The Death of Democracy

In my previous post https://otstrange.com/2020/11/09/you-can-prove-anything-with-facts/ I was discussing the pluralism of truth. When I wrote that piece I had assumed that after a brief period of high tantrums and tears, Donald Trump would have accepted his election defeat.

Perhaps the signs were already clear at the Four Seasons Landscaping press conference, that Trump was not going anywhere.

When I reflect on the response of Trump supporting friends to this story, in their mind this was just smear from the liberal media and the ‘extreme left agitators’. Despite clear ‘evidence’ to the contrary.

As time has passed it is becoming increasingly likely that no matter what the result of the election, Trump has indeed ‘won by a landslide’.

He has spent the last four years (if not longer), planting the seeds of doubt in peoples minds. Some of these seeds have yet to fully bear fruit, yet their sprouts are already bursting to the surface.

Seventy five million voted for Donald Trump and maybe more would have done, had he not vilified postal voting as part of his campaign strategy. However it doesn’t matter that he did not win as in the post-truth world, facts do not matter.

For a moment I would like to reflect on the concept of The Death of the Author as posited by Roland Barthes, whereby the death of the author gives rise to the birth of the reader/audience. This placed the viewer as the actor placing meaning in the object, rather than the artist placing meaning in the object.

If we take the idea of the ‘Author’ as they who are providing a ‘truth’ to an object, then this object, then the audience will be a subject to this truth. If the author is dead and the reader/audience is applying their own ‘truth’ to the object this provides a plurality of the objects ‘truth’.

Arguably human society has always had their truths handed down to them, either from stone tablets, high priestesses or Fox News. Just as the printing press challenged the faith held in the monopoly of the ‘truth’ held by the Catholic Church, the internet has challenged the same in the mainstream media.

It has come to a point where the mainstream media could live stream someone carrying out the most horrendous of acts, whilst the protagonist smiles and waves to the camera. This would not be evidence enough for today’s ‘truth seekers’, it would be ‘fake news’ a conspiracy of the Lizard people, the Kangaroo people and the makers of Classic Coke.

And this is where ‘faith’ comes back into the picture, truth means nothing without ‘belief’ or ‘conviction’.

Faith in truth has been destroyed, many people do not believe the truth, (or choose to believe a blatant lie).

“The simple truth is that the truth does not exist, it all depends on a persons point of view.”

― Laura Esquirel

This is why Donald Trump and his generic brand wannabes Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, have already won, for they play on this elasticity and their followers believes them, because they have faith in their words – it is ‘gospel’ to them.

The cracks in modern democracy have been there for many years, prised wider by illegal wars, corporate cronyism and plain of sight corruption.

In the years to come these individuals will widen these fissures to a point where people will be cheering for the end of democracy and welcome the iron fist of dictatorial fascism.

Just as a fish does not realise that it is in water until it is taken away, western civilisations are in danger of losing freedom under the guise of the salvation of truth.

You Can Prove Anything With Facts

Minioutatownstrange is almost Six and has a very active imagination, her latest claim is that Donald Trump sends her ‘mean text messages’ telling her to ‘shut up’.

In her mind, being told to ‘shut up’ is perhaps the worst possible thing anyone could say to her, which is odd considering she is a huge fan of JackSepticEye and his colourful Irish brogue.

In a world of post-truth I am somewhat inclined to believe her outlandish claims, after all they are no more ridiculous than mind controlling fog, Bill Gates door knobs or perhaps most outlandish, a sentient Donald Trump supporter.

I was watching an interview with David Bowie recently where he is discussing the impact of the internet and the nature of ‘truth’, as often was the case the man was ahead of his time.

And here we are in 2020 where we have two presidents of the United States of America, depending on whom you speak to. Some friends of mine (funnily enough the same ones who doubted Obama’s American citizenship) are absolutely adamant that Trump won the election fair and square. Whereas the majority of the worlds media and those who would seem to be slightly less bonkers regard Joe Biden as the President Elect. [Note I won Pennsylvania by the way]

I am being glib here of course, as all know that the President of the United States is in fact an old 90’s Windows ’95 machine named Kenneth, currently locked in an Arkansas basement playing minesweeper with itself.

It seems as if many of the truths that we hold dear have always been subjective, or at least requiring an element of faith. After all Science and Maths are merely scholastic religions, requiring the same level of faith as the ancient religions.

Proof is just as subjective as truth, to the Mayan the fact that after carrying out a human sacrifice your own life was prolonged was good enough for them. Just as the fact that injecting ourselves with a part of a vaccine does not kill us stone dead is good enough for science. Both rely on faith.

It seems that as long as we are clinging to the modernist concept of a unifying theory of everything, it would seem to me that we are only ever going to understand half of the picture.

Just as Quantum mechanics only works at the subatomic level there seems little evidence that the bridge between this level and Newtonian physics can be easily bridged. But why should they? Just because both happen to explain an observable phenomenon does not make either of them true, they simply confirm our suspicions based on what we can observe.

Perhaps the truth that we are seeking is that there are no truths, there are no Gods, there is only us.

Or as they say in the Data Science world; there is no free lunch.

The Perception of History and Time

I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark again last night, in itself not particularly note worthy as it is one of those films I have seen countless times.

Although watching it again I was reminded of a discussion I read on the Twitter machine recently regarding our perception of history and time.

The discussion began with the mention that only 30 years separate the events described in the novel The Great Gatsby and those in the novel Dracula. This is perhaps obvious to many, however in my head the pair were separated by a far greater length of time.

Then someone made the comment that by the time Indiana Jones 5 is released, more time will have passed between Raiders of the lost Arks release and the new film, than the time between the end of the Second World War and the release of Raiders of the lost Ark.

Again this may seem like an obvious point, however as a child growing up in the 1980’s the events of WW2 seemed like a lifetime away, so distant and far removed from the modern life I was being raised in. Of course we had the daily fears of being nuked during the peak of the cold war, the idea of Axis forces marching across Europe seemed like a strange black and white fiction to me.

I am now in my early late forties and looking back at my life it seems so strange that I never appreciated how the events of Vietnam, Watergate or the Cuban missile crises to me back then, are almost the same, in terms of actual years, as me looking back at the Millennium today.

For a few years now I have read some comments that we are drifting perilously close to recreating the events that led up to the rise of Nazi Germany, I must admit I have previously dismissed them as paranoid nonsense.

However I was reading a piece in the New Yorker today https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/when-its-too-late-to-stop-fascism-according-to-stefan-zweig, which refers the writings of Stefan Zweig who notes that by the time Fascism had taken hold it was already too late.

Now I find myself reflecting on events of last decade or so and depressingly, the strange black and white fiction of the past is getting a re-boot.

I find myself shuddering at my nations flag (Union Jack) and the dark nationalism which as attached itself to it, just as much of the world shudders at the actions and symbolism of the Third Reich.

In the past I suspect the sight of the Union Jack flying on a ship would send shivers down as many as that of seeing the Jolly Roger. At least when it came to pirates you knew where you stood, unlike the smiling white devils with their airs and graces.

Funny how things change.

Shaving Your Ass With a Lawnmower

The focus for Stoic Week Day 4 is Community, as I live as a virtual recluse, only stepping outside for flapjack and/or crime fighting, it has been difficult to test myself in this regard.

That said I would still find it difficult if I had been surrounded by people, as in general most people irritate like a sand crab your underwear.

Stoics view everyone as their brother or sisters, which conceptually I understand.

However I find it difficult to believe that I am related to anyone who read anything published by News Corp, or indeed that Rupert Murdoch is an actual human being.

This lunchtimes meditative exercise was to close my eyes and picture my immediate family, Minioutatownstrange, Mrs OT Strange and Kitty OT Strange, then expand this circle to the gap toothed gypsy neighbours, then the drunks outside the corner shop, then the sack of shit City Counsellors, then the shit shovelling twats in the UK Parliament, then the habitual wankers in the US Senate turning back the clock to instate a woman primed to remove women’s right to chose…you get the point.

To be fair this wasn’t the actual point of the exercise, it is however close to a point I was making earlier in the week in regards to selfish cunts.

As I wrote yesterday revenge and such thinking is ultimately self destructive, but if some privileged fucks choose to turn the society into a live action dystopian theme park – with fewer laughs. Surely they should treated with the same consideration as folk who still hold onto some sense their humanity and sense of community?

Politician’s have always been considered lying pieces of shit, only now they are not only happy to lie and cheat, but to effectively steal from our pockets and then ask us for rent.

I suspect that a true stoic would take a step back and see this all part of some grand universal plan, although I struggle to believe that this plan would involve life on earth becoming worse than any eternal hell.

My book One Hell of a Week suggests that Hell actually gets its ideas for eternal punishment from the living, I had not intended it to become a prophecy.

I am not a religious person as such, religion and dogma are like shaving your ass with a lawn mower when it comes to your own spirituality.

All the time we are focused on the other than that which is outside of us we will always be miserable. That said why should we stand in stoic silence whilst the lunatics running the asylum start shitting in our mouths?

I do not have the patience for fate to do its work, my blood is boiling and my fists are getting twitchy.

An Easy Path Is The Road To Hell

For those who read yesterdays blog, I have an update in regards to how ‘Revenge’ is viewed by Stoicism and as anticipated it is frowned upon. #FrownyButVengefulface

 “The best way of avenging thyself is not to become like the wrong doer.” – Marcus Aurelius

Or to quote a wise old Sage from Hull;

“There are too many wrongdoers in these places for some time you see” – Andrew Newby

Whilst back in Day three of Stoic Week, it was also Week 2 of the Compassion Focused Therapy (CFP), which came out of my previous CBT.

Needless to say my brain is a little more fried than usual, however I have committed to write something on each day and here we are.

Earlier today on the Twitter machine, I noted that there was a some considerable outrage/cheering of a UK government minister stating that is would effectively be illegal to teach ‘Critical Race Theory’ in schools.

On the one side there are those who ‘do not see race’, or that they ‘have a friend who is black’, who were applauding the minister for her brave stance on such an important issue.

I found myself on the other side of the fence and was concerned that seemingly the freedom of difficult topics being suppressed.

After all it was only a few weeks ago where the government had announced that the teaching of ideas that challenged capitalism was also illegal.

Whilst the right wing UK press gnash their crumbling teeth daily, at the ‘liberal do gooders’ cancelling their favourite depots, or wailing at the thought of Jim Davidson or Roy Chubby Brown, once again being over looked as candidates for the replacements for the Arch Bishop of Canterbury.

“A WAR ON FREE SPEECH!”, they cry.

“SNOWFLAKE MELTS AT BREXIT BOMBSHELL!”, they boom triumphantly.

With this in mind, one must assume that we must defend free speech as long as this free speech does not challenge the current hegemony.

It has always amused me how the United States presents itself as a beacon of freedom and democracy, just as the united(ish) kingdom sees itself as the British bulldog of true grit and self determination.

Yet if these countries truly stood for what they say they do, then why would they give a shit about what views or political discussions were being held?

Would a champion of freedom and democracy effectively criminalise socialism, such as the US did under McCarthy?

In addition why does a country that is ‘free’, require its young people to recite a commitment to a flag for unity and justice for all?

In my experience the more a company or individual says they hold a specific value, the less likely they are to hold that value.

Nestle for example, or a pious Christian preacher who then gets caught being noshed off by a toothless rent boy.

Critical Race theory is a difficult and uncomfortable topic, especially if you are a white person or benefit from the current status quo of white supremacy. This level of discomfort is magnified by an equivalent factor of how much value the status quo means to you.

It is my view that if we are not challenging our thinking, then we are probably not really thinking. Our minds destined to become as bland and stagnant as a Disney Movie, or new Pumpkin Spiced Latte.

The modernist experiment has failed and we are living in the embers of a 1950’s vision that never came to pass, ‘Modern’ society is locked in a death spiral with fewer and fewer lifeboats being available.

Never lose sight that those folk who are most effected by the dismantling of White Supremacy, and its existing hegemony will be the ones who will be in these few remaining, lifeboats not you or your families.

In addition, for those with the lifeboats, if no one is left alive to bailing you out, then you too are destined to drown.

The Fight and Smite Reflex

Instead of jumping straight into Day 2 of Stoic week, I shall begin with an epilogue of Day one – or Day one and a half if you wish.

After I finished writing yesterdays entry I had a highly unexpected challenge to my Stoic week, the offer of a supply of Lysergic acid diethylamide. According to my friend this has cured his depression and made him bulletproof to all that nature and beyond has to throw at him.

A younger version of myself would probably be sitting talking to an invisible German called Klaus right now and part of my current self would like to be with him.

The last time I took acid was at university and my only memory of the event was standing at Silly Mid-Off in a game of invisible cricket with my friend Andy. Incidentally this also happens to be the only time I have been on the winning side of a cricket match.

The fact that you are reading this, is a testament to my will power in a torrent of ‘go on, go on, go on’, from my friend. As I noted to Mrs OTStrange I had hoped by the time I reached my early late 40’s I would have moved beyond peer pressure to consume hallucinogenics.

For those who have known me (or at least the online version of me), will hopefully join my self back patting as will power when it comes to mood managing substances is not my ‘A-Game’. #YayforMe

Anyway, back to stoic week day 2 and today’s theme is ‘Happiness’.

In general I am a fairly accurate representation of the clown who cannot help trying to make folk laugh, if only to cover up a deep and unrelenting melancholy. Therefore the concept of attaining ‘happiness’ , seems harder than the acquisition of hallucinogenic drugs.

Within Stoic philosophy Happiness goes beyond an emotional level of a new phone or finding that you have been blocked on Twitter by a major celebrity, after calling them a fat talent-less cunt.

Happiness comes through being virtuous, on the face of it this seems a fairly attainable goal – as indicated yesterday, Don’t be a cunt.

However one of the virtues is Justice and this sadly is not in the sense of being Judge Dredd.

It actually means showing compassion and this is something which right now feels more difficult than Quantum Chess, or getting a straight answer from a politician.

My issue with this concept right now, is why should I be compassionate and understanding to someone who is a self absorbed or selfish cunt? Why should they get the easy ride of not being called up on their attitude?

The stoics would say that we cannot control other people and how they act, therefore it is not our concern and we should simply be.

I don’t have any answers right now and I suspect this will prove a challenge for me, as I am not someone who suffers fools, or cunts gladly. I can also incredibly vengeful given half a chance, one time as a young man I cheated on my then girlfriend, a ridiculous number of times purely because she offered my pal money so sleep with her.

The upshot of this particular tale is that she eventually left me for another of my friends, so clearly my ‘revenge’ was like cum off a whores back.

Perhaps therein lies the lesson, vengeance is largely pointless and self defeating – but just like hallucinogenic drugs – it feels so good!

Billy Butcher and the Stoics

For those who have shown an extended interest in these ‘tinternet scriblings, will be aware that I have been dabbling in the ideas of Stoicism for a few months. Therefore I shall not bother to regale you with the wit and wisdom of this ancient philosophy at this point.

However, this week is Stoic Week and to support my efforts to ‘live like a stoic’ for a week, I shall be aiming to write a short post daily as to my findings and experiences which I hope might inspire others to find out more.

The broad structure of each day is relatively straight forward;

Morning Meditation – Spending a short time before I start work considering my day ahead and any challenges that I might face and to reflect on how I might approach these in line with the virtues of Stoicism.

The Stoic Virtues are :

• Wisdom – using good reasoning and judgement and deciding which virtue to
apply
• Courage – doing what is right even if it is difficult
• Justice and kindness – excellence in your relationship with others
• Moderation and self-control – ability to deal well with desires and emotions

Mid-Day Meditation – Reflecting on aspects of my day where I have been able to follow these virtues and any challenges which I have encountered, which have led to me falling back into bad habits.

Evening Meditation – Is an opportunity to reflect on my day and take note of my success or failure in relation to the key virtues.

At this point in time it is difficult to detail each and every point of success and failure in this blog, if only for it revealing my life as being less full of flapjack and hookers as I would like. (That said, I do have plenty of flapjack)

However I shall aim to reveal more of the workings here in OT Strange Towers as the week progresses.

In the mean time I shall summarise my overall objective by quoting the great Billy Butcher from The Boys, “Quit being a Cunt.”

Time to Ruck or Cuck

I was but a wee young whipper snapper during the poll tax riots back in the day, or possibly ‘Caked and bombed’ on a bag of Shatners Bassoon or Joss Acklands Spunky Back Pack.

The British have never been terribly good at riots, at least in comparison to our Gaelic friends across the channel. The french really know how to put on a proper good ruck, decapitated regal entities, cities brought to a standstill, the whole works.

I am writing this piece whilst the Drunken Polar Bear that is the UK prime minister is threatening action against the Mancunian blockade against a Tier 3 Covid lockdown without additional financial support.

There have already been thinly veiled threats of ‘bringing in the army’ to ‘support’ local lock-downs.

The Army being deployed to British Cities will no doubt come a great relief for the British Army as they haven’t had a decent opportunity to shoot and kill innocent civilians since pulling out of Northern Ireland.

And now the Government are close to passing the law that will allow government agents to act illegally with impunity is another happy coincidence no doubt.

Social media is full of angry keyboard warriors, V for Vendatta quotes or revolutionary memes, however they are most likely to get distracted by Thots on Twitch or trip over their neck beards to actually do anything.

So it falls to the only militia that we really have in this country, Football Hooligans and/or Chav’s.

This elite fighting unit are happy to stand toe to toe with anyone and even punch a politicised horse.

They are this countries only hope for freedom, unless of course they are being dragged around Primark by their overweight spouses.

Tally Ho!

Yeah, Just Double Dropped A Disney Mate

Despite being in my early late forties, it is never too late to acquire or accumulate new knowledge and/or skills.

This no doubt will prove particularly useful as the industry of my ‘Cyber’ day job ,becomes inundated with poets, artists and gentlemen and/or individuals with a uterus who have elected to continue to sport a Paul Weller hair cut.

This week for example I have started to learn how to speak Mandarin, not to tinned kind served up by kind old Grandmothers on a pile of curdled cheese, but the splendid language of our future lords and masters the Chinese. Despite its outward appearances, Mandarin is an eminently more sensible language than English, that said English does make even Welsh seem a useful use of letters into noises.

I have also learnt this week that the death of Cinema is because that dreadful James Bond chap has still not released his movie.

Whilst for actual lovers of the medium of film this news was probably a huge sigh of relief, however for the plebeians who are all to keen to suck on the sour teat of such dismal dross, this is an utter outrage.

Of course whilst cinemas closing (alongside every other slither of joy in the god forsaken Isle that is the UK), is desperately sad. We have been here before, I remember when home taping was killing music and when Blockbusters fingered Madonna behind Salisbury’s.

Thankfully the triumph of market forces came to the rescue, deciding that musicians didn’t really deserve to be paid and that movies could make more money if you kept re-inventing the format they were presented on.

Blockbusters killed cinema, Netflix killed Blockbuster, Blockbuster cinema rose again, Netflix killed Blockbuster cinema. There is a pattern here, that I cannot quite put my finger on.

I would argue that cinema has been in its death throes since the satanic temple of Disney bought Pixar.

Then Star wars fans started picking on George Lucas for having the audacity of making kids films for kids rather than autistic incels. Leaving Lucasfilm ripe for the picking from the clutched of Demon Spawn Disney.

And finally someone had the bright idea of turning second rate and/or mediocre Marvel characters into a franchise, which would be all you can eat buffet of mono-flavoured myco proteins.

The modern world has burned our visual cortex to a bare optic nerve, where even real life looks a bit rubbish compared to ones Amoled screened mobile device. Therefore it is hardly any wonder that the subtle craft and skill of movie making struggles to find a window to display its wares.

The society of the spectacle is eating itself before our very eyes, we are already augmenting our reality to avoid the glare of poverty and despair in our local communities.

So lie back and think of England whilst your very soul is strip mined for that last glimmer of your true self.

Maybe take your mind off of having your mind taken off to watch some Only Fools and Horses on an old VHS, as they don’t make them like that any more.

Bad Dog, Naughty Dog, In Your Bed!

Sitting down to write this piece I have a strange sense of quasi deja vu, in so far that in my I have already written a whole bunch of posts, whereas in reality I have written none.

Now that I come to write, I don’t really feel like writing about the virtues of patience and stoic thought. Nor an exploration into a conceptual link between macro economics and non-fungible tokens.

As someone whose brain frequently turns against them, blue screening like an overstuffed Excel Spreadsheet (Topical reference klaxon).

I don’t even feel like bemoaning the lack of understanding of how data works in this so called modern age for that matter. (I’ll save that for another day – you lucky people).

I have come to recognise that one of the causes of my brain shutting down, is a sense of being overwhelmed by uncomfortable and/or powerful emotions. These do not always have to be negative, there have been recent incidents whereby some surprisingly good news caused me to shut down, as seemingly I just do didn’t know how to handle such a thing.

And I retreat inside my mind, where I play out the plots and threads of what would, or might have happened in reality, each and every branch of decision considered, explored and to a degree lived. So to return to my three blog posts that do not exist, in my mind they have already been written and assigned to the done pile.

The blue screening of my mind is very useful, at least as an instant protective response – saves one from blubbering at the end of Return of the Jedi when Anakin’s redemption arc is complete, or when the last Mac N Cheese has been taken from the shelf in my local Tesco’s.

It also shuts down everything that my general sense of being relies on to function, my sub-conscious, my intuition, my inner self are all consigned to the jail within a Gaol of a white free protestant maelstrom (A favourite Jim Morrison Quote of mine). Left to languish, peering out through the iron bars, whilst the raven clawed guards of my ego govern and patrol against any glimmer of expression or feeling.

This leaves one in a difficult position, as to release the captives from their cell would requite facing the unwelcome feelings, like the face of someone you found in bed following a meeting on the mystery bus the night before. I know that I shall read this and cringe in the days and weeks to come, just as I still wince at the drunken capers of my youth.

Despite my best efforts, I am coming to realise that I may never be able to operate normally (what ever that is) when it comes to emotions which strike a particular chord within.

In such incidents, it is time to batten down the hatches, put everything back in its box (or closet). And then await for the Black dog to fuck off back into its bed, before I can allow myself to feel once again.