1. If you're anything like yer old pal Jerky... then I feel very sorry for you, as no human being should have to go through that kind of horror. Also, you're probably a big fan of the works of early 20th century sf/horror pulp visionary H.P. Lovecraft. And you especially love when some of his many talented fans create works of art made to look like authentic historical documents depicting Lovecraftian creatures, themes or personages... works such as the hauntological phantasmagoria above, by artist Robert Altbauer, who describes his work thusly: "This is a series of illustrations that imitates the style of old medieval paintings and adds a macabre flavour by incorporating some of H.P. Lovecraft's famous monsters. The text is mostly medieval Middle High German." This particular image depicts an unfortunate member of the Great Race of Yith, who are actually possessed of a gentle and scholarly disposition. More at the link!
2. I'm of two minds about James Howard Kuntsler, author of the influential and terrifying work of near future "Peak Oil" prophecy, The Long Emergency and academia's premiere Cassandra of Civilizational Collapse. There was a time when I took his gloom-and-doomy proclamations of a lot more seriously than I do now. But reading through his predictions for 2015, it's difficult not to note that he ain't exactly batting 1000. Written at the beginning of last year, that Malthusian meditation, sub-titled Life in the Breakdown Lane, begins thusly:
“Don’t look back — something might be gaining on you,” Satchel Paige famously warned. For connoisseurs of civilizational collapse, 2014 was merely annoying, a continued pile-up of over-investments in complexity with mounting diminishing returns, metastasizing fragility, and no satisfying resolution. So we enter 2015 with greater tensions than ever before and therefore the likelihood that the inevitable breakdown will release more destructive energy and be that much harder to recover from.
I don’t know how anyone can trust the statistical bullshit emanating from our government reporting agencies, or the legacy news organizations that report them. Yet the meme has remained firmly fixed in the popular imagination: the US economy has recovered! GDP grows 5 percent in Q3! Manufacturing renaissance! Energy independence! Cleanest shirt in the laundry basket! Best-looking house in a bad neighborhood…
¡No hay problema!
This is simply the power of wishful thinking on display. No one — with the exception of a few “doomer” cranks — wants to believe that industrial civilization is in trouble deep. The staggering credulity this represents would be a fascinating case study in itself if there were not so many other things that demand our attention right now. Let’s just write this phenomenon off as the diminishing returns of career log-rolling in politics, finance, media, and academia.The tone set, he goes on to make his predictions for 2015. He predicts that India will invade and take over Pakistan. He predicts that the Ebola flare-up that marked the end of 2014 was only the beginning of an unstoppable, worldwide pandemic. He predicts that Greece's left-wing Syriza Party will deliver a historic smackdown to the international banksters who bankrupted their country. That Baghdad will fall to Daesh. That Nigeria's political system will suffer a complete collapse due to falling oil prices. Etc. None of these things happened.
On the other hand, where Kunstler fails as a prophet, he makes up for it as a prose stylist. The man is a veritable Christ of curmudgeonly grumbling, and a Buddha of Bad Attitude. I mean, check out this classic rant:
Even physically America is a sorry-ass spectacle: between our decrepitating cities, abandoned Main Streets, gruesome strip-mall highways, repellent and monotonous suburbs, dreary industrial ruins, profaned countryside, and desecrated coastline, there is little left to actually love about This land is Your Land. We’ve made so many collective bad choices about how we live that one can’t help feeling we are simply a wicked people who deserve to be punished.
Whole classes already are, of course. What used to be a working class with aspirations has devolved to the forlorn savagery averred to above. Our thought-leaders are devoid of thought. Our hopes and dreams are absurd sci-fi fantasies prompting us toward robot-assisted suicide. Our political stratagems of recent years accomplish nothing except making more trouble for ourselves while inciting the enmity of people elsewhere.
I mean, God damn! There's a kind of brutal poetry to hatred this pure. This is the kind of thing yer old pal Jerky used to write... but then again, I was never a revered socio-economico-political scholar. At least not outside the confines of my prior, pornography-splattered homepage. Oh well... maybe there's a future for wordy assholes like me, after all. Keep watching this space!
3. I think I may have already posted this, but even if I have, I don't care. You have to watch it again. It takes more than one watch/listen to absorb the full majesty of Bowie's latest masterpiece, BLACKSTAR. Do yourself a favor and pay very close attention. A complete breakdown of this song/videos esoteric and exoteric contents is still forthcoming. Again, keep watching this space.