Thinking about the Cyberpunk Apocalypse

CW: another grim /apocalyptic one, avoid as required

We’re clearly living in a cyberpunk era. Enough could be said on that to fill a book, but I’m more likely to turn it into a blog post, if anything. Marx and many others had ideas about the stages of history, the progress of civilization. I don’t know how well any of those hypotheses have played out, but from our vantage point now, the current and next stages of civilization are easy to see: Cyberpunk Dystopia, and collapse into Post Apocalypse. I just want to jot down this thought before I forget it, for future reference. One recurring theme of cyberpunk fiction was an inversion of what we’re going to see.

To thinkers back then, cyberspace was a sad fake realm of delusions that ultimately perpetuated human woe. While the internet has helped promote hate crimes and establish fascism in our time, that’s a case of a good thing being manipulated to evil ends. Much like how con artists exploit positive social instincts of trust and enthusiasm to rob people, I don’t think that reflects negatively on thing that was exploited.

Cyberspace is a good thing. We’re able to come together and make good things happen like never before, enrich each other’s lives, pool human knowledge and creativity and compassion. Selling out net neutrality, allowing monopolies for the mega-rich, these are killing the experience by tiny cuts.

And ultimately, it’s all going away. The infrastructure will collapse and we’ll lose this. For some people, that’s already the case. Rural areas in the USA already have garbage for service. Morpheus’s ideal – everyone walking away from the illusion to embrace the desert of the real? It’s not going to edify or elevate us in any way, but we’ll still have to experience it.

The collapse of the internet will be a good defining bound between the Cyberpunk and Post Apocalypse eras. And it’ll just be another signpost on the slide into extinction.

Right Wing Projection Wave

Content Warning: Wearying Endless Hope-Destroying Fascist Evil, Apocalyptic Crapola. “wontbehere4long” don’t read this. You’re too high strung, kid.

Projection is a phenomenon in psychology whereby a person protects themselves from awareness of their own flaws by accusing someone else of having said flaws. I’m not the racist, that guy is! Sadly, this is so widespread among right wingers that one could make a serious case that it’s a defining feature of the motherfuckers.

Dave Futrelle at We Hunted The Mammoth has been facing a fucknado of fascist irony victims, defending their most transparent act of projection to date: the spreading of the “NPC meme.” Let me see if I can break down the background of this situation to a simple timeline:

In video games, non-player characters are the guys you interact with that have just a few pre-programmed things to say and never meaningfully change.

Random fucklord says he sees people he doesn’t like as NPCs, thoughtless and soulless.

Projecting fucklords who speak in “kek” and “cuck” notice that social justice advocates use some jargon and assume it’s the same sort of group-affirming dog barks that they use.

Projecting fucklords adopt random fucklord’s meme and promote it.

As they always fucking do, they form a massive wall of hive-minded tools bargling at decent people about how we’re mindles soulless conformists.

They do this kind of shit all the time. Any given anti-feminist argument, for one small example, is repeated VERBATIM by forty thousand fucklords who somehow feel like they came up with the idea.

The reason that it’s ironic this time? The projection is an accusation of conformity and mindlessness.

Now, despite this being a fresh incident with that minty taste of a new twist, why does this feel instantly wearying and soul crushing? I didn’t get it, but then I reflected. Right wingers always do this shit. Fucking always. “You want to take away our religious freedom!” “You want to control our lives!” “Atheism is the real dogma!” “You want to censor us!” “You hate freedom!”

This last couple of weeks has been hard as fuck. For me, the worse part of it was the newest report on climate change. Like the scientists sounding alarms since the fucking industrial era began, I’m feeling that Cassandra Complex. It’s worse now because we’re in the 11th hour and there actually is nothing anyone can do to stop the hell that’s coming. It’s about mitigation and we can’t even get the demons in power to do anything about that.

Humanity is so consistently foolish and venal that we’re destroying ourselves and taking down most of the biosphere with us, when we have the ability to do better. It’s just that grain of thoughtfulness and compassion is always overwhelmed by fear and loathing.

Because white right wing cattle vote with their spleen, we’re down to hoping we can shape the apocalypse instead of preventing it. Will it be Mad Max or 1984? A little of both, but an increasingly safe bet there’s no humans left on the other side of it.

And these chucklefucks are jeering and capering while the ship goes down. Thanks guys. You wanted to “pwn the libs”? You got me. I’m “pwn’d.” Not in the sense I’ve come to realize you are the super geniuses who were right all along. No, I’m owned in the sense that I understand you’ve won, and I feel bad about it. And the “I told you so” we’ll get as we all die? Doesn’t make me feel better about it.

Fuck, y’all are so pig ignorant and compulsively projecting, you’ll figure out how to blame us for that too.


Just Go Ahead Now


Some weeks ago, I was at work and the radio chanced to play “Two Princes” by Spin Doctors. I was in a silly mood and felt the kitsch, was amused by the thing as I went about my labors. Some time after that, I was at home, remembering the song and vaguely recalling the video. My judgment skewed by the afterglow of that moment, I looked it up on youtube.

At work I only heard a bit and at low volume. At home with headphones on, the band in front of me? Something else.

I didn’t last a minute. That song is pisschristing horribad. It is the Abyss, and when you gaze too long, it tips its hat and says “milady.” It shivered my fucking timbers, matey.

Since then, I occasionally have moments when I think about it. It’s tempting to view the song as emblematic of something terrible in the American character at the time.

Grunge was a thing, and it had lessons for the masses. People can’t subsist on music about dancing and fucking. There’s more to life than that, and sometimes it’s best expressed with unpleasant nonsense words and guitar feedback.

But some people took the wrong lessons from that, decided Seattle = cool, expensive coffee, big sweaters, shitty facial hair. Two Princes was the dawn of the Starbucks playlist.

That part of our culture is what I like to call NPR liberalism. It’s about being just progressive enough to feel good about yourself and refusing to look with any depth at the class war, racism, misogyny, and cisheterofascism underlying this whole shitshow.

NPR liberals aren’t always bad people. A lot of them are swell, just obnoxiously blind to important shit.

They give at the church but never look at what the church does with that money outside the congregation. No matter how many times you tell them, yes, your church really is exporting violent homophobia, they will forget that shit like a goldfish.

They’re the moms that misgender you constantly because they will never in their hearts acknowledge your identity. They’re contrite when caught, but will never change because their cutesy memories of how they saw you as a child? More important to them than your real mental and physical health as an adult.

They just can’t remember anything that isn’t somehow nice or cute or reassuring. The extent to which they can remember what the big bad republicans are up to is only the extent to which it can be put back in a box with a sassy soundbite, put on a mug, put on a sweater.

NPR liberals have faith in the “blue wave” and the forward trajectory of history. Just wait, you don’t have to be loud. Go with the flow, have fun.

Two Princes is like “Don’t Worry Be Happy” for white people, but eh, maybe Don’t Worry Be Happy was the Don’t Worry Be Happy for white people. I think Chuck D said something about that once.

So the song puts me in mind of that strain of thought in the USA, and of how prevalent it was in my high school, in media of the ’90s. The dualism of our country then was the liberal sense you should be nice to people, with the anti-PC-flavored chuckles from the bros on the other side. Dharma and Greg were walking hand in hand, apple pie, yellow ribbons and A-10 warthogs.

Because the NPR liberal is committed to making nice, they never offered any opposition to the advance of American fascism. The belly piercing girls and darwin fish boys from my school grew up to be the moms and dads telling you family is more important than politics when you get pissed at grandpa Bruce and baby Braden for chatting holocaust denialism at Thanksgiving.

It’s tempting to look at the dopey grin and scragglebeard on that dude, at the floppy flaps on his shitty hat, to hear the Walmart-friendly “alternative” hootenanny jam, and to see that as emblematic of the blind eye people turn to keep things nice, reassuring, simple, peaceful.

It’s tempting, but surely just overblown nonsense. Mental vomit in response to the overwhelming saccharine smell.

So if you want to call me baby, just go ahead now.


It’s a Simple Choice, Deferring it is Deadly

Abe at Oceanoxia has a post up about oil industry lying for money – looting while the world burns. Mano has a post about about heartless CEOs and the lack of reasonable basic careers in the job market. Both of these posts are about the effects of under-regulated capitalism and hint at the consequences – ecological disaster and economic collapse.

They get me thinking about The Beast Itself – Capitalism. About this system of unofficial aristocracy, where the hyper-wealthy have bought and sold every national government in the world, where the basic drive to take care of one’s own has combined with corruption to produce a situation where no one imagines they are accountable, no one can see their little part in the lies that will kill us all as important. Hey, I recycle and donate to WWF in my niece’s name, it was only one little law I helped draft to weaken environmental protections, no biggy.

And so we race toward extinction like the movie Speed, but the only Keanu is that fucking dracula dating Grimes, and he has the useless power of daydreams instead of action boy muscles. No one here gets out alive. How many seconds was it to Mars? Only thirty? Easy-peasy!

Anyhow, we love us some rich people. Can’t live without this system. It’s the only one that’s realistic for human nature. Blah blah blah. And I’ll take that. With regards to the CEOs in Mano’s link, and the way they want to get away with never providing any proles an actual living wage, want to watch everyone but a tiny cadre of techslaves shrivel and scrape in the streets? I am perfectly OK with that, on one condition.

The government needs to actually provide for its people. Freeze all rent rates, give everyone not just a universal basic income, but a living wage to where employment is only for people ambitious enough to want nicer things in life, not a condition of survival.

Too much? Don’t think we can scrap all militaries and do exactly that, for every country in the world? Shucks. Guess employers will have to actually fucking pay us mendicants enough to live on.

What? Can’t afford the same rates you paid previous generations? Not even a fraction? No one except robot science mutants is allowed a living wage? Back to the first thing. The government has to care for us.

This ball is in play, and the longer the corporations and the governments play hot potato with it, we all get closer to social collapse. Mad Max shit. Your doubloons devaluing to where we put ’em in teeth again. Assuming anybody survives at all. If the atmosphere gets anoxic zones like the ocean is getting? That’s a rolling holocaust of biblical proportions. Nothing can save anyone.

Simple choice. Someone needs to provide for the people. Is it the government, or businesses? Because if it’s neither – if the people have to provide for themselves – you are not going to like what that fucking looks like.


Trump Ups his “Kill the Poor” Game

Via The Root, cheeto hitler signed a fucking executive order mandating that people on welfare must work or lose benefits. This kind of policy has been demonstrated to kill people dead in the UK.

Maybe he figured out that the demographic that has lost the most economically under him was the very group that voted for him – upper middle class, mostly white people – and he wanted to extend the damage to poor people who would have prevented his election if we weren’t hedged out of voting so hard. Or maybe he just wanted to make good on a life’s dream and see us in the ground.

I’m fortunate to not be one of the people who will be killed by this specific turn of policy, but nonetheless,

Eat shit and die, Mr. President, and all your bloodsucking racist greedlord friends. That’s not a threat, it’s a request. Ya better think about it baby.

EDIT TO ADD – Significant oversight in this article: I should have mentioned this will affect the disabled, primarily. They’ll be the first to go, as it always is with nazis. Smash American Fascism Now.


Sucks ASS to be a Right Wing Martyr

Content Warning – Racism, Pedophilia, Terrorism, Death

Dying for the master race ain’t what it used to be. You get called a small dicked antifa manlet and race traitor and the whole nine. Allow me to explain.

So you’re a home-schooled right wing xtian fundamentalist kid, parents afraid you’ll learn to be OK with non-white and non-straight people if you breathe the same air. The indoctrination has you feeling pumped up, gotta go engage in the discourse online, blog about how you hate gay marriage and sex offender registries. OK, the second one is less about ideology than about identifying with a guy who bones children, whatever.

#BlackLivesMatter comes along and you are incapable of understanding that the statement is a response to a society that screams the opposite all but explicitly. Why, specifying that black lives matter can only mean that they think white lives do not. It’s race war! You gotta kill um all.

So you start bombing politically active black honor students and other undesirables. The feds eventually get off their asses to catch you and you end up dead. Well, at least you died trying to save the white man from those evil racist black people.

Then there you are – only known for your race terrorism and explodey death, in the national spotlight. The people who influenced you – Alex Jones, Fox News, Breitshart – they should see what you’ve done, see why, and while they can’t publicly condone it, should at least pour one out on your grave, right?

Wrong. They renounce you, reject you, and worst of all? They deny your very identity, deny your faith, your beliefs, the very things you died for. They claim you are everything you hate – weak, effeminate, left wing, a tool of an evil liberal conspiracy trying to make the right and white supremacy look bad.

You don’t even get to be a martyr for your shitty beliefs. That’s why it sucks to be a right wing terrorist. So do yourself a favor – stop before you start. The more you know.


Inherent Dignity

Nothing in the universe means anything except insofar as we give it meaning. There are cultural concepts we have that are useful and ones that are toxic baggage from the deep past. There are concepts that are very culturally specific, some found in the majority of human cultures, and a few that are universal. Some concepts should be more popular and some less so, at least most of us seem to feel that way – right or left or otherwise.

All that nonsense is my disclaimer to the idea I’m about to say something founded in fact. I’m in the realm of principles and emotions, of value judgments. I’m basing everything that follows on a few judgments that should be non-controversial, but are apparently loopy unrealistic ultra-leftist radicalism: One, that it would be desirable for more people to be happy and healthy, and for fewer to be sad sick or dying. Two, that there’s a balance of justice in the world. That while justice is elusive, it exists as a concept to which we should strive. Rights should be upheld, wrongs should be minimized or eliminated when possible.

I believe that every living thing suffers from indignities by merit of being alive. We have to eat, we have to excrete, we have to messily grow and messily break down and die. The cell isn’t a harmonious little clockwork humming away until it gradually winds down into peaceful oblivion. It’s a writhing storm of lightning-fast chemical reactions and spiraling globs of goo slapping and twisting and bursting until it disorders into death and rot.

The fact we’re all born into this messy situation and are compelled to do something with it, this lends us an inherent dignity. The struggle to keep it together, from keeping our asses clean to ducking bullets, to be or not to be and the whole nine.

It isn’t easy. We deserve every break we can get. I include non-human animals in that. If we’re going to kill animals – and we will – ideally we shouldn’t torture them first, shouldn’t do it for shitty reasons. Nourishing humans is a good reason. We’ve been omnivorous a long time. Medical science is good too. Killing for fun? No, man. Fuck anyone who does that. I’m including you, Jed. (Yes I know someone named Jed.) That was cool of you to go to the DAPL protest, but hunting? That’s some shit, and fuck you for it.

This article would be more powerful without the dissembling and sides, but I feel compelled. Sorry.

Human animals (and advanced social animals like dogs) have a struggle that other species escape: Self-valuation. We are biologically compelled to find our place among our kind, by ranking ourselves and others. When AmeriKKKa’s wig daddies wrote about the self-evident nature of our human rights, they didn’t bother to notice that all around them there were people with bad self-esteem, for whom their own rights are not self-evident. People who often lose the most basic battle in life: They don’t feel like they deserve to live.

In the face of all that struggle and indignity, we deserve respect. We deserve to be acknowledged for our individual agency, that we deserve to have the things we desire, so long as they don’t harm others. And that we shouldn’t have to exist for others. No one should be able to use us as the butt of a joke, or use our bodies minds or lives for any purpose that we do not freely consent to.

I did not freely consent to working too hard in a hellish retail environment, I was forced into it by the unreasonable cost of rent. #RentIsTheft y’all. By the unreasonable cost of everything, at that. Retail work needs to happen but it shouldn’t have to be like it is, and we shouldn’t have to choose between doing it like this and hitting the skids.

Human need complicates that right to happiness and health, because there is more need than people willing to consent to providing for it. Still, the math should be pretty damn simple. If people truly need something in order to be healthy, society should figure out a way to provide it. The direct providers of care should be well compensated – so that they will feel willing to consent to providing care – and as charity is utterly inadequate, they should be funded from taxes.

That’s a little off the rails. What am I getting at?

I feel the inherent dignity of the animals around me – humans most of all. I see what we need and what we deserve. I see humans and I see their rights written on their pain, on the indignities they have to bear as frail mortals. Some people don’t see the inherent dignity of others. For them other people are a means to an end, as meaningless to them and as far from their caring as the cow at the slaughterhouse.

I’m tired of living with the cruelties of the selfish enshrined in law and society all around me, tired of the tyranny of injustice. It’s why I have a tag on this blog, Wake Me When the World is Over. It’s an expression of despair. I fight against that despair every day, by helping other people, by cleaning the cat box, by doing whatever I’m capable of to maintain my inherent dignity and uphold that of others. But it doesn’t feel great, knowing that we have so far to go in the struggle, knowing the likely fate of all the needy people around me and directly in my life. And I feel the need to express that. Sorry if any of you find that discouraging, I don’t want it to be.

Anyhow, Solidarity. Long live the fighters. And when we can sleep, let it be deep and peaceful.


Rick & Morty Fandom Does Monty Python

Monty Python’s Life of Brian is an important cultural artifact, I think, whether or not one is capable of really loving it years after the fact. The comedy troupe’s second most quoted movie’s most quoted scene has Brian, who has been mistaken for the messiah, attempting to reject the role of demagogue. He addresses a massive crowd saying, “You are all individuals.” The crowd chants back in unison, “We are all individuals.” One contrarian says, “I’m not!”

I don’t think we’ll ever see a better recreation of this scene in real life than this weird Rick & Morty sauce fiasco. I don’t know from the show, except that it seems very nihilistic (right up my alley) and overly elaborate (less so). But clearly it’s trying to be chaotic and unconventional. Meanwhile, the fans decided to march in lockstep to do something very odd and shitty. Then the contrarian pens an article (the one I linked) where he claims (perhaps rightly) to understand the show more than the others, and demonstrate his difference from the crowd.

End scene.

The mobilization of an unfortunately politically important group of people makes one long for different circumstances. Says Dan Sheehan on Twitter,

“Rick & Morty should do an episode about how Rick’s second favorite sauce is Universal Healthcare”


Climate Change Denialists, Cover This

I knew when they were talking about how hot this summer was going to be, when the temperatures were spiking in spring, that there were going to be days that were both hot and hazy. I could feel it coming. They don’t happen often here so a few times in my past have been memorable.

Anyhow, I knew there were going to be days that were both overcast and over 80 degrees, but I had no idea it was going to be from the fucking Pacific Northwest being on fire. Earlier this month Vancouver BC had a bunch of wildfires that sent smoke south of Seattle to where I live. Then there’s yesterday, when Eastern Washington caught fire so badly that ash was raining on cars reminiscent of the explosion of Mt. St. Helens.

So, climate change denialists, if you wanna keep up the bluster, you’re gonna have to put in some extra legwork. Vacuum the haze out of the sky. Clean all our cars. Blow little fans on us, install AC for us everywhere we are, everywhere we’re burning up, and tell us “haha, sure is reasonable out today! Nothing of note here.”

Get a move on, boys. Half the world’s on fire and the other half is drowning.