An appeal to rationality, and to the Murdoch family


In a previous article, I wrote about the bullshit of “both sider-ism“. After writing it, I mused a bit about things I didn’t include in the piece.

One large thing was the concept that people seem to care more for perceived overly dramatic politics than civility and strength within familial bonds. Those priorities are fucked up.

It’s like the wave of “political” tribalism is more formidable than the family tribe to the point that it outweighs all rationality and loving discourse.

It’s bullshit.

This article in the Intercept is a notable read. And while most Fox News eradicate their addictions to conspiracy theory and bright-blinking, flashy yellow journalism, I feel that we all need to keep trying.

A snip from the article but you have to read the whole thing:

IN THE EARLY 1990s, some of the smartest people resisting Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic worked out of a chaotic office in the center of Belgrade. The office was filled with a haze of cigarette smoke, ringing phones answered with shouts, off-kilter desks scarred by abuse, and half-empty bottles of liquor. This was the nerve center of Vreme, an opposition magazine presided over by the wise-cracking Milos Vasic.

A cross between Seymour Hersh and Ida Tarbell, Vasic saw beneath the surface of things. He realized that his small magazine made little difference to Milosevic, who had instigated and fueled the brutal wars in neighboring Bosnia and Croatia. There was just one media platform that mattered: state-controlled Radio Television Serbia, which was a relentless promoter of the Serbian strongman and his eliminationist agenda.

Vasic had a sharp analysis of how Serbs, in their susceptibility to indoctrination, were not unique. “All it took was a few years of fierce, reckless, chauvinist, intolerant, expansionist, war-mongering propaganda to create enough hate to start the fighting among people who had lived together peacefully for 45 years,” Vasic said. “You must imagine a United States with every little TV station everywhere taking exactly the same editorial line — a line dictated by David Duke. You, too, would have war in five years.”

Instead of a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, we have Rupert Murdoch as the founder of Fox News, which for years — starting long before Donald Trump’s presidency — injected racist, anti-Semitic and anti-liberal tropes into the American mainstream (remember the war on Christmas?). Fox isn’t watched by everyone, but for those who do watch, Fox is everything. As my colleague Jon Schwarz wrote the other day, it’s possible to imagine the political violence of the past weeks occurring even if Hillary Clinton had been elected president — we can take Trump out of the equation, and we still might have crazed Americans trying to kill other Americans because of their religion, skin color, or party affiliation. But it’s impossible to imagine these attacks occurring without years of Fox News spreading the ideology of white nationalism. The network promotesconspiracy theories that begin in the bowels of the internet, and it feeds into those bowels an army of converts willing to go further than Fox & Friends dares.

Read on

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Republicans, Democrats, Both sider-ism, name calling, politics and you


Yesterday we were talking to our assistant in his office and we were asking him about a recent trip to Amsterdam to attend a dance music conference called ADE. He was talking about how House music, a Chicago-based phenomenon, is considered almost sacred by people all over the world, except America and especially not by Chicago.

Sure, we have an underground-ish level of fandom. My brother-in-law produces a Sunday night House music night called Queen, that’s well attended but Chicago, as a whole, doesn’t don T-shirts or Jerseys of love for House. It’s something that, despite a bit of popularity, is a bit esoteric.

When I was in college studying abroad, I was shocked that I was so unaware of American culture. I’ve written about it before. I remember telling people, we have no culture. In my mind, our culture was centered around sports and religion, but to me at the time: that was not culture. In France, they had food, wine, art, music, and things that seemed to mean something.  Continue reading

A mindful moment of movement zen


Need a break from the cacophony of bullshit over the airwaves? Too many threats of diseases issued in by overinflated caravans of illegals? Depressed from another shooting of innocent people followed by apathy toward your fellow human beings and no one owning up to the issues? Tired of watching your retirement plummet because the economy is in shambles?

Here’s a zenful moment of a train moving through beautiful landscapes.

It’s like a breath of fresh.

What my head is consuming


Just like my food diet, my media diet ebbs and flows from mental junk food to healthy and everything in between. The below list is just a swath of things I’ve consumed over the past two months or more.

French Classes. I take French classes at my local Alliance Francaise, and it’s one of the single best things I do for myself. We talk about art, religion, science, dreams, aspirations, artificial intelligence, world events and ideas. It exposes me to a variety of ideas and a variety of standpoints, all en Francais! (A+)

The Midnight Line, by Lee Child. Page turner and all around fun story exposing the difficulties of opioid addiction and the military. (A-)

Origin, by Dan Brown. Enjoyed this page turner. Dan Brown has a way of keeping me interested and jumping into the next chapter even though my eyes are heavy. The atheist in the book wasn’t too annoying. I was hoping for more symbology. But a fun book. (A).

Where Good Ideas Come From, by Steven Johnson. Good ideas come from hard work and perseverance. Surprise! /s. The best thing I took from this book was that there is an Adjacent Possible, a doorway just to the left or right of a good idea that propels it into a GREAT idea. These ideas don’t happen easy or often. Enjoyed it, though. (B+)

True Detective, Season 2, HBO. Not a bad way to spend time. But I wasn’t in love with the series. Collin Farrell’s “southern accent” made me think of Sling Blade once or twice an episode. Vince Vaughn struggled with being a badass. Sometimes you just had to go with the flow. (B).

Jack Ryan (Amazon) Truly one of the worst shows ever. Started okay. But seven or eight episodes in, Tina and I turned it off. It was that bad. (F-)

Magic for Humans (Netflix). Fun show. Great for being dumbstruck to great magic. It constantly makes you wonder if there are camera tricks involved. It constantly pulls at your belief-o-meter. (A).

Lawrence of Arabia. One of my favorite movies of all time. Seriously. All must watch and adore. (A+).

Ready Player One. Not a bad way to be entertained. Great homage scene to The Shining. I didn’t hate the movie. But I didn’t love it. (B+).

Ocean’s 8. Yawn Town USA. I didn’t get into it. Not the characters, the story. Kinda fell asleep. C.

I feel Pretty with Amy Schumer. Dumb movie, but not the worst one in the world. The concept is great: average girl suddenly thinks she’s a 10 and acts like it. Funny parts. Entertaining. B-

Ozark, on Netflix. Simply the best show I’ve seen this year. Amazing writing. Great acting. Amazing twists. (A++)

The French Art of Not Giving a Shit by Fabrice Midal. Don’t be surprised if you get a copy of this from me for Christmas.  It’s a great peek into who I think I am and how I’m trying to go about life. It’s not a self help book. It’s a reminder to breathe. It’s a reminder to be yourself. It’s a reminder to not lock into one idea or faith or mindset or politic, because it’s excruciatingly painful for the people who love you. It reminds me of why I love the artistic, open minded fellowship that is around me. And why some people hurt us because they’re locked into bad ideas. (A).

 

Behind the scenes in which I’m accused of male nudity


In this week’s BTS video, we go behind the scenes from recent water photos. This is an idea I’ve had forever and never successfully booked it with anyone, so I tried it on myself. Nikhil was there to capture this BTS and edit up the video!

If you’re wondering what happened in the beginning, the battery on my strobe transmitter was dying and that’s how it let me know.

Take a look.

moral corruption and ineptitude in politics


In light of this week’s events surrounding Brett Kavanaugh and the Republicans aiming to jam him through to the Supreme Court, I offer the following reminders.

The moral superiority of the right is well established now as the most moral in all the land. And anyone who is confused about how one can act, how men can act, in public or in private with women, need only to address the public record.

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Donald Trump, republican president of the United States quote: “I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” Continue reading

Thoughts on the Brett Kavanaugh hearing


I watched yesterday’s hearing. I hear a lot of people were glued to their TVs yesterday, too.

I rarely watch news and found it interesting to see what I usually only listen to on the radio. The nuances of seeing a hearing definitely made a big difference.

I welled up with tears several times watching and hearing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony. It wrenched my heart in ways that I can only begin to imagine what pain she’s dealing with.

I’m not sure whether to believe her or not. But the testimony was compelling, and her sweetness and authenticity were remarkable.

Then Brett Kavanaugh entered and blasted off to the moon with his angry rant against a conspiratorial plot to ruin his life and family. He doesn’t believe he deserves this kind of treatment, and he’s up in arms that this is ruining his name.

I get it. But there’s one thing that is mind-boggling.  Continue reading