Holy fucking shit! I take a holiday break from blogging and all hell breaks loose.
However, the Instagram insurrection can hardly be a surprise to those of us paying attention.
With apologies to Gil Scott-Heron, the revolution will be Instagramed.
What seems to be clear in the aftermath is that contrary to the aphorism that history occurs “first as tragedy, then as farce,” in America we’re going to have the farce first.
Speaking of farce. It can hardly be surprising that the corporate media immediately rushed to blame the Russians, while Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, each complained that the events were a “gift to Putin”.
In the next couple of weeks I’ll have a whole lot more on the protests and attempt to put them into context using the categories of my blog. These will include critical articles on neoliberalism, neoconservatism, our feral elite, and propaganda, because not only are these subjects that interest me but are key to making sense of our increasingly chaotic world.
With each of these topics I can simply watch raw data and ignore all the ways in which the corporate media shapes these stories. Nearly everything that makes up a breathless headline is either propaganda or distracting bull-shit, like summer of the shark in the run up to 9/11, and either way you can safely ignore it. Just watch where the money is going, where the resources are going, where all the weapons are going and what the feral elite are doing, and ignore all the corporate media narrative.
What you’ll find here may be cynical and even depressing at times. For instance: I despise both political parties and don’t expect an improvement from Trump to Biden; I loath identity politics with a passion; and I’m firmly convinced that our feral elite are plotting to get rid of us.
I’ve mentioned this before, but the biggest obstacle to any reform is the refusal of activists to understand the shuck and jive perpetuated on them by both political party’s elite, and the way in which they’re enlisted in tribal rituals against the other team. Unless we develop and disseminate an accurate understanding of exactly how and why things are so badly fucked-up right now we’ll never be able to fix any of it.
2020 brought us sustained lock-downs and with it the demise of small businesses. It also brought massive state-mandated pandemic support flowing primarily to corporate elites contrary to the oft repeated shrieking about austerity. This outpouring of federal largess has left our oligarchs, together with their Silicon Valley and Wall Street allies, further entrenched, with literally unassailable economic and political power.
Meanwhile, you get a check for $600.
Indeed, the pandemic has forcefully illuminated that we have two economies–one for our feral elite and another for the rest of us–and they are diverging fast. They do different jobs, in different industries, in different places, for much different pay. Moreover, this imbalance has consequences as Americans are moving from being financially squeezed, to going hungry. Historically, the US has spent 40 to 50 years dealing with economic decline for a plurality to a majority of the population, especially the young. Add it up and you have a classic recipe for bad times. This generalized precarity brought on by decades of neoliberalism have only been intensified by the pandemic.
In the process of this decline many Americans have come to distrust the corporate media and are searching for the reasons for all of it. Unfortunately our feral elite, who are busy destroying our country, have power, wealth, and hundred year experience in crafting propaganda. Since Trump’s surprise election we’ve been bombarded by breathless accounts of “fake news” polluting our body politic but if we’re honest the biggest purveyors have been corporate media accounts like the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, etc.
As America enters the terminal stage of empire this “fake news” we’re subjected to will only become more pronounced. The challenge going forward will be between those of us who desire the truth and those who desire confusion.
Here’s to a happy new year.
Be safe out there.
Update: Like I always say, you can’t make this shit up.
Rioters livestreamed their crimes, took selfies to commemorate the occasion, and chatted about their experiences later on social media services…. ‘I don’t think there are enough words in English to describe the way emotion works in a mob like that,’ she said. ‘It’s like an electrical current. It’s joy, but it’s menacing. And there’s also this forward momentum that’s just unstoppable.’ ‘Because this was an older crowd,’ she [Reeve, I am guessing, is mid-30s] added, ‘it was even all the more jarring. I mean, I think even on a basic level, you know, like what you learn as a kid, like respect your elders, it is shocking to see people who could be your parents scrambling over walls, acting crazy, acting immorally.’ And it seemed like almost everyone was recording almost everything. ‘Everyone is making media at all times,’ she said. ‘It’s crazy. It’s like ‘Were you there if you didn’t livestream it?’ And they’re all hoping for that viral moment that will give them more clout on social media.’”