human nature, sadly, is mostly immutable.

  11. Yes, I am really old. I am so old that I think that books form the foundation of civilization. I use the internet to find things to read when I am not engrossed in some book. I read non-fiction mainly now and obsess over certain topics until I am satisfied I have read all the sides and understand what I have read. This means I am a weirdo compared to today’s mainstream.

    But, oddly, I don’t really mind being so far out of step. I was never “where it is at” even as a young guy trying to be cool as I practiced chasing skirts.

    One of my favorite saying from the 60s is “the trouble with trying to be where it is at is that by the time you get there they will have moved it”.

    They keep moving it, but I just don’t care.

  12. To me the strongest sign that media designed to elicit a thoughtful counterargument has been replaced with media designed to elicit an emotional response is that we once used to say “I think…” when speaking with each other, but now we almost always say “I feel like…”

    The switch seems to have occurred just about the time social media emerged.

    • That brought back a memory from law school over 40 years ago. First year, Constitutional Law, one of the most talkative students began answering a question on a case with “The Court felt that…” and was immediately corrected by the professor. “No. Courts don’t feel. They opine.”

      The professor, funnily enough, was Robert Bork.

        • Thanks. He was a great teacher and a good man, but he never really recovered from the SC nomination mess.

          Another example: we were discussing a sex discrimination case. The issue was annuities. The complaint was that the monthly payout for women was less than for men. The defense was the actuarial fact that women lived longer than men, so a lower monthly payout totaled up as equal.

          Bork’s comment, with a grin: “Of course, with increasing numbers of women going to law school, we can expect that to change.”

      • You’ll never equal the bragging rights of those who studied Constitutional Law under Professor Obama!

    • You can also separate American society into different groups that are furthest along into emotional “crimestop” (as Orwell described it):

      – Older generations have picked up modern lingo like everyone else, but are largely still accustomed to reasoned argument. So they’ll say “I feel like…” instead of “I think…” like everyone else, but will still follow that with a reasoned argument. For example, “I feel like that is less true today than it used to be in the past.” Replace “I feel like…” with “I think…” and that’s still a reasoned argument.

      – Younger generations have degenerated a step lower into emotional crimestop. Instead of countering with an argument, they’ll counter with a platitude that creates an emotional blockage designed to instantly stop further discussion. “I feel like that’s racist.” or “I feel like that’s offensive.” But even here, there is still an appeal to understanding the vestigial meanings of old words – you still have to intellectually UNDERSTAND that “racism” and “offense” = “bad” because their response hasn’t yet devolved into “I feel bad” or “I feel violated” or “I feel hurt” or “I feel assaulted.”

      – The third and final step of emotional degeneration will be to finally eliminate all those old appeals to vestigial intellect. We’ll simply start “emoting” whenever we feel hurt or pain or violence has been rendered upon us in any interaction. There’ll be no need to claim “racism” or “sexism”; simply the fact that someone has rendered you pain will be enough to get that person punished.

      Note that the youngest generations have degraded the furthest to step 3. You can see the fruits in Z’s Xirl Science sections. The youngest leftists aren’t even bothering to accuse opponents of racism or sexism anymore; they simply shriek that they’ve been “literally” raped or violated or hurt or otherwise assaulted in some manner. Soon enough this will be grounds enough for imprisonment and all interactions will be reduced to the crudest “emotings” of either pain, pleasure, or indifference. To keep out of trouble, you will be expected to never elicit anything other than pleasure or at least indifference out of others.

      The right is about forty years behind the left in this progression. The right still makes quaint arguments based on facts and reason (“facts don’t care about your feelings”), which is also why the right is so preoccupied with the left’s supposed “hypocrisy” on any given issue. The right fails to understand that the left no longer has the ability to comprehend hypocrisy because the left is increasingly “triggered” by various emotions. Note how the left never wastes its time pointing out hypocrisy from the right anymore.

      What I’m wondering is what exactly in social media has exponentially accelerated our devolution into grunting and scratching? The rot started with TV and movies, but is there something in social media’s portability that kicked off the exponential rot? Is it because TV screens and movie screens aren’t portable, so there’s something about having to sit or stand in one place mostly uninterrupted that places a natural limit on the rot? Most people aren’t going to a movie theater to read, and most people who make the effort to bring a book with them to the airport aren’t going to put it down to imbibe the lies on the CNN telescreen.

      Contrarily, the portability and abbreviative nature of the smartphone allows social media to infect and interrupt every single other mundane daily process: it interrupts the toilet, the meal, the workday, and note that it even interrupts *other old forms of passive media consumption*: many young people can’t even sit through a traditional TV show on the flatscreen anymore; their eyes will turn away from it to the video clips and Tik Tok on their phones! This must be why all the tech oligarchs refuse to let their own kids use the digital gadgets they push on the rest of us.

        • I expect the term is more seen now also because of ’emotes’ in online text conversation (games, etc)

        • Looks like a pretty strong correlation with the rise of Feminism. Who’d have thunk?

      • Also observe the explosive overuse and misuse of “literally” among the young to refer to either figurative activities or to real activities that would never have needed “literal” emphasis in the past because the distinction between the figurative and the literal was much clearer.

        I think the prevalence of “literally” among the youngest generations is a sign that as a society we’re gradually losing our ability to do anything but emote, to react emotionally. A figurative reaction is by definition cerebral: you can’t react instinctively and you need to expend some thought on a response. If everything turns “literal” it’s a sign we’ve lost our ability to separate what is stirring our brains from the stirrings of our hearts and guts. It’s like reverting to the Ancient Greek of Homer, where crude physical functions like hunger or pain were not yet linguistically separated from more refined cerebral functions like being able to comprehend spiritual hunger or the aching pain of losing everything you fought for.

        When a Xirl shrieks she was “literally raped” in a college paper, she’s not being dishonest or manipulative. She’s lost the ability to think because for decades she has been Skinner boxed to interpret every interaction as a physical assault, and to react to each such assault with the pure instinctual emotion that humans have evolved to respond to assaults.

        I’ve noticed that all the old figurative literary techniques – analogy, simile, metaphor, allegory, juxtaposition, satire, paradox, symbolism, and so on – are vanishing from leftist writing. Everything is being presented in blunt, direct “literal” emotion. Most remarkable is how even IRONY – that former staple of youthful conversation – is disappearing from leftist communication. It’s impossible for rape to be “ironic” if it’s always literal. The right wing meme armies still use irony as their weapon, but it’s losing its effectiveness since the left is increasingly unable to notice irony – it’s like fighting scary “assault weapons” with slingshots.

        • Replaced the kitchen sink, one Saturday morning some months back, with a big new one, which weighed a few hundred pounds. Had the new one ready to drop into the countertop hole, using the trusty old engine lift, and a sling made with a big board and the straps dropping through the drain holes. The kiddos and their friends were there, playing Dungeons and Dragons. Our kids know how Dad rolls, but their friends were “triggered” and freaked out over the whole operation. Danger and a potential for catastrophe! Well, the two outcomes are either success, or a slip and a broken countertop (as long as no one is under the thing). Not exactly a life-and-death situation here. But the kids were almost physically ill over it, and were so relieved when it was successfully done (they couldn’t watch). One might think there was posturing or some sort of virtue signaling going on, but what I saw were people who were completely incapable of dealing with anything that ran counter to their script for the day. Snowflake is a great term for it. I don’t know that there is a solution for this sort of thing, other than for the school of hard knocks to eventually take its toll.

  13. The Medium is the Message.

    Neil Postmen is a name I and others associate with Marshall McLuhan. Still, people poopoo Mcluhan. I for one don’t dismiss him so quickly. He was by no means an advocate of “the Global Village” brought on by the advent of television that he is made out to be. To the contrary. He was merely making observations. Most his observations were dead on.

    • Marie Antoinette had retreated to her make-believe farm, Petit Trianon, complete with peasant outfits, right before her head got chopped off. Reality intruded.

  14. There’s a bit of how the Plains Indians communicated history in Thomas Berger’s fantastic novel, Little Big Man.

    Other than for that special instruction, the Cheyenne didn’t run a school. They never read nor wrote their language, so what would be the purpose? If you wanted a point of history, you went and asked an old man who kept it in his mind. Numbers got boring when you run out of fingers, so to report the size of an enemy war party you had spotted would go something like this: “The Ute is near the Fasting Place Butte. They are as many as the arrows that Sticks Everything Under His Belt shot at the ghost antelope in the time when the cherries was ripe.” This being a famous story, everybody in Old Lodge Skins’s crowd would know within one or two the number of Ute referred to—and in a moment of emergency, when a person tends to fear the unknown, they could connect it up with something familiar.

    He makes a similar point about numbers (and date/time) in “civilization”.

    That’s the kind of thing you find out when you go back to civilization: what date it is and time of day, how many mile from Fort Leavenworth and how much the sutlers is getting for tobacco there, how many beers Flanagan drunk and how many times Hoffmann did it with a harlot. Numbers, numbers, I had forgot how important they was.

    • I’ll give you a very relevant and recent example of this primitive thing and how much it still exists even today outside the West. Westerners who don’t use their passports are very insulated from the complete dysfunction of other places. If they WENT to those places they would probably not be quite as eager to invite everyone from there to here, thereby, remaking the place locally.

      Costa Rica. I went there and I had heard about how completely unreliable commerce was ahead of time. Packages may eventually get places. Food may eventually arrive at the table when your order, etc. so I was mentally prepared for dysfunction. But when it really hit home was when I was trying to simply navigate to different locales.

      Most addresses, including businesses and even some government buildings have no street numbers.

      Let that sink in. Of course, the further from large cities you get the worse it is, like any country. But even in a city proper or the ‘burbs there are no f-cking street addresses on many many places. Want to rent a car? Drop it off at the building ‘past the big water tower with the monkey sanctuary across the street’. Want to go to that restaurant? It is on the road that ends with the two piers and the 3 palm trees in the middle.

      That kinda sh-t was so common that it is no wonder there is a paralyzing dysfunction of the ability to conduct any normal type of business. Even the roads don’t have names unless it is a highway. And you wonder why these people (not just ‘Ricans) have never built a civilization worth a damn? Because the vast majority of the planet lives like this and furthermore, are perfectly fine with it.

      • What’s worse is the AWFL world traveler who goes to those places and thinks it’s all “so quaint”.

      • The sad thing is I have read that Costa Rica is considered an advanced Latin American country.

  15. None of this is surprising. It’s in our genes. Our ancestors evolved in jungles and on the savannas of central Africa. Seeing an unknown individual, species, or predator either close-by or in the distance elicited an immediate emotional (amygdalan) response of flight or fight. Doing so enhances survival in a world of existential threats. Only within the relative safety of the familial camp or village could language be employed for discretionary purposes.

  16. I saw the effects of this in the classroom back in my teaching days. This was a routine experience. I’d pose a question in the middle of a lecture. “Ok, now how would A respond to B?” Silence. ” Ok, recall what we know about A. ” Silence. “Ok, i know you know this, because we covered it five minutes ago. I watched you copy it down in your notes. Flip back there and read me what you wrote.” They did. “Ok, so how would A respond to B?” Silence. Even staring the information in the face, it didn’t stick.

    • That is what happens when you have compulsory schooling. 90% of students are not smart to benefit from schooling beyond 9th grade and or have no inclination to want to be there.

      • It’s always amusing when a cognitive peasant says something like “We’re most educated generation in history”, like a tenth of even college graduates today have the critical thinking skills to do what the average high school graduate 100 years ago could manage without blinking.

        • I’m just going to engage in little critical thinking and suggest that this 90th percentile categorization for the uneducable you and grey have fastened upon seems based on an emotive response to anecdotal evidence rather than on cold, hard statistical analysis. No question that there are some stupid people and some foolish education policies; but the idea that only 10% of people can benefit from secondary or tertiary educational opportunities simply isn’t credible.

          • You just moved the goalposts. First you say uneducable and then you say ‘ secondary or tertiary educational opportunities’ There is a huge difference between the two. For someone to be uneducable suggests a serious
            mental disability. The 90% figure is not completely arbitrary but based on the data that , until standards were lowered, graduating from high school roughly corresponded with having an IQ of 100. So that alone eliminates half the population. , The other 40% are those who graduate but against their will or those who barely graduate.,

      • Grey, tend to agree. But what I find most problematic is that forcing students beyond what they are capable of, or interested in, causes a decline in the rigor of the curriculum for all. Therefore a lessening of the effect of education.

        I was struck by this with my one experiment with my first born and the public school system. He came home one day (Wednesday), quite proud of his math accomplishment—he had finished his automated weekly “computerized module” and was told to go play computer games for the rest of the period. Thought nothing of it, but then the next day asked what he was learning in his next module. Nothing—as he was allowed to play computer games that period also. Same on Friday.

        More inquiry told the story. It seems that the teacher would spend all her time with the laggards who could not master the weekly lessons on the computer while allowing the brighter students to simply kill time with computer games. There was no need in their mind to advance and promote the brighter students to their advanced level of competency—only to bring up the rear so to speak, which meant in essence that the institution was intentionally stupefying the best and brightest.

        Needless to say, he was moved to a private school the next year where classes were designed for all levels of competence and the reward for a job well done and a lesson learned was to advance further into the course. It really is not that hard to run such a classroom. Hell, that’s really the concept of the Old West one room school house isn’t it?

        • I was actually encouraged to find out at my daughter’s school this year (her second year in a public school), that when the teacher recognized her math ability, rather than just having her idle away her time in the classroom doing garbage, she set her to working ahead independently. But there are other teachers she has who are clearly going through the motions.

        • Hell, that’s really the concept of the Old West one room school house isn’t it?
          That’s one of the things I want to bring back when I have enough families in my Community is the one room schoolhouse…

      • Hogwash. This is what happens when you put your kids in public schools staffed by unionized pooch screwers, vibrants, and wahmen. That’s only 50% of the problem too… the parents are the other 50%.

    • Had the same experience in my one year of teaching in an all-white private school for privileged “smart” kids. Their IQ genes were fine but they were absolute imbeciles because of those damned Chromebooks & smartphones. The high schoolers had the attention span of a kindergartner … they couldn’t work a 5 minute algebra problem so I had to break them down into 1-minute, bite-sized pieces. Part of this is a systemic problem with institutional education … the kids are taught to put factoids in short-term memory and vomit it all up at test-time, but cannot collate data and formulate rational conclusions.

      • Hell, even I have this problem because of the internet and pocket devices. I’ve trained myself (unintentionally) to float from 5 minute topic to 5 minute topic. That’s what I mean when I decry myself becoming mentally lazy. Most noticeable when I must force myself to actually sit and read a technical book or paper. Start, stop, drift, nap, rinse, repeat. Can take an hour to finally get to mentally working as I once did routinely at the University. Sigh. However, I had the 40 years of high level production before stumbling into retirement stupor. Better than most folk and certainly better than our newer generations—exceptions are noted of course.

  17. >The live stream phenomenon is similar. These are often ad hoc, with the streamer starting his stream when the spirit moves. Some are more regimented in their schedule, but they rarely start on time and they go as long as they like. The people tuning in are not looking for facts and reasoned arguments. Instead they want reassurance and confirmation. These streams have communities that exist around the live streamer. It’s virtual information and a virtual community.

    That seems dismissive of livestreams and their audiences. The advantage of a livestream is it allows creators to interact with their audience in real time. It is a convenient way to answer questions and get donations. Livestreams have a spontaneity factor and req. the host to be able to think on his or her feet and answer questions , without deferring to a script or pondering it over. If a common complaint is that politics is scripted, then livestreams are a solution to that,

    • No, they are a amplification of emotive politics. The live stream is a soft version of Orwell’s two minutes of hate. Once it is over, it is entirely forgotten.

  18. Everything in this post seems true enough.But the key point is that we have to accept the reality–and even use it.

    If moment-to-moment emotional manipulation is how to reach the hearts and minds of the kids, then that’s just what we’ll have to do.

    In other words, the meme war must go on. Complaining about and then retreating from the social media won’t help us at all.

    • Depends on what stage of life you’re in I think. We home educated and emphasized books over internet. No phones until kids get a license – all that’s necessary at that point is a $15 Tracfone. I used a smartphone when my job required it … now I share a dumb-phone with my wife. Key issue when parenting is to rear mature young adults that can look men in the eye, speak truth, shoot straight (literally & figuratively), think and problem-solve without Google. But then don’t go all Luddite either – use the internet as you would any tool, but understanding the difference between tool and opiate. I’ve gotten 3 of my 6 kids into adulthood this way and they’re far more productive and employable than their peers addicted to social media. They’re phenomenal computer whizzes, but that’s because they see technology as a tool, not an entertainment widget.

      I disagree that we have to resort to memes. The people whose hearts/minds can be reached with a meme aren’t worth going after in my opinion. Kids are reached via honest relationships, not the phony “virtual” stuff.

        • LM – Great to hear from you. Let’s touch base soon. Planting season here, along w/ fence-repair season, firewood-cutting season … “lockdown” is profitable for homestead productivity!

      • “adults that can look men in the eye, speak truth, shoot straight”

        Classic Persian (Aryan) education for a young man: to ride, to shoot straight, to speak the truth.

  19. While it’s true the Internet contributes to our shallow and overly emotional level of discourse; I’d lay a much larger section of the blame at the feet of the 19th Amendment.

  20. “The digital opiate keeps the sender and receiver in a constant present.”

    But the people controlling the platforms are playing a long game, a very sinister long game.

    • I’m not all that sure hey realize what they are doing. Those who were around in the early days of the internet see the familiar patterns with regards to the moderation. To a great degree, the creators of these platforms are captive to them.

      • I think it’s a bit of both. Some know not what they do, while others seek to control and use their creations for very malign effect.

  21. Glad you’re referencing Postman’s work; although pre-internet his insights are particularly relevant today. Reading this book, along with reading your blog, helps me live in this alien world. When truth is verbalized in our culture there are 3 possible responses, in descending order of likelihood: 1) Blank stare & vacant eyes; “did he just say what I think he said?”, or 2) Radiated Irritation and/or hatred; “how dare he object to my illusion of reality!”, or 3) Eyes light up; an alliance with a fellow truth-seeker is established. When I get to a #3 AND find they’ve read Amusing Ourselves to Death then I know I’ve found a confidante.

  22. I’ve been mulling this over for a while.
    Comparing the complexity and nuance of English to what it became in the hands of West Africans: Pidgin- the most widely spoken tongue in the region- that it beat out all competitors says a lot about what the locals produced natively.

    The BBC has a radio service directed at this audience.

    Meanwhile, in more bad news for the Panic-ists It turns out that the model that started it all is the biggest fuck-up since the Armada.

    • The biggest fuckup since 800 AD when Hrolfgar the Saxon confused a flock of geese with a Viking invasion of Mercia…

    • Interesting, Africans seem to be the best at acquiring new languages. You see this in Europe. Africans will quickly learn difficult languages like Finnish, but remain semi-literate and innumerate.

      • Speaking of blacks and languages, I’ve always been fascinated by the general lack of accents among blacks – except, perhaps, some rural blacks in the South. But, in general, blacks across the country sound pretty similar, whereas whites almost immediately started having different regional accents as they spread and settled the country.

        • I’ve always noticed the lack of accents among blacks as well, except as you mention, rural southern blacks. From watching the “The Last Dance” (I know, sportsball…) you can detect a slight difference in the way Scottie Pippen (rural Arkansas) speaks compared to most other blacks. I notice today that whites’ accents from all over the country aren’t nearly as strong as a couple of generations ago. They’re becoming more standardized. It’s easy to point to mass communication, except television and radio has been around for quite a while. This is something fairly new I’ve started to notice.

          • In 1977 I walked across Delaware which is almost a northern state and the accent was very thick southern. 3 years ago I was in Arkansas which is considered deep south and they talked with hardly any accent.

          • Delaware is a state nobody talks much about.

            1990: 80.3% white, 16.9% black
            2010: 65.3% white, 21% black

            Birth data in 2018: 48.7% white, 26.1% black, 16.1% Latino, 6% Asian.

            Seems like the great replacement is happening very rapidly there. Why?

          • Tourism workers? Delaware beach used to be small. In the last 20 years it’s started catching up to OC.

          • Interesting place. It was a slave state that stayed in the Union. Didn’t ratify the 13th amendment until 1901. You’d think it would have more of a northern flavor being so close to Philly, but it’s its own thing. Lots of farms, right up to the ocean. The whole DelMarVa peninsula is like that.

        • My best guess: it’s because most blacks came from the south a century ago, and they’re pretty tribal. Blacks vs. the world etc.

        • That’s odd. For me, it’s the opposite. I almost never hear blacks without an accent. It’s all the same accent though. So much so that it’s memed. Gonna call my bish on the sail foam. lemme axe you a kweshon..

          • Tarstarkas,

            That’s my point. They have an accent different from whites, but it’s the same accent around the country. There’s no regional black accents.

          • Correct. Black people everywhere in the States use a watered down variant of a generic Southern accent.

          • I lived in Boston five years and their are two or three accents in New Yawk City that are as ridiculous but none as ugly. Still, I never ever heard a New England Aferican speak in it.

          • They may not speak with any discernable accent; but whatever they’re saying isn’t English. Ebonics was just a fancy way for prescriptive linguists to mock the poor grammar and mispronunciation of blacks. But just as rap transmogrified popular music, the descriptive linguists won the battle and elevated bix nood to American Black Vernacular English. The only proper resolution is Apartheid Now!

          • Apartheid is untenable. We need full political separation. If America is to survive as a nation, it needs to break up and it needs to kick them out into their nation.
            Like we are no longer any European ethnicity and cannot be expected to go “home” because there is no home for us outside of North America, American blacks have nowhere to return either. So we should give them a few Southern States and be done with it. Just abandon whatever portion we give them and put guards on the new borders.

            As long as we try to remain in the same political union, the tension will never go away until we either separate or continue the status quo indefinitely.

        • very localized near Charleston, SC, but there is the Gullah…dialect, more than an accent.

          • There was a children’s TV show in the 90’s about Gullah. Really odd show; had a six foot tall frog.

      • I can’t find the two hour video now, it’s been referred to here once or twice, two Chinese road builders in Africa with their African translator. He speaks Chinese, French, and several African languages. The African is always with them, and is also helpful in making them understand the peculiar local business practices. The Chinese are well aware how unintelligent Africans are but they admire them for their ability to survive in that environment. Still, it takes them, and us, more time to understand that this gifted translator is also unable to hold an abstract thought. This great divergence in abilities seems very contradictory but apparently it isn’t. Hopefully, this explains why I flunked French.

        • I saw that. A very interesting documentary. In one scene a bunch of blacks sitting around their campsite were discussing how they were thought of as apes by non-Africans. Why would anyone think that?

        • Yep, Empire of Dust.
          Funny thing is that the African guy has a better (“classier”) accent in Mandarin than the Chinese guy.

          I didn’t get that the Chinese have any admiration for Africans from that film. Or in any other situation either. Chinese are the second most ethnocentric people in the world and consider every other group inferior in one way or another. In the case of blacks, Chinese consider them inferior in just about every way. Say what you like about the Chinese, at least they worship not at the twin altars of Negrolatry and Holocaustianity.

      • Interesting! Which goes to show that intelligence is extremely compartmentalized.

      • “Africans seem to be the best at acquiring new languages.”

        I’ve heard/read this multiple places. Spitballin’ here, but I wonder if that ability has anything to do with impulse control (or lack thereof). Perhaps the Bantu brain has greater plasticity (of the sort wherein children are able to pick up languages with an ease that adults have lost).

    • Ebonics was the rage when I was a grad student. I attended more than one lecture where the speaker talked of the intricacies of the”language” and how it was every bit as good/complex as “standard” English and should be fostered/understood in the schools, not suppressed. Hell, I was expecting that soon we’d have classes in Ebonics as we had in German, or Spanish, or in those days, even Latin and Ancient Greek.

      • Looking back, it’s surprising that the ebonics movement was suppressed. I wonder why our elites chose not to push ebonics harder such that “we’d have classes in Ebonics as we had in German, or Spanish.”

        You’d think our elites would have delighted in forcing young white children to labor over the proper pronunciation of “Yo yo you be illin’.”

      • I have no problem with Ebonics per se. Lots of subcultures have their own argot- the problem I have is expecting the rest of society to adapt. Swiss German is spoken in most homes- standard High German is the language of instruction and public business.

    • The most interesting nuance of francophone west African language (pidgin French) is that they use no other tense but the present. There is nothing in the past that informs, nothing in the future to plan for – a perfect analogy to the processes that govern the typical West African’s Brain.

    • bilejones – Doesn’t matter. They’ll just double down. This morning, I was one of perhaps 5-10% without a mask. And I was the only one who ran to help a young White mother (also maskless!!) put her baby’s stroller in the back of her car – all the other ‘men’ were too busy hiding their masked faces in their phones.

  23. Good food for thought on a Monday morning. There is a wonderful scene in Bruce Beresford’s wonderful movie ( did I mention that the movie was wonderful?) Black Robe in which the Jesuit demonstrates writing to the Algonquin chief. Since it is the transmission of knowledge without the spoken word, the Indians immediately assume that the priest Is some kind of wizard and resolve to kill him.
    Books aren’t dead, but are on life support- the vast majority of the kids I teach watch stuff- abetted by special ed departments who cook up phrases like “he’s a visual learner”
    And, re the comment above, Anthony Daniels has been writing about the drift upward of lower class sensibilities for some time. The lower orders used to ape their betters, now, in Costanza-like fashion, it’s the opposite.
    One of my duties at school is to stand in the front foyer as the kids (the vast majority white and middle class) come in in the morning (at least it WAS one of my duties) I like it, I get to talk to kids, check to make sure my lax players are wearing ties on game day, etc. The thought occurred, though, if a high school teacher from 50-60 years ago were to stand with me, his question would be “ when did it become acceptable for girls to dress like hookers, and for boys to dress like bums? And don’t get me started on the ripped jeans deal!

    • Girls as hookers and boys as bums dress codes are a product of the parents and court system, with a dollop of liberalism thrown in. I remember all too well the many battles over the generations to overturn dress codes on the grounds of discrimination on the poor and latent “racism”. Private parochial schools have held their ground little better it seems to me.

      • It’s impossible for divorced parents to parent properly. If Becky’s dad says she can’t wear ripped jeans, he’s a big mean mean and her mom will gain her favour. It’s basically a constant fight between divorced parents to keep the approval of their kids. In effect this means you can’t discipline them.

        That Canadian guy from Alberta who posts here knows all about it.

      • Compsci – Uniforms serve a purpose. As far as holding their ground, it varies. Once the kids reach the middle-school years you start seeing the girls (always the girls) pushing the boundaries. Rolling up their skirts to shorten them, adding all sorts of ornaments to regimented book bags, etc. The Christian schools who let this slide reap what they sow. This need to decorate and personalize everything is such a modern female fetish. While I enjoy a certain amount of jewelry on my person, my black car has no stickers or decals, and my phone has no ‘bling.’

        • 3g4m. Very true. As might be construed, I am a parochial school brat. From 1st grade on, the uniform was dress shoes, navy blue pants and tie, white shirt. Navy blue jacket in winter or for church events. Worked for me. Yeah, we looked a bit funny, but there never, ever was any problem with one student feeling ashamed or left out of the “club”. No BS over $200 Nike’s and other ghetto crap.

          When I left the city to move out West, the uniform changed, dress shoes, dress pants, dress shirt. No tie, no jacket. Hell, it was 100 degrees out. Even the nuns wore white habits. Again, we had our discipline problems, but they never involved clothing.

    • Good for you for educating the next generation. I sometimes hear from teachers that the young white boys are instinctively drawn to dissident right memes because they subvert the anti-white, anti-male culture of school. Do you see evidence of this?

      • That maybe true, but expressing dissident memes is presumed to be an offense and the discipline for acting out In such a way is administered by women and soyboys The culture of the typical public school is feminine, and getting more so.
        I’m a Catholic school kid- unis for grade school, army uniforms for high school . It’s a good system. I’ve also become convinced that single sex education is the way to go- more for the boys. than for the girls.

        The point about divorced parents is spot on- when I’m having trouble with a kid i always check for DDD- “dad deficit disorder”

    • The one year my younger son attended public school, I was appalled at how difficult it was to merely navigate the hallway – groups of teachers and parents standing in the middle, kids running in all directions, etc. While perhaps the regimented way we lined up when I was a kid is unnecessary, it still used to be assumed that one stayed to the right. Even in church, I would be trying to go upstairs on the right and others would be going up on my left, and those from upstairs coming down right into me. Absolute chaos.

    • I often ponder the fate of the written word in almost any form. Reading an actual, physical book is becoming a lost art, and the vocabulary level drops every year. Books now considered classics and taught to college kids were, when written, considered common and serialized in cheap installments for the lower class readers who consumed them. While Christian (and presumably non-religious private) schools still teach cursive, public schools do not. Inherit a bunch of your grandparents’ letters? Nah, can’t read them – not interested. The history and Latin and sociology I pick up doing genealogy wouldn’t be possible if I couldn’t decipher the 1810 Italian cursive handwriting. When even email is considered too antiquated, you end up with the purely immediate and visual, as Zman has laid out, and we are now not even the equivalent of the Africans who memorized and retold their tribal tales around their fires at night.

  24. RE: “the “movie” lacks the normal content of a movie, but instead stimulates the viewer into certain emotional states. The responses created in the viewer, combine with images, reinforce the social order. It is a form of propaganda that circumvents the rational mind and appeals to the emotions’.

    ‘…people tuning in are not looking for facts and reasoned arguments. Instead they want reassurance and confirmation’….

    That’s an apt description of the latest joggers narrative. But then, it’s all much like ketchup – it can be slathered on everything.

  25. There was a time when if someone wanted to know something they had to travel to a library. Look in an index card file, write down a number, then look for the book on a shelf. That was only the beginning. Then they had to read the book, to hopefully find what they were looking for. That process helped to develop critical learning and the ability to reason. Now whenever someone wants an answer, they whip out the smart phone and look up the answer. They have the answer but, haven’t learned anything. Quite often the smarter the phone the dumber the person. Instant access will only continue to make people shallower, and easier to fool. Just look at the response to the bug.

      • The Snopes people and others are clever in their propaganda. They usually don’t state outright falsehoods about their enemies, but rather give the most asinine, bad-faith interpretation of a person’s view or statement, or debunk the most outrageous version of a popular meme, while ignoring the core content of what is being said. They also avoid debunking the most powerful memes that are practically unspinnable, like 13/50, and let the smear merchants just shout it down.

        Of course, for their allies, they do the opposite.

    • On some level, most people realize how shallow their knowledge is really is. This has led to the “Cult of the Expert”, or the logical fallacy of “Appeal from Authority”.

      They’re experts! How do we know? They said so! And they know something, apparently, while we can’t be bothered to read more than a couple of sentences.

      It’s how we get moron leaders following insanely bad models from adulterers from “The Imperial College”.

      (mmm…IMPERIAL! Sounds legit)

      • The only corrective to this phenomenon is to cultivate a first-class BS-detector. A good general baseline of broad knowledge, high levels of self confidence, and powerful intuition cut through “expert” BS like a blowlamp through sour cream.

      • The last couple years I have awoken to this speeding up of the brain and taking life in soundbites. Am consciously fighting it by restructuring my life. The computer is off no later than 8:30 at night, often earlier. Some nights we watch Tucker, some nights we don’t knowing I’ll throw a show through the TV. In the morning I read Z and a few others, then done and on with the day. I’m walking >4X’s a week up the canyon. Great beauty. My current project is arranging to buy at the end of summer a half beef for freezer since the meat supply chain is disrupted, so talking to different gal friends with cattle. Basic Husband and I both read a lot. Particularly history. We seek quiet time daily. I pay attention to what birds are singing throughout the day. We started a new pattern. Basic Husband is reading out loud to me Earth Abides by George Stewart (1948). His good voice puts me to sleep. We at least once a week play a game of Rummykube (he’s catching up but I still beat the pants off him) with light jazz background music. The cats love the vibe and join us, draped over us. Basic Husband and I are now space aliens to youngers, pulling away into the mists of Avalon drifting from Glastonbury.

        • Hi Range! Might I recommend a “fair animal”, raised and shown at the state fair or expo? They are usually auctioned there, and you could go in halves with a neighbor or friend. As a former butcher, I can tell you that the quality and texture of a fair animal is consistently like nothing you get from commercial sources. Perhaps your gal friends are entirely or somewhat hand raising their cattle. In any case, the difference from commercially raised cattle is a big one

    • Is there anything more wonderful than wandering around a quality, pre-internet era, physical library? Floors, aisles, rows… “stacks” of physical books on physical shelves. Most good universities have them, but they’ve been closed during the Great Shutdown.

      I think I learned and discovered more things while cutting class and lurking around libraries than in any classes. Books hundreds of years old just sitting there on a shelf, and we can pull them out and see the frontispiece, page through the contents — with gentle handling, of course.

  26. I think the net has also exacerbated what Paul Fussell called “Prole Drift,” the habits of the lower class filtering to the upper class. I see article titles from mainstream publications that sound like hip-hop “diss” records. They’re crap media, but even AOL or Yahoo News should not have a piece titled, “Trump claps back at Obama,” like they’re trading shots in a housing project. Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman had an article titled, “Hating on Bernanke.” The use of black underclass culture, the deliberate filtering of it through every stratum of media, is toxic to anglosphere people. From the time of Dickens to the early 50s it seemed like even the most degenerate outsider understood that social cues were to be set by the upper class and they should be emulated.

    • The class difference is eclipsed by the racial difference. A hundred years ago+ all classes shared a common heritage (cultural and genetic), a common aesthetic predisposition and a system that allowed for a high degree of upward and downward mobility(dependent upon talents, motivation and luck). Households often had people of all classes living in the same space or neighborhood. The intelligence and cultural affinities between them was fairly narrow. The maid could have a deeper sensitivity to beauty and a higher intelligence than her employer the bank executive. The evening playhouse putting on Shakes, O’Neill, Shaw, Sophocles or Steele MacKaye would have been attended by both, she in the gallery he in the boxes, and appreciated by both. The subject matter was infused by the culture as a whole and its interaction over long long periods.

      Your point about the aristocracy being the setter of standards is spot on. A real natural aristocracy did just that. It was part of its social role one they had evolved into. We now have jumped up white trash and foreign squaters and parasites making those decisions. A lot of the toxic garbage comes from not only the darkies but from those sitting in the boxes.

    • I wonder if it is lower class values seeping up or simply a decline if elite aspirations. One quality of liberal democracy is to reduce everything to the must base and grubby elements possible. This systematic lowering of aspirations brings high culture closer to low culture to the point where the lines blur.

      Think about it. In the 19th century, someone as rich as Jeff Bezos would be endowing universities, museums and theaters for the arts. Go back further and he would have built a cathedral. Today he buys a gaudy mansion somewhere and hires a trainer to make him look super fit.

      • Wonderful insight…and so true. I’ve seen this myself. The wealthy walk around thinking they’re Celeborn and Galadriel, when in fact they look like older preppies with tattoos and dementia.

      • On that note google the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas. Lawyer strikes it rich suing Johnson & Johnson, and in a marvelous non-stereotypical move, uses his new found fortune to create a gorgeous complex open to the public featuring a full size replica Byzantine chapel, an extensive library based on Oxbridge libraries, and exhibits including fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls and one of the best CS Lewis collections in North America.

      • Upper middle class whites are FUCKED for the future. Most of them are “travelling”, and bumming around. They live off of their parents’ money and achievements. They’re studying meme degrees. When they decide they want a job they’ll find all the decent paying jobs are now in the hands of non-whites, either 2nd/3rd gen immigrants or visa imports.

        They seem destined to live off their inheritance until it runs out. The era of the white UMC is quickly running out. Middle class and lower whites are fully Negro-ized.

        • Mummy and daddy booted me out at 17 during their contentious divorce. I earned scholarships and worked my way through 11 years of higher ed, living very poorly. Engineering and CS grad then LLM in IP tucked into a 3-year JD with all the fluff honors. I am a multimillionaire patent litigator. I have never met a foreigner or minority who can perform at my level. Not once. I know one perhaps two women who are as good or better and that’s it. No small hats remaining (they used to dominate). My competition are white nominal Christian alpha males.

          • Family must stick together and wealth must be preserved within the family, from generation to generation. That is the only long term viable way. It worked like that for thousands of years. I’ll never understand the American habit to kick kids out of the house when they reach 18, nor will I understand giving the kids a trust fund without requiring any responsibilities.

          • I know a guy with two Maseratis, a 145 IQ, who discards super models like fast food wrappers, and has more money than God. My point being…

            So like you, he is the exception not the rule. For every one like you that worked your ass off another hundred white boys could not even get -into- the school, grades be damned because ‘muh diversity ratios’. Nor could he get the scholarship for the same reason. Nor could they become a top tier attorney because EEOC and sheeit.

            Even for those with the drive and motivation the deck is heavily stacked against them, particularly these days. You haven’t been swimming in the waters of the climb for at least 2 decades based on your ‘resume’ you posted above. It is much worse these days.

            We all understand that no mud person or wahmen are going to perform at the top tier, the entire point is that we are being Harrison Bergeron’d down to their level and as they climb farther towards the top tier they will make very certain that nobody who can -actually- perform gets a seat at the table to make them look bad.

      • A Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega Y Gasset predicted that in the future, in the age of democracy the culture will degenerate to the lower level. He wrote about 100 years ago. The book is titled Rebellion of the Masses.
        But before written works there were epic stories told by storytellers. Mahabharata –an Indian epic takes many hours to tell. There is one in I think Kirgistan that takes a week.Some illiterate people have great memory. Iliad and Odyssey were told by story tellers before Homer wrote them down.


      • equality = modernist appeal to the massive and mechanic approach to equalize everything, and thus leads to chasing lowest common denominator, as materialism approaches its natural limitations and Babel gathers enough reactant to explode… again.
        not for the first time, may (it) be the last time? to quote Jagger, idk…

        this all goes back to Bastille Day, and perhaps further back to Reformation, nominalism, and pretty much the sum of all heresies.

        in short, disorder. why else would we be addicted to these opiates, whether information medium or otherwise? granted, i rather not go too far the other way and worship the written word alone. that leads somewhat more into neurosis and ensuing degenerate reactions that swing things too much around (commies, Jews, libertarians/libertines, Prots, scienticists).

        you could even add the linguistic vector: on the one hand Mongoloids and Semites, with their neurotic hard to grasp complex written and spoken languages, usually having to be spread through breeding and force; on the other Africans and Amerindians with languages even harder to grasp, to the point that they are more rudimentary and fractured among more (genetically) disorganized peoples, and thus usually not achieving writing before a Westerner could codify it.

        in fact, Latin must be divine (and Greek, though maybe lesser due to extra complexity – thus the Orthodox abound in too complex mysticism), because its relatively balanced approach means the societies generated from it and/or codified in its written alphabet seem more attached to universal reality and Godliness and goodwill. for example loving one’s own national language and race, while allowing others theirs; or at least feel respectfully intrigued enough to codify and examine them foreigns and their things, as the priests codified native languages and conquistadors adopted hammocks, for example. granted, that tendency can be perverted too, as anything if (((they try)))…

    • The upper class also tried to be worth looking up to, even if it was only a public face for some of them.

    • A depressing truth is that assimilation into America is working fine. Hispanics act more and more American every year and generation they are here. The rates of church attendance, use of abortion clinics, english use and racial consciousness are all wildly out of sync with their homelands.

      It’s just that they are assimilating to Blacks.

      • Is that objectively true? I don’t really know. Pretty certain that 3rd generation Mexican imports aren’t doing so great on the college tracks.

      • This is why our elites don’t fear Muslim immigration beyond some momentary cultural indigestion. They are betting that in a few generations, the progeny of devout Muslims will be looking for hookups on Tinder and taking ecstasy at raves.

        • Yet it appears that in the more heavily Muslim areas of Europe, it’s the second and third generations that have proven fertile ground for fundamentalist rejection of Western values. I wouldn’t wager that future generations of Muslims will wind up surrendering to our culture.

          • I was reading up on this phenomenon and a story always stayed with me. A first generation invader couple took their son to a beach and showed him all the women walking around in bikinis. How would he give all that up to become a fundamentalist, they asked. He would eventually die in Syria as part of ISIS.

            But I totally get it. Those women in bikinis aren’t for him. He could (barely) look but not touch and even if he could, they were hardly marriage material. So he retreated to his culture and like any convert became the most extreme, purest example of it.

            Whites who larp as Vikings are the same thing. Blacks who reject the “colonizers christianity” are doing the same. Fuentes and the Trad-Caths are part of this too. All across the west, all races are trying to find something pure. Its primarily a young male thing as they take the brunt of the feminist society.

            I sympathize with third generation invaders living in European suburbs. But I also recognize that they are to be put down.

          • It depends on the area. In Canada, the general sense is that they are slowly “assimilating” and getting pozzed. The young Muslims now have “boyfriends/girlfriends”, probably having sex, but then get married insteaed of sleeping around. In 20 years they’ll probably be degenerates.

            In Europe, no doubt, one can see the hatred coming out of their souls. It would be most laughable to see the plan of pozzing the Muslims fail.

            There is also source selection; more Muslims into USA/Canada are “economic immigrants” and families, whereas the European refugees are really the bottom of the barrel.

            Muslimahs really are beautiful so personally I’d be happy if they got a little “pozzed” lol… but in all seriousness I hope they never assimilate, firstly so they don’t pollute our genes and secondly because liberal democracy is a road to death, decay, and misery.

          • Modernity is a weapon we should learn to use. In the demographic age, a female POC scholarship is a powerful weapon. The goal is to poz the POCs, while whites embrace conservative, demographically positive lifestyles. Agree and amplify is the tactic.

            Abortion should be supported, in low income areas, subsidized for vulnerable POCs even. White women should have to pay more for abortions to subsidize their oppressed sisters.

            Every POC career woman is one less POC baby. To destroy a people, put their women to work and their fathers out of the way. It was done to whites, we should do it to them and horde the secret to ourselves.

            The only limiting factor is the damage that putting enemies in power will do to us.

          • *The goal is to poz the POCs,*

            And this is working. More black babies are aborted than born in NYC every year. Fertility rates for all races are now below replacement; whites are higher than Asians and not much lower than blacks. Hispanics are dropping the fastest.

            *while whites embrace conservative, demographically positive lifestyles.*

            Unfortunately white men are also getting badly pozzed. They’re told that in order to get laid they need to emulate negroes. White men fail to maintain relationships and instead go for the pump and dump. White men are a bigger problem than white women, tbh. White men are also victims to affirmative action which makes it hard to have a good career.

            *It was done to whites, we should do it to them and horde the secret to ourselves.*

            Overall, solid strategy. But we need a way to reach white men. We need white men to want families.

            Women and men are different, BTW. Women are co-operative. Women of all races like the current arrangement, where they have total independance, and Chad’s dick on speed dial. An Indian, Latina, and White woman will all happily share Chad’s cock.

            The arrangement is horrible for the average (beta) man (of every race), and the more tribal and adversarial men start to hate each other. Hence radicalization. Men do not like to see their women sleeping around with Chad, particularly if he’s of another race.

            The biggest challenge is reaching white men. If we can make white men great again, your strategy will totally work. Right now white men are overdosing, playing videogames, acting like Negroes, or pumping and dumping hoes. Or being BetaBuxx in failing marriages. Let’s fix that first.

      • I noticed this phenomenon a number or years ago. We used to go down to Mexico a lot back in the ‘90’s. I always thought the locals were friendlier and more polite than their Americanized cousins. As you mentioned, a couple of generations of exposure to our degrading culture was enough to do the trick, although compared to the average jogger, they’re another flight up.

        • With few exceptions, every émigré community in America becomes a tacky, vulgar parody of their old-world cousins within two generations, retaining the bad traits of their blood while jettisoning everything that was formerly required of them to maintain civilization.
          A guest mentality takes hold not dissimilar to the mild-mannered euro who turns into a wild degenerate on his tour of South East Asia.
          That and rootlessness makes them more susceptible to pozzing from the relentless entreaties of lowest denominator consumer culture.

      • Very much true that Hispanics in America emulate black culture. The Puerto Ricans near me are almost indistinguishable from blacks in most ways.

        • Genetically, Porter Reekins are much more African than the mestizos from the rest of Latin America. No wonder they behave like Hutus.

      • I can’t believe how rapidly the Negro-ization of young white guys has occured. In the past 3 years or so it’s become near ubiquitous for high school and college white kids. Wasn’t like that 7 years ago when I graduated.

        Their dialect changes around blacks and they switch to half assed ebonics.

        It’s embarrassing for our race. It’s part the fault of the white older generation. Our young whites have no masculine role models. It’s hard to blame young whites because our own culture is full of sissy homos and weak fathers. If they had strong role models theyd snap out of it.

        • Young men have a tendency to do what they perceive young females like to impress them. Unfortunately too many young females are allured to Black masculinity and culture. Women are the gate keepers in these relationships. They must control their urges for degenerates and white boys will shape up PDQ. But you’re right, a strong male role model is a good thing, however for the women perhaps more than the men it seems.

      • Tom Wolfe wrote about this in Mau Mauing the Flak Catchers all the way back in the 60s. He noted that in order to pressure white bureaucrats for government money, Chicano activists in San Francisco started imitating black speech patterns and mannerisms. The really depressing part is that the Chinese, Samoans and Filipinos were all doing the exact same thing.

        • It’s the magic negro effect. It just works on most white people for some reason. Doesn’t work on me.

          The negro knows this. So he also has his “smart black man with glasses” voice he pulls out when the white is unimpressed with his magic ebonics act.

          These 2 tricks fool about 98% of whites, even the supposed racists. When they hear the smart voice they think “oh, he’s one of the good ones”.

          • True, but in Wolfe’s case the various ethnic groups were acting like angry hoodrats in order to scare white people into giving them money. Picture a Mexican activist in a poncho and a red beret yelling in Ebonics with about 20 others behind him and you get the picture. It’s easy to see how the ghetto culture spread into immigrant communities and even among white people who were the beneficiaries of these Great Society programs.

          • A Hutu is a Hutu is a Hutu. A rattlesnake that sloughs its skin is still a rattler.

    • This is bound to happen in a society that puts these people on a pedestal. Just as the phenomenon of white people pretending they are black, we get the people who try and make themselves culturally black. It has even seeped into the dissident right with terms like THOT and Simp. Those who cannot be named, “teen” or “jogger” can be emulated, apparently.

    • The beauty of the internet, much like the printing press before it, is that it allows mass information to filter down to the people not bequeathed birthright status–and in many forms. This is a good thing. In this vein the elites can not become a slave to convention lest they get left behind by nimbler, more capable people who have had the field leveled a little. This is what helps underpin a democracy surrounding individual rights.

      But I do agree that there is little reason for institutions to degrade themselves by chucking all well-established societal conventions. Being open to better modes of operation is important to be effective. Whoring yourself out to the crassest base of society to score quick points is a never-ending endeavor towards irrelevancy. And as you point out, the societal implications are not favorable.

    • Working in San Francisco, it was usually the case that the wealthiest person in the room was the most casually dressed, following Zuckerberg’s hoodie. The most dramatic example was when my company was acquired by a bigger company. The owner of the bigger company showed up at our office for a meeting and I thought he was a bike messenger. He was wearing sandals and shorts while the rest of us were wearing button up shirts and khakis.

    • Its actually by design the upper classes poisoning the lower with Decadence and filth, idiocy. Their own degeneracy as deluge of filth.

      Actually the commons are far more civilized now – the elites are both effete and barbaric.

      People who only see degenerate “proles” should consider moving to Red areas, white areas.

      “Prole” – snort. You mean Negro, say Negro.

    • The ‘upper class’ or ‘aristocracy’ you speak of, is what created this nightmare of mainstreamed primitive cultures…and you want to blame it on ‘white trash’! They simply follow along in whatever direction the powers-that-be steer them-just like they always have…They have zero power and influence-that’s all on the ‘aristocracy’.

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