Holiday greetings from Holy-Fuck-the-Weather-Sucks, Alberta.
The past year held so many joyous achievements for the Manifesto family. Please grab a pen to make jot notes while I recite them to you in detail.
Sophie-Bear was inducted into the Cutest Kitty to Ever Exist Hall of Fame and was formally recognized as 'the perfection that hails from the gold-dusted flatulence of the highest ranking archangel.' There are now plans underway to erect a statue of her in Cairo, Egypt, the ancient home of ultimate cat worship, that will be approximately the size of a Clydesdale horse and coated in 10K gold. But I hear your fifth born attended his first Mommy and Me aquatics lesson at the local rec centre - gosh, you must be so proud.
In addition to Sophie's achievements, our household busied with the buzz of Snorticus Maximus, who attracted the attention of Internet Entertainment Cat Agencies from around the world. Ultimately we decided it was best for Snort to leave cat-stardom for the next inexplicably perfect, feline specimen, if by some chance a cat of her magnitude should ever exist again.
As expected, Snort was disappointed, but she has come to understand that it is I, her mother, who made the true sacrifice to remain working in a fluorescent lit, cubicle jail to protect her from being pimped like a cat-child, show-biz whore, thus robbing her of her kittyhood and potentially molding her into a waste-of-fur asshole. Thankfully she is a cat and will never scream the words "fuck you, you wrecked my life!" like your children will when they reach the age of thirteen.
Sophie also has a new love interest, a reputable long haired stud named Colonel Meow, AKA Sasquatch Cat, whom she met through Snort's exposure to 'the industry.' There was discussion of Sophie appearing with Squatch in Grumpy Cat's upcoming Christmas special titled, It's Beginning to Look A lot Like . . . Fuck This, but Squatch was recently busted with a couple ounces of cat-nip and has since been pulled from the documentary. We will continue to fight for kitty rights and raise awareness of the medicinal benefits of cat-nip.
2013 was a true blessing to our family and we hope you're loving life as much as we are in our first world bubble of perfection. Now it's time to crack a beer, openly use the c-word without having the word recycled in front of a third grade teacher, and then sleep in as late as I fucking want.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The Manifesto Family
It's rare I meet a man who makes me do a double take based on esthetic attractiveness alone. Culligan Man, the dude who delivers our water at work, is an exception, and his prettiness is so potent his mere presence can be bowel-churning, his sparkling eyes blinding beneath the stark fluorescent lights, as if he's some glitch in the Matrix's programming. Despite Culligan Man's jarring good looks, I'm not attracted to him. At all. And yet I still noticed an awkward energy when he walks into a room, as if he's silently begging those he meets not to objectify him as a hot piece of ass, as if he's trying to convince the world that he, too, rips man-farts that can clear a room.
I conceptualize social constructs of esthetic attractiveness and the ogling of those constructs (e.g., so n' so has nice tits, therefore she's hot) as quite different from sex appeal. On the other hand, sex appeal (or human attraction in general) seems to be a personal phenomenon that is not easily defined. Then there are those human anomalies who throw the "personal" angle of sex appeal out the window, who, despite not mirroring society's strict, robot-like standards of beauty, possess such magnetism that they garner widespread swooning, as if they wear the residue of some sort of fucked up, Voodoo, sex magic.
And so I introduce to you Chino Moreno, lead vocalist of Deftones, one of the few high profile bands that came into fruition in the 90s and haven't sold out to the dumbed down standards of the mainstream.
Over the years Deftones have progressed from an easy-listening metal band to a band that creates complex and experimental music, yet manages to hone a distinct sound that I refer to as I should be high or having sex right now music.
Back-in-the-day Chino reflected a young, dark featured image of what Western society deems attractive, and therefore his swoony persona was a given. But over the decades Deftones fans have watched Chino physically morph as he matures and it hasn't seemed to diminish his sex aura. I once read a conversation online that played out as follows:
"Chino has gotten fat."
"Your mom would still do him."
"Yes, she would."
Chino is not a genetic fluke like Clooney or Pitt. Period. And so I wondered . . . what is it with Chino Moreno?
I decided to conduct my own observational research and concluded the best place to collect data of people's most uncensored and Neanderthal-like reactions to Chino Moreno was to scour the comments on youtube.
The comment feed for this now old-school, acoustic version of "Be Quiet and Drive" was ripe with lust. One dude commented that Chino gave him, and I quote, "man-chills," and a girl called out Chino in grammatically incorrect, youtube blabber stating, "Chino . . . I hate that you ruined every guy in my eyes," which in proper English can be translated to, "Chino . . . I hate how no other guy can live up to your superior sex magic."
Other videos were littered with comments like . . .
"Seriously. . . . meeeooowww. LOVE."
And in what I can only assume to be a fit of frenzied lust, Athena wrote, "Oh, Chino, so sexy . . . gosh."
But it didn't stop at the women. One dude wrote, "dear reincarnation, may I request to come back as Chino in my next life please, for he is the coolest man on earth. More common were the dudes who openly discussed their raging boners after watching a Deftones video. The following specimens were typical, status quo comments:
"I'm so horny right now."
"WHO WANTS TO MAKE A BABY TO THIS SONG?"
"If sex were music, this would be it."
"I have a boner."
The video below for the song "Sextape" is one of my favorite music videos of all time. Its dreamscape images are what I saw in my mind's eye when I laid in my bedroom at seventeen listening to their White Pony album.
Chino nor any of the other band members are in the video, however, this does not damper the lust buzz of the video's comment feed. One dude comments, "Chino makes me question my straightness," and another dude expresses his gratefulness for the creation of the song because it is "like unicorn tears."
I love unicorns. Those who personally know me can attest that I often make reference to a magical, imaginary land called Unicornia, and at one point I had a unicorn figurine I named, quite fittingly in this circumstance, Boner. But the "unicorn tears" comment threw me off. Had I fallen into an internet vortex? Had I accidentally slipped into the virtual backdoor of a Bronies forum for dudes who dig My Little Ponies?
No. It seemed I was still in a comment feed for Deftones. Not Gaga, or Lauper, or Ke$ha, or some Japanese act, or some band featured on the soundtrack of a 1980s fantasy movie - no, no. I was in a comment feed for this band:
Suddenly everything I understood about the world - all the little boxes I had created in my mind - were lit on fire then doused in, you guessed it, unicorn tears. But one conclusion I did make was when it comes to the hard rock sub-culture of my generation, Chino's sex magic may be on par with Morrissey's. Or close to it. Or at least has the potential to be close to it. And that's fucking impressive.
Did I make any solid conclusions as to the ingredients of Chino's unique brew of sex magic? Not really. But I did narrow down one common quality that seems to infiltrate his appeal: Juxtaposition. And by juxtaposition I mean his persona's convergence of humility and cool confidence, tenderness and testicular fortitude, a visual style that crossbreeds classic and street. But hands down his most sex magical tension is his vocal style that ranges from post love-making lullabies, to hardcore, soul explosive belly wails.
While I may have failed at successfully demystifying Chino's appeal, I have done a public service for the guys out there who are stuck in the friend zone - Chino is your man. No, not the man to name your body pillow after, but a mysteriously magnetic man-specimen to take notes on. Apparently he's worth the study.
Within the last month some monumental plot points have been written in the real-time, historical documentation of How the World Went to Shit.
While middle-management elite pow-wowed at the annual Bilderberg meeting - an appropriate, atmospheric backdrop to the recent news-story maelstrom, Turkey hit center stage in the realm of indie media as protesters took to the streets to save Gezi Park and resist government oppression.
The now infamous Lady in Red photo (courtesy of Osman Orsal)
Staying en vogue with the global, political vibe, protesters were met with murderous n' maiming brutality from police dressed as bobbleheaded storm troopers.
- On the 'Turkish Model': Neo-liberal Democracy with Teargas (an overview of the Turkish protesters' motivations and the violent oppression that has been thrust upon them)
- Riot Police Rush to Crush Renewed Turkey Protests
- Turkish Police Brutality Tumbler (a photo journal)
Meanwhile, Bradley Manning resurfaced in the mainstream as his trial began for passing classified materials to WikiLeaks.
- Bradley Manning Court Martial Under Way: Military Trial Threatens Basic American Freedom ("The Bradley Manning court martial that began June 3 looks like another defining moment for America – another indication of whether we are becoming the nation of supine toadies our government wants, or whether we still have enough devotion to the common good to behave in ways as decent and risky as Bradley Manning.")
News also broke about Anonymous hacker, Deric Lostutter being raided at gun point by the FBI for his key role in 'outing' the Steubenville rape case that lead to the conviction of two rapists. According to reports, Deric could face a maximum of 10 years in jail.
These story arcs thread a common theme that rises again and again, like a bloated body buried below sea level. While this re-occurring phenomenon is difficult to break down, box, and label, it reflects a swelling, moral dichotomy between the inherited values of a system that is out of control, and an elevating human consciousness that is becoming increasingly resistant to the opposing power.
The world that once seemed too complex to conceptualize in 'black and white' is playing out like a silent, 1920s picture show, and the grey space that once fooled us into thinking the benefit of humanity was in there (somewhere), is being swallowed by a blackness that has become too unethical-- too psychotic-- to white-wash the truth of the tyrannical system any longer.
But the event that demoted these other occurrences to 'extras' on the stage of the Western freak show was former CIA dude turned whistle blower, Edward Snowden outing the National Security Agency's classified PRISM program, a state surveillance structure that intercepts and stores digital communications: phone conversations, text messages, phone records, emails, documents, financial information, videos, photos, audio and video chats, social media communications, and possibly cyber farts. While it's probably assumed our digital dealings are accessible to the higher-ups to some degree, this whistleblow takes those suspicions to a whole new level-- like the government is hiding in your bedroom closet 'fapping' while watching you pick a boogie out of your nose kind of level.
Political rebuttals to the post whistleblow scrutiny excused PRISM by jerking off the same deceptive, game-play they always do under the guise of national security and fraudulent heroics. In doing so, the intended target of the PRISM program was repeatedly touted as "foreign targets located outside the United States." We know that's pacifying bullshit, but as a Canadian, it still irked me - you know, that whole "imperialism" thing.
While the foreign angle may be a soother in the mouth of sheeple looking for something sweet to help swallow the taste of bullshit, the familiar cockiness of the American government (and its puppet masters) in regards to infringing on the lives of outsiders left me peering down the same, dark hole many others from many countries have been pushed into at the selling out of their governments, at the hands of U.S. occupation, at the strategic order of the untouchable, shadow elite. I was left with a seething, overwhelming feeling of fuck you.
After reading reports suggesting British spy agency, GCHQ also collects people's private communications and shares them with the NSA, I expected Canada was doing the same.
With further digging, I learned that Canada already has its own Big Brother surveillance in place:
- NSA Spying On Canadians, CSEC Capable of Similar Surveillance: Experts
- NSA's Canadian Counterpart Runs Massive Domestic Spy Program
The typical response from fellow civilians to the confirmation that we're now living in Orwell's 1984 has been, "if you're doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about." I understand that may seem logical when disconnected from the political beast's underbelly - I've been there - but shit has gotten way too weird to continue to adhere to that cop out.
If we're not breaking the law, why should we care if government agencies are monitoring us and storing all our digital communications in a databank?
The issue with PRISM and its counterparts is the unequal distribution of power, and this level of civilian surveillance puts a terrifying, super cell into the hands of governments, the corporatocracy, and the super elite (all of whom are in bed with one another). This kind of surveillance also puts everyday civilians into a state of unprecedented vulnerability where our level of freedom/ enslavement is entirely controlled by the whims of those holding the super cell. It's kind of like handing over the wheel to a psychopathic douche bag who is high on meth, closing your eyes, and praying it all works out in the end.
The 'only law breakers need worry' mentality surrounding mass government stalking crumbles when pitted against a number of realities, one being the creation of laws themselves, which are not necessarily democratic or even reflective of basic, human good. In Canada we've seen an influx of new policies and amendments that rape the environment and hinder our constitutional rights, and based on the subsequent outrage of informed citizens, and the organization of movements like Idle No More, I wouldn't say these legislative changes reflect the collective, democratic voice of the Canadian people. And that's the clincher - governments will continue to pass legislation and tweak laws to fit their own agenda (or possibly the agenda of the shadow elite), and increment by increment, everyday freedoms will be smothered under criminalization.
While government agencies may claim to be targeting foreign threats (AKA, "terrorists"), who we've been conditioned to perceive as dark-skinned villains from an alien land, it's suspected that Big Brother's real focus is now the increasing monitorization of activists, journalists, academics, and government dissenters in general. These people are, quite fittingly, now labelled "terrorists" under the propagandist ploy to normalize them as threats to national security. The true reason why activists are being targeted is because they challenge the pre-existing power structure, and those in control don't like that.
Rest assured, those who don't care about civilian surveillance, the erosion of environmental protections, the gross exploitation by the super rich, etc., and who perceive institutional resisters as fringe extremists who should be squashed, will eventually have their time. If we continue on this socio-political path, every single one of us will come to a point when we get crotch-punched by some government sanctioned control that personally infringes upon us or our loved ones in such a 'are you fucking kidding me?' way that we'll be motivated to fight back. Except there's a good chance that when that time comes, our basic rights to express democratic dissent will be long gone, largely in thanks to programs like PRISM.
- Are You a Multi-Issue Extremist? How Activism is Becoming Terrorism
- CSIS Spying on Citizens at Alarming Rate, FOIs Reveal
- UN Slams Quebec's 'Alarming' Anti-protest Laws
- Canada criminalizes masks at 'unlawful' protests with up to ten years in prison (and yeah, the line between a lawful assembly and an unlawful assembly seems to be blurry, if not indistinguishable).
And then there is the issue of blackmail/ coercion.
When a person gets a security clearance check prior to working with sensitive, government related information, the focus of that process is to ensure the applicant doesn't have skeletons in the closet that could be used for blackmail and subsequently put the government (or public) at risk. If government institutions grasp this concept, so much so that they've developed systemized clearance structures to protect themselves from this vulnerability, I think it's fair to say they fully understand the power they wield by storing all our digital communications. Under programs like PRISM, it's guaranteed they have something on all of us that could damage or destroy certain aspects of our lives, or other people's lives, no matter how innocent those communications may have been in context. The opportunity for manipulation is limitless. Simply put, these surveillance programs give governments the leverage to personally suckle whatever they want from us, whenever they want.
I've never formally studied government resistance on a macro scale, nor do I know a step by step itinerary for dismantling a growing tyranny, but I do know we need to cleanse ourselves of the institutional mind-fuck, (re)learn critical thinking (possibly with the help of some history lessons), and truly tap into our gut, human morality as to what feels right or wrong/ just or unjust. More importantly, we need to have each other's backs, no matter what our personal stances or positions, and stand up for our personal liberties and basic, democratic rights - we can squabble about all the other shit later. History teaches that the greatest weapon of a totalitarian power is to conquer and divide, which tells us that our greatest weapon, nationally and globally, is our growing unity.
The following was originally posted in a Reddit feed by user 161719, and was re-published by Occupy Wall street. The fact that I rarely re-publish other people's writings signifies how important I perceive this to be.
Art by Shepard Fairey
"I live in a country generally assumed to be a dictatorship. One of the Arab spring countries. I have lived through curfews and have seen the outcomes of the sort of surveillance now being revealed in the US. People here talking about curfews aren't realizing what that actually FEELS like. It isn't about having to go inside, and the practicality of that. It's about creating the feeling that everyone, everything is watching.
A Few Points
1) The purpose of this surveillance from the government's point of view is to control enemies of the state. Not terrorists. People who are coalescing around ideas that would destabilize the status quo. These could be religious ideas. These could be groups like anon who are too good with tech for the governments liking. It makes it very easy to know who these people are. It also makes it very simple to control these people.
Let's say you are a college student and you get in with some people who want to stop farming practices that hurt animals. So you make a plan and go to protest these practices. You get there, and wow, the protest is huge. You never expected this, you were just goofing off. Well now everyone who was there is suspect. Even though you technically had the right to protest, you're now considered a dangerous person.
With this tech in place, the government doesn't have to put you in jail. They can do something more sinister. They can just email you a sexy picture you took with a girlfriend. Or they can email you a note saying that they can prove your dad is cheating on his taxes. Or they can threaten to get your dad fired. All you have to do, the email says, is help them catch your friends in the group. You have to report back every week, or you dad might lose his job. So you do. You turn in your friends and even though they try to keep meetings off grid, you're reporting on them to protect your dad.
2) Let's say number one goes on. The country is a weird place now. Really weird. Pretty soon, a movement springs up like occupy, except its bigger this time. People are really serious, and they are saying they want a government without this power. I guess people are realizing that it is a serious deal. You see on the news that tear gas was fired. Your friend calls you, frantic. They're shooting people. Oh my god. you never signed up for this. You say, fuck it. My dad might lose his job but I won't be responsible for anyone dying. That's going too far. You refuse to report anymore. You just stop going to meetings. You stay at home, and try not to watch the news. Three days later, police come to your door and arrest you. They confiscate your computer and phones, and they beat you up a bit. No one can help you so they all just sit quietly. They know if they say anything they're next. This happened in the country I live in. It is not a joke.
3) It's hard to say how long you were in there. What you saw was horrible. Most of the time, you only heard screams. People begging to be killed. Noises you've never heard before. You, you were lucky. You got kicked every day when they threw your moldy food at you, but no one shocked you. No one used sexual violence on you, at least that you remember. There were some times they gave you pills, and you can't say for sure what happened then. To be honest, sometimes the pills were the best part of your day, because at least then you didn't feel anything. You have scars on you from the way you were treated. You learn in prison that torture is now common. But everyone who uploads videos or pictures of this torture is labeled a leaker. Its considered a threat to national security. Pretty soon, a cut you got on your leg is looking really bad. You think it's infected. There were no doctors in prison, and it was so overcrowded, who knows what got in the cut. You go to the doctor, but he refuses to see you. He knows if he does the government can see the records that he treated you. Even you calling his office prompts a visit from the local police.
You decide to go home and see your parents. Maybe they can help. This leg is getting really bad. You get to their house. They aren't home. You can't reach them no matter how hard you try. A neighbor pulls you aside, and he quickly tells you they were arrested three weeks ago and haven't been seen since. You vaguely remember mentioning to them on the phone you were going to that protest. Even your little brother isn't there.
4) Is this even really happening? You look at the news. Sports scores. Celebrity news. It's like nothing is wrong. What the hell is going on? A stranger smirks at you reading the paper. You lose it. You shout at him "fuck you dude what are you laughing at can't you see I've got a fucking wound on my leg?"
"Sorry," he says. "I just didn't know anyone read the news anymore." There haven't been any real journalists for months. They're all in jail.
Everyone walking around is scared. They can't talk to anyone else because they don't know who is reporting for the government. Hell, at one time YOU were reporting for the government. Maybe they just want their kid to get through school. Maybe they want to keep their job. Maybe they're sick and want to be able to visit the doctor. It's always a simple reason. Good people always do bad things for simple reasons.
You want to protest. You want your family back. You need help for your leg. This is way beyond anything you ever wanted. It started because you just wanted to see fair treatment in farms. Now you're basically considered a terrorist, and everyone around you might be reporting on you. You definitely can't use a phone or email. You can't get a job. You can't even trust people face to face anymore. On every corner, there are people with guns. They are as scared as you are. They just don't want to lose their jobs. They don't want to be labeled as traitors.
This all happened in the country where I live.
You want to know why revolutions happen? Because little by little by little things get worse and worse. But this thing that is happening now is big. This is the key ingredient. This allows them to know everything they need to know to accomplish the above. The fact that they are doing it is proof that they are the sort of people who might use it in the way I described. In the country I live in, they also claimed it was for the safety of the people. Same in Soviet Russia. Same in East Germany. In fact, that is always the excuse that is used to surveil everyone. But it has never ONCE proven to be the reality.
Maybe Obama won't do it. Maybe the next guy won't, or the one after him. Maybe this story isn't about you. Maybe it happens 10 or 20 years from now, when a big war is happening, or after another big attack. Maybe it's about your daughter or your son. We just don't know yet. But what we do know is that right now, in this moment we have a choice. Are we okay with this, or not? Do we want this power to exist, or not?
You know for me, the reason I'm upset is that I grew up in school saying the pledge of allegiance. I was taught that the United States meant "liberty and justice for all." You get older, you learn that in this country we define that phrase based on the constitution. That's what tells us what liberty is and what justice is. Well, the government just violated that ideal. So if they aren't standing for liberty and justice anymore, what are they standing for? Safety?
Ask yourself a question. In the story I told above, does anyone sound safe?
I didn't make anything up. These things happened to people I know. We used to think it couldn't happen in America. But guess what? It's starting to happen.
I actually get really upset when people say "I don't have anything to hide. Let them read everything." People saying that have no idea what they are bringing down on their own heads. They are naive, and we need to listen to people in other countries who are clearly telling us that this is a horrible horrible sign and it is time to stand up and say no."