Reasoning with Madness
"This is a barbaric yawp, and it will be sounded over the roofs of the world."
More often than not, life is not a binary experience.
Take Kobe Bryant's death. It's absolutely possible to feel conflicted, since he was one of the greatest athletes of all time, but that he may have also raped a woman. It's ok to feel both disgusted and sad. Same with Aaron Hernandez, Louis CK, Michael Jackson or any other "celebrity" who has been wiped off the map by uber woke cancel culture kids for being someone we looked up to until we learned they did something terrible.
You can have both thoughts at once, it's ok to feel both (or multiple thoughts and various emotions). It's odd to me that people can't just express their feelings without someone having to instantly scorn them over it. I'm not excusing wretched behavior by any means.
In fact I'm saying it's ok to feel upset with someone but also appreciate other contributions they've given. I'd venture to say that virtually every person you look up to or respect has probably done something you'd be angry or disgusted by. I'm sure YOU have.
I used to feel like I had to pick one side or another. Like, you can't listen to Thriller or Bill Cosby anymore because that indirectly supports the work of a monster. And there's nothing wrong with that feeling if that's how you honestly feel. I guess it's impressive that you can be so pure, so clear with your stance. But I think many have lost their sense of nuance and are forced to have to pick a side and that anyone who doesn't is equally terrible. I think thats absurd honestly.
So many of these folks grew up watching and praising The Sopranos, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, The Joker and other stories depicting the conflicted protagonist. But then these same people turn into a self righteous defender of morality and decider for YOU about how you should feel about things.
Just remember, every time you point a finger, there's 3 pointed back at you. And the world and it's human inhabitants are not perfectly categorized as good or bad people. We all fuck up. We all do bad things. If you choose to ban that person over it, so be it.
But we all get to make that decision for ourselves.
And if we choose to keep watching highlights of Kobe and we can tuck away his crimes for awhile, then so be it too. How about letting other people feel how they are going to feel.
No one thinks rape or murder is ok. But it's absolutely possible to feel disgust at that but also be impressed at the work of a potentially awful person.
Today, while many folks reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr, "militias" geared up in war cosplay outfits and armed themselves to the teeth, while our impeached president ripped through another day of nonstop gaslighting of the American Republic.
So it's even more important to remember the fundamental tactic of Martin Luther King Jr: nonviolence.
Personally, I find this tactic to be increasingly difficult to employ in the face of hate-filled trolls and loudmouth racists who take pleasure in the suffering of the downtrodden and the weak, but I employ it nonetheless, because I believe in it as much as I believe in Ghandi's words of "being the change I wish to see".
There has been a daily parade of horrific shit that has gone on in the past few years that has truly challenged my sanity and calm, but I actively choose to stay above the fray as much as possible. This nonviolence goes with communication (online and otherwise) as much as it does with physical action.
Do not confuse my silence in times of darkness for weakness or apathy. I deeply feel the pain of this dark era, but as often as possible, I choose not to engage in the gaslighting and prodding to aggression. I learned many years ago in martial arts that disengaging an opponent is always the better solution and you will never regret NOT resorting to violence.
There are many ways to get your point across and many tactics to win over a potential opponent. Fighting is a last resort, and personally if I am forced to use that tactic, I will win. Sadly, in my youth, I had to resort to it, and despite it being for survival, I always regretted it.
I have learned that the tactic of nonviolence is far superior. I want to be an example of who we can be, and walk tall knowing I am better for it.
I know this era will end, and I hope that we can all come together again and get past this hideous fragment in our history and become more than the hateful few than drag us down.
I thank MLK for his wisdom and his lessons, but none more so than the art of nonviolence.
I'm constantly streamlining and weeding out my connections on social media to a pretty close group of friends and family due to the violent political idiocy, aggression, trolling and horrific disinformation sharing that I have seen. I don't need trolls in my life. Flame wars aren't funny or entertaining to me most of the time, even from well-intentioned friends.
If you're reading this, I implore you to start trimming your social feeds. Stop adding strangers (many are fake profiles). When you see bullshit from someone you don't actually know on social media, don't engage, just delete and block them. Report them if it's bad enough.
There is a psychological war happening against you and every one of us, and it takes skepticism and restraint to fight back. If you find yourself getting depressed or angry BECAUSE of social media, that's the war I'm talking about. I'm not gonna be that guy who says to get off of social media (although it's good to take breaks and if you can get out entirely more power to ya).
Just know as we head into 2020, there are very powerful dark forces at work and they're attacking us constantly with disinformation, lies and half truths.
I'm not talking about "fake news" like the NYTimes or WaPo (actual news services). I'm talking about fb groups run by strangers, memes that fire you up, click bait bloggers whose sole job is to manufacture unrest to get under your skin and chisel away at your peace of mind.
It is literally a war against your mind, your thinking and your sanity and their goal is to divide us, hurt us, make us stupid and hate each other. The forces are wide reaching from our own insidious government to foreign agents to the very owners of these social "media" sites.
With one of the most brutal presidential elections on the horizon, there's a lot at stake.
Don't just mindlessly scroll.
Be critical of what you see, who you are "friends" with and what you choose to embrace or chastise.
Be kind to people you care about. Eject anyone you don't know, especially if you find them constantly shitposting or attacking your own circles.
Friend counts don't matter in real life. Don't be a head collector.
Quality over quantity.
Be critical, compassionate and don't let the bastards win.
A couple days ago I was commenting to my new colleague on how much history and legacy there was there with an insane amount of cool framed autographed memorabilia throughout the facility, but especially the signed Hendrix records near the kitchen.
He told me, "Let's put it in your office." I thought he was kidding. Today he helped me hang it on my wall as the first piece of art in my new office.
I dig this place.
Yesterday was my final day at Lazarus Naturals. I wish my former team great success, whatever direction they take. My next adventure begins in December as I take on a management role in the marketing department of a manufacturer of some of the finest microphones in the world.
They have an incredible legacy, artist roster and clientele. It is a significant salary increase and I'll be working with musicians, artists as well as government agencies, tech companies and beyond.
There is a full acoustically treated performance stage and studio in their facility to test and demonstrate products. I learned of my first mission in January, where I will be attending the 2020 NAMM Show in Anaheim.
I've been wanting to go for many years. 2020 is looking pretty exciting.
I'm so stoked that RATM are reuniting. They are still one of my favorite bands, one of the biggest inspirations on my musical career, lyrically and musically.
I will never forget their sold out show in Seattle at the old Mercer Arena in 1994 on the Evil Empire tour. I've never seen an entire crowd, front to back, explode into a full arena moshpit ever in my life like that. They have more energy and fury than any band that has ever taken the stage. I can only imagine that the dumpster fire in the White House has spurred this.
I pray this is more than just a short tour and these ninjas are going to write some new songs. There hasn't been really any reaction of any sort of merit from any musicians to this hideous era we are all living through, and I can't think of better band to bring the noise in 2020.
Black Flag killed it last night. The crowd was killer too. Greg Ginn seemed older, slower and weaker than his guitar playing sounded, but he is a wizard in his own weird punk rock way. And their current vocalist, Mike Vallely, really nailed Rollins' vocals and presence. Turns out he's a pro skateboarder too. Good times last night. #punk #punkrock #blackflag
Before you get too drunk today and get full bore into your BBQs, firework shows or general party behavior on this 4th of July, I invite you to read the document which we are celebrating today. You probably know the big line from it: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
But do you know the very next sentence? It's a very important one: "-That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
And furthermore: "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
To read the list of grievances that our forefathers laid out all those years ago against the King of Great Britain, to read them now, in 2019, it reads as if ripped from the headlines of today's papers. To see the similarities between what we revolted against - upon founding this nation - and the qualities of our current administration is chilling.
These are heavy words for a holiday, but they are literally the reason we are celebrating today. Read the thing in its entirety.
Teach it to your children and teach them WHY this is important before you get into full party mode today.
243 years later, we are still celebrating the signing of this declaration. And because of that, you should be crystal clear what we are celebrating.
The founding fathers who built this nation would want it no other way.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Mainstream news over the last 20 years (or more) regularly shuns data/trends/details in favor of "weird" or anecdotal pieces that don't really reflect reality in any significant way, but lean more toward the "hmm, that's wild" approach, giving audiences the perception that the world is going mad. In the news biz they call these shit pieces "kicker" stories. The last piece of TV news, the entire selection of stories of any given yuck yuck radio morning show. It's the grocery store magazine cover. It's trash. It's fast food news. It's propaganda.
The internet media has refined this even further with "clickbait" news, that pushes the freakshow kicker story into hyperdrive.
Facebook and Twitter has taken that approach to a whole new level, refining this fast food garbage news even more by giving the least qualified in society the ability to share "news" to diehard, locked-in micro audiences built by nefarious "activists" and algorithms (based on tastes and online behavior) that are nothing more than an echo chamber of pre-determined and pre-qualified "fans".
Information is fuel, just as food. Garbage in, garbage out. Mainstream media is like mainstream food. CNN and Fox News are the burger chains of information. You're not getting decent information, you're getting manufactured trash not designed for education, but entertainment. It's punditry over reporting.
If journalism is to survive in the digital age, it must shun the urge to gain more traffic (the modern equivalent of letting sales determine headlines)...it must shun click bait practices and blatant bias (propaganda) and focus on organic information: Data, Trends, Information, Education, Details, Transparency, Balance, Honesty and Objectivity.
But even more important, social MEDIA platforms must also be held accountable for the services they provide. While I generally groan at government regulation, it has become hellishly clear that there must be some agency built to play watchdog to these "speech platforms", which have all clearly done a terrible job of maintaining quality and truth.
The worst part is all of these platforms have taken zero responsibility for the content they allow and let gain traction (using the algorithms they built). Zuckerberg and the rest of them must be held accountable for the MEDIA their social MEDIA platforms propagate. If newspapers, television stations, radio stations and magazines (aka traditional MEDIA) outlets, who hire and employ professional journalists, have to be held accountable for the content they publish (by maintaining standards, hiring various types and layers of editors, copy editors, etc) then social MEDIA can no longer be given a free pass.
It takes years to become a qualified journalist and there are many things to know before you get the responsibility to become an actual reporter. MAGA Marcy and her freedom eagle blog links written by Russian disinformation agents shouldn't be considered in the same boat as the Washington Post, but that's where the fuck we are right now, thanks to social MEDIA.
If it's social MEDIA, then it must implement the same protections, accountability and responsibility that tradition media outlets have in place. And there should be a governing body that this new MEDIA platform must answer to. It's clear to anyone with more than 10 contacts on any given social MEDIA platform that this is a real problem and gives our current administration the ability to discredit the entire media environment with two 3rd grade words: FAKE NEWS.
One of the main problems, as demonstrated in the confrontations of Zuckerberg and Co by our dusty, decrepit, out-of-touch representatives in Congress, is these fossils have no fucking idea what they're talking about, nor do they even understand the basic concepts that exist across any given social media. They are wildly out of touch and completely out of their element. And the ones who are, take full advantage of the ignorance of their peers and the people they represent to personally profit from the shell game that's pumping billions into social MEDIA and they don't want to lose their precious stocks and investment portfolios.
It's time we stand up to this bullshit as a society and stop letting our brains turn to shit with the never-ending scrolling feed of bullshit that is allowed in these digital flea markets. It's time quality information and news make a comeback and we pride ourselves on being an INFORMED population, not a distracted, mislead society fed propaganda and trash.
Part of me doubts this will ever be addressed properly, but part of me sees glimmers of hope in the coming generation who DO understand the difference between an email and social media handle. But time will tell. Until then, I shall continue to scrub my feeds and friends lists of ignorant, hateful fucks who pride themselves on their trolling tactics and the propaganda peddlers who share bullshit information.
I have grown to appreciate the many values of social media, so I'm not going to be the guy who says "GET OFF SOCIAL MEDIA AND ABANDON IT FOREVER" like some crotchety codger who doesn't understand modern society.
But we can do better. We can all do better.
Who Am I?
I am Ahab.