Wednesday, December 17, 2014


1. It is always a cause for rejoicing when master documentarian Adam Curtis - the man who brought us such essential series as The Power of NightmaresThe Century of the SelfThe Trap and All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace - takes to his blog in order to share his incredibly valuable insights into past and current events. In his most recent wide-ranging post, he discusses the influence of American Marxist thinker, Murray Bookchin, on the recently-updated Utopian ambitions of the Kurdish "terrorist" organization PKK
Bookchin was born in New York in 1921. In the 1930s he joined the American Communist Party. But after the second world war he began to question the whole theory that underpinned revolutionary Marxism.

What changed everything for him was the experience of working in a factory. Bookchin had gone to work for General Motors - and he realized as he watched his fellow workers that Marx, Lenin and all the other theorists were wrong about the working class.
The Marxist theory said that once working men and women came together in factories the scales would fall from their eyes - and they would see clearly how they were being oppressed. They would also see how they could bond together to become a powerful force that would overthrow the capitalists.
Bookchin saw that the very opposite was happening. This was because the factory was organised as a hierarchy - a system of organisation and control that the workers lived with and experienced every second of the day. As they did so, that hierarchical system became firmly embedded in their minds - and made them more passive and more accepting of their oppression.
But Bookchin didn’t do what most disillusioned American Marxists in the 1950s did - either run away to academia, or become a cynical neo-conservative. Instead he remained an optimist and decided to completely rework revolutionary theory.
Curtis eventually segues into a discussion about the various "perfect societies" as imagined by some of America's leading post-war think tank technocrats - people like Herman Kahn and B.F. Skinner - including video footage of their chilling predictions (perscriptions?) that will sound chillingly familiar to Modern ears. I mean, just check this insanity out...

Anyhoo, if any of these vitally important issues is of interest to you, then I urge you to check out Curtis' blog post for yourself, and make sure to watch all the videos and follow all the links with which he stuffs his latest message. I also suggest you bookmark it and check back every once in a while.


2. So... according to this rather unflattering exposé, it turns out James "The Amazing" Randi - world-famous "debunker" and hero to "rational skeptics" the world over - is nothing but a great big liar with his pants on fire! And a self-admitted one, at that. Wow... you could knock me over with a feather!

3. And, finally for today, just look at this 19th century underwater ballroom in an English lake...LOOK AT IT!!!

This is under a lake, and those are GLASS bricks!


  1. The bit about cynical neo-conservatives -- I find that pretty interesting consider a lot of the old PR guys (Walter Lippmann, Edward Bernays) ended up that way or at least dabbled in it. I think Walter Lippmann was kind of a pendulum, but his neo-con days are the ones for which he's known. On to the next thought.
    "You make them happy, and they feel that they are in control - because by doing something they get the reward." That idea used to be the basis of my tongue-in-cheek go-to phrase "TV makes you smarter." TV certainly makes people feel smarter -- so much of it comes from a God-like perspective where the audience knows things the characters don't know, and therefore we tend to feel smarter because we know what's going to happen. But there is a critical fact (not to mention an extensive body of research) here I was conveniently ignoring to carry on my humor for a while: TV actually DOES make people smarter. IQs have risen an average of 10-15 points since television began diffusing. It exposed people to ideas, places, things, and a lot of stuff that they never would have been exposed to without television. These new, to borrow a term from myself, "cognitive legos" give us all kinds of raw material to work with in our imaginations as we perform our jobs in the factory. The more mundane functions of imagination, I would argue, are what cultivate a broad mind. On to the next thought.
    The BF Skinner stuff -- whoa! Sadly, the author suggests the pigeons are getting restless because of disparity. I don't think that's necessarily the case. What has happened is a system that worked great for a relatively short period (what? Maybe 50-60 years?) started falling apart. Standards of living dropped in America, along with the increasing realization that most of the world has been pretty bad-off for centuries, millenia in many cases. Expectations for a good life eroded as the American dream -- the promise (read, lie) that if you work hard enough you can have a happy life with a high standard of living -- looks to most people under 25 like some kinda deluded fantasy that 60s and 70s kids used to have. Stability? Ha! This is widespread and it's not pigeons getting restless -- it's an actual decline in the quality of reward and a slow realization that a better life is probably unattainable. Clearly the solution (and I think Ralph Nader might agree) is for rich people to transfer some power they leached out of the system back into the system to revive the fantasy and bring people back into the parameters of relaxed pigeon behavior. Personally, I like the fanasty dream of a good life better than the prospects of a restyless unstable life, but both are way better than the idea of direct democracy. That shit's what goes on at regional AA meetings and it's ugly. Actually, it's mt definition of hell -- splitting hairs, debating minutiae, all for the greater good of deciding the wording in a pamphlet nobody will ever read. On to the next though.
    Great find -- I needed that to get the machinery in my cognitive factory moving a little. Lot of rust in there. Cheers!

    BTW Mac and Steve "Blow"jobs can suckit. PC rules.

  2. Oh no --- this will never do. I deleted this account and everything associated with it back in 2006 or so. Still it remains. No idea how or why. It's like living near the beach -- there is always sand in your house. This account is sand I thought I'd swept away back during the Bush administration.

  3. Jeezus Christ -- Google is connected to Instagram, Blogger, that fuckforsaken Google+, and likely many, many more horrible things that can confuse profiles and not allow one to maintain anonymity.