Friday, September 28, 2018

The Mob That Cried Wolfanaugh.

Now that the Kavanaugh circus has moved past the hearing stage, and the social mob's Operation Fecal Flingery has failed to produce the smoking-gun moment its architects and footsoldiers insisted was the only "reasonable" outcome...stop, and listen:  one can almost hear the sound of the Never Trump Army mob suddenly remembering other reasons to deny Kavanaugh his application to the Nazgul Nine Society.

But after all this crap, will anyone care?

Boy, it kinda takes you back to the last time that a shamelessly partisan mob decided to hitch its attack wagon exclusively to a salacious sex charge, doesn't it? 

If I recall correctly, after that failure to produce the mob's desired outcome, the public suddenly just didn't have any stomach left to talk about other--better--reasons for going after the cretin any more.  "Enough," they effectively said, and not without at least some reason.

And the band played on, didn't it?

Huh.

Boy, it's a good thing that a social mob is not easily...manipulable, by Establishment players who know just how to exploit the statist impulse of the credulous.  Otherwise, it might be tempting to observe that the "woke" crowd* just got utterly hoist-on-its-own-petard-punk'd by Le Coif du Orange...who simply applied the history lesson he learned just about twenty years ago now. 


_____________________________
* And Hell's bells, but I wish these tiresome people would stop showing me reasons to give Trump credit where credit is due.  He's still a tyrant, in a tyrant's chair, continuing the work of the tyrants before him, with no sign of actually reversing course--but he is at least amusing to watch**, not least because he incites nearly pluperfect apoplexy in people who, by their unconcealed and purely partisan hatred, richly deserve to reap what they have sown. 

** I remain convinced that at least most of the buffoonery is fully intentional, which is at once refreshing and amusing, but also--observing its performance--deeply frightening.  We should not forget that for all the noise, the Establishment / Deep State is just fine with Mein Trumpf.  After all, he is still here, isn't he?  And that means that, regardless of whether anyone likes him or not, he is at least proving...useful.

'Fifteen'll getcha twenty.'

"Fifteen'll getcha twenty."

This is a saying I remember hearing the entire time I lived in Texas, all throughout my teenage years and on into my early twenties.  At the time I treated it like all the other XY people did:  as a warning, a reminder, that on the subject of "statutory rape", the State absolutely does not in any way care about mutual consent, nor about mens rea, in determining guilt.  As a male, you either accepted the responsibility to know her age, for sure, or else you knew you were taking a huge risk.

I was still an unabashed statist back then, but even given that limitation, it still seemed...wrong, that a girl could simply lie about her age, wantonly screw you to the moon over a period of months, and then just decide she didn't like you and ruin your life by running to the law, without having to worry about proving anything beyond the fact of the act and a birth date.  At the time, things like that didn't happen all that much, but they did happen sometimes, and again, everybody just kinda knew all this.  It didn't matter that the law was completely, flagrantly against everything the legal system is supposed to stand for;  what mattered in a practical, everyday sense, was that it could and would be used enthusiastically against you.  Hence the quippy phrase.

Somehow, it would strike me as amazing that Cody Wilson wouldn't have known that, too, since he's no dunce, and that particular legal absurdity hasn't exactly improved in the intervening years.

So now, as we are supposed to believe that after some years of deftly managing being an Establishment irritant, he simply abandoned all his characteristic good judgment, and handed the people who most wanted his head on a platter--people he repeatedly embarrassed--the most astonishing softball, at a most astonishingly convenient time...

...well, anyone applying the Occam's Razor principle to the topic would quickly arrive at "honey trap", as something that could easily explain all the stink surrounding this case.

I think Bear Bussjaeger has done a fine job of covering the important bits here and here, and from a "legal" standpoint I suspect he's right that Team Cretin has Wilson over a barrel with everything that seems to have happened...

...But that's only because nobody* seems interested in acknowledging that entrapment and bearing false witness are crimes too.

I read the complaint.  What struck me most about it is that there is not one word of mention that the encounter was in any way against the girl's will.  That trivial detail just doesn't matter, and the accusers know it.  The complete omission just highlights how absurd the law is.  She falsifies her age to make herself available to an online service widely understood to provide sexual opportunities for the well-heeled (hello, it's in the very name), and after an alleged encounter which satisfies precisely that description (was this her only one, or are there other johns she's going after?), in which (per the wording of the complaint) she certainly seems a willing, premeditated, un-coerced participant, now she can just unilaterally choose to go play victim and (so coincidentally) bring down the big bad printy-gunny-guy, with no consequence to herself?

Even if Wilson did have a horrendous lapse in judgment, and the facts of the complaint are exactly what they claim to be, this is not okay.  Whoever would celebrate the State's "catch" here, would do well to review a bit of Solzhenitsyn:  you may think you want a world without due process and equal protection, but to the extent you retain any of your humanity at all, you are gravely mistaken.


______________________
* Just to be clear:  I ain't talking about Bear here.  That fella seems to get it just fine.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Rest well from a job well done, MamaLiberty.

An American hero has passed.

Oh, she wouldn't rate that accolade with a lot of the modern popular set, but she's a hero to me, and frankly I seem to care less and less what the popular set thinks anyway.

She said her goodbyes in advance, and I managed to say it best over there:

When I saw this news, I had to explain to my girls why Daddy suddenly had uncontrollable tears.

Mama, I’ve never made a secret of my admiration for you. Years ago now you challenged me just exactly the way I needed to be challenged, in order to fully (as the saying goes) “run out of excuses” and actually embrace people as they are, not as what they think they are or (worse) what they think they should be. I am so much happier now, for doing that, and of course how could anyone manage to repay that kindness?

Well, I do know one thing I can do, and that is to pass it on–pay it forward, if you will–to my children, in the hopes that they will be able to remain at peace and calm in the turbulent world they will outlive me in. They already know who you are, and they came to comfort me when I told them the news.

Love you, Mama. You will be missed, but what you did for me, and doubtless for others too, will live on with gratitude and enthusiasm.

Thank you, for the attitude, and for your example.

Peace.

Susan Calloway, aka MamaLiberty, rest in peace.

Sigh.  There's another hole in the freedomverse now, and although what she did for me she did long ago now, it still makes me sad.



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Yo, Kroger. Is the craven coward thing paying off for you yet?

The following is addressed to the decision makers at Kroger / Fred Meyer, whoever you are and wherever you may be, who have now simply removed entirely gun and ammo counters, even from a store in Alaska, in response to partisan political pressure.  Let me be really clear here:  if you had a hand in promoting or making this happen--then "you" in what follows means you, personally.

Listening?  Good.  This part is important:

You are invertebrate, 
craven cowards.  

Get that?

Do you even know what the word craven means?  It really is not possible to use the word more literally.  Or more sincerely.

Harsh, you say?  Hell yes, what you've done is harsh.  Oh, me, you say?  Ha!  I'm just being honest.  It's not even comparable to say that I am responding in kind;  I am being far more polite than that.

Let's be clear about one other thing, too:

You chose this path.  

You did not have to, but you did anyway.

Oh, don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying the choice shouldn't have been yours to make.  It's your business, and I'll defend your right to make your own business decisions until my dying breath.  Even if those actions are spineless, contemptible, and misanthropic.  (Liberty does not require decency, or even mutual respect.)

But the flip side of the freedom to make your own choices, is that then you own them--at least in the eyes of decent people, who do not presume to mind the business of others.

And you do own this misanthropic abomination you now call policy.  You have chosen to hock a giant greenie at untold thousands of customers, quietly loyal to you for untold years, to the tune of untold millions of revenue dollars, across product lines going far beyond guns and ammo.  And you did it in despicably craven deference to a simple loud-mouthed mob, self-arrogated minders of other people's business, crusading with nearly comic religious fervor to forcibly impose prior restraint upon millions of people who have harmed no one.  (You are aware, I presume, that the public face of this lynch mob, prior to the transparent co-opting of its tragic celebrity by veteran partisan zealots, and its subsequent miraculous conversion into instant national gun policy experts, was best known for being unable to resist eating Tide Pods on a dare?)

You do understand, I presume, that their coercion tactics have been wildly successful on you thus far?  I mean, let's not mince words:  they told you what to do, and you could hardly heel-snap into line fast enough.

So, here are some questions for you, now that you've made this bed and have to lay in it.  Even if you're not real happy with me at the moment for being so honest and all, you really should consider what the answers are.  (Truth, and reality, do not require your agreement, nor even your consent.)
  • Do you really believe that, having caved without any real effort at all on this demand, that they will leave you alone now?  Do you?  Because either you do, or you don't.  If you don't believe it, then what's the payoff supposed to be?  If you do believe they'll go away now that you've caved, then you're as stupid as you are spineless--and QED that's saying something.
  • Do you actually buy the stank these meddlesome piddlewits are pimping?  I mean seriously:  this crowd talks as if they are selling their ideas on the basis of some sort of calculable performance, but try this experiment if you want to learn something:  ask any of these people, if they truly believe in this notion of performance, what their "tipping point" is--that point at which their chosen statistic or metric goes the other way and will cause them to agitate against forcible prior restraint, and for actual liberty.  Just watch what happens.
  • Do you think we--both the actual "gunnies", and other liberty-loving types for whom guns may be unimportant but principle still is--will simply not notice what you've done?  The complete removal of the entire gun-and-ammo counter is actually an up-the-ante move from the more well-publicized decision to ignore state law and further restrict sales based on arbitrary age.  (In my local store, the age-restriction sign still hangs above the now-simply-not-there gun counter, mockingly.)  I suppose this idea shouldn't be that surprising, since you've so clearly chosen to throw us under the bus in preference to your new policy-shouting besties, but will your gamble pay off?
  • Did you trade up, in spitting on people like me to welcome the hipster polypragmatoi?  Or did you maybe miscalculate and trade down?  If I were you, I'd pay attention to that.
  • Do you even know how many of your customers you've pissed off, by pissing on?

You could have told the meddlesome nitwits to pound sand in a hundred ways, and you could have simply ignored them into the irrelevancy they so richly deserve in a hundred more.  You didn't.  You capitulated immediately, with not even an obvious objection, much less any meaningful resistance.

The right to make that choice was, and is, yours.  The right to call it out as contemptible, craven cowardice, and pure antipathy to your customers, is mine.  

And here's the final rub:

It was pointless.

Yes, pointless.  No good will come of it.  If you don't understand that yet, don't worry, you will some day.  (I suspect there is a lot you haven't yet figured out about political crusaders;  if you think I'm a pain to deal with here, just you wait.)  

In the meantime, ponder this last question:

What will you do
when you figure out 
you've been played 
for nothing?

The late Mike Vanderboegh--a much missed voice in this tiresome age--used to love to quote Frank Zappa at moments like this, and it is with Mike in mind that I (as an unabashed Zappa fan of my own) offer this Frank-ism in parting:

Do you love it?
Do you hate it?
There it is,
The way you made it.







Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Well hello there, Diana Stormrider.

Somewhat by accident, I recently noticed the Diana Stormrider precharged pneumatic air rifle.  Actually noticed it.  I've been a bit dormant on the bangy stuff lately, and hadn't even remembered that Tom Gaylord did a series on it, just last year.


You know, that there's an interesting gun, for my contemplation of a suitable platform to come up with an airgun Scout.

Things to like:
  • Sights!  Out of the box this thing has real iron sights, and the platform looks promising both for  ghost-ring irons and even for a scout scope.  One could mount a proper ghost-ring aperture at the back of the receiver on the dovetail with little fuss, and by discarding the "open" rear sight, adding a second barrel band, and adjusting the position of the two bands, have a perfect mount for a real Leupold Scout Scope.
  • The manual safety switch is not perfect, but it is not insane like the Marauder's, and because it's in front of the trigger guard rather than at the back, it's more ergonomic than the Discovery.  It's something one could train with.
  • The interchangeable magazine and single-shot tray is good design--I would argue it is in fact the right design for a beginner and trainer rifle.  Any "airScout" really should be a manual repeater.
  • Stock is old-fashioned wood, and would be very amenable both to shortening LOP and rounding toe and heel, and also to mounting a proper Ching Sling.
  • The bolt system certainly looks pretty robust, and with a longer throw than on the Disco or M-Rod, although it's still going to be shorter than a .22 rimfire.
  • It's light and svelte, from reports, and actually looks like a traditional rifle, instead of the aggravatingly ubiquitous pistol grip pattern of most of the newer offerings.  IOW, it would rate reasonably well on Jeff Cooper's "handiness index", which is the total height of the rifle from bottom of pistol grip to top of sight system.
  • It's reasonably (reasonably) hand-pump friendly, and sounds like it may get over 20 usable and accurate shots per fill--with enough available oomph to hunt with.  

A couple of mostly minor drawbacks:
  • It uses a 3000psi fill, rather than the Disco's 2000psi fill.  That's going to be significant if using a hand pump.  The Disco's ability to deliver many shots on a lower fill pressure, albeit not necessarily at a hunting power level, does still set it apart from others in its class.
  • It's not sound suppressed--but then neither is the Disco.  This is reasonably minor, in light of the advantages.

Promising, in toto.  I find it interesting that it's offered (by Pyramyd Air at least) as a kit, along with its own hand pump.  Someone is paying attention to the success of the Benjamin Discovery!

Anyway, bookmarked for future reference and contemplation.  Interesting indeed!


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Personal heroes - because Joel asked.

The following was inspired by reading Joel's post this morning.  Apparently in responding I got a bit carried away, and all of this made more sense here as its own post, than there just as a comment.  :-)

The question was,
"Anybody else ever have the good or bad fortune to meet a personal hero?"

Well...

I have met two, myself, and for all the reasons you discuss here, I think I have been amazingly lucky, because I hold them both in even higher regard as time goes by.

Jeff Cooper 


The first was the late Jeff Cooper. At the time I met him I was in my early twenties and fantastically not-necessarily-stupid-but...dense. I'd been reading his work for the better part of a decade by then, and had been actively corresponding by letter (remember letters?) for the latter part of that time; I was at least arguably a card-stock fanboy. When the meatspace meeting finally occurred, I had the oh-so-carefully-prepared list of questions with me, the storied shortness of breath and anxiety of meeting the great personal hero of my life...and then, at the moment of truth, and to the absolute credit of my parents, I had the great good sense to realize that what I most needed to do was to let all of that simply fall away, and instead just pay attention and learn.

And he was magnificent in person. I knew even then, as a wee mental niggling picked up gradually over time, that he was by no means flawless, but somehow it was still easy to see that he was a good man, with truly fantastic and selfless gifts of attitude, analysis, and personal excellence to offer to anyone paying attention. In person, those qualities stood out even more than they came through in his writing, even adjusting (both then and now) for an instructor-mentor being "on" all the time.

As an aside, for most of my own life, it has been reasonably common for someone who has read me, to remark upon later meeting me in person that "wow, you talk just like you write"*. Whenever I hear that, I smile and think of Jeff Cooper; I don't know if that was a deliberate aspiration of mine in terms of writing style, but it absolutely was a deliberate aspiration to unapologetic personal excellence. 

Personal excellence. Along with what is unfortunately pigeonholed under the name "the combat mind-set" (because it is so much greater than that), that is one of the two great components of Cooper's legacy. The late William Grigg (who is on the short list of people who I'd have wanted to meet in person) used to write, always of others, "This is a man. Take notes." So true, here, and boy, I did. I did on mind-set, I did on personal excellence, on how he interacted with his wife Janelle (who with obvious affection he called The Countess, a glorious human being in her own right), on mentoring and teaching...very nearly the whole enchilada. This is what a role model is supposed to be like.

Make no mistake, I understand the man had flaws, the most serious of which was his commitment to a State military apparatus. He did have a love of, and even thirst for, fighting that I will never share. But, apropos of the topical core of your post, Joel, I was fortunate to have seen him, at the most critical and formative times, through a lens of "merely" observation. I was lucky to realize that I didn't need a hero to be perfect across the board; at the time I met Cooper I could very easily have set myself up for a classic fanboy fall, but that didn't happen--the not-stupid part of dumb-me, delivered at an important moment.

And that moment was truly important. It was Cooper, after all, from whom I learned about Claire not long after, and I would not have been ready for her without him--just as I would not have been ready for the larger pantheon that followed--Codrea, Vanderboegh, Rothbard, Shaffer, Grigg, etc.--without her.

Robert Fripp


The other personal hero I've met in meatspace is English guitarist Robert Fripp. As with Cooper, it is difficult to overstate how important Fripp has been in my life, and even though like Cooper the influence began with something simple and defined (in Fripp's case, music), it simply exploded with context and contact--and I would say for the same reason: the personal excellence, the talk-walking--on the very most important points to me--was so obvious that other human flaws could easily be contextualized to their proper (in)significance.

I could go on at impressive length (heard ya snicker, there) about the details of Fripp's musical impact, but that sort of thing is for the Craftygrass blog, not here. Suffice it to say that aside from my simply liking much of what he has done, the thing I admire the most is his commitment to the idea that a group forms for a purpose, makes itself available for the purpose (that wording is very intentional), and then stops, when the purpose has been achieved.**

When I met him, having both listened to his music and read his writings for just about a decade, it was on a week-long residential course he was leading, and much like Cooper, in person the man was even larger than his virtual persona. Fripp is humble without fanfare, truly excellent both with students and with his support team, and skilled almost beyond reckoning in both physical mechanics and their context in the greater whole. I would also say that a "freedomista" would be specifically impressed at how he challenges someone to grow.

The flaws he is most often accused of are, I think, telling, in that regard. Critics predisposed to disliking him have long supplied a reputation of Fripp's being authoritarian, but having worked with him for a week in a residential and educational setting, it seems pretty obvious to me that most of this is pure BS. If along with my own context I put together every story that I've heard about him that goes to this point, what I arrive at is that his style is actually the polar opposite: that he is so dispassionately committed to and trusting of the people he works with that, along with his own personal confidence and excellence within the realm of hazardous musical risk, it's simply terrifying, and people don't know how to handle an environment quite that...well, that anarchic. (He's been breathlessly accused of fomenting "musical anarchy" on at least one documentary I've seen, which of course makes me giggle.) I get the impression of someone who understands human nature very well, to the point where he simply does not bother responding to the absurd or the willfully ignorant, and of course the credulous can then easily "qui tacet consentire videtur" all that right into a self-evidently obvious explanation of passive-aggressiveness.

Anyway, as a musical role model, I know of no one better. The way he lives his life, too, while not resembling my own in many respects, is at worst still admirable for its consistency, privacy, and obvious pursuit of excellence, often at visible cost to himself. This is no pretender; if he's pretending just for fame and fortune, then he really sucks at it.

If there is to be any sort of a fall to come, with Fripp-as-personal-hero, it will most likely be because I some day discover what "his politics" actually are, and then that they are somehow beyond the usual level of atrocious (that anyone wishing to remain sane in this absurd world must put up with in order just to live among other people). One of the things I admire the most about him is that he enjoys his privacy, and does not stump for anything other than music. Based on what I can extrapolate from his considerable writing over the years, I would anticipate that one of the reasons he does not participate openly in politics, is that he might well be accused of much wrongthink--but again I would be guessing at that; I do love it that I do not, in fact, know, because he keeps it to himself.


Like I said before, I think I've been fantastically lucky to have met my two personal heroes--arguably the two most important non-family people in my life--in meatspace, and somehow come out on the far side, years later, having batted a thousand.

Others


Of course there have been other heroes, including a few of pretty significant importance, but either I have not met them in real life (e.g., Claire), or I don't consider the context sufficient to merit mention (e.g., I've met both mandolinist Sam Bush and banjoist Bela Fleck in person, but the meetings were so brief that I couldn't assess them with any real confidence).

Although I have not met him in person, I feel at least a bit honor-bound to address Massad Ayoob, who has been an incredible and positive influence on me in certain respects that I must acknowledge as heroic, but who is the best example I can share of a hero who fell from grace--or at least a hero whose uncovered flaw(s) are so vital that I cannot in conscience remand them into insignificance. I give the man full props for being, in some ways, exactly what he implied himself to be: a champion of what Grigg called the Mundanes, someone who would both freely and by profession teach you the things you should know if you need to save your life with lethal force some day. As a matter of the mechanics and considerations of doing this in the flawed legal landscape under which we all suffer, and to a lesser but still significant degree the mechanics of the physical act of saving your life in the first place, he is at least arguably without peer. I have no doubt he understands quite well, how to out the BS of those who think they understand how confrontations happen first on the street and then afterward in court, but really don't; his position both inside and outside the police and law/legal communities gives him a pretty unique perspective.

The problem, of course, is that in the end, when push comes to shove, he is by all appearances fully committed to the Only Ones mentality, to wit: cops' lives matter more than yours, and there is no systemic police problem to discuss. What I have seen, and not seen, from him on this topic is irreparably damning. He used to write about police corruption stories, you know, in almost a Peelian reform sort of way; when I first ran across him, he'd actually write about stories like Frank Serpico's--although looking back on it now, IIRC even then those kinds of stories always were rooted in the "bad apples" rationalization as well: the ultimate immunity and supremacy of the enforcement constabulary itself were presumed, and unquestioned, even then. Now? Well...I can't remember the last time I saw something under his name that addresses the topic at all, that does not simply sound like someone condescending to scold the whistleblower. The worst part about it all is that, having for years read his very useful information about the sort of "cute lawyer tricks" that can be used against you in a courtroom by unscrupulous prosecutors, I cannot help but see his repeated excusings of nearly any sort of police behavior at all, as anything but the same thing. It's become as predictable as gravity that if Ayoob writes about a police abuse or corruption case at all, these days, it is only to carry the water of Team True Blue and tell the very peasants he claims to champion, how it is always and ever not-what-you-think. Even more damningly, when asked, directly, questions that would go to the real point here--meat questions like "do you really believe that no abuse happens?", or "provide an example of what you would consider 'going too far'", or "would a regular person have been excused from this behavior too?", etc., what we hear is...nothing.

I used to care, more, about what happened to bring about this apparent change, from the writer who would champion the little guy standing up to the department, and discuss how important it is to avoid understandably misidentified appearances for the sake of one's own image with the public; into the writer who now treats any sort of systemic inquiry as de facto tinfoil hattery, automatically marginalizing any attempt even to get to the public's perception, much less addressing the legitimate question of "and do they have a point?"--and maybe I still do, as it still invokes a sense of betrayal and makes me angry. But not only is it not stopping, it's getting worse, and a reasonable person might start to wonder if that whole period of championing the little guy and pointing out the deliberate ways that the system deceives the people to serve its own purposes, was merely an advance guard to normalizing the horrors of the police state we suffer from now.

For anyone new to that topic who would like a compare and contrast exercise (it would be involved, but illustrative), I'd simply suggest reading the posts and commentary (watching how he handles the commentary is important) of a year's worth of Mas' posts at Backwoods Home magazine, covering the police abuse stories of your choice, and the posts and commentary of the same period at Will Grigg's Pro Libertate blog.

Okay, enough about that. Makes me irritated.


Finally, on a much happier note: although also not in meatspace, there is also you, Joel. Your example, for me at least, actually sums up much of what I think is important to consider in this weird, enigmatic notion of "heroism" that people seem so fascinated with.

You frequently lead, unapologetically, with this idea that you are a hermit by choice because you're difficult to be around, and didn't choose the desert for the social gatherings. I find this disclosure admirable and perfectly acceptable in a hero, who doesn't have to be anything at all like me.

Your heroism, to me, occupies a very abstract and mental place. To wit: you are easy to admire because you do what many people, myself absolutely included, desire at some level to do, but stop short for one reason or another. You're perfectly clear on what it takes to achieve it, and the risks and concerns that attend your own choices. All this is at once very hypothetical for an observer, and yet it also demystifies the experience in a way that I find extremely useful. It helps me with the life I have here, which in some ways is so very different (e.g., wife and three young kids, traditional day job, way too much time around obvious cheerleaders for Team Tide Pod and the Statist Beer Goggles Emporium, etc.), but which in others I think is functionally quite similar (e.g., the intention to live outside of the unwanted invasions of "regular" society, voluntary interdependence upon selected friends and neighbors, available retreat from aforementioned TTP and SBGE types, increasing self-sufficiency through personal learning and development)...

And finally, you live unapologetically and, I think, without real judgment. Oh sure, you like to declare the things you find absurd with wonder and even a little humor, but that's regular human being stuff, nothing recognizably like the pluperfect misanthropic malice increasingly emerging among the more socially acceptable of Master's minions. You're also the first to observe that even you, for all your choices that may seem drastic even to committed freedomistas, are also on a continuum, just perhaps in a very different place than most. That simple observation right there is more valuable, both first as an epiphany and afterward as a reminder, than it might appear.

And of course, with someone who openly (and repeatedly) declares his faults, and who regularly fesses up to his mistakes even when nobody else would ever have noticed, how could you even have a fall from hero grace? You said already that you're a 'mudge, so we knew that coming in...

If the purpose of a hero is to have a personally important point of reference to which to aspire and work towards, well hell, you fit the bill as well as anyone I've run across. Which could be considered an accusation of damning with faint praise, except that in my case the praise really isn't faint. :-)



____________________
* Usually that has been meant as a compliment, but then again I don't worry overmuch about the "TL;DR" crowd in terms of how it reflects on me. :-)

** A regular feature of King Crimson's work has been that, just as a given incarnation of the band has matured its voice and started to "succeed" in the marketplace, it dissolves, the magic having been in the listening to the muse to find the voice, rather than in the repetitive output of a matured-but-no-longer-growing voice. This is very frustrating to some people--there is obviously something in the psychology of the band name and wanting to ascribe "consistency" to it over time--but I find it utterly admirable. Part of this is that King Crimson are identified mostly in the "rock" music genre, and that is a genre that insists on consistency of the output behind a name. But not all genres are like that. With "jazz" music, by contrast, it is perfectly normal for a bandleader to form and dissolve various groups over time, often with very different styles and output. Crimson are a little different there, though, in that even though the styles of the different incarnations can be pretty wildly different, one can always feel the King Crimson muse present somehow, and it's not just the consistency of Robert's presence. People of course argue about that, but most of those arguments come from the sort of people that out their own ignorance pretty quickly.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

TwitFace Leviathan. (Sounds like a band name, doesn't it? Sadly, it's not.)

Posted here, rather than on the TwitFace, in response to one of the people I admire most, contemplating leaving Facebook for privacy concerns.

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Personally, I am very sympathetic to the opinion that the TwitFace is simply a result of Establishment players successfully and intentionally squatting on the shoulders of the blog phenomenon: historically, if blogs represented an unanticipated move toward open, decentralized (TPTB translate that to "dangerous") freedom and away from the tightly controlled, pre-Internet Establishment media outlets, then social media as we know it now is pretty easy to view as simply a means of re-capturing that monopoly control into a virtualized (and neatly toolkitted) variant of what pre-Internet media had before.

It's frustrating and disheartening, of course, to see how effective and rapid the squatting and marginalizing of the more open, freer frameworks has been; and of course at a personal level nobody likes to be snooped on, even (especially) for his own good. But if we can be appalled at the monopolists happily monopolizing, we can hardly claim surprise.

Yeah, they've got your data--mine too. Ultimately, we gave it to them. Now what? At this point it's not possible to "get it back".

The participation psychology is pretty scary, too, when you think about it. The TwitFace's primary function is to be the place to go not to care about something, but to be seen caring about something, a phenomenon which has now taken on its own name: virtue-signaling. Increasingly social media also seems to have the secondary function of acting as a court of wrongthink. And now we are starting to see the emergence of this latter idea, weaponized, being used as a deliberate political tactic. Scary freakin' stuff.

So, should everyone drop Facebook? Well, arguably yes. It won't get your data back, but delegitimizing the whole horrid idea of a centralized social network may well be the only way to stop it from metastasizing further. Otherwise it's just like an election: we keep participating, so we must be consenting somehow, right?

And yet most of us are already more hard-wired into social media than we care to admit; simply dropping it isn't a trivial step, even beyond the very real phenomenon of I-was-so-disgusted-I-was-just-about-to-drop-it-entirely-when-I-saw-this-post-from-someone-I-haven't-heard-from-in-years-and-I-remembered-why-I-joined-in-the-first-place.

I wrestle with it, but (QED) I'm still here too, just in a darker mode than several years ago. I post just once in a blue moon now (what little I write tends to go to blogs instead), and comment even less, and for the most part I'm a bit fatalistic about what data "they" have on me. Unfollowing nearly everything helps a lot with the outrage fatigue from the newsfeed, but some people are so committed to minding my business that even that can't stop it all.

For me at least, we'll see where it goes from here. The backbreaker may well be this use of the medium as an actual political weapon. If that shit escalates without sane people stopping it, then I've gotta be out--because No. Oh, hell no.

Not holding my breath, either. Instead, I'm trying to spend more time in meatspace. Most people are much more human-like there, than here.