Hate Trumps Love. Let’s Fix That.

Lately we’ve been hit over and over again with examples of how hatred seems more popular, more financially gainful, more politically powerful than any other force. This is supremely evident in the difference in giving between charities like water for Flint Michigan and fascist spunkbuckets like Jordan Peterson’s patreon. The latter is way more successful. Likewise, in internet wars between haters and people who want to make the world a better place, haters have more stamina.

I know why hate is more profitable than love, why selling hate is always more successful than selling the common good. It’s because doing good things costs effort, sometimes nominal, sometimes a lot. But it always costs something. And hatred? It actually gives something back to haters, gives them pleasure.

So imagine this. Two lines. One, you go to put in a penny for charity. Oh, easily done. Why not? But if you’re a little busy or distracted, you might miss it. Line Two, you go to eat a free banana split. Hey, maybe the banana split costs a little money, but it feels good to eat, right? Motivation. Whatever good feeling you get from the charity is remote, high-minded, fleeting and ephemeral. Line two is sweet food in your mouth now.

So far I’ve mostly stayed away from sexual metaphors, but that’s a mistake. Because I genuinely believe the pleasure slyme pitters nazis rethuglicans terfs dominionists and daesh get from hatred is – if not always sexual – sex adjacent.

There was a bit of pop science that did the rounds on the internet a few years ago saying it determined looking at pics of cute animals lights up the same areas of the brain as looking at pornography. Why? I’d guess it’s because they’re visual information that speaks to a kind of sensory pleasure. You can pet a cute animal, get busy with a cute human, something like that. And I guarantee you that when Roseanne Barr or some other nazi sees a swastika or a racist meme, that same area of the brain lights up.

The movies American History X and Romper Stomper both included scenes which equated glorying in racist hatred with sexual energy. Fairuza Balk said the N slur with flared nostrils, heavy breaths, dilated pupils. Boned Norton with the same energy. Russell Crowe reading from Mein Kampf during naked time with his main squeeze. Those directors were reading the same thing I’m seeing in the fascist thugs running the world right now. Sleazy pleasure.

So here’s the math: Good deeds don’t feel amazing, and Evil deeds literally help some bad people get their rocks off. Therefore there will always be an energy differential that favors evil in the world.

We can try to ameliorate it by seizing platforms, seizing the means of production, stuff like that. But we’d be a lot more assured of success if we could figure out how to change the math. Maybe we should all train ourselves to get horny for goodness? That’s a joke, but I’m serious about the aim. Can we, by seeing the math at the core of our problem, find a way to change the equation?

I hope so. I can’t see how, but I hope so.


Total War on Climate Change

Content Warning: Apocalyptic Environmental Problems. Really think twice before reading.

Do we give a shit about the world or not? About the human species or any others? About our own lives? Do we want to live in a disgusting hellpit – assuming we’re capable of living at all, when this is done? The latest IPCC report on climate change is a real motherfucker. Forty years until all the coral reefs die, even if we start doing things right this instant. That’s just one aspect of it.

The worst part is that we don’t know what effects that level of environmental devastation will have. Everything is interlinked in ecology. The coral reefs alone dying out (surely there will be more direct damage besides that) could have a knock-on effect that kills almost all non-bacterial life in the ocean. That could happen.

And some of that life helps regulate global temperatures – photosynthetic algae and the like. So what if that stuff dies off and the rate of greenhouse gas build runs away, beyond expectation? We could already be a dead species walking. That’s right. Even if we dropped everything right now and waged total war on climate change? It could already be too late. We could all fucking die over this.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the captains of industry and gold digging political bros for fucking our species to death for money. One love, baby. Capitalism is the only economic system that works with human nature. Human nature is to extinct itself like locusts gone wild, so, like, top marks my dudes.

What I’m here to say is this: We need to declare total war on climate change. In WWII we restructured our economy with fervor to meet the challenge of that time. Well the challenge now is, arguably, a lot more dire. Making “carbon markets” and all that kinda crap? Insufficient funds, man. It’s time to go all out. Now.

It might be too late, but at least if you get on board with this, you can say you died fighting. Any of you captains of industry and pet politicians not on board? You’re pissing on your own graves, fiddling while Rome burns. See how far that gets you.


The Resistance, Part One

Work and home life have me running, not sure I can moderate this conversation once I start it. But I think it’s time. Rpjohnston in the comments at Pharyngula mentioned the “Seven Mountains” of Dominionism that helped bring our country to its current horrid state, suggested we could use something like that of our own – an agenda for world domination, basically. So. Here goes:

Ask yourself why the right wing so consistently wields power beyond what they should in a truly democratic society? Why are they able to put forth a unified front the likes of which the left seems unable to muster? There are a lot of reasons that we can’t do shit about. They have the money, they have us so overworked and ragged that we don’t have the energy to fight at the end of the day.

The money especially is at issue. The right exists to serve the wealthy and has since the term was coined. Since politicians are usually wealthy, even the most progressive of them have a vested interest in supporting that agenda. Democrats might want to help the poor in some vague abstract way, but since it serves their families to let Republicans have their way, they just can’t get up the will to fight that hard.

If we want to win, we’re fighting against odds that are completely unfair. We have more bodies to sacrifice if it comes to attrition, but who the hell wants it to come to that? And money has ensured that people power will never be enough to tilt that scale.

There has been some progress made in the social sphere, against sexism and homophobia and racism. The shrieks and bellows and ostentatious evil of those in power are evidence of that progress. We need every approach, all hands on deck. It won’t be enough in itself, but we can look at where progressives have succeeded and try to amplify what has already worked.

This is where I may run afoul of some good people. I think we wouldn’t have the few advances of today without call-out culture, without naming and shaming the perpetrators of evil. What is #MeToo, if not the ultimate ongoing call-out? Call-outs can be too extreme, can cause bad problems when they get out of hand. But let’s not toss this baby out with the bathwater. This is an important baby.

I’m running out of juice for tonight, but let me put it to the crowd – What has worked? Where has human progress been achieved, even in this terrible moment in history?

Trump to put the Swastika on his Forehead?

Word from Reuters is that Trump is planning to remove white race terrorists from the sights of the “Countering Violent Extremism” program. Racists are not being shy about taking this as a nod of approval from the muffuckin’ POTUS. As I was saying elsewhere, the one thing Trump could do to defy expectations the hardest, to make the world a better place in an executive capacity without selling out his Robber Baron cred, would be to make hate groups a law enforcement priority. This is the opposite of that. If this comes to pass, it is the equivalent of branding the swastika into his forehead.

Of course, having Bannon in charge of national security – a man who thinks “american jews” are trying to sell us out to the mooslims what’re gonna somehow magically conquer the USA? Intentionally omitting jewish people from the offical observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day? That biz from back in 1990 where Trump had someone saluting him with “heil Hitler” and he was keeping a book by Hitler in his nightstand?  I dunno.

Tired of living in a world where any of this can happen.  Not to sound legit suicidal, I hope everyone who has those feelings finds a way past them.  Much love.


How White Supremacy Became Acceptable Discourse

Lindy West’s article on why she quit Twitter is worth a full read. I’ve seen some response to it about how we don’t all have the luxury of quitting various social media and there’s validity to that – certainly she is at a stage in her career where it’s no longer necessary, but it helped her get there. Nonetheless, a righteous takedown on the obscene indifference of these social media CEOs.

During the article, she mentions this:

Twitter abuse was a grand-scale normalisation project, disseminating libel and disinformation, muddying long-held cultural givens such as “racism is bad” and “sexual assault is bad” and “lying is bad” and “authoritarianism is bad”, and ultimately greasing the wheels for Donald Trump’s ascendance to the US presidency.

That’s certainly true. The conversation has changed, the trolls won this much ground – It is fully acceptable to participate in our culture now, as a writer, a pundit, a person with a television platform, and be an open white supremacist. Only the cartoon version remains taboo. You have to leave your supposedly ironic swastika armbands at home, only wear them at baby showers and whatnot. Other than that, you can openly say the motherfucking 14 words.

So in your view, how did this come to pass? My guess is that this flowed from the overwhelming cowardice of the media to ever call anything racist what it is, in the name of being objective, neutral, whatever. Might have even had more to do with this shift on a cultural level than the ku klux uncles of facebook and the anime nazis elsewhere.

Whatever the cause, I don’t feel optimistic about a solution. This stage of history feels like part of a cycle winding down to an utterly cartoonish cyber-dystopia. It’s a reiteration of the 80s, only hella worse. I remember what followed that. I first came to broader awareness of culture in the 90s. That was my high school days. On one hand, society was jingoistic and militarized as all hell. The movie PCU sounded the trumpet of making human decency uncool. Meanwhile, the other side of pop culture figures tried to push a relatively liberal agenda. TLC’s promotion of safe sex in Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg, Kurt Cobain pushing the limits against our collective homophobia, things like that.

Whatever liberals wanted to do, the whole time they had this weird postmodern attitude of civility about it. No sense of the danger. Being conservative was just a different way of knowing, southern pride was totes not about racism. As En Vogue said, “Free your mind and the rest will follow. Be color-blind, don’t be so shallow.”

So if that’s what we have coming next, what will it look like? The Fourth Reich and its pets in the Fifth Estate will clink glasses at the galas. Liberal pop culture figures will tut tut knowingly at different galas. The rest of us will learn what it’s like for your whole country to be a futuristic slum. Everyone slaving to scrape by and failing to do so, selling your organs for cash, daydreaming through the media we drink in between 12 hour shifts at the flesh farm, forgetting how things used to be slightly better and therefore never registering just how much we’ve been ripped off, how far we’ve fallen, how fucked everyone except billionaires truly are.

So, like, more of the same, but worse. Always worse, until climate change and disease finish the job.

You’ll forgive my gloom, I work at a mega-retailer.