Paradise of Storm

Tag: hillary clinton

The Transcendence of Hillary Clinton

god-of-the-sun
by Guy Walker

Everyone was busy watching Kavanaugh. His embalmed hairless face flickering against the light, his slippery greased-up coating penetrating against his accuser, like the slime on a newt or a poisonous mushroom, like he just emerged from a bathtub of K-Y jelly, his tits cold and heavy. His lips were pulled back in a menacing snarl, so as to show off his calcium-fortified teeth, and the type of predation only his kind can achieve. The country couldn’t take their collective eyes off him, nor his pitiful fraternal greed for beer or pussy or god.

What the country missed was something even more agonizing—if that is even possible. Hillary Clinton cameoed on CBS’s revival of Murphy Brown, episode one titled blandly, “Fake News”. It was only a couple of minutes, but there she was, flouting her petrified glee across our television screens once again, this squeamish reminder that she is alive somewhere, breathing, plotting to solidify her entitlement once again. Her appearance went like this: she entered the news offices of Murphy Brown, applying for a secretarial job. The balmy drollery ensued—jokes about her secretarial qualifications, her experience with email, her awesome resemblance to the presidential candidate of 2016. After all, Clinton informs, she’s not the famous Hillary Clinton. No, she spells her first name with one “l”. She then hands Brown her business card, who then reads her email address aloud: Hilary@youcouldahadme.com.

We coulda had her. What happened. She knows her name is forever ruined, but she doesn’t know why.

A study published in The Journal of Social Psychology in 1948, written by two Harvard professors, looked at 3,320 recent male graduates, and the effect their given names had on their academic performance. Those with more unusual names—say, Kipling, Bexley, Severus—were more likely to develop psychological neurosis or drop out of school. Alternately, those named John, Robert, William, had less to worry about. With this in mind, it’s important to note that Hilary isn’t a name. It’s a grotesque fragmentation of another name she ruined. As much as she wants to, she can’t change her name or identity. Her carnivorous Clintonian smile, gleaming for war, cackling for mass incarceration of blacks, advocating for further deregulation of banks. Knocking off an “l” only deepens the cannibalistic void of the insane.

Her continued pandering condescension eats away at daily posture of normal citizens. In her memoir, What Happened, immediately proceeding her failed campaign, she repeated this same smutty denialism, casting much of the blame on Bernie Sanders for not conceding quickly enough during the primaries, while at the same time echoing the same soft and heartless quips of personableness: “I have a weakness for Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers and was delighted to find out that 55 goldfish were only 150 calories—not bad!” You can hear the strategists whispering these suggestions over her shoulder: “Be relatable. Goldfish are awesome!” Like in her Twitter bio that mentions she’s a “hair icon” and used to include “pantsuit aficionado.” The predictably contrived self-flattery combusts under its own exploding nausea. Every presidential debate requires candidates to talk about their working-class parents, their first job, their overall croaking sympathy for humankind. Soon enough, candidates will discuss their favorite searches on Pornhub, their most overused emojis, their self-immolating tendencies and Netflix binges to make it through another day.

“Pay close attention to what the kids are into these days,” is the general theme of every political strategy—an overburdened hipness, degrading into the rubble of illiteracy. “One of the wettest we’ve ever seen, from the standpoint of water,” is finally more literate than every time Hillary Clinton repeated Michelle Obama’s “when they go low, we go high” moment. Every time Trump opens his mouth and lashes words together, they are the utterances of a vile and gelded ringmaster, his lips squeezing and pulsing like a collapsed sphincter. But at least everyone knows this, himself included. Hillary Clinton is different. She’s more similar to Mark Zuckerberg, a misshapen automaton who drinks water only to make us believe she drinks water, or to cool the firing electrodes behind the scanning glass eyeballs.

In emails released by Wikileaks, we know the Clinton campaign deliberately elevated Donald Trump’s chances of winning the Republican primaries, under the self-described “pied piper” strategy. In an email to the Democratic National Committee, their stated number one goal was to “Force all Republican candidates to lock themselves into extreme conservative positions that will hurt them in a general election.” And here we are, locked in a Gumby hellworld, with no way out.

Kavanaugh is clearly guilty, but if he had even a modicum of self-respect, he would just say Fuck all y’all, I don’t want the job anymore, and quietly slumber off and melt into a puddle of milky phlegm. Hillary Clinton should have done the same. She’s the Gwyneth Paltrow of politics—one of the most collectively despised individuals who refuses to accept this. So instead, she started Onward Together, another ineffective establishment Democratic project that aims to “encourage people to organize, get involved, and run for office.” She cameos in sitcoms. She declares, with cold brutality, that she’s now part of the resistance.

The horror.

The resistance. Like the anonymous White House insider who penned the New York Times op-ed about what a scoundrel Donald Trump is, and that he or she, along with many on the inside, are also part of the resistance, trying to maintain some order for refined elites.

Perhaps it was displayed best at John McCain’s funeral. The florid nostalgia of war criminals and war hawks coming together, interacting with such decorum, people liked to emphasize. Isn’t it nice, their decency, reaching across aisles? The public seemed especially swooned when George Bush handed Michelle Obama a candy. They cheered when he put his underwear on over his pants, and somehow jammed the wooden triangle block through the square hole. They threw their arms in the sky and cried with paralyzing beauty when he showed them a painting of a doggy he finished. “His ears were floppy!” he grinned. “Floppy doggy!”

Perhaps the Iraq war cost trillions of dollars, and perhaps it cost half a million Iraqi lives, and perhaps Bush was a fool at times; but at least he maintained the standard vernacular of English-speaking adults, most of the time. Hillary Clinton is the same: maybe she’s a closeted racist, maybe she didn’t support same-sex marriage until the public pressure of 2013, maybe she’s a war hawk who would only escalate military operations overseas. But at least she can poke fun of herself. And that pantsuit, it’s to die for!

When Steve Bannon most recently appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, he predicted the next Democratic presidential candidate wouldn’t come from the establishment political arena. It will be someone like Oprah or Michael Avenatti, he said, someone who’s already a celebrity, someone with a more accessible personality than the dull bromidic fuckery of previous candidates. Because Donald Trump didn’t kill politics; Hillary Clinton did. She operates in an overly calculated impossibility, a self-scripted world, in an age when too many people can see through the drawn velveteen curtains into the self-hatred and paranoiac suppression of what is referred to as decorum and decency. Because we know Hillary Clinton hates all of her supporters their rice milk enthusiasm, their genuine concern for equal opportunity, their care for other humans. We know she only sees her thronging evangelists as a gross and infected puddle of sperm, a necessary collective sin she must entertain in order to advance her way to true power, where finally, after all these painful and patient years she can stand at the cliff’s edge of a flattened world and declare herself god.

But it’s over. It’s all too late for these pallid attempts of revival. There won’t be another generation of her type, of the Wolf Blitzers reciting testaments like drowning holograms. Only the dead and dying watch Murphy Brown, like only the dead and dying watched Rosanne. The illuminated overhead signs directing our laughter and applause; the warm-up comedian massaging the festering wits of the audience. No, instead of cameos on Murphy Brown, two thousand reality stars will be outcompeting one another for the next viral video, vying for the presidency, a sudden explosion of VR Snapchat confessionals that exclaim what flavor of goldfish is their favorite. Standing in front of a rented Lamborghini, a generation of Iggy Azaleas will say, “It’s three in morn, and I’ll be dir to git dat fone biiitch!!!”

And then we will cheer.

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Victoria’s Secret, the Presidential Election, and How Nepotism Rules the World

peacock

by Guy Walker

Winter is coming. Trees rustle their last stolid leaves. Four-year-olds wear huge mittens, preventing them from Snapchatting their BFF’s. Cats gnaw on mice innards by the fire as old men sip whiskey for months on end. Most of us feel the urgency to enjoy our last shriveling dawns before the Trump presidency, before the mad glistening fascism is enforced by Scott Baio and the Ku Klux Klan. Our only remedy of course, is the night of December 6th, the 2016 Victoria Secret Fashion Show, full of its own gilded hysteria, the hypnotizing seraphims parading down their runway. More than ever, we need something to admire, some over-relished human peacock to idolize on a high stage, as if we were frantically trying to masturbate one last time before being devoured by hyenas.

But the lineup for this year’s show is a depressing list of women nobody ever liked in the first place. Year by year, the models consist more of rich, well-connected family members who have been pasteurized in a vat of polish, their lives just spectacles of birthright. The 2015 VS fashion show debuted Gigi Hadid—daughter of luxury real estate developer, Mohamed Hadid, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, who outmaneuvered Donald Trump in a real estate bid, and Yolanda Hadid, star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Gigi is walking again in this year’s show, along with her sister, Bella, and BFF Kendall Jenner—who is of course sisters with Kim Kardashian, famous because she was Paris Hilton’s assistant and then sucked a dick on camera.

The annual pageant designates itself “the most watched fashion event in the world,” with 6.6 million viewers last year huddled around their screens, gleaming at what they will never have—the men discussing amongst themselves who they’d like to fuck the most, the women agreeing that the models must all be starved and addicted to cocaine. But as all events do when they are the most watched shows in the world, they turn to nepotism—incestuous love affairs of privilege, orgies of elitism that mimic the history of the royal family.

In a way, it’s much too simple: famous people have friends; and those friends, in turn, become famous. But even worse, they have family. And naturally, family members ride on the backs of their genetically gifted relative, trying to achieve their own momentary immortality, like a secondary character in a television show who happens to get a spinoff. And if the family member isn’t already hot, they certainly have the means to become hot—lip fillers, rhinoplasty, teardrop boob jobs, cheek bone enhancers, and Botox can turn boneless demons into angels of ecstasy. There is nothing that fame and money cannot give us.

The thing is, the Victoria Secret Fashion Show isn’t really a fashion show. There may be a $3 million Fantasy Bra, and the Angels may wear wings around their VS lingerie, but like Bella Hadid confided to Harper’s Bazaar, this event is about “personality”. “It’s about the lingerie, but you also have to keep a smile on your face. You have to interact. It’s a different experience than I am really used to.” Not only did the Hadid sister admit she doesn’t really know how to smile or interact with people, she highlighted the simmering ontological physicalism that viewers so maddeningly crave: we want them to look at us, to flirt using only their smile, to tell us that all of it is possible. It’s what Norman Mailer described of Marilyn Monroe in 1973: “‘Take me,’ said her smile. ‘I’m easy. I’m happy. I’m an angel of sex, you bet.’”

The whole spectacle is a titillating episode of a reality television show. With confetti explosions and live musical performances from Usher or Seal or Lady Gaga, it resembles something close to the season finale of American Idol, or this year’s Republican National Convention—it’s really hard to tell which. It’s about advertising, ratings, celebrity, scandal.

This is of course part and parcel as to why the Hadid sisters and Kendall Jenner are in the fashion show to begin with—we plebeians prefer to root for people we recognize. It’s why Donald Trump won the presidency—name and facial recognition; he had his own reality show where he was the central personality, a platform to popularize his dictatorial fetishism.

Number 28 was the first true reality show—the Dutch precursor to The Real World, which aired a year later. Viewers could now witness the candid drama of people like ourselves, sympathize with their on-camera confessionals, root in some gruesome way for our favorite cast member. A little over two decades later, every public event on earth is a frothing nightmare of personalities. Predictably, the deep luring questions are already being asked: how will Kendall feel about being in Paris for the first time since her sister Kim got robbed there during Fashion Week? how does Karlie Kloss balance between the gurgling feud of Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian? is Bella Hadid’s nose job establishing a new trend of natural looking plastic surgery?

The nepotism of personality is the kingpin of our every fortune. Take the presidential election as the most consequential example. Many liberals are already murmuring that they would like to see Michelle Obama run for office in 2020. She’s never suggested anything of the sort—in fact, she’s only suggested how excited she is to have a more normal family life again. But the people who hope to see her take back the torch from the howling orange beast who will soon take it from her husband are merely looking at how modish and dignified she was as first lady. They’re remembering her few good speeches, repeating her “When they go low, we go high” mantra ad nauseam. Perhaps an elegant first lady, but her initial and only qualification is that she’s married to the standing president—otherwise, no one would even know who she is.

Rousing behind the idea that someone has the divine right of authority because they are related or closely intimate with another is what will turn the United States into the worst form of monarchy. It’s what Confucius advocated for 3,000 years ago—to balance “filial piety with merit”—the touchstone characteristic of a monarchy.

It’s one of the reasons that made Hillary Clinton such a terrible candidate for the first female president—her political clout was never self-made. She’s a royal automaton, a waxen effigy glued together with kindergarten paste who rode on the curtails of her husband. Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Samantha Power, they are all better representatives of the self-made woman.

The parallels are obvious. The Hadid sisters and Kendall Jenner have corralled millions of loyal disciples by making duck lips with the Snapchat doggy nose and the garland of butterflies and lilies, like some strange animal hybrid, hoisting themselves up towards unimaginable fame and fortune. The Victoria Secret Fashion Show is just their season finale. The U.S. presidential election was an eighteen-month reality T.V. show of a reality T.V. star and a royal family member—the perverse spectacle is turning back on itself in gruesome irony. The only option left is revolt.


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The End of Normalcy

hillary_10

by Guy Walker

So it begins. Trump’s four years of stammering pageantry, his hideous donut-mouth grinning at you, through your television and into your living room, the bombastic shrill of ego making all the children cry. January 20th marks the beginning of the Trump era. Or as Trump supporters call it, MAGA time. MAGA time consists of American values that make us truly great: family-sized cheesy puffs, 36-pack Natty Ice, camo for the newborn, dead raccoons strewn across the floor, and an orgiastic tailgate party that lasts until the sun explodes. Armies of pudgy frat boys emerge on the horizon, chanting, “books are for queers! drink more beer!” The oceans turn into a massive scummy cauldron, the froth of misery getting whipped up in another record-breaking cyclone. Roaches swim with flippers. Adults brush their teeth with rocks. Sex is banned and replaced with the game ¡Uno! Because the leader of the free world is reality television star Donald J. Trump.

Trumpers didn’t actually want to win. What will Alex Jones do now that he is the voice of the establishment?—he is more shell-shocked than we are. No, the Trumpers only wanted to squat in the desert with their fists raised, punching the charred birdless sky, chanting “Lock her up.” And even though they’re only repeating a cheerleading slogan that Trump started for reasons he got wrong, in a way they’re right. As Noam Chomsky has explained ad nauseam, if the Nuremberg laws were applied, every post-World War II American president would be indictable. Hillary Clinton is no better. She’s been a military hawk since her unelectable position as First Lady. She supported arming the Contras in the 80’s. She voted for Iraq, which led to the power vacuum that eventually led to the creation of ISIS. She led us to invade Libya. The most nefarious hell-encrusted individual, Henry Kissinger, praised her for running the State Department “in the most effective way” he’s ever seen. At the end of her tenure as Secretary of State, a Win/Gallup poll declared the United States as the greatest threat to peace in the world. So yes, lock her up. But lock many others along with her.

Mainstream Democratic pundits are all repeating their expected rebuttals. Rachel Maddow said if only Jill Stein voters and half of Gary Johnson voters in Florida voted for Clinton instead, she would have won Florida. The cretinous lizard-creature, Paul Krugman, also blamed Florida on Stein. Instead, establishment Democrats should examine the attenuating functions of the DNC, how it manipulates leverage for one candidate, for a candidate so soiled by scandal, warmongering, and money grubbing, that she lost to a reality television star who was officially endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.

In Michael Moore’s list of “Things To Do Now,” he advises us to command to everyone we meet—and in all capital letters, of course—‘HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!’ Yes, she won by three-hundred thousand votes, and yes, perhaps it’s possible to end the electoral college, but there is little consolation when 59 million people paraded for a fascist, one who wants to consume the world with his grubby pig-hoofs-for-hands. There’s little consolation when you realize half the country voted for torture, misogyny, and white supremacy. He wants to coat the old growth forests and the tall grass prairies and the last budding corners of ocean reef with a gold aerosol can, and 59 million people are behind him, chanting, “Paint the pandas gold! Paint the night sky gold! Give my testicles some glitter!”

I’ve read dozens of my peers’ requests strewn across social media, and they are all something to the degree of, “this is the time for love, for uniting together.” Or the nauseating meme of “birthplace: earth; race: human; politics: freedom; religion: love.” Even President Obama said “we are all rooting for Trump’s success.” He compared our national politics to intramural scrimmage. No, he said it is intramural scrimmage—it’s merely a fun game of little or no consequence. Or the ungodly acquiescent slogan of “Love Trumps Hate” pasted on t-shirts, posters, buttons, any dreary merchandise that lets you feel like your voice is being heard. Or Michelle Obama’s endlessly reiterated slogan: “When they go low, we go high.” The truth is, when they go low, we cower on scabby knees, like a boy in the schoolyard with cracker bones who’ll do anything not to be picked on. Rooting for Trump’s success is exactly what we leftists have to avoid. His success means punishing women who have abortions, deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, repealing national healthcare, ending all efforts to combat climate change, building a wall, creating a religious database of all Muslims, executing whistleblowers like Edward Snowden. His success means spreading unbridled fascism across our brittle ground until songbirds screech hellish insults and roses rot under the morning sun.

Professors at many universities canceled classes in order to allow students to cope with the emotional trauma of the presidential results. I listened to NPR most of the morning after the election, and there were at least two political pundits who began to cry on the air. I was at an anti-Trump rally the night of November 9th, and at one point the herd of young optimists began singing “Give Peace A Chance.” This is what haunts the left. Clearly love did not trump hate. Clearly the radical right has mobilized enough energy and momentum to elect their prophet of death. Clearly the Clintonian neoliberals could not engage the enthusiasm needed to charm the overwhelming majority.

Bernie Sanders had the enthusiasm behind him. He would have mopped the floor with Trump until the orange man’s scintillating neon hair smeared a residue across the bathroom floor. But the DNC conspired to paint Bernie as an atheist amongst other things, anything to discredit him as a viable candidate. They said she’s the only electable candidate, her success is inevitable. Every time Hillary walked onto a stage, it was with an air of divine righteousness, that this was her turn and nobody had the right to challenge her. And now the clan of vampire children shall lurk the hallways of the White House, their tubercular ecchymosis cursing the world forever.

There is much talk of achieving “normalcy” after this perverse election season, as if anything about this is normal or could ever become normal. After all, we can blame Anthony Weiner’s dick for fucking us and giving us Trump. The last thing the left needs is continuing on its normal route of neoliberal elitism. We need a radical left. We need to restore youthfulness, fire, and jouissance from the squabbling turkey necks of old.


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The Politics of Surveillance and the Self

big-brother

by Guy Walker

We want too much. We want to read every email and analyze every dick pic every politician ever sent. But we also want the petrified banality of our own daily online routines to be kept private. We want our intellectual stratum of Pornhub, Snapchat, naked photos of celebrities, drunken text messages, emails to our grandmothers, to be our sacred guilty pleasures. But then we also shove our personalities into the public stratosphere, yelling “Look at this goat cheese salad! Look at my face! Look at my cute doggy!” until somebody nods some vague acknowledgement from across the world and likes our most recent online post.

It’s a matter of torment and contrast. Privacy is one of the truly meaningful comforts, one that we take for granted. You’re granted privacy in the womb, bobbing in warm gelatin for nine months until you are shoved into the screaming florescent chaos of day 1 of the rest of your life. When you die, you’re packed neatly into a plush mahogany box you have all to yourself, and are lain deep in the cold dank earth until the bugs and worms make their way in and spread you across the field. There’s something perverse and orgiastic to mass graves—even when we understand ontologically that it doesn’t actually matter if we are thrown in a pit with the rest of them, we prefer a more private decay. In just the several short decades between the beginnings and endings of true privacy, we can only scramble for moments of it, cherishing them like small glowing gems in the night. Usually, we just heave along with the rest of the herd.

It’s the State, we say. It’s their fault we’re all paranoid. The State has always been an encroachingly over-curious uncle who wants to know the sum of our banalities, one that only grows more huge and overbearing the older he gets, with more tools of this queer invisible surveillance available to him. He wants to know how we actually dance like no one’s watching, and justifies his gross desire in the name of protecting his home.

But state surveillance is nothing new. Chinese general Sun Tzu wrote in his lionized paper The Art of War: “Enlightened rulers and good generals who are able to obtain intelligent agents as spies are certain for great achievements.” And from spies bred suspicion. In ancient Rome, politician and orator Cicero wrote to his friend, “I cannot find a faithful message-bearer. How few are they who are able to carry a rather weighty letter without lightening it by reading.” East Germany of course had the Stasi, one of the most notoriously repressive secret police agencies in history.

In the United States, the real expansiveness of state surveillance began immediately after WWII with Project SHAMROCK and its sister project, Project MINARET. They were espionage operations responsible for the largest collection of intelligence on US citizens in the nation’s history. The Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) and its successor, the NSA, were given access to all telegraph data passing across American borders, analyzing up to 150,000 messages a month. The NSA shuffled off whatever information-of-interest to the government law enforcement or intelligence agency most applicable: the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), and the Department of Defense.

SHAMROCK and MINARET operated without warrants and under no approval from any court until May of 1975, when the NSA terminated the two projects because of Congressional pressure and investigation. The intentions of the program were obvious: to seek out any traitors within the nation’s borders, to discover them invisibly, hidden behind the curtain of data, to rid the country of threat bred at home.

1978 saw the creation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which required a process of warrants and judicial reviews if the NSA sought to intercept certain data from a civilian. The Patriot Act of 2001 corrupted this, especially through its Titles I and II: ‘Enhancing domestic security against terrorism’ and ‘Surveillance procedures,’ respectively. So when Edward Snowden exposed the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping of millions of Americans, everybody more or less shit themselves.

Oliver Stone just released the biopic Snowden, animating the human element to the story we know so well by now. In an interview with Vice News, investigative journalist Jason Leopold explains that when Stone made JFK back in 1991, it influenced the creation of the JFK Records Act, which consequently taught us about programs such as Operation Northwoods—the proposed operation signed off by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of Defense in 1962 to commit acts of terror on American citizens and blame it on the Cuban government. Does Stone have an interest in creating a dialogue that will possibly pardon Snowden?

Julian Assange blames Snowden for trying to cozy up to the likes of Obama and Clinton in the hope of being pardoned. But there’s no reason to consider why Obama would do this—under his administration, more whistleblowers have been prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined. Introduced by President Woodrow Wilson shortly after the US entry into World War I, the Espionage Act was designed for spies—agents giving intel to the enemy, those who Wilson declared were “born under other flags.”

In May of 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, ruled that the mass collection of phone records of millions of Americans was illegal, that the Patriot Act does not in fact authorize the unwarranted collection of calling records in bulk.

So what about this election? At the first Presidential debate, there was no discussion around the more recent war on whistleblowers. At the Democratic Primary debate, when asked if Edward Snowden should do jail time, Hillary Clinton responded by saying, “In addition—in addition, he stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands. So I don’t think he should be brought home without facing the music.” Donald Trump has previously grunted that he should be killed. Then he coughed, and a cloud of Cheeto dust burst from his smutty mouth.

Lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee signed a bipartisan letter to President Obama urging him not to pardon or grant clemency to Snowden, because he “perpetrated the largest and most damaging public disclosure of classified information in our nation’s history.” Daniel Ellsberg is certainly in support of a pardon, but added, “As things stand, I think the chance that this or any president will pardon Snowden is zero.”

It’s a sinister feeling to know you’re always being quietly monitored. All the hipsters favorite namedrop, Slavoj Žižek, disagrees. He apparently loves being watched. In an interview at the International Authors’ Stage, he crudely admitted that he doesn’t care if a government is reading through his emails because he has nothing to hide, because “people are stupid,” and if someone did read through his emails it would be the comparative of showing a newspaper of Hegel’s Logic to a cow. “This is where they feel most horrified, you know, when they learn that you don’t care.” This is an old brittle position to say I don’t care if they watch me, I have nothing to hide. It’s something Snowden himself said is the equivalent of I don’t care about the first amendment because I don’t have much to say. It’s insane and inapplicable to the argument.

But indeed the surveillance system reaches beyond the NSA’s unwarranted wiretapping or its mass collection of metadata. Michel Foucault said much of Freudian psychoanalysis was guilty in its contribution to what he called “disciplinary society,” keeping the whole of the citizenry under constant surveillance, through the institutional and structural design of schools, prisons, hospitals, and work places. Even the buildings themselves are constructed in a way to best keep watch over the people within, consequently keeping them in a constant state of submission. The Orwellian comparisons have become cliche for a reason: the desire to watch over a people is only becoming more desperate and gruesome, until every post-it note and dark hole has an HD camera monitoring it.

Surveillance isn’t a secondary issue in this presidential election cycle. There is a serious dialogue to be had, one that debates a more wholesome and trustworthy approach to our national security, one that doesn’t end in more paranoia, more secrets, more prosecution of whistleblowers. Surveillance on the scale of a nation is the gross simulation of a scripted buttered hell—everyone fucking with the lights off, everyone pooping silently in the dark.

Is Martin Shkreli the Face of Beauty?

by Guy Walker

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Every time Martin Shkreli answers a question for an interviewer on television, he smiles creepily before the camera shuts off. It’s not a smile of attempted benevolence, or an inflamed erection of his forced humanity, but more of a grim praetorian spasm, a sociopathic twitch. There’s something unsettling in his comfortable insanity. It reminds us of Patrick Bateman peeling off his mask in American Psycho, or Robert Durst confessing the murders under his breath in the HBO miniseries The Jinx. For a flash there, we see Martin Shkreli the man, the pomaded madman who masturbates to videos of pigs squealing and glaciers melting, his nostrils flaring, his mouth contorting as he pulls nearer to ejaculation. Everything else is just theater.

When the 32-year-old founder and CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals skyrocketed the price of Daraprim, the out-of-patent drug from the early 1950’s used to treat toxoplasmosis, AIDS, various cancers, and malaria, from $13.50 per tablet to $750, the Internet shit itself. Overnight, he went from being a banal rich kid to “the most hated man in America.” Initially, Shkreli seemed to welcome the controversy like a bit of unexpected fanfare, replying to tweets with a sardonic in-your-face sense of victory. When asked how he sleeps at night, he replied, “You know, Ambien.” When a journalist tweeted, “I think the hole you’ve dug is deep enough,” he simply and beautifully replied, “uh, f u.” He said the medication was still underpriced, offering cheap puns about him making a killing from the slowly dying. But in the days since, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) disassociated themselves with him, and Presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and even the orangoutang fuckery of Donald Trump have ridiculed Shkreli’s actions. Every media outlet, every politician, every alcoholic blogger has made a point to vilify Martin Shkreli as this week’s whipping boy in our paradise of storm and hell.

And for good reason. Shkreli is clearly vilifying the sick, capitalizing from an already crooked system, and should be condemned by the masses of Internet automatons, counting their Facebook likes on their most recent Shkreli meme. This public outrage crops up every now and then, as if we need to point to someone, and yell “Him! It’s his fault! It’s his fault the world is fucked! It’s his fault my love life is horrible!” But eventually the clamor fades, and that person returns to his or her damp morsel of life. Walter Palmer, the lion-killing dentist lasted a minute, and has since returned to picking out the plaque from 13-year-olds’ fetid mouths. The Kim Davis controversy is fading away, as she is now shuffling around her office peacefully again. Bill Cosby has returned to making weird faces to himself in the mirror. Darren Wilson is somewhere. George Zimmerman is selling his paintings of Confederate flags in an anti-Muslim gun store. Josh Duggar is touching Barbie dolls. And eventually Martin Shkreli will return to his quiet grotesque desert, gnawing on a bloody steak, nothing ever changed in his beige empire of dick.

When the media obsesses over figures like Shkreli for a day or two, or this past week when Pope Francis visited the United States, thus monopolizing all media attention, it seems as though the Syrian refugee crisis is no longer a crisis, or Russia’s involvement in Ukraine and Syria is of little public importance, or climate change is no threatening us at our front doorstep. It’s the media’s own attention disorders, or maybe it’s our own.

In a way, it looks as though this time it’s different, that the public has gained a bit of ground, as Shkreli recently said he would reduce the price-hike to a lower undeclared amount “in response to the anger that was felt by people.” One may even argue that if the public rallies hard enough, if it writes enough inflammatory blogs, or posts enough memes, that it will pressure bad men to make good choices, that there will be some sort of vague democracy, that all our indistinct clicktivism will bring about another chance at decency. After all, Internet activists released Shkreli’s OK Cupid profile, his home address, his telephone number. His ex-girlfriend posted his messages he wrote her five years after they were separated, saying he’d pay her $10,000 to lick her pussy. $10,000 for a bit of wet nostalgia. This is revelatory in itself—it shows the shadow of the insane, another symptom of the power-and-slave dialectic. Nietzsche’s concept of kraft versus macht in his Will to Power, is, as everyone knows, where Martin Shkreli has failed. Humans’ will to power is the central motive to our lives, scrambling for the highest position in life, in which kraft is an agent’s primordial animal strength and is then channeled or overcome by the Self, the finesse of power known as macht. But for Shkreli, he is all macht and no kraft. He flexes the body he doesn’t have, like a madman with Klinefelter syndrome. He wants to control the world but he is a desperate teenager who can’t get girls.

Noam Chomsky called today’s GOP—of which he hesitates to call it a party—a “radical insurgency.” We know the madness of today’s GOP at least partially stems from a religious fanaticism, from a rejection of the constitutional separation of Church and State. Martin Shkreli and the cult of the sociopath are a little different.

When madness, hysteria, and misery creep in through a shadow, and somehow fester and copulate until they are as normal as ugly people in the Mid West, when the incest of paranoia tramples the landscape, then groups of people who once governed with reason and decency become the occupants of the madhouse. Martin Shkreli is not one of the rare awful fucks of human beings to hold power (and in this case the health and lives of thousands of people), but merely a single member of the huge scale of madness and gluttony.

Based on varying studies, anywhere from one percent to four percent of Americans are psychopaths—unable to empathize with others, increased risk taking, superficial charm, and skilled manipulation of others—whereas an estimated ten percent of those in the financial service industry are psychopaths. Then of course there is the steep increase of almost psychopaths—the darker shade in the continuum of personas. No one has officially diagnosed Shkreli as a psychopath, but it doesn’t really matter. His actions are clearly without empathy for human life.

Demonizing Shkreli is important only because it gives a face to the problem, because we can identify the features of the guilty, because it is not enough to discuss Foucault’s Madness and Civilization or the constructs of commodity fetishism. It’s not enough to say “dismantle capitalism” over and over again, but it’s not enough to demonize only Martin Shkreli himself. Eventually, we will forget about him, and others like him will pop up in their various perversions of power, commanding the sick or the gay or the black or the women to bow before them and suffer. And we will remember Martin Shkreli, offering his ex-girlfriend $10,000 to lick her pussy, tweeting privately to his mother: “I am under attack [frustrated face emoji]. I need inspiration. I need inspiration to create the empire of AIDS and cancer and micro dickpics I’ve always wanted. But most of all, I also need thinspirations for my yoga body. btw, I cheated and got extra croutons on my Caesar salad. [wink face emoji, girl dancing emoji].

And Martin Shkreli bashes his head into the padded white walls, asking for more soup.

The Dawn of Fetishism

by Guy Walker

This man wants to rule the world.

After the initial depression-induced hilarity fades from watching a Republican Governor who is running for President do push-ups in a miasmic display of retarded cryptofascism, and you are left wondering what obscenity did you just witness, wondering if you should call your children to come inside and lock all the doors, if you should drink a handle of whiskey immediately, if you should punch a wall, or even worse, post it on your Facebook page  .  .  .  after all that fades, you are still left wondering, How did we degrade the body politic into such an androgynous ass of failure? How did this man (if what he is can be called a man) corral the masses to elect him as their guardian and governor?

I wonder sometimes if Jefferson and Paine feared the inevitable collapse of Reason, if they knew the Dawn of Fetishism was near the horizon. My elders tell me it’s always been bad, we’ve always been dissatisfied and antagonistic towards the State, that my despondent routine is nothing original  .  .  .  even Plato believed all existing governments were cheap corruptions of virtue, and beyond redemption. In Greek, The Republic can also be translated as The Ideal State  .  .  .  Plato was a philosopher of idealism, of unachievable Arcadias, unmolested landscapes for Pan. Given this pretext, humans are flaccid emerald-nutted slaveholders, dressed as clowns, twirling in their tents. Bobby Jindal doesn’t have a chance at winning the presidency. But his cruel attempt at trying to be fun and relatable isn’t the exception. Ted Cruz did impressions of characters from The Simpsons; he also grilled bacon wrapped around the barrel of a machine gun as he fired it, saying that this is how Texans grill bacon. Donald Trump hailed his elephant-killing sons as great Americans. Jeb Bush sung “Slow Jam The News” with Jimmy Fallon, as The Roots played the harmonies and Jimmy Fallon did his predictable almost-laughing side-act, in a sort of new-age nostalgia for dystopia.

The cartoonish perversion of politicians’ attempts at being fun and relatable through social media is the caliginous simulacrum of retardation. They treat us like children from the 1990’s, sucking on popsicles in front of Nickelodeon. Are we supposed to laugh? Are we supposed to turn to our girlfriends, and discuss how his relatability now outshines the entire GOP’s misogynistic platform? But then again, Jindal and others are speaking directly to us; they are articulating a very sullen modernity of performance and fetishism, projected through Buzzfeed videos and emojis. Guy Debord calls it “the principle of commodity fetishism” that dominates our society. The tangible real world of women, men, poverty, heartache, literature, police killings, Sibelius, death, incest, enormous fields of wild flowers, they are all exchanged for this awful fraudulent world of viral videos and listicles. Videos such as this impose themselves onto our reality, like a cave of shadows and shackles. But they are self-imposed. More Huxlian than Orwellian, a kind of self-imposed fetish with stupification and apathy. Every time I open Facebook I regret it. Another video of a raccoon eating grapes at the dinner table, or a cockatoo screaming into a cup. The world disappears into a sempiternal feed of viral commodity, of tufted caricatures flexing their Botox brawn. The man smiling like a pedophile and then doing push-ups against Buzzfeed employees is no longer the man who hates gays, hates women, hates Mexicans, defunds public education, requires schools to teach intelligent design, refuses government funds to expand Medicaid, votes to extend the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (rejecting provisions under the Geneva Convention), among various other fascist attempts of governing. He is no longer that man. He is an intangible abstract détournement who has nudged the United States a little further towards the edge, into the Abyss of Fuck. Jindal isn’t even interesting enough to talk about. He, like Trump, is so ugly that it has caused him to hate the world. But it is interesting to examine how far we have come: Howard Dean was ruined when he screamed a little too flamboyantly back in 2004, whereas today, Donald Trump can call Megyn Kelly “bleeding from her eyes, bleeding from her wherever,” and somehow get away with it. This is the man who owns Miss Universe. When he called Rosie O’Donnell a fat pig and a disgusting animal, the attendees of the debate roared with enthusiasm. They loved it. In the secondary GOP debate, with the lower-polling candidates, one of the questions was to describe Hillary Clinton in two words—a question that can only serve baseless name-calling. It’s a performance of cruel perversions, like the rape of Reason under a melancholy dawn.

The principle of commodity fetishism is the force on the other side. It allows insane men and women to come to power, to become fascists, to star in viral videos as they do it. There is nothing real anymore. Modernity itself seems fraudulent. Even sex is becoming a sordid wet humping, a pornographic imitation of what we saw on PornHub. Fake people with fake profiles ensue. A girl who I apparently slept with made a fake profile on Facebook and contacted at least several women I’ve slept with recently and told them to no longer fuck me. My love life totally sucks now, and I totally want her back, whoever she is. But this is the sort of unprovocative simulation of lust and ownership that Baudrillard wrote about, in that symbols and signs are now the content of the world, and they act and react merely as a simulation of reality. There are no actual bodies doing anything, no mad mad dancing in the middle of the night  .  .  .  just a peasantry of emojis and asses on Instagram.

Bernie Sanders is right, in that it’s the billionaire class that needs reform, it’s the bankers who were never prosecuted, it’s the blatant assault of wealth and power in this country that has ruptured stability in America. And the growing momentum of support for Sanders is coming from people’s awareness of this. There is more awareness that Hillary Clinton is a fiscal conservative, and always has been, that she has accepted bribes from the fossil fuel industry and terror regimes around the world. Even Eric Holder has now returned to a job at the corporate law firm Covington & Burling. And the everlasting War on Terror follows the One Percent Doctrine that Cheney established, in which he described if there were even a one percent likelihood of Pakistani scientists helping al-Qaeda develop a nuclear weapon, US intelligence has to treat it as a certainty, and respond accordingly. This thinking has spread to all forms of conquest and threat. If a cop fears there is a one percent chance a black man has a gun, he sees fit—necessary even—to shoot him dead. In contrast, it’s been reported incessantly that 97 percent of scientists agree with anthropogenic climate change. That number is in fact false. Of the 69,406 authors named in the peer-reviewed scientific articles regarding climate change, a total of four of those authors rejected any human influence. Less than one one-hundredth of one percent. It’s an assault on reason, yes, but the force from the other side, the force that makes any of this possible, is that of commodity fetishism. Bernie Sanders can’t say people are terrible for their obsession with the trite and shallow. And he can’t advocate for any barrier against this freedom. Because we are free to worship the trite, and no freedom of this sort should be taken away. But I know of no reasonable explanation why hard work is so hard, why it’s easier to gaze at butts on my phone or at the strip club than it is to write a symphony. But so it is.

No one said it better than Louis-Ferdinand Celine:

“The worst part is wondering how you’ll find the strength tomorrow to go on doing what you did today and have been doing for much too long, where you’ll find the strength for all that stupid running around, those projects that come to nothing, those attempts to escape from crushing necessity, which always founder and serve only to convince you one more time that destiny is implacable, that every night will find you down and out, crushed by the dread of more and more sordid and insecure tomorrows. And maybe it’s treacherous old age coming on, threatening the worst. Not much music left inside us for life to dance to. Our youth has gone to the ends of the earth to die in the silence of the truth. And where, I ask you, can a man escape to, when he hasn’t enough madness left inside him? The truth is an endless death agony. The truth is death. You have to choose: death or lies. I’ve never been able to kill myself.”

Monarchy and the Fight for Freedom

Monarchy-Dita-Von-Teese-Disintegration-copia-2-580x300

by Guy Walker

Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are leading the fight for the banality of encore. And news broadcasters are already discussing with what seems to be a real interest in the bromidic agony of it all, sitting around their florescent roundtables, candidly sipping their coffee in between the great points they make on whether or not Hillary’s blue suit was an intenerate attempt of the spectacle to attract the male subconscious, or if it was just something she put on. “Is Hillary woman enough to attract the female majority?” they ask. “Now that this country has shown it was ready for a black president, do you think it’s going to tell the world it’s ready for a female president?”

Hillary walks up on a stage, clapping her hands in some sort of crude beat of lethargic excitement. She points to a nobody in the crowd, waves to them, and throws her head back with laughter as if to say to the rest of the crowd that she just shared an inside joke with somebody. She claps some more, smiling a frantic Prozac smile, and then turns to the podium. She opens her mouth, her thick compound cracking under the heat of the lights. “Are we ready or what!!” she booms. And the crowd cheers, the dipsomanian frenzy for her novel gallant prose. “Yeah!!” the masses scream. Hillary smiles again. “I think we aaaaaare!” The crowd goes nuts. A woman with a heaving muffin-top jumps up and down, her enormous tits waving up and down like amorphous wrecks of gravity.

Jeb Bush has already framed his campaign as “JEB 2016,” admitting a very hip disassociation with his last name because it includes his brother and father. By not including “Bush” he knows the name is tarnished, shit-ridden, the hell of failure and corruption. Jeb is rebranding the Bush as a new-age cool dad  .  .  .  he’ll let you and your friends drink beer when mom is not around, he’ll talk about girls with you as he grills long hot dogs, poking them occasionally with his tongs, his cheeks flushed with too much sun, beads of sweat pushing through the pores on his upper lip. He’ll jerk off to Japanese anime porn, and then call his mother to ask how dad is doing. Jeb isn’t like his brother  .  .  .  he’s Jeb. He’s different from everyone else running for President because he’s going to bring jobs, fix our economy, and fight terrorism. The only truly appropriate question to ask Jeb is, “What country are you going to invade first?”

Clinton and Bush are important not because they openly support the further corporatization and militarization of the United States and the world, not because they are brittle automatons of fervor and crusade, but rather because they are the figures of feudal tutelage, of monarch and storm. Clinton and Bush are the promise of the return to the hereditary monarchical system. They both come from insurmountable wealth, they are both obviously from families of a more opaquely vulgar past: Bill Clinton more than doubled the federal prison population, more than the previous twelve years of Republican rule combined, he introduced NAFTA and the World Trade Organization and therefore the decline of US manufacturing, he repealed the Glass-Steagall Act which led directly to the 2008 economic collapse, he carried out various war crimes such as sending a couple cruise missiles to what intelligence knew was a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, killing several tens of thousands of civilians, he acted beyond UN resolution, calling it “obsolete and anachronistic”, thus rejecting all international law, he bombed Somalia, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia, Haiti, Yemen, Liberia, Zaire. Then he was impeached for lying about a blowjob. George H.W. Bush aided the Guatemalan military’s genocide of its Mayan populations, he invaded Panama partly in order to kidnap Manuel Antonio Noriega and charge him with warcrimes (most of which Noriega committed on the CIA payroll), he invaded Iraq, including Iraq’s infrastructure, which qualifies as criminal under the laws of war, he vetoed all Congressional attempts to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine—the FCC policy that required all tv and radio broadcast to devote some time to controversial issues of public importance as well as opposing views on those issues—he appointed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, and he added more than a trillion dollars to the national debt. George W. Bush choked on a pretzel, among other fuck-ups. Prescott Bush, the late Senator and grandfather of George W, financially supported Hitler’s rise to power, his company’s assets eventually seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

The point of all this is that when power becomes hereditary is when tyrants rise and nations fall. Monarchy, at its disgusting putrid heart, is a primitive and banal mechanism of rulership. It’s what the United States fought to free itself from during the American Revolution. One such dissident of hereditary monarchy—perhaps America’s only true revolutionary figure—Thomas Paine, describes the monarchical system as “a system of mental levelling. It indiscriminately admits every species of character to the same authority. Vice and virtue, ignorance and wisdom, in short, every quality, good, or bad, is put on the same level. Kings succeed each other, not as rationals, but as animals.” There is no weight to the moral and rational character of a woman or man who is escorted to the podium of authority because of his or her’s hereditary past. Runny-nosed children can become kings over the strong brooding judgement of some women or men. The idiots can and do rule. Without the rational and moral judgement of one’s character, the sycophantic cornfed fuckery of a population rules armies, conducts trade, fights terrorism. Paine continues on this: “Can we then be surprised at the abject state of the human mind in monarchical countries, when the government itself is formed on such an abject levelling system?” Erecting a man to power simply by means of hereditary succession is evident of the death of the imagination. It’s a primordial boorish symptom of the current condition of the human mind. Paine’s writing itself is signatory of where we are today: Common Sense sold as many as 500,000 copies in its first year, with a mere 2.4 million person population in the colonies at the time, many of whom were illiterate. An unprecedented bestseller. Paine consciously wrote with a base simplicity in order to attract the largest audience, and was accused of writing a vulgar form of language at the time, and yet his prose and eloquence is unmatched today. Today, we have wet rat-like figures such as Russell Brand, soaking the articulation of argument with his greasy hands. In his book, somehow titled Revolution, he articulates, “I mean in England we have a Queen for fuck’s sake. A Queen! … Like she’s all majestic, like an eagle or a mountain.” Brand, according to some carious despondent masses, is the voice of a generation, whose revolutionary approach to politics were first popularized by telling everyone not to vote. He is all spectacle, a feverish spasmed charisma of the pseudo-world of love and passivity and cool bracelets. Brand is, as Guy Debord calls it, “the sun which never sets over the empire of modern passivity.” He is the bright unnuanced personality that decorates our modern passivity with the pseudo-passionate. “The spectacle is the guardian of sleep,” Debord continues. It makes us excited to not do anything, for kids to badmouth the government as they sip IPA’s and wear fedoras. It is as much the fault of the spectacle as it is of the tyrannical that we admit powerlessness.

Before Paine, “democratic,” or “democratical,” as it was termed at the time, was always used as an insult, a reference to ochlocracy or mob rule, or mobile vulgus, which as everyone knows is Latin for “fickle crowd.” Paine instilled democratic independence as the only reasonable incontestable approach to freedom, to the specific and unadulterated innate freedom in all humans. Freedom is the landmark goal of democracy and its deathless fight against tyranny. Paine denied ever reading John Locke, but along with Thomas Jefferson, he almost certainly did. In his Second Treatise on Civil Government, Locke names our natural rights as the right to life, liberty, and property.” Jefferson, with Paine at his side, inverted this to name “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as the innate necessities in all humans. Anything in opposition to this is the heaving vulgar tit of death. Monarchy is the tit of death. Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are each a separate tit of death. Citizen’s United is the tit of death. The Koch Brothers are the tit of death, as are Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio, who are traveling to Southern California in early August to beg 450 of the wealthiest conservatives for campaign money. The Keystone XL Pipeline is the tit of death. Hydraulic fracking, the TPP, Shell, ExxonMobile, Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, JP Morgan, Tila Tequila, the war on drugs, privatized prisons, chihuahuas, the Church, Trump, plastic fruit, fake flowers, the militarization of the police, they are all bloated varicosed tits of death, throbbing at the edge of humanity. They hate freedom. More than anything else on the last remaining bits of green earth, the present oligarchy hates freedom. Because with freedom is power. Immanuel Kant writes that power is “the absolute spontaneity of freedom.” Because true freedom is unpredictable and dangerous  .  .  .  it is the song of the beautiful masses that makes kings tremble. Freedom is a beautiful woman I’ve seen, even touched in passing, but never been able to hold forever. It is the marvelous sky of humanity, a great body convulsing in orgasm on the shore. It is what all men want, but, by its own nature, will never have.

Paine knew the absolutism of freedom, and urged to include the abolition of slavery into the Constitution, to redeem us from our original sin, but was denied. Because slavery was essential to the order of the new Republic, as it of course still is. George Washington became one of the wealthiest men in America by speculating on Indian lands, by seizing enormous swaths of native land and then selling them. Today, student debt is critical to keeping the educated masses passive. By the time of Paine’s writing Rights of Man, in which he attacks organized religion and its absurdity of the facade of authority, he was consequently vilified by his countrymen in the first major media hunt of a public figure  .  .  .  he was called an atheist (he was a deist), he was called an enemy of the new Republic, a malodorous individual always soaked in gin. He died penniless in New York City, with six people attending his funeral—three of whom were black. The true revolutionary figure, by its very definition, cannot be popular. But he can be right.  In his Wages of Rebellion, Chris Hedges writes, “I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists.”

Here we are. The beautiful bodies of women imprisoned for being too beautiful. The last jazz musician imprisoned for his music. The sky for its colors. Until all that’s left is a few old kings, masturbating under the flickering neon light, still smiling, still stuttering their speeches under their breath, rocking back and forth. “I think we aaaaaare,” an old vaguely familiar woman whispers to herself, staring at a rat scurry by. She snorts to herself. “Jesus,” she murmurs softly, “Jesus Christ. Do any of you have a match?”

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