Color me interested

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Coloring books sure have changed since I was younger. *hauling out his crayons* I mean I’ll still take a stab at it, I’m assuming I’m allowed any other color but Ottoman red?

To be fair though, this is actually harder than it looks. Maybe I should use the original Sykes-Picot method of getting uproariously drunk and then throwing darts at a massive cork-board cutout. Unbeknownst to the proletariat most high level government decisions around the world are in fact decided by throwing something at something else and seeing what sticks. Seems about as valid as any other decision making model, after all you can’t please everyone and at least you’ll have some fun doing it…

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Caveat. If you’re going to throw people though, you should likely get them to wear a helmet. Blunt force trauma is surprisingly jarring and is also harder to walk off than you might anticipate. Trust me on this, I’m a boxer.

Political pathology

God. I am so irresolute.

I’ve been reading some of my old journal entries lately. It makes for a mortifying enterprise that (for the most part) makes me suck air through clenched teeth. The rest of the time I’m just embarrassed and find myself fighting the urge to smother myself with a pillow. Seriously, I wouldn’t wish this drivel on anyone. So far the flavor seems to be evenly distributed between slutty deviance and angry political writing.

…. although I am fascinated by how much I hated the presidency of George W. Bush. (and the degree of vitriol I had for his jingoistic administration) Which feels really strange to me… since I now view him more like a doddering (and to a degree) kindly old uncle who dispenses sweets at funerals.

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What public relations voodoo have you done on my mind? And perhaps more importantly, where can I get some?

Skipping ahead I get excited about Obama… which slowly over time gets eroded and becomes frustration and even… anger maybe? Although let me not get into how much I dislike the current incumbent (or we could be here for a while)

I am, apparently, difficult to please. Although this might actually explain my libertarian pathology… in so far as I was clearly quite a lefty growing up. And now… well… I’m not entirely sure anymore if I even believe in these labels we use to pigeonhole ourselves to definitively.

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I guess when you’re constantly disappointed you start looking for alternatives…

All manner of fluidity

I sometimes like to imagine that bread is not a carbohydrate. ‘Oh, I’m low carb/paleo’, I say stuffing another triangle of egg soaked toast into my mouth and then chasing it down with bacon and breakfast tea (The full English is pretty much the best thing the English ever did for the world*… even when viewed on a list that contains luminaries like John Locke and William Shakespeare)

*this is also the pretty much the most heretical thing a German can say (and may be grounds for the cancellation of your citizenship… and in the old days cause for a dark grey Trabant to be parked outside your house)

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My friends look at me askance, a look that suggests they wouldn’t trust me to babysit their children. ‘Well these days men can be women, and women, men’, I say authoritatively, ‘I think I’m entitled to believe this bread is in fact carb-free’.

‘I don’t think it works like that’, comes a jaundiced retort . ‘Really?’ I say, taking the opportunity to catch my breath. Breakfast of this sort tends to appear, to the uninitiated, akin more to inhalation than ingestion and is usually only interrupted under dire circumstances, like duress… or asphyxiation. ‘Why not?’

I like to be proved wrong. Which happens quite often. But I don’t mind, my ego is (generally) not wrapped up in my assertions. And besides I’m still looking for a good argument as to why gender fluidity should be taken seriously by supposedly rational human beings.

Today is not my day. My fellows that have joined my early morning repast, while borderline progressives, are not ones for solid suppositions to back up their belief system. I don’t really mind. They make up for their deficiencies in discourse with good looks, white teeth and ample bosom. I like to be seen with them (proving how shallow I actually am), and I, in turn, occasionally make them laugh with my contrarian ideas and off beat humor. Although I also sometimes think I’m their charity case… a token of inclusion and that they’re laughing because it would be awkward not to. (I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t of course, I’m quite happy to laugh at my own jokes)

Still, we play nicely because we agree on eighty or ninety percent of everything else. Seems sad to have to harp on the 10% (or 20%) of things we disagree on. Also did I mention they are incredibly good looking?

Encouraging signs of polarisation

I think its because we are so bombarded with information every second of every waking hour that we are inclined to believe we live in the worst of times. The reality is probably the complete opposite. Generally speaking I should add. There are likely some Syrians and those peeps domiciled in places like (darkest) Venezuela who would disagree with the assertion that…

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Our perceived conflict is largely an imagined one, an ideological confrontation where we conceive ourselves to be battling for the future soul of our (as yet unrealized) Utopian society… not really in any meaningful way… Today’s insurrectionist is found lounging at home in leafy, green suburbia, sporting a suspiciously stained bathrobe and a bowl of Fruit Loops balanced on their burgeoning midsection, eyeing their split-screened twitter feed mentions and scrolling through Buzzfeed articles. (I feel the need to lampoon and typecast these people purely for my own gratification, in reality they are likely just like me, only prettier… and likely wealthier)

Of course there are those who will take it to the next level by punching people and getting dressed up in ninja-esque garb to accelerate trash cans through store-fronts… but I tend to believe that this is a minority of a minority. (People holding extreme uncompromising views on the left and right is thought to be only about 8%) Which is really quite encouraging… because that means (quickly checks his math) 92% of society is sane. Maybe its 8% on either side of the divide? Still… that’s… eh… (counts on fingers) 84%.

Of course a collection of crazies gathered together in one place to achieve some level of mischief or indeed the modern revolutionary (with their nine social media accounts) start to make us doubt our ability to cooperate with out fellows or indeed what we believe of bipartisanship generally, which is then accelerated by the ‘news’ corporations who see us less like people and more as a commodity to be manipulated and exploited for profit. Not to mention the bots, foreign governments and that familiar nemesis, the Illuminati.

Israel_Shahak.jpg‘There are some encouraging signs of polarisation’ – Dr. Israel Shahak, chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights and holocaust survivor

‘Nothing flippant inheres in this remark; a long and risky life has persuaded him that only an open conflict of ideas and principles can produce any clarity. Conflict may be painful, but the painless solution does not exist in any case and the pursuit of it leads to the painful outcome of mindlessness and pointlessness’ – Christopher Hitchens.

Hitchens went on in a later interview to add;

‘Polarization and the dialectic is what clarifies things’

While I agree that polarization and conflict are potentially good things in so far as they force us to confront and enunciate what it is that we actually believe in… I really don’t think we are there (yet) and that we are not as polarized as we have been led to believe. I think for the most part we still like each other, and that our Venn diagrams overlap more than they don’t… especially once we get up close and personal and out of our unyielding online personas. That and getting out from under the demagogues we subscribe to.

I like the idea of using the litmus test of ‘How is this person making their money?’ Ad revenue, patronage, subscription services… these people need to keep you hooked (so they can eat… and buy Teslas). They market a perceived deficiency to you, for example that you lack an awareness of the fast paced current event cycle or just an ideological inadequacy that they know people use to define themselves. I think people want to feel that they are connected to something… And there are more than enough people offering to fill that void with something that sounds appealing. Plus you get to belong to a tribe, be that progressives, conservatives or libertarians. These are your people, they got your back.

Of course they don’t really. Got your back I mean. Belonging to some nebulous tribe of people be they democrats or republicans doesn’t really mean anything. The person more likely to have your back is your neighbor. A relationship we often neglect in favor of virtue signalling our allegiance to some broader collective.

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Strange how we’ve evolved from something that was, at one point, a vital survival imperative.