Sandy Hook Promise: Broken from the Start

https://youtu.be/b5ykNZl9mTQ

Today affords an interesting test of Twitter’s benevolent pledge to shield its users from distressing, problematic content, for this is the day that an organization known as Sandy Hook Promise posted a video titled “Back-to-School Essentials”. The video begins with anodyne footage of chipper boys and girls opening their lockers and sitting down for class, but before long, we learn these kids are dodging a mass shooter, who has entered their school and is opening fire. Surreality is the leitmotif here, as the glossy cinematography and insouciant soundtrack clash with the grim action—and the effect is as sickening as it is haunting. Yet, the terrifying nature of this video, which ends with a young girl silently weeping as she accepts that she will never hug her mom again, hasn’t slowed its spread: already, it’s been watched five million times, and retweeted sixty-three thousand more . . . uh, make that sixty-five, as the counter has rolled over twice in the time it took me to write this paragraph.

Hmm. The video, “it’s been watched”. Something kind-of creepy about the using the passive voice in this instance, don’t you think? Well, anyway, the video has inspired . . . hmm. The active voice isn’t much better. Let’s try this again:

The people of Twitter are holding a thoughtful and respectable dialogue on their reactions to this video. Joking, of course: browse and you’ll bear witness to the same uninspired melodramatic ad hominem attacks that define every debate on the public’s access to guns in the United States. You won’t find much in the way of intellectual stimulation ‘round these parts, although, every once in a while, you find a neat statistic. In this case, a user named Bob Slydell observed that the chances of a school shooting occurring are smaller than one percent. His reasoning? There are more than one hundred and thirty thousand schools in America—although “schools yet to be shuttered and bulldozed because their local governments would rather spend their tax revenue reconstructing a football arena” is probably more precise—and our country was the scene of twenty-three different school shootings last year. Goodness, didn’t you think there had been so many more? Doesn’t the media suggest that there is at least one such shooting each day?

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“3 from Hell”: Rob Zombie Digs His Own Grave

Batman Begins ticket

The most painful stage of enlightenment—or, less pretentiously, overdosing on the red pill—is the moment when that which was lovely in ignorance is stripped down and exposed as a grotesquerie in knowing. Within the veiling fog, a kitten; in the cold and cutting light, a tarantula. The heartbreak of clarity is usually most destructive, at least momentarily, when we look upon our friends and our family and see enemies only, obstacles to our convalescence and growth—obstacles because they are part of the problem. Then again, if you grew up loving only art, then your heartbreak of clarity may be, through the revaluation of aesthetics, your disavowing that which you once loved. Such has been the anguish of my own awakening, my own way of choking on the red pill; still today, I tend to sit in the dark, watching the favorite films of my youth, and asking myself, “What the hell did I see in this junk?”

For the record, I still enjoy most of my childhood films, probably because most of them are actually pretty good. It’s the films of my adolescence that really puzzle me, because they are all so simple and shallow: where once I was absorbed and fascinated truly, today I’m repelled, even chilled, by a uniform emphasis on style and surface. And boy, are they violent. I wasn’t interested in violence when I was a kid, so why, as a teenager, did I become enraptured by blood-soaked orgies, like Sin City and Grindhouse and Saw, all of which lulled me to sleep when I watched them last? Something tells they offered a maladaptive release from my own misery, although I suppose one doesn’t have to be suicidal to enjoy the sight of Jessica Alba strutting around in a leather bikini.

With this revaluation of cinematic violence vibrant on the brain, the release of 3 from Hell couldn’t be any timelier. 3 from Hell is the sequel to The Devil’s Rejects, which, in turn, was the sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses, all of which were written and directed by Rob Zombie. Being only eleven years old when House of 1,000 Corpses was released, I was ineluctably enthralled by its depiction of occult savagery, even if I was still too young to understand any of its several homages to classic horror films. I was a bit more experienced at the age of thirteen, when I told my mom I was going to see Batman Begins before sneaking past an incredibly clueless usher to see The Devil’s Rejects. I’ll never forget the seventy-year-old woman sitting in the front row, filling out a crossword puzzle during the preview reel. She sat through the entire closing credits, too, and then she left the theater, disappearing from my life forever.

If you had asked me a couple of years ago, I would have told you that I expected to encounter that woman again almost as slightly as I expected Zombie to prepare a third installment in his gory and oddly ticklish series. What would be the point of bringing these characters back from the dead, literally as well as metaphorically, for an American audience that has forgotten how to enjoy this kind of thing? People don’t want to watch a middle-aged woman beg for mercy as a shaggy-haired psychotic shoves the barrel of his pistol in her panties . . . well, actually, a lot of people do, but they are no longer willing to sit in a theater among so many strangers and witness the shattering of their moral boundaries. Nowadays, they’ll feast their eyes on such creepily compelling carnality only in the privacy of their own home, where their off-beat indulgence is concealed from dignified society.

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In Search of Tulsi Gabbard, Part IV

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Disorientation and delirium abound, out there in the margins on the campaign trail. You can always count on the emergence of a number of horrid features—corruption, injustice, sophistry, turmoil—that, when pooled together, form a portrait of relentless ugliness. Accordingly, many observers—most of whom are on the outside, looking in—naively believe that the painting of this portrait is a procedural matter, that coherence invariably follows cynicism. The ominous truth is that cynicism really has nothing to do with comprehension, and sometimes the misanthrope is even more clueless than the optimist. Do you see that man who staggers down the street, swatting at pests that only he can see? Formerly, he was a cocksure journalist who prided himself on his dry pragmatism. Now he is nothing but a common psychotic, devastated by the dreadful apprehension—though not the recognition—of some tragic crime that was perpetrated against . . . what was the victim’s name? Gabbard, something? Ah, who knows: whatever monstrosity he perceived, only he can try to make sense of it now—and therefore, only he can fail to make sense of it, too.

Perception, after all, is a personal process, a private matter, and if this phenomenon has broken the madman, then he has broken internally only. We will leave him to his pain, inflicted from within, and review the catastrophic damage, inflicted from without and upon, Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign. Undoubtedly, you have already learned that the Democratic National Committee didn’t invite Tulsi Gabbard to the third televised debate; the Committee would have loved to see Gabbard on the stage, but its hands were tied, you see, as Gabbard simply didn’t poll highly enough for the Committee to think her message was worthwhile.

To an enlightened person, this is a very touching compliment: to be rejected by a Committee so irredeemably corrupt, and to be deemed unsuitable for the squalid medium that is corporate television, likely affirms that one is performing respectable work, indeed. But enlightenment is scarce in the United States, and this waving of the hand by the DNC has snuffed Gabbard’s meager flame, effectively killing whatever chance she had of winning the nomination of the Democratic Party. Why she would desire that bloodstained tiara is an interesting question, but now we are at risk of repeating ourselves. For now, everyone wants to know if Gabbard intends to suspend her campaign, if she will run as a third-party candidate, if she will hurl a Molotov cocktail through Tom Perez’s living room window, etc.

Gabbard has declared, on several occasions, that she will not abandon her campaign, which is still a campaign for the nomination of the Democratic Party. She’s still making the rounds, still making speeches in the states that hold the earliest primaries and caucuses, including New Hampshire, my home state, which she hadn’t visited in almost two months. She had been here briefly—very, very briefly: she drove from New Jersey, slept for a few hours, spoke to a news broadcaster for an hour, and then hurried to the airport—in August, but the visit was a bit too breakneck and evanescent for me to write a full article about it. Her real return, a three-day tour beginning on 09/05/2019 that would culminate in her appearance at the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention, was much more anticipated, but more mysterious, too: what does a candidate do when she is declared persona non grata by the very party whose nomination she is trying to win?

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Traitors of Journalism: Charlie Savage Steals from Taylor Hudak, Becomes a DNC Teleprompter

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Throughout this article, I will reference Taylor Hudak’s article, “2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Position on Julian Assange”, published originally on www.action4assange.com on 06/28/2019. You can, and should, read the full article at the link below. It is far more helpful and accurate than the similar article published by The New York Times earlier today.

https://action4assange.com/2020-democratic-presidential-candidates-position-on-julian-assange/

You should also visit the YouTube page for Action 4 Assange, linked below:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCasTaU6X3yCRyItNB83hnGg

There are only two reasons anyone has ever heard of my website. The first is a series of essays and articles I’ve written in support of Tulsi Gabbard. The second is a collection of videos I’ve uploaded to YouTube, wherein I ask the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates, “Do you support Julian Assange?” As you are likely—or, at least, ought to be—aware, the two are not disparate: although I agree with Gabbard on almost every political question, it is only because of her vocal, consistent, and unambiguous condemnation of Assange’s prosecution—imminent, but inevitable—that I have written so extensively in praise of her candidacy. I was delighted, even tickled, when she referred to Donald Trump as “Saudi Arabia’s bitch”, but only when I learned of her thoughts on Assange, disclosed in an interview with Primo Nutmeg in April, that I felt political enthusiasm for the first time in eight miserable years.

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Traitors of Journalism: Molly Jong-Fast, Sycophant for the Establishment

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When we speak of “the Tulsi Gabbard conspiracy theory”, our first obligation is to specify which conspiracy theory we are referring to. Are we speaking of the claim that the Democratic National Committee deliberately undermined and sabotaged her campaign by striking her name from many “approved” polls, the latter adjective assuming a newly ominous implication in light of what was happened in the last few days? If so, then we are speaking not of a conspiracy theory, but of simple and frankly unsurprising fact, fact which is accessible and intelligible to all but the most incapable of critics. To be sure, there are myriad, even innumerable, critics of astounding incapability, such as Aaron Rupar of Vox, whose grueling distortion of the aforementioned fact I exposed in my most recent piece.

This distortion, this denial of the Democratic National Committee’s corrosive influence, is the real Tulsi Gabbard conspiracy theory. This theory, rooted in a pseudohistorical forgetting of the DNC’s proven conspiracy against Bernie Sanders three years ago, facilitates the DNC’s anti-democratic tyranny in the present, and thereby necessarily facilitates the same future tyranny. Education is the enemy of the DNC, both factual and moral: factual education reveals the DNC’s ongoing history of fascistic field-tilting, and moral education forbids us to support and reward the DNC by voting for its chosen nominee, whosever that person may be.

Hitherto, I have written much in critique of candidates, in criticism of individual politicians. I have expressed my disinterest in voting for, say, Joe Biden because of his failings. But as I observe the DNC wage its internal war against Gabbard, I call into doubt the virtue of voting for the eventual nominee of the Democratic Party, regardless of who “wins” the nomination. Even if that person is principled, virtuous, intelligent, and altogether affirming, and even if that person had not conspired with the DNC, still I suspect that the person’s affiliation with the DNC is a problem, a problem we can’t solve by voting for that person, because to vote for that person is to support the DNC, if only indirectly. We must abandon the DNC as a hosting network for respectable people and look toward the other, smaller organizations—or, preferably, to truly independent people.

This idea requires further elaboration, though probably not as much as I currently believe, and we will revisit it as we are drawn ever closer to the election. Not everyone will join us, though, lacking as they are in the courage required for such an endeavor. For example, I am certain that one Molly Jong-Fast, a propagandist employed by the United Kingdom’s ironically named Independent, will prove too pusillanimous and too lethargic intellectually to do so much as to question the integrity of the mighty DNC—integrity defined morally or politically, depending on your view.

We have already disassembled Aaron Rupar’s unlettered, unsolicited response to Tulsi Gabbard’s criticism of the DNC, and in addressing Jong-Fast’s equally foolish prattle, we should not expect, nor should we endeavor, to unpackage every senseless commentary we find. However, I do see a significant, albeit very subtle, difference in these two incompetents’ approaches: whereas Rupar’s piece was pseudointellectual, seeking to expose logical fallacies in Gabbard’s complaint (of which there was none), Jong-Fast is much more interested in appealing to capricious power, to displaying her loyalty to the political establishment, an establishment in whose defense she is quite willing to write—though not at all expertly.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/tulsi-gabbard-qualify-next-democrat-debate-marianne-williamson-failed-2020-election-a9085546.html

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Traitors of Journalism: Aaron Rupar, Apologist for the DNC

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It is probably redundant to accuse an employee of Vox Media of having committed treason against the journalistic practice. Exceedingly and worryingly popular among American adolescents, Vox Media specializes in producing news commentary for the inattentive, analysis that is so cursorily composed and intellectually threadbare, the audience requires more time to read it than the authors needed to put it all together. It is coverage that is dismantled, stripped down, and ablated until it is ready to be consumed by the lowest common denominator, no matter how lazy the reader may be. This sophomoric approach could, in other instances, convey a deliberate attempt to capture and to promote the vox populi, populistic journalism, but in the case of Vox, it is just a cavalier marketing scheme, the simplest way to cast the broadest of nets, and subsequently to ensnare anyone gullible enough to accept the authors’ words as fact.

Vox is not the lowest of the low-hanging fruit, but it does dangle dangerously close to the ground, lacking even a veneer of respectability, a la CNN. The trouble with their work is so obvious, I just haven’t been tempted to tear them apart, believing I should aim at higher targets. But today, I came across a piece so wholly dishonest, I cannot and will not let it pass me by. The author of this piece is a man named Aaron Rupar, an “associate editor” of politics and policy, and it focuses on Tulsi Gabbard’s criticism of the Democratic National Committee’s polling system, a subject to which you probably do not need an introduction.

https://www.vox.com/2019/8/30/20840530/tulsi-gabbard-dnc-september-debate-exclusion

You may, however, need an introduction to the politics of Vox, but only if you have had the good fortune never to have read the website before. Vox, like Bill Maher, is unabashedly left-wing, and also like Bill Maher, it baselessly prides itself on its alleged penchant for hard, straight talk; indeed, on its constitutional intolerance to anything but. Unsurprisingly, the truth is that Vox—again, like Bill Maher—is actually a cesspool churning out neoliberal propaganda. Progressivism, according to Vox, is whatever position the Democratic Party has taken on any particular issue, and those who refuse to toe the party line are recalcitrant malcontents, useful idiots for any number of dastardly organizations, including the Russian government.

Surely you see where I’m going with this: Vox strengthens the neoliberal-neoconservative duopoly by captivating leftists, most of whom are probably well-meaning, and redirecting them, channeling their energies away from legitimate causes and towards frivolous, self-destructive rituals, not the least of which is rooting for the Democratic Party. Think of Vox—or Bill Maher, or any one of the many pseudo-progressive media entities—as Honest John, the filthy fox who uses crude sophistry to persuade Pinocchio to do precisely the wrong thing. Each individual writer for Vox is Gideon, the dopey cat who lends his clumsy hands to Honest John’s schemes.

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An Open Letter to Tulsi Gabbard’s Fans

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Hey. How’s it going? I know you’re probably not having the cheeriest of days. Heck, all you have to do is take a look outside: the rain began to fall an hour ago, just as most of us were making our way home from work or school. It feels like it has rained every day this summer—not necessarily for the full day, but for long enough to disrupt those summery vibes, to squash the insouciance that is characteristic of the season. Summer is supposed to be joyous, you see, not all dour and gloomy and solemn, like . . . like politics.

Eh, that’s probably the one subject you are desperate to avoid. You probably haven’t even looked at your phone in a couple of hours, have you? Not since the most predictable news in ages finally broke, not since your hope for a miracle was dashed: aye, it appears that the Democratic Party will not invite Tulsi Gabbard to the next presidential debate, or to any other debates in advance of next year’s general election. That doesn’t mean that you can’t vote for her, of course, but it does mean she stands no conceivable chance of winning her party’s presidential nod. She may elect to journey on in her political conquest, but from this day forth, any work that she performs to that end—and any work that we perform to that end—will be labored in the spirit of principle alone, in the dogged and indefatigable commitment to doing what is right, the results be damned.

Ugh, these are pessimistic times. “Ah, what an unkind hour is guilty of this lamentable chance.” I know you’re unhappy. I know you’re feeling down. I know you want to drink, to try you damnedest to ablate the blade that’s pressing down upon you. Please don’t drink, though: if you drink, then you might do something stupid, like write down your thoughts and publish them on the Internet. Leave both of those activities—drinking and posting thoughts on the Internet—to me, a notorious imbecile with nothing to lose. Maybe I can guide you through some of the toxicity that is flowing through your heart tonight, through the putrescence that is flowing underneath each door that you slam shut against a world of injustice. My words may not amount to a hill of beans, but if I write them down, then at least I’ll look like an idiot and you won’t.

All right, I’m gonna pour my drink. Let’s get to work.

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