usa

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Red hats (white hoods).

I’m saying that everyone who proudly wears the red hat identifies with an ideology of white supremacy and misogyny. Everyone who proudly wears those hats gives a tacit endorsement for the hatred and the violence we’ve seen these past few years.

When the Unite the Right chanted “Jews will not replace us,” the Red Hats were there.

When young children were being torn from their families at the border and forced to represent themselves in immigration court, the Red Hats were there.

When Muslims were banned from coming to live in this country, the Red Hats were there.

When there was a white lives matter rally, the Red Hats were there.

When black protestors were assaulted at a Trump rally, the Red Hats were there.

When the Proud Boys teamed up with Neo Nazis, the Red Hats were there.

When a terrorist mailed pipe bombs to prominent political leaders and activists, many of whom were Jewish, the Red Hats were there.

And when a boys school sent a group of students to protest against a women’s right to bodily autonomy, the Red Hats were there.

This isn’t like wearing the hat of a sports team you love. These hats symbolize hate. They signal to others an embrace of policies of discrimination, oppression and exclusion.

Alyssa Milano on identification.

2019-01-25T08:16:45+10:0025th January, 2019|Tags: culture, politics, usa|

“Normal Republicans”.

The problem with democracy is that its existence relies on everyone within it agreeing that it should continue.

For the record, democracies rarely end violently. Mostly they end with polities voting in nativist fascists who use the powers of the institutions they’re elected to to dismantle the very electorate itself. Usually while the opposition hand-wrings about let’s-just-be-civil-now. So just… yanno. About that…

2019-01-12T14:36:30+10:0012th January, 2019|Tags: politics, usa|

Another airport altogether.

A friend of mine said to me, “The modern airport is the perfect metaphor for the class warfare to come.” And I asked, “How do you see it that way?” He said, “The rich in first and business class are seated first so that the poor may be paraded past them into economy to note their privilege.” I said, “I think the metaphor is better than you give it credit for, because those people in first and business are actually the fake rich. The real rich are in another terminal or in another airport altogether.”

Eric Weinstein on metaphors.

I have this theory that commercial air travel in the US is so freakin’ terrible because most of the actually affluent people there fly chartered. So even the “premium” offerings for US airlines are ratshit hellholes, which I know because I am, full disclosure, one of the “fake rich” and have travelled around the world in first and business.1

Also, did you know you don’t have to deal with the TSA if you fly chartered? Yeah. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about American air travel.

Incidentally, this is a quote from an interview with Eric Weinstein, a.k.a. the managing director of Peter Thiel’s investment firm. Yeah, that Peter Thiel. It’s actually… a pretty fucking depressing interview, in that humans-of-late-capitalism, please-save-us-billionaire-overlords kind of way. Which, yanno. Is how Weinstein sleeps at night, I guess.

  1. Shout-out in particular to: The Wing, Cathay Pacific’s first-class offering in Hong Kong; the massage spas at the Sydney and Melbourne Qantas first lounges; and those amazing fish cakes I had for breakfast in the first class airport in Dubai.
2019-01-02T07:43:55+10:002nd January, 2019|Tags: culture, politics, usa|

White terror.

The anxiety of the “alt-right” over LARPing has a precedent and parallel in the wider right-wing obsession with “stolen valor,” which is ostensibly motivated by a concern with appropriately honoring the agents of the police state (any distinction between the military and law enforcement having become marginal to the point of irrelevance) but which is equally motivated by the need to guard who has access to political violence. Right-wing militias like the Oath Keepers, open only to veterans of military service or former law enforcement officers, strive to attain that access by aligning themselves with the state, positioning themselves as guardians of law and order while pursuing extralegal political violence: working alongside local police departments to suppress left-wing dissidents at demonstrations, as private security for GOP officials, or in conjunction with Customs and Border Protection officials, themselves agents of gratuitous cruelty, to detain migrants and refugees crossing the border with Mexico.

When militia members, Proud Boys, or crypto-fascists self-deputize, however, they reveal something deeper about the nature of political violence: After decades of neoliberal austerity, the state, having privatized everything else, now puts violence on the market as well.

Brendan O’Connor on the elephant in the room.

“Gee, Alis. You dump on superhero stories a lot. Like I mean, what’s the harm in simple fantasies about heavily armed individuals co-opting the state’s monopoly on violence for the purpose of executing extrajudicial revenge against actors they don’t believe the state itself is appropriately addressing? I mean, that’s just silly fun, right? It could never be taken the wrong way or have real-world consequences! Stop taking everything so seriously! It’s totally a coincidence that the massive rise in popularity of superhero narratives in modern pop culture just happens to coincide with the breakdown of rule of law in America, the increasing polarized aggression of its population, and the biggest global rise in fascist movements since the 1930s! I mean, Superman was created by Jewish men! Captain America punches Nazis! Black Panther… exists! They have to be progressive, right? Stories with those sorts of narrative trappings can’t possibly be using them as a distraction in order to slide in a violent, anti-egalitarian ideology under the door! Particularly one that’s not even intentional so much as it is a subconscious manifestation of a cultural malaise and patterns of thought that’ve been implanted in the Western polity by right-wing actors since at least the 1970s! Like how all those movies in the 1980s had the EPA as the bad guys! That had no negative impact on public perception of or policy around environmental regulation whatsoever! Stop worrying and just let people mindlessly consume pop culture without having to think more broadly about how it fits into institutional and cultural patterns of control because, like, it’s not like that’s ever been suggested as a form of fascism before! You no-fun party pooper! Also, you totally read a superhero comic once and are probably playing a violent videogame right now so that makes you a hypocrite and that means I don’t have to listen to anything you say! So nyyah!”

2018-04-18T08:09:58+10:006th October, 2018|Tags: culture, politics, usa|

“The nation”.

Both Froese and Stroud found pervasive anti-government sentiments among their study participants. “This is interesting because these men [gun owners] tend to see themselves as devoted patriots, but make a distinction between the federal government and the ‘nation,’ says Froese. “On that point, I expect that many in this group see the ‘nation’ as being white.”

Jeremy Adam Smith on motivations.

… yikes.

2019-04-29T12:07:57+10:0011th September, 2018|Tags: culture, politics, usa|

Origin story.

The logic [of John Lott’s theory of Mutually Assured Massacre] goes something like this. If most people are unarmed, the guy who’s carrying has tremendous power and can kill more or less with impunity, at least in the immediate aftermath of a shooting. No one can shoot back. But if everyone is armed or any given person might be armed, you’re going to be a lot more cautious about going for your firearm and shooting someone. Because they might be armed too. They might shoot back. Or the person next to them might be armed. If everyone is armed, everyone will be on their best behavior. Because they’re all equal in terms of lethal violence. Shootings will go down, not up.

In the abstract, where no humans actually exist, there’s actually a compelling logic to this. If I know you’re armed, I’ll be on my best behavior. You will too because you know I’m armed. Of course, in practice, almost everything is wrong with this logic. It relies on an extremely crude version of economic rational action and an even cruder form of game theory. This is particularly the case when you realize that the fraught, angry situations where people impulsively kill other people are by definition not rational. This doesn’t even get into situations like school shootings where the assailant usually intends to die in the massacre. It also doesn’t get into accidents, misunderstandings. It’s completely nuts.

But this basic concept: more guns, paradoxically, means more safety informs almost every aspect of current pro-gun politics.

Josh Marshall on the “good guy” with a gun.

The point here is that the whole core argument of the pro-gun lobby in the US, i.e. that everyone carrying around guns makes society more “safe”, is traceable back to a couple of shitty books written by one asshole in the late 1990s.

2018-02-23T14:08:37+10:0023rd February, 2018|Tags: cw: mass shooting, politics, usa|