Now that the dust has settled from the long-anticipated Jim Comey testimony, I have had some time to reflect on it. The former FBI director presented himself in earnest fashion and continued his “aw shucks, I did my best” boy-scout routine for which he is well known. Overall there were no bombshells, despite what the pop media claims. There was some confirmation and a whole lot of innuendo (Something at which Jimmy excels and uses masterfully). The most important moment, I believe, is his explanation for why he began writing memos: the first meeting with Trump. Everything that came after this is merely a detail, since that first conversation set the tone for whatever followed. I tend to look at history and human interaction as one long chemical reaction, so this meeting was a catalyzing moment in which the collection of elements that is Comey reacted with the collection of elements that is Trump. Metaphors aside, (God knows Comey loves those) we only received the account of the catalyzing moment from one perspective, which makes Comey our narrator. The natural question to follow is: how reliable is our narrator in this case? What assumptions did he bring into that catalyzing moment? I think Comey brought in a set of preconceived notions about Trump which tainted their relationship from the start.
Today I finished watching Mr. Robot. I don’t mean that I caught up completely on the show. What I mean is that I tossed it aside into the tomb of the other shows I dropped because they didn’t make the cut. Some people find it odd that I drop shows like yesterday’s garbage, but that has always been easy for me. I am very jealous of my time. Now Mr. Robot will rust away beside the ruined forms of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The Affair and all the other victims of my jealousy. Why would I do such a thing? Well, the short answer is that Mr. Robot is a badly written show. I don’t know how else to put it. It Is not very often that I am so repulsively driven away from something. If I must, then I will extrapolate a little.
Mr. Robot is a painfully laborious metaphor for adolescent angst and daddy issues that are felt strongly by this young generation. It’s simple and boring. The protagonist is robotically controlled by his father manifested as some kind of stress induced hallucination. We’re talking high school creative project level concepts here. Aside from that not a whole lot happens. A hacker group takes down society, but not really because most everything still functions. The entire plot (and I use that term very loosely) is framed by a character that is not simply an unreliable narrator but an incomprehensible one. Obviously that doesn’t make for good storytelling. A better name for the show would be maybe “Let’s Do Drugs and Mope Around Because Capitalism,” or “Screw the System with a System Reacting to the System”. Everything evolved is involved, and the writers of the show don’t seem to understand that basic reality. In fact Mr. Robot is only superficially involved and to an extent that watching it is like a never-ending car crash somehow spiraling into an infinite navel gaze because dad wanted me to get a job.
My final argument for why Mr. Robot did not make the cut will be made in the form of a simile: Mr. Robot is like a few high school boys got high while reading about Nietzsche and computer software before somehow finding a robotic replica of Bernie Sanders’ hand and using it to masturbate onto a bunch of strawmen.
As this year’s election process carries on, I (as an independent who has never voted R or D) am more and more convinced that we are all living in the closest example yet of reality being split into two separate universes. In Universe A there is an insane racist who attacks the families of war heroes and wants to open internment camps for the purpose of religio-ethnic cleansing running against a genius and misunderstood policy wonk with the biggest resumé since the guys who actually penned the founding documents. In universe B there is a flawed but honest candidate who can bring America into a golden age running against a hell-woman who bathes in the blood of young virgins to keep her skin looking fresh for her meetings with the Saudi princes to whom she plans to sell the United States of America. Both of these scenarios are ridiculous and have little basis in reality, but that’s no fun. Reality is boring.
I often find myself in the odd position of siding with the evidence that points toward this boring middle ground. I don’t believe Trump is a crazed neo-fascist racist. I don’t believe Hillary is some demon-spawned war criminal. I also don’t think Trump can fulfill much if any of his promises, and I don’t think Hillary is some kind of hyper-intelligent policy genius. But who would want to live in that world? It lacks the thrills of Universe A or B. But where do universe A or B come from? The quickest answer is: the media. Simply put, the media doesn’t want anything to be boring. They make money off of sensationalism and intrigue, and the facts of reality are often inconvenient for maintaining that profit margin. Another answer is the political cycle. The more dire the alternative, the more of a push to fight for your side.
Donald Trump has bungled his response to Khizr Khan, and I think it is pretty obvious. The biggest reason for this was due to one of his most significant weaknesses: his inability to say nothing. Having watched Khan’s speech at the DNC I can say that it was pretty much a non-factor. As far as speeches go it was not great. The media has been going on and on about how powerful it was, but I don’t really see it. Obviously their son’s sacrifice is something to be respected and not belittled, but that’s not the issue here. Is seems to me that there were two good ways Trump could have dealt with Khan’s claim that he “sacrificed nothing and no one” for America.
My new format for posting on The Feral Yawp will take the vague outline of a rambling rant on the recent events in politics and culture. Due to my [mental] inability to write out a concise post related to one topic I have decided to eschew the format of my former posts and just put down my recent observations. This first post will be comparatively short, but later on I’ll likely have more to mull over.
Obviously the media refrain, on the subject of the wikileaks email dump, that Trump is somehow Putin’s lapdog is a weak attempt at turning focus away from the damning implications of said emails. It doesn’t matter how they saw the light of day. What matters is the content. Just because a guy you don’t like turned on the lights does not distract from the myriad of rats and cockroaches running for cover after the switch is flipped.
That being said, if this is a Russian operation, then it is genius. How sad is it that the only thing Russia has to do to weaken American’s trust in their leaders is to simply show us the truth about them? Currently, as far as a battle for transparency goes, the enemy of the average American citizen’s enemy appears to be Vladimir Putin. Of course at this point one is supposed to become incensed at Russia’s meddling in our election process. Not really. As someone who wants all the bums out, I say bring it on Vlad and make them squirm.
David Brooks has once again proven to be entirely out of touch with the general political conversation in America. By general I mean the conversations happening during lunch breaks, the conversations through cigarette smoke or over beers, the conversations that accompany barbeque or a bar’s neon lights, the settings of political conversation all over middle America, a place even he admits he has ignored for far too long. In a recent article titled “If Not Trump, What?”, Brooks reveals, without due shame, his realization that he has been entirely disconnected from whatever circumstances have attracted republicans, and much of blue-collar America, to Donald Trump. Elitists be not afraid, however, since he avoids learning any enduring lessons in the process or tackling any real ideas, aside from their shallowest definitions.
The two most similar candidates running for president currently are Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Despite their aesthetic differences and opposing vanity attributes, they are both uniquely different than the candidates they face in their respective races. Yes, they both capitalize on anger and yes they are both insurgents who break the mold, but the real similarity lies in their conflicts with their respective party tickets and their approaches to the issues about which they are most vocal.
Both Sanders and Trump are relatively unconcerned when it comes to foreign policy. Yes, they will answer questions when forced to, but unlike the late Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton, they do not build their soapboxes atop grand models of global interventionism. The Donald complained loudly a few debates back about the amount of expenditure lavished upon regime change pet projects overseas which garner intangible and incomprehensible benefits for the American people while our roads and bridges crumble back home: “We have spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly, … if we could have spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges and all of the other problems, our airports and all of the other problems we have, we would have been a lot better off — I can tell you that right now.” Back in February of last year Bernie Sanders argued for his proposed infrastructure bill by arguing that it would be far cheaper than the Iraq war and actually provide a tangible benefit for the American people. They make essentially the same argument on this point, much to the chagrin of the DC war party which is supported by both Democrats and republicans.
Brussels was just attacked yesterday and dozens were killed. It’s like rain now or some astronomical phenomenon we see every few weeks. I was not shocked one bit when I saw the news. In fact, I was actually surprised there was no major attack in Europe for so long after Paris. Unlike many who reacted to November’s attacks I have no problem with sending prayers and good vibes. After the grief though, there needs to be a coherent response. I’m pretty laissez-faire when it comes to security and intervention. You could call me Newtonian. Crack down too much and you get push-back. The worst time to field opinions on next steps is when everyone is reeling from a disaster. That being said, I’m not reeling.
If ISIS is to be believed in their claim of sponsorship and that the reasoning behind the attack was Belgian involvement in the Middle East coalition striking at the caliphate, then there seems to be a bit of a catch-22. The West, in attempting to keep ISIS from gaining power, is intervening in Iraq and Syria. The reactive force results in attacks in their backyards. So in response the West tries to wage war as delicately as possible to avoid civilian casualties and bad optics. This draws out the conflict and gives groups like ISIS more time to develop counter-actions. In trying to minimize damage, the West merely moves it around. Continue reading
Sometimes one comes across people who are in the wrong business. Occasionally it is so obvious that one is not entirely sure how they do not see this themselves. Luckily for many of these sorts of people, delusion is often at hand to stroke their egos and strike them blind when confronted with their proverbial ‘swing-and-a-miss’ predictions and proclamations. One of these people whom I have taken notice of lately is H.A. Goodman. Goodman is a Bernie-bot who is so slovenly devoted that he has transformed into one of those feeder fish who suctions onto the underbelly of a shark for shelter and sustenance. The problem with being one of these underbelly feeders is that your success depends almost entirely on the success of the host. Thus, the parasitic fish in question, while writing on the bastions of journalistic excellence known asThe Huffington Post and Salon, paints a picture in which his shark is the baddest and most unstoppable creature in the sea. It would almost be sad if it wasn’t so damn entertaining. Continue reading
Yes he is. Before I go any further I want to explain exactly what I mean. Trump is a rock star in his persona and his approach to the political machine. He relies heavily on cult of personality: people may not like his positions but they still choose to support him. He is bold and boisterous and he knows how to give the people what they want. Like many rock stars, Trump wears his vices on his sleeve. He makes no apologies for his wealth or past transgressions. He shows no respect for hallowed institutions: see American media, the pope, the sitting president, the former president, general decorum, and pretty much anything else. This is why people love him. This is why people love rock stars.