American Shitshow: Debates, Chaos, and Battlefield Preparation

One of the paradoxes of political action is that even once you have an office with formal power and a mandate to govern, it is extremely difficult to get people theoretically “on your side” to do something. In fact, it’s often difficult to figure out who precisely your guys are – in a country of…

Welcoming Johnny-Come-Latelys

Michael Anton is a former Trump official who became briefly notorious when it was revealed in early 2017 that, just before the 2016 election, he had been the author of the infamous “Flight 93 Election” essay, which argued that a Hillary victory would end America. Or something like that. Anton is hard to pin down….

Film Review: “Manderlay”

Eureka, I have found it – the most racist movie. Usually contenders for this title rely merely on unfortunate stereotypes. Song of the South, Gone with the Wind, Birth of a Nation. It’s beating a dead horse to say that “racism” is a bit ill-defined, extending to respectful portrayals of a putatively Hispanic character by…

American Shitshow: Dead Guy Edition

Far be it for me to dishonor the memory of part time bouncer, small time pornographic actor, and armed home invasion robbery enthusiast whatsisname by calling attention to his life, rather than his death. No one much cared that he was alive, and no one much cared (or cares) that he specifically is dead. So…

The Virus Cramdown

There is a woke centrist meme that our elites are merely incompetent, or beholden to ideologies that makes competence impossible. Mentioning that things are from places is racist, so anti-racist ideology prevents you from realizing you should perhaps shut down flights to a bubbling disease reservoir. “Public health experts” have more respect for their institutional…

How government works

Apropos of this politically illiterate gem, I feel it is time to go over some basics. You see, in a state of nature, every man is free and possessed of certain inalienable rights. They encounter each other, and use their faculties to delegate powers to a government to secure their lives, liberties, and property. Whenever…

“The Family”, projection, and power

“The Family” is best understood as a black comedy. In a comedy, it’s traditional to have a straight man – the character who doesn’t realize he’s in a comedy, and interprets things through the lens of “normalcy” – not quite an audience stand-in, because he doesn’t break frame even when any sane person would be…

“The Favourite” and women in power

The “Bechdel test” is a baseline of feminist media analysis: does the work contain two women talking to each other about something other than a man? The idea is to ascertain whether women are treated as actors in their own right, with agency and independent desires, rather than second-order NPCs that exist only as set…

American Shitshow: Emergent power centers

In past installments of this ongoing series, I have examined existing actors’ response to an unspecified breakdown of civil order (due to political conflict, economic malaise, natural disaster, war, etc).  With the caveat that predictions are hard when they’re about the future, but even harder when they’re about things that don’t exist yet, it’s important…

Book review: The Mandibles

Collapse fiction is its own micro-genre, drawing usually from some mix of narrative-wrapped prepper how-to manuals, science fiction, military fiction, and ideological screed. Some of it is quite good, some of it is not. In most of them, there is some token prologue to establish Normal; halfway through Act I there is a MacGuffin, and…