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Have a Hit from Pure Mids

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From the get-go you’re tapping your toes, feeling a need to bounce. That feeling rides until the entrance of the vocals on the latest Pure Mids track; once those vocals soothingly ride the mix, the tune takes a strikingly dreamier note. It spins in your ears, whispering to let yourself go free. Twirl about my friends, get lost in music like you did when you were young. The band is currently wrapping up the finishing touches on their debut album, Optimistic-ism, which I’m hoping carries this songs shimmering vibrance, twinkling and buzzing in my ears.

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awilchak
25 days ago
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good enough to click share!
Brooklyn, New York
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What image does the word “fascism” invoke? Hint: It’s totally wrong.

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Quick hit today: What does “fascism” generally provoke in the modern mind?

Torchlight parades? Nazi salutes? Donald Trump? Nope. What people think of more than anything else is this:

slate fascism

Thanks, Slate. We get it.

Military jackboots, that’s what people think of. Lots of them, marching in perfect formation. Tough and mean, yes, but also orderly. Regimented. Disciplined to a t.

It’s why “Nazi” can also be a synonym for “martinet,” like with the Soup Nazi.

Which is complete rubbish.

The reason why people immediately think of the goosestepping Soldaten is, of course, the Wehrmacht. But here’s the thing: The Nazis weren’t the ones who made the German army disciplined. Rather, the Fuehrer inherited this famous militarism from the Prussians, from Bismark and the Kaiser, and the General Staff which had persisted despite the defeat of WWI — without which, Hitler would have been no more or less an important historical figure than Franco.

Prussia was just one small state out of many in Germany, with few resources and not much culture or science to draw from. Instead, the Iron Chancellor forged his path by organizing and drilling one of the most ordered and cohesive armies of all time. And with this army — or the threat of it — Bismark was able to subdue one state after another until, finally, in 1871, long after other European states had been unified, he created almost through sheer willpower the German federal state. It wasn’t long before the Kaiser tried his hand at using this fearsome army to extend Germany’s borders still further and, had he not faced a two-front war, probably would have won. (That the Germans of the Great War were able to beat the Russians before finally losing to the Western Allies was impressive enough.)

The fascist Italians had no glorious modern military past like this to draw from. Neither did the Japanese, in fact, other than their Navy, leading to both nations getting completely outclassed on land. The point is, those jackboots marching in perfect rhythm should be a symbol of Prussia, not the Third Reich.

Fascism is above all else virulently nationalist, so its appearance must therefore change from country to country. But in no country, certainly not in America, does it spring specifically from the military. Instead, it represents a deeply irrational reaction to modern culture and the Enlightenment, one that the fascist wishes to claw asunder to bring about some mythical past utopia based on “blood and soil,” where the men of the tribe are forever victorious over the foreigner, the woman and, always, the Jew.

575px-Dummies_Guide_to_Cultural_Marxist_caste_system

Note here a typical specimen of American fascist propaganda (larger version here). Pay particular note to the weird term “cultural marxism” — anyone using this term without irony is pretty much guaranteed to be a fascist. The term means some nebulous conspiracy of the Others forever out to keep down the only people the American fascist cares about: “White, Heterosexual, working class Males.”

Also, we can dismiss the lazy equating of “fascist” with “conservative.” True conservatives — whom the fascists dismiss as “TruCons” or “GOPe” — believe in things like small government, the Constitution, strong military, religion, opposition to abortion, and capitalism. None of these ideas get your typical white nationalist out of bed in the morning. They are defined not by what they support but what they hate. And they mistrust capitalism and other conservative ideals almost as much as socialists do.

And note the lack of mention of the military in that screed above. This is typical. You hardly ever hear the U.S. military discussed by Richard Spencer, Stormfront or the Daily Stormer either — and if you do, they are usually described as an evil, federal occupying power that the white supremacists fight, as in the Turner Diaries.

Can we put the military jackboot thing to bed yet?

Donald Trump’s most enthusiastic voters are not conservative and are not particularly militaristic or well-disciplined. I hereby recommend we reject the popular image of fascism and replace it with this gentleman instead:

trumpkin

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awilchak
57 days ago
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real talk
Brooklyn, New York
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1 public comment
satadru
60 days ago
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Much of this is right.
New York, NY

It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers

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Originally published October 20, 2009.

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I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is — fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I’m going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, “Aren’t those gourds straining your neck?” And I’m just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, “It’s fall, fuckfaces. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not.”

Carving orange pumpkins sounds like a pretty fitting way to ring in the season. You know what else does? Performing an all-gourd reenactment of an episode of Diff’rent Strokes — specifically the one when Arnold and Dudley experience a disturbing brush with sexual molestation. Well, this shit just got real, didn’t it? Felonies and gourds have one very important commonality: they’re both extremely fucking real. Sorry if that’s upsetting, but I’m not doing you any favors by shielding you from this anymore.

The next thing I’m going to do is carve one of the longer gourds into a perfect replica of the Mayflower as a shout-out to our Pilgrim forefathers. Then I’m going to do lines of blow off its hull with a hooker. Why? Because it’s not summer, it’s not winter, and it’s not spring. Grab a calendar and pull your fucking heads out of your asses; it’s fall, fuckers.

Have you ever been in an Italian deli with salamis hanging from their ceiling? Well then you’re going to fucking love my house. Just look where you’re walking or you’ll get KO’d by the gauntlet of misshapen, zucchini-descendant bastards swinging from above. And when you do, you’re going to hear a very loud, very stereotypical Italian laugh coming from me. Consider yourself warned.

For now, all I plan to do is to throw on a flannel shirt, some tattered overalls, and a floppy fucking hat and stand in the middle of a cornfield for a few days. The first crow that tries to land on me is going to get his avian ass bitch-slapped all the way back to summer.

Welcome to autumn, fuckheads!

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Become a patron (Decorative Gourd Tier or above) and read the early drafts of “Decorative Gourds” as well as the email exchanges between Colin and our editor as they prepared the piece for publishing way back in 2009.

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Available in print with
The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Also available in mug form!

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awilchak
57 days ago
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this is good every time it gets posted
Brooklyn, New York
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Reading 'Redwall' and Discovering a Treat for the Senses

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Not long ago I finally got around to reading a children's adventure that friends have often recommended: Brian Jacques' Redwall , which is about an idyllic…
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awilchak
65 days ago
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i support this
Brooklyn, New York
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Apple Maps to the Rescue

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While walking around NYC testing a camera app, I searched Apple Maps for `coffee wifi` because it appears to be impossible to add a word to the search box after choosing Drinks > Coffee Shops from the categories. You can put the cursor in the text box beside the “Coffee Shops” tag but as soon as you type, “Coffee Shops” is cleared from the box. So I couldn’t search for “Coffee Shops” and `wifi`. No biggie, surely typing `coffee` and `wifi` would find places near me in Hells Kitchen that had both coffee and wifi in their titles or descriptions, right?

IMG_3512.PNG

Nailed it.  

As I’ve said every day for the laat 10(? 13?) years, Apple has a search problem. 

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awilchak
69 days ago
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Apple Maps jokes still funny
Brooklyn, New York
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Some thoughts on the firing of James Damore from Google

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As the world knows by now James Damore was fired from Google for writing a memo that questioned Google's diversity policies.

As a holder of Google stock I have a few thoughts on this.

Software engineering is a job where you cannot replace one brilliant software engineer with six adequate ones. It really is a job where the best people can lever their work over millions of computers and the whole world.

If you are Sundar Pichai (the CEO of Google) your job is to attract, hold, motivate and direct the very best software engineers - and to make sure their work does scale over the whole world.

In doing this he literally should not care whether men are better software engineers or mathematicians on average than women. Google should not interested in average. Google should be interested in the best.

I will hold Emmy Noether up as better than pretty well all men in all current mathematics and physics faculties. There may be a dozen in the world who can match her.  Probably less. If she pops along you should hire her. Even if women are less good on average at maths than men that should not matter. Emmy Noether is clearly better than anyone else you are going to hire this year.

The truth or falsity of James Damore's assertions in the memo literally do not interest me and should not interest Sundar Pichai. His memo made his job of hiring the the best harder. If the best happened to be a woman or another minority they might prefer work somewhere more welcoming.

If I were the Google CEO I would not have just fired James Damore. I would have been proud to fire him.

There is a lot of talk about Mr Damore receiving compensation from Google for his firing. For what? He broke the Google code of conduct and was fired for cause.

Yes, his feelings and the feelings of many delicate petals on the right are hurt.

But they are no more entitled to compensation for hurt feelings than anyone else.

If Sundar Pichai wastes shareholder funds compensating him I will be disappointed.

And don't think for a moment that this is a liberal line. Google is and should be a proudly elitist place for a software engineer to work. And Mr Damore was fired because he offered a phoney elitism (based on gender rather than competence).

Phoney elitists like him don't deserve to work in such a place.

Mr Damore was right on one thing. Diversity shouldn't be valued for its own sake in such a place either. But I haven't noticed a lack of elitism in Google staff I have met. They positively drip elitism.

Diversity is valued though and it seems is valued for the right reason. It gets you a better chance of recruiting the best.




John
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awilchak
97 days ago
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I think this is a smart response. Here is how I see it. Fact #1: Amazing female engineers exist. Fact #2: If I was an amazing female engineer, I would be lots less inclined to work at Google had management NOT fired this guy. Conclusion: firing this guy is in support of Google's vision of meritocracy. James Damore didn't get fired because he said some non-PC shit; he got fired because he acted like an asshole at work.
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