Tuesday, October 11, 2016


1. With this in-depth Washington Post profile of Trump supporter Melanie Austin, journalist Stephanie McCrummen succeeds in arousing equal parts dread, revulsion and an almost tragic sort of paradoxical empathy. In fact, it seems to me as though she has succeeded in coining a new genre: Horror Journalism. 

I mean, just check out this part, from early in the article:
The first time she had seen him, at a rally in June, she was just beginning to realize how many people saw the world the way she did, that she was one among millions. At the time, her hips were still sore from a series of injections intended to calm her. She had gotten them in February, during a difficult time in her life, when she had been involuntarily hospitalized for several weeks after what she called a “rant,” a series of online postings that included one saying that Obama should be hanged and the White House fumigated and burned to the ground. On her discharge papers, in a box labeled “medical problem,” a doctor had typed “homicidal ideation.” 
Melanie thought the whole thing was outrageous. She wasn’t a person with homicidal ideation. She was anxious, sure. Enraged, definitely. But certainly not homicidal, and certainly not in need of a hospital stay. 
“It never crossed my mind that I’m losing it,” she said several months after her release, and a big reason for this conviction was the rise of Donald Trump, who had talked about so many of the things she had come to believe — from Obama being a founder of the terrorist group ISIS, to Hillary Clinton being a co-founder, to the idea that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia may have been murdered in a White House plot involving a prostitute and a pillow. 
“They say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow,” Trump had told the talk-radio host Michael Savage, who was using his show to explain the scenario to his 5 million weekly listeners, who then spread it on Facebook, where it wound up in Melanie’s feed. 
To Melanie, this was the glory of the 2016 presidential election. The truth about so many things was finally being accepted, from the highest levels of the Republican Party on down to the grass roots of America, where so many people like her didn’t care what some fact-checker said, much less that one day Trump would suggest that Obama wasn’t born in America, and on another say maybe he was. 
More and more, she was meeting people who felt the same as she did, joining what amounted to a parallel world of beliefs that the Trump campaign had not so much created as harnessed and swept into the presidential election. As Melanie saw it, what she had posted about Obama was no different from what a New Hampshire state legislator and Trump campaign adviser had said about Hillary Clinton, that she “should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” 
“If it’s time to lock me up, it’s time to lock up the world,” Melanie remembered thinking when she had heard that. 
And so when she was released from the hospital with instructions to “maintain a healthy lifestyle,” she did what seemed to her not only healthy but also patriotic. She began campaigning for Trump.
See what I mean? Stephen King ain't got nothing on this shit. I urge everyone to read this article - digest it, get it, GROK it - and react accordingly. Yes, I know, there are issues of failed public policy here that are glancingly touched upon that are going to take decades to properly address. We are only now beginning to understand the damage wrought upon the body politic by the Internet and those who seek to bend it to serve their will to watch the world burn. But that's a fight for another day. Over the next thirty days, it's all about there aren't enough Melanie Austins out there to tip the scales in favor of the Apocalypse. After that... well, get ready for some heavy lifting because buddy, weird times lie ahead, whether you're ready or not.

2. It has been happening less and less frequently, but in my unfocused online wanderings I still occasionally stumble across some amazing stuff. This English translation of the GHDI*'s transcripts from a series of secretly recorded conversations between captured Nazi physicists reacting to news of the USA dropping an atomic bomb on the Japanese at Hiroshima is a prime example, containing more dramatic intensity and complex emotional impact than any half-dozen recent Hollywood "historical dramas" you can name.

I mean, considering how close they came (German scientists being the first to theorize the possibility), the implications raised by the discussions captured are enough to raise goosebumps in the most stoic of flesh.

The transcripts are set up neatly by a brief introduction:
At the beginning of the war, Germany’s leading nuclear physicists were called to the army weapons department. There, as part of the “uranium project” under the direction of Werner Heisenberg, they were charged with determining the extent to which nuclear fission could aid in the war effort. (Nuclear fission had been discovered by Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner in 1938.) Unlike their American colleagues in the Manhattan Project, German physicists did not succeed in building their own nuclear weapon. In June 1942, the researchers informed Albert Speer that they were in no position to build an atomic bomb with the resources at hand in less than 3-5 years, at which point the project was scrapped. 
After the end of the war, both the Western Allies and the Soviet Union tried to recruit the German scientists for their own purposes. From July 3, 1945, to January 3, 1946, the Allies incarcerated ten German nuclear physicists at the English country estate of Farm Hall, their goal being to obtain information about the German nuclear research project by way of surreptitiously taped conversations. The following transcript includes the scientists’ reactions to reports that America had dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The scientists also discuss their relationship to the Nazi regime and offer some prognoses for Germany’s future.
All you history buffs out there - especially World War II history buffs - you're not gonna want to miss this one.

3. And finally for today, I would like to share with you a website that gives yer old pal Jerky one hell of a brain boner: a catalogue of incredibly difficult-to-find books about the occult, currently on offer from legendary Thompson's Rare Books in British Columbia, Canada. Enjoy!

* GHDI = German History in Documents and Images

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