Kung Flu, New Books, Preparations, and Other News

Good Lord – and I feel justified in invoking Him in this – what a mess since I’ve last dropped a blog post here. I have a mix of good, bad, and ugly. Some may prefer the bad news first, but I’ll lead with the good instead, because in light of a lot of folks being stuck indoors for the duration, this may be a helpful recommendation.

My good friend Francis is releasing his new book The Warm Lands for free this Friday (Amazon link). We’re all going to need a lot of reading material, I suspect. By nature, I am an introvert, and so I suppose being stuck indoors with a virtual stack of books is not the worst thing that could happen. In any event, folks, nab yourself a copy and pass it along to your friends. You’ll need the entertainment in the days to come.

But then I look at my various investments. You know, a friend of mine known ’round the world as ClarkHat told me I’d be better off going cash. I didn’t listen. Usually I have an internal heuristic: ClarkHat is always right. It’s not 100% accurate, but it’s well north of 95%. Next time I’ll remember that a bit better. I kept a lot of my holdings in gold, and even that tanked, which was pretty damned shocking. Last Thursday I made the mistake of looking at my investment balances, and it took about a quarter of a bottle of cheap scotch going down the hatch to numb the pain.

Preparations-wise, I am good to go. Being the paranoid introvert that I am, I was well ahead of the game in stocking up with canned goods and various foodstuffs. Ammunition? Heh. It’s me. I’ve got enough to conquer my zip code without too much difficulty. I joke about leading a Mad Max Road Warrior gang up the I-4 corridor to sack Disneyworld and make it the seat of my hive of scum and villainy. I’m only mostly joking.

Look, I’m not a doctor. So I won’t dispense advice of the nature, save to mention that my brother is in medical, in the military, and he’s been indicating that things are very bad. They are working him to the bone on lab testing, and the information coming down from on high hasn’t been very optimistic. I’ll summarize my thoughts on the matter:

  1. This isn’t the zombie apocalypse. Fatality rates seem to vary from 0.7% at the low end to 7% at the high end, depending on a lot of factors. ~2% seems to be pretty standard, insofar as we can tell. That’s not enough to collapse a civilization, but…
  2. …It is enough to collapse an economy. If the lockdown/suppression activity ends in a few weeks, I expect the markets will snap back into place like a rubber band. Most of the losses will be made good. Business as usual will resume. But that does not seem likely. If lockdowns continue for months without end, I expect the economic damage will be severe. The rubber band will break. Enter a depression to make the ’08 recession look like a walk in the park.
  3. The fact that Trump is already talking about massive stimulus and UBI packages indicates that he’s well aware of this. Things are going to get ugly, economically. Prepare accordingly.
  4. If all of the above is true, we might get a major political shift. We’re talking once-in-a-generation shift.

Consider that white liberal urbanites have been spotted lining up at gun stores in otherwise gun-unfriendly locales like California. Deep down, I think they know the same truth that Francis has talked about at his place on more than one occasion: urban race relations are very poor. Add social justice race hustling to the mix, and… well we saw what happened in Ferguson. With this crisis comes the opportunity for a great deal of nefarious behavior. We know it. Hustlers know it. And the urbanite cosmopolitans – for all their supposed enlightened sophistication – know it too.

This goes far larger than that, though. Border shutdowns are being discussed even in the European Union. We may see a shift away from globalism, and its supply chain vulnerabilities to diseases like this, to stronger borders and domestic manufacturing and supply chains despite a higher cost in dollars, because now awareness of vulnerability to situations like this one is added to the “cost” column. The fact that China was saber-rattling with Trump about the possibility of stopping pharmaceutical shipments to the US is a big red flag, and probably a knee-jerk misstep on the part of the Chinese. That only adds to this perception.

So while Trump appears to be shifting Leftward on policies like temporary UBI, the rest of the populace may be shifting rightward on matters of border security and “social justice” stupidity. How much time does anyone have for genderqueer fartkin when the economy is taking a gigantic dump and a worldwide pandemic is in full swing? Expect patience for that stupidity to evaporate like a fart in a hurricane.

I don’t know where this leaves the 2020 election, except that if Trump plays his cards right, he could come out looking like a prophet with regard to his on-the-record opposition to Chinese supply chain dominance in particular, and globalism in general. But either way, one of Taleb’s Black Swans has made its appearance, and I expect the ramifications from COVID-19 to continue to echo for many years. The political and economic fallout may well be an order of magnitude greater than the disease itself.

Meanwhile, active debate continues among many very intelligent people in my circle as to how bad the disease really is. It’s probably not worth buying 500 boxes of toilet paper – as some have done. But if you don’t have 3 months of food, water, and other consumables now, you better get on that. A 2% fatality rate is enough that things will be shutdown. No polity can tolerate that high of a death rate for an extended period of time in the modern era. Governments will take all kinds of measures – for good or ill – to prevent it. Navigating the suppression of the disease through social distancing while avoiding catastrophic economic collapse will be a hard road. I expect some countries will fail in this regard. Others (like China) will probably turn to outright tyranny to suppress it.

It may very well be that the WWE President Comacho… er… Trump is exactly what the doctor ordered (sorry, the pun was irresistible). Either way, as a friend of mine said earlier today, this will further reduce the Obama legacy to oblivion, sandwiched between the 9/11 president, and the Kung Flu president. An empty suit who faced little in the way of challenge.

Stay safe, my friends, and attend to your reading lists. May God keep you.

Pacifism is Cowardice

Francis posted an interesting screed this morning on having the courage to name one’s enemies. It got me thinking, as his posts often do. Tom Kratman has explained to me on more than one occasion that pacifism is moral cowardice. If you are unwilling to fight for your beliefs, if you are unwilling to confront evil, how can you call yourself good? This was one of the reasons I abandoned the Seventh Day Adventist church to swim the Tiber, as it were. Adventism preaches pacifism, and though there have been those Adventists like Desmond Doss who absolutely could not be described as cowards, the ideology as a whole comes uncomfortably close to it. Even Desmond’s heroism and sacrifice meant that someone else had to do the fighting. In other words, a nation full of nothing but Adventists would be conquered in short order.

In this sense, pacifism requires a sort of freeloading in order to exist. Someone must fight so that you do not have to fight, or else evil walks in the front door, kills you, takes your stuff, and your pacifist ideology goes extinct. History gives us a few examples of what happens when pacifism exists without someone willing to fight on its behalf, including the story of the Moriori.

Francis took issue with David French and the man’s constant bleating about Trump’s supposed disobedience of Christian morality because Trump names his enemies, and fights his enemies in the political arena. Pre-Trump, this trait was relatively rare in the Republican party. Most members were content to play the game as gentlemen, secure their sinecures, and fill the role of polite opposition to the Democrat party. A role, it should be noted, that suited men like David French well enough.

Now for one, I think it’s a mistake to ascribe “Christian values”, especially those derived from an Evangelical line of thinking, to Donald Trump. It’s silly when Trump supporters cast him as a being a gift from God or something. And it’s silly from the other side, when the Frenchies of the world disparage him because, in their mind, he’s not a good enough Christian. But more importantly, the notion that Trump defending himself from a barrage of media and political attacks is somehow immoral is idiotic at best, and cowardly pacifism at worst.

Consider what a regular person would do when accused of a crime. Would he defend himself from the accusations? If he knew himself to be innocent of the charges, and suspected his accusers knew likewise, would he not regard the accusers as his enemies? And if they were his enemies, trying to railroad him for personal gain, is he not permitted to say so? Is the Christian supposed to sit idly by and allow himself to be unjustly tried and sentenced? Why?

If the answer is “because Christ did”, you might want to rethink that. Christ had a higher mission that required sacrifice, to save humankind from its own mistakes. To knowingly sacrifice yourself for the good of others is a great and noble trait. This is not the equivalent of pacifism, however. If Trump did not fight his enemies, and let himself be defeated by them without a fight, what good is he doing? For who or what is he sacrificing himself? For the peace of mind of talking heads on CNN? For the sensibilities of Leftist politicians? For the aid and comfort of his enemies? That’s not Christ-like in the least. It’s stupid, though.

Francis explains:

Christ’s exhortation to “Love your enemies,” in the theological lexicon of First Century Judea, simply means to regard them as children of God like yourself. You are not to wish them harm, nor to harm them by any action you can avoid. But if you must fight them for a good reason, you do so.

Love your enemies is not an exhortation to allow yourself to be conquered, enslaved, or murdered by them. It is, rather, to regard them as human, like yourself. When you regard your enemies as less than human, you become like them. You become what you hate. Tom Kratman has explained that your enemy will learn from you. If you do [some horrible thing], he will likewise do it to you, sooner or later. If you must fight, then fight. Sell your cloak and buy a sword. But never forget that your enemies are human, too. They are children of God, also. He may be your enemy, but after you have defeated him, it is well and good to pray for his soul, for his redemption from whatever evil was afflicting him. Consider, also, the possibility that you have been touched by evil too.

Trump has many flaws, far too many for a quick blog post. But his willingness to name his enemies and to fight them on the political stage is not one of them. That is a virtue. And David French’s virtue signalling about his moral superiority is, in fact, a vice. Christ tells us not to trumpet our works before us. Those who do good have their own reward. Virtue signalling is not required. God already knows your heart on these matters, and the opinions of the mob don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

In this respect, at least, it is possible Trump actually is more Christian than David French, at least. Not, in my opinion, that this is saying overmuch, or is even particularly relevant to politics as a whole.

The Fart Heard ‘Round the World

Eric Fartwell has certainly made an impression on the voting public before. Some time ago he made sure to inform the public that their rifles were hardly useful against the government in the event of another American Revolution because, as he explained, the government has nuclear weapons and the public does not. It’s difficult to tell where he was going with that. Was he proposing that the government should use nukes on civilian populations in the event of an uprising? That’s not a scenario that ends well for anyone – least of all the government. In any event, it was a stupid comment. We’ve been in Afghanistan since I was in my early 20s, and what are they fighting with? Largely crappier weapons than American civilians are likely to have – save for fully-automatic versus semi-auto. Asymmetric warfare doesn’t require the same level of armament technology precisely because it’s asymmetric.

But whatever. I’m not going to claim I’m an expert on war. That’s for folks like Tom Kratman to go into. It’s not really a subject for me, and definitely not one for Eric Swalwell, whose familiarity with war – as with most Leftists – is quite possibly a negative number. No, today let’s talk about the other nuclear weapon in the room: the fart heard ’round the world on air. Fartgate: a political Hiroshima centered on Eric Fartwell’s ass. And damn, is he handling it poorly. It’s one thing to drop a buttquake, but quite another to do it on air. I give this one a solid 8.5, it was robust, had a nice reverberation to it, it was the kind of fart that Eric probably would’ve enjoyed (as Fat Bastard said in the Austin Powers movies, everybody loves their own brand) were the circumstances different. I always thought this guy looked like the sort of dude who Dutch Ovened himself and enjoyed it. Give it a watch, if you haven’t already:

Look at his face. Now, I may not be an expert in war, but let’s just say that I know gas. My diet is atrociously bad – or at least it used to be, I’m trying to fix that – and so I am no stranger to late night Taco Bell runs after a few beers. Or eating practically everything on the IHOP menu at 3 o’clock in the morning. Sometimes, I’m surprised my wife hasn’t divorced me – but whatever. Point is, look at the strain on his face. This is a dude who ate something he shouldn’t have, and he knows it. He’s trying to keep it together. There was a second civil war going on in his lower intestine. And brother, the South was winning this one.

Then there’s that pause and the expression his face – like Geordi LaForge in Star Trek the Next Generation when he realizes there’s a warp core breach in progress, and there’s nothing he can do to stop it. The Enterprise is doomed, Captain Picard. She’s going down. Launch the escape pods and abandon shit. That buttquake is happening, it’s an 8.5 on the sphincter scale, and there’s not much else to do but dive for cover and hope the buttquake didn’t come with any aftershocks. Eric, of course, tries to continue like nothing happened, and later he tried to deny it. But my friends, trust me on this. I know who dealt it – because in most cases, that would have been me. This guy is guilty. I’m the expert witness, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, and you better believe my testimony. In the matter of lobbing chemical weapons from behind that are worse than anything the Germans lobbed into the trenches at Verdun, I’m your guy.

The mic set to record speech picked this thing up. It wasn’t small, my friends. Hell, the Japanese would probably start running away from it. I imagine after the interview, Eric had to check his shorts and toss his underpants into a biohazard bin. But I’m sure whatever he had to say about Trump was totally important, right?

Now, could it happen to any of us? Yeah, sure. But if it happened to me – fat chance, I’d probably never go into politics – I’d own it. Hell, it could be hilarious. Don’t be embarrassed about it. “Hey, sorry, I ate too many burritos last night. And that’s why I’m so bullish on Mexican immigration! It’s climate justice, you know? Mexico has a pollution problem, and America hasn’t absorbed its fair share of methane and sulfur. It’s time for that to change! Riiiiiiiip. I’m doing my part!”

Make sure to end on a long, thin squeaker for that last little bit of comedy.

But is all seriousness, own it dude. Everybody farts. Even women who claim they don’t fart. Ever been to a women’s public bathroom? It’s a disaster area, usually. Smells like somebody was eating ten-day old lo mein and decided to wash it down with some ex-lax and a bag of those sugar-free gummy bears Haribo sells on Amazon, much to the consternation of the public. You know, the kind that lead to reviews like this one:

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Did Eric feast upon these little turd-Nagasaki-in-the-making treats before his interview? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate troll? Fox News should have a whole bowl of these little devil bears in their waiting area for whenever a Democrat interviews on the network. Then make them wait through lunch, just so they’re really hungry. Then put an “out of order” sign on the bathroom. Can’t be any worse than giving Hillary the debate questions in advance, right? And it’d at least be a good bit funnier.

Look, Eric, give it up. You farted. It’s human. Admit it, laugh about it, and move on. It’s only truly embarrassing if you lie about it. Everybody farts. Granted, not on live TV, but hey… roll with it. Make a Fat Bastard joke. “What the Hell? I didn’t eat any corn!” Or “wafting… wafting…” Whatever you do, though, don’t go back to California. With all those fires raging everywhere all the time in the state, you’re a MOAB, a mother of all bombs just waiting to go off. You’ll take California from roundabout the fifth circle of Hell straight to the ninth. The lesser demons would banish you to the domain of Lucifer himself, saying something along the lines of “fuck, dude, that smells like you sold your ass to the devil.”

On second thought, head to San Francisco, will ya? The political Right wouldn’t mind buying you a ticket, supplying you with the carbon offsets so you can preen about it, giving you some nice cigars and one of those big torch lighters to ensure a proper anal detonation smoke.

Chicken Intolerance

A local friend of mine posted a link to this National Review article earlier today: Chick-fil-A to End Donations to Christian Charities after LGBT Backlash

The article follows from the headline, but feel free to read it if you wish.

This was always going to happen.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb once wrote about the power of intolerance, and the concept is very applicable here.

Let’s say you’re cooking a meal for a group of friends, and you chose pork. Now, everyone who can eat pork is obviously okay. The Jewish guy might not eat the pork due to his religious beliefs, but he’d probably attend anyway. Maybe he’ll bring something he can eat along with him to cook up or just pick at the non-pork side items. His religion forbids him from eating the pork, but his religion does not concern your eating habits. Invite an extremist Muslim, and he’d want to kill everybody for eating the pork (a moderate one may just refuse to attend).

To be intolerant toward a practice personally (the Jew in the pork example) does not give you any power over the guy cooking the food. But to be intolerant toward it generally (the Muslim in the pork example) gives you veto rights over the meal, unless the host chooses to be fine with not inviting you (and the attendant social consequences).

How does this relate to Chick-Fil-A? I mean, besides the fact that “attendant social consequences” in their case resolves to roundabout 50% of their entire customer base?

Well, Leftists are intolerant generally with regard to patronizing organizations who go against their political orthodoxy. Chick-Fil-A has been losing some amount of money – only they probably have a good idea of how much – due to this intolerance. Furthermore, the price continues to go up. Leftists continue to make a bigger and bigger issue of this. Leftists actually got restaurants blocked in some places over this. At some point, it could easily threaten the company’s existence, and the leadership knows this. They pay X dollars for staying closed on Sunday, and were fine with that. But to donate to the ‘wrong’ charities costs them an increasing and ultimately unknown future price which could eventually drive them out of business.

Rightists may, for a while, be lackluster about Chick-Fil-A after caving, but ultimately they lack the Left’s general intolerance, and their desire to eat good chicken will overturn any Rightist boycott. It’s not enough to overturn Leftist boycotts – at least, not forever.

Thus the Left wins, and the most intolerant wins.

Rightism suffers from a weakness which has long been exploited by the political Left. Ultimately, Rightists generally believe that politics must serve man. Eating well supersedes the political beliefs of an organization in all but the most extreme cases. Leftism reverses the order. Man must serve politics. Each organization’s political stances are hugely important, and perhaps more important than the products and services offered.

Remember GamerGate and Brianna Wu? Brianna was a “game developer” who made an atrocious game called Revolution 60 (although nowhere near as bad as Zoe Quinn’s Depression Quest). With poor graphics that looked like the game came from the mid-90s (despite using a modern game engine), and atrociously terrible art, design, and plot, Revolution 60 was a failure in every respect.

Yet while Brianna Wu stood against the supposed racist, sexist bigots of GamerGate, SJWs continued to praise the game. When Brianna Wu made a political misstep, I remember the SJWs turning on her and saying “finally, we don’t have to pretend to like her game anymore.”

Politics above all else. That is the mantra of the intolerant Left, and it guides them to what they must support, and what they must boycott. And until that changes, expect every organization that is challenged by them to eventually cave-in to their demands. Some may last longer than others, and all things considered, Chick-Fil-A lasted a very long time indeed.

But in the end, all will surrender to them, unless Rightists become equally intolerant in turn.

Political Exhaustion & Leftist Victories

Politics has become exhausting to me of late. It is quite difficult to summon the energy required to care overmuch about it these days. Everywhere I look, it’s the same story. When Leftism has the reins of power, they push through plenty of their agenda. When Rightism has the reins, Leftism manages to stonewall, delay, throw up procedural roadblocks, etc… preventing much, if any, claw back.

David Hines is fond of explaining that Leftists are just better at this game. They hustle more, they organize better, they are more ruthless and practiced in the Machiavellian arts. Frankly, it’s all true. Rightist intellectuals – for what utility the term might have – tend to be antisocial to some degree. It’s probably related to our preferences toward individualism. It is difficult, if not impossible, to muster our full strength the same way Leftists do.

And so the Overton Window slides ever-further leftward, and there’s very little any of us can do to stop it. Sometimes, with Herculean effort, we can slow it down for a time, but that is all.

Leftism has won. It won a long time ago. It won before I was born.

Much of the frustration we see from Leftists directed toward Trump is probably because they thought the final demographic victory had come, and even our ability to slow them down was a thing of the past. All that remained, they thought, was the mop up action. Our final bastions, like the Second Amendment (and the First) would be surrendered.

Trump summoned some hidden reserve of Rightist strength for a final defense. American Rightists, and the President himself, are now under political siege, having decided against surrender. Assault after assault has been made against the walls. Tunnels have been dug underneath them to soften them. Quisling traitors from within the gates have been propositioned and tempted into action. It has been relentless. Yet so far that final siege continues on. For how long is anybody’s guess.

Can a repeat of the 2016 miracle happen again? I don’t know. Can Trump stave off impeachment? Can the hung Congress be held another term? Your guess is as good as mine.

But Leftist victory is still assured in the end, eventually. Why? Because our actions are almost always defensive in nature. This means that whatever territory they gain becomes a permanent gain for them. Until recent years, even defensive action was deemed too hasty. Better to voluntarily surrender things to the Left at a relatively slow, but consistent pace. David Hines is right about that much, at least. If Rightist tactics do not change, if they cannot organize, they will fall, no matter how well-manned the walls are against the enemy.

Give the Leftists credit for their unceasing dedication to their cause. When one avenue of attack fails, they immediately seize upon another, and another, and another. They never stop. They are political terminators and we are the collective John Connors. Of course, Girrrrrrlpower Hollywood made sure to kill him, too, in their latest craptastic sequel.

This won’t continue forever, of course. Leftist regimes eventually move too far to the Left (see: Venezuela) and collapse of their own internal contradictions (see: USSR). But does that do any of our generation any good? Does it even do any good for our kids? It will probably be a struggle for generations. And there is no guarantee we will ever claw back to freedom again, though one hopes.

I’m sorry to be such a pessimist, but I don’t see the United States lasting much longer. And I don’t see Rightists winning back their country, not even through bloodshed, for despite all the talk of the boogaloo, and the many arms we possess, we lost the Culture Wars, badly. In any armed conflict, we will be the bad guys. The moral high ground is theirs. Most Rightists know this at some level, that’s why there has been no boogaloo, no one willing to fire the first shot, or light that powder keg like an Austrian Archduke.

That doesn’t mean I think this is hopeless, mind you. I just don’t see any political way to fix this mess, and I don’t see any violent way to do it either. Which means we probably have to wait out the inevitable Leftist collapse; keep something of our views and way of life intact (and arms buried) for the time when the Leftists grow overconfident, when they begin their inevitable infighting and self-cannibalization, when their economic system falls apart like a house of cards.

Maybe then a boogaloo would work. Or maybe then a boogaloo wouldn’t even be necessary (though perhaps some helicopters would be).

Or maybe we just need to get off this rock and colonize space. Leftist lunacy is ultimately incompatible with the natural world, despite their obsession with environmentalism. Sooner or later reality must intrude on their little fantasies, and only our vast wealth and technological sophistication enables them to be so damned wasteful. Ancient tyrants could only marvel at the amazing levels of wastefulness we have been able to sustain.

Waste of that sort is fatal on the frontier. Even the Puritans had to give up their pseudo-Communist fantasies when presented with life on the frontier. Learn or die, those are the only two options. It may very well be that freedom can ultimately only sustain itself on the frontier, where the punishment for totalitarian, utopian ideas is death.

But that is all speculation. For now, exhausted as I am of all this, I suppose I must go back to the walls and do my part to slow the Leftist advance. Damnit, friends… there’s a shitpot lot of them out there.

Manufacturing Celebrities

Americans have a mixed relationship with celebrities. In some ways, they are our icons, our saints, a replacement for religious worship in a time of increasing secularism. In other ways, they are our devils. Miley Cyrus urinating in the streets, Kardashians videotaping their antics under the sheets.

Celebrities have usually been constructs, their public personas at odds with their private eccentricities and foibles. Marketers and media talking heads craft their images, setting them up as icons against a backdrop of quasi-religious mockery. Beyonce is fawned over by her attendants as some kind of goddess.

But once upon a time, celebrity fame was at least tied to something real. Elvis could sing. Elizabeth Taylor could act. Cindy Crawford was beautiful. Talent and hard work were prerequisites to success. By many accounts, Michael Jackson’s family were slave drivers, pushing him, prodding him. Many celebrities likely have similar stories.

The formula was talent + hard work + luck. You needed that last little bit. Some talent scout in that dive bar you were singing in, perhaps. Or a friend of the family who knew someone in Hollywood. You needed that break. But only those who had the gifts and put in the work could take advantage of that break when it came.

No longer.

The Kardashians proved that talent wasn’t really needed anymore, and it was questionable how much “hard” work they really did. The Kardashians were among the first to be famous for being famous. They were the chicken and the egg rolled into one sexually-charged, quasi-pornographic package made for mass pop culture consumption.

But even if we cannot resolve the Kardashian paradox easily, there was something there. Some preexisting OJ Simpson-derived fame. Some kind of bizarre facsimile of “work” at maintaining their circular fame. They were somehow anointed by the media and by popular culture, but something was still brought to that table, even if weak and ephemeral.

Greta Thunberg and David Hogg represent a new breed of celebrity, a wholly-fictional creation of marketers and journalists: the anointed activist. In David’s case, we may say that at least he was there when the shooting took place that supposedly drove him to activism.

Greta further lowers the bar.

She merely recites talking points delivered by others of similar political mind. She is a kid at the spelling bee, rattling off her letters. Her winnings? A Nobel prize nomination, for one. A great mural put up to honor her, for another. What has she done? What new thing has she created? Where did she come from?

In popular culture, we may create icons out of wholly fictional cloth. Or we may cancel those who actually did something over a mean high school tweet. Cancel culture allows those same marketers and journalists to cancel the fame of anyone they do not like. Although, at least for the nonce, journalists can likewise be cancelled.

They giveth. They taketh away. If we’re lucky, they get taken away too.

All of this is artificial. The Right and the Left argue over the statements Greta spews over the airwaves. But it’s rather like arguing whether or not you like the cut of the emperor’s clothes.

Who will say that the emperor has no clothes?

Like the Kardashians, when you strip away the pop culture iconography, when you wash away the anointment oils of the media, there is nothing left. The product is the packaging. There is nothing here. The emperor has no clothes.

Zoe Quinn, a “game developer” who created what is, in essence, a barely-formatted word document for all of its “complexity” cheated on her boyfriend with five guys. When her boyfriend later wrote a screed about how bad this was, and what she did, this triggered a chain of events that had Zoe Quinn, fake game developer, being granted an audience at the United Nations.

For what? A domestic dispute in which she was the abuser? Not only is talent or hard work no longer a prerequisite, there appear to be no meritocratic standards at all.

Journalists and marketers reserve for themselves – or at least try to – the ability to manufacture fame, or to cancel it, for any reason whatsoever. It is trivially easy to cancel anybody. Ever said something hasty on the Internet? They will find it. Ever made an insensitive joke? They will find out. If you pass that test – somehow – then surely something can be taken out of context. Scrub a word here, cut off the beginning there, and you have a racist quotation. Unless you’re Mike Pence, have you ever been alone with a woman who wasn’t your wife? You could be a rapist, Mr. Kavanaugh! It doesn’t have to be true. It doesn’t have to be substantiated. It could be some typical childish stupidity from a high school kid. It could be nothing at all.

Whatever. It will become gospel, and it will be terrible, and you will be cancelled from polite society. Even if you retain your great station, half the country (or more) will hate you forever. That might even be true for Greta, save that the halves would be reversed.

But it’s all nothing.

The emperor has no clothes.

But journalists will tell you how beautiful the clothes are. They will paint your murals on the walls, sing your praises at all the townhalls. You will be the mascot, you’ll get your book deals. Until you’re cancelled for some idiot’s bad feels.

It’s all fake, and everybody knows. There’s politics at stake, even if the emperor has no clothes.

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