Behind the Iron Curtain part 4 – Healthcare

These are my recollections of a life behind the iron curtain. I do not aim to give perfect and objective evaluation of anything, but to share my personal experiences and memories. It will explain why I just cannot get misty eyed over some ideas on the political left and why I loathe many ideas on the right.


Content warning, graphical description of illness.

 

Ever since childhood my health was not great. I was allergic to almost anything one can be allergic to, I got sunburned in an instant and to add insult to injury I was wearing glasses. Twice I got blind due to allergy – once when mosquitoes bit my face and it has swollen so much that I could not open my eyes, and once when we were outside with school class and the teacher has allowed us to go into a field of rye. Where a piece of awn got stuck under my eye and again caused my lids to swell to the point I could not see. I had to be led out of the forest by my classmates, and we had to keep in shade because light has made my eyes hurt like hell.

That was not the worst of it. At early age I have developed chronic tonsilitis. It could be treated with antibiotics, but it did not work in the long run. The illnesses came more and more often and a pattern has developed – two to maybe three weeks of relatively normal life, then suddenly my neck tonsils got swollen and I vomited pus and congealed blood during the night wishing I die. Then I developed fever and I could barely eat for a week during which I was on the antibiotics. After the antibiotics (penicillin mostly) have done what they could I was weakly for another week and I had to abstain from any physically challenging tasks and I was excused from gym classes.

Thus about two years have passed in this rhythm. My growth was stunted and I was not behind in school only thanks to my high intelligence and a help from our neighbour’s sister, who was a teacher and tutored me one year during my illnesses.

The problem was of course that I should have been sent for tonsilectomy after the second or third bout of antibiotics at the most. The children’s physician for our district insisted on not doing this because it might, in her words, cause asthma later on. So when the antibiotics did not seem to work in the long-term after years of torturing me, she tried to prescribe a “preventional” course of penicillin, where I was taking half a pill each day. Needles to say this did not work at all, quite the opposite. I developed an allergy to penicillin and another antibiotic had to be used from then on.

She also tried to send me for a month on a recuperation vacation stay in the mountains. Something that was intended for children living in smog-covered cities. Needless to say it was useless for a country kid and I was sick during that vacation too.

My parents have only vocational education and they lacked the knowledge to challenge the physician’s authority. They did the right thing – they delegated the problem to the expert. Unfortunately the expert was an idiot. I do not blame my parents in the least, but I refuse to greet the physician on the rare occasion I meet her although she seems to think I should like her. She should have known better.

I had a stroke of luck in that I almost died and when my parents had to call an ambulance, the arriving doctor was the general practitioner for our district. And he was competent so he explained to them that the antibiotics are now doing nothing for me and are only de-facto poisoning me. And that tonsilectomy is the only viable long-term option. After I got tonsilectomy, the last in a long string of tortures, I could not eat properly for a few weeks, and I had to avoid some foods for a few years, but the wounds healed, one tonsil even grew back, and I only had tonsilitis once or twice ever since and never as serious as it once was.

My story highlights both the strengths and the weaknesses of the system.

First strength was accessibility. Each district had a general practitioner, gynaecologist, dentist and children’s physician that rarely were more than two bus-stops or half an hour walking distance away. Hospitals were relatively regularly dispersed, so the travel to one was not too long either. Getting to a doctor was usually not a problem. The same for apothecaries. Whenever I was sick, we could mostly just walk to the doctor and pick the medicaments on the way back.

Second strength was availability. My parents did never need to worry about the costs of any of this. Everything was paid for in taxes, and everybody had available all the care they needed (even the dentist). And they got paid leave to take care for me whenever needed. That does not mean there were no economical decisions made – some rare illnesses might not be treated because the costs were too high for the state to afford. But nobody had to worry about slightly complicated flu bankrupting them, or having their teeth pulled out because they cannot afford the repair.

But the weakness was that people had their assigned physicians and there was no real choice. There was no “second opinion” really available and people did not even know that such thing exists. So if your physician was an idiot, you were foobared.

But I still think that this is one of the things the regime actually got mostly, even though not completely, right.

Saving A Tree, One Drip At A Time.

IV treatment helps Pillalamarri live another day. Courtesy of District Administration, Mahabubnagar.

IV treatment helps Pillalamarri live another day. Courtesy of District Administration, Mahabubnagar.

An amazing story, this.

If the roughly 800-year-old banyan tree in Mahabubnagar, India, could talk, it would probably tell you the IV inserted in its branches is saving its life. Termites infested the tree, reportedly one of the oldest in India, and gradually chipped away at its wood until the poor banyan was near the brink of death. Last December, some of the tree’s branches fell down because of the infestation, resulting in officials closing the attraction to the public.

Known as Pillalamarri because of its many interweaving branches, the banyan tree measures 405 feet from east to west and 408 feet from north to south, according to Mahabubnagar District Forest Officer Chukka Ganga Reddy. The crown of Pillalamarri extends to 1,263 feet and the tree is spread across nearly four acres. Underneath the tree stands a small shrine that supposedly dates back to the year 1200, but the tree’s exact age is unclear. Nevertheless, calling the Ficus benghalensis a great banyan tree would be an understatement.

Pillalamarri’s branches bend close to the soil. Courtesy of District Administration, Mahabubnagar.

Pillalamarri’s branches bend close to the soil. Courtesy of District Administration, Mahabubnagar.

Such greatness attracts 12,000 tourists per year from every corner of the country to awe at its sheer vastness, but this tourism has also caused some troubles for the tree. According to Telangana Today, when Pillalamarri turned into a tourist attraction nearly a decade ago, the state government cut down branches and built concrete sitting areas around the tree for tourists. Tourists picked at the leaves, climbed on the branches, and carved names into the bark. Furthermore, to keep the area clean, the grounds team burned fallen leaves, which was bad for the soil. A recently installed dam on a neighboring stream restricted water flow to the tree.

I will never understand the pointless destructiveness humans indulge in. A 700 year old living being should, at the very least, garner some respect.

…Officials initially injected the trunk with the pesticide chlorpyrifos, but saw no improvement. So they tried another method to prevent decay: hundreds of saline bottles filled with chlorpyrifos, inserted into Pillalamarri’s branches.

“This process has been effective,” Reddy told the Times of India. “Secondly, we are watering the roots with the diluted solution to kill the termites. And in a physical method, we are building concrete structures to support the collapsing heavy branches.”

…Despite the tree’s stable prospects, the public won’t be seeing Pillalamarri any time soon. When they do visit in the future, “this time people have to see it from a distance away from the barricades,” said Reddy. For now, drip-by-drip, the banyan tree’s health is returning to its former glory.

What a shame that all those who would show proper respect won’t be able to do so anymore. I’m impressed and happy that a way to treat Pillalamarri has been found, and profoundly sad and disappointed by the people who were so damn destructive. It doesn’t speak well of humans at all.

Atlas Obscura has the full story, and lots of links.

Indian Country Today Is Back!

Who Will Be Our First Founding Member? The new Indian Country Today is launching a membership drive and an auction. Top bid will be forever known as Indian Country Today’s: “First Founding Member.”

Who Will Be Our First Founding Member? The new Indian Country Today is launching a membership drive and an auction. Top bid will be forever known as Indian Country Today’s: “First Founding Member.”

Indian Country Today is back! The NCAI has taken over, and this is grand news.

From September through February I have heard about the importance of saving Indian Country Today. So many people across Indian Country had the same idea:

What if … What if we all contribute?

What if I step up to make certain Indian Country has solid, accurate, fair reporting?

Is it worth it to save this voice? A national media platform for Indian concerns?  And how much will it take?

Yes. Yes. And the answer is a lot  — or perhaps a few tax-deductible dollars if we all contribute together.

We are building a new Indian Country Today on a public media model. We will have some advertising, but most of our resources will come from members, tribes, enterprises, and non-profits.

We need you.

We are launching a membership drive and an auction.

The membership drive will solicit help from our “members” as $100 Founding Members, $500 Sustaining Members, and $1,000 for Premier Members.

Unlike public media we don’t have nifty gifts as a thank you. No t-shirts. No coffee mugs. Just a better news report. We want to use the money to build our news operation, a multimedia reporting platform about what’s going on across Indian Country. We’ll stretch your dollars by partnering with other organizations, and amplify our reporting by letting others repurpose our editorial content.

We will serve.

This is great news, but to work, ICT needs help from people. If you can drop a few dollars into the fund, please do, and if you can’t do that, please, please, spread the word, get it out everywhere! You can read more by Mark Trahant at Indian Country today, or go straight to the membership drive. This is so very important, it’s vital for Indigenous peoples to have a voice.  Also, be sure to check out the new edition, there’s all manner of interesting reading!

ETA: I should point out that it’s possible to donate $5.00 to the membership drive, which is all I can manage right now, but I’ll be dropping more fives each week.

Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts.

Page from Wake by Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martinez (all images courtesy Hugo Martinez).

Page from Wake by Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martinez (all images courtesy Hugo Martinez).

In 1712, New York City witnessed a dramatic uprising when over 20 black slaves, fighting against their unjust conditions, set fire to several houses of white slaveowners and fatally shot nine. Known today as the New York Slave Revolt of 1712, the insurgence resulted in the conviction and public execution of 21 slaves, as well as more severe slave codes. While sources often state that these rebels were all men, the historian Dr. Rebecca Hall has identified four women who were captured during the clashing and were tried. Their names were Amba, Lilly, Sarah, and Abigail.

Erased from history books, their stories will now be told in vivid form by Hall, who has devoted much of her career to unearthing the roles of women in slave revolts. Hall is currently working on her first graphic novel, which will highlight female rebels in various 18th-century uprisings, from three in New York to those that broke out on slave ships. Titled Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts, the 150-page work emerges out of Hall’s 2004 dissertation on the same topic. She is now collaborating with independent comic artist Hugo Martinez to produce the storyboards and, through Friday, May 4, is raising $5,900 on Kickstarter to realize it for submission to publishers.

“The way the history of slave resistance has been written, this very gendered narrative developed about how manly and masculine enslaved men actually were, which served to elide the role that women played,” Hall told Hyperallergic. “I was going against everything being taught in women’s roles in slave resistance by insisting that, if I looked, I bet I would find these women.” She recalled how her dissertation advisor had told her that she wouldn’t find any sources to realize her chosen topic; how one archive claimed that it had no related material.

This is a fascinating, and I think, a necessary work. You can read and see much more at Hyperallergic, as well as on the kickstarter page, where there’s also a video. They are close to their goal, but could use a bit more help, so if you can’t donate, you can help to spread the word!

Angry White Men.

LOS ANGELES — Judging from the paintings and drawings on view at Susan Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Nicole Eisenman has been thinking a lot about angry white men. They are almost the exclusive population throughout the expansive gallery. There is a large contingent of shooters, each confronting us from behind a firearm aimed directly outward, so that to look at the drawings is to stare down a gun-barrel. These shooter drawings are almost all from 2016, with a few from 2017 and one from 2018, elaborated in ink, charcoal, oil, acrylic, and pencil. This last is the largest, and the only one bearing a title, “The Shooter.” One of the untitled drawings, in pencil and blue ballpoint pen, shows a man pointing his gun at us with one hand while the other grasps his penis. Along the bottom margin Eisenman has written “BAMSPLOOSH.”

Nicole Eisenman, “The Tea Party” (2012–2017), ink on gessoed paper, 40” x 35″ paper size, 52” x 45.50” x 2″ framed (photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

Nicole Eisenman, “The Tea Party” (2012–2017), ink on gessoed paper, 40” x 35″ paper size, 52” x 45.50” x 2″ framed (photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

While there is nothing original about equating guns with penises, the full array of drawings in Dark Light reveals Eisenman’s mind ping-ponging through a number of visual rhymes, adding up to many of the show’s most compelling moments. The circle of the gun barrel becomes the end of a cigarette smoked by impassive men. In one case, smoke billows from a man’s right nostril; in another, a sooty cloud issues from a cigarette belonging to an African American in a drawing titled “A Moment of General Anesthesia” (2018), suggesting this man’s need for relief from pain of America’s continuous police shootings of black men. Further iterations of the black circle appear: in a small 2016 sketch it is a bullet hole in the middle of someone’s face, in others it is a darkened sun. A 2015 ink drawing titled “Black Sun” has the cheerless orb spewing fecal liquid that piles like a mound of pudding below, resembling a pipe depositing sewage in our waterways. Finally and inescapably, the circle is an anus.

Nicole Eisenman, “Heading Down River on the USS J-Bone of an Ass” (2017), oil on canvas, 127.25” x 105” x 1.75″(all images courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

Nicole Eisenman, “Heading Down River on the USS J-Bone of an Ass” (2017), oil on canvas, 127.25” x 105” x 1.75″(all images courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; photo by Robert Wedemeyer).

Nicole Eisenman: Dark Light continues at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (6006 Washington Blvd, Culver City, Los Angeles) through April 21.

Fascinating viewing and reading, you can do more of both at Hyperallergic.

The Black & White of Voter Fraud.

Reid Wilson:

NC white woman who admitted voter fraud: No charges.

CO white man convicted of voter fraud: Probation, comm service.

IA white woman convicted of voter fraud: Probation, $750 fine.

TX black woman convicted of voter fraud: 5 years IN PRISON. Which of these is not like the other?

Clear as crystal, isn’t it? But we just don’t have a gosh darn problem with racism in Amerikka, no. You can read more about this at RawStory.

Nazis & Satanists: A Match Made In Hell.

Oh the drama! It’s just tearing the murderous Atomwaffen apart, which is not a bad thing in itself, but unfortunately, there are too many places for murderous nazis to go upon pronouncing Atomwaffen bad because satanists.

White nationalists are disavowing the murderous neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division—not because of the murder, but because the group can’t shake persistent rumors that it’s a gateway organization for a satanic cult.

Atomwaffen is an extremist group that received national attention after being implicated in five murders from May 2017 to January 2018. But even before the most recent slaying, Atomwaffen was under fire from others on the far right who claimed the group was actually a mouthpiece for the Order of Nine Angles, a satanic group that encourages members to infiltrate extremist political movements, whose members might be susceptible to conversion.

It doesn’t help that, until recently, Atomwaffen pushed the satanic group’s literature on one of its websites.

Atomwaffen claims to have been founded in 2013, although its membership surged after a deadly white nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, ProPublica previously reported. The group now has approximately 20 cells across the U.S., according to ProPublica.

The whole thing is a tangled mess, which confirms the impression that what murderous nazis are best at is infighting. Kelly Weill at The Daily Beast has the whole sordid story.

Everyday American Hell.

Peter Williams, “Resistance II” (2017), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches (photo by Carson Zullinger).

Peter Williams, “Resistance II” (2017), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches (photo by Carson Zullinger).

[…] Williams uses caricature to invite viewers — whatever their political persuasion— to reflect upon how they see people of a race different from their own, as well as underscore the intolerance, distrust, and fear running throughout our everyday lives. A brave and intrepid curator ought to buy “Mass Murder” and install it near the entrance of a museum.

Walking home, I remembered something a black artist friend told me about raising his son in New York City: “I told him never to run down the street.” This is the reality we inhabit. There is nothing “united” about the United States, something artists as different as Jasper Johns and Peter Williams have known their whole lives.

Peter Williams: With So Little To Be Sure Of continues at CUE Art Foundation (137 West 25th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan) through March 29.

Hyperallergic has an in-depth article on Peter Williams’s latest works and show, well worth a detour in your day to read and see many more art pieces.

Sunday Facepalm.

Wikimedia Commons.

Someone who bills herself “Montreal Healthy Girl” has some news for us all: “CANCER IS ACTUALLY A GOOD THING!!!” Did you get those extra exclamation marks? Obviously all manner of truthy, because serious emphasis. I’d dearly like to give this person one hell of a smack, to say the least.

So what is Cancer exactly and what the hell can we do about it when we are faced with a paralysing fear of death? The following may surprise you, but finding out you have the big C is not as terrifyingly final as we are taught to think. Contrary to popular belief and misinformation, CANCER IS ACTUALLY A GOOD THING!!! It is your body’s way of defending itself against a poisonous internal environment and without it, most of us would die long before our diagnosis.

Oh for fuck’s sake. It’s obvious this stupid twit does not know one thing about cancer, nor did she bother with actually getting acquainted with anyone who happens to have cancer. Most people are aware that cure rates are up for many types of cancer, and many people with stage IV cancers are living their lives for decades past diagnosis. CANCER IS NOT A GOOD THING. IT’S A BAD THING WHICH REQUIRES PROPER TREATMENT FROM PEOPLE WITH ACTUAL MEDICAL DEGREES.  Cancer does not save you from early death due to a “poisonous internal environment”.  Cancer cells are terrifyingly magnificent, and out of all the things on this planet, they play the game of evolution best. There are so many different types of cancer cells, it’s dizzying, and no, all cancers are not treated the same; they cannot be. For each type of cancer, it’s a different game. If you want a thorough understanding of how cancer cells work, read The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Cancer cells are rogues, and they excel at reproducing and mutating. Some cancers tend to be low aggression, like mine (colorectal cancer), others are incredibly aggressive and scary as fuck. As always, with any cancer, your best bet is early detection, and prevention, like not smoking, which cuts your chances of lung cancer way down. It never hurts to eat healthy and get at least moderate exercise, but those things will not guarantee you’ll never hear “it’s cancer.” The older you get, the more likely there will be an incidence of cancer. Get those screening tests! Cancer is not the result of an “imbalance” or the body being too “acidic”, which is the fucking stupid twit’s answer to cancer and how to get it to “reverse itself”. This sort of crap is incredibly dangerous, and leads to people dying.  Please, if you hear “it’s cancer”, do not fall for this sort of crap. I’m the last person to say that cancer treatment is any sort of fucking fun, it isn’t. It’s a right pain in the ass (literally in my case), and the side effects are nasty. It’s better than death, which is what you’ll get with Ms. Healthy Girl and those like her. In the case of someone like myself, with colon cancer, you might actually live for quite a while without treatment, being that it’s not an overly aggressive cancer. But there will pain. Enormous, bad pain. Pain which will get worse. And by the time you drag your sorry ass to an actual physician, it will likely to be too damn late.

I won’t link you to the idiot’s fucking page, because this infuriates me no end, but I will link you to Jonathan Jarry at McGill, who has plenty to say about this dangerous fucking mess of a person.

Sunday Facepalm: All Ya Need Is Nice.

thirddrawerdown.com.

Star Parker, yet another conservative idiot, has decided on her defense of guns in the wake of the last school shooting. Those darn students weren’t nice enough to the shooter! We don’t need gun control or any sort of reform, no. What we need is niceness! We are all responsible for every dude walking around with a growing grudge, a tantrum, and a gun. You betcha. As to blaming the students:

“Well, not necessarily one individual student, but we can call for gun control if we want to as a nation, we can call for more federal laws if we want to as a nation, but usually when you’re faced with tragedy, you first check yourself,” Parker said. “We have forgotten how to just look inwardly. We’ve become such a nation of victims that we’ve forgotten to say, ‘Wait a minute, what could I have done?’”

[…]

“Well, perhaps said ‘hello,’ perhaps said ‘I’m sorry to hear your dad died,’” Parker said. “This is a very small community of people we’re talking about. This is not the responsibility of Washington, D.C., or the NRA. This is the responsibility of people that are closest to someone to be able to look them in the eye as an individual. So the challenge of this whole nation of victims is that now it’s not about us anymore, it’s about somebody else, our problems are somebody else’s fault. Well, no, actually, this is a very small community, someone must have saw his sadness, someone must have known his dad died.”

Ms. Parker didn’t listen to the students talking. Ms. Parker certainly didn’t listen to Ms. Emma Gonzalez, who pointed out, strongly, that they knew that kid. They knew what he was like. They knew his desire for violence, his propensity for cruelty. They did speak out, they tried to tell people, they tried to warn people, but no one listened well enough to what they had to say, and now a lot of kids are dead. Sometimes, reaching out to a person can make all the difference in the world, but simply being ‘nice’ isn’t enough to reach anyone. If you’re going to extend ‘nice’, it needs to go further than that; and there are people you can’t reach in any way. The shooter in this case was primed to go off for years, but it was ignored by everyone except the students. The students wanted to know why people like his neighbours ignored him wandering around with a fucking gun. How about you answer that one, Ms. Parker? I would have loved to see you walk up to a kid wandering about with a gun and be ‘nice’ to him.

[…]

“Well, they expelled him probably because he was acting out,” she said, “and he was acting out probably because he didn’t have any friends—you know, whoever sat next to him in class, they’d better not be the ones who are protesting out there today.”

They expelled him because he was a danger to others, you fucking idiot. Sitting next to someone in class does not make you friends, and friendship is not a one way street. Christ, I loathe conservatives.

The whole mess and video is at RWW. In other, depressing news, the Dominionists of the Theocalypse have descended on CPAC, all of them staying at the Trump Hotel to sing their praises to the Tiny Tyrant. You can read the whole sorry thing here.

Sunday Facepalm.

Courtesy Del. Marcus Simon, D-Fairfax.

Virginia drivers can already get a state-issued license plate to show their support for the National Rifle Association, but a push for a “Stop Gun Violence” specialty plate took a contentious turn this week in the House of Delegates.

[…]

“We’re the snowflakes,” said Del. Marcus Simon, D-Fairfax, the plate’s sponsor. “But these guys see ‘gun violence’ on anything and they go ballistic.”

During floor debate Thursday, Gilbert said Simon was trying to make a political point that goes beyond “a little ol’ license plate bill.”

“It is him trying to build a narrative that gun violence is somehow different from regular violence,” Gilbert said, asking Simon why the license plate couldn’t raise awareness of violence generally.

So…you want a plate which says “stop violence”? Apparently Mr. Gilbert didn’t notice that he himself made a distinction between gun violence and “regular” violence. Perhaps republican assholes could get together and put out a degrees of violence pamphlet, assigning points or something. At least that waste of time would prevent them from doing harm for a while. The fact of the matter is that gun violence is indeed different. You can kill a whole lot of people very quickly with a gun. If nothing else, I’d think being able to kill cops with guns might have given these assholes pause, but no. As an aside, Mr. Simon deserves a smack for his word play.

The legislation filed to create the anti-gun violence plate would’ve imposed a standard $10 plate fee. But Republicans argued it should cost $25, the rate for revenue-generating plates that raise money for a social cause.

Republicans argued that cause should be mental health, prompting Simon to accuse the GOP of hijacking the plate’s message.

“To buy into the myth that this is a mental health problem and that these license plates ought to be used to solve a mental health problem unfairly stigmatizes people living with mental illness,” Simon said. “It unfairly characterizes it.”

Oh yes, it perpetuates stigma, and it’s a very unfair, malicious, and lazy conclusion that so many people run to and take refuge in, whenever there’s another major shooting. Othering is terribly convenient for those who refuse to pay attention to the problem staring them in the face.

Simon said he filed the bill on behalf of a constituent, 65-year-old retired microbiologist Carol Luten, who gathered the 450 prepaid applications required before the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles will consider issuing a specialty plate. That constituent’s concerns go well beyond the mass shootings that draw headlines and focus more on everyday gun violence, such as children dying because an adult left a firearm unattended, Simon said.

“The people putting this plate in ought to have a say about what that plate means and where the funds from it go,” Simon said.

Simon suggested the money from the plate could go toward domestic violence prevention, but Republicans voted to direct the money to mental health on a 50-48 party-line vote.

Of course they did. Nothing like sticking to their narrative that guns are just harmless instruments.

The two House Republicans currently running for Congress — Dels. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge, and Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper — voted against the plate.

“Obviously none of us support gun violence,” Freitas said. “The issue that I think a lot of us have is this idea of putting the focus on an instrument as opposed to a focus on the crime.”

Right, you want to focus on the crime. The problem there being…the fucking crime. By the time you’re focusing on that, at least one person is dead. Some of us find value in trying to make it a hell of a lot more difficult for someone to commit murder. For every brand of ugly immorality, you can count on republicans. Bet they are all “good” christians, too.

The full story is at Richmond.com.

Asshole vs Asshole: “Bloodsports”.

Screencap, Right Wing Watch.

The Nazis have a new gig on youtube, “bloodsports”, their um, rebranding of debates.

Over the past month, prominent alt-right personalities on YouTube have carved out platforms for themselves on a handful of popular livestreamed political debate channels, where they’ve engaged in debates against “classical liberal,” libertarian and “anti-social justice warrior” YouTube talkers.

The series of debates, which have been affectionately dubbed “bloodsports” by their participants, have provided the white nationalist alt-right with its latest chance to thrust itself into the political consciousness of young people and to appeal to members of some of the subcultures that have splintered from the movement in recent months.

The “bloodsports” phenomenon grew out of a fight about “race realism,” which is how some white supremacists refer to their pseudoscientific claims about racial superiority.

[…]

When the feuding between various pundits reached critical mass, alt-right figures who promote “race realism” and white nationalist advocates for the creation of ethnostates offered themselves up for debates with YouTube personalities who have channels much larger than their own. Taking advantage of the attention that the feud was providing, alt-right figures were able to secure spots on YouTube channels that boast hundreds of thousands of followers and to go up against some of YouTube’s biggest political commentators, such as Carl Benjamin (“Sargon of Akkad”), who were eager to inject themselves into the public hype.

One of the most prominent channels hosting these debates belongs to Andy Warski, a YouTube personality who has grown increasingly sympathetic to the alt-right.

[…]

In the last few weeks, Warski has hosted debates featuring nearly every popular white nationalist YouTube figure, including J.F. Gariepy, Tara McCarthy, Richard Spencer, Colin Robertson (“Millennial Woes”), Greg Johnson, Peinovich, James Allsup, Nick Fuentes and Tim Gionet (“Baked Alaska”). More often than not, these white nationalist personalities have been paired against conservative opponents who offer incredibly weak pushback to their arguments. On only a few occasions have they faced true, strong counter-arguments. One of these debates—featuring Sargon of Akkad and Tarl Warwick (“Styxhexenhammer666”) debating Spencer and Gariepy—became the highest-trending live video on YouTube during its broadcast. Afterward, Spencer declared that he had “destroyed” in the debate.

Oh yes, Richard Punch My Face Spencer declared he destroyed skepticism. So, I guess no one can be skeptical about anything ever from now one. Right Wing Watch has the full rundown on the deepening youtube cesspit, it’s quite involved. You can read all about it here.