Is this Burn After Reading?

This December as things slow down a bit for me, I can’t help but feel like I’m in a Coen Brothers film. Most specifically I feel like I’m an extra in Burn After Reading. The end scene below (SPOILER!) feels particularly apt.

“What do we learn Palmer?”

“I don’t know sir.”

“I don’t fucking know either. I guess we learned not to do it again.”

“Yes sir.”

“Fucked if I know what we did.”

“Yes sir, it’s uh, hard to say.”

Is this sounding painfully familiar in the year of our lord, December 2021? One recurring morbid thought I keep having as I attempt to rest, or whatever this weird semi-peaceful malaise I find myself in is, is that we’ve learned nothing. Niks, absolutely fokol. In an extremely fucked and unpleasant way we had this great chance, this immense opportunity. We actually paused capitalism guys. I mean well kind of, but all the lockdowns, all that time to think, people not going into the office, those brief moments some of us had to stop running like a hamster. We managed to tweak the formula a bit and shattered the delusion that is modern day capitalism which we’ll just call post-capitalism.

We all suffered for it, since most rich and powerful people were completely unwilling to go all in, and maybe do something as “crazy” as just pay people to stay at home, but the fact still remains that we got a glimpse behind the curtain that has become our daily lives. And then guess what we did? We threw it all away. Just like that, boom!

The powers that be scrambled back to the “normalcy”. Our reward is the same post-capitalism mess we were in, now with extra steps and stress. It’s really hurting my brain. Jumping through hoops to keep this sinking ship afloat. Going in and out of lockdowns like stuck records to keep things just barely afloat. Forcing people into the office until there’s another wave or variant scare, then sending them back home. Then rinse repeat. Ad nauseam.

We’re in this weird push and pull limbo, and in our lack of decisive action, it somewhat feels like we might have actually made things worse for ourselves. Now we have to deal with the general madness of post-capitalism plus Covid. So it’s like, the Amazon is on fire, there’s doom floods all over the place, you have to keep pushing forward pretending none of its happening, but hey also you’re loosing friends and family to Covid while some anti-vaxxer is yelling at you for how stupid you are for getting vaccinated. Super fun stuff.

I mean, I largely ignored a lot of the travel ban madness for sanity sake, but it’s very telling. Despite Covid clearly showing us how weak we are divided, powerful countries are still clinging to all the old structures. Like let’s whip out the colonialist handbook to deal with this. It’s totally going to work right? If we hoard all the vaccines and travel ban the Global South, everything is going work out great right? We won’t get variant after variant after variant because we’ve made it impossible to reach any kind of collective global vaccine goal. Nope nope. Let’s fuck them on IP while we make them manufacture our excess. This approach has never led to rampant inequality, climate collapse, and constant refugee crisis that keep coming back to bite us in the ass. No not at all.

And all the while we have the billionaires. Those goddamn billionaires mocking our abject misery at every chance they get. While we all collectively lament our trauma, they’re dick fighting over who can colonize space first. And to what end? Apparently to save us since we shat the bed with the planet.

Then there’s our friend Elon Musk. Again, while the rest of us are in and out of hospitals, blowing the last of our savings, barely keeping it together, he’s taken to trolling on Twitter any person who might suggest, that maybe, just maybe maybe maybe fucking MAYBE, there could be a better use of his billions. Somehow the collective suffering of the species has done little to trigger even an ounce of sympathy in the man, who mocked Covid protocols because, “everybody dies“. I mean seriously who the fuck is this guy, Ivan Drago? While Musk dodges tax like a toddler dodges green beans, Marky Mark aka The Zucks announces the Metaverse. Amazing. We can now all escape the misery of our existence matrix-style by trading all our freedoms and information to Zucks Technocracy. This is all going so well I’m in awe.

So, what the fuck did we learn? We definitely didn’t learn not to do it again. I think we learned that, despite not knowing what the fuck we did, we should do it again, and do it even worse this time, as we’ve seemingly realized we can make things worse, and we absolutely must. We’re all the league of morons.

Notes From A Presentation at The Luthuli Institute For Peace and Development

 

On Thursday 22 March 2018, The Albert and Nokukhanya Luthuli Peace and Development Institute launched, and held its first colloquium.  The topic of the colloquium was, Understanding The Culture of Violence as an Impediment to Development: Peace and Development as The Foundations For South Africa’s Future Advancement.

I was asked to do a presentation based on an article I published in The Thinker last year. You can find the article here: http://www.thethinker.co.za/resources/72%20THINKER.pdf. It’s called South Africa: A History of Cultural Violence.

The presentation and event in general went very well. It was empowering to interact and communicate with individuals of various ages and affiliations who share some common ideas and understanding.

Some difficult topics were discussed openly; many South Africans refuse to even accept, let alone even discuss some of these issues,  especially without degrading to name calling and insults.

Here are some things that were openly acknowledged , and discussed.

  • South Africa is a violent society. Both physically and structurally.
  • South African violence runs very deep historically and structurally.
  • The above point means there are no easy solutions to South African violence. Throwing police, PMCs, and military at everything just won’t cut it.
  • South Africa is an extremely racist, sexist, and classist society.
  • South African violence won’t go away if the above three issues, along with their nasty cousin inequality, are not meaningfully dealt with.
  • As Government and the Private Sector tend to fluctuate in their effectiveness, citizens likely need to take some matters into their own hands.
  • One such was is reaching out and interacting with Civil Society (we have various NGOs and activist groups) to heal South African society.
  • Strong Civil Society institutes may provide some kind of buffer against Government and Private Sector failure.
  • South Africans as a whole need to educate themselves more on peace studies, as well as learn how other societies with violent pasts, have instigated strong measures to ensure the cycle of violence and generational trauma does not ensue perpetually. Hint: there’s a reason America still has Nazis, while Germany does not. It’s pretty much because the Germans used their brains, and made Nazism illegal. Duh!

 

Here’s a link to the notes on my presentation. Oh, and don’t forget you can follow and support me directly via Patreon (it’s more music and fiction orientated currently), if you like what I do. Gotta throw that in there hehe! We still live in a capitalist society, and money doesn’t grow on trees. Meh!

Back 2 Basics Cultural Violence Presentation

Police Abuse and PTSD

Short article detailing police abuse during FeesMustFall last year, and resulting PTSD in students.

The article contains links to two documents that are probably well worth a read.

I touched on some of these abuses in a paper I wrote last year, published in The Thinker. The two documents in the article go into greater detail about protest protocol according to South African law, and have witness accounts of events from last year.

My research was largely based on news reporting from independent media, and conflict resolution theory, so there is a bit more meat in these documents from a law, and eye witness perspective.