Consensus Future, Cultural Nostalgia & The Rise of the New Populism

The future is coming while we are looking backwards

“We look at the present day through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future”. Marshall McLuhan

COMMENT AND OPINION:

CONSENSUS FUTURE, CULTURAL NOSTALGIA, & THE RISE OF THE NEW POPULISM

By T.K. McNeil

“When I pronounce the word future the first syllable already belongs to the past” Wistawa Szmborska

Future Concerns

Of all human concepts, the future is among the most pervasive

Of all human concepts, the future is among the pervasive.

Of all human concepts, the future is among the most pervasive, as well as the most powerful. The basis for the concern around children as well as the justification for some horrendous acts. It is also one of the least certain and most fraught with problems.

Consensus Future

“Consensus future” refers to the visions of the future most people agree on. Largely because they are the visions that we have been given through culture. This includes the notion of cloning, first presented in a major way in the 1993 film Jurassic Park. And self-driving cars, have  been a common futuristic theme in popular culture since at least the 1960’s. Just think Batman. The majority of technology trends are imagined and created on consensus future.

Ballardian Banality

British science fiction writer created future worlds.

British science fiction writer J.G. Ballard created future worlds.

One of the biggest issues with future forecasting, particularly in terms of technology trends, is the fundamental unpredictability of both people and markets. Even a brief glance at the history of technology trends reveals an essential inability to show where trends are going to go, as well as a strong tendency towards normalization. One of the sharpest observers of this latter trend was the British science fiction author J.G. Ballard. Ballard created future worlds at the height of the future craze of the mid-20th century that were remarkable, mostly for the basic lack of surprise shown by the characters to the technology that surrounded them. Embryonic proof of the consensus future.

Manufactured Normalcy

One of the lesser known theories in terms of futurism is “manufactured normalcy”. With regard to technology trends, this term refers to the tendency of people to adapt quickly to any new piece of technology. The first period of excitement getting shorter as the turnaround between new models continues to decrease. It has, in fact, been argued that such surprise, or “future shock” as term by sociologist Alvin Toffler in his 1970 book of the same name, has largely subsided, if it ever existed at all. This happens even if the technology in question is not actually boring, or at all commonplace, and tends to apply, especially to things inside the consensus future narrative.

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Year of the Cat (w/lyrics)- Al Stewart-1976

Hey guys, I am alone in the office today, which means I am the only one on disc jockey duty. It is raining and the mist is rising off the lake. Very romantic and I’m feeling pretty nostalgic. So, today from the www.calamitypolitics.com jukebox comes a mysterious song by Al Stewart from 1976. If you are old enough, you might remember who Peter Lorre was. Enjoy-Darlene

Al Stewart "Year of the Cat" www.calamitypolitics.com jukebox choice of the day

Al Stewart “Year of the Cat” www.calamitypolitics.com jukebox choice of the day.

A Different Shade Of Paranoid

       

COMMENT & OPINION:

A DIFFERENT SHADE OF PARANOID

by T.K. McNeil

Definition: “Xenophobia means having a PHOBIC ATTITUDE towards strangers or the unknown. It comes from the  Greek words (xenos), meaning foreigner/stranger, and (phobos), meaning fear. This term is widely used to describe the fear of others, or dislike of foreigners, or people who are different to oneself.”

Fear –A Renewable Resource

It used to be the "others" were anyone outside the cave

It used to be the “others” were anyone outside the cave.

Fear of the other is a primal reflex. From the early days of the species, mistrust of “outsiders” has been with us. Except at that time, ‘outside’ referred to the darkness outside the cave. Experts have indicated that the human species have since “evolved” from this early state of fear. But, like the tailbone, remnants of these origins remain to the modern-day.

Fear of the Bomb

It wasn't long before the Soviets had the bomb

It wasn’t long before the Soviets had the bomb

In the 1940’s the fear of others was mobilized to fight Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. In terms of WWII and the Cold War that followed, that innate distrust of outsiders got kicked up a couple notches. . The American propaganda machine ginned up anti-communist rhetoric and kept hatred and fear of others morbidly alive. We of course were being prepped for the expected war against communism. But, OMG, this still hale and hearty Soviet Union showed very quickly that they too could build “the bomb.” And topping that, they could also fire a ballistic missile that would level Washington, D.C. along with Chicago, Seattle, and Denver as starters.

Before the Bomb

Lenin was the leader of the Russian Revolution

Lenin was the leader of the Russian Revolution

While the specter of mutually assured destruction certainly made things worse, fear of a Communist take-over goes back to the Russian Revolution. In fact, much of the anti-communist sentiment had its roots in the anti-union movement of the 1920’s. When teamsters and autoworkers fought to unionize, the Bolshevik’s were blamed. Typical manipulating of fear of others. Fear-mongers spinning increased union activity into an insidious Communist plot. Tapping into fear of others, as well as fear of new ideas has been a tool of politicians right or left since time immemorial. Intensifying hatred, so easy, so convenient, so useful. The drum beat of fear of others, is likely to go unchanged because it seems to work so well.

Cold Shoulder

1960 Khrushchev at the height of the cold war was banging his shoe on the table at the UN

1960 Khrushchev at the height of the cold war was banging his shoe on table at the UN

After the United States and the Soviets started their arms race, the threats were kicked up.  At least in the United States. It is actually difficult to know what the Soviets were saying about America, there being few reliable sources of Russian translation from the time. Though we can assume it was likely not complimentary. We do have film of Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev, at the UN, threatening the destruction of the United States. He slammed his shoe on the table and proclaimed he would bury America. So, it sounds like there were lots of theatrics for the Russian television audience as well as the American.

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Pete Buttigieg Calls Out Evangelicals

Pete Buttigieg Calls Out Evangelicals
If you haven’t seen this news snip of Mayor Pete it is time you did. We here at www.calamitypolitics.com were moved by this man’s honesty. What a heart touching disclosure. I’m loving Pete Buttigieg. If you haven’t got a favorite for the primaries, you should take a look at this gay, son of an immigrant with the hard to pronounce name. I think he can bring something valuable to the conversation-Vote Democrat, they have the working person’s back. #BlueWave2020Darlene

21 Reasons to Smile, in Spite of Donald Trump

COMMENT:

21 Reasons to Smile, in Spite of Donald Trump

By D. S. Mitchell

I sat down with computer in lap and began writing my 441 www.calamitypolitics.com post

Another Post

I sat down with computer in my lap and began writing my 445th post to www.calamitypolitics.com.  Before I started this blog, I worried that I wouldn’t have enough to write about. I mean, it even occurred to me that I might exhaust all my grievances against the Mango Menace within a couple of weeks. I was so innocent. So naive.

TV Has-been

Who would have thought that a TV reality show has-been, would be elected to run the White House like a New York slumlord. How could any of us; with our limited historical perspective, ever imagined the extent of perversion, fraud and corruption that this grifter president could bring to Washington. My God, reporters have an average of a scandal, or two, a day, to choose from. In fact the scandals and corruption news is coming so fast and furious that we have to literally bob and weave to stay clear of flying falsehoods and denials.

Breaking News Feed

In fact, on a really good Friday afternoon two or three of the juiciest scandals in American history will explode on the CNN Breaking News feed.  Yes, every Friday. Like clockwork. I just said American history. It is the most mind-spinning administration of graft and compromise in U.S. history. What other administrations in memory could, in one week, produce more scandals than the Obama, Bush, and Reagan administrations combined.

Hold On

I recommend you hold on to that safety strap. I expect the tempo of the legal battles are about to pick up speed. Subpoenas will be flying out of the House. My “trouble coming” antennae are quivering. We are on a perilous ride, created by the megalomania of Donald Trump.

Choice of Vices

Now it’s time to open a bottle of wine, roll a doobie, or grab a box of chocolates, whichever be your particular vice. Then find a comfortable chair sit back and just breathe. While savoring your wine I am going to share with you some positive and uplifting energy.

Here are 21 Reasons to Smile: In Spite of Donald Trump

  • Astronauts
  • Sunsets over water
  • Wraparound sunglasses
  • The Science Channel
  • Getting the perfect selfie
  • The Muppets
  • Touching toes under the covers
  • Blowing the wrapper off the straw
  • Winning at Monopoly
  • A dog’s cold nose
  • Warm apple cake
  • Winning at Monopoly
  • Old jeans that fit just right
  • The clatter of skis being loaded
  • Drawing a Royal Flush
  • The rumble of a train as it passes
  • The imagination of a six-year-old
  • Your lover’s voice
  • A friend’s hug
  • Daddy’s wisdom
  • Lady Gaga
  • Old yellowed family photographs
  • Denim and plaid

Have another glass of wine. We’ll connect again.

Darlene

Murder And Intrigue: The Life of Kim Jong-Un

 

** North Korea is the most isolated, secretive and repressive regime in the world. There is no reliable biography on Kim Jong-un.  Dr. Van Jackson, a professor at Asia-Pacific Center said, “It is hard to verify most information coming out of North Korea. In the absence of a reliable official biography, the information publicly available about Kim Jong-un reflects a ‘broad consensus understanding from experts keeping a close eye on the regime.” Calamity Politics has depended on the accuracy of many articles printed in the United States and the UK to compile this article.-Darlene

The women of North Korea love the Supreme Commander

The women of North Korea love the Supreme Commander. The Supreme Leader is famous for his womanizing ways.

Murder and Intrigue: The Life of Kim Jong Un

By D. S. Mitchell

Childhood picture of Kim Jong-il with his son, Kim Jong-un wearing Mickey Mouse ears.

Childhood picture of Kim Jong-il with his son, Kim Jong-un wearing Mickey Mouse ears.

Who is Kim Jong-Un?

Recent meetings between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un have fueled questions about the most isolated and secretive country in the world. People in the west are curious about the “Hermit Kingdom” of North Korea and its brutal leader, Kim Jong-un. We do know he was the third, and youngest son of Kim Jong-il and Ko Yong-hui. Kim Jong-il was the absolute ruler of North Korea from 1994 until his death in 2011. His grandfather, Kim Il-Sung became the first leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1948 and ruled the country with an iron hand until his death in 1994. “Kim Jong-un is the third head of state from his family’s dictatorial dynasty, one of the last absolute inherited monarchies on earth (KSRO).”

Early Life

Kim Jong-un in early picture

Kim Jong-un in early picture

Kim Jong Un (also spelled Kim Jong-Eun) is believed to have been born January 8, 1983 (or possibly 1984). Much of his early life is shrouded in mystery, or downright confusion. Several conflicting and contradictory stories about him while he lived in Switzerland have emerged. Many experts believe Jong-un was confused with his older brother Jong-chul on several occasions. Jong-chul also lived in Switzerland at the  same time, but attended a different school.

School Years

Kim Jong-un attended the Liebefeld Steinholzli state school in Koniz, near Bern. Kim Jong-un’s identity has been proven by anthropological forensic studies of images from official school photos of the boy.  The  Liebefeld archives study was done by the University of Lyon, France using facial recognition . Kim Jong-un used the alias “Pak-un” or “Un-pak” and posed as the son of a North Korean embassy official. His mother Ko Yong-hui is known to have been at least a part-time Swiss resident during the years between 1991 and 2000, living in Geneva.

Does Kim Jong-un Speak English?

Dennis Rodman former NBA basketball star meets with Kim Jong-un

Dennis Rodman former NBA basketball star has met with Kim Jong-un at least twice.

“Pak-un” (Jong-un) is remembered as shy and quiet. He studied French, English and German. He loved American basketball, Michael Jordan and computer games. He was reportedly a mediocre student. It is believed he speaks decent French and German.  It is not clear whether he actually has a command of the English language. Dennis Rodman after a visit to North Korea said that they used an interpreter, but he also indicated that Kim made several remarks to him in English. After many years isolated from English, French or German it is unlikely he has a true command of any of the languages.

Kim Jong-nam

In 2001 Kim Jong-nam the half-brother of Kim Jong-un was arrested trying to visit Tokyo Disneyland on a false passport

In 2001 Kim Jong-nam the half brother of Kim Jong-un was arrested trying to visit Tokyo Disneyland on a false passport

Kim Jong-nam was Jong-un’s elder half-brother. His mother was a Kim Jong-il’s consort, the beautiful North Korean actress, Song Hye-rim. Kim Jong-nam was born in May 1971. He was for many years the favorite to succeed his father. In 2001 Jong-nam embarrassed North Korea by being caught trying to enter Japan illegally on a fake passport allegedly to visit the Tokyo Disneyland. The incident caused a great deal of publicity and his father was enraged over the international embarrassment that the incident caused. At the time Kim Jong-nam was the closest thing North Korea had to an international playboy.

More Than Mouse Ears

Kim Jong-nam was North Korea's international playboy

Kim Jong-nam was North Korea’s international playboy. He had been targeted for death multiple times because of his reform politics.

Out of favor Kim Jong-nam was exiled from North Korea. Until that time Jong-nam had appeared to be the chosen successor to Kim Jong-il. His hereditary position was now in jeopardy. In the first interview ever given by a member of the Kim family to media outside of North Korea he denied the disastrous Disneyland trip was the issue dividing him and his father. Kim Jong-nam told a Japanese journalist from the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper that his alienation from his father was related to his western ideas.  Kim said his education in Switzerland had changed his views and that he had become an advocate for government reform. He said he was deeply concerned for the average North Korean citizen.

Time After Time

Kim Jong-nam claimed he lost favor with his father over reform issues

Kim Jong-nam claimed he lost favor with his father over reform issues and his wish to improve the lives of ordinary North Koreans

When discussing these issues with his father, Kim Jong-nam said his father accused him of being a “capitalist”.  The void between the two grew with the passage of time. Reports show that Kim Jong-nam escaped multiple assassination attempts, in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012. A desperate Jong-nam is known to have written to Kim Jong-un pleading for his life. However, after that appeal, Jong-nam agreed to an interview with Yogi Gomi a Japanese journalist in which he said, he “expected Kim Jong-un would fail, citing that “he was too inexperienced and young. Without reform North Korea will collapse and when such changes take place the regime will collapse.”  Drum roll….

Murder Played and Replayed

Jong-nam, Kim Jong-il’s capitalist son was murdered 2/13/2017 in a bizarre on-camera attack at the Kuala Lumpur, airport by two women. The moment of the attack was replayed on western television for over a week. Jong-nam was 45 years old. One woman splashed liquid in his face and the second woman used a rag to smear the liquid around his face.  He was dead from VX nerve gas poisoning within 10 minutes of the attack. A Vietnamese woman, Doan Thi Huong, and an Indonesian woman, Siti Aisyah, were arrested after the attack. Both women confessed to the attack but testified they believed they were playing a prank for a TV reality show.  Siti Aisyah was released in March 2019 after charges were dropped. Doan Thi Huong pleaded guilty on a reduced charge and is scheduled for release in April 2019 for time served. Most intelligence services believe Kim Jong-un ordered his half brothers killing.

Another Brother

Kim Jong-chul. Jong-chul is Kim Jong-uns older brother and was considered effeminate by his father.

Kim Jong-chul. Jong-chul is Kim Jong-un’s older brother and was considered effeminate by his father and was passed over to lead country.

Kim Jong-un has another older brother, Kim Jong-chul. Kim Jong-chul was born in 1981. He was not favored by his father. Jong-chul was considered to be “effeminate”.  Kim Jong-chul has no interest in politics it is said. Thae Yong-ho a former deputy ambassador who defected to South Korea has said, “Kim Jong-chul leads a quiet life in Pyongyang where he plays guitar in a band.” I close my eyes and try to imagine this son of the dead “Supreme Leader” playing in a head-banging band hammering out tunes in a smoke-filled North Korean bar.

The Chef Tells His Story

On the other hand, Kim Jong-un was very much favored by his father. “He is a big drinker and never admits defeat” said Kenji Fujimoto Kim Jong-il’s personal chef.  Fujimoto continued describing Kim Jong-un saying, “He smokes Yves Saint Laurent cigarettes, loves Johnnie Walker whiskey. He is a chip off the old block, a spitting image of his father in terms of face, body shape and personality.” By 2009 it was confirmed that Jong-un was being groomed to succeed his father. It is agreed by most experts that Kim Jong-un attended and graduated from Kim Il-sung University. His attendance was from 2002-2007. The University is a leading officer-training school in Pyongyang. In 2010 Jong-un was given the rank of a four star general. This despite Jong-un never having had any military experience.

Succession

King Jong-un showed great emotion at his father's funeral

Kim Jong-un showed great emotion at his father’s funeral, crying openly.

In December 2011 Kim Jong-Un was placed at the head of the party, the state and the army within weeks of his father’s death. During the same time Kim Jong-un was declared the country’s “Supreme Leader”. Since that time he has been honored with many other official titles: First Secretary of the ruling Korean Worker’s Party, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and National Defense Commission. A man of  limitless strength and abilities. In fact, the United States also has such a man. A man known as Jared Kushner. A man who is able to carry out nothing. But, who keeps getting more and more responsibility.

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