Unpopular Opinion: Burger King is superior to In-N-Out Burger. In-N-Out’s Double double pales in comparison to a flame broiled Whopper. I only wish that BK would bring back the original Chicken Tenders formula from the 80s. Anyway, enjoy this retro Burger King location, which appears to be relatively unmolested by time. The clueless “updater” busybodies and ruinous remake enthusiasts haven’t got their grubby little paws on it…yet.
Richard Register recently appeared on The Stark Truth podcast to discuss the concept of ecocities with Robert Stark. I did not appear on this episode, but Robert asked me if I had ever been to Arcosanti, since I’m from Arizona. The answer is no. I’ve never been there. It’s kind of far and an out of the way drive to get to Arcosanti from where I live. I believe my mother has been to the place once about 10 years ago when she was in town, but it was purely due to a recommendation from someone. I don’t believe she has any interest in this sort of thing.
Interview is available here
Richard Register is a theorist in ecology and urban design, the author of several books on the topic of ecologically sustainable cities, and founder and President of Ecocity World.
Richard’s concept of an Ecocity
Paolo Soleri’s concept of an Arcology and his project Arcosanti in Arizona
The Ecosa Institute which is doing what Soleri intended on a smaller scale
Ancient examples of the Arcology go back to Ur in Mesopotamia and Çatalhöyük in Turkey
The city as a complex living organism
Horizontal vs. three dimensional cities
Implementing an ecocity on a large scale as an Ecotropolis
Why density is more ecologically sustainable
The goal of creating a car free city
The use of bridges between structures
John C. Portman’s Embarcadero Center in San Francisco which has aspects of an Arcology
Exterior glass elevators
Richard’s book Ecocity Berkeley and NIMBY imposed barriers to change in Berkeley
Opening up the creek systems in urban areas
Creating Ecocity village cores in the suburbs and how to retrofit aesthetically pleasing suburbs (ex. Santa Barbara, Marin County, and wealthy East Bay suburbs)
Reducing the foot print of cities and suburbs and opening up new land to agriculture and wilderness
Richard’s illustrations and the importance of aesthetics in urbanism
New Urbanism as a step in the right direction but too rigid in height and density
Richard’s trip to the Galapagos Islands and observations of how architecture coexists with nature
Ecocities in China
Robert’s observation that Las Vegas despite being an ecological catastrophe has many aspects of the Arcology
Blackstone speaks as if he were a god, “I’m Roger Blackstone. I have dedicated my life to advancing civilization and furthering human progress, from finding cures to deadly illnesses, to radical life extension, to building utopian cities. Imagine a world where you can get on a fast train in Miami and be in New York City in 30 minutes. Imagine an end to aging and illness. I have the power to re-write the human genome and end all human suffering. Imagine an end to all ecological degradation, preventing utter ecological catastrophe. I have the solutions to end our petroleum based economy, implementing high speed railway and monorail networks; vertical farms and renewable energy from unknown energy sources. I will help rebuild our suburban wastelands into magnificent walkable communities, accessible to mass transit and parklands; but most importantly true freedom. The freedom to live in the utopia you desire, whether it is a vertical garden-city, a neon-lit retro wonderland, or a European-style village. I’ve actually built these things and understand that true freedom will only occur when people can live in their very own utopia.” Noam’s mom scoffs, “Sounds like just another one of his commercials for his real estate developments, rather than an appeal from a public statesman. He wants to turn all of America into one giant theme park. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about ecology.” Blackstone continues, “Imagine no work! Robots will do all the work, and there will be a guaranteed basic income. People will no longer be slaves to dead end jobs and will be free to pursue their dreams and reach their full potential. Imagine no ugliness! I will offer economic incentives for the most attractive women to have multiple offspring and implement an immigration policy limited to only the most attractive women; the best looking European models and economic incentives for all young blonde Israeli women to immigrate to avoid military conscription. I will further human enlightenment with the legalization of LSD and DMT. I will fix our broken economy with a repudiation of all debt, home mortgages, and student loans, and an end to all interest with nationalization of the banks. Vote for me. I will make your dreams come true!” Noam’s mom interrupts, “Faux populist fascist pig! His gaudy casinos prey on the working class, his tastes are stuck in the 80s, he objectifies women, and he has done nothing to empower women and minorities! His father Alistair wrote this bizarre creepy fascist manifesto advocating for the aristocracy to enslave the proletariat, and I know Roger is influenced by that fascist shit.”
The following is a brief set of observations on Roger and Alistair Blackstone’s political agendas in Robert Stark’s novel Journey to Vapor Island. There is also an episode of the Stark Truth that covers much of the content here.
On Alistair Blackstone’s manifesto:
“Those who were born to serve.” – bears some resemblance to notions of a natural aristocracy, see: Ralph Waldo Emerson, HL Mencken. Also, this is what Marx would have called the lumpenproletariat, and the “petite bourgeois” is actually a name that some Marxists gave to the distributist movement, but at the same time there’s some evidence that Alistair is sympathetic to distributive economic philosophies, because capitalism has this negative effect or this stultifying effect on the creative class. Later on the term “aristocratic radicalism” pops up, which I think is used to describe Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy, but I don’t think Nietzsche himself came up with it.
“An immigration policy limited to only the most attractive women.” This makes humans, rather than just art and architecture, the subject of aesthetic concern.
“Conformist masses.” This is part of the idea (espoused by Crowley and others) that society is made up of loners (non-conformists) and “the herd” (conformists). Some would suggest, as per aristocratic radicalism (or Crowley’s term, “aristocratic communism”) that society ought to be geared towards empowering and emboldening those people who are naturally non-conformists, artists and intellectuals and so on, and maybe creating some more of them.
“Garden paradise.” – Environmentalism?
“A new priest class descended from a lost ancient civilization shall decide who is fit to rule.” This reminded me, although I suspect it is probably unintentional, of Roman myths about the founding of their city, i.e. there was the notion that the patrician elite were descended from the officials originally appointed by Romulus. It makes sense that this would be a concern given the references later in the book to Roman sexual mores and aesthetics.
On Roger Blackstone’s Politics:
“Advancing civilization and furthering human progress.” This implies a rejection of the NRx reading of history (inverted Whig view of history) and assumes, contra NRx, that some forms of progress are actually meaningful.
“I have the power to re-write the human genome and end all human suffering.” Reminded me of recent developments in genetics, how one could completely re-engineer the human genome to enhance human potential, etc.
“European-style village.” New urbanism and the necessity of creating aesthetically pleasant living spaces. Also possibly reflects a kind of implicit racialism since European architecture is treated as superior or at least as the default.
“Live in their very own utopia.” Relates to the idea of simple libertarianism just not being enough and how we need people to create intentional communities for every possible group both racial/ethnic and ideological.
“LSD and DMT.” Could be related to the book The Chemical Muse about the prevalence of drugs (especially entheogens) in premodern societies, e.g. Graeco-Roman societies, the importance of drug use to a lot of artists and anticonformists, etc.
The original Planet of the Apes sequels may have had lower budgets and far fetched premises (even moreso than the first installment) but they became more imaginative and at times the line between hero and villain became somewhat blurred, leaving speciest (human) audiences conflicted about whom to root for. One example of this is Dr. Otto Hasslein, the villain (or is he?) from Escape From the Planet of the Apes who reluctantly sets out to kill Cornelius and Zira, when he realizes doing so may prevent intelligent apes from overtaking humanity in the far future. However, I will deal with the subject of Hasslein another day. Instead, I want to focus on the archetypal fascist character, Governor Breck, from the 4th installment of the series, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972).
Governor Breck is the authoritarian leader of Central City, a futuristic totalitarian city featuring some aesthetic uniforms and awesome 1960s brutalist architecture (the film was shot in Century City in Los Angeles.) Breck is the main antagonist of the film and is mostly depicted as a rather cruel villain. Yet while he seemingly rules with an iron fist, it becomes easier for the human viewer to empathize with Breck’s methods and actions over the course of film, as events unfold and the apes revolt, rioting and burning the city to the ground. While the audience is sympathetic to the plight of Caesar (the protagonist ape and surviving child of Zira and Cornelius in the previous film) in the first half of the movie, one begins to understand the motivations of Breck toward the end of the film. Having been warned at some previous time about the possible future where apes rule over humans, Breck realizes the existential threat the apes pose to human civilization if they are allowed to become dominant, and therefore his actions seem less harsh within the context of what he is trying to prevent. While Breck is largely presented as a kind of cold hearted, fascist strawman….near the end of the film, when he is captured by Caesar and the apes, he gives a brief, yet powerfully humanizing speech:
“Because your kind were once our ancestors. Man was born of the ape. There’s still an ape curled up inside of every man, the beast that must be whipped into submission, the savage that has to be shackled in chains. You are that beast, Caesar. You taint us. You…you poison our guts. When we hate you, we’re hating the dark side of ourselves.” – Governor Breck
These unexpectedly cogent remarks serve as an important insight into our “hateful” attitudes towards those we dislike or deem to be uncivilized. It requires a great degree of self control, emotional discipline and empathy for humans to moderate ourselves and keep our base impulses in check. Yet this is required to sustain and build upon our civilization. Each of us maintains some variable capacity to behave bestial and savage-like. So when we observe people that lack impulse control, are prone to random violence and seem unable to behave civilized in a public setting, it registers with us a visceral disgust. We recognize these tendencies within ourselves as the savage genies we successfully manage to keep bottled up everyday, “genies” we’ve gone great lengths to resist unleashing upon our fellow man (as well as our furry little friends.) Those individuals or groups we observe as failing to control these negative impulses, we see as the physical manifestations of our own primal desires and the violent thoughts we don’t dare act upon, the manifestations of such that need to be dutifully kept in check by any means necessary, in order for the civilization we love and ultimately our species to survive.
Interview can be found here.
A continuation on the topic of a “Redpilled” SWPL culture and it’s viability
The implicit Whiteness of progressive causes such as Environmentalism, Effective Altruism, and Transhumanism
The importance of being technologically advanced in contrast to gun culture and “Becoming a Barbarian”
Creating City States based on shared interest
Biopunk, Biomorphism, and vertical gardens
Brandon’s interest in 70’s Retro Futurism (ex. Logan’s Run)
Steampunk, Urban fantasy literature, and the technology of Victorian England
Decopunk; the film Dark City
The lack of vision in new architecture and urbanism
Roman Archeo Futurism
80’s Retro-Futurism, Cyberpunk, and Fashwave
The Bearer of “Trad” News
Hip to the Moon: Brandon Adamson Drops Out to Conquer the Stars
Robert’s Journey to Vapor Island; Roger Blackstone’s “Neon Nationalism”
The Man in the High Castle series; the alternative society portrayed and the Retro-Futuristic architecture
Whether Fascism was anti-modern or about creating an alternative modernity
Ashley’s review of the film Call Me by Your Name
Age of Consent Laws
The film The Crush Starring Alicia Silverstone
This article originally appeared in Force Fields, Feb, 19 2016
Much controversy has been generated by the recent development of micro apartments and tiny houses. These are smaller than normal living spaces, which in the case of micro apartments often means less than 300 sq ft. They have emerged as an option for environmentally conscious young professionals and students to live in parts of town where they would otherwise be unable to economically sustain themselves. The rent is just too damn high. A lot of people hate the idea of these micro flats.”How could anyone live like that?” some people wonder. “These new buildings are ruining property values!” real estate agents complain. If you have a family of 2 or require a lot of space for your hair dryer, I’m sure you’ve already concluded these little apartments are not for you. Not everyone needs or wants a lot of room though. Here are a few reasons why some of us(at least for a while) wouldn’t mind calling a micro apartment our home:
1. They’re Affordable
This is perhaps the most obvious selling point. In many thriving metropolitan cities, cost of living has long ago outpaced real wages. Places in the heart of San Francisco, Seattle and Portland are expensive and almost impossible to afford for many of the young single professionals work in the city. This tends to require people to make long commutes from far off suburbs or have to hunker down like turtles at the mercy of slumlords in nearby ghettos. That or they end up packed like sardines into an decent but “communal” apartment with bunch of random roommates of various quality and shadiness. Micro apartments allow you to sacrifice space for affordability, privacy and the chance to live in a small compartment in the best part of town.
2. Good for the Environment
No big surprise here. Micro apartment buildings are designed specifically to be energy efficient in all areas. From low-flow shower heads to compact fluorescent light bulbs, these were built for green living. The small area also requires less energy to heat, cool or light. There is so little to do in one of these apartments that unless you turn your room into a bitcoin mining outpost, it’s difficult to see how you could ever run up much of a utility bill. Also, the fact that you can live right where the action is(and likely close to work) means you’ll be using less gas and may not even need to drive an automobile at all.
3. Minimalist Lifestyle
One might think of the idea of being cramped in a tiny apartment as being a stressful thought in and of itself. Instead of falling victim to an anxiety induced cheek bite, chew on this for a second. when I look around at all the junk I’ve accumulated over the years cluttered about, it stressed me out. Life is one’s head is complicated and heavy enough without having a ton of crap in the physical world to weigh you down(and yes I realize that thoughts themselves are technically a physical manifestation, but you know what I mean.) I have fantasies about chucking all my material possessions and going back to basics. At one time I lived for 2 years in a small studio apartment armed with nothing but a $20 cot from Target to sleep on and a Super Nintendo for recreational activity. Those were simple yet carefree times. Micro apartments allow for this kind of minimalist lifestyle. Small spaces can be liberating after all.
4. The Views
Believe it or not, many of these micro apartments come equipped with breathtaking views. The units are often situated in modernist mini high-rise buildings. One of the rare features these units have is large windows. After all, if there’s not room to do anything else your apartment, at least you can gaze outside from the 7th floor and stare at the Cascades all day.
Brandon Adamson is the author of Beatnik Fascism