strange times (3)

Talking about the loss of America's "fictive kinship" and the war between the (let's call them) Trump-haters and Hillary-haters, a friend notes that market forces (global business, multinationals, unelected corporate "oligarchs") profit from these divisions. As long as the Trump-haters and Hillary-haters are arguing about topics such as "should a screaming baby be snatched from its mother's arms and put in a concentration camp [click 'yes' or 'no']," they are not finding common cause on issues such as their flat wages and diminishing social safety net. My friend "Harry" who was emailing about those babies and "civility" sort of gets this but can't abandon his Trump fixation. In an email I ventured that "the oligarchs are laughing while people argue about child-snatching"; in his reply Harry changed it to "the oligarchy and Trump": "Yes, the oligarchy and Trump have engineered increased polarization and division in the US and in the world. It aids them on their way to the bank and on their way to nearly unstoppable control. Pervasive, nonviolent responses are one way to fight it." By pervasive, nonviolent responses he meant refusing to serve Trump staffers. He implicitly compares himself to Martin Luther King, fighting the lonely fight one staffer at a time, and seems not to realize he has the entire "deep state" and Washington media apparatus on his side.

strange times (2)

As I talk to people in these strange times, not knowing who among friends or strangers will turn out to be a Pod Person screeching like Donald Sutherland, I have mentioned John Robb's theory that America is losing its "fictive kinship," that is, its traditional shared mores. Robb writes:

Over the last several weeks we've seen a rapid diminishment in the fictive kinship that unites us as Americans. In fact, many of us don't just disagree with other Americans. We see them as existential threats.

Here are the existential threat narratives:

"crypto-fascist science deniers demanding a return to the racism and misogyny of the 1950's, while stripping away the rights of immigrants, on the way to sending brown people, LGBTs, and muslims to concentration camps"

"crypto-Stalinist thought police demanding compliance with fake science and virtue-signaling identity performance from all, on the way to Gulag World with straight white males at the bottom. Ideally killing millions along the way"

Robb thinks this means civil war but it's not clear how that's supposed to play out with A and B above living right next to each other. Will it be like Rwanda, where suddenly one day people pick up machetes and start hacking their neighbors? More likely A or B above will gain control of the military and use it to quell civil disturbances on a more or less permanent basis (the Jack Womack "Dryco" scenario). The above divisions will make it easier to "support" or "not support" the military.


strange times

Pres. Trump keeps having friendly summits with nuclear-armed countries, so, naturally, disappointed Clinton voters are behaving frantically.
Two articles from RSS give the flavor of the moment:

US Media is Losing Its Mind Over Trump-Putin Press Conference (Consortium News)

Trump’s Treachery Makes Republicans ‘Sad’ When They Should Be Mad (Joe Conason)

Strange and awkward times. The "left" is pushing McCarthy Era 2.0 and nuclear armageddon; the "right" wants an unwinnable war with Iran. Trump is saber-rattling with Iran and making nice with the nuke powers.

Trump-derangement syndrome is turning former friends into numbskulls. "Harry" has been sending "Trump is a Russian spy" emails since Hillary Clinton first announced this talking point. He also sent an email about the "Red Hen" flap where a Dem refused service to a Trump staffer. I said it was hypocritical -- if a Repub had done the same thing to a Clinton staffer Harry would have been shrieking "Nazi!" Harry replied by sending me a Tom Tomorrow cartoon of a pompous Washington Post editorialist saying we needed "civility"; in the same email Harry compared himself to Martin Luther King. I honestly don't know if he missed the point about hypocrisy but he kept bludgeoning about civility until I asked him to please not send me any more emails. Were I still on his list, by now I'm certain I would have received one about the "treachery" of the Trump/Putin meeting.

"PAUSE (prelude)" exhibit in Munich

A version of my OptiDisc animated GIF will be in a show next week at Munich's Haus der Kunst. The show opens July 21, 2018 runs through July 29 (announcement below), and is presented by Künstlerverbund im Haus der Kunst. The co-curators are Courtenay Smith, Albert Coers, and Alexander Steig.
OptiDisc (Paused) [1 MB .GIF] adds a one-second pause after five loops of the GIF. This imitates the DVD version (video), which "hangs" at the reset point.
Many thanks to John Romero for his projector-friendly version, which spared me having to convert the GIF frames to .mp4 or some abomination like "webp" or "gifv." He embedded the GIF in an html container, allowing crisp, non-blurry resizing. Eventually I'll be doing a "7 on 7" with John, where I act as technologist and make all his concepts unworkable.
So for the "PAUSE (prelude)" show I'll have an ironically DVD-imitating GIF that hasn't been turned to mush in the conversion process. (The DVD version is usually shown on a CRT screen, which disguises some of the artifacts, but this way I don't have to ship one to Germany and fret about calling the CRT doctor.)