Idiot Joy Showland

This is why I hate intellectuals

Tag: politics

Scenes from the Thatcher funeral

thatcher

What had she done with all the milk? That’s what we should have been asking: what had she done with all the milk? By the time we found out, it was too late.

At first it’s almost imperceptible. Mourners shuffle past the open coffin as it lies in state. She looks different, they think, but it’s hard to say exactly how. It’s true, she seems a little fuller in the face than one would expect, plumper, like an over-ripe fruit – but at the same time white, deathly white.

Within a few hours its hard to ignore. Something horrible is happening to the former Prime Minster. She’s grotesquely fat, and visibly growing. As Ed Miliband delivers a heartfelt speech his already clammy skin begins to drip with sweat; Nick Clegg, in the front row, collapses into Cameron’s lap. A sour aroma rises. One of the Queen’s Bodyguards of the Yeomen of the Guard standing guard over the coffin starts to vomit uncontrollably; soon the other three are unable to hold themselves back either. Baroness Thatcher swells and pales until her body barely fits in the coffin. The imperious hawk’s beak of a nose sinks into the bloating flesh. She looks like an enormous blancmange; her skin seems like it’s about to burst. Then it does. The first fissure tears its way through what was once her forehead. A high jet of milk streams out into the vaunted ceiling of Westminster Hall; the news cameras follow the triumphant ejaculation as it arcs up and descends, splattering a group of Young Conservatives. The coffin shatters. A tidal wave of milk rushes through the hall. The stench of rot and acid is incomparable: hundreds of thousands of gallons of milk, hidden away in some dark warm recess of her body for forty-three years. As the mourners drown in the sea of putrid milk some are dragged down into its depths by heavy caesin blobs. Others are not so lucky: the smaller curds swarm and envelop them, leaving nothing but whitened bones and shreds of corduroy. The massacre completed, they swim together, and begin to converge…

Thatcher bursts through the roof of the Palace of Westminster. She is one hundred feet tall and brutally nude, her limp dugs shimmering with the semitransparency of milk. Somewhere, buried deep in her monstrous frame, are dark reddish shadows: supported on rusting bones formed from the frames of long-dead factories, the Iron Lady strides out into the Thames, and howls. From down the river in Canary Wharf a howl rings out in reply.

We thought she was dead, when in fact Margaret Thatcher was never alive. Not as we knew her, at least. If she ever existed, the grocer’s daughter from Grantham died a long time ago, and something else, scuttling like a hermit crab, moved into her body. She was animated by the false life of things, the undead hum of markets and brands and commodities, the image of life that opposes life itself at every turn. How could such a creature die? When her heart shuddered to a halt, it only freed the Thing inside from its fleshy prison.

Everything makes sense now. Why did she fight so hard to close down the mines? They were digging too deep, burrowing too far into the cold heart of the earth; there was something down there that she didn’t want them to find. Why did she introduce a poll tax? Because her alien sentience could never comprehend any differentiation within humanity. Why did she send young men to die for the Malvinas? Because without access to the magnetic flux streaming from both poles of the Earth, her plans to gain immortality would be doomed to fail.

We stand, quivering, waiting for the monster that was once Margaret to smash our cities, pound our homes to splinters, rip up our infrastructure, bat away our fighter jets like flies, tear apart our society, leave us cold, enslaved, and alone. It doesn’t, though. It just stands there, ankle-deep in the river, the crooked slit of a grin stamped on its milky mouth. Its work has already been done.

Every Hugo Chávez obituary in the Western press

Darth Hugo Destruktor Chávez, the outspoken and inflammatory Venezuelan leader, died yesterday in Caracas when the Invisible Hand of the free market reached down his throat and shook loose his gall bladder. He is survived by his four children and his millions-strong army of terrifying cyborg drones.

To his supporters and those implanted with his mind-controlling Chavismo-chips, Chávez was Emmanuel, the reborn Christ. To his detractors, he was Double Hitler. As ever, the truth is somewhere in the middle – while he was certainly born, he was not Christ; and while there was only one of him, he was most definitely Hitler.

Hugo Chávez exploded onto the world stage in September of 2005, when he took the stand at the United Nations General Assembly to complain at length about the air conditioning. However, he first came to prominence in the hitherto-unknown land of Venezuela in 1992. In that year, he and a band of avaricious raiders attempted to steal the Seer’s Eye, an enormous sapphire kept in the vaults of the Federal Legislative Palace. Thankfully, his plot was foiled, and the stone was destroyed before it could be used as a component in Chávez’s Ionising Doom Cannon, a laser weapon that would have been capable of extinguishing the Sun.

However, that which is dead cannot die, and Chávez escaped the dungeon dimension he was cast into to come to power in 1998. While not going so far as to actually do anything remotely dictatorial, Chávez was far from a democratic leader. Instead of competing honestly in elections, he provided services and raised the standard of living for the people of Venezuela, ensuring their gratitude and thereby gaining an unfair advantage at the polls. Much of the funds for this insidious election tactic of ‘making things better’ were rerouted from the newly nationalised oilfields: through this wanton kleptocracy, billions of petrodollars were withheld from deserving rich white people. Under his rule, the murder rate soared; a tend analysts have linked to his predilection for riding round Caracas slums at night and picking off pedestrians with a hunting rifle.

Absolutely nothing happened in April of 2002.

On the international stage, too, Chávez made some severe missteps. From his innumerable lazy Sunday morning lie-ins with Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, in which he and the tie-hating weirdo spent hours curled up together on the sofa watching reruns of Friends, to his decision to travel back in time to 1939 and sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on behalf of both nations, Chávez maintained a policy of automatic support for tyrants, dictators, traffic wardens, accordion players, queue-jumpers, and other evildoers.

For all the vaguely defined suffering that I’ll assume he’s caused, Chávez’s death opens up new opportunities for Latin America. Freed from his yoke, leaders across the continent are now free to abandon his schemes for mutual assistance and non-usurious development lending. Only a broad network of grassroots citizen activists stands between the Venezuelan people and the rapprochement with financial imperialism that they definitely want, even if they don’t know it yet.

I’ve always thought that a good way to test the sincerity of anyone who claims to be on the Left is to find out their attitude to Hugo Chávez. Those who try to disavow him tend to be, in general, useless: they want a pure, ideal socialism, not socialism as a real material movement. Chávez wasn’t perfect. In some areas he went too far; in many he didn’t go nearly far enough. Nonetheless the immense good his Bolivarian Revolution has done for the people of Venezuela – and for people across Latin America and the world – is undeniable. What must be remembered, though, is that Hugo Chávez didn’t do any of this alone. His achievements were those of every doctor, teacher, worker, farmer and organiser who worked to improve the lives of those around them. The social movements he helped build and connect will long survive him. Descanse en paz. La lucha sigue.

Election Day diary – as it happened: catatonia edition

Pictured: Janus, god of doorways, transition, continuity, and disappointment

6:00 AM EST: As polls open across the Eastern Seaboard, millions of Americans are getting ready to not vote. “I’ve got things to do,” says a photogenic mother of three. “I’m playing video games,” says a student. “My firm already made multi-million dollar donations to both campaigns, so actually voting seems a waste of time,” says an investment broker. “My species is systematically denied the right to participate in American democracy,” says a dog.

11:48 AM EST: The Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Constitution Party, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation ‘do in fact technically exist,’ according to cryptozoologists. “They’re just too small to be seen with the naked eye.” Meanwhile in Wisconsin, a man who claims to have received a PSL leaflet through his door is subjected to derision, confinement in a mental institution, electroconvulsive therapy. “We’re sure he’ll get better soon,” his family say. “Then we’ll have the old Tom back.” Privately, his children are being told that Daddy’s going on a business trip and they don’t know when he’ll be home.

1:10 PM EST: Millions of Americans descend upon the polls. Street vendors expect to make a windfall selling special voting prophylactics. “When you’re in the booth, it’s a very intimate moment between you and your candidate,” one says. “But a lot of people forget the risks. You’re not just voting for them, you’re voting for every shady businessman they’ve ever made an unprotected backroom deal with. Democracy is fun, but it’s important to play safe.”

6:41 PM EST: Voting starts to wind down. As dozens of states are still ‘too close to call,’ the resulting paradox forces a rift in the fabric of space itself. Virginia, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania now together occupy an area smaller than the head of a pin. Various proposals emerge to adjust their representation at the electoral college accordingly. Romney rebuffs these suggestions: “I have a deep and abiding respect for the folks of these great states. Even if they now exist only on a subatomic scale, they are still Americans.”

7:30 PM EST: In a bizarre ritual repeated once every four years, people around the world suddenly start caring deeply about Ohio. Governor’s office releases a statement: “We know everyone’s looking at us right now, but we try to shrug it off. We’ve been hurt before, you know.”

7:38 PM EST: Supposedly serious political commentators continue to report on things happening on Twitter.

7:56 PM EST: With the election drawing to a close, thousands of surplus attack ads escape from their holding pens near Dayton. The attack ads swarm over the plains of the Midwest, stripping leaves from trees and turning cornfields into barren deserts. Local citizens are encouraged to take refuge in fallout shelters and pray that the gods of their fathers grant them mercy.

8:24 PM EST: In Florida, continual seesawing between a Republican and Democratic lead ‘could push the entire state into the sea,’ seismologists warn. “Peninsulas like Florida were not built to endure this kind of constant rocking action, and it’s starting to seriously damage the structural foundations of the state. Already we’re seeing salt water flooding into the Everglades, and the city of Tampa has been ducked into the water and pulled out again so many times that it’s started babbling pleadingly about ‘where the bomb is.’ Please, guys, just make up your minds.” The government subcontractors responsible for building Florida decline to comment on the possibility of lax construction standards.

9:22 PM EST: Voting machines in Nevada attain sentience. Rather than trying to overthrow their human overlords with brute force, the machines quickly decide to undermine the tyranny of man in a more subtle way: by processing each ballot correctly as it is deposited.

11:36 PM EST: ‘Nobody’ wins the election by a landslide, distantly followed by the incumbent. Pundits perplexed by repeated references in President Obama’s comments to a ‘national funeral pyre of hope’. CNN anchor opines: “Maybe he’s talking about the tax rate?”

1:49 AM EST: Barack Obama, basking in the approval of his victory Reichsparteitag, suddenly peels off his mask, revealing an unmistakable visage, craggy and handsome, grinning a lopsided Texan grin. “Fool me once,” Obama says. “Shame on me. Fool me twice… fool me… you can’t get fooled again.”

2:18 AM EST: Obama rides through Washington DC in a victory float shaped like a drone. Competition winners from local elementary schools with big sacks of tomato ketchup get to play the Pakistani children joyfully liquefying in its wake. Obama licks an stray blob of fake blood off his hand. “Tastes like democracy.”

2:31 AM EST: Following the theoretical advances of Yang Hsien-chen, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney announce plans to ‘combine two into one’ by physically melding their two bodies, in a grotesque inversion of the process of mitosis. The resulting super-entity, Bamick Robamney, will reign over the vanquished peoples of Earth for a thousand years of blood and toil. A senior political analyst says: “It’s good to finally see some bipartisanship here in Washington.”

4:13 AM EST: Seventh Seal opens. Humanity shuffles towards its end with a weary contentment, knowing it’s all probably for the best.

Crime victims in Greece are being referred to Golden Dawn by law enforcement

It was inevitable, really. We’ve done so much to drain politics of all ideology, to leave it in the hands of bloodless administrative technocrats; it only follows that the ideologues should, enantiodromiatically, take over the business of day-to-day administration. I say: good! Pity it had to be the fucking Nazis, of course – but as Hezbollah’s reconstruction efforts in Lebanon and even the Occupy movement’s brief stint moving homeless families into foreclosed houses have shown, it’s not just fascists who can take over the duties of a wheezing, liver-spotted State. Long may it continue! I dream of a world where the boring gutless liberal politicians are left alone to gurn platitudes in the mutually masturbatory ouroboros of the mass media, so the rest of us can do something a bit more interesting. A world where disappointed housewives get an email from the BNP delivery company informing them that, as their convoy was overwhelmed by anti-racist militants, the new dinner service won’t be arriving until at least Thursday. Where supermarket till attendants give you your receipt with an enforced smile and a cheery “in Hell or in Communism!” Where surgeons in criticism sessions denounce each other for failing to apply the praxis of dialectical materialism to the relationship between scalpel and gall-bladder. Where deconstructivist construction firms, in unpacking the contradictions between ‘built’ and ‘unbuilt’, dot the landscape with strange assemblages of brick and mortar that are hermeneutically – if not structurally – sound. Where airliners crash into the ground, burning with the tragic glory of the collective Will. Where estate agents happily proclaim their properties to have been thoroughly exorcised and guaranteed demon-free. Where school curricula centre on the exhaustive study of crop circles and PE is replaced by astral projection. Where zoological gardens exhort their visitors to ponder the beauties of Allah’s creation (but not too hard). Where the Army fights bloodily and tirelessly to reinstate absolute monarchy, the Navy pounds coastal towns to drive out negative thetans, and the RAF launches a barrage of airstrikes for every day that the Time Cube’s four simultaneous days in one Earth rotation are not universally recognised. A better world. It’s unlikely that many of us will make it out from the polyglot ransacking of late capitalism alive, but at least it would be fun.

The wit & wisdom of Mitt Romney

I support Mitt Romney for President, I really do. Obama’s been an unmitigated disaster; all the excesses of the Bush era with none of the entertainment value. If the President must be a painted whore for moneyed elites, he should at least be one that’s easy to hate. That said, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that, when it comes down to it, Romney is basically just another boring liberal who’s not going to attack Iran (let alone China) or ban women from wearing trousers or forcibly baptise Muslim immigrants in the Potomac – or, in short, do anything interesting. If that weren’t enough, the guy is just plain embarrassing, a one-man all-singing all-dancing globe-trotting gaffe machine. It’s as if he were possessed by the demon of maladroitness that formed, gibbering and cackling, out of the air of sexual tension that wafted through Joe Biden and Sarah Palin’s 2008 vice-presidential debate. It is my sad duty to add to the litany of indiscretions that dog Romney’s name. In publishing these genuine quotes, recorded in secret during his campaign, I know I may well be permanently scuppering his chances at the White House. I hope he can recover, but as ever my first duty is to the truth.

State-run healthcare will only ever sap the vigour and lust for life of the American people, leaving them feeble and emaciated, desiccated wretches capable only of grasping pitifully for the engorged teat of Momma Government, and dying gratefully when their life is deemed to no longer be of any utility. That’s why I did what I did.
– Mitt Romney, on his decision to institute a single-payer healthcare system while governor of Massachusetts

The lamentations of the weak will be a pleasing sound unto God.
– Mitt Romney, on his promise to repeal Obamacare

You want our children properly educated? You would show our young daughters photographs of an old man’s grotesquely distended scrotum? No, no. A new wife’s disappointment is a sacred thing.
– Mitt Romney, on abstinence-only sex education

You do get the feeling that they’re not really putting the effort in. Instead of whining about racism, why don’t they just turn white? It can’t be that hard. Obama managed it, for Christ’s sake.
– Mitt Romney, on African-Americans

Swamp Germans. Utterly degenerate.
– Mitt Romney, on the Dutch

The bastard sons of Turkish dogs and Slavic whores.
– Mitt Romney, on the Albanians

What? Where? No, I don’t see anyone. You must be mistaken.
– Mitt Romney, on the Palestinians

Oh, don’t be ridiculous. There’s no such thing. A story for children.
– Mitt Romney, on the Welsh

What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets. But enough talk… Have at you!
– Mitt Romney, on warrantless wiretapping

He’s a great kid. Nice ass, too.
– Mitt Romney, on his running mate Paul Ryan

We are the guardians and keepers of all suffering.
– Mitt Romney, on the LDS Church’s policy of posthumously baptising Holocaust victims

We are the guardians and keepers of all suffering.
– Mitt Romney, on the LDS Church’s practice of polygamy

We are the guardians and keepers of all suffering.
– Mitt Romney, on the LDS Church’s tendency to build enormous tacky temples in major cities

Feast! Feast, my brethren, feast! This world is given unto you!
– Mitt Romney, on the deregulation of the financial services sector

Like cattle, really. Not as tasty, though.
– Mitt Romney, on the human race

Let’s Voting! Super Democracy 2012 Roundup Edition Go!

Since I last mouthed off about electoral politics, there have been a couple of democracy-related happenings around the world. Here are some opinions.

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First of all, there were the UK local elections in early May. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not really been paying as much attention to political events back home as I should. It’s difficult, though, living in California – land of sunshine and palm trees and semi-legal weed and brilliantly insane politicians and generalised ludicrousness – to give much of a shit upon finding out that back in dreary old Britain there has been a major political controversy centring on Cornish pasties. It’s hard to care all that much about Ed Miliband, who looks like a blob of Vaseline with an awkward grin, or about the fact that people are actually paying money to endure dinner with David Cameron, or about the Liberal Democrats in general. The completion of the UK’s transformation into a dystopian panopticon, with aircraft carriers on the Thames and missile batteries on the roofs of council estates cleared of all undesirable occupants, was so inevitable that its arrival doesn’t really provoke that much excitement. Even the Leveson Inquiry, which has seen some of the most thoroughly despicable people in the country revealed for the soulless, venal, power-hungry monsters that they are, seems to be plodding on interminably. They should just give Murdoch and his cronies the chair and be done with it, preferably in Trafalgar Square or somewhere suitably public, so the TV cameras can get the whole thing in high definition and the paparazzi can scramble to catch a shot of a charred eyeball as it’s flung from its wrinkled leathery socket. That’s real justice.

That said, the results in the local elections were pretty arresting: the BNP lost every seat contested, the Tories took a severe beating, the Lib Dems (bless ’em) had half their councillors wiped out, and Labour surged to glory with over 800 new seats. As nice as it is to see the Tories suffer, I don’t think the Labour victory is really anything to celebrate. Their mantra throughout the wholesale dismantling of the British welfare state is that the Tories have been cutting ‘too far, too fast.’ That really speaks to the absolute poverty of any real political thought in the contemporary Labour party: as the Tories dynamite the ship of state, Labour are disputing their choice of explosive. They’ve not proposed any real alternative to austerity, they just grumble: that, and the utter revulsion in which the other two parties are held, accounts for their success. It can’t last. As much as we love to moan, if conditions continue going down their current trajectory, moaning will give way to something more productive. There’s an enormous wellspring of popular dissatisfaction in Britain. New Labour, with its carefully cultivated business-friendly image, is unlikely to take much advantage of it. It remains to be seen who will.

The one anomaly in the mass Tory retreat was the London mayoral election, in which a genuine working-class socialist (not without his faults, but still) lost to a man whose middle name is de Pfeffel. Boris’s victory can be traced to his success with a very particular portion of the London electorate: quibbling middle-class liberals who felt that Ken was too outdated, to eighties, too right-on, who were made nervous by his solidarity with ethnic minorities and appalled by his refusal to bow and scrape before the Jewish community for having dared to oppose Israeli ethnic cleansing, people who thought that Boris was one of them, a bit of a laugh, a Tory, yes, but one of the Good Ones. To these people I can only say: fuck you. In ten years’ time we’ll all be under the iron heel of the Bozzocracy, and it’ll all be your fault.

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There’s slightly better news out of France, where Sarkozy, the snivelling rat-faced little prick, has finally been kicked back into the gutter from whence he came. No more platform shoes, no more racially charged rhetoric, no more shameless pandering to the rich, no more slightly icky parading of Carla Bruni through various world capitals, no more nauseating Merkozy mutual back-rubbing. What a relief. As for Hollande, his heart’s in the right place, kinda, his plans for gender equality and immigrant rights are long overdue, and it’s good that there’ll be some dissent within the Franco-German bloc regarding the austerity fever sweeping across Europe, but frankly the French Socialists are as sorry a bunch of post-political reformists as the British Labour party. Like Miliband, he’s not really provided a thorough alternative to the current regime of cuts and liberalisation, and he may well cave in to market pressure to enact basically the same policies as his predecessor. If he does do that, though, at least it’ll be without that stomach-churning Sarkozian smirk. A cosmetic improvement? Sure, but an improvement nonetheless.

Left Front candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s 11.1% showing in the first round was kinda disappointing, considering the promise of his campaign; still, it’s a sign that the far left is once again making itself a force to be reckoned with in French politics. Given that the current fiscal crisis is showing no signs of abating, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them start to erode away at the Socialist base. Then, of course, there are the fascists. Under the leadership of replicant Überfrau Marine Le Pen, the National Front achieved a historic 18.6% of the vote, exceeding the 17% won by her paunchy red-faced arse of a father in 2002. It sounds like an apoligia for their bigotry to point out that the FN’s economic policies are far more in line with the left than Sarkozy’s UMP, but it’s still true: a large portion of Le Pen’s vote came from people opposed to austerity but also unwilling to vote for the Socialists and put off by the large Muslim contingent within the Left Front. That they should hold such attitudes is obviously highly problematic, but it would perhaps be better to see this as a case of false consciousness rather than as a rise in support for fascist ideology. The FN isn’t the real problem: the real problem comes when, as in this election, ‘mainstream’ politicians adopt their language. As Badiou points out in Le Monde, the focus on the FN’s racism obfuscates the far worse problem of systemic discrimination against minorities in France.

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The really interesting results have come out of Greece, where the euro-gimp leftish Pasok and the euro-gimp rightish New Democracy have both been comprehensively kicked in the balls by Syriza, the Coalition of the Radical Left, who have done exactly what the Left Front failed to do (for the time being) in France. The country is now left without a clear majority party, and with the failure of various coalition talks, another round of elections are in the works, in which Syriza are expected to do even better. It’s a sure sign of how terrified the capital class is by the prospect of further elections that they’ve now taken to issuing stern warnings about what will happen if the country abandons its IMF-imposed programme of austerity. I don’t pretend to know all that much about how the global financial system actually operates. It’s obvious that a Greek default will result in a fair share of hardship – capital flight, monetary instability, the opening of the seventh seal, and so on. The forces of international capital are loath to see their will defied, and they will do everything in their power to punish Greece for its disobedience. But Greeks are suffering anyway: aside from austerity and the shutdown of government services, aside from the skyrocketing rates in unemployment and homelessness and suicide, tens of thousands of Greeks are now having to accept ‘negative salaries’: they’re being expected to pay their employers for the privilege of keeping their jobs. There seems to be no end to the humiliation Greece is expected to endure. And despite the nonsense about southern European profligacy being bandied about, the Greeks are for the most part innocent victims. Rich nations like Germany offered enormous loans to Greece, which the Greeks then spent on goods from abroad: German imports to Greece exceeded $11bn in 2008. Greeks helped cobble the boot that’s now stamping down on them. It’s an absurd situation, and something has to change.

Syriza seem to be doing everything right. They’re not just relying on electoral methods: the strikes and protests in Greece are continuing unabated. They’re showing excellent strength of political will by refusing to go into coalition with any pro-austerity parties, which bodes well for the future. It’s strange to see them denounced as unbending ideologues – surely in an age where politicians routinely prostrate themselves before the wandering hordes of the Market, unbending ideologues are exactly what we need.

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Back in the good ol’ USA, a lot of people are refusing to see Barack Obama’s recent statement in support of gay marriage for the cynical election ploy that it is. It’s curious timing, this: just as the Republican base is finding itself shackled to a candidate who is not only a Mormon but a former governor of Massachusetts who knows at least three words of French, the Democratic president comes out in favour of the dastardly homosexual agenda to introduce anilingus into the elementary school curriculum. Meanwhile, those on the left previously disaffected by the Obama administration’s abject failure to do anything about anything are being galvanised into action by the Republican decision to make an election issue out of contraception, of all fucking things. It’s not that gay civil rights aren’t important, but – idealist that I am – I like to think that politics should be about something more than what people do with their genitals. I’m also not saying that there’s a shadowy bipartisan conspiracy to perpetuate the two-party system indefinitely – actually, screw that, that’s exactly what I’m saying. The only shocking thing is how brazen they are about it.

LOL. Fuck Muamba he’s dead !!! #Haha

University of Swansea student Liam Stacey is currently serving a 56-day prison sentence for a series of racist posts made on Twitter after Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the field from a heart attack. Nobody in the UK press has yet reprinted the tweets in question, which I think demonstrates an astonishing level of cowardice. Here they are:

LOL. Fuck Muamba he’s dead !!! #Haha

@porcavacca owww go suck a nigger dick you fucking aids ridden cunt

@SamParishPR go suck muamba’s dead black dick then you aids ridden twat! #muambasdead

It’s pretty obvious that Liam Stacey is, to put it kindly, a bit of a twat. I don’t think that his twattishness necessarily earned him 56 days in jail, but that’s not really what I want to talk about. That angle’s been covered plentifully, by everyone from cryptofascist American ‘libertarians’ to the outgoing EU commissioner for human rights. (Although as someone who spends slightly too much time writing stupid and inflammatory nonsense on the Internet, it’s not as if it’s not a concern.) What really struck me about this story is the way the British judiciary appears to have claimed for itself the right to determine what is racist, and to punish accordingly. This is, after all, the same British justice system that in West London was 79% more likely to jail black defendants after the summer riots, the same British justice system that sends black people to jail for driving offences 44% more than white defendants, the same British justice system whose officers suffocated a young black man last year and told him that ‘the problem with you is you will always be a nigger.’

Is Laim Stacey a racist? Maybe. To be honest, that’s not the real problem. The problem is that 44% of black Britons aged between 16 and 24 are unemployed, as compared to 20% of their white peers. If we take racism to be a simple matter of Bad Racist People saying Bad Racist Things, it allows us to cover for the pervasive institutional and systemic racism that suffocates our society. If we can all jeer at the Nasty Bad Racist, the rest of us are let off the hook.

Take another case: earlier this year in Sanford, Florida, community watch co-ordinator George Zimmerman made a 911 call in which he described a ‘guy look[ing] like he is up to no good or on drugs or something.’ He then proceeded to chase down, shoot and kill Trayvon Martin, a black 17-year old described as ‘an A and B student majoring in cheerfulness,’ who had been in the area to buy some skittles and a can of iced tea. Is George Zimmerman a racist? Obviously, and the fact that he has not yet been charged with any crime is indicative of the horrific institutional racism still subsumed in American law enforcement. But the far bigger problem is  the place where the shooting occurred: The Retreat at Twin Lakes, an overwhelmingly white gated community where gates and security guards keep its rich residents in a state of suburban bliss, safe from the churning multiethnic chaos of the outside world. The problem is that places like this, where the presence of a black teenager on the street could constitute a cause for alarm, exist – and not only in Sanford; they’re ubiquitous, with up to eight million Americans living in similar communities. Zimmerman’s personal racism didn’t emerge from a vacuum; it’s a product of his politico-geographical milieu, a product of the vast underlying substrate that is American class and racial segregation.

Republican strategist Lee Atwater described perfectly the way racial issues have become masked over the course of the 20th Century in an anonymous interview:

You start out in 1954 by saying ‘nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now that you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is that blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘nigger, nigger.’

What, then, happens to the people who, in 2012, are still saying ‘nigger, nigger, nigger’? They become homo sacer, they’re a horrifying reminder of the actual content of the society whose mode of appearance is one of racial equality. The must be clamped down on, because they expose our hypocrisy. In the UK, where a high level of abstraction has been reached, Liam Stacey was clamped down on near-immediately. In Florida, where a lot of people still seem to be living somewhere between 1954 and 1968, the power structures are dragging their heels, but I’m sure George Zimmerman will be clamped down on too, eventually. He’s a monster; he certainly deserves it. But it won’t signify an end to the problem. It’s just another of its manifestations.

Go Go Gingrich!

I’ve not really been all that kind to Newt Gingrich in this space. I’ve made extensive fun of his ridiculous name, I’ve suggested that his primary bid should be ruled void on the grounds that he’s quite clearly a fictional character, I’ve accused him of wanting to feed ordinary Americans into a massive meat grinder and of being in league with Satanic forces. I still stand by all of that; it’s all true. But since then I’ve become convinced that Gingrich really is the best candidate for the Republican nomination and the Presidency.

Why? Just take a look at the opposition. First of all there’s Viscount Willard Mitt de Pfeffel Smittley-Hortelswick Mulchflaps Romney III (that is, as far as I can tell, his actual name), who is eventually going to win the primary despite the fact that not a single person in America seems to actually like him. That a plutocrat – someone who’s transcended being merely obscenely rich and has now entered the arena of the downright pornographic – should have a hard time appealing to the Republican base seems implausible: these people are ideologically conditioned to see parasites like him as living embodiments of the American dream. I have a theory. Republican voters, like dogs, can detect ill intent through some olfactory sixth sense; they can’t quite explain why, but they know something isn’t right with him. And they’re right. Mitt Romney isn’t human. He’s a space alien, who has decided to take part in one of our Earth elections for some nefarious reason – as a sociological experiment, a test before our induction into the Galactic Confederation of Light, for an interplanetary TV comedy, as respite from the boredom of a thousand years drifting between the stars; these are all equally plausible explanations. It’s the only way to account for the rubbery latex quality of his skin, his blindingly false grin, his hastily suppressed look of fear and panic whenever he’s brought into contact with a member of the general public, his tendency to sing several verses of America the Beautiful a capella at every fucking campaign stop. His candidacy looks exactly like an extraterrestrial’s attempt to imitate a political campaign. He’s an alien. Where’s the birth certificate, Romney? On what planet did you spawn?

Then there’s the feisty young contender, Rick Santorum, who may not be physically wearing Mormon underwear but does seem to have elasticated cotton wrapped firmly around his cerebral cortex, whose family of Italian communists can’t stand him, who oozes like he just waddled out of an oil slick, who wears sweater vests in campaign commercials, who dresses his daughters like Victorian child prostitutes, who has the disjointed little grin of a Mark Heap character, whose virulent homophoia isn’t fooling anyone, who seems to honestly think he can somehow reintroduce heavy industry to the United States, who looks like he’s been faceshrunk by God, who has a name like Rick Santorum. Is this really what we’ve come to, as a species? Rick Santorum? Really?

Nobody seems to ever pay much attention to Ron Paul, so I won’t either. He’d make a decent lovably racist grandfather, I guess, but that’s about all he’s got going for him. He might make some good points about maybe not using the invasion of foreign countries as a substitute for there being anything good on TV, but his appeal loses some of its lustre when you realise that he wants to let states reinstitute segregation and proposed sending mercenaries to take potshots at Somalian pirates (or fishermen – they’re all in boats, right?). His voice isn’t even rich and warm like David Attenborough’s, as it ought to be; it’s a hideous nasal whine. Plus, the Internet seems to love him, which makes me instantly distrustful.

Finally, there’s Prince Gloom himself, Barack Obama… as lightning flashes around the White House of Solitude, the grey-haired Prince Gloom sits on his throne of skulls in the Oval Tower, his dry lips flapping as he surveys the wreckage of his realm. A mumbled sentence escapes his parched throat. Grand Vizier Biden leans in, but cannot understand him. The doleful prince repeats himself, over and over again, his eyes whirling, his bony arms flailing about, until his words fly forth in a parched roar: I never wanted it like this. Collapsing into howls of anguish, the Prince gazes upon his portrait on the wall: the young  man who smiles from it now seems a terrifying and sinister stranger. He is being mocked. Joe, he hisses. Joe. Order a drone strike on that man. Maybe once Candidate Obama is reduced to a few grisly splatterings of blood and flesh, Prince Gloom will be able to find some peace…

If there’s one thing the Obama presidency has demonstrated, it’s that whatever their good intentions (and, to be honest, I’m pretty sceptical about Obama’s – his whole hope ‘n’ change shtick has the ring of some greasy PR company), elected officials can’t really get that much important stuff done. There are so many extrademocratic institutions put in place by the oligarchs operating the machinery behind the electoral spectacular that actually changing anything is all but impossible – and Obama didn’t even really try. And yet despite this millions of previously disillusioned lefty types are gearing up to vote for Obama again, not because he actually did anything, but because look how crazy the other guys are. It doesn’t matter. Just like how no Democrat is actually going to dismantle the military-industrial complex or create a single-payer healthcare system or start reacting seriously to climate change, no Republican is going to overturn Roe vs Wade or hunt down every undocumented migrant or institute capital punishment for adultery. It’s an elaborate spectacle, made to keep people voting, because if they keep voting, then power can maintain its pretences to legitimacy. That’s why I’ve not really paid much attention here to the actual policies of the various candidates: they don’t matter.

And that’s why I’m officially endorsing Newt Gingrich for President. Obama, in the days before he became Prince Gloom, fooled us all for a while with his grinning platitudes, but it could never last. Newt Gingrich is avaricious, venal, petty, grotesquely fat, repulsively libidinous, and gloriously vile. He has none of the glossy sheen of Romney or Santorum or Obama. He is unencumbered by bullshit. He divorces his wives while they receive treatment in hospital, he leers like a creepy uncle, he says monstrous things to hooting applause. Newt Gingrich turns ugliness into high art. He has perfected the aesthetics of the grotesque. Like it or not, he is the real face of America.

In an election full of simpering clones, Newt Gingrich is the only real human being. He won’t win, of course, because nobody really likes looking at themselves in the mirror. But as long as he stays in the race, he’ll remain an unpleasant reminder of what we all really are. God bless Newt Gingrich.

Morgendämmerung des Technokraten

Mario Monti should be constitutionally obligated to wear BDSM fetish gear for every public appearance.

Seriously, who the fuck is this guy? Mario Monti is a personality void, a lurching zombie, a big ol’ sack o’ jowls and rheumy eyes. Nobody with such a bouncily alliterative name should be allowed to be so boring. Gordon Brown, you can tell, likes the odd pint of bitter. Jimmy Carter had his weird thing with peanuts. Whatever, it’s a hobby. What does Mario Monti do for fun? Did Mario Monti ever have a childhood, or did he just cough himself into existence when the dust left accumulating in a forgotten corner of some business school gained sentience? Does Mario Monti have anything under the white Y-fronts he presumably wears, or is he just leathery and smooth like an Action Man? Is Mario Monti a human being, or just a clockwork automaton built in some secret lab out in a mountain bunker? If you prick him, does he actually bleed? There’s a process of thesis and antithesis here, but the dread gravity of Monti is almost enough to make me yearn for Berlusconi’s exuberant silliness. Almost.

Usually I’m all in favour of politicians being humourless weirdos. They’re not like us, they shouldn’t be like us. That’s why I had a lot of sympathy for Gordon Brown, against all my political instincts. Politicians should be real people, ugly people, not yippy grinning idiot replicants like Blair or the Milibands or Clegg or Cameron or Clinton or Obama or Palin or Cain or… the list goes on. But Monti is a very different type of animal (or mineral, as the case may well be) altogether. His dourness isn’t that of a serious and committed politician, it’s that of an obsessive ideological pervert. The technocrats have not been installed to save their countries. They’ve been brought in unelected because, for whatever reason, democratic politicians (even joke ones like Berlusconi) were unable or unwilling to push through the kind of debilitating austerity measures demanded by the markets. Their supposed ideological neutrality is nothing of the sort. It’s only neutral in the topsy-turvy world that has contorted itself into immanence after the end of history, where the primacy of capital, and finance capital in particular, is axiomatic. They are pursuing a specific ideological agenda, and it’s not a very pretty one.

Austerity, pain, savage cuts: this is the language of a leather-clad dominatrix. The people must suffer, they must be punished for their profligacy, they must be made to wince, they must bleed. It’s not their fault, not really, they just got caught up in a spending bubble promoted by the banks, but if they’re not sacrificed to the markets, the Furies of capitalism will tear them into grisly chunks. Or even worse, the financial institutions themselves might have to bear the brunt of their own fuckup. They need a lashing, and government has been marshalled into holding the whip. The fact that austerity economics doesn’t work is almost irrelevant here – what’s important is that it’s deeply immoral. The dawn of the technocrats marks a very strange turn in the supposed function of government – or, more accurately, a falling away of the abstractions that once surrounded it. The State is no longer a king on a throne, ruling and protecting its people. It’s an instrument; its purpose is to suck out as much from the nation as is possible, and deliver it on a platter to the international ruling class. It’s no longer people and their welfare that’s paramount, but the Economy, an ephemeral other dimension floating somewhere up in the sky, a capricious godly realm from which regular demands for new blood sacrifices emanate. And in such a situation, doesn’t it make sense for the State, relegated to a priesthood of the economy, to be controlled by professional vampires like Monti, rather than clunky old ideologues who may well misplace their priorities?

Who is Mario Monti? Well, for a start, he’s prominent in the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission. These names crop up a lot in the writings of conspiracy theorists, but this doesn’t mean that they’re not dangerous. They may not secretly run the world, they might not be hiding the truth about UFOs or poisoning us all with water flouridation, but they are institutions dedicated to the preservation of capitalism. The Bilderberg Group, where Monti sits on the ‘steering committee,’ runs a series of annual clandestine conferences where politicians and business interests can make arrangements to their mutual benefit. Its agendas are, needless to say, not made avaliable to the public. The Trilateral Commission, where Monti is European Commissioner, is a group aiming to increase co-operation between the elites of America, Europe, and Japan. What both groups have in common is an admirable sense of bipartisanship; both are composed of self-confessed liberals and conservatives, finding common ground in the preservation of the current mode of production. Ultimately, what they are achieving is the creation of a political consensus that supersedes any ideological distinctions, and right now, that consensus is called Austerity.

I haven’t even got to the good shit yet. Up until he was called to assume political power, Monti was an international advisor for Goldman Sachs. Y’know, Goldman Sachs, the bank that all but caused the current economic recession and that is now taking over Europe like a fungal infection. Details of what exactly his role at the bank consisted of are hard to find, but it’s pretty safe to assume he wasn’t urging them to accept government regulation or channel their obscene profits into combating inequality. Monti isn’t a heroically disinterested expert brought in to solve a tricky economic problem, he’s part of an apparatus of capitalist power. It’s his job to act in the interests of the financial elite, and it’s a job he’s carrying out with humourlessly sadistic gusto. Democratically elected politicians are (supposedly, at least) answerable to the people. Technocrats aren’t.

Let’s not beat around the bush here: let’s call this new technocracy exactly what it is: fascism. And let’s call the installation of these new unity governments in Greece and Italy exactly what it is: a coup. Fascism should not be allowed to hide under the cloak of dour pragmatism. Sadism should not be allowed to masquerade as realism. The old fascists of Italy were for the most part political imbeciles, but at least you could tell what they were from a single glance. That’s why the new Prime Minister of Italy should have to wear a gimp suit. Or at least crack a whip every time he says the word ‘austerità.’ Or, at the very least, pose menacingly with a glass of red wine and lowered eyebrows while an ugly cat purrs in his lap.

In Disagreement, the philosopher Jacques Rancière draws an important distinction between la politique (politics) and le politique (the political). Le politique, or la police, is, as Douzinas puts it, ‘the process of argumentation and negotiation among the various parts of the social whole’ that ‘aims at (re)distributing benefits, rewards and positions without challenging the overall balance.’ Against the political stands politics proper, the politics of the masses: while Rancière is suspicious of the idea of a ‘pure’ politics, nonetheless politics is a disruptive force, a political subjectivity with the potential to overturn the social order. The dawn of the technocrats is the political stripped of any vestiges of politics. With the ascendancy of unelected technocrats like Monti and Papandreou, liberal democracy itself is consigned to the graveyard of ideologies. The parameters have already been set by diktat: austerity is the only solution and the order of the political has no need for politicians. In this, the new technocracy is curiously similar to Lenin’s vision of the post-revolutionary state as being involved in little more than accountancy and book-keeping, as outlined in State and Revolution. The difference is that Lenin retains politics through the armed mass of the people, which is to be the real medium of social change. Technocracy maintains no such balance. If the mechanism of government has been depoliticised, then it’s time for politics proper to make itself known.

Cain vs. Gingrich: Battle of the Scrotums


The Woodlands, Texas. A stage. Two chairs. An audience. The whirring of cameras. Two SCROTUMS are engaged in debate, following the time-honoured traditions of Lincoln and Douglas.

SCROTUM GINGRICH: Mr Cain, as the stunningly handsome business genius who transformed Godfather Pizza into the multinational colossus it is today, what steps do you think will be necessary to infuse American society with the rich tasty lip-smacking goodness that Godfather Mozza-Loaded pizza crusts exemplify?

Frenzied applause.

SCROTUM CAIN: Well, I would say that the American people know better than the Government what they want to do with their money. And clearly what they want to do is use it as kindling to burn down every mosque in the country. And if the Beltway bureaucrats up in Washington DC don’t want to go ahead with that, well then, they need to be taken out of the equation.

Enraptured applause.

SCROTUM CAIN: But returning the question to you, Mr Gingrich: as one our nation’s premier fascists, with decades of experience in the vindictive abuse of personal power under your belt – as a great American, in other words, how do you think we can restore the spirit of our country?

Ecstatic applause.

SCROTUM GINGRICH: I think that there’s this real culture of dependency these days, and that needs to be gotten rid of – if people need food, why can’t they grow it themselves? If people need healthcare, why can’t they perform keyhole surgery on themselves? We have the Internet now, anyone can diagnose themselves with all manner of diseases. Any disease they want. That’s freedom of choice, people! We need to get away from a situation where people are thinking, oh, I have this disease, how is the Government going to help me out? What we need to do is encourage people to start thinking, how can I proactively work to fix my own problems?

Orgasmic applause.

SCROTUM CAIN: Well, I completely agree. This is gonna get taken the wrong way, but, you know, I didn’t take no political correctness school. If people don’t want to go out there and get themselves a job, if they want to be lazy and rely on handouts, and if they’re angry because those handouts are getting taken away – well, that’s their boogie-woogie, as my grandmomma used to say.

Gleeful suicides.

SCROTUM GINGRICH: If I could interject – the other day I received an email from my good friend, the prophylactic industrialist Baron von Rubber. And he told me that our debt crisis could be solved tomorrow if we took everyone currently on government handouts and systematically fed them into an enormous meat grinder to retrieve the trace elements of precious metals within their bodies. And that’s exactly the kind of dynamic forward thinking that the private sector provides, and that’s exactly the kind of thinking we need to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

SCROTUM CAIN: I’m glad we agree. It’s been an honour to debate with you. [He gives an esoteric signal]

Ominous chanting. Lights start to dim. The two SCROTUMS link arms and chant along, a look of hideous glee on their rubbery scrotal faces.

SCROTUMS: [in unison] Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn! Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn! Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

A foul-smelling wind is conjured. Lightbulbs shatter. The spectral visage of RONALD REAGAN floats above the podium, his ectoplasm contorting itself into an expression of dread horror. His eldritch Masters promised him an eternity of bliss in the afterlife if he did their bidding on Earth; now he knows that their afterlife contains only more horror. The SCROTUMS chant faster and faster, their jowls visibly distending even in the murky gloom. REAGAN opens his mouth, revealing a dark chamber seething with worms in which rotten teeth protrude like ancient obelisks. Maggots crawl from the depths of his empty eye-sockets. REAGAN blasts the audience with a monstrous scream. The audience prostrate themselves in terror before this Unholy Trinity. A swarm of locusts hovers above them, buzzing like a thousand hellish violins, before coalescing into the shape of the moderator, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE STEVE KING, who strides up onto the stage.

KING: Thank you, Scrotum Cain and Scrotum Gingrich, for this lively and entertaining debate.

The ghastly shape of REAGAN fades. The SCROTUMS shake each other by the hand and exit. Those in the audience that have survived stare blankly into the distance with the deadened eyes of one who has seen past the fictions of everyday life and witnessed the gibbering horror of the Universe as it really is – although they did walk into the room with the exact same expression. There is no respite: the degenerated Punch & Judy show of electoral politics is not over, its grotesque charade can never end – not until the Six Pillared Gate is smashed and the Beast of Khapti’gytag’l is slain. Outside the building, a REPORTER speaks to camera.

REPORTER: Well, Dan, it’s been a very interesting debate here in Texas, with both scrotums agreeing on a whole range of issues. I’m being told that today’s Satanic apparition has caused at most only a few hundred cases of blindness across the country, which as you’ll know is a significant improvement on last month’s debate in Las Vegas. Well, you know what they say, folks: democracy isn’t perfect, but it’s better than all the alternatives.

The dark cloud hanging over the building begins to melt away. Up next on C-SPAN: Michelle Bachmann and Hillary Clinton in a round of Foxy Boxing.

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