Category Archives: History

Y’all need to learn what this word means.

“Civilization.” You think you know what it means. Civilization. Your eyes skate right through it. No problem. Civilization. You got this. It means “everything.”

Well, maybe not everything. Just people. Humans. Civilization means humans.

Maybe just “humanity.” You know, everybody, ever.

Wrong, sucka. Wrong.

Continue reading Y’all need to learn what this word means.

The Space Shuttle: Our Tower of Babel

I find myself genuinely mournful of the space shuttle program. I was born in 1980; the program launched in 1981. It was always there for me.Space travel will continue, but the space shuttle program was more than that. It was a symbol of something strident and hopeful.

The space shuttle program, in my mind’s eye, was the white spaceplane, the NASA logo, the American flag emblazoned on spacesuits filled with heroes. My heroes.

The space shuttle program was the televised launches. The countdown, the ignition, the launch, the blinding blaze of rockets, the disappearing of a handful of astronauts into the heavens.

The space shuttle program was our Tower of Babel. We built it for science, yes, but really we built it to reach God.

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A Global Anatomy of Power in the 21st Century

A brief sketch of a hypothetical non-fiction magnum opus: a book about how power works in the 21st century.

Global Power

A survey of the different types of power bases, and how they interact. Governments, extra-governmental corporations, profit-motivated groups, ideologically motivated groups, and unconscious psychosocial movements. Because power does not always rest in human hands, natural phenomena would have to be treated as power bases as well; they would be integrated into the theoretical interactions of human power bases.

National Power

A survey of many countries and a more focused analysis of how power works on the national level. Inclusion of a charting system developed to measure the distribution of power in each country; such a chart would place national, regional, local, private, and hidden power in relation to one another by contact points and weight.

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Likely Site of the Historic Brooklyn Theater

This is likely the intersection at which the old Brooklyn Theater was located. Built in the same year the Great Chicago Fire occurred (1871), the ill-fated theater burned down just five years later during a performance of The Two Orphans starring Kate Claxton. The fire started when an oil lamp fell over and quickly engulfed the building. Three hundred actors, crew, and theatergoers were burned alive when the five narrow exits proved insufficient for a mass escape. Most sources claim the theater was located on Johnson Street at the intersection of Washington Street, otherwise known as Cadman Plaza East.

Click the blue marker for a description of and directions to the historic site of the Brooklyn Theater. More information and some great historical photos here.

A Theoretical Strategy Proposal in Two Aspects

Here I propose a two-part strategy in our rhetorical onslaught of the neocon agenda. I will use Fox News as a fulcrum.

Aspect 1: See the present in historical terms.
Aspect 2: Focus on individuals, not groups.

Aspect 1

Fox News is a strange phenomenon. It’s not “state press” in the traditional sense, but it is in a more complex, modern sense. There is a certain inevitability to its existence as a propaganda organ of the neoconservative agenda, which, in itself, is an equally strange yet inevitable phenomenon. It is always difficult to compare contemporaneous forces with the historical record, because we see the present for what it is, while we see history for what it merely appears to be. In other words, the present never looks like the past, because of our inability to see both time frames with the same pair of eyes. The past tends to be amplified in importance, while the present is trivialized as so many daily minutiae. With each history book written, with every document declassified decades or even scores of years after the fact, the past looms larger and larger. So odd it is that the farther away we get from a historical time frame, the bigger it appears. And how poignant it is that the more recent a thing is, the less important it seems. Is it possible we fundamentally fail to “see” what is happening before our very eyes? I would say the answer is yes. Some call it myopia.

Therefore, it might be worthwhile to posit that our ongoing critique of Fox News is worth even greater force on our part. I think we should be taking some kind of quantum leap of perception into the present. Our psyches seems to exist in the past, while our criticisms tend to exist solely in the present. We need to marry those two elements. We need to dig deep into the recesses of our social underpinnings, dig out whatever feelings we harbor towards Nazi Germany, the Roman Empire, the Egyptian Pharaohs, and apply that same “historical” feeling to the present.

Therefore, it would perhaps be a wise gambit to begin to refer to Fox News in the same way the historians of the future will. We should amplify our alarmism. We should denounce Fox News as a Joseph Goebbels-type institution. We should not fear to extend our denunciation to PNAC, to every news outlet that insists on embracing the myopic justificationism of our present atrocities. We mustn’t shrink from explaining, to anyone who is able to listen, that, while the employees of Fox News may or may not know what they are doing to humanity, they nonetheless are 100% complicit in our likely premature demise.

Certainly we could opt instead to take the road of explaining it all as “sociological forces”. That would make sense on a cognitive level. But what then, is the agent of change? What remains?

Aspect 2

The answer is accountability. Too many people feel their innocence, while in fact they are guilty. Too many people know they are right, when in fact they are wrong. The thing that allows them to do this is the blending of the individual into the mass. It is the merging of the human sole into the corporation, the governing body, the organization, the movement. It is the surrender of the individual to the group.

We must reclaim our own individuality, and never shirk pointing out individuals who may be guilty. We must not let them hide behind the cloaks of their parent body. We must see the trees for the forest. That is where you get people. You shine a light on one person at a time. You embarrass them. You make a sacrificial lamb out of them.

Therefore, I propose that we spend less time blaming Fox News, the Bush Administration, the Republicans, General Electric, the terrorists, the conspiracy theorists, the Neocons, the New World Order, the masses, the organizations, the sociological forces. There is no accountability in groups.

Instead, we should blame each and every person on the Fox News programming board, each and every person in the Bush Administration, and so on down the line. We have to take a “sniping” approach. We have to pick off their reputations, one individual at a time.

Only then will we transcend the present, so that we can heal it.

I hope I’ve spoken clearly here.