You’re starving, alone, and scandalously dressed like a Communist superhero, but do you eat off the tree of hegemony and find yourself trapped by its tendril-branches?
Familiarity is a result of sedimented experience which, when functioning properly, allows us to move through life almost without conscious thought. It’s easy to pay complete attention to audiobooks while using dangerous woodworking tools when one is familiar with the shop and all the various material manipulations that take place there. This kind of situation, where the body performs in a familiar sphere, seems to lend more power to conscious thought and amplify concentration. Other familiarity-building routines for the body like yoga, martial arts, tantric sex, and sports are often purported to have this same effect. It should be no surprise, really, that kinetic engagement with the world should stimulate all parts of the body, including the brain.
In complement of kinetic familiarity there is artificial familiarity. You may have read other works by me or, in fact, read this same piece repeatedly. I do change, but with enough sedimented experiences of this change, reading something new I’ve written would still be a familiar experience. This is not a bad thing, but I can’t gesture, smile, or involve my body in this exchange. Granted, we are both performing familiar kinetic routines when I type and you click around with your mouse, but these are secondary nuisances to be done away with as quickly as possible, or so it would seem. I do not use a pen or a printing press, and you do not read paper because these impede artificial familiarity. On the surface, this is fantastic because I could never afford to print as many copies as this site distributes digitally. However, something very pernicious is going on, worthy of all the scare packed up in the word ‘artificial’. At the same time as the divorce of the familiar from the body deepens, artificial familiarity becomes more and more superficially like kinetic familiarity. Photographs become colored, move, then become three-dimensional, and bodily sensations which seem entirely kinetic are produced just by watching 3d blockbusters like Avatar. The impetus for this amplified artificial familiarity could be found in civilization’s lack of intimate naturalistic kinetic familiarity, or perhaps it has got something to do with the dualistic religious fetish for that immortal spirit outside of the body. We have, after all, told stories for as long as we’ve had words.
Augmented Reality, referring to future devices along the lines of automated navigation systems, is perhaps an overly optimistic phrase. Rather than augmenting and adding to the richness of life, as the woodworker listens to audiobooks while at work, Augmented Reality seems aimed at replacing as much kinetic familiarity with artificial familiarity as is technologically possible. Indeed, artificial familiarity may go much further than that, at which point it becomes true Artificial Familiarity or AF–which is how I would characterize Augmented Reality. It’s not hard at all to imagine that a sufficiently advanced AF device could completely replace the human capacity to become familiar with the world, which sounds like a horrifying proposition, but the human tendency is actually to dislike and fear the unfamiliar, so a device that would completely eliminate the unfamiliar would sell quicker than the iPhone. In short, kinetic familiarity’s being usurped by artificial familiarity, and AF systems are working on taking that over for you next. Things may very soon be much worse than Baudrillard, Heidegger, or Marx probably ever imagined. Move over, Constituting Yourself, hegemony’s got you all figured out and you don’t know how much you’d love to finally know what it is you love.
Massachusetts District U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz (Courtesy: Wikipedia)
WASHINGTON — In a not-so-stirring defense of academic conglomerate JSTOR, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said of Aaron Swartz‘s offenses, “Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars. It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away.” While common sense and lore would tend to at least lend more sympathy to Robin Hood- or Jean Valjean-type characters, who might be at least functioning out of some concern for others, Ms. Ortiz remained steadfast in her pursuit of recent “an Hero” Mr. Swartz, trying to see him put in jail for potentially the rest of his life.
Over at WhoWhatWhy Christian Stork does a nice little breakdown of this U.S. attorney’s wading into murky waters of civil asset forfeiture, one particular case in which she agreed to help confiscate a rundown, mom-and-pop Massachusetts motel because because “from 2001 to 2008, .05 [percent of at least 125,000 visitors] were arrested for drug crimes on the property.” This was a theft just like Aaron Swartz’s. Except not it was not a theft in the high-minded name of educating the world’s downtrodden, but in that of fattening the pockets of law enforcement agencies, treating poor drug abusers as criminals, alongside those who might dare house them.
Mr. Stork paints a disturbing picture of a civil asset forfeiture system in which being in debt vis-a-vis a mortgage — meaning that a bank, and its lawyers, has some has some skin in the game — means that the owners of this motel would have been in an even better position to disavow their affiliation with three handfuls of guest drug offenses. But alas they ran out of lawyer money, and the government all at once took five decades of family property worth $1.5 million.
Mr. Stork also outlines a direct financial, not an external ethical, motive for law enforcement to take on these kinds of civil asset forfeitures. He cites the testimony of a DEA agent claiming that federal attorneys never go after anything with less than $50,000 in equity. Additionally, local law enforcement, for cooperating with the feds, can look to take home up to 80 percent of what was seized. That’s a major incentive to turn a blind eye to a violation of property rights. In fact it’s more of an incentive to turn a blind eye to property-rights violations than the Pirate Party ever had: It’s money straight to the bank!
The same prosecutor, Carmen Ortiz, who sought to lock up Aaron Swartz for his failure to respect property rights of the proprietors of academic information also sought to seize a family’s business because an extreme minority of their clientele used drugs. Mr. Stork’s article makes clear that this was ultimately the DEA’s initiative, with Ms. Ortiz simply acting as its lawyer. But that doesn’t change that this U.S. attorney lacks any consistency in her modus operandi. It’s pretty obvious that the low rates for staying at this establishment, Motel Caswell, made it an even more tempting target.
Ms. Ortiz’s office released a statement about the seizure, saying: “The government believed that this was an important case . . . because of the deterrent message it sends to others who may turn a blind eye to crime occurring at their place of business.” But Mr. Stork shows this is shmoax because local crime rates dictate that there would have been just as much of a rationale for seizing nearby Walmart, Home Depot, Applebees, Motel 6 and IHOP. But those are large businesses, and no matter how many people shoot up or each other inside, they’ll have the lawyers to keep the whomever or the DEA at bay.
RICHMOND, VA. — “We just seen the opportunity, and I couldn’t pass it up. I had to own a slave,” said Internet Chronicle Publisher Frank Mason, speaking to clerical staff and press called to a conference at 1000 Monument Ave. With Jeff Schapiro from the Times-Dispatch busily taking notes, Mr. Mason continued, lamenting that he could only purchase a worker’s mortal flesh, “his gametes but never his soul.” He emphasized every syllable with a bang on the marble table top.
“God ain’t legalized that yet,” said Mr. Mason with a dry, wheezing laugh, before ejecting a runny stream of “baccy” from between tarred lips into a spittoon two meters away, carved apparently from a human skull.
“See that spitoon over there?” he said, gesticulating for reporters and Richmond business leaders. “That there’s a Czech. You can tell by the shape of the unity lobe.”
Editor of Chronicle.su — and lifelong friend of Mr. Mason’s — Kilgoar Trout complained that he was given no say in the matter. “Frank wanted to own a human being, he said. He said it’d make him feel powerful. It does.”
Lebal Drocer is a limited liability corporation. In God’s new America NAFTA and GATT have railroaded the communist unions that used to effectively clip and snip job creators. Those days are over. 1999 and Seattle came and went.
And they lost.
In addition to having assembled Virginia business leaders and various Saudi investors to show off what he called “his new Chinese,” Frank Mason told Internet Chronicle enthusiasts present that he was encouraging staff to obtain concealed-carry permits as soon as possible, and to fasten as many rails as possible to any “tricked-out rifles” staff might have hoarded in secret rooms in their basements. “That one’s putting a clampdown on on everything holy. Like my grandpappy used to say, Jesus won’t tolerate no clip with less capacity than days in his months,” adding, “And I ain’t talking about February!”
It was at this point that Raymond H. Boone of the Richmond Free-Press left the conference.
Editor Kilgoar Trout shared his concern that the company was moving too quickly away from the model of documenting the most frightening developments in cybersecurity and the out-of-control, privately bought-out surveillance state. “With this new venture into human trafficking,” said Mr. Trout to the publisher of Southside’s Community Weekly, “Frank’s really hijacking my religion of peace.”
Politico led with Broadwell imbibing ethanol (Via the Associated Press)
WASHINGTON – Early Tuesday, U.S. News & World Report relayed that the driver’s license of Paula Broadwell, mistress and biographer to ill-fated CIA Director David Petraeus, was found in Rock Creek Park, a very likely initiator of a multihour media stakeout at the Mt. Pleasant home at which Mrs. Broadwell spent the evening. Mrs. Broadwell and her company could without doubt have seen outside onlookers in the press as they went about their business, including — from darkened windows latter in the evening — news gatherers from The Internet Chronicle.
Brother Stephen Kranz’s Mt. Pleasant, D.C. home (Chronicle.su photo)
The Internet Chronicle played a brief part in the stakeout. The Chronicle’s National Security Desk captured exclusive video of the media circus surrounding the home of Mrs. Broadwell’s attorney brother, Stephen Kranz — a $2 million, seven-bedroom, five-bath residence at 1841 Park Road, Northwest.
Walking West downhill on Park Road, Chronicle reporters encountered the first sign of journalist or law enforcement presence at the intersection with 18th Street.
Unlike during coverage of, say, a local Little League game, all paid onlookers were using unmarked vehicles. Probably as a result of spotting the Chronicle Flip camcorder, a burgundy van, from the video above, nonchalantly made a tight loop to follow Chronicle reporters as they reached the intersection with 19th Street to enter the alley behind 1841 Park.
Tipped off on Twitter by neighborhood In These Times labor journalist, Mike Elk, The Internet Chronicle entered the alley behind Mr. Kranz’s house. There, looking into the dining area of the home, four apparent journalists, one of whom stated his affiliation with the New York Post, were waiting in the cold at 10 p.m., facing the darkened lights of the house. The only camera with a marking said “4,” likely the local NBC affiliate.
Politico had reported mundane details from earlier in the evening, a time during which Mrs. Broadwell ate dinner and, as Politico’s Byron Tau accounted, “wears sweaters.”
This shot, taken from higher up on the stoop, reveals the most likely vantage point from which the Associated Press was able to acquire photos of Mrs. Broadwell’s evening. The FBI raided Mrs. Broadwell’s Charlotte, North Carolina home Monday night over concerns that the adultery scandal had caused the unlawful breach of classified data. Prior to the raid the FBI had found classified material on Mrs. Broadwell’s computer, although Mr. Petraeus denied that he had relayed the information to her.
As Chronicle reporters left the scene, one cameraman, bundled up like the rest, ready for more hours in the cold, offered his opinion about the press’s mission at the scene: “It’s about the money.”
WASHINGTON – Last month, columnist John Derbyshire talked himself out of his long-held National Review post by pouring napalm on the heated Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman controversy. Despite Mr. Derbyshire’s explicit, nine-year-old professions to racism – in National Review’s own pages, no less – National Review’s editor, Nick Lowry, expressed exasperation in response to Mr. Derbyshire’s claims. Mr. Lowry wrote a column washing his hands of Derbyshire’s last while on the job for NR, another column for Taki’s magazine. The Taki’s magazine blog header appears to fancy itself as worldly, as indicated by its playful cartoon of a debutante grinning, clutching her cigarette holder.
That coffin nail for Mr. Derbyshire’s National Review gig was a column written for his children, warning them to gauge their associations with ethnic groups based on what Mr. Derbyshire says are statistical averages for associated violence. Additionally, Mr. Derbyshire couched his advice to his children and other “nonblack” children in terms of the Murray “Bell Curve” arguments, which have seduced conservative columnists as mainstream as The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan.
Reports nativist website VDARE’s editor, Peter Brimelow, Mr. Derbyshire’s racist readers will soon be able to take in the cancer-stricken author’s tomes on pages other than those of the National Review, such as American Renaissance and VDARE itself. Mr. Brimelow has played a key role in the American conservative movement, invited to speak at 2012′s Conservative Political Action Conference and, in 2007, referred to by the George W. Bush administration’s speechwriter David Frum as “a man of keen intellect, of real courage, and of surprising emotional sensitivity.”
In a call this month for funds for Mr. Derbyshire, Mr. Brimelow expressed surprise that the self-described “racist” was accused of racism. Captioning a picture of Mr. Derbyshire appearing on C-SPAN’s BookTV, even after his explicit 2003 self-identification in the pages of the National Review, Mr. Brimelow has written, “John Derbyshire, Interviewed By C-Span [sic] —Which Must Now Be ‘Racist!!!!’Too.”
Mr. Brimelow’s fundraising requests describe the way in which the editor says that advertisers on xenophobic and nativist websites face pressure. “Yes, the internet [sic; Internet] has made possible an alternative guerilla media—of which VDARE.com is very proud to be a part,” said the editor. “But, at the same time, it’s obviously enabled Leftist activists in the MSM to create and co-ordinate [sic] their propaganda campaigns—to unprecedented effect.”
Now, as Rick Santorum’s bid for the presidency has withered away, Mr. Santorum campaign’s stringent misogyny was a coded call to America’s anti-Mormonism, especially within the Republican Party’s die-hard evangelical Christian base.
Journalist Patrick Cleburne said, “Obviously the GOP Congressional leadership chose Rubio for this high-profile speaking slot – and very probably encouraged him to speak Spanish. He has previously been cautious about demonstrating ethnic particularism.”
And in accusing Senator Rubio of “particularlism,” authors such as VDARE’s Mr. Cleburne explain the use of the Spanish language as a form of ethnic identity or endorsement, such as in this March 29 write-up on the senator’s statements on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Inappropriately hyphenating the nonmodifying form of “40-years-old,” the possible British infiltrator reporter, Mr. Cleburne, writes, “[Senator Rubio] is only 40-years-old and doesn’t particularly appear to be a quick learner, either.”
Monday, a Tea Party member distinguished himself as a true fanatic for America by opening fire on a crowd of the ’99%’ protesters. In a crazed rant posted on youtube, the man referred to the massacre as his “Power Point presentation.” Police report 1 dead and 12 injured. Taresha Mcgavinsworth, a 67 year old survivor, claimed the gunman calmly invoked the second amendment before opening fire. The killer is in critical condition after he suffered 29 bullet wounds from the large group of police already on the scene. The police stated that the suspect was wearing full body armor and appeared to have military training.
Daryn Moran, a disgruntled Air Force Staff sergeant, left the military so he could stand up against Barack Obama’s illegal presidency. He was “in the army before the gays were”, and has threatened to “arrest the president for his crime of a forgery, which is proven fact…What we need is a confrontation.”
Finally, Daryn Moran’s confrontation has arrived. Tea Party members have found a reason for all the guns. The ’99%’ traitors are fair game for true patriots who know the dangers of the unchristian, anti-American, unconstitutional, and suicidal policy of Communism. The illegal president is leading the people into a violent Bolshevik revolution! His anti-Israel stance is solid proof that he is the Anti-Christ, arisen to destroy the world.
In the past few years, Roanoke has seemingly had its hands on more money than it can spend. The building projects are a sign that Roanoke is doing well. Still, corners have been cut. Glaring problems have been ignored. Childhood memories have been destroyed. Roanoke’s Explore Park, a living museum and window into history, was closed in 2007. The Explore Park was a truly charming destination where visitors stepped back in time to a working blacksmith forge, a native village, and all the trappings of the colonial era.
Despite all the extravagant construction projects designed to attract tourists and line the pockets of building contractors, Roanoke has shown some small appreciation for natural beauty. Roanoke’s greenway has provided a bike trail along the beautiful Roanoke River which has become an instant hit with Roanokers. Development of the greenway has not, perhaps, drawn enough attention to the abysmal state of the Roanoke River. Although the river is filled with litter, industrial equipment and sewage, Roanoke does not seem interested in spending its dime on cleaning things up.
Roanoke spends a lot of money on cockamamy schemes to draw in tourists and preserving natural beauty is, at best, an afterthought.
On a brisk October morning in Brookline, a graduate student announced that he was an expert at something, to the total indifference of his friends, peers and vague associates.
The student was reported to Chronicle.SU by a local informant and subsequently identified by spiteful classmates as first year Benjamin Berkey. Berkey, an enthusiast of the dark witch house music scene, tacitly agreed to make a phone statement to me by making dozens of unsolicited calls to the office of The Soviet Chronicle.
“I’ve read many thick tomes so, like Prodicus, I’ve become adept at choosing words. Often I finish sentences for other people in more exact ways than they ever could have expressed themselves. So, I’ve decided to go on a mission for total exactitude in language. Any time anyone strays from the Oxford Dictionary definition of a word, I will correct them in public in an elitist fashion. This will have innumerable social benefits.”
Berkey then invited me to watch him do his work across town to his sparsely furnished Allston apartment. I spent the next eight hours watching him gruel over a footnote, intermittently taking breaks to masturbate and troll the Internet with obscure semantic and grammatical criticisms.
“Work is hard, but I spend every second of every day knowing that I’m making a difference and growing intellectually. I’ve got a bright future and will surely finish my program with a good job. Not many people can say that these days.”
He then agreed to show me his favorite local coffee shop, where he ordered us espressos only to reject them several times due to “the quality of the crema.”
The barista eventually gave up and told us to fuck ourselves. We took a seat in the back of the checker-floored bar, next to a group of bicycle messengers playing bones.
One of the messengers from the group next to us.
As we sat down, one of the dudes among them, a pierced courier wearing a Brooklyn cycling cap, put the finishing touches on a lengthy monologue.
“…and that just begs the question, ‘Is McInnes libertard or not?’”
“Excuse me, sir,” interjected Berkey, “but I believe that you’ve made a mistake. The expression ‘begs the question’ does not in fact designate something that raises questions, but instead refers to an instance of circular reasoning. Be warned.”
The messenger looked over at him and his septum piercing flicked a little spark of a glint in the light. A pug-faced drunken crusty messenger appeared from among the group.
“Why you gotta be a bitch, man? Nobody asked you, faggot. Nobody spoke to you.”
The altercation deeply shocked Berkey, who became horribly insulted. He began to shake and then suddenly walked out of the coffee bar and refused to answer subsequent calls to his cellphone.
I never heard from him again.
RIP, Benjamin Berkey
Update: Several weeks after our encounter, The Boston Globe reported that Berkey had disappeared without a trace. Even more strangely, authorities declined to open an investigation into his disappearance. His family’s attempts to sue the Boston Police Department were bizarrely dismissed in a similar fashion. And in a final twist, my dumbfounded reading of the report to The Chronicle office occasioned a smile in our editor, Kilgore Trout.
“Yeah, the sergeant at Boston PD actually clued me in weeks ago. Benjamin Berkey was administratively arrested as part of a law enforcement operation targeting known gang members and associates.”