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Keep your fork there's pie!
08 May 2017 @ 09:48 am
I couldn't get the import to work correctly and gave up. It's not a huge priority for me right now, but I'll get around to it eventually.
 
 
Keep your fork there's pie!
I am utterly frustrated with the post-truth, fake news world we live in. I LIKE facts! I LOVE science! Climate change deniers, STFU already! Lately, though, I've been facing some uncomfortable situations that find me nodding along with seriously alt-right-leaning thinkers *shudder*. I don't agree with everything-- or even most things (that whole "White Supremacy" idea, what the aich-e-double-hockey-sticks are you smoking?)-- but some things.

In brief, the particular thing I'm contemplating is the proposed existence and machinations of what Caitlin Johnstone calls the deep state. The deep state is a manifestation of unelected authority, relevant to me as it exists in America though present elsewhere in the world. You can google it if you want, but you'll get some pretty coo-coo bird info along with the popular theories about it.

In her words describing the deep state, Caitlin Johnstone says that: "the concept of a deep state in America is not some kind of wacko conspiracy theory. It doesn’t refer to some cloaked cabal of Jewish elites who meet in the forest to sacrifice children and greet each other with esoteric handshakes as in the straw man that so many corporate media outlets are fond of attacking, but refers rather to the self-evident fact that unelected power structures exist in America, and power structures tend to form alliances. The donor class, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, big oil, the military-industrial complex, various aspects of the intelligence community, the corporate media, national security officials; all of these overlapping and interconnected groups undeniably exist, undeniably wield immense power, and are undeniably not elected by the American people. There is no factual basis on which to deny any of these things; the only thing that can rationally be debated is how they behave. The term “deep state” exists for use in that dialogue." [emphasis mine]

Acknowledging the deep state has led to some very strange bedfellows. Chomsky, meet Breitbart. Breitbart, meet Chomsky. Now go run along and play, children, and no biting.

The idea of the deep state is not a new one. Former socialist American radical James Burnham called it the managerial class and wrote a book about it. He was also editor and a regular contributor to America's leading conservative publication, Ayn Rand-loving & media darling of the alt-right, the National Review.

How did we get from socialist radical to the National Review in one dude? Say it with me now: WAT. Burnham had some sound philosophy but a seriously troubling hard-on for power. Even Orwell smacked him around on it. But I digress.

Over time it has had many names: the ruling class, the Alpha class, the transnational capitalist class. In recent days, in addition to the historical power-weilders the deep state has come to include financial institutions and, in some corners, the media. And this co-mingling of power, propaganda, and the press, my friends, is where the current shitshow of post-truth and fake news comes in.

This involves a number of recognized facts:
- The American legislature is legally protected to lie to the American public, both in wartime and in peacetime.
- The American Government has indeed lied to us in order to create a case for war, which costs lives.
- Currently the MSM is lying to us in a laughable, 6th-grade production value style, and
- The one person calling them out on it -- for being skeptical, mind you, and asking proof before committing acts of war in our name and with our families-- is being attacked by both sides. "The Democrat that Republicans love and the DNC can’t control?" She was the first female U.S. Representative to endorse Sanders, fer chrissakes.

So, what do you think? Is this legit propaganda or am I wasting my precious free time reading conspiracy theories? Propaganda looks a lot like news, y'all, even when it's in our language.

Viva free press and think for yourselves, darlings.
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Keep your fork there's pie!
04 April 2017 @ 03:40 pm
I joined Dreamwidth (same handle if you want to find me) and Quora. See you in the elsewhere, friends?
 
 
Keep your fork there's pie!
04 April 2017 @ 03:18 pm
I had an idea about this and forgot it. So I'm just leaving this here in case I remember.
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Keep your fork there's pie!
02 March 2017 @ 03:43 pm
I've rejoined the job search with earnest. Looks like I'm working in Bellingham or Marysville. The idea of commuting to Seattle is too dreadful to contemplate, even though that's where all the jobs are.

Maybe I'll just go to work for the local hardware store, walk to work, and have done with it.
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Keep your fork there's pie!
20 February 2017 @ 12:13 am
I hope this letter finds you well. I'm writing to say thank you-- thank you deeply, for everything you do. I know our last parting was-- can we say unlovely? Unpleasant, for everyone, if only you and I noticed? Oh, I know it wasn't all your fault, and it wasn't all mine, really, though you may be more in a hurry to assign blame than me, so who knows?

But please hear me: I am so very grateful for every thing you do, really. Look, I know you tried your best to steer me toward your expectations, and though I am reluctant for the bit and bridle I tried, you know, for the greater good. I thought we all had that in mind, didn't we? I was surprised as you were when I found myself in a corner. Mercy, am I glad we got out of that without more bloodshed.

But that's all water under the bridge, I hope? You do so much good, and I have so much to offer. Let's be friends, can we? Because otherwise the fate is too terrible to contemplate-- we both still have to live here, after all. And don't we love it here? Can we agree to love it here? Isn't this quest for acquiescence and mutuality what brought us here in the first place?

Oh, our fallout was quiet, but let us be loud for once: WE FUCKED THIS UP, but now we're trying to be better. I'm sorry, my friend: can you afford to be loud? I sure as hell can, in fact I can afford little else. I don't have much time left.

Warmly,

JX
 
 
Keep your fork there's pie!
14 February 2017 @ 10:16 pm
I lucked into the best in-laws ever. Sure, they're straight in some ways that perhaps isn't exciting, but they're awesome in other ways I could never have imagined.

I have sisters, proper ones. Not torn from the wretched womb or of second marriages, but friends forged in the crucible of shared experience. They're magnificent women and I love them.

Iko and I went shopping for toys for the niblings. It was ridiculous. I came home with a stuffed manatee and kiwi bird, a toy tractor and a squirrel puppet. Iko bought a Duplo set and some more toy cars. We have a sippy cup coming from Amazon for the littlest one.

He is so good with children. He thanks me for not having our own; for the space to be Uncle Andy-- which he does so beautifully. But is our voice in helping raise these children any different, ultimately, than mothers and fathers, or any other teachers?

On Children
 
 
Keep your fork there's pie!
13 February 2017 @ 02:38 pm
I think part of what I struggle with when it comes to social media is that lately I'm trying really hard to be present and think critically. I believe social media platforms are specifically engineered to trigger attention (click bait, anyone?) and thus unfairly short-circuit my efforts, and I resent it. I don't like most advertising for this reason.

I also understand it is folly to reject these forces, for the world in which we live is constructed of them and saturated with them. To try to divorce oneself completely would never succeed; I'd end up a frustrated wreck and I'd still find myself feeling manipulated (see also: institutional racism and Howard Zinn's You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train). Better to take up humility, wry awareness, work to become a more awesome fellow human, and try to keep a sense of humor about it all.

That said, this post-truth hogwash drives me nuts. Partly because SCIENCE, dammit, and partly because holding myself to the standard of thinking critically means occasionally I have to choke down evidence of ideas I find distasteful. Blogger Jim Wright over at Stone Kettle Station has a couple of good essays on this, Blind Spot and Blind Spot II. I've been trying to unpack my own hang-ups around this for a while and it still trips me up (because SCIENCE, dammit, you can't fuck with the SCIENCE). Intellectually I understand that presenting facts that don't align with someone's strongly held beliefs not only doesn't change their mind, it's likely to backfire: they'll stubbornly stand by their argument anyway and now they're not listening to you anymore. Such is how corrosive echo chambers are born.

Emotionally, I also understand that calling someone and idiot and a liar for believing what they believe, science or no science, probably makes you a jerk. But man, I really did try to open up with people I disagreed with, set aside my emotional reaction and get past the stupid red team/ blue team banner-waving nonsense into something real. At best my results have been mixed. Sometimes we'd emerge from the encounter feeling mutually respected and moderately triumphant; other times we'd come through mentally black and blue with no one feeling good about the exchange. I try and learn to choose my battles carefully enough that I don't end up in the loony bin, but not so carefully that I paint myself into a different kind of echo chamber.

We create our realities. We build our beliefs. Our beliefs inspire passionate acts. Beliefs should be subject to scrutiny; realities are remade and perhaps passions burn less bright for this consideration. I like passion, darn it. I'm a bit sad to feel it diminished. Sometimes it seems like too high a price to pay and ferocious zealot-ism might just be preferable to enlightened insight. I believe that compassion is a different kind of inspiring force, a powerful one. But I could be wrong. Who knows?
 
 
Keep your fork there's pie!
10 February 2017 @ 12:50 pm
I've been pretty murderously depressed since November. Leaving work was the trigger, then President Bozo happened, then the holidays. In December I broke up with FaceBook; I almost never look at it now. Too much time-wasting noise for me there.

It feels terribly irresponsible to be out of touch because the threats of loose cannon politics that I don't agree with are very real, but my first attempt at trying to engage online almost did me in. I cried nearly every day. Armed with the justification that I do this to save my own sanity I resolved to spend my precious life energy on things close to home instead. I re-read 'A People's History of the United States'. We've started hosting a weekly game night, which sometimes brings herds of gleeful shrieking nieces and nephews with their parents and sometimes just a couple of friends show up. I go for walks every day. I drink too much.

Even more than I miss the spark of creative vitality is the persistence of hopelessness. So great is this boring malaise that I can't even really muster any fear or surprise or anything about it. Intellectually I understand that this ought to set off a warning klaxon for my well-being but I can't be bothered to even care about it.

Just this week I started listening to the news on the radio again. There are moments when a reckless lightheartedness about the ridiculousness of it all comes over me and everything seems really funny all of the sudden. In these moments I can see a way through to better days. I'm on the upswing I think. I hope.
 
 
Keep your fork there's pie!
06 February 2017 @ 10:05 pm
Papa  
I remember being a teenager and falling asleep with my father in his bed. Eventually he curled up next to me and cuddled close. At the time I was perhaps too old, and definitely too violated, to accept this closeness as anything but at least a discomfort, if not an outright threat (I believe he meant no harm, he was not the one that did any). I wriggled away. We fell asleep holding hands.

Looking back on it now I see how my dear old dad in all innocence perhaps had sought closeness with his little girl, as she grew up and away from him, and for one moment were perhaps daughter and papa once more. For my self-preservation I could offer him only my hand. No explanation-- that would come years later-- and confusion and layers of scar tissue surrounding this pearl of a regret for a lost moment for me.

He's been gone sixteen years. What would I give to be able to hold my father close now?