nihilism

September 2010

Archives

  • Categories

  • Archive for September, 2010

    Inverse Censorship

    Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

    We recognize displacement when we place physical objects in water. When it comes to dialogue, however, we are oblivious to displacement, even though we are vigilant against “censorship,” a term which now means any removal of content that isn’t purely illegal/immoral (racism, child porn, stolen information).

    However, if the opposite of censorship is universal tolerance, we must consider that this opposite includes a type of censorship we cannot recognize because instead of acting directly on its object, it acts by intensifying everything but its object. This behavior is analogous to, if you want to make sure your friend does not get noticed for her flattering dress, complimenting every other dress in the room.

    Most commonly, inverse censorship — a suitable name for displacement of dialogue — occurs when focus on unimportant information consumes the time, focus or resources for discussion of important information. Just as surely as censorship removes discussion, inverse censorship covers it up or hides it behind meaningless info-gunk, effectively destroying topics that the inverse censors want quieted.

    When we consider every opinion to be valid, we empower those who wish to drown out important ideas. When a debate over the color of trashcans used in the conference rooms can be vociferously presented, and when “useful idiots” exist who will take interest and loudly debate it, other issues suffocate in a lack of time for discussion.

    If you wonder why committees are useless, one reason is that the if one member insists on debating a minor issue to death, everyone else on the committee switches off brains and the meeting never moves to discuss the big issues. Our news media unintentionally uses inverse censorship on its front page stories, drowning out more complex policy reports with a flood of celebrity news, lolcats and public figure drama.

    You’ll find inverse censorship of a more deliberate sort. If you want to sabotage a group, but don’t want to do so actively as it could expose you to risk, the best method is to join the group and be an enthusiastic support. Once inside, misdirect conversation and resources toward the trivial instead of the important. That way, when the group fails, you’re not to blame — you tried — but the group fails nonetheless, which was your real goal.

    We as stone age brains are only now barely awakening to the vast possibilities that indirect attacks — asymmetric memetic warfare — offer up. Inverse censorship represents an indirect strategy that has been successful for centuries, mainly because few people can articulate what it is, so it is not recognized as a failing like a known logical fallacy, or direct action such as censorship.

    As long as we insist on the impossible mathematics that states that every one opinion is as valid as all the others, and therefore the group must pause and wait for each person to speak no matter how illogical their statements, we run the risk of being constantly crippled by inverse censorship. Any passive aggressive person can destroy a group, or any insane special interest lobby can sink national politics.

    Clearly we would be better off without inverse censorship, but for us to do away with it, we must first get over our fear of two taboos. The first is the fear of censorship, which exists in every forum because some things (child porn, racism, stolen information) will always be necessarily taboo. The second is the taboo on placing some speakers or topics above others on the grounds that they are more insightful or more important.

    Again and again, our pretense of equality sabotages us because by making every person imporptant, we allow any person to sidetrack discussion toward the trivial, and then we spam ourselves with the pointless. Like alcoholics, we ignore our real addiction, and instead blame the sticking door or broken car for our failures in life. Perhaps this article in some small way will turn the tide, like a pointed comment before sleep interrupts oblivious dreams.

    Rules for Hipsters

    Saturday, September 4th, 2010

    Rules for Hipsters v1.0

    Our civilization is collapsing and there’s nothing left to do but enjoy the ride. Part of enjoying the ride is not wasting your time trying to fix problems, or have a job, but becoming important before you actually do anything important. That way, you don’t need to exert yourself, and can be a legend in your own time, a big man on campus, or just the cat who rules the hood. This is called being a hipster.

    The secret to being a hipster is to use everything — art, friendship, sex, love, your body, cigarettes, clothing, music — to make yourself look unique and special, preferrably ironic as well because that way you aren’t really taking it all seriously. You’re the dude who skated free from the whole mess, and left it for someone else to clean up!

    But before you can be a hipster, you need to memorize our handy worksheet for winning arguments with douchebags who want to show others that they’re more hip than you.

    1. Just a joke

    When someone points out that what you’ve said is complete neurotic assbabble, tell them it was a joke.

    You: HANG THE QUEERS FROM A GALLOWS OF FIRE.
    Them: Holy shit, that’s out of line, WTF NILLA
    You: Just a joke. Ha-ha. You’re not… a queer… are you?

    2. Minimize them

    Any time you introduce absolutely anything, make sure you preface it with the idea that your audience probably doesn’t know it. This lets you make them feel small and gain control.

    Them: Just last week Elton John and I…
    You: You probably haven’t heard of it, but this object is a fork. You use it to eat your salad.

    3. Flattery gets you everywhere

    As you talk to people who may be hostile, flatter them quietly by implying they’re aware of more of the hip stuff than they think they are, so they’ll be your buddy forever.

    Them: Who’s this band Airborne AIDS?
    You: You’ve probably heard of the bands that inspired them, Penis Runoff and Toasty McButtcrack. They’re just like them.

    4. Nothing means anything

    If someone is so foolish as to have an opinion which contrasts with their own, cut them down to size. Remind them that their idea is just an opinion.

    You: I think the Planck constant is around 4 cubits, actually…
    Them: No, I think it’s 6.626068 × 10-34 m2 kg / s.
    You: Well, that’s just your opinion.

    5. You’re never wrong

    When you argue with others, remember that you are the unchanging center of the universe who is always right, and if they suggest you change yourself (or even worse, deprive yourself) they’re arguing for insanity. That’s like moving a mountain for Mohammed.

    They: I don’t think we should do this next line of crystal meth.
    You: What gives you that crazy idea? You might as well claim the sky is green. We should totally do this fucking thing right fucking now! (falls off chair)

    6. You can always win by an appeal to what’s popular

    When you get into a tight spot, just appeal to whatever most people around you will think is cool if they’re listening with half a brain.

    Them: My plan helps gay midgets.
    You: Oh yeah, bub? My plan helps gay black midget ORPHANS. You hear that? I trump your lame ass.
    Crowd: <cheers>

    Or just go for plain old populism, which is most potent when it encourages oblivion:

    Them: …and if overpopulation doesn’t get curbed, we all die!
    You: Do you think the people here want to hear about mass death? Let’s talk about Deerhoof.
    Crowd: <cheers>

    7. Be unexpected and different

    People — 99.99% of who live mundane lives of quiet desperation and all that — like to think they’re unique and different and special, in some way. You can help them feel that way by having them live vicariously through your acting out and being bold, unexpected, unique, ironic (the queen of “different,” e.g. things didn’t go as planned and we’re going to pretend there’s a moral lesson in it), different, random, or incoherent.

    Them: Gosh, I wish I could paint as well as the Dutch Masters.
    You: The Dutch masters didn’t use feathers and glitter in their paintings. I do. I’m literally moving history forward. And what did they do?
    Crowd: <cheers>

    This also applies to fashion statements:

    Them: <shows up wearing nice clothing>
    You: <show up in a bowling uniform from 1958, with a bandolier of Twinkies, a necklace made of shark teeth and a pimp hat> Ta-Da!
    Crowd: <cheers>

    8. There’s always a theory

    Facts can be tricky things. If you end up feeling like an idiot because you said something illogical, hit them up with some voodoo theory. The point is to make sure the theory suggests, in some way, that we can make reality different just by wishing it so.

    You: Cool, a wall outlet.
    Them: But that’s a 220 volt outlet, and it’ll fry our equipment.
    You: According to the theory of sodomystical relativity in the hermeneutic of dynamic opposition (first cited by Rolf and Willyburger in their 2001 paper, “Anorectal Symbolism of Nightmare Heuristics in Norway Rats”), if we approach this with a Heisenbergian dynamic the current will equalize as it attempts to negotiate an equilibrium. You probably haven’t heard of it, but it’s all the rage at Harvard and Bennington.
    Them: Well, I’m not plugging this in… theory or no theory.
    You: Fine, be difficult. I’m sure in the small trailer park where you grew up this wasn’t an issue.
    Them: Dude, we grew up in San Francisco together and were roommates at Bennington.

    9. Turn it around

    If someone makes you look foolish, imply that they are:

    • Angry
    • Unwell
    • Sexually frustrated
    • Too sober

    It’s best as a spot comment in conversation:

    You: If 9/11 wasn’t an inside job, why did they use planes?
    Them: Wait, that makes no sense… those are privately owned.
    You: Are you ok, man? You look flushed.

    You can also use it as a counter-argument:

    Them: …if we keep dumping toxic waste into our rivers and streams, soon we’ll all die of cancer!
    You: Dude, that’s extreme and harshing on my buzz. You just need to get laid or something

    10. They haven’t heard of it

    By all means the best way to start out an argument or conversation is to put the other person on the defensive, especially if you can do it without seeming like the aggressor. This way, they try to prove their worth to you, and they’ll get aggressive about it, which opens a doorway for you to use the previous nine tactics to show the assembled group that you are, indeed, superior to whatever worthless specimen of humanity dared approach you.

    Them: And she was telling me, she was like, a virgin! And I was covered in blood when her dad came home.
    You: There’s something you can use — you probably haven’t heard of it — it’s called sodomy. That way, she can stay technically a virgin.
    Them: Oh no, I knew about that. I mean, I’ve sodomized a thousand things before.
    You: I didn’t ask how much sex you had. Why are you trying to compare dick sizes with me? What is this, junior high?