2021/04/09

Secession from Megacorps?

secession

As the United States descends further toward becoming a banana republic, support for secession from the union reaches new highs. 

Monied interests obsessed with important unlimited peasant labor and unending war abroad have seized total control in Washington. Even democrat voters who'd been promised a minimum wage hike, student loan forgiveness, and no more foreign wars are feeling buyers' remorse.

For the Right, the situation is deteriorating even more rapidly into an existential crisis. The country which, within the living memory of generation Y and older, denounced the Soviet Union for consigning dissidents to gulags, now holds and tortures political prisoners.

Meanwhile, America's rulers huddle behind barbed wire and draft proposals to crack down on the invisible army of Nazis they blame for a protest whose only proven homicide victim was one of the protesters.

Amid all the confusion, the only certainty is that our rulers no longer share the least shred of commonality with the people they ostensibly represent. The government is already waging implicit war on its citizens. We can no longer trust our rulers, while they in turn hate and resent us.

That the time has come for a clean separation is a rational conclusion.

The problem is, a political divorce from Washington, even if it's possible, may not resolve these conflicts.

It's often remarked in dissident circles that a second American Civil War would bear little resemblance to the first. Instead of a first-generation conflict fought with cavalry charges, cannon, and bayonets, we could expect drone strikes, partisan guerrilla raids, and house-to-house urban warfare.

And though some or all of that would probably happen, contemplating those eventualities overlooks the main impediment to escaping the totalitarian regime that now controls America.

The phrase "totalitarian regime" probably conjured images of martial law, midnight knocks at the door, and work camps. 

What you probably didn't think of, but should have, is this:

iPhone

Equating oppression only with state power is a relic of obsolete Conservative and Libertarian ideology.

It's not the government that's censoring dissent online and exiling people from the economy with no recourse. Neither has popular media been reduced to nonstop Death Cult propaganda by official fiat.

The madness sweeping the country is being driven by corporate culture run amok. It's not the secret police commissar who's out to crush all deviation from the secular cult. It's an unfettered managerial class of HR directors and woke executives.

Membership in the Death Cult is now required to remain a member in good standing of the managerial elite, and that twisted culture now permeates every company over a certain size.

Perhaps a peaceful break with the federal government is possible. What about a personal break with your iPhone? With your Disney+ subscription? With your XBox?

The Death Cult hasn't needed state power to enforce its hegemony for a while, now. Thy have the entertainment and tech industries, which are all based in coastal blue states.

Political secession will not be enough to escape Clown World. Free states would have to somehow prevent their populations from consuming mass media and tech products.

Change the poll question to, "Would you favor secession if it meant giving up Monday Night Football?" Then watch those pro-secession numbers in the South evaporate.

Political separation may be necessary to avert total disaster, but it will not be sufficient as long as the Death Cult controls the megacorps that really hold the reins of power.

2021/04/08

MS Gundam: 0083

Gundam 0083

With innovation and originality in legacy entertainment now relegated to the past, I've been getting my fix from pre-Cultural Ground Zero properties. 

The best part of revisiting the classics is sharing hidden gems with friends who'd missed them the first time around. When it comes to anime, the late 80s to early 90s is a dragon's hoard of forgotten treasures. 

That was back during the Bubble Economy, when animation club otaku working out of a shed could get real estate speculator sugar daddies to fund their splatterpunk OAVs. That era was the last time anime as a genre took risks, and it gave rise to an unmistakable aesthetic never seen before or since.

For those who are unfamiliar with anime, the closest American analog to the Bubble Economy startups would be the mafia-financed 1970s film scene. The key difference being that 90s anime looks timeless, whereas the 70s mob kitsch looks dated.

One of my personal favorite early 90s anime series is Mobile Suit Gundam: 0083 - Stardust Memory. Admittedly, this OAV series from one of the biggest franchises around flew under my radar on its first release. Like most American viewers, I didn't catch 0083 until its US cable TV debut on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in 2002. The mechanical design, slick dogfights, and jazzy pop score hooked me right away.

0083 is remarkable for having had an unorthodox production at a time when weirdness was the norm. The series switched directors halfway through its thirteen-episode run. The results aren't remotely subtle, either. As a prime example, two characters who obviously don't recognize each other in episode one turn out to be former lovers in episode thirteen.

Contemporary viewers used to safe, by-the-numbers plotting might be thrown for a loop by 0083's tendency to fly by the seat of its pants. Being a meticulous outliner myself, the series' midstream tone and character shifts caught me off guard the first time around. But on rewatching, there's no question that the changes introduced by the second director turned out to be for the better.

Stardust Memory is thirty years old now, well past the spoiler statue of limitations. There's no need for a book-length plot synopsis, though. Three years after the original Mobile Suit Gundam, the victorious Earth Federation sends two new Gundam prototypes to Australia for testing. A Zeon remnant led by One Year War ace Anavel Gato steal the second prototype - which happens to have nuclear strike capability. Feddie test pilot Kou Uraki swears to Gudam engineer Nina Purpleton that he'll recover her lost pet mech and sets out in Unit 01 to confront Gato.

That would be a pretty typical Real Robot style story if not for that fact that Kou utterly fails his mission.

He goes multiple rounds with Gato, and the best result he can manage is a draw. Every other time the Nightmare of Solomon takes the plucky Ensign to the woodshed for a thorough ass-whuppin'.

One of those stalemates also ends with both Gundams Kou vowed to bring back exploding.

Right after Kou shows up too late to stop Gato from nuking two-thirds of the Federation fleet.

Even then, the uncaring universe isn't finished spitting on Kou Uraki, who suffers his crowning humiliation when he fails to avert a colony drop because Nina cucks him with Gato.

After that, being sentenced to a year's hard labor is an uptick in Kou's fortunes.

That's right, Gundam 0083 pulled off the "Slimy, backroom-dealing brass totally shafting their valiant frontline troops" plot in a way not seen again Until Galaxy's Edge.

Because 0083's special role in the Gundam canon turns out to be as an origin story for the main villains of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, the tyrannical Titans.

NB: I hadn't yet seen Zeta the first time I watched 0083. This time around, the cornucopia of Zeta Gundam Easter eggs bowled me over.

Fresh off another viewing, Mobile Suit Gundam: 0083 cements its place as step two in my recommended Gundam newbie viewing order. If you're new to Gundam, watch the three original series compilation movies first, then watch 0083 before diving into Zeta. The peak early 90s look and killer action are well worth the price of admission.

Just don't expect a happy ending. After all, this is war.


They may not make 'em like they used to anymore, but I do. To scratch your High 90s mecha itch, claim your copies of my military thriller saga Combat Frame XSeed on Indiegogo. Every backer gets the two newest eBooks, plus a free short story. The Pocket War card game playtest is still open, and we're closing in on our Print-a-Mech stretch goal. Help indie mecha break into the mainstream.

Back it now!

Combat Frame XSeed: SS - Brian Niemeier

2021/04/07

Perpetual Revolution

Institution

The Death Cult's sole means of interacting with society consists of plunging it into a state of perpetual revolution. That's why the Cult is incapable of building. It only ever parasitize existing institutions. 

Meanwhile, their self-styled opponents in the Conservative camp have proven incapable of conserving a single institution. In hindsight, it should have been obvious that a loose mob of individualists and free market fanatics whose battle cry is, "Every man for himself!" had no chance against the Cult.

The term gets thrown around so much that it's worth defining what an institution is. It's not a big building downtown with the company name in shiny letters over the door. To get an idea of what an institution is, consider the microcosm and model of all institutions: the family.

Institutions exist to serve people. If enough people believe a particular institution is of benefit to them, they'll give their time, treasure, and talent for it. Marvel, Disney, and oldpub failed as institutions because they stopped providing value and thereby stopped justifying their existence.

Conservatism's Libertarian influences blinds it to the true nature and origin of institutions. Embracing individualism precludes viewing the family as the fundamental building block of civilization. 

The same goes for Conservatives' devotion to Mammon. The actual Right understands the difference between worshiping the market like an Aztec god - which California public schools now require children to do - and recognizing market forces as emergent phenomena of human interaction. 

Seeking personal success in novel or comic book publishing isn't at odds with establishing new cultural institutions. In fact, they're complementary. Tor and Marvel were founded by entrepreneurs whose products attracted enough customers to make an enduring cultural impact.

Creating a lasting institution is a black swan event. Anyone else who tries to do it on purpose is like the guy who meticulously plans a party to recreate last weekend's spontaneous fun. You can't catch lightning in a bottle. All you can do is create favorable conditions and hope for the best.


The Cult-infested institutions aren't about to help fun, honest entertainment get noticed. That's why it's crucial for dissenters from the Death Cult to support indie science fiction like my mecha thriller epic Combat Frame XSeed.

The saga's latest installment is currently funding on Indiegogo. Back it now!

Combat Frame XSeed: SS - Brian Niemeier

2021/04/06

Gaming Ground Zero

Gaming Ground Zero

In which author David V. Stewart takes the Cultural Ground Zero ball and advances it ten years down the field:

Maybe you’ve heard of cultural ground zero: 1997.


Now let’s talk games, because unlike other institutions of culture, the games industry kept on growing and innovating for another 10 years.

Then 2007 happened, and as far as the bigger publishers are concerned, games reached their peak and no more change or risk was required or even advisable. Gameplay seemed to stop changing almost entirely after 2007, and the extent to which it did change is usually in the negative, involving the watering-down of mechanics and general reduction of difficulty.


The stats bear David's theory out. Compare annual US box office receipts to yearly video game industry revenues:

US Box Office

Annual US Video Game Revenue

Throughout the late 90s and early aughts, the movie and video game industries were pretty much neck and neck in terms of revenue. That intra-entertainment industry competition stopped being a horse race in 2007, when gaming pulled decisively ahead - doubling Hollywood's take that year.

Don't think for a second that video games' passing of this benchmark escaped the suits in the corner offices. Attaining twice the moneymaking power of Hollywood marked vidya's graduation from a niche hobby to a serious business. They money men had found a new golden goose, and they stepped in to make sure it kept laying the exact same eggs forever.

And like David observed, it all happened in 2007.

What we're seeing the results of now is big game studios throwing pretty much every hit game franchise into the corporate IP death cycle milking phase. All major game IPs from Call of Duty to WoW are endlessly riding a loop from the milking to death to reboot phases.

And it's working. What was a $20 billion games industry at Gaming Ground Zero has grown by an order of magnitude.

Which goes to show once again that, "Get woke, go broke" is a cope. The more gamers complain about the declining quality and innovation in video games, the more money AAA studios rake in.

The same goes for Hollywood. People want their bread and circuses. They know the bread is adulterated with sawdust and the clowns hate them, but they don't care.

All is not lost, however. Consistent personal experience has shown that the main reason normies continue subsisting on thin corporate gruel is they simply aren't aware of any alternatives. In my own market of sci fi publishing, I've seen readers ditch the Wendigs, Scalzis and Kleins of oldpub for masters like Gibson, Howard, and Merritt the second you slap a pulp novel in their hands.

That's not even mentioning contemporary newpub authors like David himself

Gaining visibility, especially bereft of institutional support, has been a long row for indie creators to hoe. But signs are emerging that newpub is achieving significant market penetration.

Consider my Combat Frame XSeed: SS crowdfunder, which Indiegogo backers made my highest and fastest funded campaign yet.

If you missed the campaign's initial run, I've extended it a few more days. Crossing the $10K milestone will be a strong bellwether of indie sci fi's growth.

Help us reach our goal and expand into the card game and 3D printed miniatures arena.

Back XSeed: SS now!

Cobat Frame XSeed: SS 869

2021/04/05

Chronology

Chrono Trigger Day of Lavos

These decades later, 1995's Chrono Trigger stands as the capstone of the 2D JRPG genre. You could argue that Final Fantasy VI, released the year prior, is the better game on aesthetic or technical grounds. But at least in North America, CT marked the end of an era when console gamers rightly expected Japanese developers to outdo themselves with each new release.

Though a stunning artistic and technological achievement, Chrono Trigger owes its enduring legacy to its generational themes - and the uncanny foresight with which it anticipated the future of gaming and the world.

Chrono Trigger Good Music

Perhaps it's inevitable that a game about time travel would deal with cultural transmission - or the failure thereof - between generations. But it's hard to revisit the game and not pick up a number of plot threads that resonate today.

Consider the recurring theme of intergenerational conflict. Marle's rebellion against her emotionally distant father is her impetus for getting involved in the story. The same goes for Magus and his mother, whose power lust rapidly plunges her into madness. A later side quest even reveals tension between Robo and his "mother", who's intent on destroying all humans.

Time and again, the protagonists are shown to be children of an older generation whose failure to master their vices led to global disaster.

Chrono Trigger was released in 1995. Its target audience of late life cycle SNES owners mostly belonged to Gen X and Gen Y. The question that arises now is, did Square Soft create one of the first and grandest anti-Boomer memes?

Consider the game's main character, Crono. He's shown to have been raised by a single mother with no mention made of his father. His mom is consistently depicted as oblivious to the earth-shaking events surrounding her son's destiny. Instead, she's wholly engrossed in a solipsistic world of domestic trivialities. Crono himself is a blank slate who never speaks a single line of dialogue. He's a screen onto which the player projects himself.

And the only time he overtly reacts to a story event is when his mom stumbles into a collapsing time gate - at which point he performs his battle victory animation.

That's not even touching upon the apocalyptic threat looming over the entire game. The characters' jaunts through time eventually reveal a hellish future where mankind, and the whole planet, are slowly dying in the aftermath of a nightmarish cataclysm. 

The cause of the apocalypse is finally identified as Lavos, a parasitic alien that burrows deep into its host worlds like an interstellar tick. There, Lavos feeds off the planet's mineral, biological, and energy resources, growing and building copies of itself, only to burst forth eons later in a civilization-ending event.

Anyone under 60 who's spent time on the internet lately can see clear parallels emerge. Not only is Lavos a parasite that greedily consumes the earth's resources, he stands atop the pyramid with a tyrannical grip on power. Lavos' arrival warps society to unconsciously feed his lusts, forever altering the course of civilization. 

It gets worse. Later generations who set out to end Lavos' destructive reign face a terrible dilemma. Their only hope of defeating Lavos lies in their recently awakened magical powers. However, the source of those powers is strongly hinted to be Lavos himself. The power upon which mankind's most advanced civilization rests will depart with the parasite which is slowly undermining the same society.

If Chrono Trigger has one flaw, it's that the game hand waves that compelling dilemma away. Xers, Ys, and Zoomers won't have that luxury as we grapple with the multifaceted disasters unleashed by the Boomers.


Rebuilding Western culture isn't easy, but we have to try. Support the Combat Frame XSeed multimedia project on Indiegogo and claim bargain-priced books, a free short story, plus a chance to playtest the Pocket War card game.

But that's not all. Help unlock the Print-a-Mech perk and launch CFXS into the miniature model space. Back it now!

Combat Frame XSeed: SS - Brian Niemeier

2021/04/02

The Successful Failure

Christ Crucifixion Successful Failure

Holy Week is upon us again. It's become something of a cliché for Christian commentators to describe the current era as the Long Lent, and Satan always doubles his attacks leading up to the anniversary of his defeat. 

The diabolical sore loser spirit is hard to miss once you've been clued in to it. Charlatan film makers drop cable TV documentaries claiming to debunk the Resurrection. Oldpub dumps hastily cobbled together books by pseudo-intellectuals denying Christ existed in the first place. The mainstream news outlets dutifully hype both, sometimes at the same time, despite their contradictory premises.

Recently, the spirit of sour grapes has taken up residence among certain factions of the dissident Right. You see at least one of them pop up to comment on almost every Christian-themed thread or post. The usual gripe goes that Christianity has somehow failed. The exact failure conditions, and the terms of the conflict, are left unsaid.

That's how you can tell that these heel-nippers are projecting. For all the promise it showed five years ago, the dissident political moment achieved precisely nothing. The remnants of the wignat crowd are taking potshots at Christianity as a misguided way of coping with the world's descent into a post-political age.

It's worth noting that the self-appointed coroners calling the Church's time of death all adhere to a specific spiritual profile - that being cringe atheists. These are the guys who started out as basic Libertarians whose political aspirations - in addition to smoking weed, banging hookers, and not paying taxes - included living in ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods. 

In short, they realized that the Libertarian paradise would be an ethnostate. When their dream turned out to be impossible, they took out their frustration on the Church.

Which, in an irony so twisted you know it has to be demonic, is exactly what the Death Cult wants the wignats to do.

The sharper tacks among them can even follow the chain of causality that led to Clown World, which is essentially the West's abandonment of Christianity. Yet they're so frozen in their pride that they can't bear the thought of returning to the Church. They're the stereotypical coomer that left his doting wife to have a fling with a Vegas call girl, only to wind up hungover in an ice-filled bathtub missing a kidney. Instead of looking in the mirror, they blame the wife for not being sexy enough to keep them interested.

"The Church failed to keep me from going apostate!" they whine.

And without merit.

Have Christian teachers done a dismal job when it comes to catechesis and faith formation? Yes.

Are there corrupt, cowardly members of the hierarchy who've scandalized the flock? Certainly.

Do nominally Christian organizations even assist the Death Cult's plan to turn Western countries into open air prisons/shopping malls?

No doubt about it.

Yet in all intellectual honesty, sins committed by members of a Church which broadcasts the fact that it's made up of sinners does not justify apostasy.

Truth binds in conscience. If you conclude that the Church's teachings are true, you are morally bound to submit to her authority. The original throne and altar Right understood as much.

Proving a single Christian dogma false would suffice to invalidate the faith and release everyone from the moral obligation to be Christian. But no one even attempts this line of argument. They just complain bitterly about pedophile priests and sellout evangelicals.

Those are simply childish bad-faith arguments. Christ never promised that individual Christians would be without sin. On the contrary, He prophesied that the wheat and the tares would grow side by side until the end.

If the whining wignats understood the first thing about Christianity, they would know that declarations of the Church's failure are patently ridiculous. The complaint's framing gives away their false assumption that the Church exists solely to maintain their consumerist lifestyle.

Here is why the Church did not - and cannot - fail: because her Head, Jesus Christ, met the ultimate failure by all worldly standards. He was arrested, publicly disgraced, and executed. The small following He'd built was scattered.

But by definition, God is that which brings something out of nothing. The Father chose to let His Son's earthly life come to nothing so that by His Resurrection, Christ's claims to divinity would receive definitive proof: the ultimate success produced ex nihilo from the ultimate failure.

What a feeble grasp of history these wretches have. Christianity was brought far lower than this many times before. The Death Cult are amateurs compared to Stalin, Napoleon, and Nero. It was Pilate and Caiaphas that brought the fledgling Church to nothing. They failed to reckon with the fact that nothing is all the building material God needs to raise His temple, as He can raise sons to Abraham from stones.

Christianity is the original successful failure. The Church's foundations are not in the earth. She is grounded in Heaven, like a mountain whose snow-white peak touches the ground from the sky.

The Church of Jesus Christ has buried political parties, armies, and empires. She will carve the Death Cult's headstone. The question that dissident Rightists who throw stones at Christianity should ask themselves is, "What epitaph will the Church write for us?"

2021/04/01

XSeed: SS After Action Report

Combat Frame XSeed: SS

The results are in! Not only did our amazing backers make Combat Frame XSeed: SS our fastest-funding Indiegogo campaign, you made it our biggest yet!

XSeed SS 861

XSeed S 821

Over an identical time span of 30 days, XSeed: SS raised $395 more than XSeed: S, with 13 more backers. Big thanks to everyone who's contributed!

To keep CFXS aficionados informed of the brand's status, here's an after action report on the initial leg of the campaign:
  • Combat Frame XSeed has legitimate juice as a brand. 
  • The current level of buzz & momentum it's generated mainly comes from the military thriller/sci fi market.
  • So far, significant penetration into the mecha sector has proven elusive.
  • Nevertheless, CFXS is approaching momentum levels sufficient to break into one or more new target markets.
  • That expansion will require adapting the IP into a new medium, specifically a visual one with a much lower end user time investment than books.
  • The Combat Frame XSeed: Pocket War card game is a prime candidate for that breakout adaptation.
  • Therefore, I have extended the campaign by 16 days, with a focus on drumming up card game playtest backers. This extension will hopefully fund the 3D-printed CF model stretch goal as well.
Combat Frame XSeed: Pocket War

If you're interested in card games that painstakingly simulate mech combat and reward sound tactics, we still have 3 Pocket War playtest perks left. Claim your seat at the table, and help Combat Frame XSeed reach the next level!