Tag Archives: party

Reaching Out Right

There are many things keeping the underemployed and oppressed people of both left and right at polar ends of the spectrum. Radicalizing extremist movements, manipulative systems of power and hard fought biases prevent the largest, most powerful populist movement in American History from emerging and meeting on the ground between their silos.

 It seems a little dismissive and condescending to assume that low-income, working class white America votes against its self interests. Democrats have done almost as much harm to the poor over the decades as Republicans have, and offer few strong, progressive solutions. Both sides understand that change is needed, but disagree on the details. The minds of those on the right are as complex as someone with any other ideological stance, and to think otherwise reveals a disturbingly close-minded bias. As for the conservative bias, however, research indicates a predisposition to obey authoritarian social orders and subtle cues.

Researcher Chris Mooney calls them “authoritarians,” those who are particularly allergic to uncertainty and fiercely refuse to modify their beliefs in response to new evidence. They “extol traditional values, are very conventional, submit to established leaders, and don’t seem to care much about dissent or civil liberties.”

Science is discovering that the brains of those who rely on belief and intuition shift away from analytical and critical thinking, and vice-versa. All it takes is a little movement over time towards the science-based facts, to being a more “open personality” than a close one, and people will begin to work with one another. There are always those out there who, deep down, value individual liberty more than conformity.
This may even result in conservatives seeming happier, by large. They may be unburdened with the worries of the social contract, and cheerfully resolute in their locked-in worldview. But it can also result in a nasty case of cognitive dissonance, since so many facts about the economy, business ethics, science and education are in direct opposition to the deceptive claims of the GOP leadership. When faced with such facts, research indicates that believers become more entrenched in their position, as all humans are wired to do. In fact, as conservatives get more educated or “informed” on an issue such as global warming, they end up more disconnected from the facts. While most people do not get their news from anywhere at all, repeated studies show that those that get theirs from FOX News are consistently the least well-informed.

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read then newspaper, you’re misinformed.” ~Mark Twain

The echo chamber of Big Conservative Media, and the center-right media bent on protecting the status quo of inequality, “frames” every argument in moral terms that benefit their side, of course. Their twisting of quotes, research, statistics and rhetoric have resulted in millions of Americans distrusting science, medicine, and even critical-thinking itself. Contrived controversies obscure the actual state of humanity’s knowledge at this point in history. Analytical people are all ignorantly cast as atheists, who are now the most hated subgroup in the country. (Interestingly, testing shows that those “primed” with reminders of America’s secular authority and history are less likely to distrust atheists).
False dichotomies have forced the conservative mind further to the right, as moderates were slowly ousted during the Gingrich era (and again today), and replaced by the fundamentalists who worship selfishness instead of a more morally responsible individualism. To get an idea of this devolution, one need only read the harshest words of William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater, then compare them to the most reactionary accomplishments of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, to the radical activism of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, to the angry language of the Tea Party. (For a thorough shock to the system, read some Abraham Lincoln for comparison).
“When you say “radical right” today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.”
~Barry Goldwater
Much of this extremism was introduced so slowly that people did not even notice they were caving into it, like the fabled frog in the pot of boiling water. Things that would have been ghastly yesteryear are commonly accepted “best practices” today; spying on all domestic communications, suspending habeas corpus and due process, corporate bribery, assassinations and torture.
The social contract fails when the masses are enslaved and subjugated by a select, powerful few. This classist bias has existed since the beginning of our history, but so has the gradual, progressive march away from restrictive, totalitarian systems.
Ayn Rand’s psychotic philosophy has been shown to be a disaster. The super-rich prove to us that they cannot be trusted again and again. Trickle-down economics was a failed experiment for a long time, but it continues now as a virulent lie. Milton Friedman’s unregulated ‘free market’ principles have become religious tenets, both in their fundamentalist tone and faith-based refutation of facts. Many have suggested that the primary role of neoliberalism was as an ideological cover for capital accumulation by multinational corporations.

“The laws of commerce are the laws of Nature, and therefore the laws of God.” ~Edmund Burke

Their wealth is essentially no better than hoarding, and their risky banking as dangerous as drunk driving. Conservative think tanks have been corrupting data with bias, slowly overtaking think tanks, and lobbied for less regulation than we’ve had in 30 years.
The history of our Protestant work ethic has written these ideas into our culture, so we are painfully susceptible to being manipulated by them.

“At the unconscious level, Americans believe that good people succeed, that success is bestowed upon you by God, your success demonstrates that God loves you.”

~Clotaire Rapaille, author “The Culture Code”

Now, the dystopian visions of Upton Sinclair’s It Can’t Happen Here are coming true, with the rise of corpofascism helped along by right-wing activist courts, bought legislators, unleashed lobbying, propaganda, disenfranchising voters and silencing dissent. The rich are not particularly smarter, (though they can afford higher education without incurring crippling debt). Nor do they create more jobs, as corporations are always looking to downsize, outsource, automate or maximize profits by destroying the middle class. Consumerism has been shown, in fact, to be a driver of antisocial behavior, and the percentage of psychopaths in finance may be higher than the percentage of the general population.
The powers that have been growing have successfully engineered a false moral argument that all taxes are immoral, and that the rich are the infallible engines of the economy, when any reasonable mind knows that some taxation is needed to maintain and  grow an infrastructure as large as the United States, and that no group is without faults. The rich are all too quick to remind the populace that the working class are not the producers or job creators, and may even be leeches of the system. All in the hopes that the people will forget that we are The Public, the working class, the constituency, the consumers, and the voters of the United States of America.

“Democrats have moved to the right, and the Right has moved into a mental hospital!” ~Bill Maher

American democracy needs two strong, solid political parties, but currently one of the parties is just a mess – incapable of making coherent policy when it’s in office, and dangerously obstructionist when it’s out of office. It has also has the effect of energizing sovereign citizens, secessionists and white nationalists.

Though American democracy needs two strong political parties, one is just a dangerous, incoherent mess, and neither the president nor the voters are likely to change this. It will probably take interests within the party who are worried that the crazy will impede their ability to get things done, that will push to end it.

We’ve seen a little bit of this already. During the healthcare debate, many normally Republican-leaning groups chose to work with the Obama administration and cut their best deal, rather than sticking with the rejectionist GOP. Several companies quit the conservative state lobbying organization ALEC when it became controversial by lobbying for ideological and partisan goals. On the national security side, a break has emerged between the Department of Defense and movement conservatives; both conservatives who care about national security and (on some issues) businesses might choose to stick with the Pentagon. And it’s not quite the same thing, but there’s been a small but steady stream of defectors from the movement.

Many in the Republican party (or conservative or libertarian or center-right independents), are not happy about the destructive course the party is on.
Rep. Alan SimpsonFormer Chairman Jim GreerReagan-appointed Judge Richard PosnerFreshman Republican Richard Hannah, and others have decried the co-opting of their political philosophy by scheming conspirators. Though they are discounted as ‘moderates’ (as if it were an insult) or ‘RINOs’ (Republicans in Name Only). This fracturing creates opportunities for reform.
There have to be ways to amicably bring people in the Red States to a more rational and reasonable mindset, where even if real progress does not take hold, at least they won’t be working against the development of a civilized human race. A way for conscionable and socially-responsible citizens to declare, “Not in My Back Yard!”
There is even a small conservative town in Texas where the city’s mayor, police force and Tea Party movement support their local Occupy protestors.
Even within the Catholic church there are progressive elements and stirrings. Attacking religion is ignorant and counterproductive anyway.
The trends also show us some hope. For even though polls shoe that about 40 percent of Americans believe that God created the Earth less than 10,000 years ago, secularism is on the rise in America. The Millenials (the ‘digital native’ youth on the cusp of adulthood), are more science-minded and skeptical than ever before:

Polls and surveys, like this one from Pew or this one from the Center for American Progress, have helped paint a picture of the Millennials. They’re the most ethnically diverse generation in American history: just under 60% are white, a record low. They’re also one of the most politically progressive generations in decades: they voted for Barack Obama over John McCain by a 2-to-1 margin and opposed the Iraq war by 77% to 21%. They’re disinclined to prolong the culture wars: for the most part, they’re comfortable with gay marriage, immigration, racial and gender equality. They tend to marry later in life, to be highly educated,politically engaged and technologically savvy, and to place a high value on leisure and civic engagement. And they’re the least religious generation of Americans ever;  the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans now exceeds 1 in 4 among the Millennials, a record high.

Millenials also exhibit a new phenomenon, they are getting less religious as they get older. Most importantly, by 2020, the Millennials will represent almost 40% of all American voters.
Other trends in America include the record low approval ratings of government (where conservatives have always led the way) and distrust of organized religion.
But this should not just be a waiting game. Nor should it be a zero-sum game. There are many social issues that, we must all agree, will not be solved with consensuses reached, and will remain for each side to argue and debate for decades. But on many issues, we do agree, and are both amenable to compromise in the light of the truth and moral reality. A plurality of Americans support a tax hike on the rich, for example.

Most Americans oppose the Citizen’s United decision, and do not consider corporations to be people.

We agree on our rights and liberties being protected and protecting the constitution. We recognize the importance of community, family, social responsibility, the need for transparency and accountability in our leaders and the powerful, and the consequences of not planning for the future. We believe in freedom of speech, freedom from religious oppression, guarding against unreasonable searches and seizures, and supporting our patriots. Very few on the right are criticizing Obama for his murder of citizens without due process, violations of human rights, and suppression of the freedom of press. Instead, rabid demagogues condemn the president for wanting to take away guns, institute Maoist socialism, and kill babies, (none of which have come to pass).

 There are Ron Paulites who can be won over, libertarians who can be de-brainwshed, and Tea Partiers to be deprogrammed. The moderates must reclaim and recover the Republican party from the hawkish, neoconservative elites.
But there are many who refuse to let help each other to help each other. They cannot be reached, defying all reason and ethical pleadings for compromise. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” only works when the other party doesn’t also believe that “you’re either with us or against us.”
As for the stubborn power-mad elements within the GOP, it will be a slow, building process. Taking a cue from the very rise of the ‘New Right’, it will be a war by inches, death by a thousand cuts.
They have turned ‘liberal’ into a bad word, and shamelessly attempt to do the same to ‘progressive’. We can turn their own conservative tactics against them: projection (the ‘I-am-rubber-you-are-glue’ now employed by Romney), false polemics, shouting down opponents with ‘Gish Gallop‘ and sound bites, “framing” or changing the conversation, picking subjects made to look ridiculous, and perhaps even dirt-dishing perfected by the likes of Karl Rove. If facts and figures will not convince them, use their own tactics to steamroll over them, not on their terms, but on their own turf.
All while building a new progressive movement with the trust-busting powers to make Theodore Roosevelt proud. We can construct a new economy movement of worker-owned co-ops, small local banks and credit unions, “responsible banking” ordinances, and consumer protection laws. We can endeavor to put worker, consumer, environmental, or community representatives of “stakeholder” groups on corporate boards. In other words, democratizing the American infrastructure.

Other models fit into what author Marjorie Kelly calls the “generative economy”–efforts that inherently nurture the community and respect the natural environment.

We must wage a media war on all fronts, with “new” media transforming our world and providing key tools that help organize revolts and even revolutions. We must present literature, research, and viable solutions in every medium in order to influence the mainstream, open dialogues with other political camps and change the national conversation.

People of any ideology will be able to see that the lower classes (anything below rich or super-rich or ‘filthy stinking’ rich), that we are being branded as corporate slaves, cyber-terrorists, dissidents or ‘dead weight’ for simply living free as we always have, and exercising what were once inalienable rights.

The solutions and actions are many, and need not come from one camp, or one level of expertise, or mandate. We can utilize social justice hacks as readily as pranks and culture jamming, hard-boiled citizen journalism and activism as well as street art and theatre. Create apps that bring more into the fold. Create freeform political ads (endorsed by neither candidate) informing the electorate that they are being manipulated. We need flyers, mailers, transmission interrupts, piracy, co-sponsored DJ events, town hall meetings, flashmobs and boycotts! It may take decades. But despite where we may disagree on those one or two issues, despite what the elites try to peddle us, we are all in this together.


An intoxicating thought experiment or sobering self-reflection? Either way, the culmination of many years of incredibly stringent, incredibly onerous, and incredibly fun research. Though, as a high-brow high-society social drinker and a low-functioning low-class drunk, each situation dictates varying percentiles. I can stop any time I want. But for science…

1% is not very crunked at all, but has nonetheless started to consider the stages of crunked.

2% just wants to socialize, have a good time, and relax.

3% requires music. This is not an indication of crunkness, since that is always the case, so much as a slight increase in urgent tenacity.

4% knows how to control himself and thinks about each thing he’s going to say before saying it. Has plans this night to not get too fucked up, and will responsibly follow them.

5% doesn’t know which bag belongs to him.

6% has gotten amazingly MORE charming and witty and persuasive, if one can imagine, the most artful storyteller and cunning linguist.

7% feels pretty good, wants to meet new people and do new things.

8% looks down his nose at alcohol snobbery, and will try anything once.

9% has got to break the seal, gets shit for doing it so early, but knows there is no correlation between urination and crunkness.

10% is convinced the bartender is into him.

11% is tired of your drama, and will tell you so.

12% has suddenly and inexplicably gained encyclopedic access to every inane pop-culture reference ever.

13% needs you to be his wingman.

14% know how many drinks he has consumed, what they were, the last time he felt this way, and where that puts him in the universe. It is enjoyable to think about.

15% will talk sports now.

16% doesn’t mind the butterscotch Schnapp’s, despite disliking both flavors independently.

17% has somehow gotten better at darts and pool.

18% has to be in charge of the jukebox.

19% will mix you a new drink you have never heard of.

20% requires philosophy.

21% wishes ALL his friends could be here; then wishes all his friends lived in an island village with their own language and system of government and awesome things to do and giant turrets to protect them from the outside world.

23% has trouble with numbers.

24% must check the mirror again to make sure there isn’t shit on his face.

25% could use a cigarette, despite not being a smoker.

26% suddenly doesn’t mind the gossip, and would like to hear more.

27% is making sure to visit and talk to everyone.

28% always has time to flirt.

29% finds it preferable, nay, requisite, to rest his forehead against the cool wall and close his eyes for a moment while at the urinal.

30% doesn’t need a wingman.

31% would like a new place to drink.

32% doesn’t mind telling you how pretty you are.

33% would tell you his secret identity.

34% is convinced that looking into his eyes would make you fall in love with him, and takes precautions accordingly.

35% has decided that ‘snakebite’ is a good idea.

36% must splash water in his face.

37% has taken to yelling.

38% is annoyed at what is on the jukebox, uncharacteristically frowns.

39% is thinking about the inexorable march of time, the deep dark origin of the universe, the quantum secrets of matter, and the electric pulse of being and self.

40% is vaguely wondering what stage this is…

41% thinks nachos are a good idea.

42% is prepared to not only micturate in public, but proudly declare such fact as ‘marking territory’

43% will talk to anyone… ANYONE.

44% wants to help the other people who are getting sick or passed out too early.

45% is sexually attracted to you, but not more than to self, and could look at he mirror forever.

46% wins every argument with loudness.

47% remembers the good times.

48% clearly doesn’t need to wear these glasses anymore.

49% wonders if this is what he’ll do at his ten-year high school reunion.

50% notes who is more drunk, unruly, and with poorer judgement than himself, purely for comparison, and certainly not for comedic value or ego inflation.

51% realizes he hasn’t done this in a long time, with equal parts regret, delight, bedevilment and relish.

52% is shit-talking you.

53% can’t remember if it’s ‘beer before liquor’ or ‘liquor before beer.’

54% could live this way forever.

55% doesn’t mind the mint schnapp’s despite outright loathing mint

56% would eat a sealed bag of potato chips out of a dumpster.

57% laughs at every inside joke, even the ones he’s not a part of.

58% can (and shall) recite a whole movie or tv series with your help.

59% enjoys every single thing on the jukebox.

60% feels pretty good, wants to do new people and meet new things.

61% doesn’t care whether you’re impressed with him or not, aren’t you impressed by that?

62% is getting claustrophobic and needs fresh air.

63% has rediscovered his cellphone and the numbers of people he hasn’t seen in ages, or the people who said they were coming out drinking tonight but didn’t.

64% doesn’t want to make any more decisions… ever.

65% is about to tell off that one jerk.

66% misses all the dead homies.

67% is perplexed and confounded by simple things like mirrors.

68% would pee on a church with his buddies and laugh triumphantly.

69% doesn’t mind being licked.

70% would eat an unsealed bag of potato chips out of a dumpster.

71% wants you to save that empty jug as a “trophy of this conquest”.

72% has superpowers.

73% may just have to start dancing and singing.

74% debates both the quality and veracity of this beard and haircut.

75% has given you a new nickname.

76% doesn’t understand you, but just nods and listens, allows you to finish, and then tells you he didn’t understand you.

77% is, at this point, so fucking sick of this shit.

78% can’t remember every drink of the night, but tries in vain anyway.

79% is pretty sure he can get home okay.

80% needs to slow down for a minute, just until the ground stops moving.

81% frowns trying to remember that thing that he was so close to remembering from earlier that must have been so important to still remember that it desperately needs remembering.

82% isn’t very likable right now.

83% needs to pee again, convinced it is the only thing that can help.

84% cannot pronounce real words, so just yells out syllables like “WOO,” “FOOM,” “PO-DAM,” and laughs hysterically.

85% hopes the whole neighborhood heard that, the fuckers.

86% has no more interest in flirting.

87% would sleep in the potato-chip-bag dumpster.

88% has lost motor control in his legs and mouth.

89% doesn’t remember any of this.

90% thinks some things, but then thinks better of them.

91% is scared of mirrors, and whatever dwells within.

92% finds video games and television to both be BAD ideas.

93% for some reason, thinks the sink is the best place to do this…

94% is angry and disappointed.

95% needs a shower.

96% tries cleaning the sink.

97% just needs quiet and darkness, not unlike a filthy cockroach.

98% though passed out, is congratulated by party-goers for “knowing how to party.”

99% can definitively be described as crunked.

100% is dead.


I left Gotham last Saturday after a bitchin’ party, and now I am on the first leg of my journey, which is anticlimactically in Fawcett City at my cousin and his fiancee’s apartment. They’re the best family a guy could have, but I hope not to stay too long; my allergies are driving me nuts, and I really want to keep-a movin’. From here it is to the Ash Worlds, then Point Cordial for a few months while I save up some cash, then I wander to New Orleans, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramende, and thus my time-traveling road trip buddies Commodore Bob and Lee can meet up and we can continue the real trip. These two are like brothers to me, and I hope this all works out how I plan, because its not as if I have any real expectations.

That’s all for today.

Party over here

Party at Jacob/Lindsay/Kane/Sam/Professor Madness/Zombie King’s last night. A truckload of people, the cast of which changed every half hour or so. So, instead of playing Halo2 and eating fried chicken like I thought was going to happen, I partied pretty hard. (Da Asian was still about playing Halo but jesus, man, its a party!) So I went downstairs to get a cup of red wine. Then again. Then a third time. The fourth one I had Coco get for me, then I just went down and got the jug. Suffice it to say, I passed out in the shower around four. I’m still here on Professor Madness’s computer, and I feel much better now that I have gotten some water and eggs in me. Lindsay is such a sweetheart though, she made us eggs. NEVER DRINK WILD IRISH ROSE! Shit. Shitty shit thing. Blech.

I’ll spare you the details, I’ll just use random nouns: turntables, hot girls, everybody who’s anybody, t-shirts advertising the cock size of Zombie King and Kane (why? to get them laid, silly) and a lot of tagging. I was just commiserating yesterday, in fact, that I wasn’t living enough like a real college student. Here it goes, I better get it out of my system before I have to get a real job.

Looking back, though, I guess I have been pretty college studenty. Parties every other weekend, narcotics, record store employee, sandwich shop employee, intellectual conversation at coffee shops and in the park and bookstores and spending a majority of my time on the internet or in the student lounge.

I will look back on this and smile one day, and tell my children not to make the same mistakes that I did. Ha! I’ll do it, too!

UPDATE: The next day, this cute girl who I barely remembered was at the party was suddenly being nice and talking to me. Days later, Da Asian regales me with an anecdote of my drunken hijinks in his thick Indonesian accent:
Da Asian: You reary frucked up at party.
Bresh: I fucked up?
Da Asian: No, sorry, you WERE frucked up.
Bresh: Oh, yeah, I know.
Da Asian: You say you fruck girl in green jacket.
Bresh: Oh no! I said that? I never fucked her, oh God!
Da Asian: No, sorry, you said you WOULD fruck girl in green jacket.
Bresh: Phew. That’s embarrassing, but at least its true. Sorry to bother you with my drunken chauvinistic desires.
Da Asian: Oh, you not say this to me. You say this to girl in green jacket.