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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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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COMMENT & OPINION: 21 Savage’s Deportation Is Not Just Racist, It’s Religious Bigotry

COMMENT & OPINION: 21 Savage’s Deportation is Not Just Racist, it’s Religious Bigotry

By Quinton Reed

Friendly Reminder

Our nation is a nation of immigrants. We stole land from the indigenous peoples hundreds of years ago and made it ours. Why? The Separatists in the United Kingdom sought religious freedom from the Church of England.

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Statue of separatist William Bradford

Statue of Puritan Separatist William Bradford who claimed Plymouth

Under the leadership of William Bradford, the Puritan Separatists made a pilgrimage across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Mayflower. The party landed in the ‘new world’ where they established a colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This is a familiar story. Without admission that they claimed land which was not theirs to claim. We are taught that the theft was a thing of greatness.  American schools, from elementary through high school perpetuate that base lie. Yet, here we are in 2019, attempting to wall off our borders. Take the case of 21 Savage.

A Little More History

 Sheyaa Bin Abraham Joseph, better known as 21 Savage, is a 26-year-old rapper, songwriter, and record producer based in Atlanta, Georgia. On February 3rd, 2019, Abraham Joseph’s vehicle was pulled over and he was arrested by ICE (The U.S. Immigrations and Custom’s Enforcement) due to his and his passengers’ involvement in aggravated assault and violation of the Georgia Gang Act. After his arrest, ICE revealed that Abraham Joseph was an unlawful occupant of the United States, due to an expired visa.

Bridging the Gap

ICE arrested 21 Savage on gang charges and revealed he was illegally in the United States

ICE arrested 21 Savage on gang charges and revealed he was illegally in the United States.

At first glance, 21 Savage’s arrest seems textbook; an immigrant of color with a markedly un-European name is arrested due to suspected gang activity and is found to have  overstaying his welcome. However, the details of 21 Savage’s case are more complicated than a simple case of ICE-saves-the-day-from-outsiders-once-again.

First of all

ICE and Abraham-Joseph’s legal team can’t agree on simple facts. ICE claims he emigrated at or around the age of fourteen, while the legal team insists he emigrated at the age of seven. ICE claims he has a previous conviction, and the legal team says he does not.

Childhood Visa

Savage shown here with his gorgeous mom came with her to the United States as a young child.

21 Savage shown here with his gorgeous mom came with her to the United States as a young child.

It is not as if Abraham-Joseph has made no attempt to legalize his stay in the United States. His Mother entered the United States with an H-2 visa, an employment visa for service industries. 21 Savage entered with an H-4, which is essentially the derivative of the H-2 visa for a child.

Georgia is Unwelcoming

Alex Spiro, a well-known celebrity lawyer claims that when Savage’s visa expired, he application for a U visa (a visa to protect victims of crime and their families) in 2014 and again in 2017, and–whether this is true or not–it isn’t at all unbelievable, given that Georgia is among the worst states for immigrants seeking citizenship; the denial of asylum is 95% percent where the national average is between 45-50%. Furthermore, 21 Savage may be eligible for bond, based on the statements of his attorneys, meaning he was detained without bond despite potential eligibility.

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