12.13.17

Half a decade since Sandy Hook

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 5:41 pm by George Smith

One change despite general national stasis. Massacres under the Trump administration aren’t accompanied by surges in gun sales. There’s no fear of an imagined coup by liberals.

This graph from the NY Times today begs to be cited, but not for a good reason:

In the five years since the shooting, which transformed a fairly anonymous Connecticut town into a buzzword in the caustic national debate on gun violence, armed men have killed people at a nightclub, an outdoor music festival, a social services center, movie theaters, a church in South Carolina and a church in Texas.

Massacres are met with a collective shrug; they’re automatically political but with a new president who has no obvious interest in saying anything about them. The brutal killing of twenty very young children and six adults was the moment it became impossible to do anything about slaughters. When the country demonstrated that it would do nothing after a barabarity against children it conceded nothing could ever be done.

Currently. Sheryl Crow has shown some shocked humanity, releasing a a commemorative song on Bandcamp and wondering:

“You would think after Vegas we would see some leadership from our country community,” Crow told the Guardian. “But all I can say about that is if there’s money involved, and fear, these conversations come to a screeching halt.

“There’s no one that I know of in the popular country world that is willing to step out and really to take a stand on this, and that’s really unfortunate.

“I hope there will be people who find a way out of their fear, who stick up for humanity as opposed to sticking with their fanbase or the money that can come along with having those large crowds.”

Crow’s new song, The Dreaming Kind, released on Monday, is a tribute to the 20 young children and six adults who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut five years ago.

The song was inspired, Crow has told the press, by her “real sense of helplessness” after the recent Las Vegas massacre and how to tell her two sons about America’s shootings.

Continued Crow:

Three days before her Sandy Hook tribute song was slated to debut on ABC’s Good Morning America, she told the Guardian, she still had not sat down with her children to explain what had happened at the elementary school in Newtown. Even contemplating that conversation left her shaken.

“I think they won’t understand,” she said. “I’m not even able to fathom that.”

Except for one or two outliers, country music’s big stars haven seen silent. Understandably, big portions of their audiences are so locked into 2nd Amendment mythologies, espousing change would be heard as an attack. Careers would certainly suffer.

Five years after NewTown a trip to YouTube to see the DickDestiny-penned “Gun Nut Folk Tube” makes it clear. There’s no grasp of satire but a very noticeable burning anger in the comments section. (Keep in mind this is a tune that’s only been played 680 some times on YouTube, yet it still attracted gunfire.)

“[My parents] imparted loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage,” wrote one man”. They also set me up with a better moral standard to know right from wrong. I now serve this great country and know what individual freedom and personal responsibility are about more than most. Maybe, you should impart those into this song. If not and you feel it is a wrong country then by all means let me know. I will pay you a one way ticket anywhere you want.”

What honor, integrity and so on have to do with documented gun slaughter is anyone’s guess. But it demostrates that point that argument, even without profanity, has been pointless. Invitations to leave the country drop like leaves in the fall.

And satire has been lost in America for decades. What does remain true is Tom Lehrer’s observation that if you’re doing it right someone’s going to get angry. Pain is part of it. It shows that some part of you is still human.

What remains true in “Gun Nut Folk Tune” is the observation: “In this country life is cheap/For it comes with all the creeps.”

There’s an ocean of mean in the national character and it’s ineradicable.


Dowloadable copy of “Gun Nut Folk Tune” from Soundcloud.

Trivia: The photo is from a “shoot a 50 caliber machine gun business” in Las Vegas.



10.03.17

Same old …

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 5:01 pm by George Smith

Horror.

My comment was made years ago. It still works. Nothing can change, nothing will change.

“In this country life is cheap …”


Tag: Gun Nut Folk Tune

07.20.17

40 year slump bills — opioid statistics and desparation

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, Made in China, WhiteManistan at 12:30 pm by George Smith

At the New York Times, Thomas Edsall publishes a sobering statistic:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2014 that the number of opioid prescriptions outnumbered the number of people in 12 states. All 12 of these states voted for Donald Trump: Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Also, the continuing study of the counties in the Rust Belt states that flipped voters from Obama to Trump:

The question that persists six months after Mr. Trump’s inauguration is why six key states — Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, along with 220 counties nationwide — flipped from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016. Why did these voters change their minds? These are men and women who are, in the main, still working, still attending church, still members of functioning families, but who often live in communities where neighbors, relatives, friends and children have been caught up in disordered lives.

Schuylkill County, where I grew up in Pennsylvania, was one of these counties.

And heroin overdoses were then unknown there. Not anymore.

In June, Schuylkill County Coroner Dr. David J. Moylan III said the possibility of 60 drug-related deaths is something he thought would be a reality in the county.

[In 2015], 26 people died in drug-related deaths. Twelve of those involved heroin and three were fentanyl related.

County coroner data as of Friday show of those 54 [2016 deaths] so far, fentanyl was involved in 27 of them.

I’ve made the argument before that opioid drug death and the lack of answer for it indicate the country is headed for very profound disruption and failure.

The accumulating costs of throwing half the country to the dogs in the 40 year slump.

04.05.17

Root hog then die — proven by science

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Shoeshine, WhiteManistan at 2:00 pm by George Smith

Deindustrialization, globalism and the US EQUALS lethal. “Deaths of despair” — proven by science. File under “Trump and the big fail, reasons for.”

From the intro:

In “Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century,” Princeton Professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton follow up on their groundbreaking 2015 paper that revealed a shocking increase in midlife mortality among white non-Hispanic Americans, exploring patterns and contributing factors to the troubling trend.

Case and Deaton find that while midlife mortality rates continue to fall among all education classes in most of the rich world, middle-aged non-Hispanic whites in the U.S. with a high school diploma or less have experienced increasing midlife mortality since the late 1990s. This is due to both rises in the number of “deaths of despair”—death by drugs, alcohol and suicide—and to a slowdown in progress against mortality from heart disease and cancer, the two largest killers in middle age.

“The authors suggest that the increases in deaths of despair are accompanied by a measurable deterioration in economic and social wellbeing, which has become more pronounced for each successive birth cohort,” it continues.

Shorthand: Root hog then die. The economic model for the United States and its cost to the middle class.

As such the increasing mortality is a symptom of national failure. Of the installation of an every man for himself economy for the majority while the top slice has rewritten the rules governing the economy to redistribute all wealth into its own maw.

Unsurprisingly, it’s now difficult to overlook. And that’s primarily because of another symptom, the election of Donald Trump in what can be described as a scream of pain and revenge against the system, no matter how unproductive and disastrous the result.

Having said that, careful consideration would lead one to believe it is not a problem that can be quickly solved. If it can be solved by this United States.

As long as death rates continue to rise, the country will be essentially ungovernable, lurching from crisis to crisis to anarchy and breakdown as all faith in a shared prosperity and ruling institutions go up in smoke.

If the researchers continue their work I would expect them to find in the coming years that the entire white cohort, not just the non-colleged educated, experiences the same decline.

At this blog I had a category, not used often, for that cohort: Shoeshine. The Shoeshine were those colleged educated workers, living in the cities, still deemed necessary to do the gut administrative work for America’s plutocrats. In other words, the over-educated high button services help.

As per one obvious example:

Shoeshine: Those people you know on Facebook who’ve been spending their time clutching their pearls and condemning all the other white people, not them of course, who voted for Trump.

Another great example: Paradoxically, all those at big web media who’ve been allowed to write about the “deaths of despair.” You’ll have noticed that very few, if any, of those actually dieing the “deaths of despair” get chosen to write about their first-hand experience. That would be cutting too close to the bone. Only the social cosmetic services help gets the privilege.

So you see that it hasn’t yet occurred to most of The Shoeshine that they’re living on borrowed time. Eventually, the root hog then die economy will come for them, too, although it may take a few more years.

This blog has been called Escape from WhiteManistan. That needed revision. There is no escape.


Quote of the Day, from economist Dean Baker on his Beat the Press blog: “The main economic story of the last four decades is the massive upward redistribution of income that has taken place. The top one percent’s share of national income has more than doubled over this period from roughly ten percent in the late 1970s to over twenty percent today. And, this is primarily a before-tax income story, the rich have used their control over the levers of economic power to ensure that an ever larger share of the country’s wealth goes into their pockets. (Yes, this is the topic of my book, Rigged [it’s free].)

I called it the 40 Year Slump, from living it in the Rust Belt.

It remains one of the best things from this blog:

I’ve been storing up the energy to for a review of “Slap Shot,” the Seventies movie with Paul Newman as the player coach of the Charlestown Chiefs (modeled on the Johnstown Jets) of western Pennsylvania. I have an old videotape and have had it on replay. “Slap Shot” can also be viewed through the lens of America’s forty year slump, a movie framed at the time big business resurrected a devotion to unrestricted preying on its human labor, and — as it turned out — hundreds of millions of future livelihoods.

The backdrop for “Slap Shot” is the perfect picture of it. The steel mill is set to close in “Charlestown,” laying off thousands.

“Ten thousand people put on waivers,” says Ned Braden (Michael Ontkean), the Charlestown Chiefs’ leading scorer, to Paul Newman, as both stand outside the steel mill waiting for a ride from Lily (Lindsay Crouse), Braden’s wife.

“What’s going to happen to them?” Newman, as Reggie Dunlop, the Chiefs’ player/coach asks.

It’s every man for himself, replies Braden.

They realize it’s the end for the Chiefs. No money, no ticket sales. What there are of the fans won’t be spending what they have left at War Memorial ice hockey arena.


I grew up through that systemic result in Pennsylvania.

From the mid-70’s to today, one unrelenting slump.

It never got better. More jobs were always lost. People made less and less money. There were no moments when anything turned around.

Occasionally, because of presidential propaganda, people felt better about it.

Largely, we bought the swill about “trickle down economics,” the need to squash labor unions, that firing thousands of people was “right-sizing” to get lean, mean and efficient, that life would be a different set of opportunities in which you’d go back to school or be trained four or five times, every ten to fifteen years, this so you would fit the workforce of the glorious future!

All convenient lies. And that’s only a fraction of it.

04.04.17

Critical merit, diversity — negatives when it comes to success in comics

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 12:44 pm by George Smith

Two pieces of news on Marvel properties have some relevance to our current national predicament this week. First up, news that nobody cared about the horrid reviews Iron Fist on Netflix gathered during its roll out. Almost unanimously condemned for not casting the lead character, Danny Rand, as an Asian American, subsequent viewing statistics seemed to indicate it was a Netflix blockbuster:

“Marvel’s Iron Fist” drew some of the most scathing reviews that any Netflix series has earned. But the critical dog pile apparently did little to dampen enthusiasm for the show.

The superhero drama’s March 17 premiere was the most binge-watched this year for a Netflix drama, according to data from research firm 7Park Data, which measures number of streams on subscription video services. The company found that 54.7% of “Iron Fist” streams on the premiere date were of episodes three or higher. The average hour-long show on Netflix has a binge score of 46.9%.

“Iron Fist” also accounted for 14.6% of all Netflix streams on March 17 — the highest percentage of any series premiere that 7Park measured, topping “Stranger Things” (4.0%), “Marvel’s Luke Cage” (12.8%), “Marvel’s Daredevil” Season 2 (13.8%), and “Orange is the New Black” Season 4.

You’ll recall the hilarious Guardian opinion by Kendra James last week. Iron Fist was rotten because all its white characters sucked. But not its two not-white supporting women.

“Iron Fist was the first Marvel TV series to receive critical scorn,” reads The Independent.

The paper’s original review: “A rich, privileged white guy with more arrogance than brains loses everything.”

As a rich, privileged white guy he immediately did what we know most privileged white guys do at big corporations: make their lifesaving drugs available at cost and vow to shutter a plant that was said to be dumping carcinogens into the locals’ water.

Hmmm. Sarcasm.

Fast forward to now. Sales of Marvel comics are off and one of its managers opines:

[Speaking] at the Marvel retailer summit about the studio’s falling comic sales since October, David Gabriel told ICv2 that retailers had told him that fans were sticking to old favourites. “What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity,” he said. “They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not.”

He added: “I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales … Any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up.”

The piece is accompanied by clip art of Riri Williams, the African American teenage girl who’s the new Invincible Irom Man while Tony Stark lies in a coma.

Williams makes for a dull Iron Man (she’s named Ironheart) and since classic Iron Man generally depends on its brute force approach, Stark in armor beating adversaries half to death with his fists and repulsor rays, you can see this news from sales must have some Marvel editors breathing a sigh of relief. Stark’s coma will be shortened and Riri Williams quietly offloaded to a separate intermittent title or reduced to sidekick status.

And make no mistake, Riri Williams’ Iron Man is a poor one. Totally unready and unbelievable as someone who wins battles with armored fists, so far her trick has been to write computer viruses that cause her foes to crash. It’s not sustainable in the classic Marvel sense.

None of this matter in the moment, though. Social media and features writers immediately forced Marvel’s David Gabriel to say he really didn’t mean what he said. The wise people of the web insisted diversity isn’t what’s hurting Marvel in 140-character chunks. Too many titles and Captain America as a Hydra Nazi were. Never mind that the multiplication of Marvel titles has been mostly clustered around diversity characters.

Example:

America Chavez, a Latina and lesbian superhero, saves an alien planet, enrolls at Sotomayor University and punches Adolf Hitler in the first issue of her new Marvel comic book series. But what’s being celebrated as most fantastic in this comic is that Gabby Rivera, a young-adult author who is gay and Latina herself, is writing the adventures of America.

Keep in mind the New York Times didn’t get excited at all about the resurrection of the Iron Fist comic title. In its premier issue the character, angry, middle-aged and white, spends most of the page time breaking the jaws and assorted bones of other unnamed martial arts gangsters in dingy bars. And that’s not critically cool at all.

So here’s one possible interpretation and it’s guaranteed unpopular. Diversity comic titles get good press. They’re guaranteed clickbait. But the titles don’t sell like Marvel’s old white legacy stars.

The sooner Marvel sends its social outreach to the bench, the better for sales. Not to fear, no character’s loss is ever really permament.


The mainstream rags on Marvel.

03.27.17

Flipping out over Iron Fist

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 1:44 pm by George Smith

I enjoyed Marvel’s “Iron Fist” on Netflix. Since the early reviews were all horribly negative I figured I’d like it. I could care less Danny Rand wasn’t Asian. Doesn’t the script make it obvious? Rand was the first “outsider” Iron Fist.

Iron Fist’s maker, the character is four decades old and minor in the Marvel pantheon, said he didn’t care, either. It was apparently the worst thing he could do: Another Stan Lee age white guy reiterating that the kung fu master was white, yes, and he didn’t care that it was cast that way.

Currently, the new Iron Fist comic — on issue number one — well, the hero is still very white and old school Marvel. Like almost all decades old Marvel characters.

So someone named Kendra James writes another hit piece at the Guardian, so over the top it’s to laugh.

Here are some of the better lines:

Marvel’s latest Netflix show is a staggering disappointment but despite its star’s assertions, it can’t be blamed on our growing distaste for rich white privilege …


No one in Iron Fist has earned anything – whether it’s their money, their powers or even our grudging respect.
(Actually, Danny Rand, once he inherits over half his dad’s company, immediately declares the firm’s drug that cures elephantiasis in Africa will be sold at cost, a move that horrifies board members. That’s worth respect considering the way corporate America prices drugs. And he pays to improve his girlfriend’s dojo.)


Avengers: Age of Ultron was a movie entirely about why more white men should be told “No.”


[All the white characters] stand in stark contrast to Claire and Colleen, two women who wield skills that they’ve had to perfect over the course of their lives. The idea that Colleen has had to work at her skill, martial arts, while Rand relies mostly on a given power is obvious throughout the series. (According to the story he was in a plane crash that killed his parents and spent many years as a kid getting beaten with sticks during martial arts training before he became Iron Fist).

The Guardian publishes often great investigative journalism. And Owen Jones alone, infrequently in the opinion section defending the working class and ridiculing England’s toffs, is reason enough to turn to it daily.

But the Iron Fist takedown is lousy reviewing and so late to the party it’s only a me too. It’s such a poor piece of work it crosses over into unintentional humor. The critic’s analysis: Iron Fist is a terrible show, not because Danny Rand is distastefully white and wealthy but because … uh, he’s white, rich and undeserving, compared to the girls. And all the other white characters stink, too. But the not-white girls are great. Did I tell you that?

By the way, the new Invincible Iron Man, who is an African-American teenage girl named Riri Williams, has nothing on the original. I’ve read this is a lousy opinion to have. Eventually it will flop and Stark will be back from the near dead.

01.06.17

Abandon ship

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, WhiteManistan at 3:36 pm by George Smith

The Democratic Party hasn’t begun to accept how badly the bottom has been ripped out.

Quotes from the New York Times, yesterday:

They are part of a growing movement in rural America that immerses many young people in a culture — not just conservative news outlets but also home and church environments — that emphasizes contemporary conservative values. It views liberals as loathsome, misinformed and weak, even dangerous …

While many blame poor decisions by Mrs. Clinton for her loss, in an environment like this, the Democratic candidate probably didn’t matter. And the Democratic Party may not for generations to come. The Republican brand is strong in rural America — perhaps even strong enough to withstand a disastrous Trump presidency.

Rural conservatives feel that their world is under siege, and that Democrats are an enemy to be feared and loathed.

Loathsome and loathed. There are no stronger words.

An interesting sidenote is that the column’s writer, Robert Leonard, references J. C. Watts, an exCongressman.

That’s Julius Ceasar Watts, an African American, who was a star football player for the Oklahoma Sooners.

There are two social tides running here, both bad for the Democratic Party.

If the Party ever sends its current staffers and stars, the people who were all inspired by Barack Obama, out to the heartland shires, they’re going to get fried. (Not literally. More a possibly permanent persona non grata-type thing, a shunning.)

Or if they think a coalition including a smaller number of the we/us college-educated whiteys from the right colleges can eke out a win if just enough of the rest of white America dies, they’re done, too.

11.12.16

No takebacks

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, Shoeshine, WhiteManistan at 3:28 pm by George Smith

Before posting the contemptuous crap-dumpling picture meme of white trash who voted Trump on Twitter or Facebook, always remember to type “love trumps hate.”

Heard today on Fox radio news after listening to the Penn State game: A march on Trump Tower in NYC by Michael Moore and “a cast of thousands.” Moore promised the people would not allow Trump, who was “illegitimate,” to take office.

No takebacks. No reversals. HRC lost her alleged “firewall states.” Unless you actually want a constitutional crisis, the US government to fall and for you to be regarded as indistinguishable from those who threatened Barack Obama with the same thing over the last eight years.

No #calexit. And beating people over the head with the Brexit borrowed symbolism of safety pins won’t win a revolution. If you use your head, hard at this point, it’s like asking everyone, every one of the good people, that is, to wear an arm band, so they can know who to cluster with in public against the bad people. Quite the ideal. And when you’re finished with that you’ve found you’ve lost your moorings.

The culture of lickspittle is not fertile ground for cultivation of a revolutionary army.

Eat your plate of bugs and worms. And if you think the song is about you, it’s not.

10.30.16

Add the latest to Old White Coot

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 2:09 pm by George Smith

From the archives, the old field recording of Link Wray’s Rumble. Listen close for the smashing of the trash cans and screams of pain.


I win at Google Fu.

10.16.16

The latest from “Old White Coot”

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 12:39 pm by George Smith

My kid beat up your honor student.” — seen on a bumper sticker.

An old field recording from the archives. Perfect for any device in the culture of lickspittle as well as fostering more social division and unrest.

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