Let’s Wake Up Already

A great article on how the conservative economic agenda is a big fail because it’s based on the belief that we are still living in the 1980s.

The progressive economic agenda is even worse in this sense because it’s based on the belief we are living 70 years ago. I understand why Bernie is failing to notice the massive change in the way global capitalism functions that occurred since he was a kid. He can’t overcome the rigidity that is less a result of his age than of the strength of his convictions.

But the younger people who insist that the “tax the bastards at 70% to pay for welfare” approach is still valid puzzle me. They are trying to fix an iPhone with the tools that were used to repair lamp radios. It’s bizarre. You do your entire political campaigning on Twitter and Instagram but somehow fail to notice that the global capital has moved into the same space of flows as you have?

By God, people are seriously referencing FDR for a discussion of today’s economy. How is it possible not to notice that the solid capitalism of the 1930s has been entirely washed away by globalization? Have people not heard of the Rust Belt? Or not realized that what rusted there is the entire reality that was just beginning during FDR’s time? The economic recipes of that era are as useful today as the dating advice or the marketing strategies of the 1930s.

As the linked article says, we need completely new approaches that stem from a realization of something that should be extremely obvious: the global economy has changed dramatically since 1978 and even more so since 1938. Let’s finally – finally! – get our heads out of our outdated fantasies about the past and start living in the existing reality.

Blackface and Me

Folks, I swear to God, I have no idea why all my links today are about PC insanity but that’s all I see coming up in my humongous newsfeed.

I just discovered that I’ve been doing blackface for years without realizing it and very very honestly not wanting to mock black people. Thing is, I love facial care products. It’s a lifelong hobby of mine to try out new ones. My favorite product is facial masks. I have a whole collection of them, and I’m even subscribed to a service that sends me new and interesting ones.

I know that everybody has died of boredom already because who cares about my boring facial masks, right? Here is the problem, though. Some of the most popular (and effective) masks on the market are mud, charcoal and chocolate masks. And it turns out they are not really facial care products but actually an insidious way for evil white women to do blackface on a regular basis.

Another popular mask (also very effective) is the milk mask that’s aggressively white. I don’t know if that one is ideologically suspect, too. Like in, are you saying that everybody needs to be whiter than is humanly possible, you evil racist?

Yet another issue is that all the best masks are from South Korea, a country that is a recognized world leader in beauty products. Many (or probably most) of those masks are advertised and marketed as whitening. I tend to break out in freckles every spring, so I love these masks. But again, racist much?

I didn’t have to make my shameful history of blackface public because it’s not like I’m 11 and take photos of myself in my masks to put on Instagram but I’m just trying to stay ahead of the curve. Soon enough, Amazon, Facebook, and everybody else will be publishing our purchase history and the truth about our racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic purchases will be out in the clear anyway.

Nobody will win in this game. Except the owners of Twitter and Facebook.

Mystery: UK vs US

The UK writers are still doing mystery enormously better than their US counterparts.

I read two new mysteries recently. John Lescroart’s The Rule of Law is part of a long-standing series set in San Francisco. I mentioned this novel here a few days back but it took me forever to finish it. In the novel, a Trump-like DA elected in San Francisco on an anti-immigrant platform (yeah, right) is doing horrible Trump-like things and good, progressive lawyers and secretaries resist his evil Trump-like agenda. The twists in the plot are as forced as the premise. And the denouement is simply ridiculous. You can’t write a good novel (even in the low-standard entertainment industry) to make an inane political point.

Then I read The Hiding Place by CJ Tudor, a beginning mystery writer from the UK. It has a slight touch of the supernatural, which I usually hate, but it was quite imperceptible and didn’t bother me. The novel is not a masterpiece of literary creation, to put it mildly, but there is a million twists, and the author is great at creating an atmosphere of dread. And there are no condemnations (or exaltations) of the Brexit, which is something you can’t count on any longer. The novel is delightfully apolitical.

Ideological Crimes

British fashion brand Burberry apologized after debuting a hoodie with a noose around the neck during its London Fashion Week show. The fashion house said it removed the clothing item from its collection after one of its models blasted the brand on Instagram on Sunday.

In the Stalinist era (but not after Stalin’s death made genocide impossible), this was a regular feature of Soviet life. People found ideological crimes in notebook covers, matchbox designs, towels, etc. They were terrified and tried to demonstrate their political correctness (in a literal sense) by denouncing others for supposedly transgressing against the party line. It’s hard to blame them because it was a reaction to genocide. Once genocide ended, they stopped.

The Modern Big Brother

A human rights advocate with a quarter-century experience of fighting for human rights is banned from Facebook because human rights violations are an icky, distasteful topic.

Remember, censorship no longer is the weapon of the repressive state apparatus. It’s now the weapon of capital, and we are all eagerly collaborating.