Mar 182019

by Jef Knight

On Friday, March 15, 2019 a young Australian immigrant to New Zealand went to a local mosque and killed 50 people, injuring 50 more. A terrible, unthinkable tragedy. Yet a tragedy that is becoming all to well normalised into “just another mass shooting, albeit tragic” in our modern media landscape.

I opened my browser on Monday to read the news with my morning coffee and noticed a peculiar thing; firstly that the shooter had, unsurprisingly, written a manifesto explaining his motivations and that the media was, in lockstep, condemning the manifesto as “trolling”, “lies” and “a cry for attention” and demanding that no one, ever, read it, let alone commit the societal sin of sharing it with anyone.

When I read article after article on the topic of what not to read, especially if it is overtly condemning the reader as all-but-complicit for having done so, by virtue of giving the shooter attention, my propaganda radar goes off. In this case, given that these demands to suppress this information were coming from both the right and the left, I felt obligated to find out what was it about this document that required bipartisan guilt-shaming to keep us from seeing it.

So, naturally, I found the manifesto and read all 74 pages of it.

It was a quick read, and for the most part well written. For someone who claimed to have failing grades, no post-secondary education and be a general life-fuckup his writing did not reflect that background. Rather, it was lucid, clearly well thought out and with a college level vocabulary, which I found rather intriguing. His thesis, however, was far less intriguing.

As a bit of background to why I read this, I have been concerned that the world would end up being at this very place at which it has arrived ever since the election of Regan and Thatcher in 1981. The rise of the far right was but a dream in the minds of neocons and hard-right extremists back then, but was nonetheless a dream that they hoped to birth into fruition. Whether in neo-conservative publications like the National Review or The National Interest, or in privately published newsletters from the backpages of Agents of Fortune there was a definite undercurrent of, a foreshadowing of, the types of radical, right-wing thinking so prevalent in today’s marketplace of ideas. It is from this historic perspective that I say, matter-of-factly, that there isn’t anything in this “manifesto” that I haven’t read a thousand times before in right-wing “realistic analysis”. None of it is new material from these folks.

Candace Owens features prominantly as the shooter’s main ideological hero. The media immediately downplayed this as trolling, but I urge you to go and watch Ms Owens’ videos: she is a monster insisting that she is giving a realistic analysis of the situation. This is exactly my point. Those on the right Already believe the same things as this shooter while also denying that salient point.

The basic thrust of his argument is that non-Europeans are out-breeding Euro-descendants, that is to say, the White Race is losing ground demographically and will soon become extinct via non-whites out breeding them. Add to that the call to take up arms against anyone, anything, any person or company or nation, that stands in the way of White Dominance and you pretty much understand the shooter’s motivations.

He was not an incel. His argument never touched on him not being able to get laid or have relationships. I don’t know if he did have relationships with women, but it wasn’t mentioned in the manifesto, so I’m going to make the leap and say it was not a thing that was plaguing him. He wrote at length about what did plague him, but sex wasn’t one of those things.

He claimed, several times, that he was not doing it for attention or notoriety. His claim was that he would naturally get media notoriety soley based on his actions, but that would be a means to an end of forcing society to go in a direction he thought advantageous to his cause. In this regard he seems to be correct. He believed, or so he wrote, that taking away peoples’ guns would give armed militias the advantage. New Zealand is now considering disarming its population. While that probably won’t lead to an armed insurrection by far-right crazies, that bunch will still see this as a win.

The rest of his points are rants against immigration, diversity, the far-left, centrists, not-radical-enough conservatives, “milquetoast” Christianity and corporate takeover. Pretty stock-in-trade stuff for the far-right and others of the white supremacist rally set.

I ask you then, why does the media not want us to read that? Are they afraid it will further radicalise the average citizen-at-large? I doubt that, though that is one of their stated positions.

No, the reality is a much more banal evil; it reads like a speech at a Trump rally. Or a KKK rally. Or virtually anything coming from the American and Eupropean far-right. It reads like the Freudian subconscious of the Republican party, or like a transcript from cocktail conversations at a CPAC after party.

They don’t want you to read it because they don’t want you to say, “Hey, wait a minute…this is pretty mainstream stuff from the American media landscape.” They don’t want their well established useful idiot class to see their own beliefs reflected back to them from the words of that document. For that might give them, give their base, pause to reflect on why they and a mass murderer share similar, if not identical, views on immigrants. They might lose pawns in their power struggle for dominance and supremacy, should their base suddenly see through the anti-immigrant propaganda that flows so freely in today’s media landscape.

A small handful of very wealthy people who own and control all of the media you consume do not want you to associate the beliefs of a mass murderer with the beliefs that they propagandize you with every day. The Machiavellian machinations of the wealth class that pits human against human is a well structured, highly coordinated effort to keep us too busy hating each other to have any energy left to stop them from their theft of the wealth and resources of our planet.

I say: read it for yourself and let the reality of your world sink in. Let those line-after-line talking points the shooter makes remind you of Candice Owens, Shawn Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Fox TV in general, and most of all, the monstrous, hate-filled ideas that pass for policy from the Republican party and its glorious leader, Trump.

You can’t change the world by not understanding it.

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Feb 162016

A friend of mine offered up a maxim the other day that I found kind of interesting. It stated that, “Art should disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.”

At first blush it seemed a reasonable enough proposition. Art often makes people think about things differently and feel things they don’t ordinarily feel. That’s the essential effect.

But having given it some thought I realized that the term art is the wrong word in that aphorism. It’s not Art but Advertising that is the thing that actually fulfils this role in our media landscape. It is advertising that disturbs us out of our comfort and seeks to salve our burden. It could be argued that, for this reason, advertising is a form of psychological terrorism. Should art be equally as mercinary?

Advertising disturbs the comfortable in that it’s sole job is to make you feel bad about yourself so that the product the ad is hawking will be seen by your subconcious as the white knight of your imagined crisis. The disturbance it creates is for the sole purpose of selling you the blessed relief. For those that qualify as disturbed, ads offer the hope of healing via time saving gadgets, money saving scams and, of course, pharmaceutical fixes both real and imagined.

Art, however, should be none of these things and should not be used as a club with which to bash the viewer. If art’s goal is to disturb the comfortable then it can only do so by having “disturbing-the-viewer” as it’s agenda. Surely art should stir emotions in the viewer but one could argue that art with an “agenda-to-disturb” is just propaganda, purposefully seeking to make the viewer feel bad about themselves and is therefore ideologically self-serving.

If you were to anthropomorphize the art then it would be an empathyless villain who seeks to change your mind by force, the force of psychic pain upon the viewer who is left feeling worse than when they arrived. Is in not better that art should reveal the true beauty of the artist and let the viewers partake in that luxury?

Most decent people cannot tolerate the company of people like this, so why would anyone want to make “art” that fulfils this same intolerable function? Wanting to harsh peoples’ mellow seems, at best, shallow attention grabbing, at worst it stikes me more like a passive-aggressive proxy for bashing ones fellow man than it does artistic socio-edification. Such things in no way make the world a better place, which is what real art attempts to do. Right? Don’t the thing that you love, artistically, make you feel better in some way, to feel joy, possibility or catharsis? “I love that band because they make me feel bad.”, said no one ever.

As for the previously disturbed, ask your doctor if Art is right for you.

On the other hand, I firmly believe that art should be, and is, merely an extension of the artist. One lives the artistic life and art flows from that. It should have no more of a social or political agenda than a set of guitar strings does.

Art, true art, should reflect the beauty of the artist, their inner aspirations, their hopefulness, their sense of wonder and reflection. Beautiful minds make beautiful art. People are made better by either creating it or experiencing it.

So, one might ask, what does that say about the artist who create only things that reflect the comfortable gloom of a disturbed mind?

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