Links to Remember

“There are two ideas of government,” William Jennings Bryan declared in his 1896 “Cross of Gold” speech. “There are those who believe that if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them.” Robert S. McElvaine https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/30/im-a-depression-historian-the-gop-tax-bill-is-straight-out-of-1929/?utm_term=.a7c11f7614bd



HyperNormalisation is a 2016 BBC documentary by British filmmaker Adam Curtis. In the film, Curtis argues that since the 1970s, governments, financiers, and technological utopians have given up on the complex "real world" and built a simple "fake world" that is run by corporations and kept stable by politicians. The film was released on 16 October 2016 on the BBC iPlayer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HyperNormalisation

Really fascinating historical tidbits:
That when New York City had money problems in the 1970’s the Banks refused to pony up the dough for the usual bond packages until the politicians withdrew any restrictions and basically gave up their power to the financial world

Khomeini starting suicide bombers which Syria encouraged with Hezbollah in Lebanon. And finally Sunni’s took up the idea.

Vladislav Surkov managing Putin’s success by purposefully promoting not knowing what is real or fake and getting people to not care.

The manipulation of Qaddafi form villain to savior and back to villain by western interests. But of course Qaddafi purposely lied and played along for in own insane purposes. And the same with Saddam Hussein.

So yeah, this thing matches my worldview, or more generally my feeling that what somehow how the world is arranged is fundamentally wrong. I have my own reasons for thinking that and this Curtis fellow starts from a different point but ends up at a similar conclusion.

BUT, as much as I enjoy his trunk full of stories, sometimes he comes across like the Oliver Stone approach to JFK, where EVERYTHING including the kitchen sink ominously points to conspiracy and evil.

Some of it he backs up, but for large chunks of the movie he says something and then flashes up some images that implying a connection. And this dude has an obsession with 80’s workout videos which I guess he uses as a symbol of self centered superficiality as civilization is given way to the financiers. Or maybe I have bee bamboozled by the MAN to think we live a too sedentary life

Plus he makes some confident claims that are not filled out and seem flimsy to me. Like Cyberspace was prepared by LSD and that the predictions of Timothy Leary are implied to be quite wise (Leary’s prophecies stated in the movie seem woefully inaccurate, so what am I to make of that?)

Then there is other stuff that bothers me, like the absolute connection he makes with the Reagan administration deliberately promoting UFO conspiracies. I need more that some random guy saying it was all planned.

As he works his way into implying something bad about workout videos he makes some comment about socialist activists giving up and selling out. Then he has the Jane Fonda video clip. But for me the anomaly isn’t that an activist became a celebrity, but that a celebrity was ever involved with the anti war movement.

Oh there are other tiny bits that tic me off like talking about future needs while showing a download of Netscape. That is just lazy video work.

BUT, I stil think the gist is accurate, that politicians gave away their power to the financial system.


Art Critic and Living and Thinking

I watched The Mona Lisa Curse today about contemporary art collecting by Robert Hughes.

Fantastic stuff. Heavy stuff. Makes you think stuff.

Damn that guy had a way with words, and thinking.

From in The New Republic, 1987:

The unexamined life, said Socrates, is not worth living. The memoirs of Julian Schnabel, such as they are, remind one that the converse is also true. The unlived life is not worth examining.


Unfortunately it confirms my now generally dismal view of civilization. When Art is pointless...where does that leave humankind?

Found it one line for free



The Consequences of Lies...

Under things to remember...

Or as Arendt told a French interviewer in 1974:

The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie — a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days — but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.