For Sinematic Effect

I’m not generally inclined to write about electoral politics, much less local politics (boooring!) but I feel compelled to make a few passing remarks on the Arizona Senate election between Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally. I didn’t really feel strongly about either candidate, but I’m going to go ahead and endorse Kyrsten Sinema (I already voted for her once in the primary.) The ads being put out by supporters of McSally are so awful that I briefly wondered to myself whether the Sinema campaign had secretly created the ads themselves, just to make McSally look stupid! Anyway, it’s not just that the ads are negative or constitute “mudslinging” (who cares? lol.) What makes these ads so terrible is their total lack of substance and ill-chosen angles of attack, which signals a clueless misreading of the priorities of McSally’s own base of support, as well as outright contempt for the intelligence of all Arizonans.

Here is an example of the narration over an ad put out by the people who run “RadicalKyrsten.com.”

“Kyrsten Sinema has the phony politician act down. Before she went to Washington, she was a radical fringe protester. The Arizona democratic party said she was ‘too extreme.’ Kyrsten Sinema Radical. Extreme. Don’t for fall her act.”

(a similar, longer version of the ad can be found here)

They don’t ever bother to explain in what ways Sinema is supposedly “radical” and “extreme” or offer any explanation as to why being radical is inherently a bad thing. On some issues being extreme might be necessary, and many people would agree that radical changes are needed to fix the myriad of problems the US faces. The ad also makes the claim that Kyrsten was a “radical fringe protester” over 15 years ago. What sorts of things was she protesting exactly? She was protesting the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War! Two wars which were ill-conceived, totally unnecessary and a complete waste of money, life and resources. The War in Afghanistan is still going on. We haven’t even left yet, 7 years after Bin Laden was killed (in Pakistan.) This isn’t 2002 anymore. Americans want to stay out of these pointless wars in the middle east. Of all the things the GOP could make an issue of in this Senate campaign, they choose to attack Kyrsten for being anti-war. Another attack mentions that she was “a criminal defense attorney who defended murderers.” Well, so what? That is what criminal defense attorneys have to do. Everyone who is charged with a crime, no matter how awful, is entitled to an attorney. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to defend them, and Kyrsten was refreshingly straightforward about the way she described it. The ad also attacks her as a “socialist,” which just shows how out of touch these people are as younger generation republicans are becoming more and more skeptical of big tech corporations, free trade and unchecked capitalism and are moving toward populist economics which favor the working class.

In a sense these ads belong in a museum, for if they had been created as postmodern works of art as a sort of social commentary on the utter meaninglessness of contemporary political advertising…they would be masterpieces.

The irony though is that Kyrsten Sinema actually is a moderate, and in some of the best ways. She was attacked in The New Times because she had the common sense to insist that the US establish a more thorough vetting process before we consider allowing Syrian and Iraqi “refugees” to be resettled here. That alone is reason enough to vote for her.

Kyrsten Sinema is running a smart campaign. She knows that open borders and anti-white politics aren’t popular in AZ, so she’s focusing on health care and jobs. Meanwhile her GOP opponents are totally clueless and think it’s a good idea to attack Kyrsten for opposing the Iraq war. A GOP which runs on McCain’s neoconservative foreign policy and bombards the airwaves with the lamest political ads ever created deserves to lose. Even back when Kyrsten Sinema was just running for congress I remember being impressed with the aesthetics or her campaign. Her signs and fliers were some of the most artful I’ve seen associated with a political candidate. They embodied a kind of retro, 1980s NBA team style, reminiscent of old Denver Nuggets and Seattle Supersonics logos. Anyway, yeah. Vote for Kyrsten.

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Francis Nally Discusses Fast Food Nationalism

Francis Nally discusses Fast Food Nationalism (or Fast Food Fascism) on The Stark Truth. Listen Here.

Francis’ article Fast Food Fascism & It’s Esoteric Meaning

Francis’ Lexicon

The “innate fascism” lurking behind crass popular culture

The origins behind the unpop art movement and Neofolk

The Unpop theme of using pop culture imagery to depict transgressive material

How controversial icons can look “cute” next to family friendly imagery of popular culture

Shaun Partridge and Partridge Family Temple

Pop culture from the 1960’s through 1980’s

Francis’ critique of Spencer J. Quinn’s review on Counter-Currents about the new Incredibles 2 film

The Alt-Right’s use of making far-right symbols cool, while Fast-food Nationalism uncovers the “hipness” of corporate logos

Making collage art out of outdated pop culture memes and esoteric religion to make something new

The low brow art scene and the art of Ron English, Frank Kozik, Trevor Brown, and Mark Ryden

Musician David Thrussell’s ironic use of Fast Food imagery

Ralph Nader’s wisdom of how you can’t avoid advertisements in daily life

Going beyond memes and irony to create a positive vision

How a new Apocalypse Culture is replacing the Alt-Right

The intersectionality of Homonationalism, Neon-nationalism, The Alt-Left/Center, and Post Neo-Folk

The artist creating the vision vs. meta-politics

Embracing late capitalist materialism to find eternal peace and “Nirvana”

Memeing pop cultural products towards an identitarian end

The CalArts movement

Robert Stark Discusses His Podcasting History

young Robert Stark

Francis Nally and Brandon Adamson join Robert Stark to discuss his podcasting history, political and cultural evolution, and where he is at now.

Podcast is available here

Topics:

The new book, The Stark Truth With Robert Stark: A Legacy 2009-2018

How for a long time Robert was known as the guy who randomly interviews people

How The Stark Truth doesn’t get the credit it deserves

The lack of substance of firebrand alt-podcasters and Youtube political celebrities

How Robert has now established his own unique “Starkian” ideology and cultural vision

New “Starkian” blog, Alt of Center | Life. Liberty. And the Pursuit of Beauty

How Robert’s novel Journey to Vapor Island helped brand the Starkian Identity

Robert’s adolescent traumas which provided inspiration for Journey to Vapor Island

How Robert’s experience growing up in LA and observations on society as a teen shaped his
basic cultural and political outlook

How Robert always had many of the same core principles but felt the need to belong and conform to a political tribe

Robert’s political phases including Libertarianism, Paleoconservatism, and Third Positionism

How ironically both Robert and Brandon started out on the right economically and moved closer to the left

How Robert is now at a point where he is entirely independent both politically and culturally

Robert’s podcasting history starting at Voice of Reason Radio, Counter-Currents Radio, and establishing his own podcast

Robert’s past interviews with political dissidents

Robert’s decision to focus the show on culture rather than politics

Brandon’s reference in the book to his trip to Las Vegas with Robert and the inspiration for Vapor Island

Is the future of the dissident sphere a Starkian, Alt-Center, Retro-Futurism?

Off the Top

“Read old books” they say. Well, I went ahead, dug into my closet looking for some light reading and found an astrology paperback I picked up about 7 years ago from Half Price Books. It’s from 1975 and titled Off the Top. The author was a famed astrologer named Sydney Omarr (note that despite the Arabic sounding name, he was actually born Sidney Kimmelman and was Jewish.) Anyway, as you might imagine, I’m not a huge believer in astrology but have always been intrigued by it and favored the aesthetic over other religions. I do in fact believe that forces in the cosmos probably do affect us to some degree but in ways we have not yet been able to pinpoint with specificity and perhaps never will. I went through a phase several years ago when I was looking for 1970’s-80s astrology books mostly for the illustrations and laid back writing style they often featured. I even had a sterling silver, crab pendant necklace in honor of my own zodiac sign, Cancer. Having worn the necklace for about a year, I eventually lost it and have been too lazy to buy another one since.

When reading Off the Top, I sometimes felt reminded of that scene from Leaving Las Vegas when Nicholas Cage is looking at the sign for “The Whole Year Inn” but instead sees it as saying “The Whole You’re In.” I mention this because the book is mostly Omarr’s casual thoughts and ruminations about astrological signs, taken “off the top” of his head (or the opening paragraphs of his syndicated newspaper forecasts.) Off the Top might just as well be a euphemism for Out the Ass, depending on your point of view.

Amusingly, even in a light hearted book like this it only takes Omarr one paragraph into the book before he brings up the nazis and the holocaust, within the context of the role of astrologers played in WWII. However, this quickly leads into one of the more interesting parts of the book, which is a lengthy introduction featuring a fast-paced hodgepodge of favorable quotes and anecdotes about astrology relating to various public figures and personalities. Often the endorsements seem a little out of context but are interesting tidbits nonetheless. Among the first are a couple of quotations from Carl Jung:

“We are born at a given moment, in a given place, and like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season in which we are born.”

and

“Astrology represents the sum of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity”

The intro also has some rather ridiculous paragraphs from Omarr himself, noteworthy only for their chutzpah:

Becoming proficient in astrology demands knowledge of astronomy, history, mathematics,literature and psychology. Not all astrologers live up to the highest standards. Sadly, neither do all attorneys, physicians and educators. The key in this Space Age is to set aside preconceived notions, academic prejudice and aim toward progress. If astrology, among other subjects leads the way, so be it.

It also includes zillions of “factoids” which seem kind of far-fetched but which I don’t have the time or energy to research to verify their accuracy. Example:

Outbreaks of murder appear to be triggered by the moon tugging on “biological tides” within the human body, according to Dr. Arnold L. Lieber of the University of Miami medical school

You get the idea. The introductory portion actually goes on for over 30 pages, nearly 1/3 of the entire book.

Moving on to the actual signs, Omarr dedicates several pages to each one. They offer comprehensive and detailed overviews, written in a very entertaining, no-nonsense and matter of fact tone. Some statements are unintentionally, hilariously accurate, such as:

The United States is a Cancer nation and has been known to feed the world.

Being a Cancer myself, I got a kick out of how much time Omarr devotes to talking about how Cancer is a great cook and loves being in the kitchen. My own idea of “cooking” is to throw a brick of tofu in the microwave, add some cheese and grape seed oil vegenaise to it and presto! My home cooked meals for most of my 20’s to mid 30’s consisted almost exclusively of microwave popcorn and cheap wine. The late Sydney Omarr must have gotten the last laugh though when I realized he had me pegged after all:

The classical Cancer native has a tendency to repeat facts and deliver monologues. Members of this zodiacal sign savor childhood memories, even bitter ones.

I recommend this book, even though I’ve been somewhat critical of it and don’t take much of it seriously. It is written in a very entertaining style, and believe it or not I learned a few things I did not know (too many to mention actually.) It also does contain a few of the kind of 70s paperback illustrations and fonts which were the reason I purchased it, so I can’t really complain.

Robert Stark Interviews Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan About San Francisco Neon

Al Barna is a San Francisco photographer and artist whose work has been shown in exhibitions at the de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor Museum, the Rayko Gallery, the San Francisco Public Library, and the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. His photography has been published in CA Modern magazine, Society of Commercial Archaeology Journal, The Sun magazine, and Shots magazine.

Randall Ann Homan began her interest in the art of signage as an apprentice sign painter in Flagstaff, Arizona. She lives in San Francisco and is an art director, photographer, and an award-winning graphic designer. Someday she would like to design a neon sign.

Listen here

Topics:

The history of Neon in San Francisco
Neon Walking TOURS
Historic Preservation and how San Francisco has lost the least of it’s signage of any major city
Market Street, it’s history as a Neon hub, and the failed Mid-Market Sign District Proposal
The Starlight Room at The Sir Francis Drake Hotel in Union Square
Other signs near Union Square including Tad’s Steak House, Marquard’s Cigar Store, The Stratford Hotel, and the Herbert Hotel
Parking Garage Neon near Union Square
The Tenderloin
Chinatown which has the highest concentration of signs in the city though many are unlit
The Lady from Shanghai directed by Orson Welles
Broadway in North Beach
Columbus Street in North Beach
Fisherman’s Wharf; Alioto’s, Fisherman’s Grotto, The View Alcatraz Sign, The Cannery and Ghiradelli Square
Bar signs including the 500 Club Martini sign in the Mission District
The Coca-Cola Company Replaced the Landmark Outdoor Neon Sign with LED
Animated Signs
The Embarcadero Center’s LED bulb signs
The Port of San Francisco Sign at The Ferry Building
Oakland’s signs including the Paramount Theatre
The Orinda Theatre
Rheem Theatre closes it’s doors in Moraga
Santa Cruz, The Boardwalk, and The Del Mar Theatre
Jim Rizzo of Neon Works in Oakland who rescues and restores signs
Stookey’s Club Moderne which has a brand new Art Deco style sign
NEON SPEAKS: Symposium & Spotlight Forum
The Museum of Neon Art in Glendale, California
Will Durham’s Neon Museum in Reno

Roger Blackstone: The Politics of Aesthetics

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.