Our Disease 5

Podcast 337

”Former president Dimitry Medvedev once talked about ”legal nihilism,” which in his case, was the pervasive pessimism concerning law and order in Russia,” Harry was soft-spoken today, he felt the blues coming on hard. He promised to change things but he never was able to escape the shadow of Putin, who refused to let Medvedev run the show, fearing that he would do irreparable damage to his criminal empire. Even after Putin’s death, Russia never was able to escape legal nihilism. Still now, people wanted a leader like Putin because only he was able to bring stability to their troubled country. Legal Nihilism is now hardwired in the survival code of the Russian people.”
Miguel Stone and Dale were smoking a huge joint behind the soundproof glass. Stone was giving him the thumbs up. Harry gave them the finger which delighted Stone immensely.
”Corporate giants and criminal political leaders breed ‘legal nihilism’ in a way, to sow distrust in any supervisory or regulatory practices. In order to do this, you must show them that you don’t need them. You have to spin it that any supervision on their practices is an act of tyranny. Not just a danger to them but a danger to all of us…” Harry lights his cigarette, sits there for a moment. Dead air. Dale and Stone sat there, waiting for what he was going to say next.
”It all boils down to power and letting the people believe that morale or any such ideology is involved. It used to be but those days are long gone. Not that ideological forces did much good. In many ways it could just as much trouble. But there were some in our American history that managed to struck a certain balance. Possibly the most underrated president of the Twentieth-Century is Jimmy Carter. The only former president who didn’t became just another corporate shill. Much has been said that Reagan started the disastrous economic policies of deregulation, trickle-down and though much could be blamed for the eventual inequality that transpired, at least he was a strong force for good. Least he stood for something. He talked about dreams. America meant something again. We were all still mourning our failed acid trip, the lost promise of the Sixties. He exchanged psychedelics for Jesus. A superior trade if you ask me. But people couldn’t evolve in this dream either…” Stone was talking to someone on the phone. Some important client. He was nodding, smiling.
”So the people fought to keep this dream. But things just kept going the other way. The sexual degenerate Bill Clinton came to office and they couldn’t destroy him. Bush seemed like a comeback but even the hardliners know that perhaps the years, the start of the world-changing destruction of the Twin Towers probably were too hard on him. There was need for new blood. A change from the Neo-Conservative dream. So came Barack Obama. It was time for the Liberals to dream.”
”But we all woke up from this too. His accomplishments, though underrated, was undermined by the relentless sabotaging by the republicans. The false narrative was given that he was a covert communist aiming to destroy America. He could have set it back on track but the republicans couldn’t allow it. Perhaps the world would have been a better place if John McCain had been president. Despite Obama’s admirable character, McCain was a man of honor. He would have stood up against the true evils of this world. He wouldn’t have let Putin fool him. This was a man that deserved the spot. But the truth was, much of the base he needed to appeal, was beneath him. In fact, the people they appealed to were changing. They were in an existential crisis. Things got really bad during Bush’s rule. Even though most of them bought that Obama was a danger to the nation, how could they trust their establishment republicans?
Something bigger was going on. The conspiracy nuts were growing. Alternate news-sources were warping the minds of the American people. The liberals had their shot and lost. Obama became just another establishment figure. They needed someone different.
So came Trump. So came motherfucking Trump.”
Stone smiled, hollering Trump’s name through the sound-proof class. ”Trump was the epitome of legal nihilism. Even though he was a celebrity, a noted philander and born in wealth, the people saw him as one of their own. It didn’t matter that he could hardly think of a Bible quote, the bible belt accepted him quicker than they did Hilary’s stated love of scripture. Putin saw his opportunity and filled the anti-establishment media with pro-Trump news. The ones who could see through the bullshit saw that he was merely a puppet of Putin’s regime and Trump really wanted to be Putin. He didn’t care about Putin’s beliefs or where he came from, he just wanted his kind of power. He just wanted to own the room and kill a journalist or two if they pissed him off. The American nation became an embarrassment, in a time when the world really needed our support since the legal nihilism was seemingly kicking off throughout Europe, dividing us and eventually destroying the European-Union’s dream.”
A deep puff, a sigh. Harry got to a peaceful, if bittersweet part in his mind as he spoke the last words: ”So what do we have now? I’m not say the American dream is dead because that corpse has long been decaying. The American dream is a zombie with a fake smile. It’s walking around slowly, moaning the national anthem. It’s only a matter of time before it collapses indefinitely.”
Stone mimes the word ”beautiful”, Harry nods, feeling for a moment, good about himself: ”So what do we have now? Our country is divided more than ever right now. Every state is being left to their own devises. We can smoke joints freely in this state but on the other side, the Mormons are running the show and women aren’t even allowed hot pants. Our current president says this is the best way now. Every state by himself. The government just there to protect us from foreign enemies. And while this is happening, they are stealing from the coffers and getting unimaginably rich. They don’t need anything, they have everything.
And what do we have? We have each other. This used to be enough.”
Harry nods to himself. Time for real life.
”That’s all I have to say for today. You have a goodnight. Take care of each other.”
End transmission.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania basquiat
Art by Jean-Michel Basquiat

***

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Our Disease 4

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a dream at all

Whenever Stone’s around, there’s hardly time for sleep. He always has with him a suitcase full of mysterious chemicals making sure there’s always time for a party. They were spending most of the time in Stone’s luxurious hotel since Harry’s place was a mess and Stone always loves to create havoc in some upper-class hotel. Occasionally there were complaints but nobody in the hotel was as rich or connected as Stone so in the end, it didn’t matter.
Despite their differences, the last few days there was much boisterous laughter, long meaningful talks into the night, a connection that wavered on and of. There were moments when Harry didn’t feel so alone more, felt part of the mad scheme of the universe. But in time, as he suspected in the back of his mind, the high faded away and then the crash happened and then everything felt even worse.
The crash was happening now.
On the leather couch in the living room, Stone was having a dispute about Russia with an high-class escort called Tara. Tara was a busty blond, nearing her thirties, her voice almost that of a child. Harry sat in front of them, smoking a cigarette, wearing a fake smile.
”Listen to me young lady, the Russian people just don’t know any better. We tried to give them more rights in the nineties and look what they did? They gave it all away because they need a strong leader. They want someone to point at people and say: ‘we must annihilate these kind of people.’ That’s what people want deep down. They want to be part of a big good vs. evil story.”
”I have more faith for the Russian people…”
Stone started bawling in laughter, winking at Harry.
”We just have to give the right example. We just have to reach the people somehow. Expose their president for the monster that he is.”
”The people have been brainwashed for centuries now. We can’t penetrate their media and we will lose the information war. He’s got them locked in. You have to understand, when it comes to propaganda, the Russians know what they are doing. They’ve perfected it. It was so good, it has even infected the hearts and minds of Europeans and Americans. It’s over darling.”
”But if we showed the human rights statistics then…”
”They will say it’s fake. Western-Propaganda.”
”But it’s not.”
”They will: how do you know?”
”Because…”
”You want to help them and mean good but they don’t want your help. They think they need to protect themselves from you.”
Tara looked sad, drank a sip of their wine.
”I’m scared about the future of our country. We aren’t there yet, but we are getting close.”
”We are almost there, we just haven’t gone to the acceptance mode yet.”
”It’s going to be alright,” said Harry, his eyes getting watery, knowing deep down, that it won’t be alright.
”You really think so?”
”My friend is just pessimistic. There’s good in us. We will prevail in the end.”
Stone started bawling in laughter.
”Just make sure you keep remembering who the monsters really are,” said Harry, getting up and heading towards the bathroom. In the background, Harry could hear the conversation between Stone and Tara continuing. Harry threw the cigarette in the toilet bowl and dropped to the tile floor, lying there, staring at the ceiling.
He thought about slashing his wrists, about bashing his head against a wall until it was a unrecognizable pulp of gore. He thought about jumping from the window, falling three floors and hopefully dying in front of the bellhop. In the end, it all boiled down to one thing; he missed her, oh a god he missed here.
He knew damn well he shouldn’t. But then he did it anyway. The time alone was egregious but he had to hear her voice.
”Sheryl Palmer speaking.” This was alone felt so painful: she took his last name.
”I’m sorry, I’m really sorry,” he began, ”I just don’t who to call. You’re the only person I can turn to.” A barrage of cliches. Sometimes the extent one’s self-loathing has no bounds.
There was a sigh, contemplation. Her voice sounded a little drowsy, she hadn’t been in a deep sleep when he called but she was about too.
”It’s okay,” pause, ”what’s up?” This was a mistake but it was too late now.
There was her coldness, her refusal to express any emotion. She had given him too much already. She was already giving more. There seems to be no end.
”Well…” he didn’t know what to say. Whatever he could say would just aggravate her. But he had to express himself, he had to tell her that he loved her, even if he couldn’t say it outright.
”I had this dream. It was so beautiful.”
”What dream?”
”That’s the most painful thing. I can’t remember. It vanished from the mind. The brain just doesn’t think dreams are important to remember I suppose. But I know it was beautiful. And I know you were in there.”
”Oh Harry, she said, sighing, then: ”it was only a dream.”
It was a reasonable but nevertheless painful statement.
”It doesn’t have to be.”
”Are you drunk?”
”Yes. I’m in a hotel bathroom. Stone is discussing Russian politics with an escort.”
”You be careful with him. He handle the abyss. You can’t.”
”I wouldn’t be doing this if…” if she was still with him, ”if I knew what I was supposed to with my life.”
”Maybe you need to leave that podcast of yours alone. It’s just isolating you.”
”I can’t. It’s my world. It’s the only place that still makes sense.”
”Are you still doing therapy?”
”Not for a while.”
”Why?”
”I know all the answers and I don’t like any of them.”
”You know I care about you Harry, but I can’t help you. I can’t come too close. You know that.”
Harry didn’t say anything, as the happy memories came, so the tears streamed from his eyes.
”I understand, sorry to bother you. I shouldn’t have done this.”
”It’s okay. You should get some sleep Harry.”
He wanted to tell her that he loved her but instead: ”I always hate waking up.”
”Harry…”
”Sweet dreams.”
He hung up. The conversation in the living room was still going on. Harry closed his eyes. He imaged himself running in a rye field, trying to catch the shape of his beloved dream. He got close so many times, but the memory kept slipping away.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania david lynch  art love
Art by David Lynch

***

Our Disease 3

    Modern Men

An old friend called Harry around 2 in the morning. Harry only made a sound when he picked up the phone, he was too tired to anything resembling a word.
”It’s me, the enemy of the people.”
”Ah fuck, is that you Stone?”
”Meet me in the Interzone. We have lots to talk about.
”I was living a different live in my dreams. I prefer it than the one I’m actually living. Could we have lunch there at twelve?”
”I’m all wired. There’s no sleep for me and I’m in town. See ya soon old buddy.”
He hung up. At first Harry just closed his eyes again. Soon enough he realized that he would never return to his dream anyway.
”Goddammit. Fine,” mumbled Harry, ”I’ll go.”

It’s hard, maybe impossible, to describe to what kind of clientèle The Interzone markets itself too. At first glance it’s your typical American diner with a nostalgia for the fifties. There’s even a jukebox filled with American songs. But if you would take a closer look you see it is a place in search of an identity. There’s African, Chinese, English, even Russian art on the walls. A Catholic cross hangs on the walls as well as a Jewish star. A confederate flag but it’s painted in the colors of the rainbow. A Gadsen Flag but it’s rattlesnake seems to have a pleading smile and the words below say: ‘Tread on me, but don’t squash me please!’
Sometimes you catch people looking absently minded at the architecture. They stare at a piece of foreign art. Most of the time nobody is paying attention. They are wearing their glasses and the glasses take them to different worlds.
There’s a hint that its fractured dressing is intentional, maybe ironic. But then again, there are more places like this. This place used to mean something, now it doesn’t know what it wants to mean. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything now and maybe that’s the point.
Miguel Stone loves it here. Harry doesn’t.

”You find yourself in the weirdest places and discover that you’re finally home,” said Miguel Stone, smiling, gazing through window to the night illuminated by pink-lights. ”I met so many people that rejected the weirdness of life. Everything has to be plain. By the books. The life they know. The life their parents lived. People like me, however wicked in the eyes of the unimaginative, we accept ourselves and are rewarded by God himself.”
It wasn’t the first time they would meet like this. Stone is all over the world sometimes. You have to make time for him, he won’t make time for you. They haven’t seen each other in almost a year now. Stone always drifts in and out of Harry’s life
Harry doesn’t really understand why he wants to meet him and why Harry always agrees too. They are both completely the opposites. Stone doesn’t have any morals and therefore became a very wealthy man. Harry does alright, there’s still enough money coming in from book sales that Harry can live the rest of his life, doing his podcast. Stone, a lobbyist who runs his own firm, goes all around the world, working for mostly Kremlin backed candidates and doing a helluva job- they don’t even have to falsify the election as much because of his help.
From outward appearance, you could already digest that these two come from very different worlds. Stone was twenty years older, with pearly white hair and teeth and immaculately tailored and colorful suites. Stone doesn’t give a fuck what you think. He knows that most people hate him. Perhaps this even gives him strength. Maybe he even thrives on soft-hearted liberals or morally righteous republicans.
Harry doesn’t care about his appearance. It’s a crummy T-shirt, some faded logo with a checkered shirt to cover it. Stone’s face is bald from his thorough shave in the morning with the straight razor. Harry hasn’t shaved in months. Stone, even at his ripe old age of fifty-five still works out and is in great muscular shape. Harry is sagging all over the place. Harry tries to do the right thing, Stone prides himself of being the villain.
Perhaps it’s Harry’s genuine nature that Stone respects so much. Perhaps it keeps Stone in touch with the common man. Perhaps it’s just Harry’s humanity.

”You look like hammered shit,” smiled Stone smugly, not a hint of concern.
”I was having this beautiful dream when you woke me up,” Harry said, rubbing his eyes.
”Maybe you should thank me for it. That’s the problem with America. People dream too much.”
”You don’t need to dream.”
”I don’t need to dream. I am the dream,” Stone smiled, grabbing cigar paper from his pocket and a cigarette case. ”That’s why I love Russia. People stopped dreaming there long ago. They know themselves. They know the limit of the freedom they can handle. Give them too much freedom and they’ll give it back. Americans are the same. Slowly they’ve been giving away freedoms. Yet they still act as if they are free.”
”And you represent what dream exactly?”
”I am the true face of America. I’m filthy rich and I act like it was due to my god-given talents. I don’t admit that I’m wrong to anybody even if its very obvious. I look beautiful and I sleep with beautiful women. Sometimes even men. I’m a perfectly contended Patrick Bateman but without the bodies in the closet- though who knows,” Stone winks and opens his cigarette case: showing thick green leaves of marijuana.
”It sounds like a nightmare to me.”
”That’s because you’re human.”
”And you’re not?”
”I’m enlightened. I’m a special case.”
”And what am I?”
”You’re a dinosaur. A beautiful dinosaur.”
”Schadenfreude. That’s why you are here.”
”Maybe it’s general affection.”
”Are you even capable of having genuine affection for anyone other than yourself?”
”I don’t know. I like to think so. Maybe I hang around you for nostalgia. Back when people knew who the fuck they were.”
”Before men like you took control of the world.”
”Men like me always did. We just want more this time. Your freedoms aren’t enough. We want your reality.”
Harry sighs and sips his coffee. A part of him enjoys this conversation, no matter how it infuriates him. Stone’s presence validated Harry’s view of the world. In a world where every view seems valid, this was a comforting thing.
”Answer me this, why do I agree to meet you?” Harry asked.
”You don’t have many friends. You lost most of them. You stopped appreciating them. You cling onto the asshole that’s left.”
Harry looks out the window, a man in a torn t-shirt, with faded letters stating ‘make America great again,’ walks by the window, mumbling to himself, waving his hands around. Stone sees him too, he smiles as he reads the rambling bum’s T-shirt.
”I remember Trump when I was a teenager. That’s when the fun started.”
”I just got born then. But I’ve read enough about him.”
”One day we will manage to clone him. Hope I’ll be alive to see that.”
”So how’s the world stage? How is managing democracies?”
Stone laughs and licks his joint shut.
”It’s beautiful chaos. Especially with Oblivion around. They can’t control them. Even the most powerful men are afraid of them. Many of their firewalls have been breached already. It’s great when powerful men are scared. It means they need people like me.”
”I heard you were targeted. You tweeted about it anyway.”
”Yes I was. Some asshole threatened to expose my sexual activities if I didn’t stop lobbying for those Ukrainians. I responded by just admitting it on Twitter. I don’t care if the world knows about it or not. There’s nothing they can blackmail me on. And if they find something, I’ve got enough of them in my employ to spin the story. I can spin everything. We make dictators look like bleeding heart liberals. There is nothing they can do to rattle me.”
”I talked about them on my podcast some time back.”
”I know, I never miss a show. I thought it was hilarious.”
”I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
”I know you weren’t baby. It’s still hilarious to me.”
Stone lights up the fat joint, inhales smoothly, passes it.
”I probably shouldn’t.”
”True, you probably shouldn’t.”
Harry takes the joint and inhales.
”Has the president been targeted to?” said Harry blowing smoke, ”he denies it but that doesn’t mean shit.”
”Tell you the truth I don’t know. I might be friends with him but he doesn’t divulge everything to me. I don’t have that kind of clearance. But I think he is. The way he’s cozying up to the Eastern bloc makes it seem that way.”
”Are you proud for having made him president?”
”It’s not just me. The people voted for him.”
”Did they?”
”Maybe. Does it really matter Harry? He’s president and he will be for another four years if the constitution doesn’t gets changed again.”
Harry passes the joint. Stone looks at the joint proudly.
”I made this shit legal again. I changed the presidents mind on the issue. My finest hour. Don’t ever say I never did anything good in my life.”
”You are a regular fucking saint.”
”How are you Harry?”
Harry sighs, looks out the window. The bum with the ‘Make America Great T-shirt’ is sitting on a bench, laughing heartily about something.
”I’m fine.”
”No you’re not. You’re still sulking.”
”I’m not sure I would call it that.”
”There are probably better words. But the word you should be looking at is ‘moving on.’ She is gone. She left you for someone more hansom and successful. The healthy thing to do is find someone more hansom and successful too. Even if its just to piss her off.”
”I don’t mind being alone.”
”We all mind being alone. Even people like me. Even people who don’t even like people mind being alone. You’re the kind of person that thrives in a relationship. Without one you’re lost. Like you are now.”
”Maybe it’s the world. Maybe it’s just getting to me.”
”That’s why you need a woman in your life. A woman that keeps you grounded. You need a deep connection. I don’t. I just need power. I don’t need to be connected with anyone. I just want to have a good time being around them. That’s enough for me.”
”I don’t know. I don’t feel like I could really connect with someone again. I’ve played the game long enough. Every time I think about it makes me tired.”
”You need to get out of your soundstage and into the world my friend. Write again. I know some connections. You could write some shitty horror movie. You will meet people, fuck around.”
”I don’t want to leave my soundstage. It’s all I have.”
”You know you lost nearly half your listeners after you vehemently opposed the president.”
”I know.”
”Those people don’t care about you. They will stop listening to you the moment you break their reality. Information is a vast market but you care too much. Most people don’t. Either start caring less or do something else. The work will otherwise destroy you.”
Stone passes the joint. Harry takes a deep puff.
”You don’t like my answers Harry,” smiles Stone, ”because you know I’m right.”
Harry doesn’t say anything, he just keeps puffing. He feels his mind going to weird and mysterious places.
”I don’t think I will be able to sleep anytime soon.”
”That’s okay, I’m here.”
Outside, the drunk man with the Trump T-shirt began to cry.
”But I was having a beautiful dream…” Harry came close to the beautiful dream but it kept slipping away.
”It’s better not to dream. Especially in this world…
In my dream I was almost there…


Art by Ralph Steadman

***

Our Disease 2

     Podcast 333

”I’m scared just like the rest of you,” said Harry, gulping from his highly caffeinated energy can, ”that one day nothing will make sense anymore…”
He was sitting comfortably in his soundstage. It was his most favorite place of the world. In here he would release everything. His daily agonizing dose of melancholy would simper away a bit. He would often nap after he was done.
If he would talk enough in this place things made more sense. A sense of purpose would return. In the world of information warfare, with billions of voices trying to reach a large audience, this soundstage filtered them all, leaving on his voice. The sane voice. To him, talking to the microphone was like talking to God.
Today’s topic was the mystery about the hacking organization known as Oblivion…
”We all fear being their target. Nobody knows whether they are good or bad. Like Wikileaks, its members are all over the world. Some have ideological reasons. Some are being paid. Some just like to raise some shit. We don’t know if the majority of their members are being paid by the government to propagate some perception, to dim the rising tide of leaks from the presidents office. It could very well be that the latter is the case. Over the years they’ve finally taking heed to Russia. Former president Vladimir Putin knew the kind of world we were heading towards. A true visionary, even if his vision was monstrous…” Harry crushed his empty energy can and threw it succesfully into a trashbin in the corner of the room.
”I guess for all my critiques about the president, it’s fair to say that he’s aware of this too. That doesn’t mean I like it though…”
Harry lights up a cigarette, takes a calm puff. In front of him, behind the soundproof glass, sits his sound-assistant Dale. Dale, with his long greasy hair and glazed eyes, had been puffing from vape-pen. He gives Harry the thumbs up. Harry nods back.
”…But it could also be ideological, perhaps even religious reasons of why Oblivion are doing what they are doing. It might be one of the many data-cults we’ve been getting over the years. Perhaps they want to really help people. There have been examples, such as the case of Jerry Greenwald, a drunk who was hounded by a Oblivion hacker who found himself in the end being reunited with his long lost daughter. There’s also the case of a rape victim, Jay from Pennsylvania, being led into the scenario of a Oblivion hacker and it ended with him avenging and eventually forgiving his abuser. There’s even a case of a abusive father targeted by an Oblivion hacker, just to oust him and save his daughter from his grip. One case involves an Oblivion hacker playing cupid. Two lonely people even thank Oblivion for meeting each other. There’s naturally been countless cases of secret files of government and corporate corruption and many of them involve our current president. Sadly, none of them seem to reach mainstream audiences…”
”But there have been plenty of examples of malice too. Such as the dentist from Alaska, an avid hunter of wild-life, who was found in the woods after having shot himself with his rifle. The police found examples of Oblivion bullying all over his apartment. His computer had been assaulted with a virus that would continually show him images of an animated dead deer screaming at him,” Harry paused to inhale his cigarette, ”and nobody will forget congressman Pence doing a chickendance in front of reporters after a Oblivion hacker threatened to release his humiliating choice of pornography into the public- which was released anyway. He would kill himself too…”
”There’s been support groups for men and women who have been the target of Oblivion. People would find themselves ostracized from their community. Social media conversations, filled with scathing details would be given to friends and family. Footage of people jacking off would be filmed on webcams and they would be pressured to pay to make sure it wouldn’t leak out- this is why I always tape my webcam. But it goes further than just the computer. Some of these people would find messages, in their house, in their car. The FBI has reported that they are not sure whether this is a definitive sign of a cult or whether these people have also been targeted by the Gonzo organization. We can’t be sure. Some people would say that the world they knew was gone after being targeted. They would find messages that would destroy everything they’ve believed in. Scientologists would find sources of information about who the real L. Ron Hubbard was. Mormons about Joseph Smith. Aspiring writers would find their work rewritten, its message being: ‘you don’t have it. Quit while you still can.’ Historians would find alternative history sources. One Muslims would constantly run into pictures of beheaded infidels. Sometimes the members of Oblivion want to expose the truth, other times they just want to destroy what’s left of it.
”Some find themselves hallucinating. Psychotropic substances would be found in their coke bottles. Some violent cases have been attributed to people being targeted by Oblivion. In some instances, some people think they are using this organization to orchestrate political assassinations….”
Harry presses his cigarette into his already crowded ashtray.
”So what does Oblivion want? The original founder, or what is apparantly the original founder cos even this is mired by contradictory stories, Max O’Blivion is missing. A son of a wealthy technocrat, he apparantly emobodied a living troll. Nobody knows where he is or why he disappeared. He just vanished. Some say he’s in hiding. Other say he’s long been murdered by a disgruntled target of Oblivion.
So if it was up to Max, Oblivion would be just be continously fucking with people. It all depends whose doing the targeting. They can be angels or demons. It’s a scary we live in people. The generation before the dawn of the Internet is dying off, but some can still remember how it was. All that privacy, all that freedom, gone forever…”
Harry lights up another cigarette and continues: ”we might have been supervised by an Oblivion hacker or two, to see if we are desirable candidates. I’m even taking a risk talking about them. I could surely give them a motivation to hack into my life and alter it in exciting or disturbing ways. But I don’t like to live in a world where we live in fear. America, for all the freedom its lost over the decades, still has this freedom. I refuse to give in people. I refuse to give up the truth…”
A deep puff, a sigh and then: ”everyone could be a target. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. You’re just a project to them. And the only thing you can hope for is that they want what’s best for you.
Cos if they don’t, it’s a long way down the rabbit hole. It’s the darkest place you will ever be. And there is no escape. There is no escape…”

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania ralph steadman 1984
Art by Ralph Steadman

***

You are Free to Leave Anytime

This poem of mine was published on: https://thenaga.org/2017/06/14/you-are-free-to-leave-anytime/

I know everything they say on the news is a lie. I know that everything I’m reading in the paper has been approved by the government, even the things that are critical about our leader. I know he watches us. I know it’s better to have stability than absolute liberty. You only have to look at our neighbors to see what happens if people can just do whatever the hell they want. Morality must be unconditional. Any deviation, however small, to the common good brings you closer to evil. Soon enough they will do all sorts of unnatural things they think is harmless. Our leader knows what’s right for us. He studied history. He knows the sciences. He knows the human spirit and how it must be contained.  Freedom is overrated. If you are free to explore yourself without limits, you will lose yourself into the abyss. The only recourse will be all kinds of deviancy. You could have avoided this, if only you listened.

This regime purifies us. All of these restrictions is for our own good. If we have a real election we will just vote for the wrong person. If we let people question our leader too much it will infect simple minds, the parasitic meme of dissent, and there will be chaos. Believe what they tell you. Even if you know it’s bullshit. Believe it all. Bow down when they tell you. He is our king. Our Tsar. Our prime-minister. Our president. He is your God. Obey. We must wake up before we allow ourselves to sleep.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania putin youth

***

 

 

Anna’s Sacrifice

Recently, I did a presentation about Putin’s Russia. It was split in two parts: the first one was about the rise of Vladimir Putin, the second was about his regime. It starts with hope, it ends in tyranny. That’s how it always starts. We always wake up too late.
My main thesis was nothing extraordinary: he’s an autocratic undermining democratic values and we must recognize him for what he is, not be swayed by his increasingly popular propaganda. I made references to the monsters and heroes of the past. The monsters we willingly voted into office. The heroes who were murdered telling us the truth about who they really were.
Examples were made. How do we recognize the autocrat? When they try to undermine the free press is a good example. Soon enough they’ll start to suppress it. In the free World they call the free press ‘fake news’ and sometimes, they dare call the free press dangerous. But the government, as far as we know, doesn’t hunt them down. And if they are hunted down, they better hope no other journalist finds out.

In Putin’s Russia, journalists are hunted down and if other proves it, Putin’s regime will say that it was the ‘Anti-Russian activists’ who sacrificed this journalist to stoke anti-Russian sentiment. There is the continues fear of disorder, memories a young spy who saw the world turn against his empire.
Watch out for talks about ‘extremism.’ The humanization of groups of people is easy to spot. The Jews have always been the target, even now. But Muslims are the more popular target now. The debate about adaptation to the Western culture or the reformation are ones we should have, but the autocrat doesn’t want an honest debate. They tell us they should adapt or get the fuck out. Soon enough they will tell us that the culture simply does not fit here and that something drastic, has to be done about it.
I told people about my own journalistic ambitions, about the moving and bittersweet sacrifice of Anna Povlitkovskaya. She knew that most of her reports would be not read by the necessary majority of the Russian people. Most minds will continually be hooked on state propaganda. You can’t blame them. They grew up in a world full of loud noises and pretty lights. It takes a keen eye and per haps life experience beyond one’s borders, to see past the facade. The face is beautifully simple. All complications nullified. The enemy is clear. The mission is to protect our culture from liberal invasion. Who doesn’t want to live in a world like that? It’s comfortable, the truth ruins everything. Nobody wants to wake up and realize everything they’ve believed in is a lie. Nobody wants to wake up and realize their God was the devil all along.
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I live in an imperfect, yet relatively free world. I can doubt our leaders openly. I can cast dispersions about their character, the nature of their patriotism. If I was an infamous rapper, I can go on stage and rhyme about how the government is an evil entity, bend on destroying the foundations of our culture. A large mass will follow me and think my delusions to be wisdom. This is the free world I live in. In the free world we can share our delusions without being arrested. In Putin’s Russia, a rapper like MC Noize will be hounded by the government, suffer threats, have his career derailed by government agencies. It doesn’t matter if what he says is true or not, he’s talking about the great leader. He’s talking about the idol they indoctrinate to their kids. The kids who admire Putin, like modern-day Hitler Jugend.
In Putin’s Russia, reality is a subjective thing. The pretty lights are there to confuse the people. Some are turned mad. They wander the streets seeking for gay Ukrainians with Obama T-Shirts who are seeking to destroy Russia from within. If they hear about this reporter with a big mouth about their glorious leader, they will shit on his car. Men dress like dead patriots and sing songs about the Soviet Union. Less than Twenty-years ago, Stalin was perceived as the mass-murdering lunatic he was, no suddenly, he’s become misunderstood. In Russia, if you want to tell the truth, you better be prepared to die for it.

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Soon enough some guy in the classroom held up his hand. He had a notebook with him- so he could ”watch my lies”,  he told me. He told me that my facts were biased, concocted by the West. He told me we couldn’t trust Human Rights watch or Amnesty International. He was confused why I would support NATO. This is a person that lives in a free world and he is basking himself in information which tells him that the Free World isn’t free at all. The democratic institution is doubted upon. Perhaps we need a bold new leader. Perhaps we need a guy like Putin.
There are heroes like Anna Politkovskaya, heard across the world, years after her untimely death. Her death on 7
th October 2006 was a birthday present to his glorious leader. On this day I honor her, while her culprit still roams free. Perhaps he’s even running the country she gave her life for.
Political theatrics aside: Putin is an old monster dressed in modern clothing. He’s nothing special, old tricks but written in computer code. A reboot, a remake. The new playing field of information-warfare in a globalized world, where its adherents are addicted to tiny screens and get a jolt of dopamine whenever someone liked their comment. We are in it together but we pretend we are all alone. We have all the means of connecting with each other, yet we decide to isolate ourselves.
All Putin is a series of managed photo-shoots. A good enough photo-shoot can make you the leader of your own religion. Some are highly susceptible to the cult of personality, the nationalistic parasite. Perhaps they’ve always been waiting for that one person that tells them who to hate and who to kill. Perhaps there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for that true believer. Maybe if you give him everything, you just might reach it.
At the end of the presentation, I asked my audience: ”how do we destroy the monsters we have cultivated for so long?”
And I didn’t really have the answer. So I either made one up or stole it from someone smarter than me: ”try to remember the heroes and the monsters. Try to remember the ones who reminded us about the heroes and the monsters. Live the story of the hero.”
I knew one of them wouldn’t listen. To be honest this drives me crazy: the story seems so obvious to me. Why can’t he see it? Why can’t he see the difference between the Free world and Putin’s Russia?
I don’t have an answer to that now. Several come to mind but I want that answer that will convince him. I don’t think I can think of one. And this worries me.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania anna politkovskaya

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Why Oliver Stone Should Know Better

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I have a rather conflicting relationship with the work of Oliver Stone. Certainly there’s a lot to admire from his contributions to cinema and naturally, to his country, which nearly cost him his life. Irregardless of one’s own political affiliations, one cannot say that Oliver Stone hasn’t done his duty. I have seen many of his films more than once: from the deeply underrated Talk Radio to the highly questionable yet fascinating Shakespearean biopic Nixon. I’m not ashamed to admit that I also have a particular fondness for the gonzo madness that is Natural Born Killers. There’s a special kind energy in many of his (note: earlier) films: a sense of social outrage about the state of the world, psychological unease, creeping demons that keep lurking from our subconscious. Tones swift from blackly comic, melodramatic and the disturbingly violent.
In my teens I often saw Oliver Stone as the voice of reason. A necessary contrarian, similar to the spirits of Bill Hicks, a squeegee of my third-eye. Someone who wakes you up from long slumber, telling you: ”get up! You are being screwed!” I remember vividly defending Oliver Stone’s JFK and its conspiratorial allegations to an ex-girlfriend of mine. In my regular smug moments, I called her naive and felt myself enlightened for believing the exciting lies of Oliver Stone’s infamous film.
This all changed in my mid-twenties, when I (finally) started taking history more seriously. And when it came to historical accuracy, his films were as farcical as any Hollywood patriotic Michael Baye Jerk-fest. Well-intentioned perhaps, more than often than not beautifully made, but its artistic license on history cannot not be denied.
In his later career, Oliver Stone’s movies have not been exactly critical darlings and for good reason. His big budgeted Alexander biopic was hampered by a not-so-great Colin Farrell and an annoyingly over the top Angelina Jolie. His sequel on Wall Street (Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps) was a frustratingly dull one, with none of the bite you would think it would have considering it came out after the financial crisis of 2008)- no clearer film shows the decline of Stone’s artistry. His biopic on George W. Bush was strangely forgettable even with a great central performance of Josh Brolin. His adaptation on Don Winslow’s Savages finally ended my faith in anything good coming from Stone. The book had been one of my favorite crime novels and Stone absolutely butchered it.
But through all of his he also made some curious documentaries. There is his short documentary mini-series The Untold history of the United States, which had some questionable tales about its central subject. In my opinion, a man that likes to play so loosely on the history should not make documentaries.
His most curious documentaries were his documented interviews with the likes of Fidel Castro (Comandante) and Hugo Chavez (Mi Amigo Chavez). In both these films, we see a more humanized looks on these controversial leaders. Oliver Stone wishes to share the alternative view to American-exceptionalism, which is an admirable position. But his coziness with these leaders, his willingness to believe their side of the stories, despite the countless tragedies and death surrounding them, makes it hard for me to take him seriously. I’m not if he cares about revealing the failed dream of the American Dream, it seems that he just wants to further his controversial persona. 

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The upcoming four-hour Showtime documentary: The Putin Interviews, is simply despicable. It shattered whatever illusions I had about him. Oliver Stone’s verbal rationale with this project does not bode well either: ”It’s not a documentary as much as a question and answer session… It opens up a whole viewpoint that we as Americans haven’t heard,”
Is he really that naive? For a man that loved to unveil the masks of the authoritarian evils, he surely does not seem to understand the ways of despots. Does he really think Putin cares about spreading spreading his message to the West? It’s about sending a message, it’s about distorting the truth, it’s about causing as much confusion to the general populace of the East and West as possible. The more he bends the truth, the longer he can reign.
Oliver Stone is only aiding him as it will undoubtedly convince many people that perhaps, Putin is an morally equal among the political establishment. The teaser trailer of the documentary is infuriating in itself: Putin winking knowingly at the camera, as he’s teasing the more enlightened audience that yes, he’s going to get away with this and many people, smart and dumb alike, will be fooled by this. It ends with Oliver Stone asking him point-blank about why hacked the American election, with Putin’s response being a charming smirk. This is a crime and now it has become a show. Good job Oliver.
Undoubtedly this documentary will be just another fluff-piece for the Russian despot. It will make him look equal and respectable to the eyes of his own people, many of them lost in his state propaganda. Many curious in the Western world, will undoubtedly be charmed by his forward rhetoric just as many were charmed by his American presidential ally. It doesn’t matter if you ask him ‘the hard questions’, Putin will have prepared for anything that comes with his way and will use some exceptional ‘whataboutism’s. This is not his first rodeo, he’s not Sean Spicer: he actually knows what he’s doing. He’s been doing this game for a long time. Remember: he was KGB, they are trained in all manner of deceit. Some articles have compared this to the David Frost interview with Richard Nixon. Unlike the charming stage play or Ron Howard”s film suggest: it was not a battle of wits, Nixon had carefully prepared the whole thing so it could be done in his favour as he wanted to humanize his already tarnished persona. Apparantly the irony of many seem to be lost on this fact.
This is the hard truth: you cannot engage a tyrant like Putin, the same way you do any other politician. Seeing as he’s already the biggest political superstar in the world (next to that other goofy bastard currently in the White House), this will only further his excruciating anti-establishment persona.
If Oliver Stone really cared anything at all about combattng the evil forces of this world; he wouldn’t give Putin some prosperous propagandistic ammo. Maybe like much of Oliver Stone’s work, he means well and he really does want to give another perspective or harmonize the current Geo-political frictions. Or maybe he just doesn’t care. Maybe he’s just a media whore. Could very well be. Just another sad tale of one of your former heroes.
It will certainly boast great ratings and yes, I’ll probably watch it. But I won’t be fooled, I can promise you that.
But i’m afraid that many others will…
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania putin interview oliver stone
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