The Truth about the Civil War, Slavery & Racism

While I am fully aware that history is written by the winners, all I ask for is a little historical accuracy in my propaganda. Did slavery play a part in the divisions that led to the civil war? Yes… but only insofar as they played a large part in the economy and culture of the southern states. As for the northern states… well we will get to that. As this is something that I have studied extensively from a historical, philosophical, and anthropological perspective… I’m afraid I can’t just let it lie there. Anyone who knows me is well aware that racist is the last word that could be used to describe me to the point that I refuse to even defend myself on that front. If my words can’t be seen as a mere overview of historical realities easily researched… cool beans. I strongly encourage anyone with an interest to actually dig and challenge these assertions because it is easy to do the research. I also don’t care much what people think about me.  As an addendum to that, it is not my goal to change opinion or even to educate so much as it is to convince people to think enough to go research things on their own.  It is only through personal examination and research that truly independent thought and knowledge bloom.

The Civil War was a matter of Sectionalism. There was a schism between the southern and northern before the war for Independence. The economy, geography, and culture were vastly different. Many concessions had to be made in order to even bring the southern colonies on board because they were never enthusiastic. Many of those concessions had to do with States Rights… including checks and balances that would prevent a large and (as the southern colonies saw it) potentially tyrannical central government. From the very beginning, there were whispers of secession, and as a random point of history – that is the meaning of the 2nd Amendment (it is not an excuse for the average individual to keep high powered assault rifles) – as our government was shaping into something that the southern states didn’t like. This can be looked at several ways.

Socially – they both thought they were on the side of angels (most do). The South believed that they were holding true to the Republican values of the founding fathers and that the North was quickly changing and embracing radical new ideas. This has some merit. Washington, Jefferson, and Madison at the very least, owned a significant number of slaves. While the South had dug in with its plantation based economy and spread into free-land such as Louisiana and Texas, the Northern states had switched from a rural to an urban landscape. Abolitionists had gotten a decent foothold in many northern states. The north had fully entered into a period of industrialization.

Politically – Upon gaining the large land mass of territories that would become the rest of this nation, the issue of states rights, individual freedoms, and slavery became big ones. There were proposals that the federal government decided what was legal for the whole of the territories and it didn’t take much to know that decision would serve as precedent for the federal government deciding what was legal for existing states. Here is where history has liked to rewrite itself though. While slavery was used as a wedge issue, it was for economic reasons – I’ll get to that in a second – rather than as a humanitarian one. Yes, abolitionists existed and were even politically active by this time… but the northern states were far more afraid of being taken over by the southern states than they were against slavery. The northern states were economically hurting – severely – and propaganda used by the abolitionists (not saying they were bad people but history is history folks) said that the southern states would use their portable and liquid assets to simply take over, just as they were taking over territories. THAT is why the federal government had to be the one to decide what happened in the territories and that was why the southern states had to be suppressed.

Economically – This is the big one! The north had invested fully in industrialization and was, in a word, broke. It was urban, supporting far too many people, and had too much overhead for its exports. Europe had industrialized quite some time before and didn’t need to import our goods but we needed a market. On the other hand, because of over-crowding, geography, and urbanization… the north desperately needed raw goods… they wouldn’t be able to produce anything if they didn’t have the raw materials. Importing them would be astronomically expensive – yet they didn’t have them on hand. Now… the south had a very different economy. They had natural resources and raw materials in abundance… but they had an advantage. Both the north AND Europe needed raw materials – esp after the slave revolts in the West Indies. They could sell cotton, tobacco, tar, timber, and other labor intensive cash crops to whomever they wanted for top dollar. They needed to import manufactured goods… and they were cheaper if they were domestic. This economic issue was why the northern states were terrified that the southern states would take over… it was a hysterical reaction to economic distress and the propaganda that the southern states would bring their natural resources and their money and just steal the industrial means. Likewise, the southern states were having just as hysterical reaction to the north’s poverty… fearing that the government would simply seize the natural resources and raw materials to feed the industrial machine. Tensions were mounting and when political bombs were being thrown into the fire… the election of President Lincoln as the representative of the very party that suggested that the federal government should determine the laws for the entirety of the territories, proposed heavy taxes and tariffs on the exporting of raw materials to force the south to trade with the north, and a party that was heavily into the very propaganda that had whipped up the hysteria of the south… they decided that the only option for them was to suceed.

Now… it would be really really easy for me to insert a really long argument here about why I think that states have the right to suceed but as that actually isn’t my point, I’m going to show some discipline.

The war – The North did not pick this war or even this fight… the South did. Why is that important? Because the North did not enter the Civil War to free slaves… the North never would have entered the Civil War at all if left to their own devices and with no Civil War… the legislation re: slavery in the territories is questionable, but they certainly never would have passed a referendum or an amendment banning it all together. That had never been the North’s goal. Slavery would have been allowed to die a natural death. After the fight was picked… the already strained economy in the North was suffering badly… especially when they could no longer get the source materials for their own exports without paying premium import prices. The South was not having economic problems. Their wealth was in land and human trafficking by and large. They traded with Europe and if they had to pay a bit more for manufactured goods – they were willing to do without some things and pay more for some things. There was another BIG problem. Because this was a fight started by the South, they had plenty of men who wanted to fight it. That was not true of the North. Again, with the issue of most Northerners not caring about the South, slavery, or any of it… the North was forced to conscript – take emigrants fresh off the boats, utilize the draft… riots were being fought over the war in the North. In the beginning… it looked very much like the South was going to win.

A very good strategist, Licoln got a very good idea.
1. Pump up the propaganda portraying the South in a negative light and appealing to the abolitionist movement to defend a protracted war that many were saying should be abandoned.
2. Impose a scorched earth policy to attack the South on their own land – destroying crops, equipment, housing, and most importantly… confiscating property.
3. Conscript slaves to rise up and fight (either as Union troops or as freed property rising against land owners as had happened in the West Indies…)
The Emancipation Proclamation was born… and doesn’t say what most people think it does. It did not make former slaves citizens. The primary purpose was to enlist “suitable” persons into the Union forces. It did not require owners to free their slaves, nor did it justify slaves rising against their owners. Union soldiers used it to sieze slaves from the property of conquered plantations. The “suitable” persons were put into the ranks… where they were not given weapons or uniforms. They were treated as camp workers and slaves for the Union army. Those who were not “suitable” were set free and left to do whatever they could to survive without means or protection. It was designed to create chaos and division. Additionally, the Emancipation Proclamation did not include Union States or any State that was not still actively fighting… meaning that any state not still actively trying to succeed in 1863 was not included – and in many cases, slavery was still legal in those states. The Emancipation Proclamation came THREE YEARS into the Civil War and even then… it did more to damage slaves and race relations than it did to help them. It was used as a weapon in the Civil War. It was aimed to cripple the economy of the Deep South and to break them.

As we all know… the North won. What does that actually mean to us today though? I get personally offended by the propaganda surrounding the Civil War on many levels. I’m southern for one thing. I’m not a racist, for another. The North not allowing the South to suceed did more to damage race relations and caused more harm than good. The Restoration of the South is a laughable term… the only way that people can understand it in modern terms is to say that we have already rebuilt New Orleans after Katrina. It would be well over 100 years before African Americans had the right to vote, share a bathroom, or even marry into other races. In the South, things were specifically done right after the Civil War to increase resentment and tension between the two races in order to make sure that there could be no healing between the divide. It was not just in the South though. The North… the vast majority of whom didn’t even want to be in the Civil War, had now been led to believe that the abolitionist movement was key. More riots. Free African Americans being hung, beaten, and always treated as well below even the lowest class of citizen. It was the larger Northern narrative that “good men had gone and died to keep free those worthless — “. And here we are today… in a society that is still divided over this issue… a society with a serious race problem that can’t be addressed because no one can openly talk about it without being attacked. Even the cold facts of history have to be redacted to fit the narrative because goddess forbid we actually face the past in order to have a future.

ne pas dire la vérité

There is something seriously wrong with our culture when Asia Argento posts pictures from people actually on the ground in Istanbul right now only to be told that she should no be posting the pictures because they are so terrible…

  • Yes!  It is terrible that they are using Agent Orange against the protesting youth.
  • Yes!  It is terrible that there are several pictures of upwards of five men beating a single protester into the ground (I seem to remember that causing riots here in the US)
  • Yes! It is terrible that a protester had his eyes gauged out.
  • Yes! It is terrible that we are all so desensitized and apathetic that we would rather just not have to see these atrocities.  In fact, I think that is worse than any of it – because in truth, the conflict in Istanbul is one that will end and one that will come again in an endless cycle of violence that marks history.  But at the point that we just don’t want to see it… that rather than being enraged at Turkey for blocking news media and trying to hide their crimes against civil rights, people are enraged that such crimes are being shoved under their noses.

I have made no secret about the fact that I have a love/hate relationship with the digital revolution that I find myself living in.  I have cautioned that we have too much access… our flood of unqualified and unedited information creates a situation where people have the illusion of transparency while knowing nothing.  Maybe I am wrong – maybe we should have been forced to see every body in Tienanmen Square.  Maybe we should see all of the rights violations in China, the attacks against the people of Tibet – Maybe we should see all of the bodies in Sierra Leon.  Perhaps a magnifying glass put on such behavior would limit it…

Or maybe Eddie Izzard is right – and we don’t care how many people you kill so long as you keep to killing your own people… so Turkey can kill its youth, genocide can continue to be ignored in Africa, the ICC can use laws written in 400 c.e. to determine whether war crimes were committed between Bosnia and Kosovo.  As long as we, as Americans, don’t have to see it… as long as you aren’t trying to invade someone who has anything we want… then we don’t want to know.

Astroturf dans n’importe quelle langue est tout aussi faux …

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What is astroturf?

Well everyone knows the answer to that… it is that strange fake grass that has taken over far too many football stadiums.
True or False?

Both, but as I am about to discuss it, Astroturfing refers to political, advertising, or public relations campaigns that are designed to mask the sponsors of the message to give the appearance of coming from a disinterested, grassroots participant. Astroturfing is intended to give the statements the credibility of an independent entity by withholding information about the source’s financial connection. The term is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.

Astroturfers use software to mask their identity. Sometimes one individual operates over many personas to give the impression of widespread support for their client’s agenda.  Some studies suggest astroturfing can alter public viewpoints and create enough doubt to inhibit action.

The tea-party is famous for them.  The Koch brothers have founded more of them than I can name.  Big pharmaceutical, Agra-business, Big tobacco, Politicians…
It is actually very simple.  Hire someone like me who is good at organization and public speaking.  Pay them a lot of money to start a “grass-roots” organization that is supposed to be a movement by the people and for the people in order to get some change to occur.  Seed this organization with more paid supporters and even a few paid dissenters, because having dissent makes an argument more powerful and compelling.  Town Hall Meetings – they are nearly all seeded with paid individuals on both sides to ask specific questions… some pro-policy in order to give the politician a chance to shine and look popular… some anti-policy in order to give the politician an opportunity to turn it into a witty answer to a “hard” question that he or she was already well prepared to answer… making them look good even to their detractors.
The “tea-party” is the greatest example of this.  The “tea-party” is actually nothing more than an astroturf re-sodding of the John Birch Society.  Some things you should know… The Koch Brothers have been funding conservative “think tanks” officially since 1971.  Currently, they control the Citizens for a Sound Economy and Americans for Prosperity openly… and that does not even get into the numerous other “grass-roots” organizations that have been traced back to them financially.  The John Birch Society was beaten into obscurity by one of its own former members, William F. Buckley Jr. and Ronald Reagan… with both being dead, there have been few to point out the fact that the “tea-party” is nothing more than the Koch Brothers trying to revive an old political movement that was as bad an idea then as it is now.
Here is what truly upsets me about all this – it is not that people are ignorant (to be honest, I have almost come to expect that people are too easily fooled).  What upsets me is that the vast majority of those who identify themselves as members of the “tea-party” are actually the people who would be hurt the most by them coming into power.  The working middle class… yes, they want to keep the money they earn and rightly so… but if the “tea-party” ever truly gained control, there would be no middle class and they would be the ones hit hardest financially.  They are also often the people with the least access to the education to teach them that these “grass-roots” organizations that sound so logical when they speak about small government and keeping your hard earned money and changing how Washington works… are bought and paid for soundbites that have been being tested in “think tanks” for over 4 decades to appeal to that group of voters.
I mean, I should be grateful because the “tea-party” has caused such a schism within the Republican Party that the vote gets split which increases the chances of Democratic rule.  Of course, this would make me a lot happier if todays Democrats did not hold the exact same policies as yesterdays post-Birch Society Republicans.  Do you have any idea how close the policies of President Obama and President Reagan are…?
  • Once upon a time, the DNC was the people’s party.  They looked out for the lower and middle classes.  Their biggest weakness was lack of organization because they held a fundamental belief that each legislator should vote their conscious and their constituency.
  • Contrarily, the RNC was the educated party – they were the “think tanks” and the Ivy League grads who all spoke with one voice and one vote – while that voice and that vote was not always something that I agreed on – they got things done, where as (best evidenced by President Carter – best post-presidential career ever) the DNC had trouble getting much of anything done.
  • Everything has been flipped on its heads.  Now the RNC wants to swill beer and pretend that they are the people’s party and that the DNC are just a bunch of intellectual elitests (personally, I want someone smarter than me running the nation but hey… if you want the guy who drinks beer with you and can’t throw darts for shit – have at it).  Of course – the fact that most of them are still Ivy League educated and Wall Street funded gets ignored.  Why – because they have kept one core principle.  They still speak with one voice and one vote.  So the soundbite goes out to every candidate that they are going to take over Washington and look out for your best interests – while it is Wall Street’s money that is putting them there and it is Wall Street and big business that they will be concerning themselves with.  They have jammed the legislative bodies up so bad that it is like passing legislation is like getting a rich man into heaven (you know… pass through the eye of a needle… if I have to explain it you don’t get it).  Moderates, like Huntsman, who might actually be decent candidates  can’t even get to the Primary because they poll so low because we the people or rather the astroturf organizations that speak for us say that we want extremists…
  • Personally – I take a pretty dim view of the tea-party movement.  If you look at the creation and momentum, you will see that it really started to get a foothold when it was looking like we might get our first African American President.  Now, I do not want to get into how “black” President Obama is or the “right” or “wrong” of playing what is so shamefully called the “race card” but the reality is that most of those drawn to the tea-party movement are white middle-americans.  They are people who are easily convinced with the right rhetoric that allowing homosexuals the right to marry will somehow affect their own marriages (I will never understand that one – beyond it just being against the 14th Amendment but then most of these folks stop at the 2nd Amendment), that Mexicans are flooding our borders to take all of the jobs (when in truth migrant workers come and take jobs that actual experimentation has proven that white Americans will not take even if paid minimum wage and offered benefits), and that President Obama is actually a secret Muslim who is not even born in this country (we will ignore the fact that one of the troubles early in his campaign was his association with an outspoken and extremist Christian minister, that the long form of his birth certificate has been produced, and that in all reality – the whole birther thing is pretty stupid (and also yet another example of astroturfing) considering the lengths one would have to go to in order to plan all the way back when he was born all that was needed in the hopes that he would become President one day.  Truth – Stephen Colbert started the secret Muslim thing as a satirical joke and now feels terrible that it was taken so seriously that it has yet to die down.)  It is easy to sell the tea-party ideas to a bunch of people who are in all reality suffering a backlash of a horrifyingly disastrous Republican Presidency and then the election of an African American President – so yea… post race America… think again.  But then again – that is just my personal and very cynical voice talking.
I do not know what the next four years will bring and I do not know what the next Presidential Election will look like.  I’m hoping that people are paying enough attention to vote in the Mid-Terms this go-round, but I’m not counting on it.  All I ask is that you think for your self… and if any organization claims to be “grass-roots” dig it up and see just how dirty those roots are.

Dieu merci, je suis joli…

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Thank God I’m Pretty by Emilie Autumn

Thank God I’m pretty.

The occasional free drink I never asked for.

The occasional admission to a seedy little bar.

Invitation to a stranger’s car.

I’m blessed

with the ability to rend a grown man tongue-tied.

Which only means that when it’s dark outside,

I have to run and hide, can’t look behind me.

Thank God I’m pretty.

Thank God I’m pretty.

Every skill I ever have will be in question.

Every ill that I must suffer merely brought on by myself.

Though the cops would come for someone else,

I’m blessed.

I’m truly privileged to look this good without clothes on,

which only means that when I sing you’re jerking off

and when I’m gone you won’t remember.

Thank God I’m pretty.

Thank you God

Oh, lord

Thank you God

Oh, oh and when a gaggle of faces appears around me

it’s lucky I hate to be taken seriously.

I think my ego would fall right through the cracks in the floor

if I couldn’t count on men to slap my ass anymore.

I know my destiny’s such, that I’m all stocking and curl

so everybody thinks that I’m a fucking suicide girl.

Thank you God

For the occasional champagne I never asked for.

The occasional admission to a seedy little bar.

Invitation to a stranger’s car.

I’m blessed

with the ability to rend a grown man tongue-tied

which only means that when it’s dark outside

I have to run and hide, can’t look behind me.

Thank God I’m pretty.

Thank God.

Thank God.

Thank you

Thank you

Thank you God!

      Is it a song, or is it a feminist anthem?  Feminism… such a word.  It has gone through waves, been loved, hated, thanked, and blamed and very few men or women even know what it is anymore.  To that end, here is what

feminism

    means to me.

    • Feminism is equality.  It is the freedom to choose… that choice may take me to the workplace where I demand every ounce of respect and pay that my male counterparts get.  It may take me to the workplace of the home where I work twice as hard for no pay and half the thanks… but it is my choice.  I do not expect to be judged or told that I am damaging the rights of women everywhere if I choose to be a stay at home mother, nor do I expect to be condemned as a freak of nature if I choose not to have children at all.  For the longest time, feminism seemed to mean living like a man – only with twice the responsibilities.  Feminism meant the right to go to work, come home, take care of the kids, get dinner on the table by five, keep yourself pretty, and make sure your husband got laid at night because if he decided to screw his secretary – that was your fault not his.  Bollocks.  Feminism is earning the right to be a WOMAN.
    • There is a lot going on right now about how girls are labeled with negative things like “bitchy” or “bossy” for showing the same characteristics that boys are praised for.  A woman in the work force has to tap dance her way around men’s precious egos in order to succeed.  While I think FaceBook to be basically evil – their COO has a wonderful book out about this subject – empowering women to develop leadership skills without being ashamed of it.  Look at our politics arena – what do we ask of our women – that they dress right, that we like their hair, that they are attractive… the entire inaugural coverage this year was about Michelle Obama‘s bangs for Christ’s sake!  This is an incredibly capable woman, a lawyer in her own right, and brought as much political power to the table in Chicago as her husband did.  Now we are worried about her bangs?  We are concerned about Hillary Clinton’s pantsuit.  No matter how much I dislike the nutter… we have a fit because the RNC spent a fortune on Sarah Palin‘s wardrobe – yet you know damn well that had they not, the news would have been all over her clothes and her lack of polish and how THAT meant that she was not ready for the White House (forgetting totally that she’s a damn moron).  We want a woman to be president?  Then how about treating them like actual candidates with actual ideas.  How about vetting them seriously and looking at more than their haircuts and clothes?  Let’s not devalue women in the workplace for having leadership skills that would be rewarded in any man.  That is feminism and that is equality.  More women are graduating college.  More women are entering corporate level jobs.  More women are reaching positions of power… and let’s face it – the men have had quite a run of things and I’m not impressed.
    • Finally – yes, the song had a point.  Beauty does not equal idiocy or ineptitude.  Feminism does not mean that you can’t wear lipstick or a bra.  Personally – I like sexy clothes.  There is nothing wrong with looking like a suicide girl except for the fact that you are instantly dismissed by the masses as some empty headed, drug addled, flake.  Well guess what folks – this stocking and curl girl has an IQ that puts her in MENSA.  She has three undergrad degrees, one doctorate, and is working on more.  She teaches college and coaches speech and debate – all that with tattoos, pink hair, piercings, and a rather macabre and gothic sense of style.  OMG brains and an alternative style – say it isn’t so.  Thank God I’m pretty – because I love to rub it in every asshat’s face who deciders to underestimate me.  So next time a woman asserts her opinion, don’t call her a bitch or think she’s unnatural – listen to her.  Next time you see some crazy hot chick – don’t automatically assume she has bleach for brains because she might just be smarter than you.  That, boys, is feminism.
    • P.S. I fight like a girl ❤

La mort de principes

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Bombings in Boston – Gun Control – Health care – Gridlock – GITMO – Corporations = People – Gay Marriage Rights… there is so much going on in our political system and yet it seems that, as “We the People” we have forgotten a few things.

 

  • Love it or hate it – this country is founded on some pretty basic principles. One of the most basic of which is that said principles apply to EVERYONE. From a practical perspective, what does that mean?

 

  • 14th Amendment = the Right to Marriage Act is unconstitutional as it is discriminatory.
  • 1st Amendment = the right to say and express what you like and hate about this government. For all you conservatives out there that keep telling the liberals to shut up and move to France (thank you Áine Snow) you might want to consider that the very forum you are using to scream and shout would not exist without the liberal mindset that you are so against. It also means that, while I come from a military family and find the burning of the American Flag to be a horrible thing, by brother – career Navy – is the first to say that his friends fought and died not only to protect that flag, but to protect the right to burn it.
  • Due Process = this does not just apply to people we like or people that do little things. It applies to everyone. All have the right to representation – and this is an idea that goes all the way back to the *gasp* Boston Massacre (which was not a massacre at all if you know your history) when a very brave lawyer stood up to defend the soldiers being accused. These soldiers were enemies of the state… yet they were afforded fair trial and due process of law because there was a strong belief that one could not found a country on principles that it did not follow.  Now we wire tap without warrants, have unmanned drones spying on our own people, have detained people on foreign soil without following the Geneva Convention or declaring the Prisoners of War but rather Enemy Combatants allowing “us” to do whatever “we” wish to them, and now even detain US citizens on US soil under the same lack of protection – even going so far as to allow the CIA (an organization formerly not allowed to work within US borders) to extract &/or kill US citizens seen as threats with absolutely no process at all.  This goes so far against the principles we were founded on that I do not even recognize this country.  I can say that, should the founding father’s get a good look – they would say that their experiment in democracy had failed.

 

  • Now – I have much to say about how far we have skewed from those principles and whether or not the Constitution even applies in many cases (I will not even start on the 2nd amendment and its gross misinterpretation) as much of the constitution was made null and void at the end of the Civil War. However, living document or no… the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are based on PRINCIPLES that can easily be applied to policy no matter the changes in society that were unforeseen when they were written. Do you think the founding fathers were unfamiliar with terrorism? The Revolution and the war of 1812 were both won by the use of terrorism and guerrilla tactics that completely ignored the prior ‘civilized’ rules of engagement. Yet their principles remained intact. What happened to ours?

esthétique gothique

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Heart of Nails

Jasmine Becket-Griffith aka strangeling

Many ask me, what is Goth?

It would seem like this would have a very complicated answer, as it is interpreted differently by everyone who identifies with this moniker and it has changed in many ways over the years.  Yet there are both common misconceptions, and a base truth that ultimately defines Goth.

  • Goth has nothing to do with religion or the worship of Satan.  

While many people who identify with the Gothic culture embrace different religions such as various forms of paganism and even satanism (which ironically does not worship or involve Satan)… it would be inaccurate to say that this has anything to do with being Goth.  It is more a matter of those who have a predilection towards being attracted to the Gothic lifestyle also have a predilection to looking outside conventional religion.

  • Goth does not always show from the outside.

While the Gothic aesthetic tends towards dark colors, Victorian styles, a certain taste for beauty, et al… it is not the clothes that make the Goth.  Many can dress themselves in what they think are Gothic clothes and not have the first notion about what they are representing.  Others (myself included) can be dressed in Wranglers and a t-shirt and be Goth to the bone.

  • Goth is:

At the very heart of it, Goth is very simple.  It is an ideology.  Goth is an appreciation for the beauty of the macabre.  It is an understanding that death and decay have their own unique elegance.  How that is interpreted is up to the individual – in a perfect world, it should not be an elitist society.  I have never believed in the idea that “I am more goth than you.”  And yet, I find myself disturbed by the way it has been abused and taken out of context over the years.  The gothic aesthetic is about beauty and it is far from skin deep.

So my friends… that is Goth.

réseaux sociaux est de détruire la société

Social-networking-sites

  • The technological chronology of my life is basically as follows: pagers (mostly for drug dealers) –> car phones (mostly for yuppies and drug dealers) –> brick & bag phones –> analog phones.  Computers that only ran DOS –> computers without modems –> external modems –> the great excitement of a 28.8 dps connection –> starting up aohell, fixing breakfast as the modem groaned only to come back to a message saying it was busy and to try again or that it had timed out –> dsl (godsend for the impatient) –> cell phones far more advanced than most of the computers I had earlier owned (and that is not even getting into smart phones).

 

  • For the most part, I find there to be amazing things about modern technology.  The idea that I can find out almost anything withing about three minutes and two clicks… being able to keep in touch with friends that have scattered across the globe… the speed in which information can be disseminated.  

 

  • That said, I am not sure that there is not more harm than good.  No one communicates anymore.  People post on Facebook instead of picking up the phone.  Conversations become fights with people who are not even involved saying things that they would never say to a person’s face.  Rather than a rumor at school or work spreading to a few people – the whole world knows within seconds.  Journalism is nearly dead and people without education or ethics are taken as journalists and even quoted by supposedly credible news sources while the editorial quality of news print dies.  We all have cell phones that are always on and always on us – giving us no free time from work, family, friends… there is an assumption that if you call someone, you should be able to get a hold of them and if you can’t, anger and frustration results.  Privacy is a thing of the past.  Google and other services use how fast we drive, where we go, what is in our emails, what web pages we visit, and a host of other things in order to refine their advertisements and products – but this information is also used for such things as putting together terrorist watch lists that are so accurate that they have no idea when someone is going to … oh I don’t know … bomb the Boston Marathon.  Worse… this is increasing exponentially.   

 

  • There is a proven theory that says that technology doubled in a ten year span.  It will double again in half the time (five years) only to double again in half the time (2.5 years) only to double again in half the time… etc.  The science fiction of yesterday becomes the technology of today.  Well watch something like Continuum for a very realistic yet horrifying notion of the technology currently being developed

 

  • The idea of all of this is that it makes information and connectivity quicker, more efficient, and better.  It is supposed to bring us closer to our fellow man and improve upon the human condition.  I challenge that idea.  It is keeping us apart and creating a sense of isolation.  This only gets worse as people depend on FaceBook for communication.  Language deteriorates as children do not learn unique handwriting for personal expression because they are too busy texting in netspeak.  Our most profound ideas are now expected to fit into Twiter;s 160 character limit.  Most of what is on the internet is rubbish and what passes for “news” is false.  Without skilled editors, people are just flooding their minds with bits of this and that with no real understanding of what is going on in the world which is harmful to our political systems.

 

  • So I opt out of the social networking world… clearly not.  Yes… I am aware of the irony of criticising the social newtorking aspect of the internet on a public blog.  Worse, I was telling a friend the other day how I didn’t really do social networking.  “I just have a wordpress, and a twitter, and instagram, and spotify, and even the dreaded FaceBook because the Internet has made it as difficult to do anything without a FB log in as it is to live without a credit card.  So yes – I am guilty as charged, but at least I can say that I actually give some thought to what I put where.

 

  • I have long said that the Constitution is a dead document because the founding fathers did not intend this country to become what it has.  They were not able to anticipate it.  Furthermore – the second we refused to allow the south to succeed from the Union, we basically used it as toilet paper.  It is nothing but a bunch of high minded ideals that do not work on any kind of pragmatic level.  Yet one of the founding fathers had the right idea – and idea that has stood the test of time.  Alexander Hamilton said;

The masses are the asses.

 

  • Well – the masses have been given the means to bray like donkeys and become the loudest voice heard.  Education and intelligence is frowned upon while we look at stupid pictures of cats.  I weep for the future and long for the past.