CJW: Welcome to another issue of the nothing here newsletter. Things are pretty rough all around, so take care of yourself and look out for your loved ones. Sometimes that’s all we can do.
If you enjoy what we do and are able to support us, you’ve got a couple of options:
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Latest unlocked bonus is from me on Becoming. You might have read this last year because I accidentally sent it out wide…
I’ve also finished putting together the Bonus Archive if you want to check that out.
Daniel Harvey (DCH) - Designer, writer, provocateur. Pro-guillotine tech critic. @dancharvey
m1k3y (MKY) - sometimes i write things. patreon.com/m1k3y
Marlee Jane Ward (MJW) - is also Mia Walsch. Writer, apocalypse witch.
Corey J. White (CJW) - Author, podcaster, sin-eater.
Lidia Zuin (LZ) - Journalist, MA in semiotics, and PhD in Arts. Sci-fi writer, futurology researcher and essayist. @lidiazuin
CJW: The secret world beneath our feet is mind-blowing – and the key to our planet’s future - George Monbiot at The Guardian
I didn’t want to use a pull-quote for this one because I thought it could be easy to misrepresent when it covers a lot of ground (pun not intended). While it starts (and is largely concerned) with the wonders of soil, Monbiot’s main beat is climate change, and here he goes into detail about grazing and farming land use, as well as the risks and possibilities for the future. Well worth your time.
DCH: How Big Tech is financing Big Oil - Brian Kahn, Michelle Ma, Protocol
The carbon footprint of tech’s bank accounts dwarfs its climate plans. Companies that don’t sell tons of products or have heavy cloud computing infrastructure but hold lots of cash, such as PayPal and Disney, have what the report calls a high “uplift” in carbon emissions.
*In PayPal’s case, it’s financing 5,512% more carbon pollution than its reported carbon emissions. Disney sits at 169%.
*Cash-rich companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft have smaller percentages of uplift — though Google’s uplift is still 111% of its emissions — but are financing way more pollution in absolute terms.
*Apple, for example, has about $190 billion in cash and investments, which finances nearly 15 million tons of carbon pollution. The report notes that’s triple the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from the use of every Apple product on Earth in 2021.
This is based on some pretty complicated maths from several NGOs that scoured the linkages between big tech, the banking sector, and big oil. The big question is, will big tech take the simple steps they need to do something about it?
DCH: Exxon must go to trial over alleged climate crimes, court rules - Chris McGreal, The Guardian
The Massachusetts high court on Tuesday ruled that the US’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil, must face a trial over accusations that it lied about the climate crisis and covered up the fossil fuel industry’s role in worsening environmental devastation.
Shame corporations can’t go to jail though..
Crypto crash unlikely to reduce its climate impact, expert says - Alex Hern, The Guardian
Politics Deniers - George Monbiot
Shell Consultant Publicly Quits Over Company’s ‘Extreme Harm’ to Earth - Audrey Carleton at Vice
Western US May Be Experiencing Its Worst Dry Spell in 12 Centuries -Theo Whitcomb Mother Jones
Climate Change Will Make Heat Like India’s 100 Times More Likely, Study Finds - Audrey Carleton, Vice
Could Google’s Carbon Emissions Have Effectively Doubled Overnight? - Bill McKibben, New Yorker
Elon Musk Is the Newest Acolyte of the Right’s Critical Energy Theory Nonsense - Kate Aronoff, New Republic
Climate suicides are shocking warnings of despair over environmental peril - Oliver Milman, The Guardian
Experts to World: We’re Doomed - Matthew Gault, Vice
CJW: The Price Of ‘Selective Inattention’ – Iraq, Ukraine, Libya, And The Climate Apocalypse - Media Lens (via APH)
The truth is that billionaire-owned, profit-maximising, advert-dependent corporate media are an integral part of the corporate pathology that is leading to disaster. Corporate journalists know full-well that the system of which they are a part has deep investments in endless profits, endless growth, and has much to lose from an overly-alarmed population.
A brilliant piece at Media Lens on Ukraine, Iraq, Libya, climate change, and the many hypocrisies and failures (betrayals?) of corporate journalism.
DCH: The Coup in the Kremlin by Nina Khrushcheva, Foreign Affairs
One of their number, Putin, was himself lauded as a pragmatist by Western diplomats after he rose from obscurity to become president of Russia in 2000. Even then, he made no secret of his intention to establish Andropov-style absolute authority, quickly moving to limit the power of the capitalist barons who had flourished in the 1990s under Yeltsin’s frenzied presidency. In Putin’s mind, an independent oligarchy in control of strategic industries, such as oil and gas, threatened the stability of the state. He ensured that business decisions relevant to the national interest were made instead by a handful of trusted people—the so-called siloviki, or affiliates of the state’s military and security agencies. These individuals effectively became managers or guardians of state-controlled assets. Many were from Putin’s native Leningrad (present-day St. Petersburg) and most had served alongside him in the KGB. On the corporate side, their ranks include Igor Sechin (Rosneft), Sergey Chemezov (Rostec), and Alexey Miller (Gazprom), while matters of state protection are handled by Nikolai Patrushev (secretary of the Security Council), Alexander Bortnikov (director of the FSB), Sergei Naryshkin (director of the Foreign Intelligence Service), and Alexander Bastrykin (head of the Investigative Committee), among others.
As the shock wears off, fear has taken its place. In a televised address in mid-March, Putin insisted that Western countries “will try to bet on the so-called fifth column, on national traitors,” implying that all opponents of his “operation” are the unpatriotic enemies. The government’s security branches had previously announced a new law: spreading “fake information,” or any narrative that contradicts the Ministry of Defense’s official story, is a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Independent media outlets were blocked or disbanded, including the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, liberal radio Ekho Moskvy, and Dozhd TV, all of which regularly criticized the government until two months ago. The New York Times, the BBC, CNN, and other foreign media packed up and left the country. Since the end of February, more than 16,000 people have been detained, including 400 teenagers. People have been arrested for just being near a protest. For one Muscovite, merely showing up at Red Square holding a copy of Leo Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace was enough to warrant detention.
An excellent history lesson on Putin’s rise to power, the increasing dominance of his security forces, and the birth of Russia’s modern oligarchy.
MKY: for some reason the content gods wouldn’t let me view this, but I’m assuming it gets into the material conditions that led to a hardline reactionary coming into stabilise things (with US support initially) after the chaos of the 90s - something NPR seems to cover here: How ‘shock therapy’ created Russian oligarchs and paved the path for Putin.
CJW: ‘They were shooting directly at the journalists’: New evidence suggests Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in targeted attack by Israeli forces - CNN
The shaky video, filmed by Al Jazeera cameraman Majdi Banura, captures the scene when Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old Palestinian-American was killed by a bullet to the head at around 6:30 a.m. on May 11. She had been standing with a group of journalists near the entrance of Jenin refugee camp, where they had come to cover an Israeli raid. While the footage does not show Abu Akleh being shot, eyewitnesses told CNN that they believe Israeli forces on the same street fired deliberately on the reporters in a targeted attack. All of the journalists were wearing protective blue vests that identified them as members of the news media.
Surprising no one who pays any attention to Israel’s brutal colonialist actions.
DCH: Hacker Leaks Mountain of Files from Inside Xinjiang Camps - Joseph Cox, Vice
The files themselves include photos of 2,884 detainees, police training presentations and images of security drills, security directives, and speeches that the researchers say are by leading Chinese officials.
The speeches “show that the leadership demanded security forces to open fire on persons seeking to escape detention, or on those who dared to resist the state,” a description on the Xinjiang Police Files website reads.
An unprecedented trove of data about the ongoing oppression of the Uyghurs at the hands of the Chinese state. Xi Jingping’s personal involvement is even highlighted.
The Ukraine War’s Collateral Damage Michael Klare at Tom’s Dispatch (via Foreign Exchanges) - CJW: Bad News Everyone! On climate change responses in the way of Russia’s invasion.
How the U.S. Has Struggled to Stop the Growth of a Shadowy Russian Private Army - Joaquin Sapien, Propublica (DCH: more on Wagner Group whom we’ve mentioned before)
Border Patrol Agents Killed the Uvalde School Shooter. But Why Were They on the Scene? - Jack Herrera, Texas Monthly
‘I felt like I was a prisoner’: The rapid rise of U.S. immigration authorities’ electronic surveillance programs - Erica Hellerstein, Coda Story (DCH: ICE is tracking your every move)
America’s billionaire class is funding anti-democratic forces - Robert Reich, The Guardian
The coming food catastrophe - The Economist (DCH: as of 20 May the world has about 10 weeks worth of wheat left thanks to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.)
Inside Putin’s Propaganda Machine - Masha Gessen,The New Yorker
The Disastrous Legacy of the New Democrats - Israel Vargas, New Republic (DCH: Good read. I was a kid for the Gary Hart / Atari Democrats phase of the neoliberal “Third Way” takeover of The Democratic party.)
Hard Brexit plans by ex-MI6 chief hacked and leaked by Russians - Dan Sabbagh, The Guardian
Watch a swarm of drones navigate a forest without crashing - Chris Stokel-Walker at New Scientist (via Sentiers)
Invisibility cloaks are not just possible, but are becoming reality - Ethan Siegel at Free Think (via Sentiers) - CJW: I wonder if US intel/military operatives already have functional light-bending cloaks. And how long ‘til they show up in a police armory? Cop blurs out of the wall to ticket you for jaywalking. Now his Punisher skull embroidered patch has the Predator tri-laser dots on its forehead.
There Are 4 ‘Malicious Extraterrestrial Civilizations’ in Milky Way, Researcher Estimates - Jason Koebler, Vice (DCH: Those are rookie numbers…)
NASA engineers trying to figure out strange readings from aging interstellar spacecraft - Loren Grush, The Verge
Earth’s orbital debris problem is worsening, and policy solutions are difficult - Eric Berger, Ars Technica
Scientists successfully grow plants in soil from the moon - Rina Torchinsky, NPR
DCH: Tesla’s Aura Dims as Its Plunging Stock Highlights the Risks It Faces by Jack Ewing, The New York Times
But Tesla’s shares have declined more than 40 percent since April 4 — a much steeper fall than the broad market, vaporizing more than $400 billion in stock market value. And the tumble has called attention to the risks that the company faces. These include increasing competition, a dearth of new products, lawsuits accusing the company of racial discrimination and significant production problems at Tesla’s factory in Shanghai, which it uses to supply Asia and Europe.
Mr. Musk has not helped the stock price by turning his bid to buy Twitter into a financial soap opera. His antics have reinforced the perception that Tesla lacks an independent board of directors that could stop him from doing things that might damage the company’s business and brand.
It’s shed even more value since this piece was written. Sadly because of Tesla’s bylaws there’s not much that can be done to stop the lunatic. Those bylaws mean that any vote to steer the company in a direction Musk doesn’t approve of would need to have nearly 90% support from other shareholders.
Those Tesla bylaws of course don’t matter fuck all to shareholders and pension funds invested in Twitter from trying to stop the bid though.
DCH: DC attorney general sues Mark Zuckerberg over Cambridge Analytica scandal - Adi Robertson, The Verge
District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine has sued Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal. The suit alleges that Zuckerberg was “directly responsible” for creating the lax privacy rules that allowed the consulting firm to harvest user data without consent, then failing to promptly inform users and ensure the data was deleted. It follows a failed attempt to name Zuckerberg in a similar suit against Facebook itself.
Perp walk that motherfucker.
When I First Saw Elon Musk for Who He Really Is - Edward Niedermeyer (DCH: Good article on the lies and myths of Musk from the author of Ludicrous.)
A Tesla Crashed Into A Convention Center at 70 MPH and Nobody Cares to Find Out Why - Aaron Gordon, Vice
The Surveillance State Is Primed for Criminalized Abortion - Lily Hay Newman, Wired
Clearview expands sales of its facial recognition tools - Nat Rubio-Licht, Protocol (DCH: more related stories)
Amazon bags £425m in work from UK government as it is criticised over tax - Sarah Butler and Ben Butler, The Guardian
Senators push to break up Google, Facebook ads businesses in new bill - Makena Kelly, The Verge
The infinite loop of online extremism - Sarah Roach, Source Code, protocol
A(nother) way in which Facebook is the 21st Century’s tobacco industry - Doctorow
Who Owns 4chan? - Justin Ling, Wired (DCH: this is some weird shit.)
CJW: The Buffalo Shooter Isn’t a ‘Lone Wolf.’ He’s a Mainstream Republican - Talia Lavin at Rolling Stone
There has never been a lone wolf when it comes to racist terror in the United States; it suffuses every aspect of our politics and policy, and in latter years the mass howl of fear at change comes from a jaw that drips with blood. As long as we fail to recognize the wellspring of racial animus that animates the right wing in this country, the corpses will continue to accrue.
I’m sure our savvy readers haven’t any trouble drawing a connection between another white supremacist mass shooting event and the racism and white supremacy of conservatives and conservative media, but just in case you wanted something to read on the topic…
DCH: American Racism and the Buffalo Massacre by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker
This effort was largely successful in shifting attention away from the patterns of deep-seated racism revealed by the pandemic and by the brutal public lynching of George Floyd. Instead, there has been a frenzy of legislation sharply limiting the ways that slavery, and other aspects of America’s racist history, can be discussed in schools—or whether they can be discussed at all. According to Education Week, seventeen states have signed into law bans or restrictions on teaching “critical race theory” or racism and sexism, and twelve more are considering such legislation. There have also been efforts to ban books, such as Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye,” and, the Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones’s work, the 1619 Project. School-board meetings have turned into forums for political theatre that emphasizes the grievance of white parents and denies the realities of racial discrimination. This spring, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, signed into law the Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (WOKE) Act, which restricts the ways that businesses and public schools, including universities, can train or teach about racism, in order to avoid exposing white people to feelings of guilt. This effort has been bolstered by the enthusiasm of a new generation of right-wing officials, including Representative Paul Gosar, of Arizona, who attended a February gathering of white nationalists, and Wendy Rogers, a Republican state senator in Arizona who promotes the idea that white people are being replaced and recently insinuated that the Buffalo massacre was a “false flag” event, instigated by federal agents.
Bold emphasis mine. The GOP is actively legislating against critical race theory to stymie future generations from being able to make intersectional policy decisions to mitigate even some of the harms of systemic and institutional racism in America. This isn’t just another salvo in the culture war for brown points with the base; it’s more insidious, long-term, and far-reaching than that.
CJW: Onlookers urged police to charge into Texas school (but they didn’t, because they were scawed and wanted backup. Think maybe the kids wanted backup?) - at AP News
It’s incredibly fucked that our 2-week schedule means we didn’t even get to share the above pieces about the recent big white supremacist mass shooting before the worst school shooting since Sandy Hook happened.
In regards to this article in particular, fuck the police. ACAB forever.
Related: Uvalde Police Didn’t Move to Save Lives Because That’s Not What Police Do - Natasha Lennard at The Intercept
DCH: They handcuffed one mother and tased another parent.
MJW: One mother drove 40 miles, was handcuffed, and then went in and grabbed her own children when the cops did nothing.
LZ: Confessions of a 70 Year Old #Cyberpunk, Lydia Sviatoslavsky at Spike Art Magazine
Interesting interview with R.U. Sirius, one of the first cyberpunks. It’s good to see that people like him have aged well. Same goes for Sterling and his new episode for Love, Death, and Robots, Swarm.
MKY: Legend. (what is up with that font tho - old man yells at screen, news at 11.)
CJW: Navigating the Mysteries - Martin Shaw at Emergence
Move from just seeing the world to beholding the world. Seeing is assessment and analysis; beholding is wonder and curiosity. It’s not that we don’t need the former, but when we crank it up excessively, we always damage the latter. Make space for the miraculous, make space for grace—these energies show up constantly in our lives. To behold them is to bear witness to them. To celebrate them. That’s an infectious and noble position to take. Difficult situations require sustained beholding. They are not necessarily to be dissected or defeated but sat with.
An odd but interesting piece. The above is a note to self, really.
DCH: TikTok’s Amber Heard Hate Machine - Amanda Hess, The New York Times
It’s tempting to ignore all of this — to refuse to feed the machine with even more attention. But like Gamergate, which took an obscure gaming-community controversy and inflated it into an internet-wide anti-feminist harassment campaign and a broader right-wing movement, this nihilistic circus is a potentially radicalizing event. When the trial ends this week, the elaborate grassroots campaign to smear a woman will remain, now with a plugged-in support base and a field-tested harassment playbook. All it needs is a new target.
Cutting to the chase. There’s an obscene amount of money MRA dickbags and far right media operations like The Daily Wire are spending to fuel this misogynistic hate machine.
Fascist Fashion: How Mainstream Businesses Enable the Sale of Far-Right Merchandise - Foeke Postma, bellingcat
What We Know about Mass School Shootings—and Shooters—in the U.S. - James Densley, Scientific American
Was the California Church Shooting Really About Taiwan? - Dan Spinelli, Mother Jones (DCH: bet you’d already forgotten or missed the news about this shooting.)
Homeless People in the US Are Being Murdered at a Horrific Rate - Thacher Schmid, Jacobin
The Evolution of the Tech and Fundraising Platforms for Extremists Kicked Off the Regular Internet - Ben Dalton, Slate
DCH: The Covid Capitulation by Eric Topol, Ground Truths
It’s not just about the mutations, immune escape, and potential of Omicron BA..1 vaccines (that have taken far too long) to be unhelpful. There are 2 other essential points. First, this family of Omicron variants with functional impact indicates more rapid evolution of the virus than what we have seen previously. Very few of the thousands of variants since late 2019 have led to significant spikes of cases around the world—only 4 (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta) before Omicron. But now multiple Omicron subvariants are outcompeting one another, predominantly because of more immune evasion, such that BA.2 with 30% more transmission overtook BA.1, and BA.2.12.1 (in parallel to BA.4 and BA.5) has a substantial transmission advantage over BA.2. To put this in context, Dr. Linfa Wang recently opined: “Based on its immunological profile, it should be called SARS-3”.
Covid is evolving quickly. Less protection is being provided by vaccinations. Taken together even more dangerous variants will emerge in the months to come.
CJW: A great piece. Makes me wonder how bad things will have to get for COVID to be taken seriously again.
DCH: A million dead in the USA didn’t move the needle for them sadly…
MKY: the monologue from Outside the Wire goes here.
MJW: The Mystery of Monkeypox’s Global Spread - David Cox, Wired
“Eradicating smallpox stands as one of the greatest public health accomplishments of all time,” he says. “But a natural consequence of eradicating the one orthopoxvirus that circulated widely among humans, and then stopping the vaccination program that led to eradication, is that generations of people have no immune experience with any orthopoxvirus. There is no question that this makes life easier for monkeypox. It’s like a big pile of fuel that has never seen a spark.”
While monkeypox is far less transmissible than a certain other virus, bigger outbreaks lead to more variants. Great, the pox is just what we need right now.
LZ: Man With World’s First Double Arm Transplant Shares Recovery Journey
I didn’t know it was possible, but it is so exciting! I want to follow his history closely and see what happens next. So cool it made me creative enough to write fiction (in other words, a miracle).
The Science Is Clear: Gun Control Saves Lives - Scientific American
Taking Cues From Texas, California Proposes Its Own Bounty Law—Against Guns - Matt Ford, New Republic
New Documents Show How Drug Companies Targeted Doctors to Increase Opioid Prescriptions - Charles Ornstein, Propublica
The Baby Formula Crisis Shows the Risks of Corporate Concentration - Grace Segers, New Republic (or as Matt Stoller calls it the “Big Bottle” monopoly)
DCH: The Problem with Blaming Robots for Taking Our Jobs by Jane Hu, The New Yorker
This poses a few problems for automation theorists. First, the very fact of overcapacity means that economic growth is unlikely, and this results in fewer companies being able, or willing, to invest in new automation technology. Second, rising levels of unemployment mean more workers are vying for jobs, and competition both keeps wages low and further reduces incentives to invest in automation. In this way, Benanav writes, automation optimists mistake “technical feasibility” for “economic viability.” Why would companies throw money at a machine that might work tomorrow, when there are plenty of humans willing to work for much less today?
Bold emphasis mine. Jane Hu reviewing Aaron Benanav’s “Automation and the Future of Work” and Jason E. Smith’s “Smart Machines and Service Work: Automation in an Age of Stagnation. Nice nods to Graeber’s notion of bullshit jobs, Robert Solow’s “productivity paradox”, and more throughout. The accelerationists and luxury communists all have it wrong because vulture capitalists, as we’re seeing now, are just as happy to deindustrialize if it makes them a quick buck.
LZ: Spain becomes the first country in Europe to offer menstrual leave, Serena Smith at Dazed
This is great. I hope more countries join the list.
We Can’t Talk About the Racist Massacre in Buffalo Without Talking About Capitalism - Matthew Cunningham-Cook, Jacobin
Crypto Investors Roleplaying as Pee-Obsessed Goblins to Cope With Crash - Jordan Pearson, Vice
We’re Organizing Unions at Amazon and Starbucks. We Won’t Back Down. - Daniel Denvir, Jacobin (DCH: Starbucks organizers are winning 90% of their union elections despite astonishing (and illegal) corporate resistance. And those union-busting crimes are only getting worse at both companies.)
Amazon Third Party Delivery Driver Injuries Increased 40 Percent in 2021, According to Report - Aaron Gordon, Vice
Judge rules Tesla can’t hide behind arbitration in sexual harassment case - Emma Roth, The Verge
Apple raises retail hourly starting salary to $22 amid labor challenges - Jon Porter, The Verge (DCH: challenges like union busting Vice Presidents)
Amazon shareholders reject 15 motions on worker rights and environment - Kari Paul, The Guardian
Fewer Americans Are Identifying as Middle-Class - Doug Henwood, Jacobin
CJW: 6, 97: Why scorpions? - Charlie Lloyd
To the global economic network, then, the oceans are shortcuts in terms of cost but barriers in terms of time. The deal that fluid dynamics gives cargo ships is: you can go anywhere over water for surprisingly little energy, but only under about 40 km/h. We could run a global economy on those terms. But we don’t. Given any excuse, we prefer to push everything up to 45 km/h even when it means burning 3× as much fuel. Yes, it means maritime shipping is 3% of the climate problem instead of 1%, but check it out: we can get a shipping container across the Pacific in 20 days instead of 30. Pretty neat.
A great read covering the carbon cost of groceries, the vortex lift of space shuttle wings, the superiority of crab claw sails, global shipping and its ecological costs, nation states, aerodynamics and various ways these things intersect.
MKY: The Empire Never Ended - “the Antifascist Amerikanski-Balkan podcast about (neo) fascist terror, the (deep) state and the alienation, nihilism and desperation produced by the capitalist system. And how to get rid of all that.” - present, Fash Book Club. In their first public (ie non paywalled/Patreon) post in this series, revel in the glorious messiness that is “the Right’s 1984”, Hold Back This Day. Don’t read the stupid book, just enjoy them tearing it apart, trope by shitty right wing trope:
Then, read The Old Iron Dream by David Forbes and see just how much of this godawful ideology is in the mainstream scifi canon too.
MKY: Days of Glory (2006)
What’s better than a movie about the horrors of war? One that combos it up with institutional racism. Or, watch and learn how the people of France’s African colonies were duped into dying for a “homeland” they’d never seen in World War II, and then not just edited out of the narrative - which was literally whitewashed - but the survivors were denied the basic decency of a soldier’s pension - literally the least they could fucking do - by the French government after the colonies eventually achieved independence again. Something this film helped rectify. Go art! Shame these motherfuckers to hell and back.
If you like this, watch the spiritual sequel: The Battle for Algiers.
Secret Honor (1984)
Directed by Robert Altman, starring Philip Baker Hall and Philip Baker Hall alone as Nixon, this is the chaser to an epic Oliver Stone binge (JFK, Nixon, JFK: Through the Looking Glass) we all deserve. Drunk and ranting wildly for the entire film, it’s a thing to behold. And largely slept on. Come for Philip Baker Hall putting on an acting clinic, stay for the Bohemian Grove stories.
Shoutout to Chapo Trap House’s Poppy series on George H.W. Bush (Part 1, Part3 - Part 2 is an exercise for the reader - but also where I learned of this…)
Keeper of the Flame (1942)
What’s better than watching Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn tear up the screen together, this their first outing as a couple I believe. When the story fucking matters, that’s what. This is a re-telling of the innocuous sounding (by design) Business Plot of 1933 - that time the American Empire almost went openly fascist, in reaction to FDR’s New Deal. Note the year it came out. The stakes were very real. Fuck yeah art!
For some reason tho…
The film was screened for the Office of War Information’s Bureau of Motion Pictures on December 2, 1942, where it was disapproved of by the Bureau’s chief, Lowell Mellett. Keeper of the Flame premiered to a poor reception at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday, March 18, 1943. MGM head Louis B. Mayer stormed out of the cinema, enraged by his having encouraged the making of a film that equated wealth with fascism. Republican members of Congress complained about the film’s leftist politics and demanded that Will H. Hays, president of the Motion Picture Production Code, establish motion picture industry guidelines for propaganda.
Watch it, then compare its ending with that of the much more recent miniseries “alt-history” The Plot Against America.
I miss when liberals had teeth. For some reason this is a period I just keep coming back to.
DCH: Know Your Enemy: The Right Kind of Worker - Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell with Gabriel Winant
Good discussion on how GOP operatives like Oren Cass, Sohrab Ahmari, and others have co-opted class conflict.
LZ: Scarcity - II
Until a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t even know what microtonal music was. Now I am addicted to this song by the microtonal black metal band Scarcity. Worth checking the video as well.
What if David Lynch and Chloe Sevigny worked together? There you go.
MJW: Does this go in art or tech or memes?
LZ: Existence is in the like of the beholder
I think I mentioned in the issue before that I wanted to write something about Holy Motors and Cosmopolis, right? So here it is.
Decolonizing Brazil through Science Fiction: Bacurau and Brazilian Empowerment
And here is my first paper published in an international journal. Hope you enjoy it :)