2021/01/20

Time Machines

Time Machines

Did you know that you own a time machine?

As a matter of fact, you probably own several.

Even if you don't have all the necessary components, any missing parts of your homemade time machine will be relatively easy and cost-effective to obtain.

In this post, I will tell you everything you need to assemble time machines capable of transporting you to each pre-Cultural Ground Zero era.

If you're interested in taking a vacation from Current Year and revisiting the world of your childhood, read on.

First stop ...

The Early 80s

1983

Here's how to relive the glory days of Lucasfilm, video arcades, and glam metal:
  • Use some vacation time in early fall, on what would have been the first day of the new school year you'd have cut class.
  • In a semi-finished basement room, pull out your vintage Atari 2600, hook it up to a 13" CRT TV, the kind with analog dials.
  • Grab a bag of Funyuns, a six-pack of 7-Up, and enjoy the audio/video/taste experience. 

If you're younger than Gen X or just in the mood for a slightly more sophisticated destination, here's your ticket to ...

The Mid-80s

1986

Perform the following steps to go back to the heyday of John Hughes comedies, wacky sitcoms, and Reaganomics.

  • Wait for a weekday in early spring when you'll be alone in the house. After school hours, around the time you'd let yourself in with the key in the mailbox, go to your bedroom.
  • Take with you a bag of pizza Combos and a pitcher of Berry Blue Kool-Aid.
  • Use the same CRT TV as above, but swap out your Atari for your NES. Slide the original gold Legend of Zelda pak into the control deck, and explore the forests of Hyrule as once you did.

Don't forget your wooden sword.

When you're done feeding bombs to Dodongo, fast forward to ... 

The High 80s
1989

Apply this formula to relive the zenith of mass-market popular entertainment.
  • Around All Hallows' Eve on a Friday evening, run through the drive-up at McDonald's. Order a 20-piece McNugget and a large orange Hi-C.
  • Retreat to your bedroom once again. This time, trade up to a newer TV with push-button controls--an angular black model such as dominated store shelves in the 80s. Connect your Sega Genesis to this TV.
  • Insert your copy of Altered Beast, and raise 1989 from the grave.


After that, it's time to bid the 80s farewell and venture into ...

The Early 90s

1990

Enact this ritual to experience anew the glow of post-Cold War optimism:

  • On a Saturday afternoon in July, move your CRT so you're sitting right next to a vintage 80s window air conditioner. Switch back to your NES for the last time.
  • Load up your Super Mario Bros. 3 cartridge.
  • Set out to rescue Princess Peach, frequently dipping into the case of Pepsi Throwback you left to chill in the fridge.

After your sojourn to the time when the wall fell, you will be nearing the last era your time machine can reach before Cultural Ground Zero ...

The High 90s

1995

Take these steps to transport yourself back to the final bow before the curtain fell on American pop culture:
  • Take a sick day deep in winter (easy w/ Corona). Plug your Super Nintendo into a console-style CRT TV in the living room.
  • Go blankie mode with a hot mug of Nesquick & start a game of Final Fantasy III.
  • Play from your normal punch-in time into the afternoon.

With  heavy heart but refreshed in spirit, return to the present.

You'll need new skills to survive here. My good friend and client Adam Lane Smith will teach you. Take his video course today.

2021/01/19

No Titanic Tickets for Traitors

Titanic

Now that the Death Cultists are feeling their oats over slaying their orange bogeyman, they're planning an unprecedented sacrificial orgy to appease their gods. In their primitive cosmology the only explanation for their 2016 defeat is infidels angering the spirits with their -isms, so atonement must be made by offering up the unbelievers.

This open letter from some legacy publishing parasites wouldn't normally merit much comment. New York publishing has been dying for years, and it's poetic justice that the coup de grace was dealt by the same lockdowns these cultists say weren't severe enough.

What the fresh list of anathemas from the Cult's oldpub hierarchs does definitively show is that its signatories inhabit a headspace which has now fully broken from reality. The term "bubble" gained popularity a few years back to describe Leftists' insular worldview. I've maintained that calling them a cult is more accurate, and this head-spinning, pea soup-spattered fatwa drives the point home.
NO BOOK DEALS FOR TRAITORS

THIS IS A LETTER OF INTENT FROM PUBLISHING PROFESSIONALS OF THE UNITED STATES.

We all love book publishing, but we have to be honest — our country is where it is in part because publishing has chased the money and notoriety of some pretty sketchy people, and has granted those same people both the imprimatur of respectability and a lot of money through sweetheart book deals.

As members of the writing and publishing community of the United States, we affirm that participation in the administration of Donald Trump must be considered a uniquely mitigating criterion for publishing houses when considering book deals.

Consequently, we believe: No participant in an administration that caged children, performed involuntary surgeries on captive women, and scoffed at science as millions were infected with a deadly virus should be enriched by the almost rote largesse of a big book deal. And no one who incited, suborned, instigated, or otherwise supported the January 6, 2021 coup attempt should have their philosophies remunerated and disseminated through our beloved publishing houses.

“Son of Sam” laws exist to prevent criminals from benefiting financially from writing about their crimes. In that spirit, those who enabled, promulgated, and covered up crimes against the American people should not be enriched through the coffers of publishing.

We are writers, editors, journalists, agents, and professionals in multiple forms of publishing. We believe in the power of words and we are tired of the industry we love enriching the monsters among us, and we will do whatever is in our power to stop it.

The first thing that jumps out is the ridiculously inflated sense of self-importance. Oldpub can't even sell people on their cult leaders' books. The idea that they're in any way responsible for elevating Trump to the White House is pants-on-head absurd.

Like the rest of the tract, the mea culpas for empowering Trump supporters aren't meant to convey factual information. Instead, they're self-flagellation intended to atone for the communal sins that called down their four-year chastisement.

But even that humiliating display of cargo cultism pales before the letter's overall implications. Here we have a coven of misfits clinging to sinecures in a dead industry condemning half the country for treason against democracy. The only way that pronouncement makes anything akin to sense is when you look past the words' literal meanings and parse the Cult's ritual cant.

What the letter spells out in as close to plain English as cultists can manage is what they've been trying to tell us for years: They are not us. We are not them. They are our sworn enemies.

Here's where somebody points out that oldpub apparatchiks vehemently denied gatekeeping based on ideological litmus tests. They still claimed to be a pure meritocracy as recently as the Sad Puppies days.

It's vital to understand that such an apparent heel turn is not hypocrisy. The cultists do not hold the same standards as normal people. They don't even pretend to anymore. And it's not hypocrisy to harm your enemies and protect your friends. That's been the Cult's viewpoint for years, and that's why they've been winning.

That's also why smart authors who care more about money than validation now avoid oldpub like the plague. Note that the letter says nothing about how these publishers plan to reach more readers and sell more books. That's what sane people in an industry on the verge of collapse would do. Instead, they're purposefully alienating 160 million people.

No Titanic tickets for traitors.

Some people still think that Cult-coopted industries are out to make money. A glance at the signatures on that letter should disabuse you of that fiction. Guys like Wendig and Anders have no organic readership. They'll go back to the D list the second the Cult's influencers stop boosting their signal. 

If you're still an oldpub author at this point, your whole career is a humiliation ritual.

The Big Four have declared ordinary Americans the enemy. Don't give money or your manuscript to people who hate you.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You

2021/01/18

Aspirational Marketing

Caity Lotz Ready Player One

Most folks in newpub unconsciously stumble out of the gate by calling themselves "indie authors". I know I did.

But newpub means more than writing. If you go indie, you accept all the responsibilities of an author AND a publisher.

As a result of indies' author-centric focus, a lot of time is spent discussing matters of craft. That's fine. Craft is indispensable. No books, no industry.

The problem is that the business end often goes overlooked.

In newpub, you wear two hats: author and publisher. These are different roles with intrinsically different functions & skill sets.

Sometimes the dichotomy incites conflict: "Learning marketing is beneath me. I'm an artist!"

That's setting yourself up to fail.

Unpopular opinion: Most authors' exclusive focus on story quality is a detriment to their marketing efforts.

Note I said 'exclusive'. I'm not saying story quality doesn't matter. It's essential to reach readers.

Here's what 99% of newpub never asks: how to reach non-readers?

"Why would I want to reach non-readers?"

If you asked that, you're thinking like an author. Stop, doff your artist hat, & put on your publisher hat.

An author's 1st job is pleasing readers. A publisher's 1st job is selling books. As a publisher, you want to sell as many as possible.

In 2017, 25% of Americans didn't read a single book. Everyone with a TBR stack knows that books bought > books read.

I couldn't verify this figure since oldpub keeps such data close to the vest, but a friend with his finger on the pulse of the deep marketing lore asserted that only 20% of the Big 4's major release books actually get read.

We're talking front list stuff like titles featured on Oprah's book club. People buy those books to conspicuously leave on the coffee table so they can signal how hip they are.

You may disdain their behavior, but if those buyers account for 80% of blockbuster book sales, you shouldn't spurn them outright if you want to make the A list.

How do you sell your book to folks who don't read?

As we saw, most authors over-focus on their books' content. Sure, they'll put decent effort into the cover art. Some learn SEO & keyword-fu. Many dump a few $$ a month into AMS ads.

But all of that is for attracting readers.

Remember: most sales are motivated by status. This doesn't just apply to books. Just look at any beer ad.

Think about who buys 50 Shades of Grey. It's mostly customers who want to be seen as the kind of woman who reads 50 Shades--edgy but within the bounds of social convention. Nobody wants to be seen as a "good girl".

You get non-readers to buy your book by convincing them that owning your book will make people see them as the kind of person they want to be. That's aspirational marketing.

Publishers understand the power of aspirational marketing--or they used to.

Why did that news article have a pic of that celebrity holding that hot new book? It wasn't a coincidence.

TL; DR: you entice non-readers to buy your book by showing them that someone they aspire to emulate already owns your book.

Sit down and write up a list of influential people your target market wants to emulate. It couldn't hurt to email these people with a free book offer.

The same goes for big You Tube bibliophile channels that review books in your genre.

2021/01/15

Setup Confirmed

John Sullivan Mugshot

It's no stretch to call recent footage leaked from Antifa leader John Sullivan's Discord server a smoking gun that proves Leftist instigation at the Capitol riot.
Footage obtained by the Gateway Pundit from militant Black Lives Matter and Antifa activist John Sullivan’s Discord server shows the so-called “civil rights activist” reveling inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan.6 as he damaged federal property.
Sullivan has maintained in multiple interviews that he regularly attends protests only to record what’s going on, but did not actively partake in the insurgence in Washington.

“It’s just recording, solely, and not being active in it,” he told Fox News last week.

After the Capitol was stormed John Sullivan appeared with CNN photojournalist Jade Sacker on CNN that night.  CNN did not identify Sullivan as an Antifa-BLM protest leader.  They mention Insurgence, USA but not that it is a radical leftist organization.  They do not mention that Sullivan was arrested in Utah during unrest in 2020.  CNN did not reveal that the two were working together inside the US Capitol.  Jade Sacker has done work for NPR, CNN, NBC and other liberal outlets.

Yet, in footage streamed to his followers on Discord, Sullivan, who uses the name “Jayden X” on the app, can be heard inciting violence from inside the U.S. Capitol and boasting about breaking a window.

“If we don’t get in, we’re going to burn this sh*t down,” he gloats. “Let’s go! This sh*t’s ours. F*ck yeah. I can’t believe this is reality. We accomplished this sh*t. We did this sh*t together.

When Conservative protesters have heretofore been known for leaving the sites of their demonstrations cleaner than they found them, it didn't take clairvoyance to see the Capitol riot for what it was: a sting executed by Antifa.

Right on cue, the Left-wing hall monitors are getting exactly what they wanted. Trump supporters who attended the rally are predictably falling to deplatforming, arrest, and suicide

Moments after Sullivan captured Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt getting shot and killed in the Capitol, a blonde woman accompanying Sullivan who appears to be his accomplice, Jade Sacker, gleefully exclaims, “We did it!”

“You were right! We did it,” she boasts.

“Dude, I was trying to tell you. I couldn’t say much,” Sullivan replies. “Is this not going to be the best film you’ve ever made in your life?”

Avoid street action. Stay away from crowds. Don't give money to people who hate you.

Learn how to keep your money and your dignity:

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You

2021/01/14

You Can't Save Everyone

lightning sand

Alric Hart pens a scathing rebuke of current pop culture and correctly points out that, as much as you might want to, you can't save everyone from the Pop Cult.
We are constantly stormed by product of bad quality and malicious intent. Turn on your TV, and wait for something that is relatively interesting, something which picks your genuine attention and not your demand of gossip (that is, no news, no reality TV, etc.). Personally, if I did this, I’d wait for hours, at least until after dinner, to have a chance at finding a good show. And, who’d have guessed, it would generally be old movies.

Try radio and go through hours of useless talking, interrupted by a couple minutes of the same shitty five songs big labels want you to listen. Videogames? Most of the “tripul A” industry costantly releases the same game with different skins. And let’s not touch books, or this rant will be too long; go to a bookstore and see for yourself.

I am aware and sure that these industries are either tanking or stagnating, one more than the other. In truth, what I really want to talk about is the fact that a part of the public has been boiling inside that old pot for so much time that is incredibly hard to pull it out of the hot water. Be it the middle-aged lady watching soap-operas all day, or the comic book nerds that just can’t stop simping for Marvel and DC, these guys will continue drowning in the quicksand that is the current entertainment industry.

Sad to say, a not inconsiderable slice of the population, mostly hailing from Generation Y, willingly chooses to stay in the Cult. 

They really have enshrined Brand X at the center of their lives, where God should be. This decision was not made rationally, and there's no reasoning them out of it.

There's a darker side to so many people betting all their chips on progressively rising material prosperity. As the standard of living in the West declines to third world levels, and the flow of bread and circuses dries up, ever more lost souls will seek death to relieve what they see as meaningless pain.

But Christians know that temporal suffering is a chance to cultivate virtue and an invitation to unite our sorrow with Christ's saving Passion.

Now that the political window for reversing the decline has closed, our top priorities as Christians should be growing in holiness--which should always be job one--and bringing as many others into the fold as God permits.

And now, more than ever, it's crucial to not give money to people who hate you.

Find out how. Read now.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You

2021/01/13

Generational Rights and Duties

generational

Stereotypes get a bad rap, but when you get right down to it, they're just ways of conveying shared social understandings quickly and efficiently. 

A common stereotype online these days is the trope of the out-of-touch Baby Boomer wagging his finger at younger folks who have less than he did at their age. It's understandable. To someone who came of age during the postwar boom, it must be baffling to see entire generations who just can't seem to get their act together.

One upside of the chaos running rampant across the country is that the socioeconomic pain initially inflicted on the young is now making itself felt across the generational spectrum. Boomers who once told struggling Millennials to pull themselves up by their bootstraps are now sweating bullets over functionaries of the openly one-party state with their eyes on social security and pension funds. 

Having the lion's share of America's wealth future-proofed the Boomers' 1980s lifestyles for a few extra years, but time is catching up with them--with interest.

What does this economic reckoning portend for the future? Listen in to the Rights and Duties stream, where I recently appeared to discuss generational theories and other matters of import.


And for a fuller treatment of memory-holed generations, read my best seller Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You

2021/01/12

Writing Romance

Romance

One seldom-discussed perk of being a writer is the joy of seeing your back catalog finding new readers. Lately I've heard tell that folks are discovering my second Soul Cycle book, Souldancer

While Nethereal had some romantic elements, romance is much more central to the second book's plot. In preparation for writing it I did some research on the subject, and sharing what I learned might do aspiring authors some good.

Common Misconceptions
Romance is one of the most popular genres. It's also one of the most misunderstood. The glut of poorly scripted romcoms that Hollywood churns out has led many to equate romance with Roger Ebert's "idiot plot". This association is the fault of greedy/lazy film making; not any defect in the romance genre itself.

The second pernicious fallacy surrounding romance is that it's all about feelings. My editor, L. Jagi Lamplighter, rescued me from this error with the following correction:
Romance is not about feelings. Romance is questions applied to emotional goals. Who is the person who will make me feel complete? What do I need to do gain his approval? Why is he the way that he is?
In short, romance is a character goal.

I've written about the importance and technique of character goals before. To recap, every plot is driven by characters who want things and encounter obstacles to achieving those goals. The greater the opposition and the bigger the stakes, the higher the tension rises. That's the essence of conflict, which is the engine of every effective plot.

When presented correctly*, goal and stake placement leads the characters (and readers) to ask questions--at least implicitly--about the story. This is the key to pacing and reader engagement. Properly alternating questions, throwing out misdirections, and providing answers is what makes for a classic page-turner.

NB: since as an author, you're really selling yourself (folks don't just want to buy stories; they want to buy them from you), it helps the author-reader relationship to share your own goals with your audience. 

*By the way, proper presentation is: Question 1, Misdirection 1, Q2, Answer 1, M2, Q3, A2, etc.

Application
How do these guidelines apply to romance? The same way they apply to any other type of plot.


In this video, author Dan Wells plugs classic romance novel Pride and Prejudice into his patented seven point story structure model (skip to 1:35). This is also my preferred plot structure. I'll have one; at most two, seven point plots for a short story and interweave five to seven of them for a novel.

Notice how Dan's chart covers everything discussed above. He's got a character goal with high emotional stakes (viz. marriage), the main characters starting out in a position of weakness relative to that goal, and serious obstacles between the characters and their goal. The turns and pinches of seven point structure are handy ways of charting questions and misdirections.

Specifics
Now that we've got our romance plot structure, how do we fill in the blanks? The goal--or hook--is pretty easy. It's almost always going to be getting the characters together. The questions will largely be variations of how to get them together, which follow from the obstacles placed in their way.

Romantic obstacles can take many forms, but they're usually circumstances that keep the main characters apart. In Jane Austen's novels, the strict code of Regency era social and moral norms is the main source of romantic obstacles. In Twilight, the dude being undead and the chick being human creates a lot of tension. In Romeo and Juliet, the young lovers come from opposite sides of an inter-family feud.

I won't say too much about the nature of the romantic conflict in Souldancer; just that cultural differences are involved--along with a major twist on the versatile Beauty and the Beast plot.

So that's what I've learned about writing romance. If you have further insights, don't hesitate to share them in the comments.

Souldancer - Brian Niemeier

2021/01/11

Signs

Signs 2002

By popular demand, we delve once more into the back catalog of wunderkind-turned-byword-turned-mercenary director M. Night Shyamalan. 

This blog's reviews of Sham's Eastrail 177 Trilogy chronicled the rise of an earnest auteur, his fall to hubris, his delayed redemption, and his subsequent relapse. But twenty years ago, Shyamalan was riding high on a string of hits with Christian undertones. 

The Village presented those themes so subtly that many viewers missed them. Sham's reasons for soft-pedaling the Village's Christian message almost certainly arose from reactions to its predecessor, 2002's alien invasion thriller Signs.

M. Night Shyamalan film review ahead. That inevitably means spoilers. If you somehow missed this nineteen-year-old megahit, continue at your own risk.

As a screenwriter, Shyamalan is forthcoming about his liberal use of tropes. Most fans point to Unbreakable as the most trope-heavy Sham flick, but that distinction really goes to Signs. True, the main characters in Unbreakable are superhero archetypes. In Signs, every character is an archetype.

To prove my point, I'll write this review without using a single character's name, and you won't be confused.

Ready? Here goes.

A Lapsed Pastor still grieving over his Lost Lenore manages a farm and the rearing of his two children--Waif Prophet boy and Oracular Urchin girl--with help from his Strong Silent Misfit brother. Their already upturned lives are further rocked when crop circles turn up in the cornfield.

Lapsed Pastor suspects Punk Kids at work. But escalating weirdness, culminating in videotaped proof, reveals the anomalies as reconnaissance performed in advance of an alien invasion.

With their world falling apart in a figurative and literal sense, the Pastor and the Misfit try to put the potentially apocalyptic events in context. Lapsed Pastor makes a speech wherein he divides people into two categories based on how they explain tragedy: Providence or dumb luck.

When the chips are down, Lapsed Pastor admits he hates God for taking his Lenore. All seems lost, but a whole arsenal of Chekhov's guns strategically placed throughout the film--including Lost Lenore's dying words and water glasses set up by Oracular Urchin--goes off, saving the day.

Tragedy turns out not to be senseless after all. God was working through secondary causes to bring good from evil the whole time.

Okay, unlike Shyamalan's misunderstood masterpiece The Village, Signs deserves some of the grief it gets from critics. As a parable tackling the perennial dilemma of theodicy, it's hamfisted and glaringly on the nose.

What's more, Shyamalan rigs the game in his favor by giving multiple characters prophetic gifts on a one-off or ongoing basis. You show Providence by having a character suffer a broken leg which makes him miss his trip on the Titanic; not by putting a reminder to swing a baseball bat in six months on his dying wife's lips.

The problem with Signs' Chekhov's guns is that they serve no purpose other than their highly contrived role in the final act. In the original example, the gun isn't hung on the wall just so the story's specific murder victim can be shot. It needs a plausible reason to be there, like the owner being an avid hunter.

Those comments don't break any new ground. Lots of critics made the same observations and panned Signs as a result. Writing off the whole movie due to one clumsy plot device isn't fair, though. Critics eat up plenty of other films with even more overt messaging. I suspect much of their disdain for Signs springs from the fact that its message is explicitly Christian. At least one prominent review I remember from back in the day made no bones about the critic's anti-Christian bias.

An honest take on Signs will acknowledge the all-around solid performances, pitch-perfect tone, expertly crafted mood, and flawlessly executed horror sequences. Sham has mentioned The Birds and Night of the Living Dead as influences on Signs, and he evokes the steadily heightening tension of both admirably.

These years later, Signs remains Shyamalan's most explicitly Christian film. The backlash against it probably led to its successor being his most covertly Christian film. It's worth watching, if only as an antidote to the oppressive Death Cult ethos trumpeted by most Hollywood pictures these days.

For more alternatives to Hollywood agitprop, read my best selling culture war field guide.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You

2021/01/08

Atheist Creation Myth

Dark Ages

Every religion provides its adherents with an origin story--an explanation for who the faithful are and how their creed came to be.

Nu-atheism is no exception. Some would argue that atheism isn't a religion but a lack of belief. Science and logic prove this claim false. Human beings are wired to worship. The only people who have no gods are nutcases who think they are God.

Listen to atheists spawned by Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and the like, and it soon becomes apparent that they worship their intellects and their egos. Like all faiths, theirs has a creation myth.

An integral part of the atheist creation narrative is belief in the Christian Dark Ages. During this benighted period, the story goes, Europeans lost the advances of Greece and Rome. Stifled by the Church, further technological advancement would have to wait for the Renaissance, which was mainly a warm up for the Enlightenment.

Most religions' origin stories are set during purposefully vague past epochs. When a time frame is given at all, it's in nebulous terms like, "a long time ago," or, "in the primordial chaos before time."

Nu-atheism is one of the few religions that sets a key part of its origin story during a concrete span of time. The "Dark Ages", in the original Medieval usage, referred to either the 13th or the 10th and 11th centuries, but Reformation and Enlightenment writers later expanded its duration from the fall of Rome to the Renaissance.

Conveniently, the concrete historical setting of this particular creation myth allows us to conclusively debunk it.

Any historians worth their salt have been disavowing the concept of the Dark Ages for years.

So have honest atheists, for that matter. Here's Tim O'Neill's review of Hannam, wherein he demolishes the internet atheist dogma that scientific advancement stalled in the Middle Ages.
It's not hard to kick this nonsense to pieces, especially since the people presenting it know next to nothing about history and have simply picked up these strange ideas from websites and popular books. The assertions collapse as soon as you hit them with hard evidence. I love to totally stump these propagators by asking them to present me with the name of one - just one - scientist burned, persecuted, or oppressed for their science in the Middle Ages. They always fail to come up with any. They usually try to crowbar Galileo back into the Middle Ages, which is amusing considering he was a contemporary of Descartes. When asked why they have failed to produce any such scientists given the Church was apparently so busily oppressing them, they often resort to claiming that the Evil Old Church did such a good job of oppression that everyone was too scared to practice science. By the time I produce a laundry list of Medieval scientists - like Albertus Magnus, Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, John Peckham, Duns Scotus, Thomas Bradwardine, Walter Burley, William Heytesbury, Richard Swineshead, John Dumbleton, Richard of Wallingford, Nicholas Oresme, Jean Buridan and Nicholas of Cusa - and ask why these men were happily pursuing science in the Middle Ages without molestation from the Church, my opponents usually scratch their heads in puzzlement at what just went wrong.
If there were no Dark Ages, why is belief in the Dark Age myth so widespread? First, people need stories that reinforce their identities. A story that reaffirms who you are over and against someone else is especially powerful. Knowing you're not them is vital to knowing who you are.

For atheists who get their medieval history from Family Guy, an essential part of who they're not is the superstitious rubes that razed the ancient libraries and burned free thinkers at the stake. To them, it doesn't matter that that those rubes never existed.

Second, the black legend of the Dark Ages is another Christian own-goal. It was Protestants who took the ball from Petrarch, ran with it, and passed it down the field to Enlightenment secular humanists. Much like the campfire tales about the Crusades, propaganda spread by the Reformers as part of their own origin story came back to bite them.

This post isn't to knock all religious origin stories set during a concrete point in history. The existence and ministry of Jesus, for example, is better attested than the lives of Socrates, Alexander the Great, and Julius Caesar.

For an increasingly accurate picture of how future history will unfold, read my military thriller Combat Frame XSeed:

Combat Frame XSeed - Brian Niemeier

2021/01/07

Candy Desk Honey Trap

Candy Desk

A catch-22 inherent in outsider politics is that movements outside the mainstream by definition attract misfits and oddballs. Those kinds of folks tend to suffer from a dearth of patience, invites lax vetting of new members. Instead of a big tent, the typical outsider movement often ends up as a circus tent.

We saw this dynamic on full display with the meteoric rise and precipitous fall of the Alt-right three years ago. They'd tapped into an energetic part of the zeitgeist and built a head of steam, only to lose it all in a series of unforced blunders. Their movement took its mortal blow when naiveté and poor planning led them into a purpose-built trap.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know I urge dissidents against street action. If Charlottesville wasn't enough of a cautionary tale, the BLM riots that overran major cities this past summer should have served ample notice that the Left controls the streets.

Folks in certain quarters of the Right like to flirt with genetic determinism. I'm no determinist, but the mounting evidence is making me wonder if an affinity for outsider politics might be genetic, and if it shares a gene with severe learning disabilities.

Now, I'm far from infallible. Frequent readers will recall my prediction that democrat officials in Virginia were setting up the Richmond gun rights rally to be C-Ville 2. That protest went off without a hitch, its success widely ascribed to the massive turnout.

My forecast may not have been totally wrong, just slightly premature. Here we are almost exactly one year later, and our rulers finally have the spectacular right-wing riot they've been salivating over for years.
Seething with anger, mostly unmasked, Donald Trump’s supporters stormed and breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, stoked by his defiant speech claiming the election had been stolen from him. Tens of thousands of supporters braved bone-chilling temperatures to hear him speak at the Ellipse below the White House, then many marched to Capitol Hill and up the steps, pushing their way past Capitol Police, as some of the lawmakers’ office buildings were evacuated, and Washington, DC’s mayor issued a city-wide curfew.
Of course, the piece reads like a Death Cult creedal statement. It's yet another verse in a nonstop litany of imprecations against Orange Hitler. This time, the Cult's priests in the media are rebuking their outgoing antichrist for ordering his warlocks to do violences in the holy temple of democracy because he's a sore loser. That the most egregious act of violence was committed by capitol police who killed a female Trump supporter is usually glossed over.

Another blind spot besetting many dissidents is their contradictory mouthing of the fact that the other side controls the media while rushing to take public action they know the media will use to smear them. Yes, the dominant narrative about the Capitol debacle is unconscionably slanted, but the Left controls the news organs, so they get to set the narrative. Dissidents walk into the press' line of fire at their own risk.

Yet a third handicap afflicting dissidents is a sort of transient amnesia. Some of the Trump supporters who've spent the last few years warning about the dangers of street protests are the same people calling the Capitol disaster a smashing success. They say it's an inflection point against the corrupt system, akin to the Boston Tea Party.

When evaluating the success or failure of a tactic, it's vital to look at outcomes, not abstract aspirations. Here are the results of the Capitol occupation so far:
The MSM smear job is working, too. Most voters oppose the storming of the Capitol and blame Trump for it.

YouGov


Some will retort, "The republicucks were always going to cave, the media were always going to lie about the rally, and the Harris-Biden Admin was going to crack down on dissenters anyway."

Which raises the question, why did tens of thousands of Trump supporters protest at the Capitol? The event was part of the Stop the Steal rallies intended to overturn the rigged election. That's why the MAGA crowd was protesting while Congress counted the electoral votes.

When a tactic achieves the exact opposite of its desired effect, you call it what it is: a failure.

And the current backlash is just the start. Big business and glow-in-the-dark agencies are already howling for protesters' blood.

Flight Attendants

The aftershocks of this disaster will reverberate for years. The victorious elites will hound anyone identified as a Capitol protester with federal charges. Big Tech will sentence known participants, and many ordinary people who supported them, to internal economic exile.


We'll never know what exactly happened at the Capitol yesterday. With the lapdog press rushing to memory hole evidence of Antifa provocation, this mystery will go the way of Epstein and the Vegas shooting.

What is known beyond a doubt is that dissidents will have to start learning from their mistakes if they want to survive the incoming crackdown.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You

2021/01/05

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

When I first documented the media-fueled psyop against Pope Francis, I knew the smear campaign had pulled the wool over many Catholics' eyes.

What I didn't realize, until a recent Twitter exchange gave me a rather rude awakening, was how hysterical some Francis Derangement sufferers have become.

FDS 1


The news cycle memory holes stories so fast that some may not remember the Our Father controversy. Here's a refresher: Back in 2019, MSM rags--and Catholic media alike--were aflutter with breathless reports of the Pope changing the Lord's Prayer.

Get ready for a few stumbles at Christmas Mass during the Our Father.

Pope Francis reportedly approved changes to the wording of the Lord's Prayer, also known as the Our Father.

Instead of saying, "Lead us not into temptation," Catholics will say, "Do not let us fall into temptation," The Guardian and Fox News reported.

The pope said he thought the English translation of the prayer was not correct.

"It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation," he told Italy’s TV2000 channel in 2017, per The Guardian. "I am the one who falls. It’s not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen.

Pretty damning, right? I've had at least one person tell me he left the Church over this incident.

But before passing judgment, let's try a thought experiment. Replace every mention of "Pope Francis" above with "President Trump" and all references to the Lord's Prayer with "The Declaration of Independence".

The same people who caught the vapors over the Pope Francis story would instantly dismiss the Trump story as fake news, especially since one of the main sources is the Guardian.

Let's see if my interlocutor extended Francis the same charity.

FDS 2

That's a whole mess of weasel words in answer to a direct yes or no question. One would think that a subject matter expert who's been documenting Francis' breaks from doctrine since 2013 would have a ready response.

"He messed around with the translation," is included in the burst of logorrhea, which a literate adult fluent in English can reasonably read as asserting that Francis changed the translation of the Lord's Prayer.

What's fascinating is that the article he cites says:

The Italian bishops' conference had approved the new edition of the Messale Romano during their November 2018 general assembly. The Apostolic See's confirmation of the text was communicated during the conference's meeting last month.

There it is in black and white. The Pope didn't change the translation. The Italian bishops did. That's standard operating procedure. Changes to localized translations of prayers used in the mass fall under the authority of bishops' conferences in those areas.

To give the FDS sufferer I questioned the benefit of the doubt, he probably knew all of that. It's telling that instead of just saying, "No, Pope Francis did not change the Lord's Prayer," he cloaked the admission in squid ink, including personal jabs at the Holy Father.

His Fourth Commandment violation aside, the FDS sufferer can't help but renege on his implicit admission by labeling the Italian bishops' approved translation as "his [the Pope's] way."

But again, the same article he cites contradicts that accusation:

The change in the Italian translation was many years in the making. The revised version of the Our Father had been published in a version of the Bible approved by the Italian bishops' conference in 2002, and published in 2008.

The French bishops' conference made a similar change to its translation of the Our Father. In 2017 it adopted a translation reading “ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation” (do not let us fall into temptation), whereas the former translation had read “ne nous soumets pas √† la tentation” (lead us not into temptation).

Now, Francis did give that interview in 2017 saying that he preferred the French translation, but calling the Italian version "his way" takes more stretching than getting Chris Christie into a speedo.

Context is important. Keep in mind that this spat started when a third party asserted on my behalf that the press skews reporting on Pope Francis. I vouch for that statement. The context of my question as to whether or not Francis had changed the Lord's Prayer was the glut of reports implying he was changing the English version. 

The USA Today story quoted above told Americans the prayer would change as of Christmas 2019. My clearly established position is that they were wrong. Were they?

From the same CNA piece:

News reports in English may have given the impression that Pope Francis had changed the Our Father for the whole of the Church, rather than his see having confirmed a change made by the bishops of Italy.

Wait for it.

A spokesman for the English and Welsh bishops has said that the International Commission on English in the Liturgy “is not currently considering the Lord's Prayer,” and that “there are no plans at present for [the Our Father] to change in English,” but that “I am sure there will be some consultation with the English-speaking nations.”

Emphasis mine.

And accurate. As of 2021, the translation of the Lord's Prayer used at masses in the USA is the same as in the 2011 Missale.

That's just one instance of the Death Cult press skewing reportage of Pope Francis. I've documented others.

This isn't to give the anti-Francis crowd the raspberry and crow that I'm right. It's to shine a light on the erroneous, frankly effeminate, spirit of vanity that afflicts a troubling number of FDS sufferers I've come across.

When you're an adult male who calls somebody out in public, and you're proven wrong, the virtuous thing to do is admit it and reexamine your assumptions.

The ringleaders of the FDS crowd can't muster the humility to do that, which is a red flag that hating Francis has become part of their identity.

The theological term for that condition is a grave habitual offense incompatible with charity--in other words, a mortal sin worthy of the eternal fires of Hell.

To show how petty this controversy is, the American Church has already been using a non-literal translation of the Our Father. As far back as I can remember, we've said, "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

The Latin, which is a close translation of the biblical Greek, reads: et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.

That's "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" - a translation I prefer for well-established reasons.

In the context of a 2000-year-old institution, liturgical prayer translations change all the time. You didn't see any of the current FDS crowd freaking out when the whole English missal changed under Benedict XVI.

The difference being that they like the translations approved during B16's pontificate, but they don't like the translations approved under Francis.

Which is fine. They're entitled to their opinion. Trouble pops up when a vocal faction of laymen conditioned by fake news try to play mini-pope and bind the Universal Church to their preferences.

If you detected the sulfur stench of Modernism in that description, pat yourself on the back.

In the Modern era, the laity have grown used to thinking of the Pope as another world leader subject to the same nonstop media scrutiny as Hollywood celebrities.

For the vast majority of the papacy's two millennia of existence, the average layman had no idea what the Holy Father was up to on a daily basis. It's looking more and more like that's a healthier state of affairs.

Don't hate anyone made in the image and likeness of God, and don't give credence or money to journos who hate you.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2021/01/04

Hollywood Shanghaied

The 800
Image courtesy of the Shanghai Film Festival

Lest anyone cling to the delusion that our lawless ruling class operates on a profit motive, one of their most loyal servants has willingly walked the plank.

It's official: North American box office revenue plummeted 80 percent in 2020 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and unprecedented theater closures, while global revenue tumbled more than 70 percent.

As predicted, domestic movie tickets sold between Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 came generated an estimated $2.3 billion (or $2.28 billion) compared to $11.4 billion in 2019, according to Comscore estimates. That's the lowest showing in at least 40 years. The dramatic fall-off was expected, considering that many cinemas have been closed for more than nine months in the U.S.

Globally, 2020 movie ticket sales are expected to come in between $11.5 billion and $12 billion, compared to 2019's $42.5 billion.

In a first, China supplanted North America as the world's moviegoing market in 2020, generating an estimated $2.7 billion in ticket sales, per Comscore.

In another first, a Chinese movie — the World War II epic The Eight Hundred — topped the worldwide box office chart with nearly $440 million. A number of other Chinese films, including My People, My Homeland, populated the upper reaches of the chart, as did Japan's hit Demon Slayer. In non-pandemic times, Hollywood blockbusters generally dominate.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Chinese film industry surpassed Hollywood because China's lockdowns only lasted a few weeks, while Californians are still under house arrest.

What baffles a lot of people is American elites' motives for imposing tyrannical measures that are crushing everyone--even their greatest allies.

The reason has nothing to do with money or a Chinese Communist plot. There's no reason involved at all.

Submitting to the constantly changing dogmas of a hysterical Death Cult can hardly be called rational.

But that's what our ruling class have done. They abandoned Christianity--first for Malthusian population control snake oil, then the climate change hysteria, and now the Covid craze.

Having rejected the cultivation of true virtue, they seize every faddish chance to signal false virtue.

Hence managerial class wine aunts sitting alone in their rooms wearing masks on Zoom calls.

So far, the forces of unreason have marched from triumph to triumph. There's a hard limit on how far they can push, though.

Reason is the faculty that tells you if your ideas conform to reality. Persistently refusing to use that faculty invites serious consequences.

Hollywood is currently feeling some of those consequences as theaters empty and close.

They're counting on streaming to make up for the loss in exhibition revenue. Don't help them.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

2021/01/01

Combat Frame Data: Nidulans

Nidulans
  
Nidulans

Technical Data

Model number: N/A
Code name: Nidulans
Nickname: Nid, starcrab, space crab
Classification: attack spacecraft
Manufacturer: Ynzu
Operator: Ynzu
First deployment: Unknown
Crew: 1 pilot in full-immersion cockpit
Length: main body 30 meters
Weight: 150 metric tons
Armor type: Fractal diamond isomer armor
Powerplant: cold fusion reactor, max output 8,000 KW
Propulsion: EM impellers: 4x 56,000, 4x 37,500 kg, 8x 18,750kg; top speed 3000 kph; maneuvering impellers: 30, 180° turn time 0.80 seconds
Sensors: gravitic, radar, thermal, radiation, optical array; main compound cameras surrounding central "eye”
Fixed armaments: x4 gravity claw, mounted on arms; x4 graviton cannon, power rated at 2.4 MW, one mounted between each claw; x8 anti-vehicle autocannon, power rated at 0.75 MW, mounted in fire-linked pairs on each side of main body 
Special equipment: full-immersion cockpit, ion field projector, TC/D drive


General Notes

ISBC researchers named the vanguard of the Ynzu swarm after a self-replicating fungus used in gene experiments. The first Zue craft encountered by humans, the Nidulans' regeneration ability led CDF pilots to mistakenly believe that fresh Nids were budding from supposedly neutralized units.

Like its terrestrial cousin the Claviceps, a Nid bore a superficial likeness to a giant crab with a jade-green shell. Another feature the starcrabs had in common with Clavs were the adaptive diamond isomers that comprised their structures. A Nid could absorb EM and thermal energy even more efficiently than an XSeed's carbyne laminar armor and use that energy to repair itself in combat. Each Nidulans carried an ion field to bolster its already formidable energy weapon resistance.

The Nidulans' ranged armaments employed graviton manipulation effects common to all Ynzu weapons. This effect weakened targets' molecular bonds, allowing plasma bolts to penetrate any known armor. Even XSeeds could only survive one or two direct hits. This technology gave the Nid an edge over its main rival, the MCF-122 Emancipator. To counter this advantage, UC military doctrine dictated that XSeeds engage space crabs in pairs.

Typically, a Nidulans weakened its target with plasma fire from a distance before closing to deliver the coup de grace with its massive claws. A Nid reversed its guns' molecular bond-weakening effect to harden its pincers, giving them enough power to shear through XSeed armor.

Primarily intended for space combat, A Nidulans could readily enter a planet's atmosphere to engage airborne enemies or conduct air strikes. Nids' EM impellers granted superior acceleration and response time compared to obsolete rockets, even enabling a starcrab to reach escape velocity.

Like all known Ynzu units, each Nidulans was equipped with a TC/D drive. The Nids used these faster-than-light drives to launch surprise attacks on target worlds, clearing the way for Claviceps to invade the surface.

Each Nidulans was furnished with a full-immersion cockpit wherein the pilot was suspended in nanite-laden fluid. These naonmachines relayed the pilot's nerve impulses directly to the Nid's diamond isomer logic gates, vastly increasing response times over manually piloted CFs. The nanite bath also instantly dissolved the pilot in the event that the space crab was disabled. This failsafe is the official reason why no Ynzu pilot is said to have been captured alive.

See the deadly Nidulans in action in Combat Frame XSeed: S! Read it now!