Back in 2014, The Onion ran an article titled “Woman Takes Short Half-Hour Break From Being Feminist To Enjoy TV Show.” In the article, the author(s) mocked the modern Left’s attempt to problematize everything to the point that individuals can’t enjoy media without feeling like they’re perpetuating systems of violence. Indeed, the line of thinking spearheaded by claims such as “oh, X did something bad, therefore I can’t enjoy their work” is what leads to blogs like Your Fave Is Problematic, Laci Green saying “[t]he truth is, literally everyone and everything is problematic,” and other attempts to suck the life out of anything fun. Is the trend of ruthlessly slaughtering enjoyment confined only to the Regressive Left, however? Of course not since, at the end of the day, all political ideologies circle back around towards one another. Indeed, in our wonderful Current YearTM, both the Regressive Left and the Alt-Right are filled with different but equally obnoxious tone police, media killjoys, and cry babies. We have entered a world where Laci Green and Lana Lokteff are more closely linked than one would imagine.
Everywhere one goes on the Internet, one seems to be barraged with articles talking about “fake news.” Indeed, as Sapna Maheshwari of The New York Times has noted, fake news has “gone viral.” Since the campaign, and subsequent election, of Donald Trump, Google search results for “fake news” have spiked and everyday a new article is being written on how to spot “fake news” or how the Russians used “fake news” to influence the presidential election or how “fake news” is killing democracy. But I want to ask, what makes news real or “fake?”
Update 1/31/17: As the Google analytics map above is dynamic, it will eventually become out of date as this post becomes older and older.
As The Current YearTM — the year of the Alt-Right, as Richard Spencer calls it — comes to a close, fellow thinker, friend, and author, Brett Stevens (editor of Amerika and author of Nihilism: A Philosophy Based in Nothingness and Eternity — a book I reviewed here), and I decided to fire a couple dozen emails back and forth discussing everything from what the Alt-Right is to multiculturalism and Anti-Semitism (along with other scapegoating tactics) to metaphysics and morality in the coming decades. Our discussions, as Brett has noted, have been “all over the place,” but thanks to his tireless work, some of our back and forth has been edited down into an easily digestible conversation format.
The first entry in what we hope will be a series of discussions, “A Conversation Between Peter Heft and Brett Stevens,” has been published on Right On. In this dialogue, Peter and Brett sit down with warm drinks and good food to discuss the rising Alt-Right, multiculturalism, the implications of anti-Semitism and similar scapegoating, and the historical legacy of a liberal society.
So please, do check out the dialogue, share your thoughts, and don’t hesitate to contact either of us.
Thank you all for your readership and I hope you have a happy New Year!
The New York Times recently reported Russian buildup of unconventional weapons: inflatables. Specifically, the Times notes that following increased tensions between the United States and Russia over Syria, the Russian army has been buying and moving inflatable weapons systems — tanks, anti-aircraft guns, MiGs, etc. — to make their military seem stronger than it really is (a tactic called maskirovka).1)Andrew Kramer, “A New Weapon in Russia’s Arsenal, and It’s Inflatable,” New York Times, published 10/12/16, accessed 10/13/16, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/13/world/europe/russia-decoy-weapon.html?%5C%5C&_r=1.
This move is obviously interesting on a number of different levels; is the Russian military weakening? Are nuclear weapons less of a deterrent than they used to be? And so on. The question I want to examine, however, is a starkly different one. The tanks, MiGs, and anti-air guns are obviously ‘fake,’ but does that really matter? Further, as we live in a world filled with simulacra, is there any legitimate difference between a MiG made of aluminium and jet fuel and one made of canvas and hot air? I’m not convinced that there is.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Andrew Kramer, “A New Weapon in Russia’s Arsenal, and It’s Inflatable,” New York Times, published 10/12/16, accessed 10/13/16, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/13/world/europe/russia-decoy-weapon.html?%5C%5C&_r=1.|
About a month ago I attended the 2016 International Žižek Studies Conference and had the privileged of meeting some fantastic people. Additionally, and of more relevance to any readers of this post, I was awash in new ideas and new things to think about; some of which I am still processing to this day. This post, however, attempts to deal with an issue that was brought up in passing during a Q and A session during a panel. For context: I was in a panel where Dr. Gregor Campbell of the University of Guelph was presenting a paper and we finished before the allotted time ended (due largely to the other participant’s absence) allowing for an extensive Q and A session and discussion. During our conversation, Campbell said, in passing, something that caught my attention and which I am indebted to him for thinking of. Campbell mentioned how people who deny climate change (climate deniers) serve to motivate climate scientists to work harder to prove their theories. While this comment lasted all of maybe 30 seconds, I would like to briefly unpack it and see what implications it has, if true.