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This week’s Open Thread.

 
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  1. This is the current Open Thread, where anything goes – within reason.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

    Commenting rules. Please note that anonymous comments are not allowed.

  2. A123 says:

    Light humor for the open thread.

    PEACE 😇
     

    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
  3. Have you commented on the Russian naval base in Sudan? What’s the point?

    • Replies: @mal
  4. mal says:
    @Shortsword

    Russia has business interests in Africa. Rosatom has been active there and Rusal has property. A stopping port for your nuclear powered fleet is always a good thing.

    • Agree: Not Raul
  5. utu says:

    Bilge to the Right, Bilge to the Left, and Not a Drop to Drink: Plumbing the Crankosphere by Fred Reed
    https://www.unz.com/freed/bilge-to-the-right-bilge-to-the-left-and-not-a-drop-to-drink/

    How many UR commenters entertains some of the beliefs satirized by Fred Reed? 50%? 75%?

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  6. nickels says:

    So what’s the deal with these Serbian geniuses writing sampling algorithms to add in extra samples without being detectable??

    Any you Ruskies know Александар Лазаревић?

    https://archive.is/lWtoK

    A nice little algorithm for injecting samples undetectably.
    https://archive.is/ktXXF

    • Replies: @Svevlad
  7. nickels says:

    I will add one more interesting point that the censoring of right wing voices by big tech, and the resulting total freedom of communists and lefties to blab away to their hearts content, has essentially turned the entire social network scene into one big forensic goldmine for the right.

    It totally worked against them, turning their blathering into a gold mine of confessions and motives for prosecutors:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EnPUdghXMAMDzCa?format=jpg
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EmoRKzwWEAEuymb?format=jpg

    Almost like Khrushchev himself were running things.

    • Replies: @utu
  8. Svevlad says:
    @nickels

    We’ve been reduced to being a little India of the IT world. Everyone outsources here if they care about quality

    • Replies: @Korenchkin
  9. utu says:
    @nickels

    “…the resulting total freedom of communists …” – Nonsense. If what you identify as the Left was really trying to promote socialist or communist ideas about economy and private property they would be censored as well.

    • Replies: @Not Raul
  10. AaronB says:

    John Maynard Keynes, who Bertrand Russell said was the most brilliant mind he had ever met, wrote an essay early last century saying that mankind was not ready for the leisure he saw even then as being made possible by advances in technology.

    He saw that all the rich ladies he knew with time on their hands were desperately bored, and he thought that only a tiny highly cultured elite- like the Bloomsbury circle he was a part of – would be able to enjoy leisure. He thought man had evolved to spend most of his day finding food, and wouldn’t know what to do if he suddenly found he didn’t have to.

    Well, as we know, advances in technology have made most jobs redundant, but this fact was disguised by the creation of bullshit jobs, which now dominates the economy. Most people are – perhaps deliberately, out of fear – oblivious to this fact or shut their eyes to it.

    Commenter “mal” made the excellent observation that manufacturing and production actually needs a very small part of the population to operate, and that nearly every country can mauster a 3% smart fraction to do what’s needed. And this process of automation will only grow.

    Since this is so, we would need to educate the population for the age of leisure that is inevitable. I think the chief obstacle is the old Protesrant work ethic, the idea that work ennobles and dignifies. People don’t realize that this ethic, far from being natural, had to be artificially created by immense moral pressure at the start of the industrial age. Before that, farmers lives were rather relaxed and leisurely, with often afternoons spent in the pubs. To get people into the factories working 10 hours per day, great moral and shaming pressure had to be brought. This process will have to be reversed in an age of automation.

    Most cultures did not dignify work. In the Bible, work is a curse. In ancient Greece, leisure was highly esteemed and prized. Work, of course, does not mean any kind of effort – just effort, under compulsion, that you would rather not do but must to survive. In this sense, craftsmanship, or hunting to survive, is not work, but play.

    In a leisure society, I can easily see myself spending hours making stinky cheeses or wines.

    But the point is, society is in urgent need of an education that will prepare mankind for the age of automation that is already upon us.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Thanks: mal
    • Replies: @MalePaleStale
    , @Mikel
  11. Not Raul says:
    @utu

    Indeed. Critics of US foreign policy have been censored quite a bit on social media.

    https://thegrayzone.com/2020/01/12/us-pressure-social-media-censoring-suspending-venezuela-iran-syria/

    • Replies: @A123
  12. @Svevlad

    Reduced to?
    You prefer being jobless Balkanoid hicks?
    Or getting besieged and bombed?
    Or being a source of cheap workers to rebuild Germany after WW2?

    • Replies: @Svevlad
  13. A123 says:
    @Not Raul

    Critics of U.S. Domestic Policy are also being silenced:

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/11/19/update-treehouse-2-0-migrating-site-after-deplatforming-by-wordpress-automattic/

    Anyone who speaks out against the DNC’s SJW Globalism is at great risk.
    ____

    Those who dislike Trump need to understand the consequences if he is forced from office after winning the election. The unelected fascists have power now via Fake Media and the Deep State. Imagine how much worse it will be if the Blue Swastika puppet masters place their easily controlled lobotomite in the Oval Office.

    For all those who use “cope” as a pejorative… Ask yourself these questions:

    — Can you “cope” with the Blue Swastika regime of George Soros Harris-Biden?

    — How many new foreign wars will the Nazicrat party start, if given the opportunity? And, what will they cost in blood and treasure?

    — Can the nation survive highly aggressive, far-left, National SJW Socialism? Those who dislike the U.S. should be careful answering this. Given the size of America’s nuclear arsenal, it is likely to go “Out in Fire” and will not go down alone.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @Beckow
    , @Daniel Chieh
  14. Beckow says:
    @A123

    This is not about a ‘dislike for Trump‘. He is actually quite likeable, just ineffective. The people who supported him are worse off in 2020 than in 2016 on every issue that matters. What would 4 more years of the same accomplish?

    The incoming elderly crowd is clearly nuts and completely divorced from reality so they have no chance to succeed, they will probably trigger mayhem in social relations, economy and internationally. So be it, the liberal ideology is exhausted, let it die on its own.

    How many new foreign wars will the Nazicrat party start?

    Probably none. Washington has not been starting wars because they lose them and there are no easy places left to kick around. Personalities are secondary, although Trump deserves credit for being the least warmongering president in a generation.

    You can’t have wars if you only know how to kill, but are unwilling to die. What Pentagon does amounts to simple vandalism and is increasingly embarrassing. America has no warrior culture, that would require having enough people willing to self-sacrifice. There is something admirable about not being a warrior culture, too bad the fire-eating dwarfs in Washington agencies and think tanks cover up that reality.

    On a small chance that the old demented man starts a nuclear war, look at the bright side: finally no more Corona hysteria. Who will worry about a fever with persistent cough after a nuclear exchange? That might be the only way to cure this global attack of mass hypochondria.

    • Replies: @A123
  15. A123 says:
    @Beckow

    Trump was massively successful for his voters on almost every issue that mattered. Here is a *partial* list of what he delivered for U.S. Citizens.
      
    Chinese incompetence (or malice) inflicted WUHAN-19 on the world making everyone worse off. No one sane can blame Trump for the actions of the CCP Elites and their BioWeapons Virus Laboratory.

    Under the U.S. Constitution, Presidential powers are limited. Outside of the scope of Trump’s authority, Blue State Governors and Blue City Mayors over-reacted to WUHAN-19 and encouraged BLM violence. State’s Rights mean that State officials must be held responsible for the mistakes that they 100% own. No one rational can blame Trump for the actions of Blue States and Blue Cities.

    The problem is not that Trump was inactive. The Deep State and Fake Stream Media (with the assistance of foreign co–conspirators) did everything they could to deceive people like yourself.

    Objective facts prove Trump’s track record of success.

    His 2nd term will allow the New Populist GOP to complete many efforts that are still in process. For example, revitalizing manufacturing, further boosting jobs & wages for U.S. Citizens.

    PEACE 😇

  16. @A123

    Given the size of America’s nuclear arsenal, it is likely to go “Out in Fire” and will not go down alone.

    Can’t wait to see how the transexual attack helicopters try to figure out how to maintain and fire nuclear missiles. Probably a third will fail, at least. Hard to see much downside in this gay world ending in cleansing fire anyway.

  17. What do you all see as the most plausible long term future for North Korea? Karlin mentioned in another post that you should invest in North Korean stocks whenever it becomes possible. When, if ever, will the Kim regime collapse, and when it does, will it reunify with South Korea, be annexed by China, or something else entirely?

  18. @A123

    Manufacturing and most distribution jobs are set to shrink to almost nothing. Even construction will diminish. There was nostalgia for agriculture for generations. That might help but blue collar work is a sinking ship. For example, 20,000 moving parts in an internal combustion car will shrink to 2000 in an electric car. Automated mass production of batteries won’t need many people after setup.

    • Replies: @128
  19. So, what happened to Russian manipulation in favour of Trump? Did the CIA ever confirm it?

  20. dfordoom says: • Website
    @utu

    How many UR commenters entertains some of the beliefs satirized by Fred Reed? 50%? 75%?

    At least 75% entertain some of those beliefs. What’s really scary is that there are people here who seem to believe all of those crazy ideas, even the ideas that contradict each other. Only on UR could you find people who think COVID-19 doesn’t exist but it was deliberately engineered by the evil Chinese communists.

    There is no conspiracy theory too crazy for the UR commentariat.

    • Replies: @A123
    , @utu
  21. Beckow says:
    @A123

    Let’s be bold and ignore anything on the list that says ‘promoted, weakened, fighting back, created commission‘ – those are non-events. Let’s also ignore anything with ‘womyn enterpreneurship, black unemployment‘, enough said. And the ‘court appointments’ – given that almost all ‘conservative’ appointees rapidly migrate towards liberalism this is nothing to boast about – until one of them proves it wrong.

    That doesn’t leave much, does it? Leaving TPP and Paris Accord (good), cut taxes on corporations, more military, and a relatively good economy before Corona. And making liberals foam at their mouths – that was probably the best thing.

    Here is my list of things that Trump didn’t do:
    – did nothing to fix labor market for young (mainly white male) Americans
    – immigration to US stayed at the same level as in 2015
    – racial preferences stayed the same or even accelerated
    – until summer 2020 (!!!) government employees were made to attend ‘critical race theory‘ propaganda sessions
    – the swamp was not drained
    – the military was not withdrawn from any of the conflicts (in spite of frequent announcements)
    – tech monopolies and censorship were strengthened
    – no swamp creature was as much as charged with any impropriety.

    The core Trump voters were worse off in November 2020 than they were in 2016.

    There are two possibilities:
    1) Trump is an incompetent executive who was blocked at every turn by his enemies (most of them he himself appointed)
    2) Trump is a good talker who was never much interested in what he was saying, but simply wanted to cut corporate taxes and do some favours for Netanyahu. He managed to do those.

    Which one is more likely?

    • Replies: @A123
  22. Mikhail says: • Website

    On the matter of media manipulation and censoring certain views on issues pertaining to international relations:

    https://www.eurasiareview.com/19112020-armenian-azeri-dispute-offers-another-russia-bashing-opportunity-oped/

    The NYT doesn’t hold back:

    https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2020/11/20/us-correspondent/

    https://www.rt.com/russia/507238-nytimes-moscow-job-posting/

    ———————————

    This should be encouraging for Medvedeva and Zagitova:

    https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2020/11/21/elizaveta-tuktamysheva-rostelecom-cup-results/

  23. A123 says:
    @dfordoom

    Only on UR could you find people who think COVID-19 doesn’t exist but it was deliberately engineered by the evil Chinese communists.

    Amusing, but not supported by the facts.

    Please provide a list (or sample) with citations of individuals in this category.
    ____

    A much more typical belief set is:

    — WUHAN-19 escaped from a CCP BioWeapon Virus Laboratory in Wuhan.
    — Wet Markets may (or may not) be a contributing factor. At least one credible scenario is: — An infected live specimen was sold instead of being destroyed on site. It is not that hard to envision someone who desperately needs a bit of extra cash to pre-purchase a holiday train ticket making this error. This scenario credibly aligns timing of the Wuhan City population exposure to a few weeks before the train travel season. Simple stupidity is much more plausible than a convoluted & wacky conspiracy theory.
    — What escaped was an intermediate research stage/sample, roughly as dangerous as seasonal flu. The death count *is higher*. However, that is because WUHAN-19 exploits pre-existing conditions (a.k.a. Comorbidities). The risk to individuals with no pre-existing conditions is very low.
    — The initial over reaction to WUHAN-19 was based on FUD (∆). While wrong on the facts, this incorrect jump was understandable.
    — After the initial period, individuals and groups (especially in the U.S.) intentionally & maliciously over-stated the danger for political and/or financial gain.

    PEACE 😇
    _______

    (∆) FUD — Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
     

    [MORE]

  24. Mikhail says: • Website

    On the matter of what Putin reads (said sarcastically):

    https://theduran.com/putin-explains-nagorno-karabakh-policy-during-controversial-press-q-a/

    Note his apparent criticism of Armenia, which was earlier noted here:

    https://www.eurasiareview.com/19112020-armenian-azeri-dispute-offers-another-russia-bashing-opportunity-oped/

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/11/17/armenian-azeri-dispute-offers-another-russia-bashing-opportunity/

    Excerpt –

    In a certain sense, Armenia has diplomatically contradicted itself by not formally recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence (unlike some individual states and towns within several countries and a few disputed former Soviet territories which do), or formally recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh as a part of Armenia.

  25. utu says:
    @dfordoom

    There is no conspiracy theory too crazy for the UR commentariat.

    Unlike you who takes pleasures from discovering more and more stupidity at the UR it pains me and I feel exasperated with them, who on many issues could be my allies, and wonder how did they became so. Is there an external factor that drove them mad? Are the theories about covid-19 purposefully seeded and propagated by those who want us to fail? Who would want us to fail? Could we consider China as our enemy who wishes us ill? What about Big Pharma’s interests? They want to arrive as a knight on a white horse bringing us vaccines and selling them to billions? Is China desperate for vaccines? Not really because they did the right thing. While they work on it and test it they are not desperate because they did everything what is being argued against by most of the UR commentariat.

    Only on UR could you find people who think COVID-19 doesn’t exist but it was deliberately engineered by the evil Chinese communists.

    This is interesting that you put the two memes together because Ron Unz who refuses to consider any possibility that outside agencies whether Chinese or Russian play any role in spreading the nonsense about the Covid-19 points to Andrew Anglin as one of the first seeding the memes of “just a flu” or “virus does not exist” to counteract the “China did it” meme.

    https://www.unz.com/mwhitney/lifting-the-lockdown-easy-does-it/#comment-3863472
    I remember around March, Anglin was freely saying the whole thing was going to be a total disaster in America due to Trump’s incompetence, and huge numbers of people would die. And I think he even said how shocked he was at how absurdly easily the Trump people were finding it to deflect the blame on China, even though that made absolutely no sense.

    So I suspect that he realized the “China bioweapon” story was just too well entrenched among (gullible) right-wing activists to be easily dislodged with more plausible information when the topic really became hot in America around then. And he decided to launch a clever flank attack instead, and focus on the “It’s Just the Flu!!!” nonsense, which had also been floating around in fringe circles.

    Based on the comments to that ZeroHedge article someone linked, it seems to have worked perfectly. The “China bioweapon” people at ZeroHedge are apparently getting totally swamped by the “It’s Just the Flu!!” people. After all, if It’s Just the Flu! how can anyone blame China?

    To Ron Unz the fact that what Anglin did what exactly was what Chinese propaganda via its agents of influence should/would have done is jus a coincidence. This might be so in case of Anglin but the seeding occurred in many other places.

    Anyway, I am seriously considering of a possibility that we are under an external attack that uses a misguided stupid fraction.

    Here is an exchange I had with Ron Unz on it:

    https://www.unz.com/article/the-jared-kushner-strategy-obviously-backfired/#comment-4275218
    One should ask the question whether the meme that the virus was fake was purposefully planted, say by Chinese or Russians, to assure that America’s response to the pandemic would be a failure.

    and here is my comment where I include Germany into the conspiracy:

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/pfizer-releases-final-vaccine-stats-162-170th-effective/#comment-4294836
    …quite a few German credentialed talking heads (mostly on YT) provide lots of ammo to the covidiots. What’s up with Germany? A country which penalizes any alternative reading of history is tolerant of all kinds of mumbo-jumbo when it comes to medical science.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @sudden death
  26. A123 says:
    @Beckow

    Here is my list of things that Trump didn’t do:
    – did nothing to fix labor market for young (mainly white male) Americans

    You are incorrect on the facts:
    — White male unemployed was sharply reduced.
    — White male wages were up.

    – immigration to US stayed at the same level as in 2015

    This assertion is problematic:
    — Illegal immigration was sharply down. Possibly a reverse flow according to some statistics.
    — Max # of Refugee admissions was reduced 500%.
    — Federal Courts over-rode Trump’s actions to keep immigration up. Long term, the only way to resolve this problem is Trump’s 2nd term further realigning the judiciary.

    – the swamp was not drained

    Your expectation is unrealistic:
    — The GOP(e) establishment did not instantaneously vanish when Trump became President.
    — To obtain Constitutionally required Senate confirmations for Cabinet and Judiciary appointments he had to concede some appointments to the GOP(e).
    — Had he gone head-to-head with the Swamp the GOP(e) would have removed Trump via Impeachment.

    Or, are you suggesting that TRUMP should have declared himself God Emperor? Burned the Constution? Drained the Swamp using military force and summary exeutions?

    – until summer 2020 (!!!) government employees were made to attend ‘critical race theory‘ propaganda sessions

    Your expectation is unrealistic:
    — You 100% agree with Trump’s action.
    — Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was a GOP(e) “horse trade” for other appointments, so Trump did not have a strong ally to provide early warning.
    — Trump killed this as soon as it became an publicized issue.

    I do not see how you can expect earlier action.

    – the military was not withdrawn from any of the conflicts (in spite of frequent announcements)

    Your expectation is unrealistic:
    — The Deep State intentionally blocked attempts a full withdrawal. Traitors such as Vindman and Esper intentionally deceived Trump.
    — Forces were substantially reduced on multiple fronts despite Swamp resistance.

    No new wars were started, which is a huge accomplishment that you seem to be intentionally ignoring.

    – tech monopolies and censorship were strengthened
    – no swamp creature was as much as charged with any impropriety.

    These are semi-legitimate. However, you overestimate the power of the Presidency while a Special Counsel is action:

    — The disastrous appointment of the reprehensible Judas “Recusal” Sessions as Attorney General resulted in the Mueller farce. This cost Trump 2+ years when it was politically impossible to “interfere” with organizations that were investigating him.

    — Federal evidence gathering is done primarily by the FBI, which was badly compromised by the Deep State. Successfully prosecuting an “intent” crime requires strong evidence, which is normally obtained by flipping a subordinate on someone higher in the criminal organization.

    This is very time consuming if the goal is to go after top bosses. The prosecution must sequentially flip their way up multiple levels in the criminal organization. Suspicious deaths make flipping criminals with “too much to lose” impossible. Do you remember these names — Seth Rich, Jeffery Epstein, and especially Vince Foster?

    The core Trump voters were worse off in November 2020 than they were in 2016

    This is factually untrue:
    — Every survey that asked, “Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?” gave Trump a huge advantage. He significantly won with male to voters in every racial category– White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian.

    Trump is an incompetent executive who was blocked at every turn by his enemies (most of them he himself appointed)

    This description is problematic. Let me Fix That For You:

    Trump is a highly competent executive who was blocked at every turn by his enemies. A few of them were GOP(e) selections that were “horse trades” for other Senate Confirmations. Many were Barack Hussein holdovers, embedded into Civil Service positions that shielded them with legal and regulatory protection against removal.

    If you look at what was realistically achievable, Trump actually over performed all of his recent predecessors.

    President Trump did make one absolutely catastrophic EPIC FAIL. Sessions should have been immediately fired so hard he left a half mile long skid mark out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as soon as the word “recusal” came up. I hope Judas The Blood Traitor Sessions enjoyed his 30 Pieces of Silver, he certainly earned them.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @Beckow
  27. utu says:
    @Ano4

    Thanks. I was not aware of the article and the report it was based on:

    COVID-19 AS A TOOL OF INFORMATION CONFRONTATION: RUSSIA’S APPROACH
    Sergey Sukhankin
    https://www.policyschool.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-Tool-of-Information-Sukhankin.pdf

    It is rather heavy handed and crude but I would not dismiss it just because it it fits “It’s all Putin’s fault” meme. I am surprised that Sukhankin in his long list of references did not include Ron Unz as Russia/China asset.

    • Replies: @melanf
  28. melanf says:
    @utu

    I would not dismiss it just because it it fits “It’s all Putin’s fault”

    This can be dismissed without hesitation because both in terms of language and content this is straightforward party propaganda

    • Replies: @utu
  29. We’ve moved from the steam engine to the jet engine yet our architecture has become uglier. This is Patna, 1814. Can anyone claim modern cities look better?

    Are there any other fields where there has been such a clear regression? For all the reactionary LARPing, most people wouldn’t want to go back to a pre-industrial pastoral society if they were actually forced to. Yet, while I am on the whole satisfied with the direction of the world, the decline in beauty disturbs me and puzzles me. Beauty is a value in of itself worth fighting for.

  30. utu says:
    @melanf

    I have not doubt that Sergey Sukhankin is unscrupulous propagandist of the worst kind who will tell any story if price is right. He is Ukrainian I presume. But the story he tells in its plausibility is self evident even if there is no proof. There are no proofs for such stories until many years later. All you need is motive, means and past history.

    • Replies: @melanf
  31. melanf says:
    @utu

    But the story he tells in its plausibility is self evident even if there is no proof. There are no proofs for such stories until many years later.

    Tell me briefly what the story is

  32. melanf says:
    @Thulean Friend

    We’ve moved from the steam engine to the jet engine yet our architecture has become uglier.

    Architecture as an art has of course been catastrophically degraded (as well as sculpture, painting, and music). But at the same time, the cities of the 19th century (and earlier eras) were a small number of beautiful buildings for rich people, and terrible clusters of various kinds of barracks, where 90% of the urban population lived like cattle in a stable. Here is a view from the balcony of my former apartment – similar panel houses in this place stretch for kilometers around.

    There are many such neighborhoods everywhere in Europe (including the wealthiest countries). These neighborhoods are terrible, their ugliness really depresses the psyche. But still, compared to the homes for ordinary residents in the past, this is a huge progress

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  33. @melanf

    compared to the homes for ordinary residents in the past, this is a huge progress

    That’s not because aesthetics are better, but simply because there is less cramping. Even “commoner” buildings built back in the 19th century looked a lot better than what we have now.

    Stockholm is littered with buildings which were panned as simplistic and crude back in the day, but they were erect with speed in mind. Yet, today they are considered artistic masterpieces. Not because they were, but because they look so much better in comparison to what is being built now.

    The architects of the past would laugh if they saw what we considered beautiful, yet they’d weep if they saw what was being built instead. Standards have massively declined.

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @Dmitry
  34. @A123

    If you are correct that China unleashed the virus on the world, brought down Trump’s successful presidency and likely re-election, and installed our guy in the White House then you should consider China extremely powerful and capable.

  35. melanf says:
    @Thulean Friend

    The architects of the past would laugh if they saw what we considered beautiful, yet they’d weep if they saw what was being built instead. Standards have massively declined.

    This is true, and the same terrible decline is observed in painting, sculpture, and music. What explains this is not clear (as in General, the reasons for the rise and decline of the arts throughout world history are not clear)

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  36. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Thulean Friend

    We’ve moved from the steam engine to the jet engine yet our architecture has become uglier. This is Patna, 1814. Can anyone claim modern cities look better?

    I agree. The tragedy is that modernist architecture doesn’t have to be hideous. It can be quite attractive. It seems that there’s a subset of modernist (and post-modernist) architects who deliberately aim for ugliness.

    Are there any other fields where there has been such a clear regression?

    Painting. Sculpture. Poetry. The novel. Popular music. Serious music. Opera. Pop culture in general. High culture in general.

    In all these fields there have of course been great works and even works of beauty produced over the past hundred years but those great works have been overshadowed by works that celebrate ugliness, squalor, degeneracy and misery. It got worse after 1945 and it’s become even worse over the past two or three decades.

    Modernism isn’t inherently ugly but it attracts a lot of talentless artists who celebrate ugliness, because aiming for shock value is a lot easier than aiming for beauty.

    I regard postmodernism as just the bastard child of modernism so my remarks on modernism apply to postmodernism as well.

    Modernism also politicised art and literature, with disastrous consequences.

    • Replies: @melanf
  37. Svevlad says:
    @Korenchkin

    Eh, one should always strive for more hehe

  38. melanf says:
    @dfordoom

    Painting. Sculpture. Poetry. The novel. Popular music. Serious music. Opera. Pop culture in general. High culture in general.

    This is certainly true for Painting, Sculpture, Poetry. But novels are a different case. Unlike music, today’s novels are much more complex and interesting than the literature of the 19th century.

    “Pop culture” I think has always been shit, and shit can’t degrade

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @Bill
    , @dfordoom
  39. @utu

    Is there an external factor that drove them mad? Are the theories about covid-19 purposefully seeded and propagated by those who want us to fail?

    Trump himself did everything to elevate “virus is Demhoax” theory at the most possible forefront for his crowds as he himself said it literally, so you just have to ask the question whether this crackPOTUS purposefully seeded and propagated it in order for US to fail? 😉

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @utu
  40. Any thoughts on the recent Ukraine-Turkish military cooperation agreement?

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @Juri
  41. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    today’s novels are much more complex and interesting than the literature of the 19th century

    With a few notable exceptions, my personal belief is that you are incorrect in this statement. I think that both from the point of view of language and structure, the classical literature would rank higher than modern and postmodern literature.

    The Apex of literature, like the Apex of other forms of art that you correctly describe as severely degraded, has probably been reached just prior to the WWI. After that the overall decline in Western culture started.

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @dfordoom
  42. Ano4 says:
    @sudden death

    Trump was a Russian asset anyway as conclusively demonstrated by the Russigate. Everything he does is destroying America on behalf of Putin.

    Putin did it. And he did it because he hates American democracy. Also see my comment #29.

  43. @ImmortalRationalist

    Would this be a utopia?

    It is like a caricature from one of Dostoyevsky’s novels, such people were real and prominent in his day and still are today.

    • Agree: Ano4
  44. Ano4 says:
    @Agathoklis

    Ukraine would sooner or later try to fix the Donbass situation according to a re-unification and standardization agenda. They might have fixed it long ago through a federalization approach, but they refused.

    Turkey is eager to step in everywhere it might expand. Crimea would be nice to get back. If Turks had the straits and a naval base in Crimea that would put them firmly in control of the Black Sea region. It would in fact achieve that which Russian Empire was not able to achieve in 200 years. Turks are also aiming to the Caspian sea and Central Asia in Azerbaijan. And Turks have tremendously increased their presence in Maghreb in the last 10 years. Neo-Ottoman inclinations on the part of some among Turkish elites are not a joke. Especially now that they are starting to coordinate with UK.

    Ukraine knows that Crimea cannot be reintegrated into Ukraine. Perhaps they would prefer if it was a semi-autonomous region under Turk patronage.

    • Thanks: Blinky Bill
  45. melanf says:
    @Ano4

    I think that both from the point of view of language and structure, the classical literature would rank higher than modern and postmodern literature.

    This is true for poetry but not for prose.

    The “great” authors of 19th-century novels (Balzac, Hugo, Standal, Dickens, the super-odious Leo Tolstoy, etc.) created boring and drawn-out novels that are now hopelessly outdated. Quite relevant are the novels of the 19th century, which were not aimed at social subjects from modern (for the 19th century) life, but had an entertainment purpose (for example, Stevenson and Conan Doyle books).

    But in this area (entertainment), the 19th century is much inferior to modern literature, both in terms of the variety of genres and the number of works (I mean works of approximately the same level)

    • Agree: Philip Owen
    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @songbird
    , @AP
  46. Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains one of the biggest stories in the world.

    It sends out hit squads armed with nerve agents against its enemies, most recently the opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. It has its cyber agents sow chaos and disharmony in the West to tarnish its democratic systems, while promoting its faux version of democracy. It has deployed private military contractors around the globe to secretly spread its influence. At home, its hospitals are filling up fast with Covid patients as its president hides out in his villa.

    If that sounds like a place you want to cover, then we have good news: We will have an opening for a new correspondent as Andy Higgins takes over as our next Eastern Europe Bureau Chief early next year.

  47. Russian humor for weekend
    RUSSIAN CYBERPUNK FARM

    • LOL: Ano4, Blinky Bill, mal
    • Replies: @Ano4
  48. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    I disagree. But I guess it is a matter of personal preferences and literary tastes.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @melanf
  49. AaronB says:
    @Thulean Friend

    Beauty is “useless”, and we live in an age where everything is measured by its “utility”.

    But in fact, the “useless” things in life – beauty, poetry, fun – may be what makes life worth living, and thus, paradoxically, may have “utility” after all.

    “Survival value” dominates the thinking of this age to the exclusion of all else- efficiency, utility, etc. But the useless things in life, may have, paradoxically, considerable survival value.

    There is a great little book called The Hall Of Uselessness, by Dutch sinologist Simon Leys, which discusses the theme of uselessness in Chinese culture. Taoism has much to say on the uses of the useless, on the value of the useless.

    When I was young I read the first few pages of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, in which he says the useless may be more important than the useful. I remember thinking it was such a crazy thing to write, but I understand it now.

    There is nothing wrong with science. It just needs to be humanized.

  50. Ano4 says:
    @Mike_from_Russia

    Now I am absolutely convinced that the future of Ryazan Ryazan oblast is absolutely bright. A place like this would shine even in a galactic level!

    Seriously though, they should add the team that made the clip to the next Love Death and Robots collective. These people are really talented.

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
  51. Juri says:
    @Agathoklis

    Two f..d up garbage regimes try to keep each other up because nobody else does not want.

    Ukraine is such a mess that probably even Mr. Soros wrote it off and Erdogan over stretched so that he has no allies and only enemies left. Like Hitler picked up fight with everybody and pissed off every last ally he might have.

    Turkey will probably have a coup soon and Ukraine descends further into chaos and society collapse. Ukros can not manage their country and fixing the mess is too big and too expensive task for any foreign country, including Russia.

    • Replies: @AP
  52. melanf says:
    @Ano4

    I disagree. But I guess it is a matter of personal preferences and literary tastes.

    As far as the perception of art is concerned, each of us lives in our own universe, and these universes only partially overlap. But you can hold a plebiscite to see the prevailing preferences.

    Old painting/sculpture/architecture (architecture – as far as the aesthetic side is concerned) will win over modern analogs absolutely. It will be the same in classical music. But in literature, the situation will be different – in the category “what to take to read on vacation” will win modern literature. And in any group of people except school teachers of literature

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @AaronB
  53. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    Modern literature is more entertaining, but it is often less profound. It’s an equivalent of pop music when compared to Gregorian Chant, only a minuscule minority would listen to Gregorian Chant on a daily basis, doesn’t mean Lady Gaga is a greater musician.

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @AaronB
  54. AaronB says:
    @melanf

    Personal preferences are subjective, like what one finds “boring”, and I’m not sure mass appeal is the best way to determine quality, but one can make a few objective observations on how literature has changed since the 19th century.

    It seems to me, it may be possible to find a “spirit of the times”, that shows up in all areas of life.

    The first thing one notices is that language got much simpler and more straightforward. This is surely analogous to how architecture got simpler and more straightforward. In both cases, the emphasis shifted from ornament to functionality, to almost, hostility towards ornament.

    Hemingway is one major figure in this change in language. He hated the baroque Victorian style and led the change towards a spare, unadorned style. Partly this was because the new generation was angry at the old generation having led them into a futile world War, and the old “high culture” seemed full of cant and hypocrisy. Ironically, Hemingway wrote some of his novels in an eccentric style that was highly artificial as well.

    But in building and literature, there seems be a move away from ornament, fancy, whimsy, eccentricity.

    Second, one can say nobody writes or reads poetry anymore. Poetry was a big deal in all civilizations around the world, and we may literally be the first civilization that completely neglects it. I think this remarkable development has not received the attention it deserves. Its unprecedented.

    But poetry is the supreme art of the useless and the vague. Poetry has two functions – to say something beautifully. And to say things that can’t be expressed clearly but are nevertheless felt to speak to our deepest emotions. An age that cares only about function, will have no use for poetry.

    Thirdly, the subject matter has changed dramatically. Novels used to treat of eternal questions about man’s existence, and the structure of society, while modern authors are by and large afraid of these themes and stick to the trivial. There are exceptions to this, but by and large this is true. I dont want to use the word “serious” literature, because that word is generally related to purpose and function, and that is the hallmark of the modern world, such that in a way modern life can be said to be drowning in “seriousness”. And the effect of many 19th century novels, like those of Joseoh Conrad, are to show that human life, and the world, are not ultimately “serious” (humans are animals and not semi divine as we had thought, and ghe world more makeshift and contingent than had been thought).

    • Replies: @Grahamsno(G64)
  55. 128 says:
    @Philip Owen

    Artisanal wooden toys and cuckoo clocks made in Indiana? Profit from automation can be used to subsidize labor-intensive jobs. Bespoke hand-built luxury cars? Baking artisanal bread by hand? Still much better than watching pron all day and shooting up heroin and meth while on welfare.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  56. 128 says:

    I mean the ancient Chinese used to draft unemployed men into the army or for public works.

  57. melanf says:
    @Ano4

    Modern literature is more entertaining, but it is often less profound. It’s an equivalent of pop music when compared to Gregorian Chant

    If you use good examples of modern literature for comparison (against edifying novels of the 19th century), the correct analogy is something like this: an” entertaining ” Opera of the 19th century (for example, Aida or Troubadour) against serious religious music of the middle ages

    • Replies: @Ano4
  58. AaronB says:
    @Ano4

    The novels and stories of Joseph Conrad are thrilling adventures in exotic locales, and I have not read any modern fiction more entertaining than them. At the same time, they are the ultimate in profundity, seeing through all of mankinds illusions, his silly dreams of progress, his sense of self importance, and the seeming solidity of human civilization which is in fact extremely brittle.

    Jack London also wrote more excitingly and entertainingly than any modern novelist about wilderness and men having adventures in the wild. Even his social fiction is highly entertaining. His stories are raw and elemental, and treat of the timeless theme of man against nature, or man in nature, in a most profound way. No modern author has combined adventure and profundity better.

    Kipling wrote the most entertaining book on India, Kim, which shows better than any modern author India’s incredible color and variety. The book is also a deeply moving tale of loyalty and devotion between a European boy and an aged Buddhist monk, opposites in culture and race, a profound meditation on the wandering life, and a study in how cultures and races may interact and achieve some level of fusion. It is also a tale of high adventure. Many of Kiplings stories are deeply moving and profound, while being tales if adventure.

    E.M Forster wrote highly entertaining novels that are deep reflections on major social and even existential issues, and Knut Hamsun is amusing, witty, surreal, and endlessly entertaining and readable.

    I can go on, but I think the point that there is no opposition between profundity and entertainment, fun and depth, has been made. We need to get over the idea that for art to be good it must be boring of “good for you” (perhaps the same thing. The useful may be that side of life necessary for survival but boring. Maybe thats why kids hate brocoli) – that is a modern idea that darkens life. Art is fun, and we need to remind people of this.

    Dickens, of course, is boring.

    • Thanks: Mr. Hack
  59. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    What would be the best examples of Russian literature published today? Let’s say in the last 10 years. And how do they score against the Russian bestsellers of let’s say 1910 – 1920? Are the current year Russian authors really better than the authors of the Russian “Silver Century”?

    Again, I believe the appreciation of literature is subjective, but you seem to believe that the modern and postmodern authors write higher quality prose. Would you please provide some examples? Who do you see as exceptional among modern Russian writers, writers that would stand the test of time and be readable in a hundred years?

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @Philip Owen
  60. melanf says:
    @Ano4

    And how do they score against the Russian bestsellers of let’s say 1910 – 1920?

    According to the terms of the “competition”, in this case prose fiction is considered, poetry and drama are not taken into account.

    I do not know of any minimally interesting works of Russian fiction written in 1910-1920. Gogol and Alexey Konstantinovich Tolstoy had long died by this time, Bulgakov, Alexey Nikolaevich Tolstoy and Leonid Solovyov came to literature later. This is why modern Russian literature wins the 1910-20 period by far.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @AnonFromTN
  61. @AaronB

    I’ve had thoughts ruminating in my head that echo what you wrote. The increases in productivity have have offset the decline in society. Conservative warnings of doom never quite materialize because technology has stayed one step ahead of the Idiocracy. Like you, I argued on this site that at least 30 to 40% of all jobs are non-essential or make-work and that the need for any immigration to fill jobs is pure hogwash. The pandemic proved me right. 50 percent of us can stay home and our standards of living haven’t declined at all and even improved.

    • Agree: AaronB
  62. songbird says:
    @melanf

    This is true for poetry but not for prose.

    I would say that the 19th century had examples of much better prose – that is putting words together and finding the right sounds and syllables, without making it too dense. Definitely, popular books were written better. Like, you might have difficulty finding anyone on the NYT bestseller list who could write as well as Robert Louis Stevenson or Rudyard Kipling, in top form – and they were very popular authors, like JK Rowling, who writes like crap, is today.

    Authors of that time were often serialized, so they had incentives to draw things out. Kind of like some Japanese manga today. The better adventure novels from the 19th century date from about 1880-1899. I can think of a few good ones before that, but most of them are good for their ideas, and I can only think of very few odd ones that are fairly short, like 80 Days Around the World.

    [MORE]

    I am not really a fan of the social novels. I tried reading Austen once, and I couldn’t stand it. I don’t even like the way that she puts words together, and I can appreciate that in other authors that I don’t like. For instance, I think Charlotte Brontë had a real gift for choosing syllables. I wish that she had an editor that had fed her ideas about what to write, telling her to write short-form detective stories, or short-form science fiction. But at that time, those stories were fairly uncommon. Austen herself lived in a time period technologically closer to the Romans than our own.

    Though, I agree, there are easily more good adventure novels from the 1900s than the 1800s. Probably one reason is that the market was considerably bigger. Personally, I don’t like to read fiction unless it appeals to the imagination or is very humorous, so that biases me to favor the 1900s.

    • Agree: Ano4
    • Replies: @melanf
  63. songbird says:
    @Thulean Friend

    Yet, while I am on the whole satisfied with the direction of the world, the decline in beauty disturbs me and puzzles me

    Ugly buildings are a direct consequence of globohomo. Open borders raises rents significantly and supercharges the housing industry, with inflationary value, so anything they put up sells, and they put things up fast, using the cheap, unskilled labor of immigrants, bad materials, and cookie-cutter designs. Globohomo means that people are ruthlessly pushed out of their cities and communities, so it does not incentivize building for posterity. Radical architects intentionally design ugly things, unrooted in history in order not to acknowledge the accomplishments of Europeans.

    • Replies: @Ano4
  64. songbird says:
    @Blinky Bill

    It’s hard for me to understand why India’s sidewalks are often seen to be catastrophically crumbling, seeing how much of the country probably doesn’t get a frost.

  65. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    I do not know of any minimally interesting works of Russian fiction written in 1910-1920

    Perhaps I haven’t selected the best time period, because for obvious reasons 1917-1920 is somewhere poor years for the Russian literature. Nevertheless, some excellent writers were active in that period. In a non specific order:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Childhood_(Gorky_book)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Shmelyov

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonid_Andreyev

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Garnet_Bracelet

    За четверть века (1906—1932 годы) Грин опубликовал около четырёхсот своих произведений. Это шесть романов, около 350 повестей и рассказов, автобиография, стихи. Некоторые его произведения увидели свет уже после смерти автора. Грин издал 24 авторских сборника (1908—1930). В 1965 году было издано собрание сочинений писателя в шести томах, в 1980 и 1991 годах выходили шести- и пятитомник соответственно.

    https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%93%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%BD,_%D0%90%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B4%D1%80_%D0%A1%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%87

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petersburg_(novel)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitry_Merezhkovsky

    All that on top of my head, at first thought so to speak. Just some of the writers we had in my family collection.

    Also we have to remember that people such as Aldanov, Alexei Tolstoy, Sholokhov and Bulgakov have been direct products of that era. I would also add writers such as Belyaev, Yan and even perhaps Platonov and Katayev to the list, but this is of course debatable.

    Anyway, who’s outstanding among today’s Russian writers?

    • Thanks: Blinky Bill
    • Replies: @melanf
  66. Ano4 says:
    @songbird

    It started with the Russian Revolution and constructivism, then we had Bauhaus and Le Corbusier (I oversimplify). So it is not just a postmodern/globohomo phenomenon.

    • Replies: @songbird
  67. songbird says:
    @Ano4

    Bauhaus came out of Weimar Germany, which is probably the closest thing to globohomo in the inter-war period. It resonates with globohomo and that is why it is so touted today.

    Soviet Russia was arguably under different economic constraints. It’s economy was so dysfunctional that a premium was put on the speed and cheapness of increasing housing, using methods like prefabrication. One can probably see a shadow of this in 1970s America.

    • Replies: @Ano4
  68. Bill says:
    @melanf

    “Pop culture” I think has always been shit, and shit can’t degrade

    Musical “pop culture” prior to the 20th C means folk music passed down in the oral tradition. You really think rap is about as valuable as that?

    So, like, “Tam Lin” has about the same value as Lil B’s “Suck My Dick Hoe” or Lil Kim’s more economical “Suck My Dick?”

    • Agree: Ano4
  69. melanf says:
    @Ano4

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Childhood_(Gorky_book)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Shmelyov

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonid_Andreyev

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Garnet_Bracelet

    https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%93%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%BD,_%D0%90%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B4%D1%80_%D0%A1%D1%82%D0%B5%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%87

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petersburg_(novel)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitry_Merezhkovsky

    I can hardly call these works significant. I do not know if this an indicator, but these works are forgotten today, people do not read them. Merezhkovsky has a really talented novel about Julian the Apostate (and a less talented novel about Leonardo da Vinci), but these works were written before 1910

    • Replies: @Ano4
  70. AaronB says:
    @Thulean Friend

    Further reflections on this theme.

    It shouldn’t be puzzling that beauty declined with the advance of technology. In order to develop all this technology, we had to develop a concern with function over form. We had to be obsessed with mechanical utility.

    So we developed a very unbalanced kind of thinking. It was a question of priorities. You cant be a technology genius with the sensitive soul of a poet. You have to choose one.

    John Stuart Mill in his autobiography says that as a result of his father training him rigorously in logic and science, he lost touch with his emotions and became depressed. Only reading the Romantic poets, and Wordsworth in particular, saved him. Darwin reported that towards the end of his life, he lost the ability to appreciate beauty.

    The modern world may be said to be in Darwins condition.

    The downsides to technology must be recognized if we want to deal with them. It may have been necessary to sacrifice in order to develop technology, but now that we have it, there is no reason implementing technology shouldn’t be compatible with a concern for beauty.

    I wonder if China, since it can’t develop technology but is good at implementing, may reintroduce the notion of beauty into technology.

  71. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    Again, the 1910 is arbitrary, Russian Серебрянный Век started around 1900 and only truly ended with the exile of Russian philosophers in 1922. Incidentally, their exile was ordered after some of them published a review of Spengler’s Decline of the West, which from my point of view is an international landmark of the end of the Belle Epoque and the true beginning of the Modern Era.

    Your finding that Shmelyev, Gorky and Andreev’s works produced in that period are not significant is very surprising.

    Especially concerning Shmelyev. Did you read any Shmelyev?

    A lot of these writings were simply forgotten because of Soviet censorship.

    Anyway, what about Russian writers today, what would be the five morst remarkable among them active in the last 10 years?

    • Replies: @melanf
  72. AaronB says:

    Further developing and refining my ideas:

    The activities of human life may be divided into two general classes; those that are for survival, and those that are for enjoyment.

    Originally, these two formed a unity. Hunting and gathering combine survival with enjoyment. It is only the modern period that divided the two, so that we think work shouldn’t be fun, and that recreation is something we do after work.

    Technology is obviously the supreme development of the concern with survival. Modern society is unbalanced in that it is the almost exclusive development of the concern with survival. Fun is a dirty word in our society, or at least seen as trivial and unimportant. Respectable people are concerned almost exclusively with that side of life that is about developing and extending the means to survival. That is the “serious” business of the world.

    Underlying all this is the belief the human race must survive. But anything that is a compulsion is no fun. And there is something curiously upside down in preferring survival over enjoyment -isnt the purpose of survival, fun?

    Perhaps the time has come to rehabilitate something so humble and simple as fun. At bottom, all our “lofty” religious and spiritual notions are merely sublimations of the desire to survive. The triumph of good over evil is the creation of a world in which nothing threatens our survival. The notion of the afterlife is obviously the same thing. Everything mankind calls “serious” is just the fight for survival.

    But here the argument takes a curious twist. The concern with future survival is really the dream of a future of endless pleasure without pain, to make up for an unhappy present. A happy person lives in the Now. So our “lofty” notions may be substitutes for the pleasure and fun we are not having now.

  73. melanf says:
    @Ano4

    Your finding that Shmelyev, Gorky and Andreev’s works produced in that period are not significant is very surprising.

    Several well-written short stories about vagabonds, and short memories of Maxim Gorky’s childhood can not be considered a major contribution to literature. Shmelev began to create after 1920, and it is difficult for me to say a single good word about his work. I haven’t read Andrey Bely’s novel about terrorists, but this novel at all times had very few readers. I don’t think this is a sign of great creative luck. In any case, all three (Gorky, Shmelev and Bely) have almost no readers today

    A lot of these writings were simply forgotten because of Soviet censorship.

    This did not prevent Bulgakov’s brilliant success with readers. So the reason for the oblivion of Shmelev and Bely is different ( Gorky in the USSR was imposed by force as a great proletarian writer)

    Anyway, what about Russian writers today, what would be the five morst remarkable among them active in the last 10 years?

    For example

    in my opinion, it is much more interesting than Gorky, Shmelev, Bely and Alexander Grin combined

    • Replies: @Ano4
  74. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    I was asking you about Russian writers. Who writes as well as Garin Mikhailovski today ?

    As well as Bunin, who received a Nobel Prize? And was well known around 1910.

    Who writes as well as Kuprin, and yes Shmelyov who wrote his first book before WWI?

    Первый настоящий писательский успех приносит Шмелеву повесть “Человек из ресторана”, написанная в 1910 году. Критики даже сравнивали ее появление с дебютом Ф.М. Достоевского. Позже По эта повесть, говорят, спасла писателя от смерти: в двадцатом году его, как офицера запаса царской армии ждал расстрел, но комиссар признал в нем автора повести об официанте и отпустил. Произведение было экранизировано в СССР в 1927 году.

    https://bookmix.ru/authors/index.phtml?id=436

    Shmelyev is exceptional because he describes the middle class of the Russian Empire. He describes Russia as it was, old Moscow as it was.

    And this is precisely why he was forgotten.

    Again, which exceptional Russian writers are active this decade?

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @AP
  75. Dmitry says:
    @Thulean Friend

    A lot of the reasons for architectural decline are not related to change of taste, or of architects’ whim. It’s a change of construction technology, and above all of the cost of skilled labour. (Even unskilled labour cost changed by many multiples: middle class families in the 19th century could afford to hire several servants to live permanently with them; whereas today only very wealthy families would have several servants).

    This is why even in such a different culture like Tokyo, they build the same new concrete boxes as in Madrid or Denver. It’s the way you can afford to build with today’s construction technology.

    For example, we can compare the beauty of the woodwork for the nalichniki and other decorative features on historic wooden houses of Russia, which are nowadays sadly being destroyed in an unprecedented rate.

    This woodwork requires hours of skilled labour to produce (and also workers would have to train as an apprentice for years to attain the handskills for some of these designs).

    In 21st century, few people could pay for these, and even less can still handbuild them (and such specialists probably have a very high labour cost). So this architecture are lost now due to the change of economic conditions (in combination with insufficient architecture preservation legislation), more than from a special desire for minimalism.


    • Disagree: Yevardian
    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    , @songbird
  76. melanf says:
    @Ano4

    I was asking you about Russian writers.

    So I’m talking about Russian authors. Russian translation of the bestseller of the Icelandic writer Halldor Olafur Lachness (who wrote under the pseudonym Grey Ph. Green) exists exclusively in Russian, and was written by several talented pranksters

    As well as Bunin, who received a Nobel Prize?

    As one wit pointed out, the members of the Nobel Committee will be in hell, as a punishment, forced to read the books which they awarded.

    Who writes as well as Kuprin

    And what good did Kuprin write, other than the Preface to the novel “the Three Musketeers”?

    • Replies: @Ano4
  77. AP says:
    @melanf

    The “great” authors of 19th-century novels (Balzac, Hugo, Standal, Dickens, the super-odious Leo Tolstoy, etc.) created boring and drawn-out novels that are now hopelessly outdated. Quite relevant are the novels of the 19th century, which were not aimed at social subjects from modern (for the 19th century) life, but had an entertainment purpose (for example, Stevenson and Conan Doyle books).

    Lol, Doyle and Stevenson better than Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. And some modern pop writer (like whoever wrote Twilight) is “even better” than that.

    People tend to view as boring that which they do not understand, and (often but not always) related to this, are incapable of immersing themselves into. Some things may not be understandable because they are obscure, or hopelessly idiosyncratic (has anyone read lengthy screeds by paranoid schizophrenics?). But in the case of classical literature, lack of understanding just reflects a decline of moderns’ verbal abilities and capacity for patience and reflection.

    • Agree: Ano4, AltanBakshi
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    , @Blinky Bill
    , @melanf
  78. AP says:
    @Juri

    Lol, Ukraine is always collapsing to the clueless.

  79. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    I see that you need high dopamine/adrenaline literature, the old Russian writers are probably not spicy enough, too umami for you literary tastes.

    Therefore, this discussion is useless, case closed.

    But I still wait for you to provide me with outstanding contemporary Russian writers.

    Halldor Olafur Lachness (who wrote under the pseudonym Grey Ph. Green) exists exclusively in Russian and was written by several talented pranksters

    Okay we have a start here, anyone else that you would recommend?

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @Dmitry
  80. AP says:
    @Ano4

    Again, which exceptional Russian writers are active this decade?

    I think you would like Vodolazkin and Bykov.

    • Thanks: Ano4
    • Replies: @Ano4
  81. Dmitry says:
    @AP

    classical literature,

    “Classical literature”, refers to the works of the Classical World i.e. of antiquity – Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Ancient India. (In French and as a result Russian, there is a traditional confusion in this term, as for example neoclassical architecture is referred to as “classical”. In English, this confusion only exists in the term “classical music”).

    Works of modern writers like Dostoevsky and Stevenson are called “modern literature”. You could call them “modern classics”, as they are writers of modern European history which are now regarded as classics or canonical.

    of moderns’ verbal abilities and capacity for patience and reflection.

    “Moderns” refers to people who live after the medieval world.

    The novel reaches its maturity in the second half of the 19th century. In the 19th century, literate public had a lot of leisure time to read books without the competing entertainments of the 20th century, and the length and depth of the novel extends to match this. Especially the novel becomes longer and longer, where you have to fill the extended winter nights in England, Russia and France.

    Although 3/4 of citizens in Russia were still illiterate in the beginning of the 20th century. So the literate public was also selecting a lot for top 1/4 of people who disproportionately belonged to classes with greater leisure time.

    • Replies: @AP
  82. Ano4 says:
    @AP

    I remember that you have recommended Lavr by Vodolazkin before. It is next on my reading list.

  83. melanf says:
    @Ano4

    Okay we have a start here, anyone else that you would recommend?

    Let’s go. Latynina “Sorcerers and the Empire”. N. Borisov “Ivan III”. Pehov “The Guard”. Gurova and Mazin “Baby and Karlsson”. Pelevin “Snuff”. I would add the book of memories by Igor Diakonov, but it goes beyond the time frame.

    • Replies: @Ano4
  84. Dmitry says:
    @Ano4

    Melanf doesn’t like self-indulgent artists, which can obviously condemn Leo Tolstoy (although Dostoevsky usually is easy to read and elements of “page turning” pulp fiction).

    I would be interested to read Stevenson which is one of the writers he recommended.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @dfordoom
  85. @AP

    (has anyone read lengthy screeds by paranoid schizophrenics?).

    Yes, on every single one of AK’s 128 Open Threads.

    • Agree: Daniel Chieh
    • LOL: songbird, dfordoom
  86. melanf says:
    @AP

    Doyle and Stevenson better than Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky

    Undoubtedly. Conan Doyle is a writer that people read for fun. Leo Tolstoy is a writer that schoolchildren in Russia read from under a stick. Leo Tolstoy has no other readers in non-homeopathic doses, his novels are boring trash. Time has put everything in its place-Conan Doyle or Dumas are great writers, and Leo Tolstoy is an artificially inflated bubble.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @dfordoom
    , @Pericles
  87. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    Good. Thanks. Pelevin’s SNUFF is indeed an excellent book.

    • Replies: @melanf
  88. melanf says:
    @Ano4

    Pelevin’s SNUFF is indeed an excellent book.

    The writer Bykov mentioned above is Damilola Karpov from Snuff

    • Replies: @Ano4
  89. AP says:
    @Dmitry

    You are right with respect to my sloppy terminology. But the essence of what I wrote was correct.

    The novel reaches its maturity in the second half of the 19th century. In the 19th century, literate public had a lot of leisure time to read books without the competing entertainments of the 20th century, and the length and depth of the novel extends to match this.

    Yes, such circumstances enabled maximum development. Given the nature of the contemporary public and state of society one cannot expect such high achievement in this medium.

    Although 3/4 of citizens in Russia were still illiterate in the beginning of the 20th century. So the literate public was also selecting a lot for top 1/4 of people who disproportionately belonged to classes with greater leisure time

    And intelligence and refinement.

  90. AP says:
    @Dmitry

    I would be interested to read Stevenson which is one of the writers he recommended

    Stuff for kids, though today’s kids don’t like it.

    • Replies: @songbird
    , @melanf
  91. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    Pelevin has also (gently) mocked Galkovsky a couple of times and uses him as a pseudo- author for a section of his The Art or subtle touches.

  92. songbird says:
    @AP

    I would be interested to read Stevenson which is one of the writers he recommended

    Stuff for kids,

    Bah! His main characters tended to be youths, and he is often required reading at middle schools, but that hardly makes him a juvenile author. Are you really going to compare him to the CIA-funded globohomo agitprop, youth adult novels written today? The ones that have messages about rebelling against adults, against walls, and about embracing the “other?” Ridiculous! He was read by adults, (his writing is adult level) and he was so widely famous within the UK that he was known by his initials “RLS”, possibly the only author with that honor, or one of the very few at any rate. His book Treasure Island is required reading at many American schools. I prefer Kidnapped though.

    I don’t think one can be a connoisseur of English literature, without having read him. Chesterton was a big fan.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @dfordoom
  93. Beckow says:
    @A123

    You are right that my ‘expectations‘ are in general ‘unrealistic‘. I suppose my idea that one should live a life the way he or she wants to, otherwise why live it, is a bit odd to most well-behaved people. I run into this issue of low expectations all the time. But to each his own.

    America is a democracy, by its own rhetoric the uber-ultimate democracy that has ever existed. Thus the expectation that an elected President could hire and fire his employees, be able to prosecute (or at least attempt) people who have done dodgy things – e.g. Hunter with his ‘foreign payments‘ or the Strzok guy abusing investigative power – or control the f…ing borders of the country that he is a President off, well, is that too much to ask for in a democracy? If that is ‘unrealistic‘ why even hold an election?

    Trump achieved a lot. I give him enormous credit for not starting more wars and for bringing a number of taboo subjects to public discourse. But he has not made life better in the long run for his core supporters – I am including the Corona period when things fell apart. And four years is a long time, more should have been done.

    I am convinced that if Trump had done more in the area of controlling borders, bringing troops home, dismantling at least some of the swamp, pushing aggressively back on Tech monopolies and the ‘critical race theory‘ nonsense, he would have won with a margin that would not allow for the obvious cheating to carry the day. He always knew this, so his only road to success was to double down on the ‘populism’ (=popular policies) that got him elected. He didn’t and we are where we are.

    • Replies: @A123
  94. utu says:
    @sudden death

    Yes, Trump was a great facilitator and a super spreader.

  95. AP says:
    @melanf

    Conan Doyle is a writer that people read for fun. Leo Tolstoy is a writer that schoolchildren in Russia read from under a stick.

    This tells us more about the debauched nature of late Soviet and post-Soviet Russian society and its kids, than it does about Tolstoy.

    Leo Tolstoy has no other readers in non-homeopathic doses, his novels are boring trash.

    I know many Russians (all over 40 though) who enjoyed reading Tolstoy. One of them was rereading War and Peace during her pregnancy and named her son after one of the characters.

    • Agree: Ano4, AnonFromTN
    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @melanf
  96. songbird says:
    @Ano4

    The hype over Scots poetry is one of the historical mysteries of literature, as far as I am concerned.

    Try as I might, it is hard for me to appreciate the reality of the Scots dialect, or see the value of it written as poetry, and not spoken. As an American, I just can’t bring myself to believe that a small island like Britain could be host to a radically different version of English. Instead, it strikes me like something that a rather poor modern writer might use to give one of his characters color, while totally obscuring the meaning of his dialogue.

    I’ve read poetry translated into English that seems more appealing. Perhaps, you have to hear the music of it, being spoken, in order to understand the appeal.

  97. @Dmitry

    A lot of the reasons for architectural decline are not related to change of taste, or of architects’ whim. It’s a change of construction technology, and above all of the cost of skilled labour.

    […]

    This woodwork requires hours of skilled labour to produce (and also workers would have to train as an apprentice for years to attain the handskills for some of these designs).

    It is late so I might make more of an effortpost tomorrow, but this article aimed at people who want to build modernist houses (from a pro-modernist advertising perspective) notes that modernist construction methods has plenty of inconvenient artisanry, costs and added time compared to more old-fashioned ones:

    But one thing is certain: building a contemporary home is more expensive than building a traditional one.

    The cost difference is for good reason, however. “Essentially, contemporary homes just require a level of precision that’s not required in more traditional spaces,” says Tim Dougherty, a project manager for Groom Construction, a Salem, Mass.-based construction company that specializes in complex builds like modern homes.

    […]

    The sleek look of modern homes means every surface needs to serve a purpose. This often results in fewer walls than might be found in a traditional home. “Fewer walls make contemporary homes more structurally challenging to build,” says Dougherty. “Having few walls and more expansive open spaces requires additional structural beams to hold up the floor above. When you have walls that are mostly glass, special steel beam construction has to be erected to keep the house from racking.”

    A contemporary home typically requires specialty contractors who are trained to execute the precise details that ensure the home is just-so. For example, says Dougherty, “All the metal edging needs to be set with a laser in order to make sure all of the reveals are correct. A number of different metal edge pieces are used, and most drywall hangers are not set up to do that type of work with the precision that is required.”

    The larger windows typical in contemporary homes are costly and can’t be ordered in bulk.

    “The high-end custom windows that we used for a house we did in Belmont, for example, came from Germany and are far more expensive than standard windows,” says Dougherty. “It is about a sixteen-week lead time after the order is placed, and it can take anywhere from four to eight weeks just to put the order together because everything must be so precise. The tolerances are very tight on these windows. They need to be worked out with the framing and finishes to get the proper reveals.”

    The sleek lines of contemporary design require meticulous precision, which is extremely labor intensive. For example, the lumber used for framing a house typically comes with natural bumps and imperfections, character that works just fine in a traditional home but isn’t compatible with the precision and exposed lines of modern architecture. To prep it, each board used in the framing has to be shaved flat, says Dougherty.

    Contemporary design also eliminates the leeway provided by details like baseboards, molding, and trim. “The floor had to be perfect since everything is exposed,” says Dougherty. “In a traditional home, trim and baseboards can cover up any imperfections—there is no room for any flaw since it’s all exposed in a modern home.”

    Overall, says Dougherty, it’s important to leave plenty of room in both your budget and your timeline for the precision required in contemporary construction. “On average, it takes at least twenty-five percent more time to construct a contemporary house, assuming the homeowner and design team have all of their decisions made on time,” he says. For true contemporary devotees, however, the exacting details will be well worth the wait.

    https://www.nehomemag.com/the-cost-to-build-a-contemporary-home-why-its-higher-than-a-traditional-one/

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  98. songbird says:
    @Ano4

    It is remarkable how influential the Soviet Union was for decades in intellectual circles in the West.

    It seems like the reaction against Stalin was very tepid – probably because they preferred Trotsky. It started to fall apart only in about the ’70s. Some say it was dissidents like Solzhenitsyn. I’m not sure if that is really the answer. I think he was used as a tool by people, who had their own agenda.

    I’d say it was either because of the Soviet support for the Arabs in ’67, or else because Jews promoted the idea that they were persecuted, in order to open up the borders for them, so they could seek higher economic status, in a richer country. To do this, they lionized themselves as refugees, becoming the first group to do so successfully, and starting the whole process, of lionizing immigrants as refugees. Ones that came over earlier, in the ’30s like Asimov were jealous of newcomers’ status as victims, and probably wished that they or their families had come up with such stories earlier.

  99. Dmitry says:
    @Hyperborean

    In the article, the journalist is writing about a beautiful, bespoke “contemporary architect’s house”, for a wealthy family to buy. Most people would love to have such an original house, designed uniquely for them and according to their tastes.

    If you want a house in the style of “Fallingwater”, with high quality, custom designed materials. These are “one-off” designs, and the cost is elevated by its non-reproducibility.

    But except in a few privileged areas, the world is not confirming to a stylish custom “contemporary architect’s house” like “falling water”, where every family would have a unique design; but rather mass production of concrete boxes where the same design is repeated, and the materials are regular shaped, and “off the shelf”.

    For example, this is a new housing project in Samara. The building is an unusual shape (not quite concrete box), but the price is made cheap by mass reproduction.

    More typical is using different colours to pretend you aren’t repeating the same shape (although the greater way they lower cost here is by providing no infrastructure).

  100. songbird says:
    @Dmitry

    Japan was probably hampered somewhat by needing to design for earthquakes (and thus fires.) It is not really a wonder why Japan built no great, soaring cathedrals, during the Middle Ages. Missing buildings like that, probably has an effect on things that are built later. Even if you think of hotels, they had no such buildings as the great hotels their delegation stayed at in Europe in 1862 – if they had been built out of brick they would have collapse; or, of wood, caught fire.

    • Agree: AltanBakshi
    • Replies: @Dmitry
  101. Dmitry says:
    @songbird

    Yes, Japanese have a different attitude to buildings, with a focus on impermanence. The representative example that you read in the books, is Ise Jingu shrine, which they rebuild every 20 years.

    But the fact that everyone is conforming to the same building shape and construction type, whether in Japan, or Iran, or Australia, or in Mexico. It’s not because of culture – it is because we are using the same construction methods and technology.

    Tokyo and Madrid and Tehran build the same concrete boxes in the 21st century, because this is what the results of the technology of modern construction looks like. We use the same construction methods and technology, and this technology produces similar looking results.

    It’s not due to aesthetic tastes, but the method of building and economics.

    Building shape is the least culturally divergent feature of our time. Geographically everyone has converged to the same shape, unless they spend a lot extra to be different. But chronologically, there is great divergence, as the technology converged to this shape in the 20th century.

    Here is Tehran, in Iran

    Here is Tokyo, in Japan
    Here is Santiago, in Chile

    You can be in the most different cultures, – with variety of food, religion and political systems – but not variety in people building the same rectangular style of concrete boxes.

    • Replies: @songbird
  102. AaronB says:

    Can we influence events, or do events follow their own path for reasons we cannot control, and are we mere spectators? I have never convinced someone using logic. A few times I cornered someone logically, but all that did was enrage them and reduce them to sputtering curses. But I did not convert them. Not have I ever been converted by an argument. I have always been able to find reasons for rejecting what I dislike.

    In truth, we only get from books what we already know. Books merely tell us in more articulate language what we have always thought. One of the most charming and naive things about Ron Unz is that he thinks he is converting people rather than just attracting like minded people.

    We would get along better if we accepted that none of us can change. We are all incorrigible. We didn’t choose to be who we are, and we have no choice in the matter. If we could see that, we might tolerate and love each other more – even those who we think are just so pig headedly wrong as to be beyond belief.

    I talk here about social reform, but I don’t really believe its possible. If one can change nothing, one can at best push along events that already have momentum for mysterious reasons we don’t understand. That seems to me the limit of human ability to influence events. Failing that, the wisest course is to withdraw, if one finds the spirit of the times completely against one.

    This is in accord with wu wei, the Taoist notion of non-doing. It isn’t mere passivity, but effortless action, never forcing things, action that doesn’t go against the grain. The Taoist I Ching, which was considered one of the cornerstones of Chinese culture, exemplies this wisest of philosophies. Many people use the I Ching for divination, and reputable people have reported it is quite effective, and I believe them. But I like to study the underlying philosophy of wu wei that it exemplifies. Many passages say there are times one has no hope of success and should withdraw, and other times the spirit of the times is behind one.

    The great majority of mankind will always be fools, and no utopia will ever be created. The scientific rationalists who think mankind can take charge of its fate are as deluded as the old religions, and derive from the Christian notion that mankind is different from the animals and history is a story of redemption. But we are just animals. We will not be able to stop ourselves from destroying the conditions needed for us to survive in the end.

    We know in the end the planet will die, so there is no future for mankind anyways. And is this a bad thing? Everything has its day. The cosmos is inexhaustible. Being alternates with Nothing. No one knows why the Big Bang happened or what it is. After this universe dies, it will happen again, and something new and unimaginable will come again.

    The Indians have a myth that the world and everything in it is just God playing a game with himself, and he plays it only so long. Then he gathers himself all up again and goes to sleep, only to start the process again, in a neverending cycle. Each period is millions and millions of years. If so, the cultural and environmental degradation we are witnessing is just the coming sleep of God, only to awaken refreshed again millions of years later.

  103. songbird says:
    @Dmitry

    Santiago is also part of the Ring of Fire. The quake there in 1647 is estimated to have been 8.5! Though, withal, I guess highrises are almost universally ugly. At least with skyscrapers, they can be status symbols, so sometimes more thought goes into their design, even though they are not very humanistic.

    Japan is an interesting case because they have labor shortages, and so are using more automation in building construction. You would think that with automation, more thought could be put into design, and you could even copy good looking buildings found elsewhere. They would not even necessarily be high profile-buildings, but just for instance, taking some of the best looking high-schools ever built in the US, and duplicating them. In theory, it also makes it easier to produce curves, when you can 3d print in concrete.

    I once read a sci-fi story where there were these alien probes traveling to other planets, looking for right angles, as a sign of intelligent life, and then destroying everything, when they found some.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    , @dfordoom
  104. Dmitry says:
    @Ano4

    Bauhaus/Constructivism/Art Deco (it’s often identical building designs) of the 1920s, is comparatively stylish (especially for such cheap architecture), compared to the later architecture of the century – it uses a lot of curving shapes, which 1920s people seemed to consider to be “futuristic”.

    You see this curving 1920s architecture in cities like Miami, Ekaterinburg and Tel Aviv, where a minority of Bauhaus/Constructivism/Art Deco, can be near to unfortunate concrete boxes of postwar buildings.

    Tel Aviv has a proportion of Bauhaus constructed in 1930s, and then a far larger amount of decaying postwar rectangular concrete boxes (which are more like third world construction, made with crushed seashells).

    Bauhaus buildings are also very cheap and low quality, but it looks a lot more stylish than the post-war architecture, because of the smooth and curving shapes.

    In 1920s Miami, this style is called Art Deco, but it’s identical designs in Miami to constructivism in the Soviet Union.

    Ironically, the Republican National Convention was once hosted in this Miami street of Soviet 1920s looking constructivist architecture, which architecture style in Sverdlovsk was used for NKVD buildings.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  105. What you think about our host’s proposal to make Russia great again by making it more like Israel (because everyone knows Israel is the world’s greatest country)?

    What would it achieve (except owning the libs)?
    Is really Russia’s greatest problem today Russian boys turning down Russian girls for Uzbek and Tajik ones? 🙂

  106. blatnoi says:

    I hardly read books anymore due to lack of time and other interests, but Limonov was considered a good recent writer, but I wouldn’t really know. Also Pelevin is a living writer who is quite good. His recent book has been made into a movie and it is an easier way of getting into his writing probably. It’s conveniently available with Russian subtitles.

    He will probably be considered one of the greatest Russian writers 100 years from now. It’s easy to look at the past and say ‘Oh why does today suck so bad!’, but it mostly comes from a lack of perspective that you gain 30 years after a writer’s death. AaronB’s complaints sound like this kind of bullshit (sorry… but that’s the right word) complaint to me.

    While I was still reading from time to time, I was looking for something interesting and modern recently, and took a recommendation from the Noble Prize committee, and you have to be a bit careful there. However, usually foreigners from obscure countries in terms of literature who get it are a good bet. After I read the first Orhan Pamuk book, I read pretty much all of his other ones. He is one of the best writers of all time. Forget the 19th century. The books are full of action, flow very well, have some philosophical messages, take unexpected turns, and are well researched. ‘The White Castle’ and ‘My name is Red’ are modern classics by now.

    But then again, I’m not that well read, so I can’t really claim that they are way better than the 19th century books, because I haven’t read all of them. Likewise for poetry. I don’t read modern poetry and maybe there is some good stuff. How would I know that people don’t read it anymore as well? Everyone whose house I’ve been to recently has one or two poetry books lying around [well, except the local retired farmer whose accent is too strong so it was hard to understand him and he invited me to his place next door to drink for a bit; all he had was a bunch of whisky, but I digress…], but it’s true that they might never look at them. I have a few books of early 20th century poetry from Christian Morgenstern and Erich Kaestner lying around and these days I read them every day to make the oldest child fall asleep. The characters of Palmstroem and his friend Korf from 100 years ago, from Morgenstern, are very good caricatures of a modern ‘educated but idiot’ liberal of today, who also believes in pseudo-science, so it has value beyond being ‘pretty’. But for me reading giants like Goethe or Miller would be one giant snooze-fest, where I fall asleep before the child, so maybe I’m not that sophisticated.

    Making sweeping comments about the quality of art today, or the reading habits of basically most modern humans, to what was before is dangerous and it can easily show you lack perspective. 100 years ago, a much smaller percentage of the population could actually read, and less people were around as well, for example.

    • Thanks: utu
    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  107. @melanf

    Russian literature 1910-20. Can’t name great prose, but as to poetry, there were many top-notch poets: Yesenin, Blok, Mayakovsky, Gumilyev, to name just a few. Each of them had weaker and stronger poetry, but each wrote several poems at the highest possible level.

  108. @AP

    The perception depends on the attention span. For those with the attention span of a psychologically normal intellectually developed person, Tolstoy wins, for those with ADHD Conan Doyle comes ahead.

    • Agree: AP
  109. @blatnoi

    He will probably be considered one of the greatest Russian writers 100 years from now.

    Sorry to disappoint, but 20 years from now nobody would even remember Pelevin. His “Generation P” is a piece of trash, the only catches are parallels with real life that won’t be recognizable in 20 years. If you want good quality prose combined with realism, Prilepin’s “Pathologies” and other books (not all, but many) are top-notch. If you want simple entertainment, rather than literature, Akunin (Chkhartishvili) is as empty as Rowling but more entertaining.

    • Replies: @Haruto Rat
  110. Dmitry says:
    @songbird

    As you said above, Japanese do not seem very interested in buildings or monumentalism.

    Japanese live a lot in houses in the suburbs, like Americans. But general attitude to the houses seems something which you rebuild, and which doesn’t have any monumental value. And you don’t care about the messy overhead cables.

    When you see these areas from the train they look dystopian, but atmosphere inside the suburbs is probably comfortable or quiet

    • Replies: @songbird
  111. A123 says:
    @Beckow

    Trump achieved a lot. I give him enormous credit for not starting more wars and for bringing a number of taboo subjects to public discourse. But he has not made life better in the long run for his core supporters – I am including the Corona period when things fell apart. And four years is a long time, more should have been done.

    Most of Trump’s supporters are genuinely better off now than 4 years ago even though they are worse off than they were 12 months ago. I too would have liked more, but between Impeachment and WUHAN-19 he was playing with the deck stacked against him.

    America is a democracy, by its own rhetoric the uber-ultimate democracy that has ever existed. Thus the expectation that an elected President could hire and fire his employees, be able to prosecute (or at least attempt) people who have done dodgy things

    The systems with a Prime Minister that always aligns with the legislative body are actually much more ultimate-uber rapid change based on election results. In the U.S., the three way separation of powers is a huge brake intended to hold back the unfettered tyranny of the masses.

    Trump had to win over members of the legislature and appoint members of the judiciary to move the U.S. from Globalism to Populism. That type of philosophical and structural change requires moving the pillars that support policy rather than trying to jump directly to the end game.

    Many of the things you want will be achieved in Trump’s 2nd term. If you want a chance at prosecutions, those are guaranteed not to happen under the SJW Globalist DNC.

    Solidifying the GOP change to a Populist Worker/Citizen party will probably take even longer than Trump’s two terms. There needs to be a succesor, and it is likely to be a name that has little notice at this point.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Beckow
  112. Max Payne says:
    @ImmortalRationalist

    Before Brian Herbert ruined his fathers Dune universe:

    Another, more subtle justification for the Butlerian Jihad is also found in Frank Herbert’s original novels, specifically Heidegger’s thesis that the use of technology trains humans to think like machines. The problem is that machines are deterministic; thus, training people to be machines is self-limiting. Herbert seemed to think that to be human is to be essentially ‘open-ended’, capable of undiscovered, indeterminate evolution, both personally and as a species.

    • Thanks: Ano4
  113. dfordoom says: • Website
    @melanf

    “Pop culture” I think has always been shit, and shit can’t degrade

    Unfortunately it certainly can degrade. The popular music of the past may have been shallow but on the whole it wasn’t actively offensive and didn’t actively celebrate squalor and degeneracy.

    Popular movies in the past were on the whole disposable escapist entertainment. Movies have become steadily nastier and more squalid.

    Amazingly, even television has demonstrated the ability to degrade. It may never have been very good but the advent of reality TV was a significant step downwards.

    I don’t think pop culture has always been shit. I have no problem with harmless lightweight escapist entertainment. I like pop culture, or at least I like pre-1990s pop culture.

    Contemporary pop culture celebrates ugliness and it is riddled with vicious propaganda. OK, there has always been a high propaganda content in movies (Exhibit One being the repellant WW2 propaganda films churned out by Hollywood in the 40s). But the propaganda has become ever more shrill.

    Unlike music, today’s novels are much more complex and interesting than the literature of the 19th century.

    It’s difficult for to say since I gave up on novels after encountering too many turgid pretentious modern novels. And do you really think today’s novels are superior to Dostoevsky?

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  114. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Ano4

    The Apex of literature, like the Apex of other forms of art that you correctly describe as severely degraded, has probably been reached just prior to the WWI. After that the overall decline in Western culture started.

    Pretty much. It was a gradual process. There were still great novels being written in the interwar years. And a few great novels in the post-WW2 era. But the trend was ever downwards.

    In painting and sculpture the collapse was by contrast extremely rapid.

    • Agree: Ano4
  115. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Dmitry

    I would be interested to read Stevenson which is one of the writers he recommended.

    A rather underrated writer. He was popular (a cardinal sin in the eyes of many) and entertaining (an even greater sin). He wrote some fine short stories.

    And speaking of Conan Doyle, his historical fiction is enormous fun. His Brigadier Gerard stories are witty and clever. And The White Company is superb historical fiction. Not deep perhaps but immensely entertaining. Conan Doyle was a far better writer than most of the hacks who churn out popular fiction today. And his science fiction is fun as well.

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @Menschmaschine
  116. utu says:
    @A123

    Many of the things you want will be achieved in Trump’s 2nd term.

    Solidifying the GOP change to a Populist Worker/Citizen party will probably take even longer than Trump’s two terms.

    Are you or real?

    • Replies: @A123
  117. Beckow says:
    @A123

    I doubt there will be a second term, Trump had not put in place the institutional support that would be needed to prevail.

    Regarding the constraints placed on him by the separation of power system: Trump managed to push through what he really cared about: tax cuts and his pro-Israeli moves. He mostly failed with the other stuff – not actually reducing the large continuous migration flow to US was his choice, he has always talked from both sides of his mouth about a ‘need for skilled migrants‘, so unsurprisingly he didn’t try too hard to protect the US workers.

    That means that US is largely finished as a middle-class society, it will take a few more decades, but how is it going to be stopped if it wasn’t under Trump? There are about 5 billion people in the Third World, more of them will come than you can imagine. Trump believes in business above all else – a true civilizational cul-de-sac. As the liberals regain full control, they will swamp the labor market with more migrants to allow for a fully gig-economy.

    I always find it amusing how liberals (and libertarians) celebrate the new Uber gig economy as some ‘technological marvel’. It is not, it is simply availability of desperate cheap workers who will do anything – this would not be possible a generation ago, people had better choices than being gofers and servants to the affluent. Biden will make it like that for everyone. In a way, they deserve it, they voted for him.

    Finally, you mentioned Alexander Vindman. What a piece of useless sh..t, but what really matters is that Washington security establishment is populated by people like Vindman. Imagine the laughter as the other countries watched that fat moron testify against Trump. Yeah, with the likes of Vindman you will scare the world. Just visualize the Vindman geopolitical strategy…please, this is embarrassing for a great country.

    • Replies: @128
    , @A123
  118. AaronB says:

    A TV series I want to recommend; What We Do In The Shadows. Vampires being funny. Absolutely brilliant comedy. (The move is great too)

    An author I want to recommend; British novelist Lawrence Osborne. Stylish, decadent, and disillusioned, with a sense of the weirdness of the world, and fast paced, exciting narrative.

    A great novel of the past 30 years; The Windup Bird Chronicle by Murakami, strange, wistful, with a sense of impermanence and emptiness. Very Zen.

    A great novelist; Phillip K Dick; sad, deeply moving, and lyrical.

  119. 128 says:
    @Beckow

    What about an armed revolt from the MAGA militias with support from part of the military? I am sure at least half of the lower-ranked personnel and officers from Captains down and most of the special forces would side with Trump and his militia. I mean red America owns most of the guns, and has most probably better basic tactical training and firearms proficiency, plus the weight of most of the military and national guard siding with them. Plus the big cities and suburbs are vulnerable to having their populations cut off, plus their population can not fight.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  120. dfordoom says: • Website
    @melanf

    Doyle and Stevenson better than Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky

    Undoubtedly. Conan Doyle is a writer that people read for fun.

    Sometimes one feels like cordon bleu cuisine. And sometimes one just feels like a burger. Sometimes only the rarest vintage wine will do, and sometimes a beer is what is needed.

    Conan Doyle and Stevenson are great when you want a burger and a beer. They’ll give you a very good burger and a very good beer.

    It’s OK to enjoy both cordon bleu cuisine and burgers. These days I mostly go for burgers but I can still appreciate that cordon bleu cooking offers something that burgers don’t.

    Most writers of popular fiction today can’t even make a good burger. And most writers of “literary” fiction today don’t know how to do cordon bleu cuisine.

    • Agree: Ano4
  121. 128 says:

    Plus big cities and suburbs are dense and are vulnerable to getting nuked, MOABed, and napalmed.

  122. 128 says:

    Like if you really had a civil war, cities like New York, Chicago, and the whole Bay Area should be on the top of the target lists for multiple nuclear strikes and MOAB runs from strategic bombers, in order to deplete the Blues demographic base. The most economically vital areas for being nuked and MOABed are actually located to the south of San Francisco. Say at least a dozen missiles reserved for the Bay Area.

  123. mal says:

    Well, looks like US soft power is about to go over 9,000. The next Secretary of State will be Anthony Blinken, and he already regime changed Sesame Street and sold Grover on refugees, and poor Grover didn’t even know what hit him. This guy will be a slick operator.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Blinky Bill
  124. AP says:
    @mal

    In terms of ethnic backgrounds, Biden’s team resembles that of the modern Ivy League.

    • Agree: mal
  125. dfordoom says: • Website
    @songbird

    His book Treasure Island is required reading at many American schools. I prefer Kidnapped though.

    I don’t think one can be a connoisseur of English literature, without having read him. Chesterton was a big fan.

    I prefer Kidnapped as well.

    If you want to cultivate an appreciation of the full range of what the 19th century novel offers then yes I think Stevenson is an author you need to sample.

    Have you Stevenson’s The Suicide Club?

  126. dfordoom says: • Website
    @songbird

    I once read a sci-fi story where there were these alien probes traveling to other planets, looking for right angles, as a sign of intelligent life, and then destroying everything, when they found some.

    I love that! Now I want to read that story.

    • Replies: @songbird
  127. Znzn says:

    If I were the blue forces, I would like to secure the power plants, dams, and industries, which lie in the red areas.

  128. Znzn says:

    If I were the blues, I would look at securing the power plants, dams, and industries, which lie in the red areas.

  129. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Dmitry

    You see this curving 1920s architecture in cities like Miami, Ekaterinburg and Tel Aviv, where a minority of Bauhaus/Constructivism/Art Deco, can be near to unfortunate concrete boxes of postwar buildings.

    I must confess to a great fondness for Art Deco. There’s an optimism to it. The feeling that the future is going to be just awesome.

    But then I love late 1950s American cars with tail fins for the same reason.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  130. melanf says:
    @AP

    Stevenson Stuff for kids,

    Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – for kids?

    • Replies: @AP
  131. melanf says:
    @AP

    I know many Russians (all over 40 though) who enjoyed reading Tolstoy. One of them was rereading War and Peace during her pregnancy and named her son after one of the characters.

    Well, this is a sect of the “Russian intelligentsia”. These people consider themselves to be brahmanas, the highest caste among the despicable Sudras. Сondition for belonging to the brahmanas is reading religious soul – saving books (for this sect, this is the “Russian classic”). This is why these people like to tell (to their own kind) how they read and re-read “serious literature” ( for example, Leo Tolstoy). In fact, such people usually read nothing but low-grade detective stories

    • LOL: Ano4
    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @AP
  132. A123 says:
    @utu

    Are you for real?

    Trump still has solid paths forward. I spell them out in some detail here:

    https://www.unz.com/article/the-dominion-of-election-fraud/#comment-4299671

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @widugastiR
  133. melanf says:
    @dfordoom

    And speaking of Conan Doyle, his historical fiction is enormous fun. His Brigadier Gerard stories are witty and clever. And The White Company is superb historical fiction.

    Brigadier Gerard (“hunting stories” of the boastful hussar) is really a fun and lively book.

    “White Company” Patriotic pathos epic about how the super-noble British demonstrated their superiority to the vile French and Spaniards in the hundred years ‘ war. For me there is too much falsehood and pathos in this novel

  134. Mikhail says: • Website

    For puke purposes:

  135. A123 says:
    @Beckow

    unsurprisingly he didn’t try too hard to protect the US workers.

    You keep repeating this fiction, but it is is simply not true.
    — What things that Trump could actually achieve did he not do?
    — How are workers worse off because of his actions?

    The facts show that Trump DID PROTECT U.S. Workers.

    — He finally led the country out of Barack Hussein’s jobless recovery
    — He changed trade arrangements with China moving additional jobs to the U.S.
    — He launched programs to reduce and eventually eliminate dependency on China, which is more jobs for U.S. Workers.

    The facts show that unemployment was down and wages were up, especially for his core supporters, blue collar workers.

    He has started winding down on H1B visas. Late, I conceed, but the change that forces those hiring H1B’s to pay them 30%+ more is a huge move that keeps them from undercutting wages. There will be more to come on this front for white collar workers as the program is further refined and restricted.

    He tried to end DACA and was blocked by a Bush SCOTUS appointee. He will try again next year and win now that he has appointed the Glorious ACB to replace the Notorious RBG.

    Trump managed to push through what he really cared about: tax cuts and his pro-Israeli moves.

    Both of which required minimal effort. There was no pushing…. It was more akin to picking low hanging fruit.

    The GOP(e) wanted tax cuts. Trump wanted to end the jobless recvovery. The deal that did both things was a massive success. Why are you objecting???? It may not have been a perfect win, but it was definitely a win for U.S. workers.

    Recognizing that Jews have the right to live on Jewish Land in the Jewish Nation had a very low cost. Because Abbas turned everything down, there was no need for funding.

    Trump’s actions in the Middle East have created peace deals between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain. Several countries have agreed to buy U.S. Manufactured products such as the F35. More winning for U.S. workers. Again, why are you objecting to U.S. WORKERS WINNING?

    Washington security establishment is populated by people like Vindman.

    Barack Hussein managed to put political figures in “Civil Service” slots that gave them massive protection against being fired. Unfortunately, that means Trump cannot simply get rid of them. He moved a huge amount of decision making from the NSC to his own White House team to limit their ability to make bad policy.

    He crushed the NeoConDemocrats by refusing to start any new misadventures.

    Again, what practically achievable result did you want that you did not get?

    PEACE 😇
    _______

    “Do Not Let the Perfect Become The Enemy Of The Good” — Voltaire, 1770

    “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best” ― Otto von Bismarck, 1867

    • Replies: @Beckow
  136. @AaronB

    Second, one can say nobody writes or reads poetry anymore. Poetry was a big deal in all civilizations around the world, and we may literally be the first civilization that completely neglects it. I think this remarkable development has not received the attention it deserves. Its unprecedented.

    It’s so passe it belongs to a bygone pastoral era more in touch with our nature, those rhythms that connected us with nature no longer exist. But it daughter song exists and what a nightmare it will be if that dies too it will be the end of humanity.

    So many of these old arts are kept alive with state patronage I wonder if ballet can survive without it.

    What about plays, I don’t know anyone who watches them.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  137. melanf says:

    Fiction is a ticket to the circus and the task of the author of the book is to provide an interesting performance. And the” great Russian novels ” of the 19th century are disgusting because instead of the honest work of circus vagants,

    there is something like this
    Jugglers should entertain , not try to play the prophet

    • Disagree: utu, AP
    • LOL: Ano4
  138. @A123

    “He is sovereign, that decides the exception” -Carl Schmitt

    Trump is done. He should have celebrated victory on election night, huge rallies, the best rallies. Now it is just a low energy cringe lawfare clown show going on.

  139. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    I think that Russian Intelligentsia has gone the way of Russian Aristocracy. In fact both were connected prior to the Revolution. After the Revolution, (mostly) Jewish LARPers from beyond the pale of settlement and the frontier provinces, replaced the historical Russian Empire Elite that they shot, starved and drove into exile. These new Soviet elites appropriated a lot of material belongings and also some cultural codes as a token of superiority upon the great unwashed Russian masses.

    [MORE]

    Therefore most of today’s Russian Intellectuals are neither really ethnically Russian, nor truly intellectuals. Galkovsky calls them Noviopy (Novoe Istoricheskoe Obshhestvo [of Soviet People]). That’s what most of high functionary, technocrat and intellectual class are today in Putin’s Russia. And on top of that they are heavily westernized since the Perestroika and are examples of the worst Nouveau Riche tendencies to show off and Bling. A nasty mix.

    Of course they don’t really read or know Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenyev etc. What for, this is not adding anything to their power and prestige.

    Just below the Noviop caste, is the so-called “technical intelligentsia “, mass produced in Soviet times to staff the endless NII. All these “constructors”, “engineers”, “docents”, “science candidates ” are mainly raised on SciFi and “Historical Adventure ” literature to which the Fantasy and Horror genres have been added since the Perestroika times. These people, who have been raised by the Soviets for high tech jobs, have been badly swindled by the Noviopy during the Perestroika times.

    They feel that something is fishy about the modern “Russian Intelligentsia “, but given that they have been intellectually castrated, they can’t understand what’s really going on. They don’t see that historical elites of the Russian Empire, that took centuries to form after Pеter the Great, have been pushed out of the nest and replaced by the Noviop cuckoos.

    So these “technical intellectuals ” vent their frustrations against the cultural traditions of a long gone and martyred class of historical Russian Intellectuals, who took so long to raise and get educated by the Empire and were so rapidly wiped out by the Soviets. These “technical intellectuals” are the house negroes on the Noviop plantation. A plantation where the descendants of the mobster underclass enslaved both the rare surviving descendants of the true owners of the Manor and their peasant tennants.

    A tragicomedy really…

    🙂

    • Thanks: Mr. Hack, utu
    • Replies: @melanf
  140. Pericles says:
    @melanf

    The true problem here is making school children read about boring, incomprehensible, hateful, grown-up topics. Tfw have to read about divorce or mutilation in war or whatever when not even gf ever. No wonder they hate it or just shrug.

  141. melanf says:
    @Ano4

    I think that Russian Intelligentsia has gone the way of Russian Aristocracy. In fact both were connected prior to the Revolution.

    Russian pre-revolutionary intelligentsia with its ugly quasi-religion, was the main force behind the revolution (and in particular Leo Tolstoy supported the most odious forces, Alexander Green was a member of the terrorist party social revolutionaries, Maxim Gorky financed terrorists, etc.).” Russian intelligentsia “is a kind of analogue of modern University” intellectuals ” in the West. The fact that after the revolution, the students of these intellectuals began to exterminate them to clear a place for themselves, this does not justify the ” Russian intelligentsia”

    • Replies: @Ano4
  142. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    I absolutely agree. There’s nothing novel about what’s going on in the West. As the saying goes: if it works don’t fix it

    I find it quite revealing though that you have avoided the main topic of my comment. This is exactly what my comment was all about…

    😄

  143. melanf says:
    @songbird

    I would say that the 19th century had examples of much better prose – that is putting words together and finding the right sounds and syllables, without making it too dense. Definitely, popular books were written better.

    the average level was higher, but the number of such books in the 19th century was several orders of magnitude less than it is now

  144. It seems that previous open thread has wound up, but still I have something left to say.

    [MORE]

    Thank you Mr. Hack regarding your last comment on the previous open thread. I understand that for you as a Christian Buddhas teachings possibly dont make much sense, and thats perfectly okay. Its not because you are lacking intellect or something, but from a Buddhist viewpoint your line of thought is just a product of different personal, cultural and historical circumstances.

    Although there has been some few moments of history when the Buddhists and Christians have had some minor problems(except in Japan!), but overall the relations between our two ancient faiths have been generally good, and theres even some scriptural support from the Christ itself that supports our Buddhist position of praising the Christ and supporting his endeavours.

    38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

    39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”

    Mark 9:38-41

    Yes there is another passage in the Holy Bible, where Christ says that “he who is not me is against me,” but after that passage Christ says, oh well better to put here the full passage:

    30″He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters. 31Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the one to come. 33Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.”

    Matthew 12:30-33

    I think that we dont blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? At least if the St. Paul was correct in his description of the fruits of the Holy Spirit:

    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.”

    Galatians 5:22-23

    So even if we Christians and Buddhists dont share same faith, we can co-exist harmoniously, and have co-existed in such way through centuries. At least Buddhists and Orthodox Christians have enjoyed always good or at least peaceful relations for over four hundred years and even before that. The husband of the Khatun Maria Palaiologina, who was a daughter of the emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, was Abaqa Khan of the Ilkhanate. Abaqa Khan was by the way a follower of of Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. Even though Marias husband Abaqa was a Buddhist, he did not anyway try to convert her and Maria could as a Khatun help immensely the Christians of Middle East and Greater Iran. Among the Mongols the wife of the Khan or Khatun enjoyed much higher prestige and power than the European queens normally enjoyed during the Middle Ages. After Abaqas death Maria returned to Constantinople and established a Church and a Nunnery, but still she retained her position as a Khatun, and she even called sometimes Mongol troops to defend the waning Byzantine Empire from the Ghazis of the Osman I, the famed founder of the Ottoman Empire. Sadly Mongol power was also waning and fragmenting in the early 14th century, so those Mongolian troops did just delay the inevitable.

    For AaronB

    AaronB thank you for your comments too in the previous open thread, they also have been valuable or at least revealing in their own way…
    Even though we often dont agree, it seems to me quite praiseworthy that you admit the humanity of the anti-semites, which understandably is often rare among the Jews. From Buddhist viewpoint antisemitism is an erroneous view, for it claims that there is some kind of negative essence in the Jews itself. Still many Jews, though understandably, fall in the same trap as antisemites and think that the antisemites have some kind of irredeemable quality, which they never can overcome. Both positions are wrong, of course if some people commit unjustified acts of violence they should be punished, but its never good to think that they are beyond redemption. But what I dont like about the Judaism is that it posits that there is some kind of essence, material or metaphysical in the Jewishness and that some Jews themselves hold such position. They are of course free to hold such position, but as long as they hold such view, they should not be puzzled that there is a counter-reaction against such view.

    For Ano4

    We should be happy that we have found the truth of Dharma, which is beyond all conditional and compounded factors, or that at least we have found the footprints that will lead to such truth. Thus let us just be happy that we have found the greatest treasure that there is, the true Philosophers stone, the Cintamani, which creates infinite amounts of happiness and riches, yet sometimes its sad or possibly irritating that some others cant see or perceive the same riches as we do, but the problem is in us, if we would have greater insight and greater compassion, we could awaken others to that same beauty that never withers, never ages and shall never perish… Buut you of course know these things, its just that you like sparring with words like I do. So I say to others, this is just a play which should not be taken too seriously.

    Your Brother in Dharma

    Here is Manichean painting of Christ, quite hybrid, isnt it?

    • Thanks: Ano4, AP
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @AaronB
    , @Mikel
  145. @dfordoom

    Stevenson had to write his “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” twice – the first version was burned by his wife, who was scandalized that he would stoop so low to as to write such sensationalistic trash.

  146. AP says:
    @melanf

    Well, this is a sect of the “Russian intelligentsia”. These people consider themselves to be brahmanas, the highest caste among the despicable Sudras

    Lol no. I am not a time traveller, Intelligentsia died many decades ago, after the Revolution, along with Russia. Russian may be in the process of rebirth, but without that class of people.

    The lady who named her kid after the character from War and Peace that she reread for pleasure was a housewife, the daughter of a naval officer, who ended up in America. The others are mostly physicians, another a former financial director (graduate of Phys Tech) who likes Anna Karenina, though yes a few are professors or their children. I don’t know proles in Russia.

    No intelligentsia. Just people from a pre-spoiled generation, one with a brain and an attention span, as Anon in TN aptly put it. They do enjoy Stevenson and Dumas too.

    • Agree: Ano4
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  147. melanf says:

    Lol no. I am not a time traveller, Intelligentsia died many decades ago, after the Revolution

    Oh, really? What a revelation. Well, I’m glad you opened my eyes. And then I did not know that the people next to whom I periodically have to communicate do not exist for 100 years

    But whatever you call it, sectarians who read Tolstoy (or imitate that they read Tolstoy) in order to be full members of the sect exist.
    https://pre-party.com.ua/content/entry/10-glavnyh-knig-obazatelnyh-k-procteniu-intelligentnomu-celoveku.html

    You just talked to these people in Moscow

    • Replies: @AP
  148. @melanf

    I am not sure about preserved ‘art’. To me Art should be contemporary, an expression of Now. Ice sculptures are the best form of sculpture. A live musical performance or television transmission is the most authentic. There are a very instances that might justify a retrospective view. Shakespeare perhaps but we should be thinking been thoughts or at least rearranging our old ones for present conditions.

    I am not consistent in this. I enjoy Jonathan Swift, H G Wells, Huxley/Orwell. However, one of the world’s best collections of Impressionist Art is in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff (collected by the daughters of Britain’s richest coal owner). It does not move me. There were better album covers in the 1970’s. But they too have had their time.

    High prices for art reflect tax evasion not intrinsic value. Buying a Banksy is ridiculous. There are warehouses full of moveable art in Geneva that no one ever sees.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  149. @128

    I agree but how to mitigate the mass of people. Harry Potter was written by an unemployed Brit but there has in general been no large surge in artistic output during periods of unemployment. A fraction of the idle rich of the 18th C did make great advances in science, the Arts and cultural refinement but the majority drank, gambled, hunted or indulged in infidelity just like poor. Only a few found a creative impulse. (My own relative revolutionised landscape painting but he took it up as a busines when he was poor and did not expect to inherit).

    • Replies: @Europe Europa
  150. @Ano4

    The technology has moved on. The spirit of the times must be found on television, YouTube, the PS5 and electronic music. No Shakespeare or Mozart has emerged yet. We will only recognize one in retrospect. For the effort of searching for involves too much of low quality to be bearable compared to the very best of the past (which is what has survived-the past was full of cross too) but the very best of now will not be on canvas, in print, of marble. It will be on screen, operated with a console or built with a 3D printer.

    • Disagree: Yevardian
    • Replies: @Ano4
  151. AP says:
    @melanf

    Oh, really? What a revelation. Well, I’m glad you opened my eyes. And then I did not know that the people next to whom I periodically have to communicate do not exist for 100 years

    They lost their place after the Revolution but probably died out by the 1940s.

    But whatever you call it, sectarians who read Tolstoy (or imitate that they read Tolstoy) in order to be full members of the sect exist

    I don’t mix with that “sect”, I’m just pointing out that until the generation born in the ruined Russia of the 90s it was common for normal people to read and enjoy Tolstoy. My wife as most other women likes Anna Karenina; she only read the “peace” part of War and Peace though. Even a housewife we met in America loved War and Peace.

    Love of 19th century literature was an endearing trait of Russians. Too bad it seems to have been sniffed out lately, replaced by comic books and video games I guess. Though not completely, I know some young ones who do like Dostoyevsky.

    Poorly functioning brain, no attention span – very useful for social control in a free and democratic society.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @melanf
  152. AP says:
    @melanf

    I consider Stephen King as being for kids (well, teenagers). Though I confess I am not into that type of thing. I’m not a fan of Hoffman either.

    • Replies: @songbird
  153. Ano4 says:
    @AP

    I have met a few survivors of pre-Revolutionary intelligentsia in my parents circle. I have also known some of them in the parish at the Church where I have been baptized. The head priest himself was an intellectual and descended from an old aristocratic Russian family related to the Morozov boyars.

    [MORE]

    A boy who was in my class was from one such family. He refused joining the Communist youth organizations, wore an Orthodox cross and was in general extremely well behaved, while also being very fit and lively.

    His family was from a long lineage of Orthodox priests, his grandmother on the maternal side emigrated to Canada in the 70ies.

    Another truly intellectual among my mother’s friends was from an old Jewish family from Saint Petersbourg. Her grandfather was a rich merchant (of the 1st guild) and was given the right to settle and have businesses in the capitals of the Russian Empire. She had nothing in common with the “Berdichev – Odessa” crowd that invaded Moscow
    and Piter in the 20ies. A remarkable lady. She had one of the best collections of books I have ever seen.

    Our collection of books has been given and sold when we emigrated, it is one of the things that I miss the most. I was quite the bookworm in my pre-teen years.

    Nowadays, children everywhere are difficult to bring to higher kinds of culture. The video games, social networks and TV are hard to compete against. I am doing what I can with my own kids, but I am not very confident about the outcome.

    • Thanks: AP
    • Replies: @AP
  154. melanf says:
    @AP

    until the generation born in the ruined Russia of the 90s it was common for normal people to read and enjoy Tolstoy.

    No. Just in circles claiming the status of “educated people”, it was supposed to pretend that you read and enjoy Tolstoy. Very few people actually read this slop, and even fewer were able to enjoy it. But of course to say i that ” I tried to read this – this is boring gibberish ” was to lose face.

    This is how mandarins in old China had to publicly Express admiration for Confucian classics (which they mostly did not read) and Express contempt for “pornography” like the novel “Dream in the Red tower”

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @AP
  155. @Philip Owen

    As far as fantasy novels go, I’d rather England was more associated with LOTR than Harry Potter, mainly because I think it’s a higher standard of work but also because Rowling is a vocally anti-English leftist, despite being English, whereas Tolkien was an English patriot.

    For some reason LOTR does not seem to be particularly associated with England culturally, as Harry Potter is, despite Tolkein intending for it to be a specifically English fantasy novel. I’ve read that Tolkien found it frustrating that people tended to assume his novels were based on Celtic or Scandinavian mythology, because he really was trying to write something specifically English.

  156. Ano4 says:
    @melanf

    I read and enjoyed Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Started reading them around 16 years old. And I think that both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky were great writers. While young, I preferred Tolstoy, nowadays I would probably have more preference towards Dostoevsky.

    • Agree: AltanBakshi, utu
    • Replies: @AP
    , @utu
  157. Ano4 says:
    @Philip Owen

    It is actually sad and somewhat frightening to see how much impact technology nowadays has upon human minds. It is as if rather than technology being part of our cultural life, it is our cultural life itself that is gradually being absorbed into the technosphere.

    • Agree: AP, Philip Owen
  158. songbird says:
    @Dmitry

    It’s curious how a lot of Japanese streets don’t seem to have sidewalks.

    You would think that they would have planned wider streets after their cities were flattened in WW2. And I think of small sidewalks almost being an Americanism, and the Japanese seem to have copied many Americanisms, like baseball. If you see some of their old movies, they remind one of ’50s America, perhaps more so than any European ones. But many narrow streets, without sidewalks, seem to remind one of China or Vietnam.

    Though, I guess it is true that it took a little while after the war for cars to become common. I think that they were producing motorbikes first and sending their marketing research people to study Germany, because they figured postwar Germany was about ten years ahead of them.

  159. Mr. Hack says:
    @AltanBakshi

    I’m all for peaceful dialogue between believers of different religious faiths, followers of different “dharmas”, if you will. Here’s the opinion of one Buddhist monk who crossed over from the Buddhist faith to the Orthodox Christian one. Does any part of his confession ring true to you?

    “In Buddhism…you are very, very much alone. There is no God. Your entire struggle is with yourself. You are alone with yourself, with your ego. You are totally alone in this path. Great loneliness…. But here you have an assistant, a divine companion and a fellow-traveler in God. You are not alone. You have someone who loves you, who cares about you. He cares even if you don’t understand Him. You speak with Him. You tell Him how you feel, what you would have hoped for – there is a relationship. You are not alone in the difficult struggles of life and spiritual perfection.” (Excerpted from Mystagogy; translated by John Sanidopolous

    https://stbarnabasoc.org/for-visitors/for-non-christian-seekers-and-inquirers/

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
    , @AaronB
  160. songbird says:
    @dfordoom

    Have you Stevenson’s The Suicide Club?

    I haven’t, and I’m familiar with the AC Doyle books you mentioned. Sounds interesting. I’ll definitely put it on my reading list.

    IMO Doyle was the best short detective story writer. He had many imitators, and wasn’t completely original himself, Poe being one influence. I really like Poe’s story The Purloined Letter, but on the whole I think his other detective stories are too macabre. Another influence was the French Monsieur Lecoq. I enjoyed reading one of the books.

    There’s probably a lot of good French literature, including stories of adventure, that is virtually unknown in the Anglosphere, but had a lot of influence on English language authors.

    I love that! Now I want to read that story.

    It’s actually a novel from 1994 called The Engines of God.

    Since this is a literary post, and Kipling has been mentioned a few times recently, I guess I will round it out by saying my favorite Kipling book is Captains Courageous.

  161. @128

    red America owns most of the guns

    Red America gas guns, but it does not have balls and brains. Deep State does not have balls and brains, either, but it wins because it has no ethical scruples and no shame. Look at the pattern of fraud. Clear indications of utter stupidity of the Deep State: a) all fraud was perpetrated exclusively in swing states, the fraction of Biden votes elsewhere is within statistical possibility; b) 85-95% of the votes were counted within 10-12 h, whereas the remaining votes were “counted” for two weeks; c) participation in many precincts was unbelievably high (96-98%, like in Kadyrov’s Chechnya), but at least Kadyrov is smart enough not to make participation greater than 100%, whereas the fraudsters exceeded 100% in quite a few precincts. Lack of shame: now fraudsters and their teammates pretend that there was no massive fraud.

    Bottom line is, nothing except a few disorganized skirmishes will happen. Senile Deep State puppet will be installed. As the elites are clearly degenerate, the US policy, internal and foreign, will be even stupider and more suicidal than before. The downfall of the Empire will accelerate. The elites are too dumb to see that, so the results of their actions will come to them as a surprise (pretty much like 2008 financial crisis).

    • Replies: @Beckow
  162. Rather awesome fanmovie from the SCP fanbase:

    Strong vibes of gamer movie done right with Lovecraftian feels.

  163. @Mr. Hack

    At least in regards of Buddhism, it does not ring true to me.

  164. AP says:
    @Ano4

    Same, and I am not even Russian!

  165. AP says:
    @melanf

    “until the generation born in the ruined Russia of the 90s it was common for normal people to read and enjoy Tolstoy.”

    No. Just in circles claiming the status of “educated people”

    Our housewife acquaintance had no pretensions about being an intellectual. She just liked War and Peace.

    it was supposed to pretend that you read and enjoy Tolstoy

    Lol, why would someone pretend? No, my wife and her friends really like Anna Karenina. They aren’t all lying when they say so.

    When I visited Moscow for the first time in 1999, I was pleased to see many people reading on the metro. I am curious, and would look to see what they were reading. Usually it was detective/police or science fiction books, some biographies, but a not negligible portion was 19th century literature, presumably being reread. People come back to what they like.

    Nowadays the public are mostly just on their phones. Progress.

    Very few people actually read this slop, and even fewer were able to enjoy it. But of course to say i that ” I tried to read this – this is boring gibberish ” was to lose face.

    Yours is a very sad portrait of contemporary young Russians.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  166. songbird says:
    @AP

    Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is more like a philosophical story, than something we would consider horror today, IMO. It is not particularly to my taste, but I would never compare Stevenson to Stephen King.

    King is an exemplar of hack writing. He never had an original idea, and, at times, he wrote like his brain was fried. In It, he wrote an infamous orgy scene between tweens. And it seems everything he wrote sold. The horror genre has very low standards, today.

    • Agree: AP
  167. AP says:
    @Ano4

    You have been very fortunate to have known people with such backgrounds. Russia has produced some of the best (and worst) of humanity. Too bad it was taken over by the latter.

    [MORE]

    Nowadays, children everywhere are difficult to bring to higher kinds of culture. The video games, social networks and TV are hard to compete against. I am doing what I can with my own kids, but I am not very confident about the outcome.

    It’s probably impossible. We have taught our kids to recite Pushkin but they don’t like this stuff on their own. Perhaps you have to live in the linguistic environment beyond the home -we live in the Anglosphere and they do genuinely enjoy Shakespeare for example. But in terms of older novels they prefer 20th century stuff like Faulkner or Orwell over 19th century works. But when it comes to pure light entertainment they go for Harry Potter or some worse stuff, rather than Stevenson or Dumas.

    One just makes peace with the fact that humanity peaked generations ago, all of us are progressively lower than those who came before. My Galician grandfather was enjoying Schiller, Maksym Rylsky, and some Polish poets all in their original languages. This was common among educated people of his circles and generation. And he wasn’t in the arts or humanities by trade.

    • Agree: Ano4, Thulean Friend
  168. AaronB says:
    @Mr. Hack

    There really are several different kinds of Buddhism, and its hard to generalize.

    The old style Buddhism, or Theravada Buddhism, is like you say, essentially a solitary struggle against oneself, with the only caveat being that you are part of a community of monks, or the “sangha”. This is the gloomiest version of Buddhism, very ascetic and anti-sex and the like, and the goal, on the surface at least, is to overcome one’s nature and become a sort of supernan, an Arhat. I remember reading one of its texts where it said the monk should be insensible even to the beauty of trees, and I realized this is not for me. Although countries that have this type of Buddhism have happy and cheerful people, because the basic message that everything is impermanent, and thus not really important, is bound to have a cheering and liberating effect. This is also the Buddhism that, outside of Zen, appeals most to Westernets, because the emphasis on self-struggle appeals to the Western ego and the Western desire to be a superman. (I’m being a little harsh here, there are many beautiful things here as well.)

    Mahayana Buddhism is later and less strict approach – it is the “larger” version of Buddhism because it tolerates many different approaches. Here, there are countless saints and semi divine beings one can call on to aid one. On the highest levels, one is supposed to realize they aren’t real, just personification of mental states, but in practice, most people just treat them as helpful gods. In the Tibetan Book Of The Dead, it is said that right after you die, you will see the most horrific demons coming after you – if you run, believing them to be real and not understanding they are merely projections of your mind, you will get reincarnated right back into the world of suffering. Only understanding that nothing is truly real can liberate you.

    In Pure Land Buddhism, we have something that functions essentially like a Western monotheistic religion. One has faith in Buddha Amitabha, and he will cause you to be reborn in his Pure Land, where Enlightenment is guaranteed. The difference is, one need not even make any moral effort or any struggle at all, only have faith in him and recite his name. Thry believe you are a good or bad person based on past karma so moral effort is beside the point. They say only absolute self surrender is needed. No struggle whatsoever.

    Then there is my favorite, Chan, which says we are already where we need to be and no struggle whatsoever is needed, just insight 🙂 My second is Pure Land, because it also achieves self surrender.

    • Thanks: Mr. Hack
    • Troll: AltanBakshi
    • Replies: @AP
    , @Mr. Hack
  169. AaronB says:
    @AltanBakshi

    Thank you for your kind words Altan.

    I don’t really see people as evil anymore, merely as misguided. One of the best ways to make yourself into an angry and intolerant person is to believe in the existence of evil. I share the Buddhist idea that people are stuck in illusion and error rather than evil. Even the worst psychopath is doing the only thing he understands. He just has poor insight into what is his true benefit.

    Antisemites are people who obviously suffer terribly and are looking for an external cause for their suffering. It is best explained by Nietzsche’s concept of ressentiment – I suffer, so someone else must be responsible. Of course Buddhism identifies suffering (or chronic dissatisfaction) as simply unenlightened mankinds natural state. As Alan Watts said “mankind suffers because he takes seriously what the God’s meant for sport”.

    Antisemitic conspiracy theory is also an attempt to feel important and significant. I am at the center of plots by incredibly powerful people. They care about me and want to control my thoughts. I am not just little old unimportant me, I’m swept up in powerful currents. Antisemitism also makes the world seem orderly and purposive – events aren’t random, but powerful men are directing them.

    There is another kind of antisemitism that’s quite normal. They don’t hate Jews or think they are responsible for everything bad in the world, they just don’t want a foreign element to have undue influence in their country. I have no problem with this.

  170. AP says:
    @AaronB

    I recall reading about Pure Land once. Supposedly it was associated with the appearance of Christianity and was sort of an echo of it. Any truth to such a rumour?

    • Disagree: AltanBakshi
    • Replies: @AaronB
  171. utu says:
    @Ano4

    Being so upset with Tolstoy and people who appreciate Tolstoy is a sure sign he is a crank of a Russian kind. Enfant terribles, iconoclasts and drunks had a special place among Russian intelligentsia and their antics were tolerated.

    I he was young I could understand his ranting against pretentiousness of some intelligentsia or should I say obrazovanshchina who claim to read Tolstoy. Youth is overly sensitive about pretentiousness and hypocrisy. But claiming that literature has only utilitarian value to entertain while there is no room for novels of ideas like those but Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky puts him right back into the obrazovanshchina but this time of American kind which is worse.

    • Agree: AP, Ano4
    • Replies: @Yevardian
  172. AaronB says:
    @AP

    As far as I know most scholars do not think Pure Land Buddhism was influenced by Christianity, but Pure Land is an offshore of the Mahayana, and the curious thing about the Mahayana, oft noted by scholars, is that it developed very Christian like ideas shortly after the appearance of Jesus.

    Some scholars believe Christianity did influence Buddhism through trade networks, in this way. Some devout Christians think the influence was spiritual.

    For instance, in old Buddhism you simply worked on yourself until you became an Arhat and attained Nirvana. Of course being a moral person was part of this, and spreading the message and giving others the means to work on themselves was an act of compassion. But essentially it was solitary. In Mahayana, the purpose is to become a Boddhisattva and to have attained Nirvana but to refuse to enter it, to return and work for the liberation of all beings, out of boundless compassion. This kind of compassion and self sacrifice for others was an innovation.

    In my opinion, the inner logic of Buddhism led to the later developments – it was gradually realized that the ideal of the Arhat was rather selfish and incompatible with the belief that one is not an individual self. And Pure Land seems to be a radical development of the theme of total abandonment of self-effort, so notable in Chan.

    But I don’t rule out the historical influence of Christianity, but the inner logic of Buddhism was clearly compatible with these ideas.

    • LOL: AltanBakshi
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  173. Dmitry says:
    @dfordoom

    If you read some of the 19th and 20th century “pulp fiction” produced in societies which had mass literacy already – it is not better or worse, than the television series of the 21st century.

    For example, I read the book Dracula (1897), and this is book is real trash on the emotional level, although very stylish, glamorous and weirdly creative – e.g. it includes scenes like beautiful young woman being raped by a wolf while she is sleepwalking. Note that UK is a country that has mass literacy already in 1900, and that the reading public is looking for this kind of populist entertainment.

    Similarly, if you try to read a James Bond book from the mid-20th century. It is very transparently “low IQ” masturbation, which serves the most idiotic fantasy life of its readers. It is like reading a version of 50 Shades of Grey that was precisely designed for the male, as opposed to female, mind i.e. it functions as pure teenage wish fulfillment.

    I don’t think that “low quality pulp fiction” has changed its main content since the beginning of mass literacy, as it is satisfying the same simple fantasy appetites (for glamour, money, sex, violence). But there is more or less competent versions of this genre.

    television has demonstrated the ability to degrade

    But in the last decades, with mass adoption of Smart TV, most of the younger generation are rapidly moving away from television broadcast, onto streaming television like Amazon Prime and Netflix.

    Series produced by those platforms seem to be more critical, witty and aimed at a middle class audience, compared to the Berlusconi style of television which has become common in broadcast shows.

    I still don’t enjoy these Netflix dramas (if I have a spare couple hours, I would prefer to watch something more calm and relaxed like Ozu), but the Netflix and Amazon Prime are showing content designed for people with a longer attention span, and using more complicated stories, than on the Berlusconi style of studio television that became predominant everywhere in 2000s.

    WW2 propaganda films churned out by Hollywood in the 40s). But the propaganda has become ever more

    Hollywood films of the 1940s are usually wonderful and strange entertainment, although not exactly “mentally healthy” works. For example, the “film noir” genre.

    In the 1950s, Hollywood films become less interesting, but in some senses more impressive – e.g. “Ben-Hur”.

    The decline of Hollywood was very steady though. By the 1990s, Hollywood was still producing “good entertainment” (for example, films like “Last of Mohicans”, “Terminator 2” or “Silence of Lambs”), but anti-humanistic and appealing to trashy excitement of violence, absurd fantasy and sensationalism.

    Final decline or nadir of Hollywood seems to happen from the 1990s, to around 2015. I think there is a situation where the skilled labour of Hollywood’s declining period had started to mass retire in the 1990s, and was replaced by incompetent idiots.

    So even a trashy 1980s and early 1990s Hollywood films like “Terminator 2” and “Aliens”, now seem like lost classics compared to the films of the 2000s.

    That said, in the last few years, I think the Hollywood films started to improve and become more successful on a level of populist entertainment again. For example last year, Hollywood made films like “1917” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”. Both completely absurd in different ways as historical recreations, but equally successful as a pure escapist entertainment.

    • Agree: utu, Mr. Hack, Daniel Chieh
  174. Mr. Hack says:
    @AaronB

    I appreciate your descriptions of the different schools of Buddhist practice within the world. Within the last open thread, I included a short booklet (for Mikel) that includes a very thorough description of the most important component of Christian Orthodox thought, called “Theosis” or “Deification”. I do hope that you read it too, as it might present a view of Christianity that you’ve never really considered before. This booklet has helped me immensely in my own spiritual pathway.

    http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/theosis-english.pdf

    BTW, for all of my Buddhist friends here, there are some important points of confluence between Orthodoxy and Buddhism that should help keep the door open for meaningful dialogue. There’s actually more than enough to copy/paste here, so I suggest that you read about these points within the citation that I’ve already included above, within the appropriate section called “Why would a Buddhist be interested in Orthodox Christianity”:

    https://stbarnabasoc.org/for-visitors/for-non-christian-seekers-and-inquirers/

    • Replies: @AaronB
  175. AaronB says:
    @Grahamsno(G64)

    Song, for the time being, seems too deeply rooted in our nature to eradicate.

    In an age whose main focus is creating more and more technology, things that don’t serve that purpose, like poetry abd beauty, cannot flourish. Thats an iron law.

    It has been observed that quantifying things involves a loss of nuance and complexity. It makes things simple. Obviously, you have to be very smart to be good at quantifying things. But you also have to become simpler and stupider. To do science well, you have to become stupider in some ways. Thats part of the reason our language became simpler.

    With our technology it would be the easiest thing to create beautiful buildings and cities on a mass scale. We could have the most beautiful cities in history. Its not merely that we don’t want to, its that we feel in our bones it would be a sin against the spirit of our times. Serious, mature men do not occupy themselves with such trivial things as ornament, and anything richly sensuous is a sin against the spirit of abstract quantification. (Serious, of course, means occupied with extending the means of survival).

    We serve a God, and we must make sacrifices to him.

    But things are changing. The food scene in America has exploded, whereas before it was rather drab and Puritan. And the economy is shifting more and more towards a purely play format- how many people make an income off frivolous youtube videos?

  176. Mr. Hack says:

    A Russian blogsite where the discussion turns to great novels etc; and some even denigrating 20th century output, and no one even mentions Bulgakov’s famous “The Master and Margarita”? What’s up with that? 🙂

    As if I really need one more reason to finally read this supposed masterpiece?

    • Replies: @AP
    , @AnonFromTN
  177. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    You should read it, if you haven’t.

    • Agree: mal, Ano4
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  178. Dmitry says:
    @dfordoom

    I agree that this 1920s-30s Art Deco/Constructivism/Bauhaus expresses a optimism about the future.

    Perhaps optimism is in sense that it naively uses every novel thing that seemed futuristic to a 1920s people (curving balconies, circle windows, windows as vertical strips).

    Sadly, they were generally (whether in Miami, Sverdlovsk or Tel Aviv) very cheaply constructed buildings (popular with the authorities because they were so cheap and fast to construct).

    The kind of cheapness and temporariness of their plaster construction, and the low quality of the materials used, detracts from the style. This was the same situation even in Miami according to an interesting comment someone made on Sailer forum https://www.unz.com/isteve/what-the-nyt-thought-of-refugees-back-when-immigrants-were-rightists/#comment-3565569

    But Miami seems have the most expensively restored 1920s modernism, funded by turning it into a nightclub zone. Also a few 1920s/30s eclectic buildings.

    • Replies: @mal
  179. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    Why? What did you get out of reading it?

    • Replies: @AP
  180. @Mr. Hack

    Bulgakov’s famous “The Master and Margarita”

    It is really good, both in terms of quality of writing and in its tongue-in-cheek realism. Just make sure you read the full version, not the one published under Khrushchev. I’d put Bulgakov way above Bunin, Kuprin, and many others. But, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, it’s only good for the people with reasonably long attention span.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @reiner Tor
    , @Yevardian
  181. AaronB says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Thank you, I will look into it. I went through a period where I was briefly interested in Orthodox Christianity, and it remains my favorite strand of Christianity, and I think, most like eastern religions.

    The concepts of Kenosis and Theosis are very appealing, and I deeply appreciate the emphasis on the “via negativa”. As I understand it, Dionysius the Aereopagite, whose works are the inspiration for all Christian mysticism, was much more central in Orthodoxy than in Western traditions.

    There was a great book I read parts of a while back by an Orthodix priest about the similarities between Taoism and Orthodoxy. He basically thought Taoism was a kind of pre-orthodoxy, without Christ.

    I think D.T Suzuki also did a study on the similarities between Zen and Christian mystics.

  182. Dmitry says:
    @AP

    really like Anna Karenina

    “Anna Karenina” has surely some of the most excellent writing of any novel (for example, the description of her suicide under the train is incredible – how terrifyingly he describes the experience of her death), but it has also some of the most self-indulgent writing (pages where the main character randomly describes Tolstoy’s ideas about the agriculture industry and land reform, as if Tolstoy has promised to tell us a love story, but actually tricked us to read his boring and amateur views about agriculture). There is also some issue of lack of “narrative drive” (it stops being “page turning”?) in the middle of book, after the love affairs begin.

    In my opinion, this novel is a masterwork, for the strength of some of its scenes, and for beginning and end of main story of Anna and her suicide. At the same time, I can understand why a lot of readers abandon this novel half in, or do not like the book (not everyone tolerates read ten pages of muddled journalistic theories about land reform, in the middle of your Greek tragedy).

  183. @AaronB

    attained Nirvana

    I was so sad when Kurt Cobain killed himself.

  184. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    I agree, but it reads quicker than Tolstoy.

    • Agree: reiner Tor
  185. @AnonFromTN

    The Master and Margarita is one of my favorite novels. I have read it a few times, and probably will read it more.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  186. mal says:
    @Dmitry

    My favorite architecture in the US is in Detroit, all those medieval looking neogothic style abandoned buildings.

    Of course, they are not exactly in mint condition right now, but a century ago they must have looked glamorous.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Mikhail
  187. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    I come back to it many times. It is one of my favourite novels. Hard to put into words anything specific and attempting to do so seems to be profane, like explaining what do I get out of the most sublime music? It is both spiritual and entertaining, brilliant and insightful, beautifully written (it comes through in translation). I think the Diana Burgin translation is best:

    https://images.app.goo.gl/oKn6JQ1VdypH4SLCA

    • Agree: utu
    • Thanks: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  188. AP says:
    @mal

    Detroit was once the “Paris of the Midwest.” There were some wild parties among the ruins in the early 90s.

    Some neighborhoods like Indian Village and Palmer Woods remain oddly intact, surrounded by ruins and often patrolled by private security, serene while shootings go on just a few blocks away. The city is very close to what the zombie apocalypse is like.

    • Agree: mal
  189. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    Do you know whether this is the pre-Khrushchev era “full version” that Professor Tennessee has extolled above? When I finally do get around to reading this great work of literature, I want to make sure that I’m reading the correct version, and not some “abridged” one. Thanks!

    • Replies: @AP
    , @utu
  190. AaronB says:

    Once again, the great, the inimitable, the indispensable, John Gray, ladies and gents –

    In theoretical terms, the solution to the environmental crisis is what John Stuart Mill in his prescient Principles of Political Economy (1848) called a stationary-state economy – one in which technical progress is used not to expand production and consumption but to increase leisure and the quality of life. The trouble is that a zero-growth economy is politically impossible. Populist backlash and geopolitical upheaval will derail any transition to a stationary state.

    Lying behind these obstacles is another reality that has been excluded from current thinking. Despite much talk about declining fertility in many countries, human population growth continues to be the root cause of the mass extinction that is in progress. Species are vanishing on a vast scale because their habitats are disappearing, and the chief reason for this is human expansion. It may be true that population growth will level off later this century somewhere around nine or 10 billion. By that point, however, the biosphere will have been gutted. If human numbers then fall, it will be in a world that has been hideously impoverished.

    Interestingly, Mill foresaw this prospect when he envisioned the stationary state in the book. There is “not much satisfaction”, he wrote:

    …in contemplating the world with nothing left to the spontaneous activity of nature; with every rood of land brought into cultivation, which is capable of growing food for human beings; every flowery waste or natural pasture ploughed up; all quadrupeds or birds not domesticated for man’s use exterminated as his rivals for food, every hedgerow or superfluous tree rooted out, and scarcely a place left where a wild shrub or flower could grow without being eradicated as a weed in the name of improved agriculture. If the earth must lose that great portion of its pleasantness which it owes to things that the unlimited increase of wealth and population must extirpate from it, for the mere purpose of a larger but not a better or a happier population, I sincerely hope, for the sake of posterity, that they will be content to be stationary, long before necessity compels them to it”.

    Surviving the climate crisis is not an inherently unrealisable goal. What it requires is not sustainable development but something more like what James Lovelock in his book A Rough Ride to the Future (2014) has called “sustainable retreat”. Using the most advanced technologies, including nuclear as well as solar energy, and abandoning farming in favour of synthetic means of food production, the still growing human population could be fed without making further intolerable demands on the planet. High-intensity urban living could enable rewilding of land that had been vacated. Resources would be focused on building defences against the shift in climate that will occur whatever now humans do. Hubristic dreams of “saving the planet” would be replaced by thinking how to adapt to living with a planet that humans have destabilised. If humans do not adjust, the planet will reduce them to smaller numbers or consign them to extinction.

    A programme of this kind is the opposite of that proposed by Greens. It is also profoundly uncongenial to the prevailing culture. A consequence of the decline of religion is a parallel decline in the idea that the natural world imposes any limits on human will. Rather than humans being seen as one animal among many, the dominant species at the present time but like all others in having no secure tenure on the Earth, they have been encouraged to see themselves as having the power over nature of the God in which they no longer believe. If God did not make the world, humankind can – and should – remake it in its own image. That is the basis on which our supposedly secular civilisation stands, and it is also the ultimate source of the extinction crisis.

    In these circumstances, any programme based on the fact that humans face unstoppable climate change will be condemned as despairing fatalism. For a civilisation that prides itself on its devotion to science this is a curious attitude. Science aims to formulate universal laws that are independent of human beliefs and values. If these laws deflate our hopes and ambitions, so be it. If the point of the exercise is objective truth, subjective emotions must be set aside. So must faith, religious or otherwise. If we are to believe its ideologues, science is an inquiry into the natural world of which the human animal is an integral part. In fact, science has become a channel for the belief – inherited from monotheism – that humankind can transcend the natural world.

  191. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    The one I linked to is the full version. It also has scholarly annotations for context. The full book was banned by the Soviets and passed around as copies.

    • Thanks: Mr. Hack
  192. utu says:
    @Dmitry

    “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” by Tarantino, “Hollywood” (miniseries) and “Hail, Caesar!” by Coen brothers are all very good entertainment about Hollywood. The funniest is “Hail, Caesar!” The miniseries “Hollywood” has an agenda though still very enjoyable. Both Tarantino and the ministries are playing with the alternative history. Young people however will have no clue and will take it as an accurate depiction or just a pure fiction based entrainment.

    .

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  193. Beckow says:
    @AnonFromTN

    True, but there is another thing also taking place: the system is unsalvageable. The senile leadership is stupid (gerontocracies always are), but there might also be a realisation that any action would make the collapse worse, or make it happen sooner.

    In a way, the assorted Bidens, Pelosis, even Trump, are simply acing out a few allowable roles with minimal impact on the system as it functions. And when it stops functioning, none of it, or them, will matter.

    The West made a number of Faustian bargains in the 20th century to keep its ruling liberalism dominant – open borders, ‘freedom‘ of anything, racial ‘integration’, easy credit, universities for all, uncollectible debts (‘virtual money’), real estate pyramids, etc… it allowed liberalism to prevail because candy is rather attractive to most people. But the numbers eventually got out of hand. Trump was a desperate scream in the dark, they shut him down because a few more years of privilege is worth it for them.

    What West has is liberalism, pure and simple, this is the way liberalism works in practise. Some like it, for most people it doesn’t work. It will be a bumpy road ahead.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  194. Beckow says:
    @A123

    US has continued to accept over 1 million migrants per year under Trump. None of the settled illegal migrants have been touched. The H1B theatre few months before the election was just that: a theatre with no impact on young American college graduates. Trump intentionally waited until the 2020 H1B quota was used up and then ‘froze’ it with almost zero impact. His income regulation is unenforceable (news to you: people lie) and in any case will be quietly dropped by the incoming liberals.

    If Trump had no power to change any of the above, why did he even run? What kind of a lame democracy is it that doesn’t permit its chief executive to control borders or who is admitted? If Trump made it a priority he would had done something. He didn’t, so was he incompetent or simply pretended that he cared?

    Regarding the likes of Vindman: yes there is ‘civil service protection’, but there is also the El Paso ‘security field office’, why wasn’t Vindman dispatched to manage utilities there? Or in Alaska? It was perfectly within Trump’s powers to reassign these morons to ‘new opportunities’, civil service protection allows for that. Again, he didn’t. Incompetence? Or he really didn’t care enough?

    • Replies: @A123
  195. @reiner Tor

    From my perspective, Master and Margarita contains the most convincing retelling of Jesus story, better written and more believable than New Testament, drastically censored by the church in the fifth century.

  196. @Beckow

    Yes, the system is long past its sell by date. Still, the way I see it, what Trump (with his stupidity and all) was trying to do would have prolonged its existence, slowed down and smoothed its inevitable decline. I think with their massive fraud to install senile half-corpse the elites showed just how degenerate they are. What they did is called in Russian “chopping off the bough you sit on”.

  197. AaronB says:

    Earlier upthread I said that writers didn’t write on existential themes anymore, but maybe thats because no one really believes there are solutions anymore. Illusion after illusion has been punctured, the latest one liberalism.

    There are still people who have faith in scientific rationalism, and the woke crowd does its thing, but both seem to lack real vision. Transhumsnists will cheat death – then what? It isn’t a vision of how life might be lived in a fulfilling way. It is a vision of how to avoid a calamity. Racism will be completely eradicated and all races will have exactly identical outcomes. Now what do we live for?

    Without a vision of human fulfillment, your dreams can only be about escaping some great evil you imagine threatens you. But only then does the real question begin – how to live.

    If despite all the noise, no one really believes in politics anymore, and no one really believes in solutions anymore, where do we stand? This might be a very good thing, if we now turned our attention away from how to build the future and towards how to live well now. But we are still living “as if” we still believe solutions are possible. Like Nietzsche said, they got rid of the Christian God but retain Christian morality.

    We may be entering an Age Of Boredom, like existed on the eve of the First World War. And as Bertrand Russell famously said of that war, it broke out mainly to relieve that boredom.

    For the individual without illusions, it is always possible to live well, or at least, to watch the inevitable parade of human folly with detachment and amusement.

  198. songbird says:
    @Dmitry

    So even a trashy 1980s and early 1990s Hollywood films like “Terminator 2” and “Aliens”, now seem like lost classics compared to the films of the 2000s.

    Partly, it is the sad story of dysgenics:

    James Cameron was born in 1954. So, he was about 32 when he made Aliens, (younger, when he wrote the treatment) and about 36, when he made Terminator 2. This was his peak of genius, as often happens, in one’s 30s or 40s. But now he is past that – he is past peak. He was only 55, when the rather derivative, boring, and weird first Avatar movie came out. You want an anti-humanistic film – it is one where humans team up with smurf-aliens to kill other humans.

    Stan Winston, the special effects genius who worked on Aliens and T2 was born in 1946. He was in his 40s (again, part of peak genius time) when both movies were made. But he died in 2008, and there is nobody to replace him, just as there is nobody to replace the still living but no-longer-genius Cameron.

    The director of The Last of the Mohicans, Michael Mann was born in 1943, so he was still in his late forties, when he made the movie, which, again, is considered part of peak genius time. He no longer makes movies like that – and I don’t think it would even be politically possible to make, today, which is saying a lot, as one of the Indian actors was a political activist for Indians, at the time.

    Of course, the audience has gotten dumber too. Most of the theater goers in the US aren’t even white anymore. They are not appealing to a 100 IQ audience, anymore, especially when you consider the export market. And the materials to adapt have changed too. Since you referenced Ben Hur, I shall also mention it: based on a book written in the 1800s. Rather clunkily written, but elements of the plot were imaginitive, and it was the best-selling novel of 1800s America. You won’t see a popular novel about the Christian faith written like that today, that isn’t a soulless attempt to make money.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  199. Mikel says:
    @AaronB

    OK, so now the time has arrived for me as well to disagree with you (but not to get mad at you or call you names 🙂

    There are no “bullshit jobs” in the private sector. Nobody acting rationally pays anyone wages or salaries if they’re not receiving from their employee more than what they pay them. And employers who do not act rationally go out business rapidly.

    I don’t even see that automation is displacing any more net jobs than it has in the past couple of hundreds years. Human needs and wants (to use economic jargon) are unlimited so there will always be demand for new products and services and thus the incentive to create and sell them.

    What is happening is that economic progress is shifting an increasing part of our demand towards leisure activities (such as debating online in blogs) so an increasing number of jobs are generated in the services sector. This is good and I see no reason to be worried about any structural scarcity of jobs in the future.

    Likewise, our current paradigm of (at least theoretically) 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours of leisure, plus vacations and 2 leisure days per week, is arguably much better than anything our ancestors experienced.

    One thing that does annoy me however is how we push our children to choose “what they like” as a career path. We are not being honest. For the vast majority of people their careers will have nothing to do with what they really like doing (something that they would do even if nobody payed them for it). Those 40 hours/week of work will be mostly unpleasant and there is no reason not make them aware that this is how our economic system works.

    Since we cannot all aspire to live off rents (my preferred way of life), as the economy would come to a halt, we should perhaps advise youngsters to choose careers that best match their abilities (rather than useless BS titles in disciplines that they “like”), give them lots of good financial education, so that they can maximize their well being with whatever money they end up making, and teach them practical entrepreneurial skills. Not everybody can be a renter but everybody can be a capitalist and thus spend less or no time tied to a salaried job.

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @mal
  200. Yevardian says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Bulgakov over Bunin? Over my dead body.
    Actually, I wouldn’t say Dostoevsky demands such a keen attention span, his novels all have the texture of televised thrillers, with one ‘cliffhanger’ or explosive row after another, which when re-read as a whole can make them feel a bit disjointed. Chekhov and (to a much lesser degree) Turgenev are far superior to all of them anyway.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  201. Yevardian says:
    @utu

    Late crank-Tolstoy and the Tolstoy the man who wrote W&P, Karenina and other early works are quite different people. I personally think Tolstoy is much greater writer overall than Dostoevsky (Unlike Tolstoy’s real people, Dostoevsky is remembered entirely for his fantastic plots, practically of his characters are gross caricatures), although I absolutely can’t stand his later preaching or anything he wrote after The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

    • Replies: @utu
  202. AaronB says:
    @Mikel

    OK, so now the time has arrived for me as well to disagree with you (but not to get mad at you or call you names 🙂

    Well, that will be a welcome change from most of my interactions on Unz 🙂

    I would make several points.

    First, there may be rational reasons for why employers pay people to do nothing. One reason might be similar to why feudal lords kept an army of retainers to do simple things like dress them, which they could have done themselves. Prestige.

    The peasants would produce a surplus which they would hand over to the lords, and the lords would return this to the community in the form of feasts and festivals and hiring nonessential personnel. Modern corporations may be similar to feudal estates. If there is in fact a huge production surplus in essential goods, then there is lots of money to waste, while remaining competitive. A company can keep a core of people doing real work while retaining lots of people for prestige or social policy.

    Second, elites may well fear that idle hands leads to mischief, and build this into their business model. Policy is set at the top, and trickles down. There is evidence that the 60s badly scared the elites. If there is a widespread cultural belief that work is necessary for the dignity of man, social policy may well be crafted with a view to the social consequences of people being out of work. Its like how certain Asian economies create construction projects for the purpose of creating jobs.

    What is happening is that economic progress is shifting an increasing part of our demand towards leisure activities (such as debating online in blogs) so an increasing number of jobs are generated in the services sector. This is good and I see no reason to be worried about any structural scarcity of jobs in the future.

    To a certain extent, we are saying the same thing here. Entertainment is “nonessential”, and if our economy is shifting towards entertainment, that means less and less people are needed to produce essential goods.

    However, I hear your point that this kind of work still offers people value, and so is not properly describable as “bullshit” work, even if it can be described as nonessential work. But I maintain that most people are not creative enough to work in this field, and it won’t become large enough to replace loss of jobs elsewhere. Not everyone can start a youtube channel or a blog.

    But there is still an element of necessity and compulsion here, in that you starve if you don’t succeed. If machines have created a surplus of essential goods, it seems perverse to have people work under compulsion in order to obtain essential goods, or starve. It seems more sensible and fair to give everyone what they need to survive comfortably – and let economic competition start from that base. There will still be plenty competitive spirit moving human progress forward.

    Still, true bullshit jobs are today everywhere in the economy, and a good thought experiment is to imagine a profession disappearing, and its impact on society. If garbage cleaners disappeared, you’d notice it. If corporate lawyers or university bureaucrats did, you’d hardly notice.

    To take an example. My friend recently married a girl from Czechia, and she had to fill out reams of paperwork to get a green card. Not only was most of it useless, key working was left deliberately ambiguous so that ordinary people couldn’t complete the forms without a knowledgeable lawyer. The system created bullshit work for lawyers. According to many lawyers, an enormous amount of law practice is like this.

    Likewise, our current paradigm of (at least theoretically) 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours of leisure, plus vacations and 2 leisure days per week, is arguably much better than anything our ancestors experienced.

    Its certainly a huge improvement over most of the Industrial Age, but according to my reading, prior to that mankind had much more leisure.

    In the Middle Ages, its been estimated people didn’t work for about 6 months out of the year, because of all the feasts, festivals, and saints days, as well as the winters when the fields lay fallow. And the pattern of work was different. Long afternoon breaks in the pub, and work itself had an element of recreation – farmers singing together in the field, etc.

    In fact, at the start of the Industrial Age, huge moral pressure had to be brought to get the peasants out of their pubs and into the factories.

    Mankind has had an intense few centuries of backbreaking labor, but we seem to have emerged on the other side of that tunnel. Only our eyes have not yet grown accustomed to the glare of sunlight. Human ingeniousness has made it so we don’t have to labor under compulsion for our survival anymore.

    Now, if we can already have a society of leisure and guaranteed basic income but have chosen not to, what grounds are there for thinking we will change our minds in the future? Only the systems ability to churn out bullshit jobs. If automation decimates more abd more sectors, can the system create enough new bullshit jobs – and will they be convincing enough to maintain the facade, or will they be so transparent that the game is up?

    • Replies: @Mikel
  203. mal says:
    @Mikel

    There are no “bullshit jobs” in the private sector.

    Corporate Diversity Officer. Healthcare bureaucracy. Pretty much the entire finance sector at this point. Cashiers and soon the truck drivers will be obsolete, they just don’t know it yet. Majority of retail is done. Those are the main professions in the US.

    A good clue that vast majority of jobs are not productive is the increase in debt levels – productive jobs, by definition, generate income, not debt. You will see it as velocity of money rising, and as velocity of money increases, high debt levels are not necessary to generate GDP growth.

    This is definitely NOT the case in advanced economies today. Since we can’t generate velocity, I fully back driving debt through the roof – we have no alternative.

    Nobody acting rationally pays anyone wages or salaries if they’re not receiving from their employee more than what they pay them.

    You would be surprised. Welcome to the world of zombie corporations and stock buyback funded options.

    And employers who do not act rationally go out business rapidly.

    Lol they get bailed out and loaded with debt even more. It is a necessity.

    I don’t even see that automation is displacing any more net jobs than it has in the past couple of hundreds years.

    Because we are pumping out insane amounts of debt to support bullshit unproductive make work jobs. Total global debt is closing on $258 trillion, most of it is not due to pandemic. This represents unproductive wasted “work”. Far better to spend that money on vacation and leisure if that’s the target debt level.

    Human needs and wants (to use economic jargon) are unlimited so there will always be demand for new products and services and thus the incentive to create and sell them.

    Humans with credit access are limited, which is why we can’t generate GDP growth. Population is falling in developed world which causes consumer credit to decline. Population growth in Africa and Afghanistan is irrelevant for GDP calculations because they don’t have access to credit. The world economy is afflicted by a very bad case of shortage of consumers, and it is a serious problem.

    So no, human needs and wants are NOT unlimited, because consuming humans themselves are limited.

    Since we cannot all aspire to live off rents (my preferred way of life)

    Eventually we will have to. I mean, when the debt hits $quadrillions, at some point we will have to give up on bullshit jobs and just ensure that consumption is maintained for GDP accounting purposes. It will be far more efficient.

    as the economy would come to a halt,

    Economy will grind to a halt if we are NOT living off rents. If consumption is not sustained, things like negative oil prices (that we saw this year) will become a permanent thing. Permanent negative prices for all commodities will utterly wreck the global supply chains and global economy will be annihilated. We need to avoid this.

    we should perhaps advise youngsters to choose careers that best match their abilities (rather than useless BS titles in disciplines that they “like”), give them lots of good financial education, so that they can maximize their well being with whatever money they end up making, and teach them practical entrepreneurial skills. Not everybody can be a renter but everybody can be a capitalist and thus spend less or no time tied to a salaried job.

    This is a good suggestion regardless of the problems of modern political economy. But consumption must be sustained at all costs, what people do after they are done shopping is entirely up to them.

    • Agree: AaronB
    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @Mikel
  204. A123 says:
    @Beckow

    US has continued to accept over 1 million migrants per year under Trump. None of the settled illegal migrants have been touched.

    You are not quite as extreme as a true single-issue voter, but you are stuck in a very similar trap.

    Your personal opinion prioritizes “Reducing Number of Green Cards” to carry vastly more weight than the EPIC achievement of “Not Starting Foreign Wars / Castrating the NeoCons”. My opinion is that Trump is literally saving lives by de-escalating the Bush/Obama policy failures.

    You are entitled to your opinion. I am not going to engage in further long form posts in an attempt to change that opinion.

    However in closing, I feel that I need to make one observation. It is fairly obvious that Biden Harris will be much worse on your issue(s) than Trump. If the Blue Coup succeeds, will you be equally outraged and vocal at Harris when she *increases* the number of Green Cards”?

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @Beckow
  205. @Yevardian

    Bulgakov over Bunin? Over my dead body.

    There is no accounting for tastes. Chekhov is good, which I can’t say about Turgenev. Dostoevsky was right about him in Demons: “it’s hard to be a middling talent in Russian literature”.

    • Agree: AP
  206. Mikel says:
    @AltanBakshi

    I don’t think that atheism and agnosticism are either good or bad. They are just inevitable consequences of the ability of the human being to think and find different explanations to his existence.

    Mostly they are bad in the sense that they acknowledge, especially the former, that death is final and there is not much to hope for but if that is the essence of our nature, there is not much point in deluding ourselves (while there is also no much point in convincing the deluded ones that they are wrong, as I argued in the previous open thread).

    However, one positive thing that the big spread of atheism and agnosticism has brought about in modern times is that now adherents of the different religions feel more connected to one another, due to the common threat of secularity. Instead of fighting with one another, as they have done throughout history, I constantly see a sense of solidarity rising among them.

    I may well have shared ancestry with Saint Francis Xavier. We have at least one surname in common on our maternal sides and my mother was born close to his birthplace. He was the first Christian missionary to visit Japan. He spent a good part of his life trying to convert Buddhists and died in China without having achieved much success.

    Buddhists of that time correctly understood that there is nothing in common between the stern god of the Christians and the contemplative Buddha. Or between the heaven and hell that Christians posit awaits humans after death and their resurrection beliefs. It is spectacularly obvious that both belief systems are incompatible so it is no wonder that Buddhists (especially the Japanese) sent my countryman packing.

    But the human imagination knows no limits so, yes, undoubtedly, if one stretches it enough, one may find certain points of contact between these two disparate faiths.

    As I see it, though, the very fact that so many wars have been waged over the centuries for religious reasons and so many people have been killed based on religious matters is another argument in favor of the proposition that all religions are just attempts to placate existential fears but their believers, feeling placated on that front, don’t really pay attention to the very precepts of their faiths and continue doing what they have done through history: wage war against those seen as outsiders.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  207. @mal

    Corporate Diversity Officer. Healthcare bureaucracy.

    Not only these, but the whole HR departments are BS jobs. But they are not 100% BS in current environment of the US. They would be useless in a normal society (which is not a lawsuit culture), but in the US all these stuffed shirts are legal ass-covering.

    • Agree: mal
    • Replies: @AaronB
  208. AaronB says:
    @AnonFromTN

    A bullshit job is one that not only isn’t involved in the production of essential goods, but also nothing of human value (art, entertainment, etc).

    So a job that is needed because society is insanely litigious is a bullshit job.

    • Agree: mal, songbird, Yevardian
  209. Beckow says:
    @A123

    …Biden Harris will be much worse

    Yes. On that we agree. I sincerely wish that the last 4 years were even better, but they were what they were. I am still very happy about Trump’s peace. We might miss it…

    • Replies: @songbird
  210. songbird says:
    @Beckow

    I think the ugly face of Harris will inspire people.

  211. utu says:
    @Yevardian

    I used to be interested in the “Late crank-Tolstoy” and I still respect his position. He was influenced by Protestant Quakers and Shakers in his pacifism but his paternaluuistic and protective attitude towards peasants was Russian which came form the warmth of heart in the Orthodox Christianity which Protestantism lacks.

    He rejected the Old Testament and stripped Jesus of his miracles turning him into a supreme teacher of morality and the goodness of heart. BTW, Bulgakov’s Jesus is very Tolstoyan. His exegesis of Lord’s Prayer is very good as well as his Gospel in Brief.

    Tolstoy was very influential. At the turn of 19/20 century he was the best known Russian in the world. He influenced many people from Gandhi to the Zionist kibbutz movement. Gandhi pacifism and civil disobedience is Christian Tolstoyan not Hindu or Buddhist. Wittgenstein was profoundly affected by Tolstoy Christian tales. When composing Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus he used structure that he found in Tolstoy and in his second part of life he basically rejected his early logical formalism and became even more Tolstoyan almost drifting towards Zen like pronouncements.

    Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are two opposite poles but they complement each other, They are not to be selected or rejected. Both of them are important. You want solace and faith in decency and goodness of humanity you go to Tolstoy. You want to know how the human soul can be tormented you go to Dostoyevski. But both of them point in the same direction.

    • Agree: Ano4
  212. Mikel says:
    @mal

    With all due respect, I think that you are wrong on so many things that I don’t have the time to try and refute everything, especially considering how ardently I see you defend these ideas thread after thread.

    The main problem is that you haven’t spent enough time thinking about why economic activity exists at all.

    It doesn’t have anything to do with governments, central banks or any other institution that we have created to try and regulate the economy. It existed before those institutions were created and it would continue to exist if they were abolished.

    The reason why economic activity exists is because humans needs and wants exist. And, yes, they are unlimited. Do you feel that you have everything that you want? Is your house just as nice as you would like it to be? Do you have the best car that you could possibly have? Would Donald Trump not like to extend his life? Or avoid losing his hair as he grows older? Or have a permanent tan when the technology allows for it?

    Very quickly:

    – You and I can agree that your first example is a BS job but that doesn’t matter. What matters is what corporations think. If they think that paying for the services of those individuals is a kind of benefit to their employees that their competitors also provide and they need to match, then they really think that it’s money well spent. Then same goes if they do it just to avoid being singled out and risking having a PR problem.

    As for the rest of jobs that you think will disappear, it will only happen as a consequence of new sectors of the economy replacing them. Online shopping instead of retailers, driverless vehicles instead of man-driven trucks, and so on —> exactly what has been happening for centuries now. Nothing new under the sun.

    – I agree with you that massive levels of public debt is a big problem. All bubbles have a tendency to bust and I suspect that this one will do so at some point. But I am not sure that you understand the reason why we ended up with these levels. It was just the ad-hoc solution that Western central bankers and policymakers found for the latest big recession.

    However, the business cycle has also existed for centuries and nobody has come up with a solution to eliminate it. Each time a new big recession happens, governments feel the need to do something and, since the previous remedy doesn’t work, they invent something new (but it is not very clear that these actions have much of an effect on the cycle itself or are even beneficial). Perhaps one day we will finally try to see if eliminating the fractional reserve banking system alleviates the problem of these recurring cycles.

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @mal
  213. songbird says:

    US colleges should be forced to put pictures of old cat ladies with PhDs on their catalogues, just like cigarette boxes have pictures of cancer, etc. in many countries.

    Another variant would be to show the girl-next-door-types transformed into androgynous purple-hair and nose-ring types, after four years. Or people aged to show how old they were when they finally paid off their debt.

    • Agree: Coconuts
  214. AaronB says:
    @Mikel

    I actually agree with you that however much automation proceeds, we may well just invent new bullshit jobs and never come to terms with the fact that we don’t have to.

    I think we need to define bullshit jobs, though, because it seems some of our disagreements are just verbal. I’d define a bullshit job as one not involved in producing essential goods or things humans naturally value like art.

    If corporations are willing to pay for bullshit jobs in this sense, they obviously think they have value. So if that’s the case, then automation may not leas to mass unemployment. Social utility and prestige serve a purpose, and if people are willing to pay for that, then you have a job.

    In old, decadent traditional societies, like old China or India, there was an absolute proliferation of sinecures and entirely formal positions. And in many countries in Asia today, shops, hotels, offices, stores, will have much more staff milling about than they need.

    Automation may not lead to social reform. There is no guarantee it will and it would be dreamily utopian to think so. Much more likely, there will be an explosion of sinecures and empty positions, and powerful men will have armies of feudal retainers (only we’ll call them HR or administration). Whatever system emerges, I suspect it will be muddled and imperfect.

    The value of understanding our situation lies not in social reform, as the dream of a rational society is as deluded as any utopia. Its value, as always, lies in personal mental health and liberation from bondage to life-sapping ideas. We are conditioned to associate powerful ideas of guilt, anxiety, and self-worth with work. Understanding the real state of affairs may lead to lessening of anxiety and depression. Perhaps, the opiate deaths of the rural areas can be alleviated.

    Of course, most people cannot be liberated, and will succumb to social conditioning. But while society can never be perfect, some times are better than other times, and it is quite possible that we will indeed enter an age willing to deal more rationally and humanely with the abundance our machines have earned us. Of course such a state of affairs would only last for a time, before inevitable decay sets in.

    For my part, I would not mind a system of pretense, where in reality I am merely a retainer to some feudal lord, provided I have considerable personal freedom, an adequate salary, and free time to pursue my real passions. I have never cared much about public appearances as long as the reality is to my liking, and I confess I am privately amused by this kind of thing. I find it very human and tolerable in its benign siliness.

  215. mal says:
    @Mikel

    The main problem is that you haven’t spent enough time thinking about why economic activity exists at all.

    Economic activity exists to satisfy consumption. Consumption is created when fiat currency (debt or credit) is exchanged for goods and services, this exchange is recorded as GDP. Fiat currency is created when a commercial bank makes a loan against asset or government monetizes budget deficit (though in modern government finance, deficit monetization is ‘sterilized’ by the sale of government securities which take money out of circulation).

    If consumption declines (such as due to shortage of consumers – see Japan with dying population, or due to credit shortage – see US economic crisis in 2007-08), recession results. If credit flow is not restored, Depression follows and we all go unemployed and live in a tent cities like US in the 1930’s.

    It doesn’t have anything to do with governments, central banks or any other institution that we have created to try and regulate the economy. It existed before those institutions were created and it would continue to exist if they were abolished.

    Hunter gatherer society and economy has very little in common with modern automated production systems. Modern world requires credit expansion to sustain consumption. Hunter gatherers required woolly mammoths expansion to sustain consumption. Not exactly a direct comparison. Credit is easier to make than mammoths.

    The reason why economic activity exists is because humans needs and wants exist. And, yes, they are unlimited. Do you feel that you have everything that you want? Is your house just as nice as you would like it to be? Do you have the best car that you could possibly have? Would Donald Trump not like to extend his life? Or avoid losing his hair as he grows older? Or have a permanent tan when the technology allows for it?

    This is not the case at all. If that was true Jeff Bezos would sell all his Amazon stock and bought $100 billion worth of cat food or something and this would be GDP recordable consumption and we wouldn’t be arguing about it as GDP would skyrocket, enterprise values would rise, and production would boom.

    But this is not the case at all. Despite having tons of money and assets, rich are consistently underconsuming relative to their income. Not only their needs and wants are limited, they are often growing at below target GDP growth which simply will not do in the modern economy. Even i, personally, while not rich, often underconsume relative to income, because my own wants and needs are indeed quite limited relative to whats required to constantly drive GDP growth.

    Old people only care about dialysis for their kidney and morning crossword puzzle. They notoriously underconsume.

    Frankly, I don’t know where this idea that “human needs and wants are unlimited” came from – it is silly and easily shown false. The only time it may appear realistic is during a baby boom level population expansion where you can take consumer demand growth for granted but even then it is silly.

    Each time a new big recession happens, governments feel the need to do something and, since the previous remedy doesn’t work, they invent something new (but it is not very clear that these actions have much of an effect on the cycle itself or are even beneficial).

    Do you know what happens to a corporation without paying customers if government doesn’t bail it out? Do you seriously want decades with 25-50% unemployment and degradation of our production systems?

    • Replies: @Mikel
  216. @Mikel

    You have many times admitted that you know very little of Buddhism, so from what basis you are now making these claims? Japan is the only case in the history where nominally Buddhists have mass persecuted Christians. If you have read some of my previous comments and have any intellectual honesty then you probably already know that their form of Buddhism is not normative. Maybe you can’t get it, but freedom of opinion and religion are fundamental Buddhist values. I know that you have this preconceived notion of all religions as repressive as old school Catholicism, but world is not as simple, and has never been a simple place where you can put things into neat boxes.

    However, one positive thing that the big spread of atheism and agnosticism has brought about in modern times is that now adherents of the different religions feel more connected to one another, due to the common threat of secularity. Instead of fighting with one another, as they have done throughout history, I constantly see a sense of solidarity rising among them

    Actually situation is much worse than it has been before. Before the rise of the Islam and Adi Shankaras Advanta Vedanta, Buddhism, Vedic Brahmanism(the predecessor of modern Hinduism), Jainism and atheist materialists of the so called Lokayata or Charvaka school lived in complete harmony with each other, same in China with Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and the folk religion.

    During the Buddha’s time there were some people who converted from Jainism to Buddhism and stopped making of donations to Jain mendicants, Buddha said to those converts that they still should support their old religion, if its materially possible. See Mikel, things ain’t so simple as you would like them to be.

    • Agree: Ano4, Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Mikel
    , @songbird
  217. Mikel says:
    @AaronB

    Modern corporations may be similar to feudal estates.

    No, not at all. Unlike small companies, corporations can afford a certain amount of slack that inevitably builds up in those big environments but capitalist corporations also live in a very competitive world, believe me. Hostile takeovers, mergers to be able to stay afloat, competition from startups, big layoffs and bankruptcies are the norm. This has nothing to do with a feudal estate.

    Entertainment is “nonessential”, and if our economy is shifting towards entertainment, that means less and less people are needed to produce essential goods.

    Humans have very limited essential needs, like any other animal species. I reckon that, luckily, 95%+ of current production of services and goods is for non-essential purposes. So rich we have become. I wouldn’t call it BS-production at all.

    Not everyone can start a youtube channel or a blog.

    But anyone who wants to start a youtube channel or blog or ebay account needs a marching army of IT developers, architects, network/system admins, QA specialists, support personnel, web designers and a myriad of other IT-related jobs. Jobs that didn’t even exist before.

    It seems more sensible and fair to give everyone what they need to survive comfortably

    It’s not even clear that pension systems for the elderly in the West are sustainable and you guys are talking about turning everybody into pensioners. The Swiss had a referendum on this issue after a long debate and they wisely decided to not make the experiment.

    The system created bullshit work for lawyers. According to many lawyers, an enormous amount of law practice is like this.

    Absolutely. Government regulations create a lot of negative effects on the economy but your friend’s wife probably acted rationally and, under the existing regulatory framework, her money was likely well spent.

    Its certainly a huge improvement over most of the Industrial Age, but according to my reading, prior to that mankind had much more leisure.

    That’s quite possible. But you also have to put the security and quality of life that our current system gives us into the equation. I very much doubt that people were coerced to abandon their happy peasant lives to work in factories or mines. Hard as it was, they preferred it to the alternative. I know why my rural relatives left their life of poverty and emigrated to industrial towns. Nobody forced them in the slightest.

    So a job that is needed because society is insanely litigious is a bullshit job.

    Not exactly. People in the US are extremely litigious so the demand arises for lots of lawyers to satisfy that desire. I don’t like video games, such a waste of time. But I would never say that video game developers have a BS job. Lots of people love them so they are there to satisfy that demand. Not a problem, as far as I’m concerned.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  218. Mikel says:
    @mal

    Consumption is created when fiat currency (debt or credit) is exchanged for goods and services, this exchange is recorded as GDP.

    And it all goes downhill from there.

    Obviously consumption existed before anyone had even thought of fiat money. Or money, for that matter. Barter was the norm for much longer than money.

    But it’s OK. I don’t have the missionary vocation of some of my possible ancestors. Many people, some even in positions of power, have much more crazy ideas than you on economic matters and there’s nothing I can do about it. Not a big deal.

    • Replies: @mal
  219. Mikel says:
    @AltanBakshi

    See Mikel, things ain’t so simple

    Definitely. That is something I can fully agree with you.

    I just saw you making overtures toward your fellow religious-minded commenters on the Abrahamic side of the religious myth spectrum and I thought that I would share my opinions on the matter. As a Mormon guy once told me when talking about his attitude to different religions, “if you want to be respected, you need to start by respecting others”. But the fact is that Mormons emigrated to the dangerous Wild West because they were being massacred for their faith in the East and Midwest and they themselves massacred a big party of non-Mormon pioneers at the Utah-Nevada border, children and women included.

    • Thanks: AltanBakshi
  220. AltanB says:

    Hey folks did you know that traditionally Jewish mohels sucked the blood out from the infants genitals after the circumcision, “metzitzah b’peh” its called, check it out, its true, unlike everything that AaronB writes about the Buddhism.  According to the Torah persons soul is in the blood,  ingesting animals or humans blood was a great transgression, isnt it odd? Maybe one could gain some kind of life force through it? Ah the Jewish blood magic, quite interesting topic by the way. Even odder that there is one Jewish professor, a son of the chief rabbi of Rome, who wrote a book about that.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariel_Toaff

    Isn’t it nice Aaron when we discuss freely about each others respective religious backgrounds? We can have a comparative religion dialog or something?

    • Replies: @AaronB
  221. AaronB says:
    @Mikel

    capitalist corporations also live in a very competitive world, believe me. Hostile takeovers, mergers to be able to stay afloat, competition from startups, big layoffs and bankruptcies are the norm. This has nothing to do with a feudal estate.

    Fair enough, but corporations do not reinvest all their profits into becoming more competitive. There is only so much one can spend on research and development and marketing, and there is a limited pool of top talent.

    But more importantly, corporations are profit making ventures. Its purpose is to make more money – much more – than is needed to compete effectively on the market.

    So the question becomes, what to do with all this excess money that is generated. In America, the choice is usually to give executives enormous salaries.

    But it would seem that also, the choice is to hire a small army of retainers, for purposes of prestige. This fits in well with what we know of the psychology of men who crave power and wealth.

    It may also be social policy, for reasons of political stability. Mind you, I am not saying this policy was thought up and implemented. Rather, bullshit jobs may have started to appear on the scene, and were allowed to proliferate. It may also be a crude, embryonic form of what mal calls the creation of consumers through credit.

    The idea that corporations are ruthlessly efficient may be no more than a modern myth.

    Likewise, feudal lords were constantly at war with each other, but did not spend every penny on making weapons or hiring soldiers.

    Humans have very limited essential needs, like any other animal species. I reckon that, luckily, 95%+ of current production of services and goods is for non-essential purposes. So rich we have become. I wouldn’t call it BS-production at all.

    So this is a big part of my point, and I’m glad we agree. Whereas previously, 95% of the economy had to be involved in the production of essential goods, now its under 5%. This is a huge development.

    I would agree with you that entertainment offers value and is not a bullshit job, but why should one be compelled to become a successful entertainer in order to receive essential goods or starve? Since there is a surplus of essential goods, it seems suboptimal to do it this way.

    However, the entertainment sector is limited and most people cannot work in it or adjacent fields. According to David Graeber who has researched the matter, something like 65% of jobs are not in value-offering fields – are not producing essential goods and services and or entertainment. They are simply pointless or make believe. He offers a huge list of various jobs. I dont have it at my fingertips at the moment, but if you like I can look it up.

    This seems plausible to me, because if essential goods need only 5% of the people, how big can the entertainment sector be? Another 20%? Another 30%?

    But anyone who wants to start a youtube channel or blog or ebay account needs a marching army of IT developers, architects, network/system admins, QA specialists, support personnel, web designers and a myriad of other IT-related jobs. Jobs that didn’t even exist before

    Agreed, but how big can this sector be? 30% at most?

    It’s not even clear that pension systems for the elderly in the West are sustainable and you guys are talking about turning everybody into pensioners. The Swiss had a referendum on this issue after a long debate and they wisely decided to not make the experiment.

    This is an illusionary problem. Let us think in hard concrete facts. Right now our factories are producing enough essential goods for us to survive comfortably. Unless the soil becomes infertile or we forget our engineering processes, they will continue to do so. And we are using only 5% of the population to do do.

    So technology has made it possible for 5% of the population to sustain the rest.

    Money, fiat currency, is an abstraction. It isn’t food or clothing. So our pension funds won’t have the money, but our factories will continue producing just as much food and clothing as before. We just can’t give it to pensioners because they have no money. Well, as mal says, let credit create the consumer. It would be absurd not to.

    We are confusing words with concrete reality.

    Absolutely. Government regulations create a lot of negative effects on the economy but your friend’s wife probably acted rationally and, under the existing regulatory framework, her money was likely well spent.

    I agree with you here, its just unfortunate that society is organized in this inefficient manner meant to enrich certain groups. But honestly, I don’t think lasting social reform is possible and neither is the construction of a rational society 🙂

    All advanced civilization have this kind of byzantine complexity and irrational inefficiency. Its human nature.

    That’s quite possible. But you also have to put the security and quality of life that our current system gives us into the equation. I very much doubt that people were coerced to abandon their happy peasant lives to work in factories or mines. Hard as it was, they preferred it to the alternative. I know why my rural relatives left their life of poverty and emigrated to industrial towns. Nobody forced them in the slightest.

    That’s an excellent point. Life was certainly more risky and unstable back then. But the beautiful thing is, if it was necessary to sacrifice for a few centuries in order to create the technology that would free us, we are now past that. Our sacrifices now are in vain, for the ghost of a system that no longer exists.

    According to what I have read, there was a massive moral campaign- led by religious authorities – that started even before the industrial revolution and probably partly led to it, to create the modern habits of steady work at dull occupations, and hard labor, sobriety, and thrift. There was a sort of war on the enjoyment of life. It started in the Reformation, but became a widespread reformstion of values that included the Catholic countries. Its a bit of a mystery why it happened.

    I dont know your rural relatives story, but after a certain point, the moral campaign had become effective and people no longer needed to be cajoled, but had become convinced working at industry offered a better life. Its also possible that advances in agricultural technology created fewer rural jobs, leading to poverty. I’m not clear about that.

    There was another period where mankind seemed to move from a better to a worse life. The shift from hunting and gathering to farming. Hunter gatherers worked very little, typically less than 5 hours a day, and had much better diets and lots of leisure. It is a mystery why agriculture started.

    Not exactly. People in the US are extremely litigious so the demand arises for lots of lawyers to satisfy that desire. I don’t like video games, such a waste of time. But I would never say that video game developers have a BS job. Lots of people love them so they are there to satisfy that demand. Not a problem, as far as I’m concerned

    Sure, it’s not a problem if that’s what people freely want to do. My point is only that since technology has created this enormous surplus of essential goods, no one should be compelled to work at something they dislike in order to secure their fair share of what exists already due to machines.

    That’s my main point. But video games give people who enjoy them fun, so its something human beings would naturally do without any compulsion. (At least those who like video games).

    But Americans are compelled to be litigious for reasons of law and governance, and everyone involved would rather be doing something else and will only do this for money, under the compulsion to survive.

    Still, it isn’t a huge deal if everyone gets a fair share of essential goods. After that, the economic rat race can begin.

    (Although in the last analysis, as I indicated, the real reason to understand all this is for personal liberation from guilt and anxiety concerning work. Social reform only happens of society is already trending in that direction, usually gor complicated reasons, and we can at best give it momentum. Otherwise we are mere spectators).

    • Agree: mal
    • Replies: @Mikel
  222. AaronB says:
    @AltanB

    You’re claiming that what I’m saying about Buddhism is incorrect, although I’ve only ever said this is just my opinion, which should be obvious anyways.

    Although if you can show me where I made a factual error, rather than you merely disagreeing with my interpretation, I would certainly correct it.

    But here you are offering a true fact about Judaism (except that the mohel spits out the blood, he doesn’t swallow it). Evidently you think this makes Judaism look bad. I personally don’t care one way or the other – I’m inclined to dislike the practice – and no Jew would deny that this practice exists. Aesthetically, a good religion needs mysterious rituals, although I find this one somewhat distasteful. Perhaps a good religion also needs distasteful rituals. Judaism has survived long in hard conditions – nothing should be lightly tossed aside without careful consideration. Make it too rational, try and make it conform with modern taste, and you might lose something essential. At the same time, reform and evolution are necessary.

    Evidently, you must think my interpretations of Buddhidm make it look bad, and are trying to get “revenge” on me. The funny thing is, the qualities I claim to find in Buddhism are ones that I admire and seek to live by 🙂 I realize they are the opposite of mainstream values, but they reflect my values. So how could I be slandering Buddhism?

    Instead of accepting that we have different values, you seem to assume your values are the only possible ones. Therefore, I must be slandering Buddhism, in your view. Its an interesting example of a primitive mentality.

    You find my interpretation of Buddhism distasteful, and incorrect. Surely, all you need do is offer what you believe is the correct interpretation, and how, in your view, my logic is bad? Why get all emotionally bothered? Is it because you do not have confidence in your own views?

    And what about the Buddhist tolerance you just mentioned to Mikel 🙂

    I find you to be an interesting example of a very intelligent and erudite person who nevertheless has a primitive and unsophisticated mentality. Its an interesting juxtaposition, you are a centaur, an exotic animal, and thus interesting.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  223. Dmitry says:
    @utu

    Thanks for the comedy recommendation – I haven’t seen “Hail, Caesar”.

    Some strange and mysterious Hollywood films, are a result of turning Hollywood against Hollywood. Making fantasies about fantasies created a sense of the uncanny.

    I think films about Hollywood – “Gilda” (1946), “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), and “Mulholland Drive” (2001).

    “Gilda” has maybe a most creepy atmosphere. Its sadomasochist love triangle and of character “Ballin Mundson”, was written based on the producer of the film Harry Cohn, and the way these powerful producers imprisoned their actors in contracts, like birds in a cage.

    Actors in “Gilda” were recreating their own imprisonment, by the producer who is producing the film. When you see the subtext of their conversation is about their imprisonment by Hollywood itself, – the illogical dialogue of the film suddenly makes sense, and explains film’s sinister atmosphere.

    Young people however will have no clue and will take it as an accurate depiction or just a pure fiction based

    I’m not sure that young people won’t become more able to understand films, in the future. There are more resources available than before, and the content was never before easier to re-watch, and a lot of it requires re-watching before you see its meaning. I wonder if a film like “Gilda” could be easily understood by the audiences in the 1940s – much of the audience at the time would probably consider it to be just totally weird and meaningless, although entertaining for the dancing of its beautiful actress.

    On the other hand, some of the 1940s films require some cultural background which is perhaps being lost with the modern audience. For example, “Sunset Boulevard” references often to Strauss opera – “Salome”. In the 1940s, this was probably mainstream cultural background, while with young people today only a minority would understand the references to “Salome” without reading an essay about it.

    • Thanks: utu
  224. By the way can anyone here say how possible is colour revolution or just a revolution in Iran in near future. It seems to me that there are many Iranians who are tired of the Ayatollahs, but also at the same time very cynical towards the west. The big question is how modern and westernised are the attitudes of young Iranians outside big cities like Tehran.

    • Replies: @TheTotallyAnonymous
  225. Dmitry says:
    @songbird

    Those particular directors still sound quite young. (And older directors can create great films – for example, Kurosawa was 75 years old when he created “Ran”). But by late 1990s, there is not only decline in the Hollywood directors, but in many other elements of their films – writing, editors, music, cinematography and even colourists.

    So I wonder in a completely speculative way if part of the explanation, might be a generational change by the late 1990s, with a mass retirement of skilled labour of Hollywood in those areas (writing, music, cinematography), and replacement by a more incompetent younger generation of workers. For such a decline, you might imagine this is a generational change in the workers.

    Last of the Mohicans, .. I don’t think it would even be politically possible to make,

    It’s less the story that would change, but whole appearance of the film, its cinematography and its music. And above all, the speed of the cuts might be edited to increase; camera would probably also become more “shaky”.

    Also the colour of the image changes in the 2000s. For example, the colour scheme becomes much more blue-shaded.

    boring, and weird first Avatar movie

    Revolutionary change of “Avatar”, is that the camera never stops moving, and cuts every 8 seconds to match our short attention span. You can be sick like you are on boat from watching it.

    There’s another radical change introduced last year, with “1917” – where the camera is constantly moving, but never cuts.

    “1917” is interesting also as it is a film which really seems to be influenced by the motion and perspective of a first-person video game.

    Most of the theater goers in the US aren’t even white anymore. They are not appealing to a 100 IQ

    Design consideration for the film now includes considering an overseas market, with China now the most profitable market. So Hollywood films are made partly with the economic consideration of needing to be popular with a third world country’s audience, while at the same time having to be successful in Europe and America.

    That’s not to say that third world country’s audiences, invariably should result in a bad film. For example, Satyajit Ray were made for the 1950s Indian local audience, and were masterpieces.

    But I can’t imagine the positive influence of trying to make films which will be popular both in America, and in Europe, and in China, and in Latin America.

    In addition to that, films which still confirm for the local market, to some of the liberal political restrictions which have intensified last decade.

  226. @AaronB

    Although if you can show me where I made a factual error, rather than you merely disagreeing with my interpretation, I would certainly correct it.

    Ive tried that for a sometime, mostly without results, although I must agree that now your interpretation of differences between Theravada and Mahayana resemble little bit those of the European scholars of the early 20th century. Oh well maybe its an improvement.

    Evidently, you must think my interpretations of Buddhidm make it look bad, and are trying to get “revenge” on me. The funny thing is, the qualities I claim to find in Buddhism are ones that I admire and seek to live by 🙂 I realize they are the opposite of mainstream values, but they reflect my values. So how could I be slandering Buddhism?

    There are many kinds of manifestations of Buddhism, and many kind of values that Buddhists hold, but both historical Buddha and Nagarjuna explicitly denied the nihilist intepretation of the Dharma, just as they denied the absolutism, that something inherently and independently exists. Is it not slandering when you radically misrepresent something again and again?
    Thus its not about revenge, its about that you would have some self reflection and that your compassionate nature would awaken, okay, okay Im little bit petty bastard too… still revenge is really too strong word, maybe its an echo of your countless dubious claims regarding the Dharma.

    You find my interpretation of Buddhism distasteful, and incorrect. Surely, all you need do is offer what you believe is the correct interpretation, and how, in your view, my logic is bad? Why get all emotionally bothered? Is it because you do not have confidence in your own views?

    And what about the Buddhist tolerance you just mentioned to Mikel 🙂

    Once again I repeat myself, I have tried to correct you probably a hundred times already, as anyone can see if he looks my comment history. I dont know how much you think I am emotionally bothered, in my opinion Im very little, still I am a stubborn man and I do like debating.

    What about the tolerance? For me tolerance is that you dont threaten with violence or with somekind of harm in professional or personal life when someone says or claims something. For me tolerance doesnt mean that I need to accept or be silent when someone utters views or opinions that are in my opinion false or mistaken.

    I find you to be an interesting example of a very intelligent and erudite person who nevertheless has a primitive and unsophisticated mentality. Its an interesting juxtaposition, you are a centaur, an exotic animal, and thus interesting.

    Oh maybe Im just a fragment of the past in the present? By the way Greeks or Ancient Minoans possibly invented Centaur legends after meeting with the ancient peoples of the steppes…

    I hope that this discussion will not be long.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  227. @AltanBakshi

    By the way can anyone here say how possible is colour revolution or just a revolution in Iran in near future.

    It’s definitely possible and the Islamic Regime is vulnerable (Iran as a country in general) but I don’t think it will happen. Partly because the regime has military squashed a whole bunch of those sorts of attempts in the past 10 years, but perhaps more importantly because the Zionists and Judeo-Liberal USA want to completely and utterly devastate Iran, like Iraq and Libya, so that it can’t seriously threaten Israel ever again.

    If there was some sort of color revolution, it would have to be a completely and utterly pro-Israel, pro-globohomo and everything else regime to be truly accepted by the US-Israel Empire. Many in Iran most probably know this, which is likely why this hasn’t happened yet despite the flaws of the Islamic Regime. It’s also possible Iran dodged a bullet with Trump losing (seems to be a done deal now) because Biden’s formal policy seems to be to return to the “Iran nuclear deal” (sanctions relief for no Iran nukes) instead of Trump’s “maximum pressure” approach. Although of course, the pressure will at least be kept high on Iran regardless of anything because Israel’s interests seem to be a permanent constant in US foreign policy at least since 1945, if not earlier …

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
    , @Yevardian
  228. mal says:
    @Mikel

    Obviously consumption existed before anyone had even thought of fiat money. Or money, for that matter. Barter was the norm for much longer than money.

    You can not run $130 trillion global economy on barter or barter equivalent and still expect it to grow and not collapse in a giant pile of rubble. This sort of nonsense is what causes Great Depression type scenarios.

    So no, $130 trillion worth of consumption didn’t exist before in barter or any other non fiat based economy. Those prior economies were much poorer than that.

    But it’s OK. I don’t have the missionary vocation of some of my possible ancestors. Many people, some even in positions of power, have much more crazy ideas than you on economic matters and there’s nothing I can do about it. Not a big deal.

    Well my ideas describe how modern real world works. It makes a lot more sense than “unlimited needs and wants”. I mean seriously, human lifespan is limited, you only get so many seconds in life, this right there by itself tells you that finite human can’t have infinite needs and wants. Needs and wants are processes that require time to dream up and understand and if time is limited therefore needs and wants must be limited too.

    Couple that with slowing or declining population growth in the developed world and you have an economic problem of consumption losses.

    • Replies: @Mikel
  229. Wasn’t expecting the results to be this good 🙂

    • Thanks: Blinky Bill
  230. @TheTotallyAnonymous

    I mostly agree with you, but what about the Iranian youth? They have grown in a theocracy that tries to limit in many ways natural expressions of the youth culture and relations between the sexes, but thanks to the internet they have also been strongly influenced by the American culture, at least its known that Iranian youngsters do often watch western movies and listen western songs. Also it seems to me that many learned Iranians dont identify as much with the Islamic culture as Arabs do.

    • Replies: @TheTotallyAnonymous
  231. AP says:
    @Dmitry

    There’s another radical change introduced last year, with “1917” – where the camera is constantly moving, but never cuts.

    This was done in a Russian film a few years ago, set in the Hermitage (forgot the name, the director was Sokurov – he also made Moloch, about Hitler). Incredible film, this effect was better done than in the movie 1917, in Sokurov’s film it puts one almost into a trance, but this effect is only possible with maximum immersion, on the big screen rather than on a television.

  232. Ano4 says:

    Crown Office
    THE QUEEN has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 19 November 2020 to confer the dignity of a Barony of the United Kingdom for life upon Evgeny Alexandrovich Lebedev, by the name, style and title of BARON LEBEDEV, of Hampton in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and of Siberia in the Russian Federation.

    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/3681133

    BARON LEBEDEV, of Hampton in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and of Siberia in the Russian Federation.

    Жизнь удалась!

    😁

    • LOL: AP
    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @mal
  233. Ano4 says:
    @Ano4

    And the Baron’s daddy:

    Alexander Yevgenievich Lebedev (Russian: Алекса́ндр Евге́ньевич Ле́бедев, IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksandr jɪvˈɡʲenʲjɪvʲɪtɕ ˈlʲebʲɪdʲɪf]; born 16 December 1959) is a Russian businessman, previously referred to as one of the Russian oligarchs. Until 1992, he was an officer in the First Chief Directorate (Foreign Intelligence) of USSR′s KGB and later one of the KGB’s successor-agencies, Russia′s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Lebedev

    Typical background.

    I am pretty certain that Baron Lebedev the younger might be the first, but would certainly not be the last person of KGB descent induced into British peerage.

    Also as Brzezinski famously said during an interview to Russian journalists: “Your elites? If they keep their wealth and children in our countries, perhaps they are now our elites, not yours. ”

    🙂

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  234. mal says:
    @Ano4

    How is this possible? I mean, I get the Baron of Hampton and Richmond, those are British lands and British Queen get to name titles to those as she sees fit. Makes sense.

    But Baron of Siberia in Russian Federation? Isn’t it out of Queens domain? Not even Putin can make you a Baron of Siberia since he lacks official Tsar powers.

    Also, a Baron of Irkutsk would make sense but Siberia is a big place. Shouldn’t he be at least a Duke or maybe even Grand Prince?

    This just makes no sense at all.

    • Agree: AltanBakshi
    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @songbird
    , @Pericles
  235. Ano4 says:
    @mal

    I know. Perhaps you might want to ask her Gracious Majesty about that?

    BTW:

    Perhaps Biden should be named Lieutenant Governor of the United States of America!

    😉

    • LOL: mal
  236. AaronB says:
    @AltanBakshi

    but both historical Buddha and Nagarjuna explicitly denied the nihilist intepretation of the Dharma, just as they denied the absolutism, that something inherently and independently exists. Is it not slandering when you radically misrepresent something again and again?

    You are quite correct about this. See? I am quite willing to agree with you when you are correct.

    I have been careful to show that I do not deny the existence of things. What I have always denied is their independent existence. I have explained that we can only think of something by contrasting it with its opposite, therefore they go together.

    To understand Nagarjuna, you must be familiar with the Prajnaparamita Sutras exhortation to see the world as a “dream, an illusion, a soap bubble, a magic show”. A dream and an illusion in some sense exist. They are a sort of intermediate existence. They are even effective – they can affect us if we believe in them. But they are not, ultimately, real.

    In the Dialond Sutra, as we saw, the Buddha says that after you’ve liberated a being, you must realize no beings actually exist. In the Chan texts, they say repeatedly “fundamentally, from the beginning not one thing exists”. Yet obviously, we exist, and things exist. So what are they saying? They are trying to change our understanding of the manner in which we exist, they are calling into question the world of separate objects we have learned to perceive.

    I very much exist in a way, as do you. It is a mistake for people to think non-dualism abolishes individuality and substitutes a formless unity in its place. Rather, it grounds individuality in multiplicity. I exist, but only as part of everything else. Therefore I am not “born into a world I never made, alone and afraid”, as the classical formula of Western alienation would have, but am inseparably bound up with everything, quite at home, quite where I belong.

    We are talking of things that are at the edge of language, and one must have a certain spiritual sensitivity to apprehend, a certain intuition. But these ideas are not easily grasped by someone accustomed to Aristotalian logic and the law of the excluded middle.

    Again, I find the logic compelling. If you do not, you are perfectly within your rights.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  237. India is now more liberal than South Korea. Quite impressive given their low per capita income.

    There is a very clear relationship with social liberalism and economic success, ceteris paribus. Openness and acceptance of differences correlated with curiosity and empathy, which in turn is required for innovation and/or learning from abroad.

    Israel has to be placed in a MENA context and they are the star pupil of their class in that sense. Their biggest challenge will be to convert enough Haredis each generation to secular or at least Masorti. The wide divergence between Japan and SK is somewhat puzzling to me – evangelical Christianity in SK? If so, you’d expect their fertility patterns to benefit, but alas…

    As for Eastern Europe, I expect most of the opposition to melt away within the coming few decades. As I often point out, religion in that region is mostly superficial and a signifier of identity than any deep piety. Serbia in particular has surprised me to the upside with their new 50% female government. That is the future of their region.

    March of liberalism continues on.

  238. Is the ongoing flooding of Russia from the ‘stans really so bad? This girl is a Kazakh-Ukranian mixed offspring.

    • Agree: mal
    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @Ano4
    , @Blinky Bill
  239. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Philip Owen

    However, one of the world’s best collections of Impressionist Art is in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff (collected by the daughters of Britain’s richest coal owner). It does not move me. There were better album covers in the 1970’s.

    Impressionism is the least interesting of all 19th century art movements. Don’t judge 19th century art by the junk art of the Impressionists. Try checking out the work of the Symbolists.

    Impressionism was the beginning of the end for western art.

  240. @Thulean Friend

    Though I often like to read your comments I sometimes forget what a revolting progressive creature you are.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  241. @Thulean Friend

    Is the ongoing flooding of Russia from the ‘stans really so bad? This girl is a Kazakh-Ukranian mixed offspring.

    By direct comparison, half-Kazakh half-Slavic chicks are a lot prettier on average than pure Slavic or pure Kazakh chicks. However, this is likely simple biology: individuals produced by far crosses (extreme outbreeding) tend to be healthier and prettier than individuals produced by less extreme outbreeding. Those produced by inbreeding (e.g., cousin marriage in cultures we all know) tend to be generally defective, intellectually and otherwise.

    • Agree: mal
    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
    , @utu
  242. @AltanBakshi

    Though I often like to read your comments I sometimes forget what a revolting progressive creature you are.

    Progressives are like schizophrenics: perfectly normal, often smart and witty, until you touch a certain point. After that you clearly see that they are stark staring mad.

    • Agree: AltanBakshi
  243. mal says:
    @Thulean Friend

    I’m surprised by Phillipines and Latin America. Aren’t they hard-core religious Catholics?

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  244. Ano4 says:
    @Thulean Friend

    Russians are POC:

    Check your privilege!

    Seriously though, these two gentlemen might soon become the face of the Russian leadership for the years to come:

    That will make it easier to explain to Western nationalists that Russians are not Europeans and shouldn’t be allied with.

    • LOL: Thulean Friend
  245. songbird says:
    @AltanBakshi

    Japan is the only case in the history where nominally Buddhists have mass persecuted Christians.

    The Boxer Rebellion would probably qualify. Sure, it might be mixed a bit with foreign influence, and the targeting of foreigners, but isn’t that always the case? There were plenty of Chinese Christians who died at the missions, during the siege of the foreign quarter. It should be remembered that China was defeated, and so the tolerance afterward stemmed from that.

    Terrible things happened to missionaries outside the foreign quarter. I don’t know if their flocks were targeted as individuals, but I doubt they were allowed to continue their activities.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  246. I’m fond of saying that only a small handful of countries are truly sovereign in the world today. India has always made my list.

    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
  247. @AltanBakshi

    I mostly agree with you, but what about the Iranian youth?

    Perhaps some sort of reform or political/social rearrangement might be inevitable then. For their sake it would hopefully be in a way that dumps the Islamic Regime without utterly submitting to Israel and Liberalism.

    Also it seems to me that many learned Iranians dont identify as much with the Islamic culture as Arabs do.

    Maybe, although Hezbollah and the IRGC are serious groups to be reckoned with and they’ll fight hard against both external and internal enemies, and they won’t give up, especially without any remotely favorable terms for them.

    In a way, it’s a tragic irony for the Palestinians that all the Arab countries are either too weak (Iraq, Libya, Syria and Lebanon) or too corrupt/treacherous (Gulf states mostly) to help them and that Turkey (Hamas sponsor) and Iran (Hezbollah sponsor) are their only serious remaining champions. Turkey and Iran are both struggling with serious economic and geopolitical problems making it hard to guess which one is in a worse position. Turkey’s Lira crash, unsuccessful attempted invasions everywhere besides a moderate success in Azerbaijan? Or Iran copping years of sanctions and being a primary target of the US-Israel axis being pressured on many fronts?

    • Replies: @Beckow
  248. @mal

    I’m surprised by Phillipines and Latin America. Aren’t they hard-core religious Catholics?

    Duterte himself is hosting LGBT parties. As for Latin America, have you ever seen the Brazilian carneval?

    They are genuinely more religious than in Eastern Europe but “cultural identity marker” is at play there too. Being a Christian – or in this case specifically Catholic – is simply part of the national canon. It isn’t always closely correlated with how people actually live their lives.

    Given the diversity of Latin America, it makes sense to emphasise a cultural nationalism that isn’t rooted in blood but in beliefs, however tenously held. At any rate, being racially homogenous has certainly not prevented various European countries to invent reasons to commit bloodcurdling violence against very closely related kin (30 years war, for instance).

    • Thanks: mal
  249. @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    Shame Tarrant ruined this tragic and heroic Serb song (about much more than “killing Muslims” if one listens carefully to the contents) that got turned into a Western “far-right meme” and it’s being censored en masse now …

  250. @Thulean Friend

    Western Europe is both homosexual and economically successful. That’s true. But Western Europe was the most developed region in the world long before they were homosexual so arguing for causation is hard. How gay the rest of the world is depends mostly on how much they’re affected by the cultural imperialism.

    The causation here is simple. Being aligned with the West makes you both gayer and richer. It’s not being gayer that makes you richer.

    • Agree: AltanBakshi, Blinky Bill
  251. songbird says:
    @mal

    He joins the esteemed company of Stephen Lawrence’s mother, who I am sure is called the Baroness of Black-ity Blackness, or something to that effect.

  252. @AnonFromTN

    individuals produced by far crosses (extreme outbreeding) tend to be healthier and prettier than individuals produced by less extreme outbreeding. Those produced by inbreeding (e.g., cousin marriage in cultures we all know) tend to be generally defective, intellectually and otherwise.

    So we can all be reasonable and agree: race-mixing is good for the world. We will all be healthier and prettier for it.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @songbird
  253. @Thulean Friend

    So we can all be reasonable and agree: race-mixing is good for the world. We will all be healthier and prettier for it.

    Biologically, yes. However, we are social animals. If the products of this far outbreeding grow up in an inferior culture of one of the parents, all their potential would be either wasted, or, worse yet, directed towards socially destructive activities, like crime or prostitution, result in drug addiction, etc.

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  254. @AaronB

    The truth of the highest meaning is taught only by relying on
    conventional practice.

    -Arya Nagarjuna, Madhyamakasastra

    Excellent advice O Great Master, the Second Buddha!

    [MORE]

    You are quite correct about this. See? I am quite willing to agree with you when you are correct.

    Yes, sometimes you are willing, but sometimes you just repeat again and again your arguments in slightly different variations.

    I have been careful to show that I do not deny the existence of things. What I have always denied is their independent existence. I have explained that we can only think of something by contrasting it with its opposite, therefore they go together.

    Much better, you are improving, but still a very absolutist and subjective claim from a Buddhist point of view. Is it fundamentally necessary for a mental label or designation to have its opposite so that we could think of it? Sometimes people just have a need for more nuanced and reified concepts, yes things do often have their subjective opposites, but still what is opposite is completely subjective from the viewpoint of Mahayana, those who claim otherwise deny the inherent subjectivity of the reality/Samsara.

    Ironically, the Mahayana is more “nihilistic” – it denies everything – and thus more liberating and joyous. A little nihilism leads to resignation at best, while a truly thorough going nihilism leads to release, and cheerfulness.

    Still because of your previous comments that are like this I have made a different intepretation regarding of your line of thought.

    To understand Nagarjuna, you must be familiar with the Prajnaparamita Sutras exhortation to see the world as a “dream, an illusion, a soap bubble, a magic show”. A dream and an illusion in some sense exist. They are a sort of intermediate existence. They are even effective – they can affect us if we believe in them. But they are not, ultimately, real.

    I very much exist in a way, as do you. It is a mistake for people to think non-dualism abolishes individuality and substitutes a formless unity in its place. Rather, it grounds individuality in multiplicity. I exist, but only as part of everything else. Therefore I am not “born into a world I never made, alone and afraid”, as the classical formula of Western alienation would have, but am inseparably bound up with everything, quite at home, quite where I belong.

    Isnt non-dualism just monism? Everything depends on something, nothing exists by its own nature, but monism claims that there is just one substance and everything is different manifestations of that ultimate substance or essence. The crucial problem in your thinking is that you dont know that there are modes of existence that are thought to be impossible in Mahayana philosophy, and that we suffer because we think that there is a way for things to exist in that way. Or that the reality as we know couldnt exist in such way. If monist reality would be true, why then there would be interaction between different things? How things could be or not be dependent on each other, and so on? Madhyamika does not talk about how things exist in some sort of intermediate state, or that they exist in some strange or mysterious way.
    There is an important difference between the Madhyamika and Yogacara schools of Mahayana philosophy regarding this topic, but its quite lengthy and I am already practically sinning when I blabber too much about these kind of delicate issues without a proper training.

    We are talking of things that are at the edge of language, and one must have a certain spiritual sensitivity to apprehend, a certain intuition. But these ideas are not easily grasped by someone accustomed to Aristotalian logic and the law of the excluded middle.

    Language is empty, words are empty, they are impermanent, transient, they do not have their own nature, maybe our subconscious mind is at the edge of the language, but all things manifest the truths of the Dharma. Your mind still tries to grasp something, especially when there is nothing to grasp, dont worry I am similar, maybe this next citation from glorious Chandrakirti will help, at least he can explain this much better than I can with my broken English and limited knowledge.

    Suppose that a man with diseased eyes is holding a bone-white vase in his
    hand, and under the influence of an optical defect he sees what appear to
    be clusters of hair on the surface of the vase. He wants to remove the hairs
    and so begins to shake the vase when a second man with normal vision
    happens to pass by. Puzzled as to this odd behavior, the second man
    approaches and begins to stare at the place where the hairs should appear.
    Naturally, he apprehends no such hairs, and consequently he forms no
    conception of existence or nonexistence, of hair or non-hair, nor even of
    darkness or any other attribute with respect to these hairs. When the man
    with an optical defect tells the second man about his idea that he sees
    hairs, then the second man may desire to clarify this misconception by
    stating that the hairs do not exist. This is indeed a statement of negation;
    however, the speaker has not in this case rejected [any conventionally real
    entity]. The man without any optical defect sees the reality of the hairs,
    while the other man does not. In just the same way, there are those who
    are stricken with the optical defect of spiritual ignorance so that they are
    incapable of perceiving the reality [expressed in the truth of the highest
    meaning). The intrinsic being of [ conventional things] apprehended by
    them is itself nothing more than [illusory] conventional form. The blessed
    buddhas, however, are without any trace of spiritual ignorance, so that
    they perceive the hairs in the manner of one who is not afflicted with an
    optical defect; that is, the intrinsic nature of [conventional things] seen by
    them is itself the truth of the highest meaning. One may ask how it is that
    they are capable of seeing an intrinsic nature like this, which is invisible.
    -True, it is invisible, but they ” see” it by means of “non-seeing.”

    -Arya Chandrakirti, Madhyamakavatarabhasya

    Thank you AaronB, your last reply has been much better than the previous ones. Still I am little burned out from the last open threads Buddhism discussion. I like more of discussions about the history and politics, about the inevitable and impending doom of America, and how China and Russia will rise, thats what I like to discuss here on unz.com. Or at least for some time so that I can recharge my spiritual batteries.

  255. songbird says:
    @Thulean Friend

    race-mixing is good for the world

    Sure, if you are miscegenated and want higher status at the expense of people who are consanquinous with most of your recent ancestors for the past few thousand years.

    We will all be healthier and prettier for it.

    Dumber people are less healthy on average. Look up “outbreeding depression.” Look up pictures of Dominican women and Cape Colored women. Now, marry one, and post wedding pics!

  256. @Shortsword

    Acceptance of homosexuality shouldn’t be seen in isolation. It should be seen as part of a ‘package deal’. If you’re more tolerant of LGBT, you’re likely more tolerant of women in authority positions. You’re likely more tolerant of foreign talent instead of whining dey took der jerbs!

    Instead of focusing on surface-level manifestations, we should understand the underlying causes. The driving force of social liberalism is curiousity and empathy with those who are different from us. Societies where social traits like being incurious dominates, combined with a general lack of empathy for those who are different, tend to lag.

    Of course, there is never a single reason behind success. Hence my invocation of ceteris paribus. Israel’s or India’s social liberalism has to be compared to their neighbours.

    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala
  257. @AnonFromTN

    Inferior microcultures exist in monoracial societies as well. Plenty of children grow up in unhappy and dysfunctional homes, for no fault of their own. The fact that everyone around them looks similar is of no help if the father is a violent alcoholic.

    At a macro level, stronger cultures will absorb weaker ones. If the forces of liberalism were as weak as some would wish, then we’d never have abolished slavery, women would still be treated as chattel and child labour/exploitation would be taken for granted.

    Whatever else we may want to argue, we cannot argue with the course of history.

  258. @songbird

    I think that you are quite correct, there were even few hundred Orthodox Christian Chinese that were massacred by the boxers. Still the most ferocious and cruel units from the Chinese side during the rebellion were the Kansu Braves, who were, surprise surprise, a Muslim army, composed from the various Muslim ethnicities of the Gansu province, mainly Mongolic Muslims and Hui I think.

    It should be remembered that China was defeated, and so the tolerance afterward stemmed from that.

    It was before, the Qing sometimes tolerated Christian missionaries and sometimes didnt, during the 17th century they were quite tolerant, but most missionaries where driven out after the Jesuits tried to convert Manchu aristocrats. I think it was during the emperor Qianlongs reign in the 18th century. But missionary activities were again permitted after the first Opium war, and again restricted or limited when the revolt of the “Heavenly” Tapings started. Taiping revolt is an excellent example what Christian ideas can do to some societies during precarious historical and cultural circumstances. The death toll was bigger than in the First World War!!! The Taipings were Christian heretics, but many their apocalyptic ideas were derived from Christianity, and in the beginning of their revolt they killed all the Buddhist monks in every town that they conquered, they even destroyed one of the wonders of the world, the most beautiful Buddhist temple in all China proper, the Porcelain tower of Nanjing.

    • Thanks: TheTotallyAnonymous
    • Replies: @songbird
    , @Haruto Rat
  259. @Thulean Friend

    If the forces of liberalism were as weak as some would wish, then we’d never have abolished slavery, women would still be treated as chattel and child labour/exploitation would be taken for granted.

    That’s a pretty common mistake. In reality, nothing is absolutely good or absolutely evil. The only difference between a medicine and a poison is the dose. Certain levels of liberalism were beneficial, but raging liberalism of today is clearly destructive. Then again, we should take the Darwinian view: civilizations that commit suicide do not deserve to survive. More balanced civilizations will carry the torch forward. That is the true course of history (sorry to disappoint libtards).

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  260. @Thulean Friend

    You are so brainwashed, “women treated as chattel, child labour exploitation?” Maybe in some Muslim countries women were treated in such way, but it was not a norm in every Eurasian society, like the life of the men was somehow more pleasant or joyous? Ancient men and women lived in a symbiotic way, in most societies at least, those who had many wives were a small exception and not a norm. Child labour exploitation, maybe during the industrialization… Its madness to think that there is some kind of linear direction with the progress…

    Whatever else we may want to argue, we cannot argue with the course of history.

    When I scratch you little bit, I find a fatalist determinist, and not a man who is free!

    If the forces of liberalism were as weak as some would wish, then we’d never have abolished slavery, women would still be treated as chattel and child labour/exploitation would be taken for granted.

    That which we call as “liberalism” is under a constant change and flux, the term has changed its meaning for many times in the past 200 years, so much that those who still believe in the original liberalism or in Classical Liberalism, are a dying breed, who knows what “liberalism” will be in the next 30 years.

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
  261. @Shortsword

    It’s not being gayer that makes you richer.

    When Europe got ahead in development it certainly was not gay. What’s more, gay libtard West is on its way to extinction. Nothing new there: Roman Empire was a lot gayer than barbarians that won the war and destroyed it. They adopted many useful things from vanquished Romans, but not gay aspects of their culture. Treatment of gays as normal was a sure sign of civilization in decline for millennia, as it is now.

    • Replies: @AP
  262. Mikel says:
    @mal

    Economics is a soft science. Perhaps the hardest of the soft sciences but soft nevertheless. This is why people feel entitled to have strong opinions on economic matters without ever having studied the discipline seriously.

    Microeconomics however is more solid than macroeconomics. Modeling human economic behavior at a basic level and studying rational strategies that different economic agents can follow to achieve their goals has led to more success than modeling the behavior of macro aggregates.

    I keep talking micro and you keep trying to bring the discussion back to the largely bankrupt macroeconomic field.

    You should give microeconomics a try. Perhaps you would finally understand trivial concepts. For example, that saying that human wants are unlimited does not mean that they can ever be fulfilled (by the very definition of the word unlimited!).

    • Replies: @mal
  263. songbird says:
    @Dmitry

    I have trouble thinking of good old directors, other than Kurasawa though I am not a super film buff. I am not a fan of Eastwood. Spielberg is definitely past his prime, today. I guess John Ford made a few good movies, when he was in his 50s and 60s. Don Siegel made The Shootist when he was in his 60s. Though, I suppose if one is considering dysgenic trends, it makes sense that there would be more of these people in the past than the present – more intelligent people back then, so that when they declined with age, some of them were still intelligent.

    It is also true that many old directors had a regular crew that they would work with, some even favored certain actors, since they had a good working relationship with them.

    [MORE]

    But by late 1990s, there is not only decline in the Hollywood directors, but in many other elements of their films – writing, editors, music, cinematography and even colourists.

    I think one of the reasons that we don’t see more reactionary films is the complexity of the process – it involves so many people with different skill sets working together.

    And above all, the speed of the cuts might be edited to increase; camera would probably also become more “shaky”

    I really hate this trend. It is remarkable how it is global, to a large degree.

    “1917” is interesting also as it is a film which really seems to be influenced by the motion and perspective of a first-person video game.

    I think this is true – which makes it very orthogonal to the character and experience of the war.

    But I can’t imagine the positive influence of trying to make films which will be popular both in America, and in Europe, and in China, and in Latin America.

    I agree. When I see foreign films, I never think, “well this one is good because they were trying to appeal to people on five or six continents.” If it is good, it is usually good because it differs from something Hollywood would make – has a local character, no diversity. One can reliably predict that any overseas adaption Hollywood makes today will be bad. It is partly because America has shed its cultural heritage, and so the films don’t have a truly national character anymore.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  264. @TheTotallyAnonymous

    I LOL’d when I realised what song he was playing during his drive to the mosque.

    I’m surprised he didn’t have this on his playlist.

    • Disagree: TheTotallyAnonymous
  265. Dmitry says:
    @Ano4

    Lol reading your link. This very predictable appearance of “money laundering through British contemporary art” – which is a characteristic way to move large amounts of around money between friends, especially as the size of the money can be hyped up between financially linked friends who buy and sell these works between each other.

    “Lebedev collects modern British art, and owns pieces by Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Jake and Dinos Chapman.[30]”

    But a little scary, considering the supposedly high education level: “He then went on to study the history of art at Christie’s in London.”.

    How can you study art history in London, and still not develop enough cultural level to avoid money laundering through “art” of Jake and Dinos Chapman.

    If you read his Daily Mail article, though, he seems more sensible about animals, than about British contemporary art.

    Why, then, does China continue to permit the existence of unhygienic live animal markets, where disease transmission is known to happen? ..

    Chinese government appears desperate to avoid any blame for this outbreak. It is mobilising diplomats to spread conspiracy theories, and disingenuously relying on the Western language of anti-racism to avoid criticism. But criticism is all too necessary if things are to change.

    It is not ‘racist’ to confront the medieval beliefs of so-called traditional medicine around the world. Culture is not a fixed thing, a museum for others to gawk at.

    And it is this same culture of barbarity that leads to filthy cages in filthier markets where miserable animals from snakes and bats to pangolins are imprisoned.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8138687/EVGENY-LEBEDEV-NOT-racist-say-Chinas-vile-markets-blame-coronavirus.html

    They are also cleverer and "more KGB" way of navigating London, than with people like Elena Baturina and Roman Abramovich, because he seems to bought the main newspaper of London – so he receives positive media attention in the UK. On the other hand, others like Elena Baturina and Roman Abramovich, were not clever enough to buy the London newspaper, and therefore receive regular negative media articles every week by the London journalists.

    • Agree: Ano4
  266. Mikel says:
    @AaronB

    if essential goods need only 5% of the people, how big can the entertainment sector be? Another 20%? Another 30%?

    As you said, there is a semantic barrier that doesn’t allow us to communicate effectively.

    What you call “entertainment” I call the sector of the economy that deals with goods and services that are not essential for human survival. Cars, passenger trains, planes, most of medicine, camping gear, trekking material, gourmet cheeses, Port, wine, mead, books,…

    I don’t see why 98% of the economy could not be dedicated to the satisfaction of non-essential human needs. There will never a shortage of things that people will be willing to buy if they have the means.

    since technology has created this enormous surplus of essential goods, no one should be compelled to work at something they dislike in order to secure their fair share of what exists already due to machines.

    I don’t really see anybody compelling anyone to work more than they need to secure their basic needs. You could perfectly work a few weeks a year flipping burgers to have all your basic needs covered. You don’t need to demand the government to pay you a basic income for that, adding to the already big problem of deficit and debt.

    It is you using your free will who decides to work much more than that in an job that you don’t enjoy in order to be able to consume much more than what you need (I have cited above just a few of the things I know you consider necessary to feel satisfied).

    We all do that. The ~95% of non-essential goods that are produced are the result of people craving for those goods and never being satisfied. Perhaps I am one of the commenters here who is closest to that old way of life that you think was so good. Only yesterday I processed a full wild deer and put the pieces in the freezer to have venison to eat all winter lol. But I think that living close to nature allows me to see better how difficult life must have been for our ancestors when they needed to do these things to secure their existence.

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @mal
  267. @Thulean Friend

    Do you think the latest Turkish Lunar Mission will achieve its stated goals?

    [MORE]

  268. @mal

    Anthony Blinken got his work cut out for him.

    [MORE]

    • Replies: @songbird
    , @mal
  269. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Roman (and Greek) acceptance of homosexuality seems to have been much stronger prior to the adoption of Christianity.

    • Replies: @Coconuts
    , @AltanBakshi
  270. • Thanks: TheTotallyAnonymous
  271. mal says:
    @Mikel

    Well, ok, sure, let’s talk about rational actors and microeconomics. What happens to a small business when customers stop coming either on the account of being dead (Japan), or inability to get credit (US around 2007)?

    If business can’t make sales, it closes down absent a bailout. The owners and employees lose income and so now they can’t spend in the nearby business. So now nearby business loses sales, and now it is insolvent as well. So now you have two businesses closed down, and even more employees and owners experience losses. Unless some external 3rd party interferes (investor, bank, or government) and arranges a bailout, this cascade will result in deflationary depression (see US in the 30’s).

    Where does money in microeconomics come from? In the real world, money first needs to be created and distributed before it can be spent. Thats what commercial banks are currently for. And if your microeconomics theory takes account of how the money is created and distributed, it will arrive at about the same conclusion as my thinking.

    For example, that saying that human wants are unlimited does not mean that they can ever be fulfilled (by the very definition of the word unlimited!).

    How unlimited are the wants of elderly Japanese mall shopper who has been dead for the past 5 years? How much stuff can you actually sell him?

    If our wants are unlimited, why do corporations spend so much on advertising (one of the largest industries on Earth) in order to sell us stuff? All those Googles and Factbooks are trying to get us to want stuff for “just a little tiny monthly payment”. Why? Because corporations are not stupid and they don’t believe this “unlimited wants” voodoo.

    Corporations know very well that wants are very limited and that they need to work hard to create even a little bit more “want” in a consumer to sell their commodities. Sort of like squeezing the last drop of ketchup from a bottle. Hence ruthless expensive advertising.

    If wants are unlimited, why do we have negative interest rates? After all, nobody is forcing people to pay others to take money. Instead of paying for the privilege of giving away cash, why don’t they go spend it on some of their “unlimited wants”? And yet they don’t.

    In reality, the only thing that’s truly unlimited in the economy is money, because it is simply a measurement system. Just like it is impossible to run out of kilograms and meters, it is impossible to run out of dollars.

    Everything else is a commodity of variable scarity, including wants and needs, and currently the most valuable commodity is the consumer (which is why Facebook and Google and other data companies are some of the most valuable on Earth – they sell consumers). If wants were truly unlimited and so easy to come by, this would not be the case, nobody would bother to pay much money to purchase consumers.

    So in microeconomics, you can clearly tell how limited the wants are by the size of the corporate advertising budget.

    • Replies: @Mikel
  272. songbird says:
    @Blinky Bill

    Anthony Blinken got his work cut out for him.

    What is funny is that his surname is extremely obscene slang in German – though most there would not understand it. Warning: do not look it up!

    I was a bit scarred myself to hear it explained once, by an advanced student who happened to be present in my introductory course to German. A few years later, I oddly found myself in circumstances where one German was having a joke on some others, and I was in a position to explain it, but I adamantly refused, though one girl tried hard to pressure me.

    • Thanks: Blinky Bill
    • Replies: @The Real World
  273. mal says:
    @Blinky Bill

    Lol yeah, I saw that yesterday. Heritage is trolling for expanded footprint.

    Looks like they want to saturate the area with “tripwire” US troops and then send Sesame Street Muppets (or Ukrainians) into a proxy war meat grinder, and then complain and retaliate when Russia accidentally hits US troops*.

    *Russia not actually required to hit US troops in order to hit US troops. Add Gulf of Tonkin to taste.

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
  274. songbird says:
    @AltanBakshi

    I suppose those are bells on the exterior. It must have had an interesting sound.

  275. Dmitry says:
    @songbird

    I am not a super film buff

    I too – I only started watching films regularly this year, as a maybe fortunate result of staying indoors so much to obediently follow coronavirus lockdowns.

    But from what films I could see this year – it seems possible that good films can be created by pension age directors, at least in Japan. Kurosawa’s “Ran” (1985) is not the only one.

    Shohei Imamura was 70 or 71, when he made “The Eel” (1997). It’s a very strange film, but I liked it a lot.

    On the other hand, some directors seemed to me to decline, although critics don’t always agree. Buñuel films of the 1970s (created when he was over 70 years old) seem quite bad to me, although many critics recommend them as masterpieces. Last Buñuel film I thought was really enjoyable – he made when he was around 64 years old (Diary of a Chambermaid) .

    I never think, “well this one is good because they were trying to appeal to people on five or six continents.” If it is good, it is usually good because it differs from something Hollywood would make – has a local character,

    Although some of the best Hollywood films often have a displaced European influence, made by German-speaking Jewish refugees from central Europe, or by Englishmen.

    For example, Pressburger and Powell (although their films were not made in Hollywood), Alfred Hitchcock, Charles Vidor, Billy Wilder. Even Michael Curtiz doesn’t seem so indigenously American, and Casablanca has a Viennese operatic atmosphere.

    Similarly, Hollywood music was imported from Vienna, with people like Korngold. Even Rachmaninov could have worked as a Hollywood composer, if not for his death after relocating to Hollywood.

    Also some of the most easy to like Western films, are Sergio Leone ones – which stylistically are yet some of the world’s most Italian films, and almost an extension of Italian opera.

    So I wonder that cinema can sometimes have a good result from a cultural displacement and confusion. I.e. Italian opera + traditional American mythology = “Once upon a Time in the West”.

    Of course, this isn’t the same as diluting your films to appeal to audiences from very different cultures at the same time.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @dfordoom
    , @Pericles
  276. utu says:
    @AnonFromTN

    this is likely simple biology – Nope

    To cross racial-ethic boundaries extra force of attraction is necessary. What would it take for you to produce a mulatto child? She would have to be a pretty negress, right? And her being a pretty negress her options would be broad so you would have to be not too shabby either.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  277. AaronB says:
    @Mikel

    You make some good points and have made me think more deeply about my positions, and in some cases reconsider.

    If I understand your theory, you are saying that since demand for non essential goods is limitless, the supply sector can expand indefinitely, providing jobs for everyone.

    However, people capable of making genuine contributions in these fields are limited – the talent pool is limited. So even if everyone will have to work in these fields, many will be making minimal or even zero genuine contributions; bullshit jobs.

    Secondly, will not automation make it possible for a small percentage of the population to meet the demand for non essential goods? Why won’t the same dynamic be at work here as in essential goods? If a youtube content creator relies initially on code, there already exists code that makes the platform he is using run. Millions of content creators can use an existing platform, because the platform has been automated.

    The things I spend money on are books, travel, good food and alcohol, and hiking equipment. I am not sure that an increase in creators in these fields, would increase my spending. These fields are already saturated.

    Furthermore, my disposable income is limited, and so is my time. I can only spend so much, I can only do so much. My desires might be limitless, but my means of satisfying them are not.

    So even granting that our desires our limitless, I am not sure it follows that our consumption is limitless, or that everyone will in some capacity have the ability to help fulfill that demand, or that technology won’t allow most supportive roles to be automated.

    The fact that today, there exists many useless jobs suggests that the demand for entertainment and recreation is being satisfied by a small percentage of the population.

    You are quite correct that today, everyone can meet his basic needs through work. I would submit this is made possible through bullshit jobs. I would submit there are not enough burger flipping jobs to go around, and with more automation, there will be less.

    Still, my conversation with you has made me re consider my belief that some kind of UBI is inevitable. Far more likely, a proliferation of bullshit jobs is. I am actually OK with that, provided everyone knows whats really going on under the facade, and is free from anxiety, guilt, and a sense of meaningless. The gap between what society tells us about work, and the actual reality most of us encounter, will lead to feelings of worthlessness and depression if not remedied with a dose of reality.

    P.S – John Gray just published a book on what cats can teach us about how to live. It discusses all the themes we were discussing before about the freedom animals have from existential anxiety and how humans can live more like animals, the value of conscious thought, quoting all sorts of philosophers throughout the ages. Its superb.

    • Replies: @Mikel
  278. Mikel says:
    @mal

    If business can’t make sales, it closes down absent a bailout. The owners and employees lose income and so now they can’t spend in the nearby business
    …/…
    Unless some external 3rd party interferes (investor, bank, or government) and arranges a bailout, this cascade will result in deflationary depression (see US in the 30’s).

    Welcome to the world of the business cycle. some of us have been living there for a long time and could teach you some things if you were willing to listen.

    For the most part of modern history, governments didn’t do much, if anything, when recessions came and they went away actually faster than nowadays. That is why it is called cycle. And nothing of what’s been tried later on has eliminated this cycle.

    Bailouts and quantitative easing will not prevent a new recession from coming back. Want to bet?

    If our wants are unlimited, why do corporations spend so much on advertising (one of the largest industries on Earth) in order to sell us stuff?

    Because they understand human nature much better than you. They know that human wants are so unlimited that they can even be created where none existed before.

    If wants are unlimited, why do we have negative interest rates?

    You keep refusing to think rationally. Wants and the means to satisfy those wants are totally different things. What’s so difficult to understand about this?

    In reality, the only thing that’s truly unlimited in the economy is money, because it is simply a measurement system.

    You don’t understand what money is either. There are so many good definitions on the web. Take a look. But, to your credit, very few people understand money. It’s a complicated matter and very dense books have been dedicated to its study. This obscurity about what money is and is not is what to this day leads some countries to keep falling into the hyperinflationary trap. And it’s probably behind the business cycle too.

    it is impossible to run out of dollars

    Argentinians would find this statement very amusing.

    • Replies: @mal
  279. Ano4 says:

    Meanwhile in Southern Utah

    2021 Space Odyssey…

    • Thanks: Mr. Hack, mal
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  280. Mr. Hack says:
    @Dmitry

    I’m impressed with your ability to so quickly familiarize yourself with American film history and be able to provide such detailed opinions on so many facets of its production. The fact that so many Russian Jews were participants in this process probably has not been lost on your inquisitive mind. Many of the Hollywood films that I’ve watched over a long length of time have included the musical talents of Dimitri Tiomkin, born in Kremenchug Ukraine. His abilities to include the musical spirit of whatever film genre that he was working within was absolutely brilliant. Perhaps, no better use of his talents were on full display when producing music for American Westerns, but he certainly wasn’t limited by this one genre. He wrote the musical score for “Lost Horizon” that we’ve discussed before and so very many other great films. I’m sure that he worked for Hitchcock on more than one film:

    I can’t really tell you how many times I’ve watched this fine film throughout my life?

  281. Mr. Hack says:
    @Ano4

    Definitely “kind of unusual”. Keep us updated. 🙂

    • Agree: Ano4
  282. @AP

    Also, Anna Karenina had more bite when divorce was a scandal and adultery by a married woman an outrage. The consequences of martial infidelity by a woman would have fascinated readers in a way no longer possible.

    • Agree: Ano4
    • Replies: @utu
  283. Ano4 says:

    How Russian cops in a small provincial town in Nizhny Novgorod region built themselves mansions by trafficking counterfeit alcohol and racketeering local businessmen.

    https://m.ura.news/news/1052458722

    (In Russian)

    • Replies: @sudden death
    , @sher singh
  284. @Dmitry

    I’ve made this point before but ‘Morte d’Arthur’-the Death of Arthur was the first work of fiction published in the English language. It starts with black magic, rape by deception, kidnap of a baby and is about random violence, fornication, deception, adultery, incest, corrupt religion, obsession and more black magic. Literature is built on a solid foundation of trash!

    • Agree: utu
  285. @AnonFromTN

    Pelevin’s best piece is perhaps still Hermit and Sixfinger (Затворник и Шестипалый), a short story written some thirty years ago. (Highly recommended, it’s freely available on teh interwebz.)

  286. @utu

    She would have to be a pretty negress, right? And her being a pretty negress her options would be broad so you would have to be not too shabby either.

    Not necessarily a Negress, could be Central, East, or South Asian (Indian-like) female, or Latina. However, in my case, she would have to be pretty, intelligent, and have strong personality at the same time, a rare combination in any race.

  287. @Ano4

    Does it mean that the main change from 90’s here was that bandits without uniforms were simply outcompeted in social evolutionary process by uniformed ones, whom became dominant species of bandits? idk, maybe it is somewhat possible to argue that this kind of modern silovik banditry is overall more tidy/beneficial than the old?

    • Replies: @Ano4
  288. @Blinky Bill

    What is garbage cow supposed to represent.

    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
  289. @TheTotallyAnonymous

    Outside of the meme value, it’s a shit song. Even for turbofolk standards, it’s pretty shitty turbofolk. The selling point is the retro cheap aesthetics and edgy factor.

    • Disagree: TheTotallyAnonymous
    • Replies: @Yevardian
  290. @Dmitry

    The Lone Ranger and Valerian were very obviously made for the Chinese audience.

  291. mal says:
    @Mikel

    Bailouts and quantitative easing will not prevent a new recession from coming back. Want to bet?

    Bailouts and QE are not there to prevent ordinary recession, they are there to prevent the recession from spiraling into massive Depression that can only be cured through massive government demand such as a new world war. This is the sort of consumption we would prefer to avoid, even though from econometric standpoint and GDP it all spends the same. So far, we have been successful.

    As long as we print, we will not have a Depression. That i can bet on.

    Because they understand human nature much better than you. They know that human wants are so unlimited that they can even be created where none existed before.

    Not sure i follow. You are saying that wants didn’t exist before, so how can they be unlimited, if they didn’t exist? Wouldn’t non-existent wants be the limit of “unlimited wants” that actually exist? If they understand human nature so much better than me why do they have to work so hard, to spend so much money and effort to create “unlimited non-existent want”?

    And if I’m misunderstanding something, and this “unlimited non-existent want” was always there (since its unlimited), why don’t people rush out and fulfill all the possible once they have the resources to do so? I mean, Warren Buffet probably spends less than I do, and certainly not for the lack of resources. He prefers to buy insurance companies instead which is great for the stock market but not so great for the real economy. And even then he is not buying as much as he could. Why?

    You keep refusing to think rationally. Wants and the means to satisfy those wants are totally different things. What’s so difficult to understand about this?

    I’m not talking about the means, I’m talking about wants. People giving away money at negative rates have plenty of means, they just don’t have any wants. Or they would have applied their powerful means to the wants instead of giving the means away at negative interest.

    You don’t understand what money is either.

    Money is a unit of account (similar to kilogram etc) and a tool of social organization. All other definitions are obsolete. Today, money is created as a debit/credit accounting ledger entry by commercial banks. In the future, money will be a regulated utility similar to electricity created as digital currency by central banks.

    We are unlikely to fall into a hyperinflationary loop due to the lack of demographic pressure. Even in Argentina that you mention inflation is falling from its peak and they actually have decent demographics.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/argentina/inflation-cpi

    Argentinian forex reserves are also at about the same level as in 2012, IMF gives them SDRs. And we are in a pandemic so some hardship is expected.

    https://tradingeconomics.com/argentina/foreign-exchange-reserves

    Argentina will be back to selling 100 year eurobonds in 5 years or so. 🙂 Must be those “unlimited wants” from investors you have been talking about.

  292. @AltanBakshi

    Religious wars usually have economic and political driving forces behind them. Yesterday’s funny quote from Alexandr Rozov:

    Papists and Protestants were not experts in intricacies of theology. Simply: papists believed the pope in Rome knows the only way to salvation and hence has the right to set global regulations and collect dues from the whole world, Protestants on the other hand believed the pope to be a fraud and have no such right.
    Covid-believers and covid-dissidents mostly are not experts in intricacies of virology. Simply covid-believers believe the Global Epidemiological Elite knows the only way to salvation and hence have the right to set global regulations and collect dues from the whole world, covid-dissidents on the other hand believe the Global Epidemiological Elite to be fraudsters and have no such right.

    (source in Russian)

  293. Coconuts says:
    @AP

    Roman (and Greek) acceptance of homosexuality seems to have been much stronger prior to the adoption of Christianity.

    Probably the level of prosperity and power of the Roman Empire before the 3rd century crisis led to the ultimate decline, and gayness (and low fertility) increases in proportion to prosperity. Christianity may have been an attempt to find measures to fight back against the decline, by promoting a new more austere moralistic religion.

    Certain kinds of homosexual activity do not seem inherently linked to decline, some kinds of pederasty and the custom that dominant males can use inferiors (e.g. slaves, actors) for sex in limited contexts (very important that they are not the passive partner). The feminisation of men on the other hand, and women assuming masculine, dominant roles always seems to be connected with it. As well as weakening restrictions on heterosexual sex outside of marriage.

    Christendom had the ascetic religion centred on a moral law, fairly restrictions on sex outside of marriage, homosexuality was more taboo, things were kept patriarchal. There is a theory that these things contributed to incremental gains in general intelligence levels over time so that by the start of the 19th century lower class European labourers or peasants would have had an IQ of about 120.

  294. Beckow says:
    @TheTotallyAnonymous

    Iran, like most other countries, is going to gradually turn toward nationalism and that will clip the Islamic wings more effectively than liberal-colored revolutionaries.

    If you look back at human history, open borders internationalism, foreign indebtedness, plagues and idle young men have always led to nationalism. We are experiencing peak liberalism with a demented old man Biden and a colourful courtesan Kamala as undertakers. By the way, for the socially or socialist inclined, any true national revival contains a heavy dose of social policies. That’s how you can separate them from the fake version that elites often try first.

    This will get ugly, both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky would thrive on the material. Unfortunately Hollywood is too timid and uncreative to take advantage of this golden moment.

    • Agree: TheTotallyAnonymous
  295. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Dmitry

    But from what films I could see this year – it seems possible that good films can be created by pension age directors, at least in Japan.

    John Huston was nearly 70 when he made his best film, The Man Who Would Be King.

    Fritz Lang was in his 60s when he made some of his films (such as The Big Heat). His late films made after his return to Germany (made when he was pushing 70) are excellent.

    More modern directors make bad films when they get old because they were never particularly good directors.

  296. @Autists Anonymous Rehab Camp Fugitive

    That picture is worth a thousand words.

    [MORE]

    • Agree: Ano4
  297. utu says:
    @Philip Owen

    12 years after Anna Karenina Tolstoy with The Kreutzer Sonata in which the protagonist kills his wife out of jealousy rejected carnal love altogether and made an argument for sexual abstinence.

    Let us stop believing that carnal love is high and noble and understand that any end worth our pursuit – in service of humanity, our homeland, science, art, let alone God – any end, so long as we may count it worth our pursuit, is not attained by joining ourselves to the objects of our carnal love in marriage or outside it

    Strangely the book was forbidden in Russia and experienced censorship in the US.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  298. mal says:
    @Mikel

    You could perfectly work a few weeks a year flipping burgers to have all your basic needs covered. You don’t need to demand the government to pay you a basic income for that, adding to the already big problem of deficit and debt.

    You can’t. You could if we lived in a free market economy but we don’t so you can’t.

    You could flip burgers for a few weeks and be fine and then slip and fall and break your arm. In a free market world, true, you could visit your neighbor and he would set your arm for you for a reasonable fee.

    In the real world, if your neighbor attempted that, he would go to prison for practicing medicine without a license.

    And to get that license your neighbor would have to spend $100,000’s to get accepted by the gatekeeper cartel running medical school admissions and after that his fee wouldn’t be so reasonable anymore because he would have incurred certain running costs that he would have to meet.

    And the burger flipper would end up on Medicaid anyway, contributing to the big problem of government deficit and debt.

    It is unfortunate, but it is reality. And the burger flipper is completely powerless to do anything about it. And it would have little to do with his “unlimited wants” – for some reason people don’t like getting their arms broken even though it grows GDP nicely.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  299. @mal

    As long as we print, we will not have a Depression. That i can bet on.

    Ever heard of inflationary depression? 😉

    https://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-happened-to-stocks-during-the-german-hyperinflation-2011-11

    We are unlikely to fall into a hyperinflationary loop due to the lack of demographic pressure.

    Were there any demographic pressures in early Weimar or early 90’s USSR?

  300. @mal

    As long as we print, we will not have a Depression. That i can bet on.

    Ever heard of inflationary depression though? 😉

    https://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-happened-to-stocks-during-the-german-hyperinflation-2011-11

    We are unlikely to fall into a hyperinflationary loop due to the lack of demographic pressure.

    Were there any demographic pressures in early Weimar or early 90’s USSR?

    • Replies: @mal
  301. Yevardian says:
    @TheTotallyAnonymous

    I’m sorry, I sort of get the injustice of losing what was once Serbian core-territory to a fake entity like Kosovo, but why would you even want it back? Albanians make something like 90% of the population and have for some time.
    It’s not like Serbia is constantly subject to threats of actual state-annihilation and genocide like Armenia, so the strategic hinterland argument (to protect Serbia from invasion by… Albania? Macedonia? lol) can’t really be applied either.

    • Replies: @TheTotallyAnonymous
  302. Mikel says:
    @AaronB

    You make some good points and have made me think more deeply about my positions, and in some cases reconsider.

    What an unusual statement to read in an online debate. I don’t think I have read something like this addressed to me ever before.

    Which makes it all the more puzzling how you manage to enrage so many people. You clearly have gifts that I don’t have. I will try to learn to concede points too but I don’t think I will ever be able to make people mad for no discernible reason like you do.

    you are saying that since demand for non essential goods is limitless, the supply sector can expand indefinitely, providing jobs for everyone.

    Yes. That is essentially what has happened since the Industrial Revolution. In order for this trend to continue we just need to keep getting richer. This, paradoxically, requires more automation and technological progress (to be able to produce more with less) and also a healthy economic environment where people are willing to invest and take risks.

    I think that we can count on the former but the the latter is not a given. I don’t like living in a warming world but what I fear the most about climate change is that politicians may really start doing stupid things like the insane green new deal.

    will not automation make it possible for a small percentage of the population to meet the demand for non essential goods? Why won’t the same dynamic be at work here as in essential goods?

    I hate to repeat myself but human desires are insatiable. I don’t see how we can get richer and not find new ways in which to spend our surplus income, which in turn creates new economic activity. It has never happened before.

    My desires might be limitless, but my means of satisfying them are not.

    Yes. Let’s not confuse these two concepts (as mal does). I am just speaking about what ultimately drives demand of new goods and how it has been working non-stop in the past couple of centuries. I am by no means saying that just by wishing lots of things we can obtain them 🙂 That’s why we torture ourselves working long hours to be able to get things that not long ago didn’t even exist. It’s just human nature. Exceptions exist and you and me may more frugal than average but that’s how things work in the aggregate.

    • Thanks: AaronB
  303. Pericles says:
    @Dmitry

    I thought Buñuel’s That Obscure Object of Desire was incredible and (I’ll just say it) one of the most red pilled movies I can recall seeing, red pilled in the sense of personal relations that is. Apparently it was also his last. Well, now that I’ve started thinking about it, I’ll have to watch it again.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  304. Yevardian says:
    @TheTotallyAnonymous

    Although of course, the pressure will at least be kept high on Iran regardless of anything because Israel’s interests seem to be a permanent constant in US foreign policy at least since 1945, if not earlier …

    Israel was a rather minor concern in American foreign policy up until The 6 Day War. As I’m sure you’re aware, the US forced Israel to withdraw from it’s first attempt at annexing the Sinai from Egypt in 1956, and even as late as the 1980s Ronald Reagan (nonetheless one of the worst Presidents ever) have a few quite harsh words for Israel’s bloody attempt to turn Lebanon into it’s vassal.

    Of course, since 2001, Israeli influence over American foreign policy has been nearly total. I’d recommend you read Ron Unz’s American Pravda article on 9/11 if you haven’t already.

    • Replies: @TheTotallyAnonymous
  305. @songbird

    Google Translate indicates that blinken means: flash or glint.

    If you’ve got some different, slang definition but are too prudish to say it — then why bring it up at all? That is very lame.

    Hmm, prudish and lame – how sad.

  306. mal says:
    @sudden death

    Soviet TFR was pretty decent in the late 80’s early 90’s (2.3-2.5). Of course the number to watch out for is the amount of young people entering the market place and seeking goods and services, as long as they have money. This would support inflationary pressure.

    And Europeans in 1900’s had what, 6 children per family or something? The pressure to supply them with goods and services must have been substantial especially with 1920’s technology.

    In neither case demographics were helpful when it came to inflationary pressure.

    Of course the direct cause of high inflation was geopolitical – in Weimar case, American banks looted German gold (American gold reserve on deposit at the Fed went up like 50% at the time) via proxies and French occupation of the German productive province Ruhr didnt help as it disrupted supply chains.

    In Soviet case, American Banks looted Soviet assets and loss of the rest of the republics disrupted supply chains.

    Both cases, same lessons:

    1. Don’t lose war to American Banks.

    2. Don’t lose provinces that are a part of your supply chain.

    3. Don’t get supply chain disrupted.

    With these three simple lessons you too can avoid hyperinflation! Oh, and mind the demographics.

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
  307. Ano4 says:
    @sudden death

    It’s more hierarchical and organized. But it’s not better for economy, actually 90ies were probably more “laissez faire“. It was easier to start then than it is now. I knew someone who started a company with USD 17k in 1997 and 15 years later its official annual turnover was 200M +. A legit business, a company which treated its workforce more or less fairly, invested in R&D etc. It’s probably harder to do something similar today. And there’s a lot of stories about “raider overtaking” of juicy economic assets by corrupt siloviki and bureaucrats.

    Here’s an interesting example (in Russian):

    Bottom line, just like in the 90ies you need the right connections and allies, and you need to pay the right people. But today the society is more stratified and it’s more complicated to start. Although probably it is not more complicated that starting in the West if you get along with the right people.

  308. songbird says:
    @Dmitry

    It is interesting to compare Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan. Both feature London, which was the largest city in the world in the world at the time, as a prominent setting.

    Stoker who was Anglo-Irish, but who moved to Britain, draws an axis from London, the peak of civilization, as many then saw it then, to what may have been the true English obsession of the time – Eastern Europe, which he imagines as a land of superstition, ruled by a supernatural feudal lord, drinking the blood of peasants, and who immigrates to London.

    Burroughs, who was a Chicagoan, lived at a time when there were very few blacks in the North. Yet, he draws his axis from London to the jungles of Africa. And his character Tarzan, though raised by apes, is superior to the native blacks, almost supernaturally so, because he is made of the right stuff.

    • Replies: @Mikhail
  309. songbird says:
    @Thulean Friend

    If the forces of liberalism were as weak as some would wish, then we’d never have abolished slavery,

    I think it might be a bridge too far to claim William the Conqueror and his immediate successors as liberals.

    women would still be treated as chattel

    Isn’t this rhetoric often used by faithless men to exploit women and treat them like meat? It is very un-Christian of you to support such exploitation.

  310. @Ano4

    • Thanks: AltanBakshi
    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  311. @utu

    Why look for complex explanations? Tolstoy rejected “carnal love” when he was no longer capable of it.

    • Replies: @AP
  312. @Yevardian

    I’m sorry, I sort of get the injustice of losing what was once Serbian core-territory to a fake entity like Kosovo, but why would you even want it back?

    Why would you ever want West Armenia, Nankhijevan, Javakheti, the parts of Artsakh you’re losing right now, and all your other stolen ancient lands back? Especially when the practical probabilities are theoretically very real you could get them back with a change in world geopolitics and some other things?

    Albanians make something like 90% of the population and have for some time.

    How do you think they became more than 90% of the population? …

    Hint: similar and I’d argue much worse than how Heydar Aliyev “demographically engineered” Armenians out of Nankhijevan and tried to do so in Artsakh.

    the strategic hinterland argument (to protect Serbia from invasion by… Albania? Macedonia? lol) can’t really be applied either.

    On this note it’s very important to explain that in 1999 there was in fact an invasion of Serbia (then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, FRY) across the state border by the KLA/UCK and elements of the Albanian Army (backed by both NATO air forces but also on the ground NATO special forces) with intense battles and fighting at the FRY state border at Kosare and Pastrik. The less known part about the 1999 NATO aggression against FRY is that there was much more to it than just the NATO bombing of civilians and economic infrastructure over Serbia (with false, vicious and very dirty “Serbs are genocide perpetrators” claims to justify NATO aggression and crimes against Serbs).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Ko%C5%A1are

    (Albanian casualties, intensity of the fighting and NATO special forces role is seriously understated/omitted of course)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Pa%C5%A1trik

    (same applies as with Kosare)

    It’s clear that NATO deliberately bombed Serb civilians and infrastructure because it literally couldn’t have won in any other way. NATO was literally too chicken to directly use masses of even US military troops in Albania and Macedonia to invade FRY by land because they were extremely casualty averse. The USA literally hasn’t won a single war since the pre-WW2 era without air superiority. There was a 2nd Battle of Kosovo in 1999 whose outcome was similar to the first one in 1389. A military tactical victory was achieved by Serbs against the aggressor both times, but the losses in demographic and economic terms were simply too great, which was to be strategically decisive in the outcome as after the battles it was impossible to be able to continue to hold on to the Serb lands and preserve Serb national sovereignty.

    Even speaking about all the details of the NATO aggression, let alone the heroism and bravery at Kosare and Pastrik was literally taboo and partly a criminal offense (a state documentary about the VJ’s military tactical success in resisting NATO aggression was removed from and banned by Serbia’s state TV after 2000) in Serbia from Milosevic’s overthrow until Vucic came to power.

    It’s not like Serbia is constantly subject to threats of actual state-annihilation and genocide like Armenia

    What do you think will happen to the rest of Serbia and all the other Serb lands if Serbia decides to recognize the NATO-Albanian occupation of Kosovo and Metohija (the real name)? That Serbs will just be left alone and it’ll be like the US Judeo-Liberal Empire together with its local accomplices never tried to pull off everything they’ve been trying to for the last 30 plus years?

    You know, it’s not like Western powers and local scum aren’t interested in eliminating Republika Srpska, de-Serbing Montenegro, separating Raska, Presevo, Medvedje, Bujanovac and Vojvodina from Serbia, annexing Serbia/Balkans into NATO, etc …

    There’s clearly a very strong practical dynamic at play here with non-stop, relentless and endless pressure against Serbs ever since the Berlin Wall fell to the present day, clearly much more than just “myths and ethnoreligious fervor” (perhaps maybe trying to “deconstruct” this in Serbs is the real agenda at play?) although that’s also clearly extremely important as well. After all, why bother so much to constantly and relentlessly stomp Serbs if there’s nothing valuable or worthwhile in it?

    Perhaps maybe I’m beginning to understand why Turks and Azeris have such a deep pogromist hatred of Armenians …

    • Replies: @Mikhail
  313. @Yevardian

    As I’m sure you’re aware, the US forced Israel to withdraw from it’s first attempt at annexing the Sinai from Egypt in 1956

    Well Egypt was still pressured to recognize Israel as a state and for quite some time it posed a serious problem to Israel which it stopped doing after it recognized Israel.

    Of course, since 2001, Israeli influence over American foreign policy has been nearly total. I’d recommend you read Ron Unz’s American Pravda article on 9/11 if you haven’t already.

    Well, the infiltration and intensity of pro-Israel policy by the USA only increased over time. Israel didn’t just appear out of nowhere in 1945. Inventing and infiltrating Zionist thought into Western Christianity (Evangelicals, Christian Zionists, etc) and lobbying/subversion/pressure by the Rothschilds in the UK for the Belfast Declaration and so on were all a long term plan. Even though not all of this was formal US policy it gradually progressed into such as we see it today. Just look at how for decades to this day US administration officials have done absolutely nothing about Israeli settlements and in some cases publicly support it or downplay it.

    Although truthfully, the Palestinians are also trashy imo as many of them are just generic Muslims with all the downsides and not to sound like a Jewish fanboy, but Hamas and Hezbollah are in reality Islamic Jihad groups (pro-Palestine leftists give off the weird impression that these are some sort of peace-hippy organizations) and Palestinians have done things like suicide bomb Jews (although if anyone deserves to get suicide bombed by Muslims …). Still, Palestinians > Jews imo for many reasons (one among them is the less known fact that Israel terrorizes Palestinian Christians, not just Muslims).

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  314. Mikhail says: • Website
    @songbird

    Some Russian bad guys in ERB’s Tarzan

    • Replies: @songbird
  315. Mikhail says: • Website
    @mal

    Liked Tiger Stadium and the Olympia.

  316. @AnonFromTN

    What accounts for a ‘balanced’ civilisation changes over time. The social liberalism of even a hundred years ago would strike those living in 1000 AD as extreme and insane. At every step, there were reactionaries warning about going too far.

    Happily for the human condition, such cassandras were ignored and we could reap the benefits of progress.

    • LOL: Ano4
    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @dfordoom
  317. @AP

    The Greco-Roman homosexuality was very different from the modern one. Only those who were passive partners in homosexual relations were seen in a negative light. Ancients thought that such people had taken the position of woman and therefore had lost or damaged their masculinity, which was seen as a great shame and transgression. So it cant be said that the Roman or Hellenic society was accepting towards passive homosexuals.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Europe Europa
    , @Mikel
  318. Pericles says:
    @mal

    Obviously LARP but in the old days, I guess it was a claim by the King made on the area in question. Now let the new Baron set out to conquer it.

    I wonder if the UK would dare to proclaim a Baron of Washington, DC? The Most Christian Count of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv?

    • Agree: mal
  319. Pericles says:
    @Dmitry

    There’s another radical change introduced last year, with “1917” – where the camera is constantly moving, but never cuts.

    There is actually a Russian(!) movie that did this before, Russian Ark (2002).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Ark

    I’m personally not so interested in this sort of directorial nerdiness, but still enjoyed Richard Linklater’s Slacker.

  320. Now in Russia we are discussing a new American trash.
    Future Secretary of state Blinken: “My late stepfather, Samuel, he was one of 900 children at his school in Bialystok, Poland, but the only one who survived the Holocaust after four years in concentration camps… He was running towards the tank. The hatch opened. The African-American soldier looked down at him. The stepfather got on his knees and said only 3 words that he knew in English… God save America. That’s who we are. This is what America represents to the world»

    • LOL: Ano4
    • Replies: @AP
    , @Ano4
  321. @sher singh

    There was a community of Hindu merchants in Astrakhan when Russians conquered the place in middle of the 16th century, later they even build a temple there, but I dont know when, at least in the time of the Peter I there was a Hindu temple in Astrakhan and local Hindus were protected under the Russian law. Similarly there was a Hindu temple and community in Baku. It would be interesting to know what sect of Hinduism those merchants followed.

    Sher Singh which sect of Hinduism is closest to the truths of the Sikhi Dharma? Am I right if I say that the Vaishnavas are closest?

    • Replies: @melanf
    , @sher singh
  322. AP says:
    @Mike_from_Russia

    The first African-American my grandmother ever saw was also a US soldier. She was a refugee from Communism who was in Germany. The soldier pointed his gun at her and took her silver watch.

    She did not hold it against all African-Americans but this was an effective antidote against their collective canonisation.

    • Replies: @Mike_from_Russia
  323. @AP

    We see this figure as a new reincarnation of Psaki with complete disorientation in historical matters.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @Mikhail
  324. Ano4 says:
    @Mike_from_Russia

    Guy’s quite good at telling jokes with a straight face. Sending this Jewish American joke to my friends, pretty sure they will also have a good laugh.

    Блинкин, cool family name…

    😁

  325. @Thulean Friend

    Finland was economically successful without any of this liberalism. During the Cold War the culture was largely integrated with the Soviet Union and the KGB watched over any foreign deals that Finnish politicians made so we were not influenced by American media, NGOs and the like.

    After the collapse of the USSR we were flooded with this neoliberal ideology and the old social democratic politics is dead. Economically the rich have gotten much richer while much of the working class is stagnating in wages and employment.

    Another data point is Japan, economically successful without zero liberalism and now it’s being pushed on them by the American occupiers after they had already become successful. It’s always a bunch of white or yellow men who create a successful society and then the American liberal empire shows up to demand that their success get redistributed to American or pro-American oligarchs and token minorities (who sometimes need to be imported).

    As China becomes the better alternative it will make abundantly clear that liberalism is not a part of economic success and societies (like mine) that threw away their protection and ruined themselves with American liberalism will be left looking incredibly foolish. Of course then we might see the rise of another cargo cultish ideology centered around China, imitating even those beliefs and dogmas of Chinese elites that had nothing to do with their economic rise.

  326. Ano4 says:
    @Mike_from_Russia

    Well, he certainly watched La Vita e bella…

    But he’s certainly lucky that his late stepfather survived, a lot of American Jews lost all their grandparents on both the maternal and paternal sides in the Holocaust. The typhus mortality among the children in the concentration camps was terrible.

    Interestingly enough, according to the current age narrative, it seems that only Jewish children died there, Roma and Slav children are conspicuously absent from the story telling…

    🙄

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  327. melanf says:
    @AltanBakshi

    It would be interesting to know what sect of Hinduism those merchants followed.

    Here is a sculpture in this temple

    And these are Indian merchants at prayer

    Drawings from 1793

    • Thanks: Blinky Bill, AltanBakshi
    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  328. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Mike_from_Russia

    Blinken isn’t so new and is older than Psaki, in addition to having a more in depth foreign policy background than her.

    His stepfather Pisar was a foreign policy establishment type as well.

  329. @Thulean Friend

    we could reap the benefits of progress.

    If you count suicide as a benefit of progress, Western civilization would certainly reap it.

  330. AP says:
    @AltanBakshi

    Islamic societies often retain this approach.

    Sexual abuse of teenage boys was rather common among pre-Christian Greeks and Romans so there was a high likelihood of any male from that time of having engaged in “passive” homosexual activity as a youth.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  331. 128 says:

    The most successful Finnish company was Nokia, at the time when the Finnnish economy was opened up to the West, what was Nokia known for during the Cold War, making boots?

    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
    , @Blinky Bill
  332. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    One more reason that our left leaning liberal democratic cultural leaders have a deep down disdain for Christians, forever castigating them as supposed “bigots”. Without the weight of Christianity’s new moral code, the Greek/Roman proclivity sanctioning this kind of flawed moral behavior would only have grown and been even more “normalized” by their own cultural wise men. Pederasty is gaining more and more support amongst our own cultural elites all of the time. Watch it grow and grow.

  333. @AltanBakshi

    In traditional Christian/Western culture, homosexuality is seen as degenerate and abnormal regardless of the “position” of the involved partners.

    Most anti-gay slurs in English relate to the “active” partner, like “fudge packer” and “bum bandit”, etc, suggesting that they are at least as much an object of derision as the “bottom”.

  334. @melanf

    I wouldnt trust European 17th or 18th century drawings or depictions of Asian religious objects.

    Here are some drawings of Tibetan Buddhist or Chinese statues made by scientifically minded travelling Jesuits.

    • Replies: @melanf
  335. Dmitry says:
    @Pericles

    “Red pill” refers to Keanu Reeves in discovering that he is saviour of the human race, and that the latter is currently living in a virtual reality machine created by insects who are harvesting them.

    Whereas “That Obscure Object of Desire” is about an ugly old rich man, discovering that the beautiful poor young woman (played by two young actresses, including a painfully attractive 21 years old Angela Molina), actually hates him, does not want to sleep with him, and is just using him for money.

    I enjoy the film, although I feel Buñuel’s films declined a lot in the 1970s, and this is an example. It has also this theme as Tristana, where Fernando Rey also discovers that as a wealthy but ugly old man, the beautiful young doesn’t enjoy sleeping with him.

    These stories which show that the beautiful young women, are not sexually attracted to ugly powerful man – but know how to use them. And the ugly powerful man is somehow deluded that the latter is love, but learn their lesson by the end of the film.

    That’s not to say that this is the only thing in these films. They also have some other interesting ideas, as all Buñuel films. The Seville beauty of the actress Angela Molina in “That Obscure Object of Desire”, succeeds in creating an almost a painful sensation in the viewer, and I’m not sure we need so much of the clownish Fernando Rey to illustrate the uncomfortable sensation of this desire for the unattainable in us.

    These Buñuel films about the old man suffering a loss of attraction from young beautiful women, reminds me of a comment one of my uncle was joking about when he was about 40 years old. He was very good looking as a young man. When he was around 40, he was saying to us that he suddenly noticed that women don’t look at you so much anymore and became less friendly. This rather of a tragic and scary about becoming old, will be that you only will notice the loss of things like young women being attracted to you, at the moment you will lose it, and that’s when you will know you are old.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @Pericles
  336. Mr. Hack says:
    @Dmitry

    The theme of human vanity is not limited to the male sex alone and has been eternalized in literature (and animation!) for posterity. Your uncle should make haste not to sign any contracts with the “7 Dwarfs Health club”. 🙂

  337. Pericles says:
    @Dmitry

    You’re right that the old guy has a quite difficult journey and all his money and possessions get him no respect as he tries to snare the beauty (and all of this is exquisitely shown, I’d say) but then there are the final five to ten minutes, which I interpret quite differently.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  338. melanf says:
    @AltanBakshi

    Indian temple in Astrakhan is a sketch of the expedition artist academician Palas. That’s probably why the drawing is accurate

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  339. Dmitry says:
    @TheTotallyAnonymous

    Nowadays more of the Palestinian Christians live as Israeli citizens, than live in Gaza or West Bank, (Christians seem only 1% in West Bank now, and less than 1% in Gaza, due to their high emigration, low fertility rates and I guess also must be converting in areas like Gaza).

    If you exclude Bedouins, East Jerusalem Arabs or some of the Arab ghettos in mixed cities like Lod – the normal Arab villages in Israel are chaotic but at the same time moderately wealthy seeming.

    In some Arab Israeli villages, there larger houses, and more luxury automobiles, than in a working class Jewish city (where people live in third world apartment buildings).

    Last time I visited Israel in 2018, we had a picnic next to Alexander Stream (this stream with turtles in Northern Israel), and apart from us, everyone there was large Arab families, having barbecues with all kinds of luxurious looking meats (food is not cheap in Israel). These kind of Arab families wearing nice clean clothes, and they are driving away in new European SUVs.

    Also driving around Northern Israel, we stopped our car in a fashionable new shopping mall from the highway (to eat McDonald’s), and I noticed more women are wearing hijab, but I thought they were just standard Israeli Jewish people in the shopping mall. But my friend (who lives in Israel), says “everyone is Arab”. To my touristic eyes, a lot of the Arab Israelis at the first look, seem like middle class Jewish Israelis, wearing bourgeois clothes and holding the newest Iphones.

    Arab Christians in Israel will be more middle class on average, than Muslims. A large part of the medical doctors in Israel are Arab Christians, and they are disproportionately represented as university students as well. (Israeli universities have also affirmative action policies for some Arab groups, but probably just Bedouins, not Christians).

    I read some other statistics that show a more negative picture – that (if I recall) something like a quarter of prostitutes in Israel are Arab Christians, and that they have one of the highest rates of emigration from Israel, as well as the lowest fertility rate of any nationality in Israel. However, emigration from Israel also correlates with educational status, and the fertility rate can match secularization levels.

    That said, Arab Israelis will be humiliated in places like the airport in Israel (something similar to African Americans interacting with police in USA), and excluded from all nationalist ceremonies of the country. Israeli national anthem even talks about the “soul of the Jewish person”, and yet 1/4 of Israelis are Arabs, and they are supposed to sing this in sports events – it might contribute to increasing emigration rates even of secular middle class Arabs.

    The more obvious underclass in Israel, are not the non-Bedouin Arab citizen, but the non-citizens. This includes Palestinian workers from the West Bank. But also there are a lot of Africans, as well as guest-workers like Filipinos and Indians.

    Lowest status in Israel, might be the illegal or semi-legal Ukrainian immigrants. You see groups of Ukrainian workers walking around the city with dirty shoes and cheap clothes. It’s straight away obvious who are the illegal or unofficial immigrant workers there.

    • Thanks: Ano4
    • Replies: @TheTotallyAnonymous
  340. songbird says:
    @Jaakko Raipala

    That’s quite an interesting idea about Finlandization delaying poz.

    Previously I put it down to two factors: Finland being among the very last countries in Northern Europe to industrialize – I think Russia was a lot more developed for a awhile – and infant mortality was higher later than in other places. Also, Finnish personality traits – Finns are by and large not very outgoing – so I think that limits poz, at first, since it limits virtue signaling.

  341. songbird says:
    @Mikhail

    Some Russian bad guys in ERB’s Tarzan

    As far as I can tell, the main ones seem to be revolutionaries.

    • Replies: @Mikhail
  342. Mikel says:
    @AltanBakshi

    The Greco-Roman homosexuality was very different from the modern one. Only those who were passive partners in homosexual relations were seen in a negative light.

    I’ve never understood how that worked.

    It takes two to tango and, besides, if you are able to feel pleasure by sodomizing another man, you must clearly be very deep into the homo thing. I don’t see how you would not derive pleasure from engaging in other homosexual activities, including the passive ones.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  343. Dmitry says:
    @Pericles

    Buñuel used same story in slightly less surrealist way for “Tristana (1970)”, which I also was not such a fan of. In “Tristana”, an old but bourgeois Fernando Ray marries a poor orphan Catherine Deneuve, but she is sexually unattracted to this old man, and eventually kills him.

    There are of course interesting things in these two films, beyond just this theme of old man unable to attain attraction from the beautiful young woman. Buñuel has the “love hate relationship” with the haute bourgeoisie and its privileges, and in “Tristana” adds a lot of comments about the Spain of his childhood.

    The beauty of Angelina Molina at least conveys the main message of the film (this sense of a painful desire for the beauty you will never attain). I’m not sure the benefit of making her share the character, as all (and in my view – only) the best seconds of the film are when she is on the screen.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  344. Dmitry says:
    @Mikel

    I’ve never understood how that worked.

    This is where you start feel some of “culturally alien” aspects of the Ancient World, even while you recognize that their writers are otherwise discussing very universal themes, and that they are often more intelligent and subtle than modern writers.

    if you are able to feel pleasure by sodomizing another man, you must clearly be very deep into the homo

    For the Ancient Athenian citizens, it seemed to depend of the stage of the life and seniority of the person. In these relationships, younger man (at least as described by Plato) is selected by a prestigious older man, and the younger man was more passive and junior to the older man.

    So (it seems in Plato) that in the Athenian aristocrats and elites, the homosexual relationship had this age-difference (older man with younger man), and also a hierarchical relationship of a senior partner with a junior partner.

    Older man was like a political patron who guides the younger man into society. And the older man sees the passive partner almost like a reflected younger version of himself, who he can train and enter into society as his protégé. At least, this was my impression from Plato texts.

    These relationships functioned partly like a “debutante ball” for the elite society, but also as a way for the older man to shape the destiny of the next generation of the Polis.

    Citizens also see the physical beauty of the young man, as an expression of military power and health of the city. (Survival and power projection of the city state depended on the physical strength and health of its warriors).

    There’s also describe the paradoxical kind of relationship between young Alcibiades and old Socrates, in which Socrates romantically loves Alcibiades and his physical beauty, but sexually has no interest in him (while Alcibiades says he often tries to seduce Socrates).

    There is the different kind “spiritual love” of Socrates for Alcibiades, which Plato contrasts to the sexual interest of Alcibiades for Socrates.

    • Replies: @AP
  345. AP says:
    @Dmitry

    Homosexuality was also common on the Ancient Greek military and was mandatory in Sparta:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_the_militaries_of_ancient_Greece

    I never saw the movie “300.” Was there a lot of gay sex in it? There probably would be, if it were made today.

    • Agree: mal
    • Replies: @songbird
  346. songbird says:
    @AP

    mandatory in Sparta

    Gay revisionism.

  347. Mikhail says: • Website
    @songbird

    Nicholas Rockov, the main Russian bad guy doesn’t appear to be such. Comes across as flat out anti-Russian as opposed to being more genuinely anti-Communist. I nevertheless still enjoyed it as a kid.

    • Thanks: songbird
  348. A123 says:

    Breaking News — Trump permanently ends corrupt prosecution of General Flynn.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @Mikhail
  349. Mikhail says: • Website
    @A123

    Flynn should get appointed for a top Trump admin spot as a middle finger to those media and other bleeps who find little if any faulty with Clapper, Brennan, Biden and Jeffrey lying.

  350. @Dmitry

    Well I don’t know everything about Israel, but I’ve seen things like the Israeli state demolish homes of Christian Palestinians, not just Muslim ones. There’s also disrespect for Christians in the Jerusalem quarter. Probably a bunch of other things as well.

    Just wondering though, if you’re not Jewish, then why do you bother to travel and visit Israel so much?

    Finally, Israel clearly causes a lot of problems in the Middle East and the prospects of Jewish Zionists getting their desired destruction of Iran is still possible regardless whether Trump or Biden is around …

    https://www.axios.com/israeli-military-prepares-trump-iran-0d0a5725-c410-4f5c-a0ea-9c6f9add4966.html

  351. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Thulean Friend

    What accounts for a ‘balanced’ civilisation changes over time. The social liberalism of even a hundred years ago would strike those living in 1000 AD as extreme and insane. At every step, there were reactionaries warning about going too far.

    If we stop burning witches we’ll soon have Witch Pride Marches. And witch bars everywhere.

    Seriously though, while I’m on the side of tolerance it can be taken too far. Tolerance itself can become intolerance. In the case of transsexuals for instance we’ve gone from tolerance of transsexuals to persecution of people who don’t celebrate transsexuals with sufficient enthusiasm.

    Genuine tolerance has to extend to tolerance of people who simply disagree.

    • Agree: AnonFromTN
    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  352. • Thanks: Ano4
  353. @dfordoom

    We’re certainly in agreement that people shouldn’t be prosecuted for disagreeing and there is a strain of authoritarianism within contemporary neoliberal discourse which I find repulsive.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  354. @Jaakko Raipala

    Finland was economically successful without any of this liberalism.

    Finland certainly had to become more liberal in order to get rich, e.g. giving women the vote among other things. Your cardinal mistake is to try to isolate specific issues without seeing the greater context and the broader progression of these movements in the longue durée

    As China becomes the better alternative

    China is becoming more liberal as well.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
    , @AP
    , @songbird
  355. China’s disastrous landgrab back in April was a cardinal geopolitical error. Modi invested huge amounts of political capital to make the relationship work, trying hard to keep the more hawkish domestic elements at bay.

    The paramount objective was to maintain India’s traditional strategic autonomy, which given the fact that India is the weaker party of the two, necessitated that China and India could get along.

    India will now increasingly be forced to abandon strategic autonomy in favour of slowly adjusting itself to the US empire. China, which had become a major player in the Indian market, has now systematically found its companies being shut out.

    India may comprise a small amount of their global revenues, but this is about the opportunity cost of forgone future revenues.

    China ruined all that for a few patches of worthless desert land. Truly a geopolitical masterstroke.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @Blinky Bill
  356. @Jaakko Raipala

    Finland was economically successful without any of this liberalism. During the Cold War the culture was largely integrated with the Soviet Union and the KGB watched over any foreign deals that Finnish politicians made so we were not influenced by American media, NGOs and the like.

    Many Finns, especially younger ones, clearly remember being under the tight scrutiny of the KGB from the 1960’s on, hehheh.

    After the collapse of the USSR we were flooded with this neoliberal ideology and the old social democratic politics is dead. Economically the rich have gotten much richer while much of the working class is stagnating in wages and employment.

    Devastation of industry in the 90’s was a great crime committed by the so-called Koivisto conclave. Social Democrats in the vanguard in that enterprise.

  357. @Jaakko Raipala

    Finland was economically successful without any of this liberalism. During the Cold War the culture was largely integrated with the Soviet Union and the KGB watched over any foreign deals that Finnish politicians made so we were not influenced by American media, NGOs and the like.

    Many Finns, especially younger ones, clearly remember being under the tight scrutiny of the KGB from the 1960’s on, hehheh.

    After the collapse of the USSR we were flooded with this neoliberal ideology and the old social democratic politics is dead. Economically the rich have gotten much richer while much of the working class is stagnating in wages and employment.

    Devastation of industry in the 90’s was a great crime committed by the so-called Koivisto conclave. Social Democrats in the vanguard in that enterprise.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @Jaakko Raipala
  358. Dmitry says:
    @TheTotallyAnonymous

    u’re not Jewish, then why do you bother to travel and visit Israel so much?

    I went to Israel after university – with an idea to get a passport, but the reality is that you have to live in Israel for a year before they give you one, and I already had an opportunity to work and live in another country at that time. I was in Israel with nothing to do for a summer though. I shouldn’t say I’m an expert about Israel, but it’s the first foreign country where I lived after university and I was free all day to explore it. I know a lot of the country, and it’s small so I doubt I can miss much. .

    In terms of visiting often – I haven’t had a chance to visit since my last vacation there, which was in 2018, so to be honest my interest and about Israel started to fall a little. Maybe I can visit Israel again in 2021 or 2022.

    state demolish homes of Christian Palestinian

    That would be some news story about West Bank though, where there is maybe 30000 of Arab Christians.

    I can only talk about my experience of Israel, not West Bank. In Israel, there are something like 130000 Arab Christians. Standard of living of these particular Arabs (excluding groups like Bedouin, East Jerusalem residents, or certain ghetto areas), seems high to my perception.

    Obviously, population in Gaza are living badly (like hostages in a besieged Islamic State), while West Bank is a similar lifestyle to Jordan or Egypt. But Arab Christians are more a feature of Northern Israel, and Israeli citizens’ lifestyle in Israel is not bad by international standards.

    Israel definitely left the third world in the last few years.

    also disrespect for Christians in the Jerusalem quarter.

    This is East Jerusalem. Religious cult fanatics (Haredi Jews) with black hats spit on professional priests with black hats.

    Notice all these religious places in Jerusalem, feel more like just an old “tourist trap”, that sparks a certain madness and violence in fanatics. Even the claustrophobic Church of the Holy Sepulchre is surely the only church in the world where priests regularly fight each other with broomsticks. Jerusalem is historically interesting, and even strangely romantic place – but spiritually it is not a holy city.

    • Replies: @TheTotallyAnonymous
  359. @Thulean Friend

    Hah Finland gave women right to vote long before everyone else in Europe, actually they gave women voting rights when they were part of the Russian Empire, also Soviets had equal voting rigthts long before countries like France or Switzerland. Were Russian Empire or Soviet Union liberal, or the Autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland? You silly Swede….

    • Agree: Ano4
  360. Ano4 says:

    For 15 Years Sweden Thought Enemy Submarines Were Invading Its Territory. It Turned Out To Be Herring Farts

    https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/for-15-years-sweden-thought-enemy-submarines-were-invading-its-territory-it-turned-out-to-be-herring-farts/

    Also:

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/10/16/sweden-spent-2m-hunting-for-nonexistent-russian-sub-reports-a67766

    https://www.svd.se/bekraftade-ubaten-var-signal-till-smhis-havsboj

    Sometimes one wonders, why do otherwise smart people become stubbornly attached to their erroneous interpretations?

    🙂

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    , @Pericles
    , @utu
  361. @melanf

    A is conch, H is probably three Shiva Lingams and Yonis, Elephant firgure near the letter N is maybe Ganesha, E is possibly Hanuman, but all the rest idols are very awkward and weird, never I have seen anything like that before in my life, yes often Hindu idols or murtis are clothed, but what these idols are I cant say?!

  362. @Ano4

    Confirmation bias is a hell of a drug.

    • Agree: Ano4
  363. Ano4 says:
    @Oikeamielinen

    Globalized financial capitalism is not a free market system. And it has a center and a periphery. Finland is not in the center, but in the early 90ies it was highly successful due to its geostrategic position, its neutral status and its role as a business intermediary between USSR and the West during the Cold War era.

    Once the Cold War was over, Finland lost some of its geostrategic and economic importance, there was an adjustment in the global capitalist economy. Social-democrates are globalists by design. Their actions across Eastern Europe and Fenno-Scandia should be seen through that lens. It’s not a bug, but a feature.

  364. Ano4 says:
    @Thulean Friend

    It’s more complicated than that. The tensions between India and China were on the rise for years prior to this incident. Russia tried for 10 years to help bridge Sino-Indian differences, including through the BRICS, it failed.

    One of the best strategies for a depopulation agenda would be an all out war between China and Pakistan on one hand and India on the other. But a nuclear war would cause a great deal of pollution, so perhaps it would be avoided. Ecology is very important, we have to preserve what is left of the biosphere.

  365. @Ano4

    You are wrong, originally Scandinavian Social Democrats had a very different model of development and market economics than the Laissez Faire Classical Liberalism of the Anglos, but they were co-opted slowly but surely in the last decades of the 20th century. Many leading Swedish social democrats believed that the Folkhemmet society with strong national cohesion and welfare could be only established in a society that is culturally homogenic. It can be even argued that the roots of the Folkhemmet are in the German Volksgemeinschaft model of peoples unity. The Swedes had even national eugenics program, and many vagrants and members of unwanted minorities were forcibly sterilized. That all happened under the Social Democratic rule in Sweden and only ended in the 1970s. Such forced sterilization was a step too far, but the Swedish Folkhemmet model was a sound idea, and if any country has come near realizing a materialist utopia in out world, its that of the Swedens in the 1980s, but they didnt understand the root causes of human suffering, so they lost or are losing that materialist heaven that they build on this earth.

    • Replies: @Pericles
    , @Ano4
    , @AP
  366. @Ano4

    I shudder from fear when I think a nuclear post-apocalyptic Punjab! No Mad Max, but Mad Singhs eating radiated Ganja(with black pepper), looting and shooting in Pakistani wastelands and driving bikes! Actually that would be pretty cool!

    • Agree: Ano4
  367. Pericles says:
    @Dmitry

    Interestingly, it was the other actress for the same character (well, watch the movie if you didn’t understand that, dear reader) who got to be a Bond girl a few years later.

    I haven’t seen Tristana but from what you write it actually doesn’t seem all that similar. I’ll refer you to the ending of That Obscure Object again, basically from when he stops telling his story (which is the framing device of the movie) and onward. Excellent.

    There were also some pretty funny scenes along the way, for instance the one where the old guy has managed to lure the girl to his mansion and even into his bed, and then … can’t get her underwear off. Knowing smile from the passive girl. I had to chuckle. The best laid plans of men …

  368. Pericles says:
    @Ano4

    Well, there was that Soviet sub, U-137, which ran aground near a Swedish military base. Perhaps we got a bit touchy after that.

    • Replies: @Ano4
  369. Pericles says:
    @AltanBakshi

    In the 1950s, the total taxation was around 20% of GDP, which would get us in the same class as Hong Kong these days. However, after the sensible Social Democrats came Olof Palme. In the early 1970s, taxes skyrocketed to more than 50% of GDP and the capitalists started moving themselves and their companies abroad. I guess IKEA is the most famous example. It finally broke the long, long trend of strong economic growth.

    This sorry state of affairs was maintained even with center-right governments, but in the 1980s it was time to deregulate.

    Both of these sea changes were ultimately driven by trends from abroad, I would say. If memory serves, even Olof Palme was a Harvard graduate of some sort (and we know what that means).

    The eugenics were also a trend at the time, by the way. Most errybody in the American empire seems to have done something like it, “three generations of imbeciles is enough” and whatnot.

    Folkhemmet was a very strong meme for a very long time. We don’t hear much about it recently though, perhaps because it might cause us to wonder … folk? what folk? Unlimited migrants is another trend washing in from abroad and, I should add, just as recently happened in Ireland, it was literally introduced by jewish efforts.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @Thulean Friend
  370. Ano4 says:
    @AltanBakshi

    People tend to think that globalism and laissez faire capitalism are somewhat related. They are wrong. Modern day globalism is the logical development of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century socialist internationalism.

    It was since the very beginning funded and directed by the same interests. Dissolving national and ethnic boundaries, while getting access to the markets and resources was the goal then and it is now. Ideology gets adapted, the end game is the same: digesting humankind into human resources and paying consumer-serfs.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  371. Ano4 says:
    @Pericles

    Please see my comments #382 and #389.

    Fenno-Scandia are not in the core of the global capitalist system.

    You have probably seen this Ted talk, but if you did not then it’s worth watching:

    Of course they will tell that it is perfectly natural and complex systems tend to evolve towards a greater connectivity and structure, but a question arises: what exactly propelled a certain part of the World elite towards such an outstanding position?

    Accidents of history…

    😉

  372. @Ano4

    It was since the very beginning funded and directed by the same interests. Dissolving national and ethnic boundaries, while getting access to the markets and resources was the goal then and it is now. Ideology gets adapted, the end game is the same: digesting humankind into human resources and paying consumer-serfs.

    I am 100% sure that most Scandinavian Soc Dem leaders didnt harbour such thoughts before the 80s or 90s. Although Scandinavian Soc Dems did have connection with the Russian Soc Dem party, their policies and philosophy started to diverge strongly in the late 1910s.

  373. Ano4 says:
    @Pericles

    Well, yeah and there was that unfortunate affair at Poltava too. And Novgorod warriors taking the doors of Sigutna cathedral as a souvenir.

    Seriously though, Russians always laugh when they hear of the Fenno-Scandian fears of being invaded. We are not at the times when Wendish, Curonian and Rus fleets raided the Baltic coasts anymore.

    Anyone who says the opposite is probably connected to the NATO MIC in one way or another or is just dumb.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  374. 128 says:

    Was Nokia a household name outside of its country, or at best, Europe before the 1990s? How many people in Chile, India, or Indonesia could name a single Finnish company before 1999? The end of the cold war and globalization definitely helped large Finnish enterprises more than it hurt them.

  375. @Ano4

    India’s strategic doctrine for several decades had assumed that the LoAC would be essentially stable. In stark contrast to the LOC, the LoAC had not had a single bullet fired for almost 50 years.

    As the weaker party, India had essentially bet on two twin forces to mitigate Chinese aggression: economic interdependence and strategic subjugation under the US empire.

    In blatantly violating the status quo on the LoAC, the Chinese side must have calculated two things. First, that India’s economy wouldn’t amount to much in the long run and second, that India’s doctrine of strategic autonomy was too deep-seated to ever be changed.

    In other words, India’s threat was a bluff in Beijing’s calculation and any aggression would not have a significant strategic re-orientation. In an ironic way, Beijing may have more faith in India’s independence than New Delhi itself. Beijing is now paying the economic cost of seeing its companies systematically being shut out of India with all the future foregone revenues it implies.

    The second calculation, that India wouldn’t ultimately be able to ditch the strategic autonomy doctrine is a gamble that may prove ill-fated. India has consistently moved closer to the US and there’s no sign of it stopping. Again: Beijing messed up all these delicate equilibriums for a few patches of a desert. Truly mind-bogglingly incompetent.

    • Agree: AltanBakshi
  376. @Ano4

    Social democrats are globalists by design. Their actions across Eastern Europe and Fenno-Scandia should be seen through that lens. It’s not a bug, but a feature.

    That’s too myopic. History should be looked at through broader trends. Since the mid-1970s, the forces of neoliberalism swept the globe. It didn’t really matter which regime was in power: democratic or authoritarian, nominally left or nominally right. They all pursued the same approximate policies. The only differences was the speed and intensity as local political constraints allowed.

    This may or may not change henceforth. For all the talk of a ‘Great Reset’, I don’t see much ideological introspection. We were supposed to get one after the GFC of 2008, but this underestimates the sheer rapacity and greed of the neoliberal capitalist class.

    There are many striking similarities between our age and that of the Belle Epoque in France. Both ages have very progressive official rhetoric but actual economic policy is deeply inegalitarian and plutocratic.

  377. @Pericles

    Folkhemmet was a very strong meme for a very long time. We don’t hear much about it recently though

    Folkhemmet was originally created by the conservative right-wing in Sweden. The ruling Social Democrats simply co-opted it. As you pointed out, eugenics in Sweden was mainstream even on the left during those times.

    I suspect this historic legacy is something few in mainstream parties want to stir these days. I remember folkhemmet being invoked as late as the 1990s and early 2000s in mainstream political discourse. It simply disappeared after that.

  378. AP says:
    @Thulean Friend

    Is Shen Yiqin’s example necessarily one of liberalism? Was 16th century England under Elizabeth I a liberal society, more liberal than the USA ever (until Kamala becomes president)?

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  379. 128 says:

    Well, one thing that counts against India is that its government has much worse organizational ability compared to China. And it is a lot more dysfunctional in terms of its ability to build needed infrastructure fast.

  380. 128 says:

    It is much better to have China’s problems than India’s problems.

    • Agree: songbird
  381. AP says:
    @AltanBakshi

    Yes. The “dreamers” among the Soviet elite reformers was to transform the USSR by reorganizing it into something like Sweden of the 1970s. However, the late-Soviet era society was much too rotten and corrupt for things to work out like that, and capitalism may have been too mysterious for them anyways. Instead, of course, reforms led to collapse, and a dystopian nightmare developed when the failed project was easily taken over by the opportunists and criminals among the Soviet elite, with the encouragement of the Western “partners” eager to see their rival fall.

  382. Pericles says:
    @Ano4

    Yeah, U-137 was waaaay back in 1981, remote history by now. OK, that was about the same time as Raiders of the Lost Ark was released and half a decade after Star Wars. But anyway. As you say, it’s all peace and rainbows now.

    • Replies: @Ano4
  383. songbird says:
    @Thulean Friend

    Finland certainly had to become more liberal in order to get rich, e.g. giving women the vote among other things.

    You are as bad as that spearchucker guy, who says Europe’s wealth comes from black migrants. Switzerland didn’t have universal suffrage until the 1970s. In fact, the last canton held out until 1991.

    China’s disastrous landgrab back in April was a cardinal geopolitical error.

    Why are you so obsessed with worthless territory that Indians didn’t care about for thousands of years? Until the British decided that the mountains should be explored, mapped and surmounted.

    I’m starting to seriously doubt your professions of universalism. “It’s okay if Europeans get invaded to the hilt and disappear, but fuck the Chinese for all time, if they take our worthless, uninhabitable territory that nobody in their right mind recognizes. We will use the West as a golem to punish them.”

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  384. @Dmitry

    so to be honest my interest and about Israel started to fall a little.

    I’ll be charitable and just assume you were interested for personal, business and tourism purposes.

    That would be some news story about West Bank though, where there is maybe 30000 of Arab Christians.

    Obviously, population in Gaza are living badly (like hostages in a besieged Islamic State), while West Bank is a similar lifestyle to Jordan or Egypt.

    I’ll again be charitable here and assume that you’ve simply casually “picked up” a pro-Israel bias from your time there.

    Still, this would somewhat make sense why Israel is completely colonizing, terrorizing persecuting, attacking and bombing Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza, as they’re still partly continuing the fight against Israel without having fully surrendered and given up (the Palestinian Authority is apparently very corrupt and co-operates with Israel considerably mostly out of necessity, despite popular Palestinian resistance to Israel, of course). You seem to be implying that the Palestinian Arab/Christian/Muslim populations in other parts of Israel seem to have chosen to submit (not counting all those who fled, were expelled, killed etc in the past, maybe not to state this in such a raw way?), voluntarily or not, to the Israeli state and Jewish supremacy which implies they’re treated somewhat better for this reason.

    Israel definitely left the third world in the last few years.

    I don’t have any doubts that the Jewish majority of Israel is doing rather well for itself. I was interested about minorities, Christian ones in particular.

    This is East Jerusalem. Religious cult fanatics (Haredi Jews) with black hats spit on professional priests with black hats.

    Notice all these religious places in Jerusalem, feel more like just an old “tourist trap”, that sparks a certain madness and violence in fanatics.

    Perhaps maybe East Jerusalem is a place I should visit then?

    Would fit right in 😛

    Still, I’m personally sort of curious about visiting Jerusalem/Christian Holy Land (the great Serb Saint Sava famously made a pilgrimage there, although I don’t think I’m religiously devoted enough for a full-on pilgrimage) if I ever bothered to go to Israel. Although I probably shouldn’t because I don’t really like either Muslims or Jews very much, but of course one would cautiously avoid publicly expressing such sentiments. Strictly speaking in terms of travel though, Israel seems to have more to offer than Turkey in visiting historical and religious sites, especially now that Hagia Sofia has been turned into a mosque. After all, what else would I visit in Istanbul besides the “Belgrade quarter” (good for professional research but not much more) where Serbs were kept as slaves taken from the Ottoman conquest of Belgrade in 1521? …

    • Replies: @Yevardian
    , @Dmitry

  385. Small Buddha statuette from North India dating from 6th century AD, found in Viking’s grave in Helgö, Sweden. Probably made its way north along the Volga Trade Route. Though that’s a 9th century thing, so the statue would’ve been quite old at the time.

    [MORE]

    Know your audience!

    • Thanks: AltanBakshi
  386. I don’t think this trick would work in most Western countries today. Not because the slavish devotion of the US is any lower, but because English proficiency is higher so most people would be able to pretend that they saw through the trick. Even though the cultural critique that the musician aimed for would be applicable for them, too.

  387. @AP

    Was 16th century England under Elizabeth I a liberal society?

    For its time? Yes. Her reign was significantly more religiously moderate than those who came before her. More importantly, the elevation of women to positions of power showed that the underlying forces in English high-society tended towards liberalism.

    It is no coincidence that the two most successful North-West European societies were also the comparably most literate (Netherlands and England). England’s liberalisation process was gradual and had setbacks (as the puritans would’ve have told you). But the long-term trend was unmistakable.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  388. @songbird

    The issue isn’t the territory itself. It’s that the Chinese have forced Modi into a position he long sought to avoid, which is to shed India’s strategic autonomy and become subservient to the US.

    I’m simply pushing back on the claims that Beijing is ruled by geopolitical geniuses. They needlessly antagonised India for no real gains, losing market access for the foreseeable future for a wide variety of firms and strongly pushing India to shed its traditional doctrine.

    If that’s the price you pay, then better make sure your prize better damn well be worth it. Can anyone honestly claim that a few patches of worthless desert land is that for Beijing? It’s a spectacular own goal.

  389. Ano4 says:
    @Pericles

    Read my comment again. It ain’t gonna be “peace and rainbows” until NATO’s MIC is satiated. Which is never. They need the big and ugly Russian bear to fill their pockets with taxpayer moneys. If Russia would not exist, they would have invented one…

    • Replies: @Pericles
  390. Pericles says:
    @Ano4

    Since you mention it, I think there’s a decent chance there will be a war of peace and rainbows in the Ukraine or perhaps Belarus. Or why not Syria? Let the healing begin, Joe! Hope, unity, decency, truth, Kamala!

    • Agree: Ano4
  391. @Thulean Friend

    What does China want from India again? Why does India not join the Belt & Road Initiative?

  392. @Thulean Friend

    Russia of the 18th century was mainly ruled by women, as was the 17th century Ottoman Empire, were they liberal or progressive societies? Ha ha! You progressives are so closeminded with your modern models and concepts that you try to fit into every period.

    • Agree: Ano4, AP
  393. AaronB says:
    @Thulean Friend

    I think China’s goals were different, and they achieved them well.

    Obviously, that empty high altitude desert had zero value, and even if it could be taken with no consequence there would be no point.

    What China wanted to do was demonstrate aggressiveness. It was a pure gesture of aggression, calculated to psychologically intimidate weaker nations. In China’s grand strategy, the negative consequences were worth it in the long run.

    China evidently has chosen the political path of ruling by blunt force and fear, and whether we think its wise ultimately is irrelevant. Seen from this point of view, China’s move makes perfect sense, and succeeded admirably.

  394. Ano4 says:

    This is quite curious, but not that surprising when you think about it…

    The Quantitative Comparison Between the Neuronal Network and the Cosmic Web

    We investigate the similarities between two of the most challenging and complex systems in Nature: the network of neuronal cells in the human brain, and the cosmic network of galaxies. We explore the structural, morphological, network properties and the memory capacity of these two fascinating systems, with a quantitative approach. In order to have an homogeneous analysis of both systems, our procedure does not consider the true neural connectivity but an approximation of it, based on simple proximity. The tantalizing degree of similarity that our analysis exposes seems to suggest that the self-organization of both complex systems is likely being shaped by similar principles of network dynamics, despite the radically different scales and processes at play.

    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphy.2020.525731/full

    • Thanks: Mr. Hack, AP
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  395. Mr. Hack says:
    @Ano4

    It’s appropriate to say “thanks” on Thanksgiving.

    To all the readers here, and especially to our gatekeeper and impresario Anatoly, Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Agree: Ano4, mal
    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @AP
  396. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Incorrect. Tolstoy was still around 60 years old when he wrote Kreutzer Sonata, but he did not lose his sex drive until he was in his eighties (he wrote about this publicly, another humiliation for his wife).

    • Replies: @utu
    , @AnonFromTN
  397. @Thulean Friend

    It is almost completely pointless to appease India one way or another given the fundamentally “agreement-incapable” position that they have and the inevitable hate that they were going to take to China anyway; I’m not even sure if it wasn’t India that initiated hostilities. At any rate, it is probably best to get it over with and let India’s enemies know that they now have an opportunity.

    • Replies: @Ano4
  398. utu says:
    @AP

    Dwarfs can’t stand giants and will ascribe to them their own lowly motives as seen from their short horizon.

  399. Ano4 says:
    @Mr. Hack

    I think Thanksgiving is one of the beautiful North American traditions. I wish you and others among the American commenters a joyful celebration. I hope that despite the current situation, you will all spend some great time with your relatives and loved ones.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  400. @AP

    he wrote about this publicly

    Reminds me of a Russian joke.
    A 65-year old guy comes to a doctor and complains:
    – I can’t have sex with women any more, I cannot get it up. My neighbor is 80 years old and tells stories about his sex with young women.
    The doctor says:
    – I don’t see your problem. Why can’t you tell stories?

    • Replies: @AP
  401. @Ano4

    India has a talent for angering its rivals in ways that even China has not managed.

    A short trip to the Indian internet universe and the unrelenting chupatz energy would explain why.

    • Agree: Yevardian
  402. AP says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Tolstoy wasn’t bragging when he was in his eighties of course. He wrote something to the effect of “thank God I am finally free of this horrible impulse.”

  403. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and the others here. Our house is full of such delicious smells now..

    • Thanks: Mr. Hack
  404. Yevardian says:
    @TheTotallyAnonymous

    Although my feelings about Israel have changed a lot over the years, and I certainly don’t think they deserve any money or assistance from the West, the fact remains to me that if it weren’t founded, in it’s place would just be another dysfunctional Arab shithole.. probably existing as some sort of lawless and sectarian no-man’s land constantly fought over between Egypt, Syria and Jordan, exactly like Lebanon.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  405. Yevardian says:
    @Autists Anonymous Rehab Camp Fugitive

    Tbh, the only Turbofolk singer I know of who possesses genuine musical talent outside of meme-appeal is Roki Vulovic. Maybe someone can show me some others.

  406. songbird says:
    @Thulean Friend

    They needlessly antagonised India for no real gains, losing market access for the foreseeable future

    I’m not convinced that India changed tack. Before the border clashes, India had already taken steps to restrict direct foreign investment from China. They seemed to be on this path beforehand.

    Large countries are inherently assertive (except for the US, which is severely cucked in several relationships) I’m not sure that large countries that have a disputed land border can have a good relationship, especially if they are both developing and witnesses to fast growth. Didn’t Russia (USSR) and China iron out their border, decades ago, after clashes? It seems silly for India and China not to do the same.

    Anyway, that is my charitable view. My less charitable view is to look at the many extremely obnoxious Indian politicians in the West and to try to extrapolate from their behavior to Westerners how a country of about 1.4 billion ruled by dozens of Sidiq Khans and Kamala Harrises might behave in their own neck of the woods. I don’t think that humility, fairness, and reciprocity would be their governing principle – that is not the vibe that I get from them.

    • Agree: Daniel Chieh
    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  407. Dmitry says:
    @TheTotallyAnonymous

    charitable and just assume you were interested for personal, business and tourism purposes

    It’s not from lack of love, but that you naturally lose interest about a country if you didn’t visit recently, like if you didn’t see a friend for a few years.

    seem to be implying that the Palestinian Arab/Christian/Muslim populations in other parts of Israel seem to have chosen to submit

    No it doesn’t seem like there is so much connection in the living standards to loyalty.

    After the defeat in the 1948 war, the Muslim/Christian village elders (they lived in the same villages) have rejected Israel and the Israeli army. As a result, young people in those villages still don’t have to conscript in the Israeli army.

    The Druze and Circassian villages, were living separately from Muslim/Christian Arabs, and they were neutral during the Arab-Israel war. Their elders decided to support the Israeli government after the war – and as a result (which is actually a bit more like punishment), their youth are mass conscripted into the Israeli army.

    Bedouin Arabs were always separate to the urban Arabs, and they decide to volunteer in to the Israeli army in large numbers (but I think without conscription).

    Only in the last decade, Christian Arab youth started to volunteer to join the Israeli army, but the topic is still controversial with their elders (especially as they live in the same village as Muslims) and they don’t have a conscription agreement. Also Maronites have created a separate identity, and now volunteer to join the Israeli army (but this is recent history only).

    This loyalty or disloyalty of a community, to the state and army, doesn’t always connect to standards of living. Druze village (which are the most Zionist villages in Israel, excluding the one in the Golan Heights which is loyal to Syria) are poorer than some of the Arab villages, despite having the highest conscription level of any nationality.

    Israeli army doesn’t pay anything (it’s almost like a punishment to have conscription to it), so the conscription or volunteering to the army is more of indication of tribal loyalties of the different communities.

    I don’t have any doubts that the Jewish majority of Israel is doing rather well for itself. I was interested about minorities, Christian ones in particular.

    Arab Christians which come from Israel, are citizens (and with high education and disproportionate university attendance levels), so obviously they are economically lucky, in the sense of disproportionately middle class as a community. African Christians (i.e. Eritreans), are mostly illegal immigrants, and live in scary parts of South Tel Aviv. But it’s their decision to illegally cross the border. Often they were abused by the Bedouin tribes who controlled the Southern border into Sinai. Filipinos have some guest worker agreement in Israel, but they don’t have the rights of citizens. There’s also things like a lot of Christian Latin American illegal immigrants in Israel.

    Perhaps maybe East Jerusalem is a place I should visit then?

    Would fit right in 😛

    Still, I’m personally sort of curious about visiting Jerusalem/Christian Holy Land (the great Serb

    If you are religious Christian, of course you need to travel over Israel.

    However, my point, is these religious “tourist traps”, do not feel like a spiritual experience. They may be even historically interesting, but the fanatics, violence, claustrophobia, and tourist kitsch – is anti-spiritual for myself (and I’m quite sure most people).

    If you can avoid these “tourist traps”, and explore independently, rent a car. It’s wonderful to walk in the Middle Eastern countryside away from crowds. That’s where you will more likely find spirituality, rather than in a claustrophobic religious “tourist trap” surrounded by fanatics.

    Obviously, if you know the New Testament – it’s a privilege to be able to walk around in the same areas as where the book is talking about. You won’t understand the context of the New Testament, if you don’t know the places it describes feel like under your feet.

    For example, Jesus “catches” fish in the Sea of Galilee – Jesus’ alleged “fishing method” is not reproducible, but descendants of the same fish is still in the same water.

    • Thanks: TheTotallyAnonymous
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  408. Dmitry says:
    @Yevardian

    Lebanon looked attractive at least in historical tourist marketing videos (for the little that is worth) – until maybe the 1960s, and until time there would be still not too many cars and concrete jungle there.

    I feel like some of the disillusionment we have with modern Middle East, is not only because of the region’s religious fanaticism, – but from the Middle East’s disastrous implementation of 20th century modernization in urban planning, traffic, and architecture.

    The alienation of modernity, with its highways and concrete blocks, is bad enough in a developed country; but this modernization seems to have the most dystopian effect in the third world.

    When I was at school, we studied about Ancient Egypt, and I imagined Cairo as an amazing city. I have still never been there yet, but nowadays seeing videos of the traffic jams there – I assume I would be suffocating from air pollution before I could walk around the city for more than a few hours.

  409. @AltanBakshi

    Idk Bhakti

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhagavata

    • Thanks: AltanBakshi
  410. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Thulean Friend

    We’re certainly in agreement that people shouldn’t be prosecuted for disagreeing and there is a strain of authoritarianism within contemporary neoliberal discourse which I find repulsive.

    The interesting question is, where did this come from? Was it always inherent in liberalism or does it mark a major sea change. And if it does mark a major sea change why did it happen? How did liberals go from happy-clappy “why can’t we all just get along” types to persecutors? Is it just human nature – power inevitably corrupting?

    Is contemporary neoliberalism even liberalism?

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  411. @dfordoom

    Is contemporary neoliberalism even liberalism?

    I would argue no. Liberalism won the major ideological war of the last few centuries, but all ruling ideologies become hostage to opportunists. Since liberalism is the de facto standard tenet of the ruling class, everyone who has any ambitions must profess his allegiance to it, regardless of their actual convictions.

    This is why we see so much hypocritical talk of ‘human rights’ by the US imperialists, despite them turning a blind eye to Yemen being brutalised by Saudi Arabia, Israeli apartheid and of course their sponsoring of jihadists in Syria. The media by and large in the West are nothing but stenographers who never question the wide disparity between official rhetoric and actual policy.

    Another aspect is that liberalism always had a strong egalitarian strain. The reason why the most liberal societies had the highest literacy early on was because there were important thinkers who advocated on behalf of the poor and the downtrodden. Christianity’s role here is ambivalent. Many of these reformers were Christian, certainly in the Netherlands and in Denmark, but one has to be careful in separating cause and effect. Was it Christian doctrine or was it simply deeper forces that shaped Christianity in this way in these societies?

    Regardless of these historical questions, this egalitarian impulse is clearly dying across the West. What we have instead is ‘woke plutocracy’. Or neoliberalism. To me, that is a hollow and inauthentic ideology created by and on behalf of the ruling class.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  412. @songbird

    India had already taken steps to restrict direct foreign investment from China.

    This was part of a general trend against globalisation and must be seen in this light. Ask the Americans about the punitive laws against their ecommerce companies.

    India had reversed 25 years of trade liberalisation in 2017 with a series of tariffs. There has been a crackdown (which I welcome) on foreign-influence peddling NGOs.

    It’s in this context that these steps have to be seen. China was not singled out.

    I’m not sure that large countries that have a disputed land border can have a good relationship

    The LoAC had not had a single death in 50 years before the April incident of this year. Remarkably, the border is not set. This was not a small achievement on the part of Beijing and New Delhi. The LOC, meanwhile, does have fixed borders yet casualties has been near-constant for the last half-century.

    The status quo was not optimal, but it clearly didn’t lead to bloodshed for many, many decades. Then China suddenly decided it had to destroy the status quo for a few patches of worthless land and in the process get a wide variety of successful private Chinese firms shut out and push India to abolish its long-held strategic autonomy doctrine.

    Remarkably foolish.

  413. @Thulean Friend

    There’s no conceivable future where India isn’t hostile to China. Might as well get it over with before Chinese companies become too entangled with it. Its not so much that China seeking to be specifically aggressive, from what I can infer, as much as China does not really bother much with appeasing India. There’s just no point. India perceives road building in the mountains as hostile. India perceives China building alliances as hostile. India perceived providing drinking water to Nepalese as hostile. Heck, India perceives not inviting unlimited immigration from India as hostile.

    To coexist with Indian aims is to essentially actively submit to a variety of mysterious and shifting demands to harm yourself, often framed in the most obnoxious ways. Eventually, the response is just not to bother.

    This is indeed the more accurate one:

    My less charitable view is to look at the many extremely obnoxious Indian politicians in the West and to try to extrapolate from their behavior to Westerners how a country of about 1.4 billion ruled by dozens of Sidiq Khans and Kamala Harrises might behave in their own neck of the woods. I don’t think that humility, fairness, and reciprocity would be their governing principle – that is not the vibe that I get from them.

    Unrelenting waves of chutzpah is irritating.

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  414. utu says:
    @Ano4

    How to Deal With Russian Information Warfare? Ask Sweden’s Subhunters
    https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2018/04/how-deal-russian-information-warfare-ask-sweden/147154/

    As Sweden’s chief of defense until 2015, Göranson had ultimate responsibility for the 2014 submarine hunt, and as a result became a particular target of Russian mockery. “Russian media found a video snippet of me in yellow rain boots dancing to an ABBA song that they showed over and over,” he recalled. “Their message to the Swedish public was, ‘the person in charge in your country is a clown whom you can’t trust.’ They were ridiculing those in charge at all levels.”

    This pattern of denial and ridicule is familiar to the Swedish armed forces, which have for decades hunted suspected submarines near the 2,700-kilometer coastline surrounding the mainland and the island of Gotland.

  415. @Daniel Chieh

    You have a very fatalistic view. China and India were never going to be best friends, but the previous status quo was something that Modi actively pursued despite US pressure. China simply underestimates how important strategic autonomy is to New Delhi. The major stumbling block to closer India-US integration was never the Americans but the Indians. It is the US which has consistently pushed for closer relations, ultimately wanting a passive chess piece like it has all over Europe to be used against Washingtons adversaries.

    Strategic autonomy shouldn’t just be understood in geopolitical terms. For India, there is also a domestic dimension. India’s elites are much more compromised than China’s by Western neoliberal influence. Much more.

    Therefore, for a Hindu nationalist government, the danger is less Beijing than domestic comprador elites. These domestic forces prevent cultural and national consolidation in the way that Xi has managed. The house paper of the Western deep state, the Economist, is characteristic in its virulent attacks on Modi and the BJP. They transparently want a weak and westernised candidate like Rahul Gandhi, which they can easily control. Beyond that, they want to push India in a more multicultural direction and weaken Hindu resolve.

    Trump was loved because he didn’t care about these things, but he was always an abberation. New Delhi knows that there is a price to be paid for a tight US integration, and that price is domestic diminution of Hindu nationalism. This is a major reason why Modi was resistant until the very end. But now Beijing has made his previous position utterly impossible, lest he be accused of being a pushover.

    China never understood Indian domestic politics and that showed very clearly in this recent episode.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  416. Mr. Hack says:
    @Dmitry

    Some pretty large fish, but they all seem to be carp? I know that a lot of folks enjoy carp that live in Europe, but what about in Israel? In the clip they seem to let them all go back into the water. Where I’m from in Minnesota, people don’t make a special trip to catch carp, but are more interested in bass, pike, walleyes and smaller tasty pan fish like perch, crappies and sunfish. Catfish are also know as bottom feeders, but for most folks are more preferable than carp. Caught an 11 lb catfish two years ago, great sport and good eating too. I’ve been involved in catching some pretty large sturgeons (20 – 30lb) and a friend of mine caught one large one over 60 lbs in the St. Croix River on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. More than anything, I like the comradery and fresh air that you get when you go fishing.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  417. @Oikeamielinen

    My grandfather was a Kokoomus MP in the 1960s and he definitely remembered his party being under tight scrutiny (as it turns out the Russians weren’t entirely wrong as it seems like Kok is just a CIA operation now…). Anyway my theory of how Russian intelligence operations prevented Americanized poz in Finlandized Finland goes like this:

    The big condition that Stalin demanded from Finland to end WWII was that it was to be banned from deals with “Germany and its allies”. Finland saw the danger of being completely cut off form the capitalist world as a step towards communist takeover so our politicians pre-emptively surrendered to the idea that the Russians would have a veto over any foreign deal which means that every deal with Germany, America etc would get checked by Russian intelligence.

    It began with Finland refusing the Marshall Plan – most people would have wanted it but of course Russian intelligence checks on it found suspicious names and organizations behind it. The Russians were probably right and it was a way to establish influence channels and connections under the guise of aid. Note that Sweden received a lot of Marshall aid even though it didn’t even fight in WWII and, surprise surprise, at the same time Swedish Social Democracy had a cultural revolution to change their ideology from running the ethnic home of Swedes to being a country of migrants.

    It continues with American NGOs, NATO and everything else that were suppressed in Finland as long as every deal with the West had to first be checked for subversive elements in Moscow. We unknowingly had the best of both worlds – access to Western economic development but with Russian intelligence agencies filtering out all the political developments that come with it. When we began losing that as the USSR weakened we were completely unprepared to resist the poz and we had one of the fastest takeovers.

    Devastation of industry in the 90’s was a great crime committed by the so-called Koivisto conclave. Social Democrats in the vanguard in that enterprise.

    We had old school SocDem Prime Ministers like Sorsa for decades during the Cold War. They were corrupt buddies of the USSR but they were not pozzed or selling out to the West. Koivisto laid the groundwork for selling out as the USSR was weakening but it got to full speed after the USSR had died and Ahtisaari and Lipponen got to power.

    Political development in Finland amusingly mirrored the USSR. The senility of gerontocracy paved way for Gorbachev who was a fool who paved way for complete sellouts to just let the West loot Russia. The senility of Kekkonen paved way for Koivisto who was the fool who paved way for complete sellouts to just let the West loot this country and turn it into a dumping ground for “refugess” from American wars.

    • Thanks: Blinky Bill, Ano4, AltanBakshi
    • Replies: @Oikeamielinen
  418. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Thulean Friend

    Since liberalism is the de facto standard tenet of the ruling class, everyone who has any ambitions must profess his allegiance to it, regardless of their actual convictions.

    I think that a large part of the offensiveness of contemporary liberalism/neoliberalism is that overwhelming American desire to impose American values on the rest of the world, whatever those values might be at a given moment. When America was rabidly anti-communist the entire world had to be made rabidly anti-communist. If America has free markets then everybody must have free markets. If America suddenly decided to adopt absolutist monarchy then Americans would want to impose absolutist monarchy on the entire world.

    If there are Gay Pride Marches in American cities then there must be Gay Pride Marches in every city on Earth. If men in frocks can use the ladies’ room in America then they must be allowed to use the ladies’ room in every country on the planet. If Americans take the knee to BLM then everyone else in the world must do so as well, even in countries where the concerns of BLM (some of which are valid) is simply irrelevant.

    • Replies: @Thulean Friend
  419. songbird says:
    @Thulean Friend

    The LOC, meanwhile, does have fixed borders yet casualties has been near-constant for the last half-century.

    The borders within Kashmir are not internationally recognized, which means that both parties haven’t agreed on them. What they have agreed on, for the moment, is not to have a full scale war over it, which doesn’t mean the same thing as peace. India refers to the parts of Kashmir that Pakistan holds, as POK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.) Pakistan has the obverse acronym, IOK. This language doesn’t seem conducive to good relations.

    Though, I am not sure Kashmir is a good analogy, since its circumstances are much different than uninhabited, or low density areas. Ethnic conflicts are inevitably more of a sore point.

    But, if you ask me, India is a bit autistic about holding territories with large Muslim populations. They should consider doing land swaps, or even ceding territory in exchange for solving the Muslim problem. The Partition seems like it was an acknowledgement that Muslims and Hindus can’t live together, but despite all the chaos, it was half-baked. It’s hard for me to understand how a country with this history of intense ethnic conflict can bury its head in the sand about TFR differentials.

    • Agree: Ano4
  420. @songbird

    India still hasn’t come to grips with the need to do large-scale religious conversions with a whole-of-society approach. Even the so-called “right-wing” is cucking on this issue.

    Modi still hasn’t done something as anodyne as UCC yet, despite his supposedly fire-breathing persona.

  421. @dfordoom

    Well, I’d make two points. First, much of US imperialist policy isn’t actual liberalism but simply uses liberal-sounding rhetoric as cover. That is important to distinguish. This is especially true in MENA where US policy is often just Israeli diktat.

    Second, you’re correct about making a distinction between domestic and foreign-policy. John Mearsheimer is one of the finest US scholars on IR and his latest book makes a persuasive case of the need to embrace “realist” IR even if you’re a liberal. Too much to go into, but he has freely available talks/interviews on the subject if you’re interested.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  422. @Thulean Friend

    China never understood Indian domestic politics and that showed very clearly in this recent episode.

    Oh boy, can’t wait to choose between glohomo India that hates China for not being gay enough, or hindumania Indian that hates China for not being Hindu enough. Both want to flood you with N number of Indians, where N equals infinity plus one.

    Fortunately, there is a common solution for both.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    , @Dmitry
  423. @Daniel Chieh

    A coda to this:

    [MORE]

    https://asiatimes.com/2020/11/india-has-good-reason-to-reject-the-rcep/

    &

    https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/opinion/china-reacting-indias-rcep-decision

    India is also concerned about China circumventing the rule of origin, which seemingly has not been addressed either. Dairy products from Australia and New Zealand could adversely impact the domestic dairy industry. Other industries such as steel and textiles have also sought protection. Secondly, India has sought greater movement of labour and services to RCEP countries, which seems to have fallen through in the face of stringent immigration laws in these countries.

    India has an almost autistic obsession with sending more Indians into every country, as a seeming central demand of their government(whatever the politics otherwise). This has become such an overriding concern that they will engage in self-sabotage, and makes sympathy for them from me really quite minimal. They apply this even to erstwhile “allies” such as Japan, and that was a central reason why they were not able to participate in the RCEP.

  424. @songbird

    India only held onto Kashmir because the first prime minister of India, Nehru, was a Kashmiri Hindu himself, and so there was a conflict of interest here. He didn’t want his homeland being ripped off from India.

    There were three big territorial disputes after partition.

    1. Junagadh
    2. Hyderabad State
    3. Kashmir

    Junagadh was actually the mirror opposite of the Kashmir dispute. You had a Muslim ruler of a Hindu majority area who wanted to accede to Pakistan, however a plebiscite was held and only 99 people voted to join Pakistan out of 200,000 or so votes cast

    2. The Muslim ruler of Hyderabad State, ruling over a majority Hindu population, chose not to accede to any country but the Indians later took over the territory by force.

    3. The Hindu ruler of Muslim-majority Kashmir also didn’t join India or Pakistan at first, but after a rebellion in the western areas, he got spooked and signed a declaration of accession to India.

    Kashmir is a huge waste of resources for India, I have read that they spend $100m a year maintaining their troops’ positions on the Siachen Glacier for example.

    At this point, they are just falling prey to the sunken cost fallacy I think.

    From the Hindu POV, partition was quite a damp squib, India now has more Muslims than Pakistan or Bangladesh.

    • Thanks: songbird
    • Replies: @Ano4
  425. @Daniel Chieh

    Indian economy is totally built on services nowadays. It cannot compete with even ASEAN in the manufacturing realm in most industries. I think if immigrants from India were barred from most countries, there would be a revolution in India from the economic fallout. In UAE the Indians are the absolute majority of the population and send home a lot of money, the Emiratis are only ~10% of the population.

  426. @Jaakko Raipala

    Thanks for your answer.
    Finlandization was built up as hate propaganda, then subsided in the post-glasnost. It was explained that Finland had “opened up to the West.”

    Here is something I wrote a couple of years ago. I guess I was prescient about the rainbow flag.

    February 12, 2019 at 3:06 am GMT
    https://www.unz.com/isteve/finns-are-freezing-in-the-face-of-diversity/#comment-3035702

    Finlandization, in my view, was largely a propaganda device concocted by western influences. Intelligentsia in the Anglo-American sphere began to bad-mouth Finland in the 1960’s, possibly to dissuade the country from pursuing a rational policy toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

    We see a similar pattern today with NATO propaganda purveyed by groups inside and outside Finland. There is a hankering to approach the Russian border, sometimes in a “host country partnership,” sometimes with an outright march to Moscow with a rainbow flag like some modern-day Napoleon Bonaparte.
    Finlandization went out of style during or soon after glasnost. I could see the party line being altered in the 1990’s.

    • Thanks: Blinky Bill
  427. @Daniel Chieh

    India has an almost autistic obsession with sending more Indians into every country, as a seeming central demand of their government

    Yes, but this is a classic case of ‘elite capture’ where the interests of a tiny, westernised minority suddenly morphs into state policy. Another indication of how much more compromised Indian elites are compared to China’s.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  428. @Ano4

    Interesting, I never knew of the significance of Kashmir in Hindu mythology and tradition. They are similar to the Israelis in this regard, they have a hostile population settled on land considered by them to be Holy.

    • Agree: Ano4
    • Replies: @Ano4
  429. Dmitry says:
    @Mr. Hack

    carp? I know that a lot of folks enjoy carp that live in Europe, but what about in Israel?

    Well in the bible it talks a lot about fishing in the Sea of Galilee, but it doesn’t describe which fish Jesus catches there.

    Aside from carp, fish that Jesus has “catched” might be also be tilipia or sardines. I just read that in an archaeological excavation, they found bones of carp and tilipia near Ancient urban ruins in Galilee.

    Catfish is also very common in Sea of Galilee (Josephus wrote about this).But Jesus would not catch catfish as it was against kosher dietary laws of that epoch (which bans eating fish without scales).

    It seems like catfish still today the easiest fish people are finding in the Sea of Galilee . So what they found in fishing videos like that below, will be presumably descendants of the same fish that Jesus would have avoided catching.

    More than anything, I like the comradery and fresh air that you get when you go fishing.

    It’s many years since I was fishing. Even when I was a growing up, I would prefer video games or playing football, rather than to go fishing.

    My father claims that he was a genius fisherman in his youth and that he could catch eels. But it’s many years since I ever saw even him with a fishing rod.

    catching some pretty large sturgeons

    I assume they are introducing them into the lakes for caviar farming?

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  430. Dmitry says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    India and China both seem to almost equally flood the developed countries with their immigrants.

    Both vast populations are behaving in the predictable way with immigration (following economic incentives to immigrate to wealthy countries); but the numbers are so large, that it feels like in no developed country can escape from being flooded with Indian and Chinese immigrants.

    I wonder if in Western Europe, the Indians might seem socially climbing even more than Chinese. Around the elite universities in Western Europe, I feel like I see even more Indian than Chinese faces. (Although both Indians and Chinese students are very common).

    This is definitely going to be the century of Indians and Chinese, as even if you never go to India or China – you cannot avoid their vast people in any developed country, and this influence will continue to increase.

    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
  431. Dmitry says:
    @Thulean Friend

    Indian elites are compared to China’s.

    Although China might have even more of the wealthy elite immigration, than India does. (At the same time I wonder if the working class Indian immigrants are more socially climbing than Chinese immigrants).


    Vancouver in Canada is a recent example of a wealthy Chinese immigration effecting the city’s cost of living (and you could make the same video about Chinese immigration in London, or Russian immigration in London). There will not be an equivalent in scale from India, probably due to India’s much smaller economy.

  432. @Dmitry

    And as Anatoly wrote about, most Chinese students return after studying. Also the lack of participation in politics, etc.

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
    • Replies: @Dmitry
  433. Dmitry says:
    @Daniel Chieh

    This is also in Europe, that in the “skilled gastarbaiter” visas, Indians are the most common nationality. For example, in Ireland, there is a similar ratio, where Indians are the most common nationality to attain the skilled visa.

    However, Chinese immigrants are more common in other sectors of Europe. Chinese are particularly important in Southern Europe, in Spain and Italy.

    For one example, almost all the local (non-chain) convenience shops in Spain are Chinese shops. Walk around in Spanish cities, and try to find non-Chinese convenience shop. Chinese people are now the small-retail class of Spain.

    Nowadays, even the most Francoist bar in Spain, is run by a Chinese man.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  434. Ano4 says:
    @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmiri_Pandit

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Kashmiri_Hindus

    Jawaharal Nehru was one of them.

    India will never let go of Kashmir peacefully. Only a crushing defeat might cause India to renounce this region.

  435. @Dmitry

    I wonder what is their definition of “skilled”.
    I had five Indians in the lab, one of which was reasonably smart, with the others ranging from dumb to hopeless morons. I had five Chinese in the lab. Two were very smart (one is now an Assistant Professor in another university), two fairly smart, and one quite dumb. That’s too few for proper stats, but…

  436. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Thulean Friend

    Well, I’d make two points. First, much of US imperialist policy isn’t actual liberalism but simply uses liberal-sounding rhetoric as cover. That is important to distinguish. This is especially true in MENA where US policy is often just Israeli diktat.

    Yes, those are valid points.

  437. Mr. Hack says:
    @Dmitry

    As far as I know, the sturgeon in Minnesota are to be found mostly in rivers and perhaps some large lakes way north close to the Canadian border. I’m not aware of any sturgeon farms in any lakes there that are being used for caviar farming? I couldn’t tell you why this is so. The population of sturgeon has had a great resurgence since the 1980’s, when it was dwindling, thanks to some conservation measures.

    Doing some research on this topic, I sadly came across some bad news indicating that the BLM is still rearing its vicious head in Minneapolis where vandals have defaced a beautiful monument that honors the lives of the original pioneers in the area. It’s located about 1 block away from the Ukrainian Cultural Center in the area. It’s in a very nice neighborhood that hugs the Mississippi river and includes a lot of nice upscale homes. I lived in this area for 10 years, and it hurts to see this kind of vandalism in my home town.

    • Agree: Ano4
  438. @AnonFromTN

    They use credentials as a mark of skill. Over the last 2 decades or so, there has been a surge in “diploma mills” in India, hence why you get this seeming abundance of “skilled” labour from India.

    Western universities are also selling out their own nations people for profit, here in the UK they can charge at least 3 times the fees to foreign students, most of whom come from China and India.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  439. @The Spirit of Enoch Powell

    That explains it. I always tell my graduate students at the outset that PhD does not make anyone smarter than they were before and its absence does not make anyone dumber than they are.

    That’s a powerful selection tool: I only had one dumb grad student in my career. Thank goodness, she left my lab after a few months. I am grateful to her: I made a mistake, she corrected it.

    • Replies: @Jazman
  440. Jazman says:
    @AnonFromTN

    I have one text for you . You have way better understanding even if you are not virologist . What is your opinion on this article
    https://sciencewithdrdoug.com/2020/08/01/is-a-coronavirus-vaccine-a-ticking-time-bomb/

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  441. @Thulean Friend

  442. @Jazman

    Antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) is real. The mechanism described is biologically sound. The author is right that ADE is unpredictable and that all vaccine developers studiously ignore this problem. Vaccination is starting in Russia and China and will start in the West soon.

    The jury is still out. Within a few months the data on possible ADE will be available. While in “democratic” West MSM, controlled by the same greedy scum that makes money on vaccines, will keep mum about it, there is a good chance that Russian and/or Chinese scientists will describe the results as they are. I’d pay attention to their reports and disregard everything spread by Western lugenpresse.

    • Agree: Jazman
    • Replies: @Jazman
    , @Ano4
  443. Jazman says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Thank you for your explanation

  444. Ano4 says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Could you please comment upon this topic on the New Open Thread? We have started a discussion about it there and knowledgeable people ‘s opinions are needed. Given your background, I would like to know what you think of the publications that I have linked to, especially the recently published in MedRxiv.

    Many thanks in advance!

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