Nonviolence or Nonexistence

Every year in January we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by recalling a handful of fanciful speeches that make us feel good. But the MLK who fearlessly opposed the Vietnam War, challenged America’s status quo, and declared poverty the greatest of society’s evils seems known to few. Expanding his activism from Civil Rights to humanitarian social justice for all humanity led him to conclude that this is not a struggle of black versus white, but oligarch versus the poor. In his final year on Earth, King took increasingly radical policy positions, from speaking out against the Vietnam War to forging a multiracial Poor People’s Campaign that sought, as King said, “a radical redistribution of economic and political power.” The oversimplified narrative of his martyrdom undermines his deeper messages: that “America is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” and, that “those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”

The Message That Killed A King

Monday, January 21st marks the 58th anniversary of Dwight D Eisenhower’s farewell address, wherein the 34th President of the United States warned this nation of the imminent threat posed by the military industrial complex. After delivering that speech on January 17th 1961, the Kennedy Administration assumed power. A short 38 months later, in November of 1963, John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas gave rise to the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson.

But earlier that same year, a charismatic young preacher from Atlanta, Georgia rose up before a nation and delivered a speech that would ring out for all time. Unfortunately, beyond the inspirational words of “I have a dream” most Americans really don’t know much about the life and times of Doctor Martin Luther King Junior. A man addressed by his most trusted colleagues as “Doc”, has, through the passage of time, become a man whose martyrdom has undermined his message.

In Tavis Smiley’s 2014 publication, Death of King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year, Smiley proclaims that he has come to firmly believe in a critical way that Dr. King is misunderstood, and that misunderstanding robs us of his real character and crusade. He goes on to say:

“As a public figure who fearlessly challenged the status quo, he has been sanitized and oversimplified. The values for which he died and lived – justice for all, service to others, and a love that liberates no matter the cost – are largely forgotten. He is no longer a threat, merely an idealistic dreamer to remember for a handful of fanciful speeches. That may be the Martin Luther King that the world wishes to remember, but it is not the Martin Luther King that I have come to better understand and love even more. The King that moves me most is the man who, during the final season of his earthly journey, faced a torrent of vicious assaults from virtually every segment of society, most painfully, from his own people.

“The symmetry is remarkable. On April 4th, 1967, he came to the Riverside Church in New York City and delivered a dramatic and controversial speech in impassioned opposition to the Vietnam war. Exactly 12 months later to the day later, on April 4th, 1968, he is assassinated in Memphis, where he has traveled on behalf of garbage workers. In my view, he is a man whose true character has been misinterpreted, ignored, and forgotten. I want to remember and bring to life the essential truths about King in his final months, before they are unremembered and irrecoverable. This is the King that I cherish. The King who, enduring a living hell, rises to moral greatness. The King who, in the face of unrelenting adversity, expresses the full measure of his character and courage. This is the King, who despite everything, spoke his truth, and the man I consider the greatest public figure this country has ever produced.

“The final leg of King’s journey was far rougher than I had ever imagined. The pressure he faced was absolutely crushing, yet he never compromised his core commitment to nonviolence. Not for a minute did he diminish his efforts to address the burning issues of racism, poverty and the inherent immorality of this nation’s unchecked militarism. Nearly 50 years after King’s death, these issues are more pressing than ever.”

This coming Monday marks the nationally commemorated holiday, which president Reagan reluctantly signed into law in 1983 to take effect three years later. We as a nation observed the holiday for the first time on the 20th of January 1986. But not every U.S. state chose to observe the holiday at the state level until 1991, when the New Hampshire legislature created Civil Rights Day and abolished Fast Day which was a legacy religious day of public fasting and prayer traditionally observed in the New England states starting in 1670.

Finally, in the year 2000, at the birth of the new millennium, Utah became the vert last state to name the holiday named after King, officially changing Human Rights Day to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Smiley’s book helps us see that in the final year of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recognized that of all the pressing issues, poverty stood at the core of them all. Poverty was and still is the gasoline the fuels all of the other fires, from furious riots in the streets of American cities to the horrors transpiring upon faraway lands scarred by the pits of innumerable American bombings.

Poverty was and still is the reason that people living in the midst of an affluent country spending billions on foreign wars and billions more on trips to outer space, are trapped in a cycle of frustration and despair that continues to this very hour.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s friend, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once remarked:

“The situation of the poor in America is our plight, our sickness. To be deaf to their cry is to condemn ourselves. And Martin Luther King is a sign that God has not forsaken the United States of America.”

King’s move to expand his activism from Civil Rights in to the realms of humanitarian social justice for all humanity was precisely what led him to the conclusion that this is not a struggle of black versus white, but oligarch versus the poor of America. This realization is precisely what made him enough of a threat to the establishment that the FBI began working around the clock to undermine and sabotage his mission. They recognized that King’s leadership in Civil Rights was so instrumental that his Gandhi-like expansion into universal human rights had the potential to unite the entire country against the parasites that have cleverly sized control of the apparatuses of government and since divided the masses against themselves. J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI considered King – a pacifist Christian preacher – the most dangerous man in America. Those within the upper tiers of the ownership class and the military-industrial complex recognized King had the potential to threaten their burgeoning empire, and struck when the opportunity presented itself.

As with many assassinations Dr. King’s death seemed an inopportune tragedy instead of an organized plot to remove another pivotal leader from fully realizing the revolution he seemed destined to lead. Though long bemoaned as another wacky conspiracy theory, Dr. Martin Luther King’s family won a civil lawsuit in 1999, proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the US government was directly responsible for the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sadly, most Americans remain unaware of the case because mainstream media outlets ignored the King vs. Jowers trial completely, and have since saturated the internet with confusing counter-narratives, contradictions and propaganda. But our media have always overlooked the increasingly radical policy positions King took in his final year on earth, from speaking out against the Vietnam War to forging a multiracial Poor People’s Campaign that sought, as King said, “a radical redistribution of economic and political power.”

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Staying Alive Through Suicidal Times

It seems that whenever voices of influence in the media address America’s most urgent national emergencies, they fall all over themselves discussing symptoms instead of facing root causes.

The American suicide epidemic has accelerated to the point that 123 Americans are killing themselves every day, but all we’re really hearing in the media about this crisis has to do with gun access and mental illness.

We’re told that because 51% of suicides occur with a firearm, one answer to this nationwide despair is a further erosion of our last remaining political rights. I resent this conclusion only because I’ve lost more than my share of friends and colleagues to suicide, and almost none of them used a firearm to do it (and most of them lived in Montana, a state notorious for responsible gun ownership).

I’m not saying that nobody uses firearms to off themselves because statistically about half of them do. Nor do I discount the evidence that access to firearms can overwhelmingly turn an otherwise meandering suicide attempt into a snap decision. But doesn’t the method that people choose to end their own lives seem a petty concern when contrasted with the reasons people have been driven to such despair in the first place? Especially since so many are doing it by other means?

Does this really feel like a firearm issue to you?

If half of the 47,000 Americans who committed suicide in 2017 did so by hanging themselves, we would not consider writing laws to control access to rope, would we? There are already more than 20,000 gun laws on the books, and writing ever more laws doesn’t change the fact that it’s illegal to kill people, and morally wrong to kill one’s self.

So we move to what I consider to be the other Red Herring of this issue: mental health.

Experts will insist that this crisis is due to a lack of mental health care facilities because poor communities cannot afford them, signaling an inability to recognize and diagnose individuals more susceptible to suicide than others, and treat them in kind. What the talking heads of the mental-health care community imply with this mentality is that anyone who kills themselves is mentally ill.

By obfuscating symptoms with problems, the orthodox medical community can employ euphemistic smoke screening that hides the realities of our society’s breakdown.

Yes, PTSD is technically a psychiatric condition.

But PTSD is just a symptom. It’s not the cause of suicide.

When it comes to veteran suicides – which amount to more than 8,000 a year, or 22 a day, or one every 65 minutes – it seems to be perpetual war, state-sanctioned genocide and military imperialism were the initial cause of this massive suicide cluster. A cluster that has snowballed to the point that the military community today has experienced so many suicides overall that voluntary death is now just part of the culture. And each man who enacts this script keeps it potent for the other men around him.

So how about ending those wars that started this crisis? Because unless we stamp those wars out, we’re always going to have more damaged Americans returning home to a country that doesn’t even know it’s at war, unable to cope with the unbelievable crimes they were hypnotized into committing in the name of freedom and democracy while getting screwed out of their VA benefits and pensions on the regular. Unless we address the war industry that caused this systemic breakdown in the first place (exactly as Ike warned would happen in ’61) we’re only further keeping this culturally patterned script of self-destruction potent for all who follow us.

In a similar way, believers in the DSM will attest that depression is a psychiatric condition, which is technically correct, but not the whole truth. I insist depression is a symptom of a culture that is itself utterly self-destructive.  Our culture lives in the most suicidal way imaginable, permanently poisoning the biosphere, the watersheds and the soil biodiversity to the point that we’re paving the way for our own destruction collectively.

As above, so below, and the individual recognizes the collective self-destruction at foot; the politically motivated corruption all around; the resource wars overseas; the mass enslavement here at home; the destruction of the environment the world over; the commodification of thought online; the surveillance panopticon that watches every action; the accelerating apocalypse thrust into the retinas of every thinking-feeling person who may eventually be brought about by this cavalcade of continuous devastation to the conclusion that all existence seems utterly futile and not worth enduring for any reason any longer.

In other words, it is no measure of good health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society that always has more money to bomb children in third world countries but can never seem to muster the resources necessary to clothe the naked, feed the hungry or heal the sick.

Depression is not an abnormal reaction to the present circumstances of our world, but reacting to the crisis by prescribing drugs is. Recent enthusiasm from the medical-industrial complex for increased opioid use for pain resulted in the current opioid epidemic that seems indistinguishable from the suicide epidemic in many ways, and probably hides worsening suicide statistics quite effectively as well.

The prescription of Huxley’s Soma approaches as a way of halting rising suicide rates with a New York Times op-ed published last November entitled, “Can We Stop Suicides?” in which the authors offer yet another drug as the solution, this time anesthetic ketamine, to “halt suicidal thoughts almost immediately.” Once again, we should not be interested in the thoughts, but in the causes and conditions that created them. And the desperate circumstances of our age stem as equally from perpetual war and all the inconceivable mental symptoms created by it as they do from a grave economic crisis manifesting in a working class that can no longer make their ends meet.

Our economic despair today stems, more than anything else, from our cultural failure to incarcerate the architects of the 2008 financial crisis who hijacked the world economy and crashed it into the mountain, putting millions of families onto the streets and laying down the tinder for outright civil war as the country experiences the worst income inequality ever witnessed by human eyes. Then it became illegal to be homeless in many cities around America, and an out-of-control police state rages on whether the federal government is shut down or not.

If we have automated and outsourced every bit of our formerly great manufacturing sector out of the country, but are still expected to pay rents on homes priced by ever-increasing market speculation, Americans are wedged into a collective position that lends itself to extreme individual acts made out of desperation.

Just ask American farmers.

A recent study by the CDC found that people working in agriculture specifically, including farmers, farm laborers, ranchers, fishers, and lumber harvesters, take their own lives at a rate higher than any other occupation, as reported by the Guardian.

Newsweek reported that the suicide death rate for farmers was more than double that of military veterans. And this statistic could even be an underestimate, as the data collected skipped several major agricultural states, including Iowa. What’s more, the farmer suicide rate might be even higher than that, because an unknown number of farmers disguise their suicides as farm accidents. A similar phenomenon began taking place in India years ago that eventually led to 291,000 Indian farmers, all ending their own lives to escape debts they knew they would never be able to pay off.

C’est la vie.

Death may be a part of life. We all lose friends and family members along our journey all the time. That’s life. But to die from despair without fully experiencing one’s own life, by one’s own hand, seems especially tragic. And now that suicide is the second leading cause of death for all Americans in the prime of their life, we should react to this national emergency in kind. We can start by rejecting the symptoms as key, as well as those who spin the symptoms to distract away from the gangster imperialism that now threatens not only our very existence, but our very willingness to participate in our existence.

Suicide Is Very Contagious

Suicide Is Very Contagious


02Like affects like. Monkey see, monkey do. A key predictor of suicide, is knowing a suicide. One person taking their own life is destructive for other people. It significantly increases the likelihood of copycat suicides among those who knew them and those who are like them, and can snowball into a suicide cluster. Counselors consider it a risk factor for suicide when a person reports known someone who died this way, and media reporting on suicide can also result in suicides. The military community has now experienced so many suicides that voluntary death has become part of the culture. Veteran suicide has become culturally patterned, and each man who enacts this script keeps it potent for the other men around him. Some service members say there is a sense that suicide can be contagious. The fact that suicide influences suicide leads to a philosophical idea: that it is morally wrong to kill one’s self, because in killing yourself, you’re likely to be killing someone else by influence.

 

DIGITAL APARTHEID: How The End of Net Neutrality Created Internet Classism (UPDATED)

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Over two decades have passed since Netscape went public in 1995, triggering the revolutionary ability to browse websites. It also spurred the multi-billion dollar investments by companies like Global Crossing in the creation of undersea and underground fiber-optic telecommunications cable networks, which in-turn drove down the cost of data transmission to nearly zero.

Browser wars led to Y2K led to the dot-com crash giving birth to hacktivism, social networking, the blogosphere, the deep web and everything else. The internet has enabled open-sourcing, collaboration and innovation that even the most idealistic dreamers could have never imagined. And because we’ve all grown up within the infinitude of this burgeoning digital universe, we’ve grown to take unspoken digital liberties for granted.

Each computer effectively functions as a neuron in the massive brain of what was previously referred to as the World Wide Web. As with a hive, it is not the neurons themselves, but the connections between individual neurons that create intelligence. In allowing connectivity between computers and thus individuals, the internet has allowed for explosive leaps in awareness worldwide.

The internet likely represents the last effective tool that remains with which to oppose forces of despotism in our rapidly globalizing landscape. Unlike Corporate controlled media where the wealthy have dominated our access to information, our ability to organize, and our means of earning a living, the internet represents a force for actual  democracy on a level playing field. We can attribute such liberty to Net Neutrality, which we are told officially ended this week.

What is Net Neutrality?

Near the beginning of the internet’s inception, the FCC put into place a regulation to guarantee an open and free internet. Part of that clause is called Net Neutrality, which regulated Internet Service Providers from differentiating between one site and another. Corporate ISPs want more money, and want to charge premium fees for the websites we visit. But they can’t do this as long as Net Neutrality rules remain in place. As the rules have stood for decades, ISPs cannot prioritize data on a pay-to-play system of browsing per the Title II classification of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as common carriers. But ISPs have lobbied hard, even placing their own people into the FCC, in their constant crusade to revoke Title II restrictions. If they are successful – if Net Neutrality dies – ISPs would be granted complete power over the internet, including the ability to outright ban certain websites on their network.

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Given the possible profits and power that await ISPs following the death of Title II, it is not particularly surprising that companies like Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon have pulled out every possible legal trick in the book to to overturn Title II, and now it looks like they might actually succeed.

As Jonathan Cook of Counterpunch notes:

As soon as next month, the net could become the exclusive plaything of the biggest such corporations, determined to squeeze as much profit as possible out of bandwith. Meanwhile, the tools to help us engage in critical thinking, dissent and social mobilisation will be taken away as “net neutrality” becomes a historical footnote, a teething phase, in the “maturing” of the internet.


 

THE REVOLVING DOOR OF CORPORATE POLITICS

The FCC, who are supposed to act as a regulator, actually protect telecom industries by proposing “reforms to Net Neutrality.” The current chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, was served for many years as a lawyer working for the telecom giant Verizon.

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President Trump appointed Pai in 2017, but the proposed death of a free and open internet goes far beyond the Donald’s presence in Washington. The Obama Administration’s FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler – who attempted to gut Net Neutrality rules in 2014 – was also a former cable industry lobbyist sponsored by Comcast, Verizon and the US Telecommunications Association, and hired Comcast Attorneys Daniel Alvarez and Matthew Del Nero during his tenure.

tom-wheeler-fcc-chairmanDespite these obvious conflicts of interest, not everyone at the FCC seems thrilled with the corporate takeover on the online universe. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed entitled “I’m on the FCC. Please stop us from killing net neutrality” Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel observes the persistent questions surrounding the legitimacy of anti-net neutrality public comments submitted to FCC, as well as what appear to be tens of thousands of missing comments. She now calls for voters to make sure the proposal by Republican Chairman Ajit Pai does not go through, citing overwhelming public support for net neutrality. She also proclaimed Pai’s plan “a lousy idea” deserving of a “heated response from the millions of Americans who work and create online every day.”


Montana Fights Back

In January Montana Governor Steve Bullock (D) responded to theFCC’s vote to end Net Neutrality by signing an executive order requiring internet service providers with government contracts in the state of Montana to abide by Net Neutrality rules.

As reported by Harper Neidig at The Hill:

The order makes his state the first to push back on the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to repeal the open internet rules last month.

“There has been a lot of talk around the country about how to respond to the recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission to repeal net neutrality rules, which keep the internet free and open. It’s time to actually do something about it,” Bullock said in a statement.

“This is a simple step states can take to preserve and protect net neutrality. We can’t wait for folks in Washington DC to come to their senses and reinstate these rules.”

The order says that in order to receive a contract with the state government, internet service providers must not engage in blocking or throttling web content or create internet fast lanes. Those practices were all banned under the Obama-era 2015 net neutrality order.

The fine folks at boing boing observe that the order sets up an interesting conundrum:

On the one hand, the FCC insists that it has the authority to ban states and cities from establishing public alternative networks. Since ISPs enjoy natural monopolies — there’s only so many poles and sewers to go around — most cities have one or two ISPs, and if both of them refuse to adhere to net neutrality principles, the state would seemingly have to go without internet service altogether. The question will be whether one of the duopolies in a city with government offices will betray its network discrimination conspiracy with its “competitor” in order to land state contracts — or whether the state will build out its own government network, something that the FCC seems prepared to permit.

 


MONETIZING SCARCITY

In a Washington D.C. Court of Appeals case – Verizon VS The Federal Communications Commission – rulings effectively put an end to Net Neutrality already, abolishing FCC regulations over telecommunications giants like Verizon and Comcast, Cox, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable. Now we’re facing the complete repeal of already compromised regulations, and we’re set to witness that repeal as soon as December of 2017.

Under the Appealed ruling, ISPs can already selectively censor the internet by throttling sites they don’t like into nonexistence, hindering cash-strapped internet start-ups from getting off of the ground, stifling innovation, killing off new competitors challenging massive corporations, and widening gap between the haves and have nots. Now income inequality threatens last bastion of free speech. Small businesses, nonprofit organizations, independent journalists and the like, will not be able to afford to pay for the “fast lane” of the internet.

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ISPs will be able to discriminate between data on the final mile before the data connects to your home. The new tolls would allow ISPs to actually tax internet companies for the “privilege” of connecting with customers who are already paying for network access. Small business owners and everyone else won’t be able to compete with massive corporations. Start-ups won’t be able to compete with the pay-to-play fast-lane.  An end to Net Neutrality would grant ISPs the ability to give some websites preferential treatment (faster traffic) in exchange for money. But who has all of the money in the first place?

The name of the game is Pay To Play. ISPs will be able to manipulate broadband speeds based on which organizations are willing to pony up the most dough. Our voices will become inaudible in the sea of money that has bought politicians and saturated our mental environment with the pollution of incessant advertisements for generations, literally drowning out our voices on the only frontier we have left.

Then again, wasn’t it really just a matter of time before this happened? The internet, after all, poses a significant threat to all corporate agendas. But for those of us who have come to take these services for granted, it is a sad reminder that we don’t truly know what we have until it is gone, as the old saying goes.

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CORPORATIONS ARE LIKE THE MAFIA – THEY DO WHATEVER THEY WANT

The corporate giants have grown lazy in their attempts to smooth out PR. The fact remains they don’t have to issue apologies any longer. They’ve successfully implemented monopolies and laugh at every challenge to them. In a 2014 blog post, Tom Wheeler wouldn’t even defend his proposals, implicitly refusing to dispel the “interpretation” of proposed rules by not even mentioning them:

“Some recent commentary has had a misinformed interpretation of the Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) currently before the Commission. There are two things that are important to understand.  First, this is not a final decision by the Commission but rather a formal request for input on a proposal as well as a set of related questions.  Second, as the Notice makes clear, all options for protecting and promoting an Open Internet are on the table.

“In its Verizon v. FCC decision the D.C. Circuit laid out a blueprint for how the FCC could use Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to create Open Internet rules that would stick. I have repeatedly stated that I viewed the court’s ruling as an invitation that I intended to accept.  We ask for comment on this approach in the NPRM.”

The courts have explicitly ruled they have the authority to change this classification, which is why they moved internet from Common Carrier classification to Information Provider, akin to any other public utility.

Wheeler went on to say:

“I do not believe we should leave the market unprotected for multiple more years while lawyers for the biggest corporate players tie the FCC’s protections up in court.  Notwithstanding this, all regulatory options remain on the table. If the proposal before us now turns out to be insufficient or if we observe anyone taking advantage of the rule, I won’t hesitate to use Title II. However, unlike with Title II, we can use the court’s roadmap to implement Open Internet regulation now rather than endure additional years of litigation and delay.”

Enacting Title II of Telecommunications Act of 1996 would reclassify ISPs as utilities like phone companies and restrict them to more stringent FCC regulation. Despite his words, “hesitate” is exactly what Wheeler has done from the start. The FCC admits that actions are not commercially reasonable if they harm the consumer, like, for example, degrading other service to create a fast lane, if they harm competition, if they provide priority access to affiliate programs, or if they curb free speech or civic engagement. But as BGR’s Brad Reed points out:

“Just like with the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, Wheeler’s net neutrality rules propose giving a powerful corporate interest something it wants in exchange for agreeing to live under the vague threat of future regulations that depend entirely on the whims of the regulators who may or may not feel like enforcing them.”

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 NET NEUTRALITY IS NOT A MEDDLESOME GOVERNMENT REGULATION – ITS COMMON SENSE

 As billions of people from different cultures are being brought into a brave, new, globalized economic landscape, the monopoly of the Anglo-American world Empire is being challenged on a daily basis by this online network of networks. But the internet doesn’t only challenge the Empire from the outside. While disinformation propaganda has filled our minds with lies for decades, the alternative media challenge the dogmatic information monopoly of corporate owned organizations like CNN, FOX and MSNBC. The internet has made it impossible for the established regime to sell propaganda to us; if the mainstream media attempts to convince us that the people of Iran are inherently evil to sell another illegal war to the American people, we can simply access the web to engage in conversations with Iranian citizens, and in doing so we ultimately arrive at the conclusion that those people in Iran are really no different from us, and desire the same things that we do. Thus the internet shows us not only that we are all connected, but that we are all one consciousness.

According to complexity theory, when simple things interact, they create unpredictability. It is expressly this unpredictability which threatens the hegemony of the Corporate state.The Corporatocracy has ten-thousand reasons to loathe a free and open internet, which is why they’re attacking it from all sides. While Microsoft and Macintosh’s computer systems have been intentionally designed with built-in back doors to NSA and GCHQ servers, open-source software like Linux challenges the dogmatic surveillance monopoly of corporate owned intelligence organizations like Booze-Allen-Hamilton. While Wal-Mart and Target drive out local businesses and bring mom-&-pop shops to their knees, eBay stores and the 3D printing revolution of thingiverse.com and the like challenge the dogmatic production monopoly of corporate owned retail outlets. While our banking systems choke out local economies and foreclose struggling families from their homes with the stranglehold that is compounded interest, Bit-Coin and other Crypto-Currencies challenge the dogmatic monopoly of the Central Banking System’s fiat currencies. The radio program you’re listening to at this very moment is yet another shining example of why the internet is so important. Without the web, this show does not exist, plain and simple. So its not hard to understand why the Corporate elite are doing everything they can to destroy internet sovereignty.

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The Corporate elite view internet as something akin to Pandora opening her box. In the early days of internet regulation bills, Senator Jay Rockefeller actually said to a crowded auditorium on the subject of cybersecurity, “Would it have been better if we had never invented the internet?” Our Corporate masters are desperate to stuff the genie back into the bottle, and shove the cat back into the bag. But a mind expanded by new experience can never return to its previous dimensions, and now that the standard has been set, a reversal of the information trend will not be tolerated by the online community. Every day the internet exists, it becomes stronger, striking fear into the black heart of the oligarchs.

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As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and we may be witnessing the death of the internet as you read these words. The rich are attempting to control the internet by buying it, creating a new form of classism, what might be termed Digital Apartheid.  If they succeed, the rest of us too poor to afford the perks of the free internet we’ve all come to take for granted, will become second-class digital citizens, unable to access information we were able to before. They don’t have to shut down websites to kill the internet. All they have to do is put an end to Net Neutrality, which is exactly what FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced was going to happen this week.  The websites we access on a daily basis constitute the accessible internet, and Internet Service Providers or ISPs must provide equal access to everything that is online to their clients. Net Neutrality means that your Internet provider cannot limit what you view online in any way. If it is online, you can access it.

But let’s put this into perspective. What would net neutrality look like if it were applicable to telephones? It would mean that I can call a business as easily as I could call an individual. An end to telephone neutrality would mean that I could easily get through to big businesses, but would have to wait long periods of time in order to contact acquaintances, ultimately culminating in negative effects, like being put on hold for a 911 call.  The bottom line here is that you cannot value communication technology on a sliding scale, although this is expressly what the end of Net Neutrality will create for us.

Why

They’ve written a number of dress-rehearsal internet control bills, all of which were shut down by popular activism. ACTA failed. SOPA failed. PIPA failed. CISPA failed. And now with the TPP floundering in the water, it is clear that outward control of the internet is not going to work. The NSA is apprehensive to activate Quantum Copper, which is essentially the Great Firewall of China for the entire global internet, for fear of the backlash. If they suddenly shut off the internet, what would happen? They’ve discovered that they can’t control the internet openly, so now they’ve decided that it might be a good idea to exclusify information by forcing people to pay for it. Since people are barely able to make ends meet in the first place, the internet has become their only saving grace to make the rent and pay for groceries. So the idea of making people pay more for basic access on a sliding scale will break the back of our world wide web even more effectively than outwardly controlling it.

When it comes to these rulings and legislative efforts, the last people who are involved are we the people. The lobbyists and congressmen who have no conception of what the internet actually is, are writing this legislation not only for the sake of increasing their profits, but to control the even distribution of information that challenges their establishment narratives.

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INTERNET CLASSISM

They’re turning this into a tiered system like cable television. These new data limits would likely be sold to us based on packages. For example, if you would like the social media package (which includes facebook and google+), you’ll have to pay an additional $9.99 in addition to the connection fees associated with your ISP.  If you’ would like the streaming video package (which includes youtube hulu, and vimeo), that will cost you another additional $19.99 since steaming services require lots of bandwidth. And if you want to see smaller sites (like outerlimitsradioshow.wordpress.com) which aren’t included in these packages, you’ll just have to eat away that data. And if you’re dissatisfied with the fact that your service is slow, pay more to get faster service. Can’t afford it? Tough luck. Hope you enjoyed an open and free internet while it lasted. For the average internet user, this means that our favorite sites would take forever to load (especially if the corporations deem them a threat to the established propaganda narrative) resulting in even higher fees, justified by higher traffic and high bandwidths.

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IS IT WORTH THE FIGHT?

How much longer are we going to waste our energy stopping programs that should not exist? Putting a stop to insane bills and ludicrous laws? How much longer will we read about the abuses of corporations in our headlines and think to ourselves – “this has to be stopped?” Why do we tolerate this? Occupy this. March for that. Instead of building a future on the altar of our most glorious dreams, we spend our time protesting and demonstrating, signing petition after petition, wasting all of our time and energy to stop programs and initiatives that should never have been conceived of in the first place. We’re on a hamster wheel, running harder and harder and expecting different results; expecting to go somewhere. We told ourselves that if we could stop SOPA the government would get the message and leave the internet alone. We told ourselves that if we could put an end to CISPA the government would finally get the message and leave the internet alone. But they slither and squirm their way out of every new regulation and ruling. They spend all their time conceiving clever methods of implementing their agenda. How much longer can we keep this up? I’ll give it to these lobbyists, they are very clever, but they’re not very wise. How do they think this is going to end?

The FCC would do well to appeal and win this case, but they won’t because they’ve been infiltrated by industry lobbyists. We might want to establish Net Neutrality on the books for good, somehow, and set it in stone forever. Although if we do that, they’ll just find another clever way to get around the rules and control the internet – they’ll stop at nothing until we put a stop to them, and the internet has proven to be the only means of doing that by exposing their lies on a daily basis, slowly but methodically waking up the masses one post at a time. In the meantime, here are a couple of sites you can access to make your voice heard on this issue:

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Save The Internet

Go FCC Yourself

Free Press

We are many, and they are few. The power to stop them is in the mirror. The fight is not over, but the time for waiting around to do something is. Take action.

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[1] The FCC is about to axe-murder net neutrality. Don’t get mad – get even
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/24/fcc-net-neutrality-tom-wheeler-stop-rules

[2] Obama Administration Launches Plan to Make an “Internet ID” a Reality
http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2014/05/02/obama-administration-launches-plan-to-make-an-internet-id-a-reality/

[3] The FCC Chairman’s Many Excuses: Tom Wheeler tries, and fails, to justify his execution of Net Neutrality
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/05/fcc_chairman_tom_wheeler_s_lame_excuses_for_his_net_neutrality_proposal.html

[4] FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler defends proposed Net Neutrality reform
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-fcc-net-neutrality-wheeler-20140430,0,7001552.story#axzz30gasnE7T

[5] FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Pledges Open Internet In Face of Criticism
http://time.com/82409/wheeler-net-neutrality/

[6] If We Act Now, We Can Stop The FCC’s Horrific Proposal To End Net Neutrality
http://www.alternet.org/activism/if-we-act-now-we-can-stop-fccs-horrific-proposal-end-net-neutrality?paging=off&current_page=1

[7] Former Comcast And Verizon Attorneys Now Manage The FCC And Are About To Kill The Internet
http://www.vice.com/read/former-comcast-and-verizon-attorneys-now-manage-the-fcc-and-are-about-to-kill-the-internet

Net-Neutrality

Gabrielle Lafayette is a journalist, writer, and executive producer for the Outer Limits Radio Show.
Check out the more frequently updated tumblr page at outerlimitsradioshow.tumblr.com
Contact the research team at outerlimitsradioshow@fastmail.fm

What In The World Is “Buddhist Rock”?

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Buddhist rock band darshan Pulse (dP) was born in the musically rich community of Missoula, Montana, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. After publishing a concept album called Panopticon in the spring of 2010, dP worked continuously on a second concept album: Olive Moksha (OM). This ambitious project was crafted with the intention of guiding the listener on a wordless journey, which tells a timeless story of three monks as they navigate life, death, and rebirth. The story takes us from Dukkha (worldly suffering) to Anatta (the doctrine of non-self).

Time and time again we find evidence that music is capable of producing dramatic alterations in consciousness. To what extent might music be capable of changing the world?

The Story

Dukkha, the state of suffering and want, begins our tale. Upon this background the curtains rise on three monks, performing their daily duties at a nameless monastery. They cut wood, carry water, tell stories (Vihara Devoir).

On the monastery grounds there is an olive orchard, where the monks work and meditate. One night, while the monks are meditating under an ancient olive tree, Avalokiteshvara, an enlightened being, appears to them in a vision. He tells them to leave the orchard and become bodhisattvas to wander the earth spreading good works. They immediately depart, giving their lives over to public service, each having a grand adventure and struggle greater than the next (Wandering Bhikkhu). By and by, they live out their lives, gradually winding down, passing peaceably into the spirit world without malice or despair. Their bodies are sent back to the monastery for burial (Request to Laura).

Upon death, each of them sees for the first time the transient nature of all things — a movement of lightness and air enters them. They pass through the bardos between death and rebirth, first re-experiencing their lightest thoughts and moments of fleeting grace (Pala Moksha), followed swiftly by a re-telling of their darkest, most selfish thoughts, and moments of weakness (Sidpa Bardo). Unable to remain coalesced into a separate Will, facing an unknowable choice between rebirth and nirvana, each monk’s selfhood is torn apart in the transition (Tulku Bhava).

Years pass, and three children are born, each somewhere in the first world (Ici Avant). They come of age in an ailing society, overfull with violence and thoughtlessness, and struggle with the desire to take the right action instead of the easiest action. Desperate for an answer to the deepest questions that plague them, they each search for their own Truth, wherever it may lead (Quarry Unhewn). By and by, through hill and vale, the children find themselves at the doors of an ancient monastery. The scent of fruit oil and brine fills the air with peace and sweetness.

The abbot of the monastery meets with each child. It is clear from their meeting that this is not the first time they have met. The children know too much at too young an age. The children and the abbot talk long into the night, contrasting stories of a bygone time of a natural rise and fall with those of woes of present unmet wants. Exhausted from the revelation, the children stay the night at the orchard, sleeping under an old half-dead tree (Padme in the Orchard).

During the night, the children are visited by Avalokiteshvara in a shared dream. They see that their seemingly separate personalities are actually three emanations of a singular presence as their consciousnesses merge with that of the transcendent being. They awaken at once to the brightness of the full moon, she having suddenly slipped off her blanket of cloud. Having momentarily stepped into a larger world, they are struck still by the realization of Anatta, or no-self; that there is no difference between themselves, the old monks, and the Bodhisattva nature of all sentient beings. They rise with the Knowledge, the Sight, and the Truth. Whether they live long and well, it is not for us to say. But having experienced Moksha, they are free.


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The Theory

The basic idea/assumption that generated the music theory and musical forms that underlie Olive Moksha is this: that the scale a melody is played in has a reliable emotional affect. Usually this is limited, in most music, to major (a happy, uplifting, simple-sounding scale) and minor (an introspective, darker, complex-sounding scale). Our composer realized that major and minor are simply permutations of the same underlying circular sequence, only starting in different locations.

For those that know the Do-Re-Mi song from The Sound of Music: Major starts its scale on the Do, but minor starts its scale on the La. (If you imagine singing La Ti Do Re Mi Fa So La, for example, that’s a minor scale). Thus it’s a clear logical extension to consider the other scales as well – the unnamed ones that end on Re, Mi, Fa, So, and Ti.

Turns out, surprising no one, these scales have been around since the time of the Greeks, and got the names we know them by in the 1200s – they are called Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Aeolian and Locrian – and they have the ability to paint melodies in more subtle shades of emotion than just Happy and Sad. But it goes much deeper.

Those that have some experience with concert band or private musical lessons will also be familiar with the scales of Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor – these scales mostly came about because composers wanted to have the satisfying linear harmonic motion they get so easily in a V-I major cadence, but transposed into minor. Crucially, these scales don’t overlap with the major/minor sequence – they are wholly new seven-note sequences, each with their own unique Do, Re, Mi, etc., on which new scales of a more exotic nature are revealed.

By way of example, one scale we employ, which we gave the moniker of “Romantic”, has a sweetly sour nostalgic warmth to it. It’s also the fifth mode of the Melodic Minor scale, starting on the relevant So. In C, meaning all the white keys, it would be C major with a B flat instead of a B and an Ab flat instead of an A; in A, the same scale would be A minor with a C sharp. This means, in terms of Romantic’s emotional qualities, it lies two steps away from Major, and one step away from Minor. The fact that this scale has the emotional quality that it does  — lying closer to minor than major on the emotional axis — is not coincidence.

Of course, every theory has its limits. Even though we find a total of 28 potential scales, derived from 4 unique seven-note sequences, a sizable minority of them are unsuitable for practical reasons. (The main problem is that 3 of these scales have an unstable augmented chord as their Do, or root note, and 7 have a diminished chord. No good — they are just too far from major and minor, harmonically, to make sense to our Western ears, music appreciation being a subjective and fickle cultural beast.) Thus we are left with 18 scales on which to base our emotional narrative: four scales each from Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, and Harmonic Major; and six scales from the Major sequence, the original Sound-of-Music Do-Re-Mi.


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The Universal Calendar

Clocks are circular, and depict time, which certainly varies regularly, in predictable cycles. In the modern world, we track days with a sweeping hand, tracing out the same daily patterns and routines. However, our post-industrial monitoring of weeks and months is linear, tracing a straight line towards the unknown. We imagine ourselves standing on an infinite sidewalk down a main thoroughfare, with the unknowable future blocks ahead and the forgotten past blocks behind.

Other cultures don’t necessarily share this linear fascination; the Zodiac contains one cycle of time, the Hindu Yugas a second, the Mayans a third. Even the sky itself spins slowly in its own lazy circle. Each foretells rises and falls. Thus our artist and illustrator was inspired to design a Universal Calendar for the album’s cover, depicting several cycles simultaneously. On the outermost rim, the I Ching awaits us, followed by the Hindu Yugas, the Mayan Ha’ab and Tzolkin calendars, and the Western Zodiac, all held together by the nine-triangled Sri Yantra. The combined wisdom of these otherwise disparate calendar systems allows for the realization that while we might each focus on different bits of the pattern, we are all watching the same fireworks show.

If you’re dP af, ever more meticulous explanations and unnecessary details can be found here.

 

 

When You Wish Upon A Death Star

Disney has given itself to the dark side.

I don’t say that as another outraged fan boy irritated by nerdy expectations, but as an historian who understands the profound inspirational power of art. I’m also astounded by the lengths that America’s imperial bread and circus brigades have proven willing to go to direct our ever fleeting attention spans toward their illusions.

Truth may be the first casualty in war, but the mechanics of that casualty involve significant co-opting of stories that bind our cultures together. The Vatican successfully assimilated the Celtic peoples of Northern Ireland by incorporating Judea-Christian names into ancient Gaelic stories, altering the cultural stories away from the traditions associated with the history of the people. These edits and omissions happened incrementally enough that after a while, many never noticed as their entire culture was rewritten.

Myths and Legends matter. They represent the art of informing subsequent generations of long established truths. And the medium of film presents perhaps the most powerful conveyance system ever conceived for expressing who we are and where our priorities lie. Cultural stories give us a shared sense of meaning and solidarity. The art of Cinema is the literal production of Motion Pictures, that is, pictures on the wall that evolve and morph and tell a story and pull you in and reconcile your emotional experience of the world.

Film was explicitly designed for dissent. It was designed to discuss alternative ideas. It was designed to push our collective narratives toward a perspective of advancing how our society examines itself – indeed, how we examine ourselves as individuals within it.

But an art form as influential as this couldn’t last as a pure medium forever. Greedy industrialists, seeing the obvious profit and propaganda potentials of film, smothered the reels with their greasy hands and began to turn it to the dark side. Now the engines of industrial art seem absolutely determined to sully one of the most important legends of the 20th century.

In essence, Star Wars: A New Hope was the story of an orphaned farm boy who became radicalized after a military strike killed what was left of his family, thus becoming indoctrinated in an ancient religion, in-turn deciding to accompany a band of insurgents on a terrorist attack that would kill hundreds of thousands of men and women. Given that appraisal, what unpatriotic pariah could possibly see any glory in such tripe? Given that appraisal, couldn’t we consider the rewriting of this myth as a good thing?

But Star Wars: A New Hope also represented the familiar story of discovering that we are more than just our flesh; that our being extends out into the universe around us; that we are all one consciousness; that the most yielding will always overcome the most rigid; that there is good inside the most evil among us. It told a story of profound forgiveness. A young man believed so strongly that his father could be saved from the dark side’s influence that he sacrificed himself to do so. After himself being tempted by the dark side, he tosses away his weapon and taunts the emperor by refusing to kill his father. The emperor responds by killing Luke slowly with painful force lightning, in-turn awakening a sense of empathy within Vader, who tosses the emperor into down the Death Star’s reactor shaft, killing him. Luke could not have known for certain that his gamble would produce fruit, but verified the belief that light will always overcome darkness in the end.

It seems rather obvious that the American Empire might want to co-opt and redirect our attention away from such a narrative. And it seems that the best way to kill something great, is to make as many copies of copies as possible and sell them to us.

So one of the corporations representing our friendly neighborhood Ministry of Truth bought the trademark to the story and now fills our consciousness with its mediocre rewrites, and not only because it knows it can make a buck doing so. Let’s remember why the demand for Disney to turn a buck on Star Wars exists in the first place: because the essence of Star Wars represented a unifying perspective that deeply touched and inspired millions, thus forming an entire culture around it – a culture now under attack by postmodern nihilism. Case and point, examine the line in the newest film:

Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. It’s the only way to become what you’re meant to be.”

Although this seems on the surface to mirror the sentiment of Forrest Gump’s assertion that “youve got to put the past behind you before you can move on,” it also constitutes an expression of postmodern nihilism. Within the context of producing yet another Star Wars film, the quote illustrates a mentality of complacency. It seeks to encourage cultural amnesia and historic myopia.

Disney’s new Star Wars films are proving themselves as tools for the subtle interjection of corporate messages and imperialist propaganda. They’re loaded with plot holes, logical fallacies, and embarrassing errors. They’re easy to understand, and instantly forgettable. They also happen to be worth a truckload of money.

In the same way, the cartoonish fairy tale we were all told about WMDs in Iraq was a corporate piece of imperial propaganda loaded with plot holes, logical fallacies, and embarrassing errors. But the story was easy to understand, and instantly forgettable. It also happened to be worth a truckload of money.

And these new Disney films have more in common with WMD’s than simply fulfilling their role as keys to distracting society’s attention. They’re stories that are received much differently by the people than they are the experts at public relations. They’re also stories with the power to shape culture by their immediate influence. The WMD story succeeded in mobilizing the massive forever-war that no one was allowed to challenge without undergoing accusations of betraying patriotic loyalty. As Reverend Billy Talen says, sentimental patriotism is the same thing as extreme consumerism, and Disney’s new Star Wars films seem to impose both.

The imposition of mindless entertainment seems to prevent such realization from ever occurring. We Americans can’t ever really know that much about foreign policy when the very engines of our culture – in this case, the entertainment mediums that dominate our collective consciousness with ever-increasing leverage – implicitly encourage us to passively accept blind obedience to authority. After all, you don’t want to spoil the circus for your neighbor by doing too much thinking, now do you? You shouldn’t remind people, for instance, that the most advanced humanoids that have ever walked this rock are right now dropping explosive shells on children around the world, while attending pastiche entertainments that explicitly glorify such behavior.

And why is this? Why does our culture seem to have such a pathological aversion to bad news – to criticism – to thinking? Could it have anything to do with the fact that many of the films we watch reinforcecompliance and apathy? Aren’t we just there to fill our minds withexplosions and cool space battles?

After all, it’s not as if films riddled with deus ex machinas might promote a culture of intellectual laziness, right?

Why be bothered by unnecessary indulgences such as plot and character development? We’ll forget all about this movie in a couple of months anyway – unlike the original films. But with each new addition we all care about the original story less and less. With every subsequent release of a new Star Wars film, a once great unifying cultural force that extended beyond the bounds of race, religion or class, becomes less significant.

At the same time, Disney has positioned itself to be one of the most influential departments in the ministry of truth, for as they co-opt the cultural icon of Star Wars, they have also aligned themselves with the annual repetition of Christmas. The aim seems obvious enough; release new Star Wars films around the holidays and you can maximize toy sales. It does indeed provide Disney corporation with an excuse to sell us the same Darth Vader and Millennium Falcon themed products every Christmas, thereby reinforcing the principal edict of American Culture: unfettered consumerism.

But something even more insidious appears to be happening as well.

Disney is gradually inserting itself as one of the principal arbiters of culture for modern American life. The stories and traditions of the Winter Solstice that extend back into the eons now must compete against a new corporate tradition that seeks to capture our collective attention. In one fell swoop, Disney assert themselves as the high authority of both Christmas and Star Wars, and in-turn, the attention of those to whom the lore matters.

Seen in this way, the new Star Wars releases aren’t “just movies.” They represent what may be among the greatest disappointments in cinematic history – a mockery of a once great cultural perspective. And we’re guaranteed to be reminded of it ad infinitum.

Perhaps surprise may be an inappropriate reaction regarding the behavior of Disney – a corporation that lobbied congress to extend copyright terms by decades in order to severely limit the public domain. And beings that influence breeds an addiction to power which can only beget a craving for yet more power, the consolidation of corporate influence seems to inevitably point to the eventual assimilation of all things relevant into a singular entity, like the Umbrella Corporation of Resident Evil.

I see two possible outcomes here. Both involve Disney’s continuous barrage of Star Wars movies, but they differ on why Disney stops producing them. In the first scenario, people begin to hate all things Star Wars and forget the original narrative completely. We’re forced to endure the mind-assault of a continuous barrage of increasingly awful things emblazoned with the Star Wars brand to the point that we might eventually forget all about the inspiring acts and deeds of courageous rebels taking on an intimidating Galactic Empire. It makes sense that this might be desirable for the American Empire.

The parallels between the original films and the American Empire seem too embarrassing for orthodox imperial culture to endure. To wipe away this inconvenient stain, the empire employs their skilled propagandists at the Ministry of Truth, and who better within the cabal of Hollywood, than Disney, to do this? It was Disney, after all, that wrote, directed and shot scores of propaganda films during the Second World War. So who better to erase an annoying tale of imperial hypocrisy?

Today’s Hollywood regularly celebrates mindless entertainment purely for the sake of mindless entertainment, as a lovely distraction away from the desert of the real. Corporate media institutions prey on the naive minds of audiences who lack their own life experience to make their own judgments. But surely, Disney oozes benevolence. What kind of heretic could possibly have suspicious eyes for the magnanimous magic of Disney?

If the big, bad wolf disguises himself within the folds of innocuous costumes to keep from prematurely alarming his prey, then what better vessel for the darkest forces of all to inhabit than the unassuming innocence of Disney? Then again, Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox for $52 Billion may threaten to war thin the perceived innocence of their brand.

In our first scenario, Disney masquerades through the world in the remains of an empty shell of inspiration, which seems like an unfortunate imperial triumph. So in the second scenario, I imagine a growing disgust for the use of electronic hallucinations to hypnotize us into set modes of thinking. It gradually takes more than one-dimensional characters and loads of special effects to maintain the attention of movie goers. Over time, a mind evolves among people who now grow tired of easily identifiable cliches, and cannot tolerate obvious fallacies or massive plot holes. A growing backlash begins to develop against the corporate consumer culture that seeks to dominate every aspect of our daily lives, especially around the holidays. Because Star Wars culture breeds Star Wars geeks. And if geeks are good at anything, it’s identifying inconsistencies. The culture of technically minded individuals who identified Han Solo’s mischaracterization of parsecs in the Mos Eisley Spaceport are the same folks annoyed by obvious plot holes. Geeks have led the way on many fronts, and they’re already losing interest in the Star Wars franchise.

Over time we begin to realize we’ve been sold another turd dipped in glitter; that the soft reboot that became Episode 7 constituted little more than a scene-for-scent remake of A New Hope, wherein we meet our protagonist on a desert planet – again – by means of a droid carrying top secret plans to a giant Super Weapon – again – who almost gets crushed in a trash compactor – again – before triumphantly flying through the exhaust trench of aforementioned Super Weapon – again – to blow up another ominous space station. It could be said to be a point by point copy of A New Hope, but without pesky distractions like good acting, thorough character development, well-defined dialogue, an original thought, a firm grasp of tension and release, or a reason to care about what happens to any of the characters.

For me, the primary metric for gauging any piece of art is the question, “What did it make me feel?” By this standard, the worst films I’ve ever seen didn’t make me feel anything. The only characters I cared about at all in Rogue One, for example, were the droid and the blind Jedi. When they died, I did feel something. But I can’t remember either of their names, so I obviously didn’t care very much. And why should I? The suicidal nature of their mission meant that all of the characters were made to be disposable from the very beginning. And I’ve already seen this movie – it was called Saving Private Ryan directed by Stephen Spielberg. The only difference between Spielberg’s Private Ryan and this new one is that the new one has storm troopers instead of Germans.

In many ways the newest of the Star Wars films can be described as yet another remake, but this time of The Empire Strikes Back; A wannabe Jedi travels from an isolated planet to train, ignores their teacher’s advice, then learns who her parents are. Next we swap out Billy Dee Williams as the betrayal character for Benicio Del Toro. Finally, our remake becomes complete with scenes of a ground assault led by 4-legged imperial walkers that look just a little bit different, attacking a rebel base on white-desert planet, but unlike Hoth, this planet is covered in salt instead of snow.

There are many reasons that the newest Star Wars films are among the least-liked Star Wars movies by audience reviews. They could be described as a Midichlorian dumpster fire that now threatens to consume timeless cultural icons.The fine minds at Red Letter Media have even dubbed the Last Jedi, “the cinematic equivalent of Homer Simpson’s makeup shotgun.” But the professional critics seem to like it. I wonder why that could be.

Remember, the Vatican assimilated the Celts by incorporating Judea-Christian names into the myths, altering the cultural stories away from traditions associated with the history of the people. While these edits and omissions happened incrementally, some assimilation happens much more quickly. When a particular ideology landed on these eastern shores, so did the onset of cultural amnesia here in the Americas. Within just a few generations, the roaring fire of long established traditions extending back through the centuries of Amerindian antiquity, shrank to a meek candle flame, struggling against the wind to stay alive. The same mentality that sought to co-opt and dominate all philosophical doctrines before, now have their sights set on the subversive stories that emerged from within that very heart of their own Empire.

The good news is that this reign of psychological terror can end as soon as we grow tired of their electronic hallucinations. People power defeats propaganda. Education, after all, is subversive by its very nature, for it forces questions to the forefront that our masters don’t want us asking.

I for one feel optimistic. Just as Luke knew there to be good within Darth Vader, I believe the concept of ethics can one day awaken within the ownership class.

 

2012-11-05

Gabrielle Lafayette is a journalist, writer, and executive producer for the Outer Limits Radio Show.