Black Lives Matter in Retrospect. Is the State setting up BIPOC peoples by scapegoating BLM as crime rates “rise” to re-install a harsher police state? The Master Slave Game. And how White Reactionaries are alleging BLM is a grift by conflating the realities of a movement with the humanist cause and principle to push white supremacist talking points.  By Quinton Mitchell ©

Table of Contents

  1. Points
  2. Hypothesis and Main Theory
  3. The Issue of Dialectics
  4. Viewing BLM as an Object and Aesthetic
In this still images courtesy of National Public Radio (NPR) television station WBFO and taken by Mike Desmond, a 75-year-old protester bleeds from his ear after being shoved by Buffalo, New York, police, on June 4, 2020, after Buffalos curfew went into effect, according to media reports. – The protester was reported to be in stable but serious condition at a local hospital, according to NPR WBFO on June 5. (Photo by Mike Desmond / WBFO NPR / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / WBFO NPR / Mike DESMOND” – NO MARKETING – NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo by MIKE DESMOND/WBFO NPR /AFP via Getty Images)

Quick Summary: When looking back at BLM we must make distinction between the movement and the principle/cause, while also not blowing out of proportion all the realities of the movement, i.e., letting bad actors overshadow those with noble intentions.

The movement of BLM was a reaction to police but as an object it seems to be currently being set-up (scapegoated), or even partially having been set up from its inception, by the bipartisan power apparatus, to make people crawl back to a more weaponized and technologically integrated police state, and in American fashion scapegoat black people, i.e., retain the traditional value of “blackness” as “other” and “problematic”. In many ways Black Lives Matters was the best thing for the Justice Department under William Barr considering he could increase police power by hiding behind the racial dialectics of the country, and it was good for both political parties – already co-opted by corporate power – to re-solidify race in the United States, but also advance racial progress simultaneously, because progression is a notion of Darwinism, so progression naturally is used as a metric for gauging success but this progression is done with tension.

As crime rates arose due to the dereliction of duty by many officers who didn’t want to reform, rather instead falling into the Blue Lives Matter reactionary movement (which is at an intersection with All Lives Matter, which is really just a cover for White Lives Matters) and the reopening of society during the COVID lockdowns (more people outside means more crime), 1) people would crawl back to state power where police have received more power, more updated weapons, military surplus from the still standing National Defense Authorization Act provisions, tracking technology, etc., 2) to re-solidify white supremacy via reactionary politics who would shame minorities with a “See, I told you so” sort of cynicism playing into America’s racial dialectics, 3) have the state do figurative reforms to farm voters by holding their hopes over them just to let them down because of manufactured “bipartisan bickering” instead of doing transformative reforms, 4) to undermine the Biden Presidency by taking a way an aspect of his campaign promise to disenchant liberal voters wanting reform, even though Biden-Harris is a proponent of the “law and order” system and seem to only use progressives in a pragmatic ways to simply keep the “tent camp” coalition of the Left intact, but 4) on a bright side, the cause/principle of BLM was important and had a lasting beneficial effect as far as advancing our worldview when viewing race, expanding peoples’ minds to the realities of systemic racism (Good Ole Boy networks, double-standards in sentencing, etc.), humanizing the existences of marginalized groups, not shying away from our history, and viewing power more in-depth.  Yet, the movement wasn’t bad, there were just some bad actors in it, and the movement was essential in tandem with the cause and principle in challenging state power and forcing at least a conversation about reform (that we’re still waiting on from the state).

Disclaimer:

Black Lives Matters was a complicated but important movement in the United States of America and even across the globe. While the US Congress stalls or even disregards actual police reform, the BLM movement did advance the conversation about how we see race relations, and it exposed the often-disregarded interactions that people of color face when dealing with a system that is predominately held by a white power structure, etc. I must put the disclaimer in this paper to subvert claims by white reactionaries that this is “anti-white”.

I grew up in mostly white environments, and they were 90-95% great environments. Very fond memories with white friends or friends of any race where was there was no race (playing video games, watching wrestling, playing tackle football in fields, riding bikes, talking about girls, etc.), yet being older, especially after the entrance of Black Lives Matters into the national conversation, I noticed a sense of ennui or remorse in white America, maybe it was part guilt in feeling that things weren’t truly as good as we all thought they were (assuming the election of one person of half-black descent, not even descended from black American slavery, in Barack Obama, could somehow correct four hundred years of supremacy), or in many cases it was a reaction, a sort of negative envious feeling that white America’s grievances weren’t being met, etc. It’s complicated.

I get it, but I must state that this paper isn’t anti-white even though I will be talking about white supremacy, so if you are white and reading this, don’t see it as an attack (that’s what the white reactionary wants), but rather me trying to help you understand, because frankly, the way that many reacted to Black Lives Matters means that many white people, same as black people, still inhabit a dialectical worldview when coming to race, i.e., a simple matter of black and white consciousness, when really there’s a higher level, but to get that level we have to address the notion of white supremacy, the construction of racial aesthetics, and the extensions of supremacy not matter how innocuous they may seem (such as police power).

As a black person who was raised in white America mostly, conscious of myself as a black person within it, I understand how many white people “tense up” when hearing for example a de-colonialist anti-supremacist worldview by some people of color. Most white people are totally fine, but simply don’t like thinking that things are bad, or for some those others have a sort of advantage because that defies the concept of “merit”. It triggers a sense of defensiveness which therefore leads to fighting, pettiness, cynicism, etc. See me as your friend. You’re interpreter. In many ways I find extreme black nationalism to be problematic, although I understand the energy of it because it’s really from a people trying to reconstruct their identity or attach to their roots which the West or America didn’t take too seriously (they’re trying to feel good about themselves instead of seeming themselves as ugly caricatures created by a system that doesn’t value them or their contributions), for example, we learn about Rome, Ancient China, but we never learn about African history before slavery (and sadly this by design). But I am pragmatically on the Left because I feel the Left will help us all, and I am not a fan of political conservatives because that are a barrier for reconciliation, for progress, and for helping us get to a better day.  

I. Points:

  1. Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police was never anti-police but was about police reform, but since police don’t want to be reformed, but also white supremacy co-opts police with their “law and order” claims, the Right Wing intentionally tried to kill the public from understanding the real intention. The Right Wing’s intention was to remove nuance and context, however, the Left set itself up for that by using “wedge term” tactics. For example, Defund the Police, sure had more bite to it, which was essential because the Left doesn’t have much power, yet, Defund the Police easily could have been called “Progressive Policing”. Sure, the Right Wing would have resisted anyways such as alleging that “progressive” means weak, but at least the Left would have had more sway in the optics war. The Left sometimes forgets that optics do matter because the passion for reform takes precedence, which is understandable, but still for the Left to succeed it needs to understand this, i.e., you aren’t “selling out” if you simply market yourself in a way that the opposition can’t use against you.
  2. A lot of white reactionaries allege that “more white people get killed by police”, but since they don’t do anything about this…what are they really saying about themselves? So, it’s OK to violently react to immigrants based on fears of ‘racial replacement’ for example, but they won’t reform police who allegedly kill more…white people? They will even allege that people don’t protest when white people get killed by police which is false, such as when Kristiana Coignard was killed (where white, black, and Latino people protested the Longview PD) or when Al Sharpton (allegedly a “race baiter” per the Right Wing) spoke at the eulogy for white Arkansas teen, Hunter Brittain. So, white reactionaries in theory are willing to be attacked by a system just if that system overwhelmingly deals with other groups who are smaller in number, power, wealth, etc.? Sounds like fascism to me. White reactionaries who bring up these or similar talking points, might also be failing to admit that the system doesn’t want to show white deaths by police not because society doesn’t care about white people (quite the opposite, aka, they hold the most wealth), but if white people were to see themselves being killed by cops, they might reform the system. The system doesn’t want that.
  3. In many ways Black Lives Matters if it was able to succeed in getting police reform would have “evaporated upward” or “trickled upwards” and benefited white people because you can argue that minority communities being smaller suffer from the system more densely, meaning minority communities are examples of what goes on in the larger communities but in a more dense/extreme manner, meaning that improving the lives of minorities would actually benefit the lives of the majority.
  4. White Society, at least certain segments of it, has more money, meaning they have more influence, so since policing is political, e.g., people vote for Sheriff’s, judges, DAs, etc., white communities have more sway over the law because those they put into power want to appease them more so, and many cases are living in the communities they police, thus becoming incorporated into a localized “good ole boy network”. In many of these communities the children of police are hanging out with the children of those who effectively run that’s communities’ society (the Chambers of Commerce, country clubs, PTA meetings, etc). This is at odds with minority communities, where the police often don’t live there, don’t see the people as the same, don’t participate in the community, and are subject to larger populations meaning they disregard nuance and to hedge their safety take on a more forceful demeanor, etc. A suburban doctor with three kids as more sway than a person of color or immigrants without money, even as far as having the time to complain or fight cases with private legal help as opposed to public defenders. Certain law officials are more likely to see themselves in those they police or try, e.g., white police policing middle to upper class whites, i.e., “you remind me of myself, so I’ll give you warning” or it’s “kids being kids”, or “I’d hate to ruin your future”.
  5. All Lives Matters had no ideology. It was an innocuous movement simply meant to be a rebuttal to Black Lives Matters. All Lives Matters and Blue Lives Matter was simply a “passive aggressive, aggressive” reactionary movement to Black Lives Matter created to shroud white racial insecurities by hiding behind a high horse position that they value all lives, when in essence they don’t consider All Lives Matters offered no unifying movement that sought to reform the system for “all lives”. Did you see any protest by All Lives Matters to bring all peoples together to reform police? Further, Blue Lives Matter was explicitly a racial movement, though hiding behind the fact that First Responder’s lives to matter already and there being people of color within policing, and you can tell this was the case, because Blue Lives Matters could have created reconciliation with Black Lives Matters which would help improve the work safety of police. Rather, Blue Lives Matter stayed silent, double down on their position, took criticism as a negative and not a positive to improve policing, and by them doing all this they helped to unite police further with whiteness in the United States, which is dangerous, similarly to how the Right Wing tries to appropriate things which should be apolitical such as the military.
  6. Many white reactionaries use statistics when convenient, but then disregard others when necessary if it defeats their agenda. If white reactionaries are willing to believe that black people are inherently criminal at face value due to statistics, then why don’t they accept statistics on matters such as…. Climate Change or Wealth disparity, especially with climate change being based on a natural observation of the world, rather being based on sociology, i.e., a study of people? They’re selective on purpose.
  7. Further, white reactionaries when talking against the Black Lives Matter movement and alleged the inherit criminality of black people or other minority groups, they always fail to provide context, such as the simple question of “what is a crime?”. If you’re in a community that’s more heavily policed and restricted, you are more likely to commit a crime even if a petty offense, i.e., you’re visible, but minorities are even visible in not heavily policed places with fewer police. It’s no different than if you’re at the front of the class you’re more likely to get sent to detention for talking than someone whispering in the back. For example, there are racist laws such as black or Latino people can’t even be in groups in public in certain parts of town or on corners, e.g., some communities there are restrictions on large gatherings or even wearing certain colors. So, if you have a highly policed, monitored, and restricted group then of course crime rates would be higher, because what is really a “crime”. Kurt Reinhold was killed for jaywalking in California, a civil crime that happens every minute in the United States of America. Then there’s also the matter of self-defense within these communities. Self-defense as a concept is fine within “white society”, i.e., stand your ground laws or gun rights, but if a black person happens to use self-defense in a dangerous situation such as being robbed or attacked, then he or she can be simply labeled a criminal and not be given the “patriotic aesthetics” given to a white person.

II. Hypothesis and Main Theory:

Black Lives Matters was an important movement that was needed to advance the racial conversation beyond the pre-existing co-opted MLK “safe space” which was used in many ways to hide the nexus between state and private interests power (neoliberalism and supremacy), and expose the racial realities of BIPOC peoples, but BLM was also a way to “re-solidify” white supremacy, since people would naturally conflate the realities of individual actors within the Black Lives Matters movement with the overarching and important humanist principle and cause that BIPOC lives do matter, by providing a means (excuse) for white supremacist to push White Panic politics, and reactionary “reverse racism” allegations.

Further, BLM in retrospect when viewed as an object that was used by the state to reassert state-control through the “master slave mentality”, by making the general populace “crawl back to police” since people would see police (and allegedly their means of using violence as being essential for fixing the many problems of America, ironically created by the system itself) as essential, particularly as the rising crime rates that occurred as the COVID-19 lockdowns eased up, manifested themselves.

The system was able to scapegoat BLM as being a destructive force and reassert the authority and need for police.

Regarding the Master Slave analogy, the “master” uses violence against his slaves (dividing the slaves already so they see themselves not as a common class), the “slaves” revolt and find freedom, but the master hopes that the slaves “crawl back” to the master, even though the master is responsible for the material and political conditions that caused the slave to come back, for example crime that is influenced by wealth disparity, lack of economic opportunity, gentrification largely funded by the Central Bank’s artificial monetary policy making it easier for developers to find financing to create expensive housing for profit (or for them to borrow against their artificially bloated assets for money), reductions in social investments while increases in sectors such as defense, the fact monopolies exists which hurts small businesses, the power of corporations who give “opportunity” via employment, yet underpay knowing that unemployment is high so people are disposable but suction the majority of the profits out of the community via elaborate tax-loopholes (such as the Delaware Corporation loophole) while diverting the tax burden innocuously to the state/local governments to fund things such as infrastructure, education, charities, etc.  

BLM wasn’t “anti-police”, but it was about “police reform”, yet, in some cases by some individuals it was “anti-police”, similarly to how you have “grifters” but you also have true-believers, thus all these varying intentions created a muddled disunified position that was able to be used against reformists by the Political Right since they don’t care about the distinctions within the Left but are explicitly against it overall.

The Left Wing unlike the Political Right (which is monolithic/homogenous/authoritarian) is an umbrella camp including left-leaning liberals (let’s call them “inclusive tolerant capitalists” with varying sympathies on welfare), Leftists (further subdivided between Socialists, Marxists, anarchists, etc.), so “Leftist” seeming movements, even though Leftist don’t necessarily own the “causes or principles” they are fighting for always (e.g., that BIPOC lives matters), find themselves infighting over the direction of the cause and principle.

What the Left can learn from BLM, especially as White Panic politics arise is that there needs to be reconciliation of Left leaning ideologies, but then a reconciliation between Leftist and Left Liberal ideologies.

This tendency of ideological infighting, where Marxists see Left leaning liberals as “not down enough” or in reverse, Left Leaning liberals see Marxists as “too extreme”, needs to be reconciled to create a mutual position, meaning that American Leftism has no real choice of being a Reformist and pragmatic movement rather than a Revolutionary Movement. Yet, the basis for the reconciliation should be since Marx in many ways was right. Left Leaning liberals in many ways throw the Left under the bus but not being brave enough to even admit that Marx’s analysis was correct in many ways, even if they disagree with his means or his outcomes.

The Left in a way fell for the “trap” of the system’s “reverse psychological and dialectics game”, but it was because the Left who lacks the money and state power has to use bold statements (such as Defund the Police) or rally calls to make up for the detriment of power against the state, yet these bold statements tough powerful can actually lead to the destruction of the cause both internally and externally, and in many ways endanger those the cause was meant to protect. For example, I as a black man must deal with the reactionaries to Black Lives Matters, since I exist in the real world, not the world of ideas, but I support the statement of Black Lives Matters. In a way BLM was a tool of dialectics to continue America’s dialectical animus when viewing race, but BLM was also an important and noble movement as far as aesthetics, value, and intention.

III. The Issue of Dialectics

When it comes to dialectics, the system cannot advance without supporting what it wishes to reform. Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis, Repeat. Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis, Repeat, etc., etc. But the United States’ penchant for dialectics is a rudimentary framework but is fundamental to American thought, e.g., America was largely founded on an ‘either/or” mentality being that it was a European colony seeing others as “others” (e.g., uncivilized savages vs civilized peoples, or whiteness versus everything else).

Dialectics is used to reinstall state power such by “re-solidifying” the majority racial class whom by proxy defend the state since their “origin story”, “value” (mostly through vicarious living, i.e., poor whites benefit by proxy from the value of elite whites) or “identity” are based on the system, but dialectics are also used to “evolve” the consciousness of America at the same time. Think of it all as a method of hedging the bets in the portfolio, e.g., you need some gold in the portfolio to hedge the equities but each one counteracts each other. It’s all about keeping the same animus of power intact, while still evolving the national consciousness.

The philosophical underpinnings of the United States could be simply summed up as manifesting itself as Pragmatic (do whatever works), hidden under romantic ideals pushed through a sort of religiosity such as on concepts like inalienable rights of citizens, property rights, etc., but it also applies dialectics to cover up the realities of the situation, with that being the Unites States is a pyramidal structure.

Pragmatic dialectics as a tool of liberalism creates a bipolarization of the body politic and the people and since the USA is a modernist experiment, it also applies the “scientific method” and Darwinian concept of evolution (while ironically promoting religion that defies evolutionary concepts) thus resulting in the “zoological stratification of groups”, and the fetishization of races, etc., who are organized and controlled through a managerial (business) viewpoint.

Essentially, the United States uses “do whatever it takes to the job done, i.e., act first, think later” pragmatics to run a society that’s stratified and controlled using racial, sexual, and political dialectics for the benefit and sustaining of an idealistic Enlightenment liberal order that is based on an interpretation of property rights where property rights manifested itself as a society dominated by corporations owned by a few, yet, the USA too as a modernist experiment applies a harsh scientific viewpoint when determining its success, so the system uses dialectics as a tool for progression, but these application of dialectics requires a sot of Darwinian pain or tension within the “landscape” or “environment”. The United States uses idealism in one hand but then harsh realism in another, same as it uses Analytics in one hand (such an obsession with data) but also stratifies society into identities and classifications which by default triggers existentialism as the individual attempts to see a higher purpose within the chaos of the marketplace. The United States is a controlled chaos operation, pragmatically mixing any idea that serves its purpose and creates competitive advantages, that seeks only to sustain the liberal tradition of property rights which is just another word for business rights, i.e., corporate rights, and applies a “psycho-sexual-racial” stratification, cleverly balancing supremacy with progressive liberation, and applies a managerial culture on the working classes so they can never see the animus of the system, i.e., they become compartmentalized within an economic, political, and social bureaucracy, they identity with their role or job title in society rather than their true selves, and in many ways people of the working class attach their very identity to the system so objectively analyzing the system triggers a sort of existential crisis “fail safe measure”. In many ways the USA is simply a newer version of feudalism, where lords basically gave serfs no other option but to live on their land and work it in exchange for protection, but in the USA the serfs have free movement and instead of God the replacement is the “God ordained” marketplace and this notion of freedom, but the freedom doesn’t really exists because the economic underpinnings of America creates disparity and there’s no economic alternative to freely live in within the system, i.e., leaving the system means destitution similar if a serf left his fief he’d be destitute. Freedom as we see it, i.e., this religious devotion to freedom, i.e., the ability to be selfish for the sake of it because an ambiguous deity ordains so, is really just a means of giving the lower classes a cheap sense of power, when in fact the actual powerful benefit from the actual freedom. Freedom is just and important, but in many ways is just a drug sold by elites so they actually remain free, i.e., unregulated, and the serfs remain separated and competing, i.e.,free. Yet, a liberal system based on a harsh view of property rights which benefits the business classes, such as corporations, more so than the individual expressing their freedom, always results in disparity, that circumvents democracy, e.g., people with more money dictate democracy and thus it’s not a democracy, and even if the USA is a Republic, a republic is simply a form of democracy where the people vote people to make decisions for them. The seedling of all this comes from America’s inception in which the colonial bourgeoisie (the Founders, the gentry class, the merchant class) used the colonial proletariat to win a Revolution, i.e., a hostile takeover, of the colonial corporation, i.e, the 13 colonies, but the colonial bourgeoisie as the merchant class framed the revolution as a being about personal freedom when in fact the energy of the Revolution channeled a worker’s strike of the masses against owners (the colonial investors back in the United Kingdom). The American Revolution’s narrative was co-opted from inception by the business class, whom despite thinking they were “cool kid hipster philosophers” ended up just being successors of a feudalistic tradition by way of the business sector.

In many ways the United States is “controlled chaos”, which is hallmark of it, yet also a detriment because those who control the apparatus of this “controlled chaos” have bias, agendas, etc., which is to hide the pyramidal reality of reality.

The United States is flux of Enlightenment philosophies (Continental, Analytics, pragmatism, postmodernism, religion, realism, idealism, evolutionary science/scientism, and business), all blended pragmatically into a system, e.g., The Third Way, that seems orderly but is also existential, where the “existential” isn’t necessarily natural, but in many ways crafted so people in an ‘ontological abyss’ crawl back to a system of power that subjugates them albeit the state or the marketplace (such as through advertising, material fetishism, binge eating to cope for mental health issues). It’s a sort of disciplinarian parent to child mentality. Sure, the child gets gifts, may live in a nice home, but the state (not the state of the Left, but the state as is in the United States), also employs psychological games, physical punishment, etc.

But it is my belief that this game of dialectics is the goal of the system. It’s not profound to throw out terms such as ‘divide and conquer’ but in many ways that’s what race relations is when dealing with neo-liberalism, capitalism, voting demography, marketing, etc. Yet, what’s more sinister about state power (which doesn’t mean Democrat, but the state apparatus behind both parties) is that it even co-opts claims such as mine about ‘divide and conquer’ to make it seem like their reforms aren’t about that, but they always ends being that, such as neo-liberal power co-opting Leftist notions such as de-colonial self-determinism to simply “re-solidify race” in America for various reasons such as those mentioned in the sentence before this. Basically, America runs off dialectics. Either/Or. Ying/Yang. It tries to subvert progress by making progress seems like a win-lose rather than a win-win. There is something about this system that is the equivalency to ‘cuckholding’, i.e., playing with deep routed psychological fears and bartering groups against each other.

But why? A unified proletariat, i.e., a unified “class consciousness” particularly that of the working-poor all the way to the upper-middle class would pose a risk to the “owner class”, i.e., the corporate boards, majority shareholders, conglomerates, etc. A unifying vision of America isn’t necessarily the goal of America unless such unity feeds into capitalist power (for example, desegregation, though noble ethically, was applied more so for pragmatic purposes since it was better for the markets, e.g., interstate commerce, consumerism, etc., and similarly desegregation gave the USA a military advantage which thus feeds back to capitalist operations and hegemony), but even if so it can’t help but to promote a segregationist view point, regardless if its from the political-right or the political-left.

 It wants to have people fighting, but then give figurative improvements, that don’t change much (because it’s not profitable to do so) and re-solidify demography.

The “re-solidification of demography” thus feeds into the political system, which at this point is co-opted by special interests, meaning democracy in many ways is a guise. Keeping the rouse up.

Even though the political right is effectively controlled by the “power apparatus” since they are always creating apologetics for the system such as conflating personal liberty with the liberty of corporate personhood (thus obstructing regulation on corporations), the political-left too in many ways has been co-opted by “the system” largely by way of the center-left of the traditional Democratic powerbase, yet as far as grassroots non-state movements or intellectuals they still rally against the system for noble intentions.

That’s the goal of white reactionaries. They don’t want the light pointed at the system.

Black Lives Matter forced a harder analysis of race relations away from the concept of “racial blindness” or “can we all get along”, because in many ways this MLK (who was a Christian Leftist of the Protestant and English speaking tradition) aesthetic of racial blindness was merely co-opted by the system so we wouldn’t reveal that systemic racism is a real thing, and the system weaponized this high horse position by making it seem that people speaking against racial biases were performing “reverse racism” or being agitators affecting the delicate balance of racial blindness in the context of neo-liberalism, i.e., the racial blindness concept through honorable was merely co-opted into order to continue a neo-liberal system that exploits people.

Technological innovations (cellphones) helped to reveal the truth of policing in the United States regardless of race, but this innovation in conjunction with BLM helped to reveal the daily aggressions that many people of color experience, no matter how blunt or passive, for example the revelation of Karens. Karens aren’t new thing, but rather we can see how crazy they can get, and how their behavior brings unneeded trauma, fear, and even death to people of color. Imagine all the months, years, decades, centuries that Karens have operated in getting people killed, arrested, kicked out of school, etc.

Yet, like any movement there is a good side and a bad side. For all I know BLM for inception was a grift, but even if it were, it doesn’t mean those attached to it were grifters and it certainly doesn’t mean that the principle of Black Lives Matters was bad.

IV. Viewing BLM as an Object and Aesthetic

We must create distinction between the movement (object) and the cause/principle (the value, intention, and aesthetic).

We can distill the aesthetics and value of the Black Lives Matter into two or three things.

1) The Movement and 2) the principle/the cause.

The Movement represents that actual business and organizational structure of the Black Lives Matter movement, i.e., the birthplace or headquarters of the movement, i.e., the heads of the movement who dealt with the financial gains and ideological underpinnings. Yet the movement isn’t linear or concrete. You have the “hive mind” of the movement, but then you have the various chapters or franchises of the movement, whom may very well not be involved in the actual “business dealings” of the headquarters, e.g., a local chapter in your community who simply wants to provide education, advance the conversation, do community projects, etc. So, yes, there was corruption in the movement, but then also not.

You will always have grifters in any movement. For example, just imagine how many opportunists bought wholesale T-Shirts when Donald Trump won or when Blue Lives Matters came (another problematic reactionary movement hiding behind a high-horse position) and profited of these movements.

To call BLM a “grift” in its entirety is nothing more that white supremacy hidden behind speakers, bloggers, or podcasters who reference one source of statistics (such as stats on black crime, often lacking support analysis such as history, economic conditions, wealth disparity, etc.) while hiding other sets of statistics such as levels of criminality or corruption within US police agencies.

Then we have the principle/the cause, which is simply “black lives matter”, i.e., black lives have as much value as white lives (the majority) especially when dealing with law enforcement considering the movement was a response to police brutality regardless of if there were bad actors in the “movement” (the business side).

Just because the physical movement of BLM had issues, doesn’t mean their issues took away from the “cause” or “principle” that the lives of people of color have equal value thus are entitled to equal treatment by the law.

The goal of conservatives and white reactionary types is to conflate the movement of BLM, which is subjective due to the diversity of human nature (good, bad, noble, greedy, etc.), with the principle and cause of BLM, but then hide behind high-horse positions such as saving lives of first responders or racial equality (that most everyone can already agree with) via movements like All or Blue Lives Matters, when it really, it’s just a passive way of expressing racism for many, shrouding racial insecurities, projecting a sense of racial grievance in that they don’t feel “loved” or “as sympathized with”, and/or reasserting unchecked state power on violence. It’s fascism. Straw man arguments, white panic politics, state power, and supremacy hidden behind a worship of state regalia, mythos, origin stories, propaganda, etc.

If we were to make an analogy, conservatives treated Black Lives Matters like a woman who files a rape complaint but people end up saying “she deserved it”, “she shouldn’t have been wearing that”, “she was asking for it”, etc.

Conservatives seems to push this biased objectivist (meta-narrative) ideology, which defies the nature of chaos and diversity that’s natural to the freedom they allegedly claim to love, i.e., conservatives use this sort of “religious worship” of principles but that totally negates the complex nuances, intersections, realities, diversities, etc., of life.

Thus, it’s a problematic position even though the quest for objectivity is fine, conservative ideology is problematic because it’s the equivalent of them appearing to shake hands and break truces with one hand but behind their backs they are crossing their fingers with that gesture being symbolic of hiding an attention, i.e., a supremacist system of ideology.  

It’s funny that people say Socialism for example sounds good on paper but doesn’t work, when really one can easily turn this around on conservatives and say the same things. Sure, freedom sounds good on paper, but freedom as an “object” or “thing” or expression can be twisted and appropriated to shroud state power by hiding behind the majority group of a country.

It’s no different than people attacking Colin Kaepernick when he took a knee, which he didn’t broadcast himself, but rather someone videotaped him doing it and shared it with the public. Conservatives were able to pick up on this and use the American Flag and anthem as a shield to be racist, even though you had others who were genuinely disappointed at his move, yet these people too didn’t even call out the fact that there were “passive aggressive racist” in their midst, thus these “noble patriotic” types further muddled the conversation and for what? Emotions to a state symbol?

But white supremacist “vloggers” like American Justice Warrior alleging that BLM was nothing more than a grift, they can play into idea that the Democrats, progressives, Socialist, Social Democrats, etc., are using race merely for a Marxist agenda or to conduct “white replacement”. The goal of conservatives is to stitch things together without context and then dump them into broad categories such as “Marxism” (which they misrepresent all the type by using “straw man argument”, i.e., using the most extreme examples, and without context, i.e., the West was hostile to socialist nations) so they can demonize it and accelerate “White Panic” politics, thus justifying a harsher clamp down on minorities or movements which seek reform. They just want their egos coddled. They don’t like diversity because it hurts their manhood.

Many of these white reactionaries (Karens included) were set up for failure because the system always elevated their egos so high, having lived vicariously through white status symbols to latch on their values (para-social relationships), but when others were included, it’s like a child screaming against sharing and destroys his or her room.

They even go further by alleging that All Lives Matters wasn’t a reactionary movement to Black Lives Matter when in fact it was.

Why would I say that? Did you ever see All Lives Matters making a splash to call out police brutality on “all lives”? No. Did they really mobilize the masses under a stance of racial unity to challenge state power under a “Power to the People” mantra? No. It was just a way to play the “reverse racism” card and considering Donald Trump was elected while ALM came about is further proof. He was elected in part on white panic politics, and Trump knew that, hence his idiotic statements paying into this “reverse racism” card.

Even if many who sympathized with the All-Lives Matter motto weren’t racist (you had many people of color sympathizing with it), it doesn’t mean that the All-Lives Matter movement wasn’t a passive aggressive white reactionary movement. All Lives Matters co-opted the high-horse position of “racial blindness” and “unity” to hide the white reactionary elements of it, so it could turn around and justify clamping down harder on a minority community. Reverse psychology and mind games. Seriously, in many rebuttals to Black Lives Matter I’ve seen ranging from people such as Candace Owens of Blexit or closeted white supremacists such as American Justice Warrior, they fail to provide any objectivity. They never criticized the clear and visible/broadcasted examples of police brutality, planting drug evidence on suspects, proven sexual assaults by police officers, etc.

That’s all you really need to know about these anti-BLM movements mostly. They are simply using reverse psychology to further demonize minorities who speak up against state brutality by making them appear to be inherently criminal, spoiled, entitled at their expense, etc., and they hide behind high-horse positions that most people even on the Left agree with such as “law and order”, “all lives matter”, etc.

The importance of Circa Survive: Aesthetic and artistic breakdown. Analogies to the story of Peter and Wendy in the Pan Universe by Quinton Mitchell.

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“Haunting us, these different meanings and spectral beings.” House of Leaves by Circa Survive

“If you allow, something so unnecessary to get you down, there’s no one else to blame.” Drug Dealer by Circa Survive

“If you could only offer love, you’d be like a drug to us, like a drug dealer” Drug Dealer by Circa Survive

Introduction: It was a few years ago, maybe around 2015, when I was at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia, seeing Circa Survive. I had seen them four times before in concert, and each time was an amazing experience, but on this night, hearing the heavy bass on their song Descensus at minute 2:41 (reminiscent of something one would find in the band Tool), where the bass was interwoven with spacey guitar work invoking the sounds of an Indian sitar, I was taken away. The bass was synced to oscillating white lights in a dark space. All the heads were bobbing in unison, feeling a part of something transcendental. It was a reminder as to why Circa Survive is one of the most important Progressive rock acts of two-thousands, arguably the progressive band for the older millennial generation. The first time I became aware of Circa Survive was in my teen years in the early two-thousands, walking around a mall and going into either a FYE music-store or Hot Topic and seeing the gothic artwork of Esao Andrews on the Juturna album in early 2005. “That looks cool” I said to my girlfriend, and she responded, “Then buy it then”.

I did not buy it though since I was a broke teenager, with enough money from allowance and fast-food job to take my girlfriend to the movies where we would mess around in the back aisles away from any parental supervision (those awkward days). Fast forward to the college days around 2008, and I downloaded Circa’s song, The Great Golden Baby, to my cellphone, which looking back looked like a brick compared to the lean devices we have today. I listened to it on repeat flying home to Georgia in the winter months from Washington State where I attended college, admiring the storytelling. “I’m going on home by own way, going home by my own”. Fast-forward again, I was already immersed in their albums by 2009, but by the twenty-teens while I served in the Air Force, living a lonely hermetic lifestyle after duty (to avoid getting into trouble), I would drink, draw, save all my money for my eventual escape towards freedom (Honorable Discharge), expand my mind, and Circa was always playing. In other words, I am sharing all these stories to convey that I grew up with Circa Survive. So many bands fizzle out and fail to adapt due to being constrained to a particular genre which are embedded within phases of peoples’ lives, etc. Further rock and roll music fell victim to its own balkanization and corporate interests intensified each genre, thus linking a genre to a certain point in time, but time goes on. Where many bands get caught up in making a specific sound thus breeding genre, if there is no intellectual depth engendering multiple interpretations from the listener, then a song won’t stick. The power of Circa Survive is they grow with their audience and their lyrics help guide the listeners, and the lyrics or hooks are brutally stunning/catchy, to the point where average listeners do not simply listen to the lyrics, they internalize the lyrics. Another kudos to Circa Survive being a progressive experimental act is that progressive music defines the norms of genre. It is bending, thus it becomes more egalitarian, whereas many rock bands I grew up with (being African American) there was a sense that rock-and-roll hand sectioned off its own market by appealing to white listeners only. This paper is not about race, but what I am saying is that experimental music sources inspiration from various traditions thus it has a likelihood of touching diverse listeners. I always say that Circa Survive is blues music despite the high-pitched enchanting voice that defines the traditional norms regarding masculinity while definitely being masculine at the same time.

Correlations and Narrative Building through Lyrics: One can easily stitch together the array of lyrics they have and notice a scene appearing such what I did below:

“Make your move, obvious humor – Always on, dressed to impress. I’ll be the last one to find out why.” The Great Golden Baby. “I’ve fixed myself up nice, but you never came.” Kicking Your Crosses Down. “That’s why you never mention my name to them?” Wish Resign. “What brought you back to this place? I knew you never learned, I you never.” Wish Resign. “Can we last through the winter? The weather is starting to freeze.” In Fear and Faith. “If I last through the winter, I swear to you know I won’t call” In Fear and Faith. “Congratulations. Go home now”, from In Fear and Faith. “Don’t go back on your words. You always said you tell me first.” We’re all Thieves. “I’ve been erased. I’ve been erased from the picture” We’re All Thieves. “Time takes its toll on us. It changes everything” The Great Golden Baby. “I already forget I how used to be without you” Meet Me in Montauk. “If you could try and get your timing right. I’ll let you stay.” Descensus. “You mean so much more to me” Meet Me in Montauk. “I won’t let it tear us apart” The Lottery. “I don’t want to feel like this. Ever, ever, ever, again” Nesting Dolls.

Aesthetic Breakdown: Off the top of my head, I consider Circa Survive to be “prog-psych-ambient-gothic (romantically dark)-hippie folk- post emo-blues rock”, where rock falls under philosophical modernism, thus being a medium that plays with boundaries while also psychoanalyzing the human condition, with a range that can be heavy, avant-garde, Lynchian (David Lynch, e.g., the film Blue Velvet or Lost Highway, i.e., surreal), mystical, romantic, jazzy, sad, and empowering. They have accomplished to make themselves the Doors of post-hardcore music but have shown paced longevity to sustain their career for their personal wellbeing but also for the satisfaction of their fanbase. Instead of creating an image and fitting into it, they disregard image, instead focusing on appearing as they are, yet treat music as an art collective for analyzing a range of subjects influenced by personal revelations within their own lives. Relating to The Doors, the cryptic lyrics of Jim Morrison, as if he were a dark harbinger of American vagabond folk soul, flowing through keyboarding of Ray Manzarek, drums of John Densmore, and guitar work of Robby Krieger, seem as if they inspired Circa Survive strongly. However, I also would sprinkle in some Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mack with her witchy folk 70s prog rock aesthetic. If Circa Survive were around during the Woodstock Area, coming from the burbs of conservative America, rocking out in garage cover bands, they would make the journey to Woodstock or out West to San Francisco, to try to showcase their music. Sprinkle in some of the Stooges, MC5, Janis Joplin, Sun Ra, and especially the blues of Otis Redding, Bill Withers, Motown, etc. In such an alternate universe, by the nineteen seventies they would have been influenced by the Anti-War and Civil Rights movements, where once can easily see them playing benefit concerts in Washington Square Park with activists and random listeners clapping and singing in unison.

Scene from David Lynch’s film, Blue Velvet, which samples the imagery of the brooding blues singer with conflict. Lynch films often deal with the inability to grasp a clear reality similarly to themes found in early Circa Survive

Relief from Grief: Circa Survive’s music is for those who wish to deal and overcome burden. By staring at the truth of oneself and pouring oneself out without shame or criticism, it is a healthy way to real self-actualization. Circa is a safe camp. Brutally and poetically emotive but constrained, focused, and arranged thus showing a sense of self-awareness, hence having the capability to have personal strength to pull oneself up. The lyrical makeup seems almost bard-like or troubadour. Some people, and some genres of music, do not teach this. They may give you the aggression and anger, but they do not show you a way out. There is no finish line. Rather, Circa Survive provides the emotive introspection but also offers the possibility of relief and acceptance. There is no issue with trying to find beauty in painful memories. For example, for me instead of saying “I was hurt”, as I came to grow, I would rather say, “I put myself in a position to be hurt, but I learned from it and retained my sense of having a moral center or compass”. “I fell a part in your arms for the last time, and I felt free because of the things of you told me” (lyric from I Felt Free on Blue Sky Noise).

Aesthetic Breakdown Continued: The band hails from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a suburb on the northern side of Philadelphia, and is consisted of Anthony Green who previously was in bands such as Saosin but has had collaborations with other bands such as The Sound of Animals Fighting and Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer; Brendan Ekstrom on the guitar who was a member of This Day Forward with fellow bandmate Colin Frangicetto also on the guitar; Nick Beard on the Bass Guitar and Steve Clifford on the Drums. The county has produced many local bands but was notable for being more so catered to sports, such as Central Bucks West, i.e., CB West Football, being a notable national powerhouse, particularly up to the early two-thousands. The suburbs are also near a city with a rich history of skateboarding such as Alien Workshop, Kerry Getz, and the shenanigans of Bam Margera.

Yet, back to Circa Survive, they explicitly fall under the post-hardcore genre, which as a genre leans towards progressive Do-it-Yourself humanist politics with such as that laid down by progenitors such as Black Flag, Minor Threat, Gorilla Biscuits, The Cro-mags, Fugazi, etc. For me poetics plays such a role in this sort of genre be it that of Luis Borges with The Garden of Forking Paths, which one could sense in At the Drive-In’s evolution into the Mars Volta, but there’s also inspiration I sense from poets/writers such as Frank O’Hara and Jim Carroll (East Coast), Sherwood Anderson (Midwest), Flannery O’Connor (Southeast), Raymond Carver (Northwest), Cormac McCarthy (Southwest), etc. For example, Thursday’s Geoff Rickly employs similar themes to that of Circa Survive and could be considered one of the godfathers of the modern two-thousands post-hardcore scene with his beautiful lyrics. Thursday songs such as “Where the Circle Ends” is a spoken word poem calling into question the blights of modern life and its hypocrisies such as claiming to want a better world without participating in its approval, or how urban schools go underfunded. Thursday’s song, “For the Workforce, Drowning”, Geoff makes analogies between nooses and neck ties one would wear in a stale corporate landscape, while also making baptismal allegories about washing away sins each day after coming home from a long commute, yet wails “Just keep making copies of copies, of copies, where will it end?”.  Also, Rickly with Thursday released songs such as “This Song Brought to You by a Falling Bomb” that relates the warfare of the American machine going on at the time (Iraq and Afghanistan Wars) juxtaposed against memories of lost youth under the skylines of New York. Further, Rickly employs similar trends that are found in later Circa Survive with his emphasis on lapses in memory in relation to trauma or covering up sins, which can be seen in Thursday’s songs, Tomorrow I Will be You, Cross Out the Eyes, etc. Post-hardcore music offers an outlet for male aggression but with progressive introspection, and calls into question the ills of an individualistic, one could argue fascists, capitalist system, where people deal with poverty, drug addiction, dissociation, alienation, etc.

Catholicism: Circa’s sounds to me is a confluence of factors ranging from something akin to a Jack Kerouac Catholic angelic-like inspiration in their lyrics such as “He has risen, hold me under” in the song, Stop The F-ing Car (an allusion to the film Boondock Saints, if I remember right – a film strongly influenced by Northern city Irish culture, which is a culture that is a part of the history of the Philadelphia area, and this culture is musical like other Celtic cultures), but that this particular lyrics seems to play on the act of purging in baptism, yet, the inverted statement of “hold me under” insinuates more sin to purge. Relating to Catholicism, their song, Rites to Investiture, deals with the Catholic procedure involving the order of Mass such as that after the act of homily. Lapsed faith, the conflict between dogmatic belief and personal discovery, will always be an important concept within introspective music, so the Kerouac angelic inspiration I speak of regarding Circa can also be found in Thursday songs such as “Asleep in the Chapel” on War All The Time, but also the cover art of their album, A Common Existence. Catholicism with its concepts of miracles and Saints, and its foundations from pagan Rome, gives Catholicism a mystical property involving elements such as the purification properties of water, the traces of essences, and possibility of apparitions. Since we are on the notion of religion, in which religion is often inspiration for artists, at least when pondering the philosophical puzzles of it, or pondering one’s upbringing in it, Anthony Green has something akin of a power to heal with his lyrics and live performances. It is as if he is at the head of a flock, at a sermon, where instead of Joseph’s Colorful Robe from the Bible, instead there is an electric lightshow.

Aesthetics Continued: Then there’s notions of lost memory, amnesia, with the lyric “Didn’t I Know You?” (a lyric from the song, Oh. Hello) which relates to the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind. Further, fading memory is also incorporated into the song Meet Me in Montauk, which is an obvious homage to Eternal Sunshine. One can add “I already forget I how used to be without you” from Meet Me in Montauk, or in Descensus with the lyric, “If we forget, I’ll do it all again”. You will hear some slight homages to the band Tool as far as the music (however, the cerebral nature to Circa’s work could be considered Jungian as well, i.e., playing with notions of subconsciousness, dreams, fables as allegories into a deeper human connection, etc.), maybe even a little Deftones inspiration with them as pioneers in shoegaze metal such as with their album White Pony, Radiohead, and of course Bjork (“You were in my dreams, half human, half machine” from In the Morning and Amazing, which invokes imagery to that of Bjork’s “All is Full of Love”).

The term of Post-emo I came up with (maybe it already exists? I do not know) is important here. First, by emo I do mean the branch of emotive hardcore music that derived from hardcore punk music, which arose in the late eighties before being solidified into various regional scenes (East Coast, Midwest Great Lakes, Texas) and was hovered above by the transition to introspective rock music such as that of Radiohead, Nirvana and Sunny Real Estate, but by the late nineteen nineties its influence had grown to become commercially viable as opposed to purely independent. This was emo music before the caricature that came to be by the end of the early two-thousands (my high school years). The vein of emotive and experimental hardcore music that Circa falls under is more in alignment with At the Drive In, Thursday, Glassjaw, Juliana Theory, etc. I would consider early post-emo albums to be Further Seems Forever’s underrated album, How to Start a Fire, which amplifies the blues in emo, almost relinking the blues elements in emo back to rock’s early beginnings as R&B (rhythm and blues) and soul music, but also Armor for Sleep’s What do you when are dead, which is a concept album dealing with a full storyline anchored by a main protagonist.  The album by Armor for Sleep involves the five stages of grief model (or the Kübler-Ross model) created by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross which breaks down the stages of grief as being the five emotions of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Yet, Circa is also a product of the other vein of early 2000s emo and screamo bands which were immensely popular under labels such as Victory Records, Eyeball Records, Tooth and Nail, etc. Yet, Circa was different than the Hot Topic crowd (not better, but different) even though early Circa Survive had no other place to be sold but at a Hot Topic (which isn’t an insult to Hot Topic at all), hence, I can understand how people might have overlooked the band as just another band rather than a mature art collective of musicians. I suspect being affiliated with such a specific genre caused the members of Circa Survive like some other bands to branch away from the “emo scene” or screamo/metalcore scene and transcend into the “post-“, i.e., similar aesthetics to their roots of the emo/screamo scene, but away enough to distinguish itself as different, deeper, etc. They have never been a “teenie-bopper” band and I would say the same thing for many of the bands I listed above such as the poignant lyricism of Geoff Rickly of Thursday (who collaborated with Circa Survive in their song The Lottery) whose poetics speaks to that of Frank O’Hara and Jim Carroll (author of The Basketball Diaries). Put it this way, how you can trace metal bands to either Black Sabbath (death metal, black metal, etc.), or Led Zeppelin (hair metal, arena rock), etc., in the emotive scene by the end of the nineties you either went the At the Drive-In Relationship to Command way (grimy, dark, adult) or you went the “system boy band” method.  

Analysis of the Cover Art in Relation to the Music: Four of all Circa’s main releases have included a female figure on their cover art. The first two albums Juturna and On Letting Go, the fourth album, Violent Waves, and their 2018 release of The Amulet, feature a female figure, yet I could consider the first three albums (Juturna, On Letting Go, Blue Sky Noise) to linearly be a continuous concept album, with Violent Waves and The Amulet being continuation of this female character’s story-line (and her male companion’s – presumably the narrator, i.e., Green is speaking most from his experiences). Concept albums are a concept notable in progressive music, e.g., Pink Floyd’s The Wall, King Crimson, Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Llyod Webber, etc.

Juturna and Mythology: On the cover of their first album, Juturna, we see a faceless woman being sucked up into the air, floating towards something unknown, gravitating off the ground in which the picture includes a decrepit stone building with rusted iron fence, and some sort of dead plant or weed too. Leaving a dead garden. Juturna in Roman mythology is the goddess of wells, springs, and fountains, and the mother of Fontus (a god too of wells and springs), and husband to Janus. Water is indicative of a life source and cleansing force. Janus is where the name of modern month of January comes from, where January is the opening or beginning of the new year.  These roman deities were involved in the Mithraism mystery (gnostic) religions of Rome (a onetime competitor to early Christianity), in with the Cult of Mithra was inspired by Zoroastrian thought, in which Zoroastrian thought from Persia – having influenced Greco-Roman thought- involved the sacredness of magi, i.e., magicians, i.e., the foundation of Western magic and later Neoplatonism such as Christian Kabbalistic practice. Mysticism of the Greco-Roman world was a melting pot influences having inspiration in the sacredness of Egypt, proximity of the Levant and Anatolia (Hittites, Phoenicians, Canaanites, Jews), The Middle East such as Babylon, Persia, but also nomadic traditions of the Steppes. Neoplatonism of the Roman Era was a framework created by Plotinus who built upon the esoteric teachings of Plato, and his framework was based on the idea that there are different levels of reality, in which all reality permeates from a source called The One, yet, is controlled by the Demiurge (the creator), and our reality as humans are on the border between the higher spiritual realm and the lower material realm. By engaging in ceremonial practices such as what would later come around such as the practice of Hermeticism, one can tap into higher levels of being or consciousness. Yet, since there is no agreed upon framework as far as ceremony, Neoplatonism has often been seen as occultist or Gnostic in nature, with many frameworks going as far as not believing in the trinity of God within Christian dogma. I am not saying that Circa Survive is by any means a Gnostic band, yet there is something magical or incantation-like about their work.  

Juturna Cover Art Return: The woman in Esao’s cover art (https://esao.net) is feminine with wavy black hair, a beautiful yet subtle dress, but there is something sickly too about her. Who is she? She seems as if she could have been the quiet introspective daughter from a well-to-family, the type who looks down in photographs, always picking at her skin, despite having a natural beauty indicating “good stock”. She is floating from a once lush Victorian garden now turned into a barren waste indicating this place was once happy but is no more, and her floating seems to indicate a break from reality or being drawn which is translated as being from a supernatural force out of her control but in which her actions caused. She is our Alice, but this is no Wonderland. This is gothic. Beautiful and dark. The goddess Juturna and her relation to Janus seems to mean that the album is about entering a new door or gateway of cleansing and renewal, i.e., the girl we see on Circa Survive’s album art is on a surrealist and magical journey towards possible sobriety and finding her center (ground, footing, bearing) again.

The Female Figure on the cover art to On Letting Go and Violent Waves: The same female figure of Juturna appears on Circa Survive’s second album, On Letting Go, yet her head has been replaced by a hot air balloon. It is not that she is an “air head” but seems to indicate that on her journey she is now having to confront the thoughts in her head, the thing which inflates (burns) our minds to begin with. Memories. She is letting go of her past.

On Circa’s fourth album, Violent Waves, we see the same female possibly, having “landed” in some sort of MC Escher room which is being flooded, yet also being stalked by some sort of surreal jackal-like animal. What does this mean? We know where she came from, but now it seems she is landed back to a place where her memories were crafted (her trauma) and the water she brings or emanates is cleansing the structure (her life, her past), yet this jackal-like figure seems to be something lurking (a corrupting like character). The female character is also glowing, illuminating with sort of ectoplasmic (ghostly) aura, denoting to me that she may have found a sense of power of some sort, i.e., the courage to confront. The color palette of the jackal by Esao is similar to that of other shapes that appear such as those on the hot-air balloon of On Letting Go, which to me means the jackal is part of the same surreal fabric of the universe in the which the journey is undergoing, and is a representation of something or someone bad that “haunts the halls” of the female protagonist mind, yet it’s being cleansed by the mystical force of water. 

The Art Work of Esao Andrew: The artwork of Esao Andrews could almost be defined as “punk gothic”, respectfully speaking (this is me attempting to find the most relatable term for the reader) with Victorian and Edwardian influences likely mixed with his modern influences of Southwest skater and street culture, and it is more subtle than something you find in a Tim Burton film, but invokes the same gothic appeal that mixes morbidity with romanticism. He masterfully uses oil paints on panel or wood.  In an interview with Fireside Tattoo Network (2019), Esao stated he partially inspired by Egon Schiele, like another artists I enjoy in Peter Chung, cover-work from the band The Pixies, but also comic book artist, Al Columbia. The differences between dreams and nightmares are what you make of them and how you interpret them. The song, The Glorious Nosebleed, was inspired by a cartoon book by Edward Gorey who was an artist specializing is surrealist dark childhood fiction. I am not sure if Circa Survive such as Anthony Green were aware of Gorey before meeting Esao or if Esao’s influences were shared with Circa, yet both the band and Esao seem to have gravitated towards each other with a mutual interest of things that are surreally gothic and romantically macabre.

Gothic inspirations: Gothic, outside of art, as a literary genre was a reactionary movement to the cherry romanticism of the Victorian Era, thus it dealt with death, decay, loss, angst about the soon to be gone “spiritual world” to that of the modern industrial, etc. One could say that Gothic fiction was about reminding us of our metaphysical possibilities in the face of the growing materialism. The genre was particularly popular in both American and English fiction, but as far as America it was firmly implanted during and after the Civil War, which subsequently coincided and birth of the American spiritualist movements. The Civil War was the conflict which saw countless deaths in a struggle that called the nation’s very soul into question. All that death challenged perceptions, but also created movements where people sought a belief in otherworldly things, and this gave rise to ghost stories, beliefs in specters, seances, etc. When we think about the Civil War, the self-created historical revisionism of the Confederacy takes more a visual space, yet, the Northern Union is where interesting things we happening, such as the abolitionist movement, the transcendental movement with thinkers like Henry David Thoreau or Ralph Waldo Emerson, etc.

Photo of Union Soldiers from New York. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/505599495648975347/
Poe
Example of Gothic inspired American architecture

Interestingly, Circa Survive, being from Pennsylvania, is where the Battle of Gettysburg happened, and the war itself, remember – influencing American Gothic -, inspired writers such Ambrose Bierce, the author of surrealist short stories such as An Occurrence at Owl Creek (later turned into a classic episode of the Twilight Zone), where a many, supposedly a deserter, is about to hanged from a railroad bridge, yet, seemingly escapes and finds himself almost into the loving embrace of his family, yet, right as he approaches his family, his body is dropped and hanged. This story deals with memories, romance, death, etc. And of course, before Ambrose Bierce, there was the one and only Edgar Allen Poe (one could even say Washington Irving before him with tales such as the Legend of Sleepy Hollow or Rip Van Winkle), whose life coincided with the quick foundational growth of America as a soon to be economic juggernaut. The time of Poe’s life was in a transitional moment of American culture, where America was a mix of both Eastern seaboard elitism descended from our once English overlords as wealthy families of Boston Brahmin or Dutch Knickerbocker stock made fortunes off still Indian owned resources (“Cause it’s all built upon a burial ground,” lyric from Frozen Creek by Circa), but also the harshness of the frontier. The era as America’s colonial (iconic) tradition transferred towards something mimicking “modern” started during the Era of Good Feelings, which lasted from 1817-1825. The Era of Good Feelings involved a reinvigorated sense of American pride after the War of 1812, the foundation of Manifest Destiny, conflicts with Indian tribes of the plains, treaties with the British and others over land and borders, but culturally speaking the foundation of American culture diverging from English culture. Yet, there was always a dark and gothic sentiment to the architecture, the fashion, etc. It easy to envision Anthony Green as a fresh-off-the-boat Irish immigrant or second-generation American singing around a Union Camp fire as he ponders the truths of the human condition.

Poe’s life basically aligned with creation of the American Way of life, where the American perception is both inspiring, with its vast expanses of untamed land, but also a harsh place such as what one could have easily found on the frontier but also in disease ridden port cities of the coast such as his home of Baltimore, Maryland (interesting fact, Baltimore’s Salad Days Studios is where Juturna was recorded under the direction of Brian McTernan, with the name Salad Days coming from hardcore pioneer band, Minor Threat).  To link Ambrose Bierce, Poe, and gothic romanticism further to Circa, to me, Circa’s roots in the coldness of the East Coast is a foundational element to their music. Circa’s music is influenced by the seasonal changes of New England, with its deciduous forests, leaves, etc.

Minor Threat before Ian MacKaye branched off to create Fugazi, an instrumental band in post hardcore and emotive hardcore

Listen to the opening effects of Holding Someone’s Hair Back, and once can easily relate the spacey effects to that of crystalline white snow falling on a field near an old New England colonial farmhouse, a house in which poetry is about to the read. Snow, just like Gothicism, is both beautiful and harsh in that it represents the death of the seasons but also the renewal of life, e.g., the lyric from In The Morning And Amazing, “From winter brings the spring again”.  One can easily image fall time on the Eastern seaboard where leaves are being burned, such as “Smoke’s filled the air and I’m struggling to breathe” from the song, We’re All Thieves.

This gothic element within music such as Circa Survive can also be found in other experimental music projects such Have a Nice Life, where in the song Bloodhail, the singer refers to arrowheads, which to me invokes imagery of the once rich Native culture such as that of the Algonquin, Mohican, etc., of New England before their demise, and one could even say their legacy still has a haunting effect. Another act from New England, from Pennsylvania like Circa Survive, is Planning for Burial, in which one-man show Thom Wasluck mixes post-punk, black metal, shoegaze, and others to weave a mood that paints tales of emotion, pain, and love in New England landscapes. His albums such as Matawan – Collected works from 2018 inspires the strong Native American roots of New England, his 2017 album Below the House seems to relate to romantic tensions living in a dreary landscape, and his 2020 release When Summer Turns to Fall has no words but it is a classically inspired minimalist song that inspires a sense of Walden by Thoreau.  

Cover Art of Blue-Sky Noise: The only male figure as far as artwork is depicted on Blue Sky Noise. We see a young man who is wearing a tunic thus indicating some Roman about him, thus relating his depiction to the Greco-Roman mystical (Mithraic) inspirations I spoke about earlier. If the other albums mentioned above are about a female character, this male character on Blue Sky Noise could possibly be an iteration of her significant other, who too is dealing with issues of trauma, e.g., drug abuse.

Around the male figures head is both a halo, indicating sanctity, but the same shame also is part of a monstrous creature’s mouth which is filled with sharp teeth. This creature has the body of some sort of ram or sheep, or an equine of some sort, but the imagery to me relates to the lower half the satyr creature from mythology. This creature as a nature spirit in Greek mythology known for their Dionysian behavior of drinking and womanizing, indicating this monstrous animal on the cover art for Circa Survive, who also holds a music horn, is the allure of a fast lifestyle. The creatures wing I honestly cannot make much of but can only relate it to the mystical like elements of this creature, i.e., mystical things typically have wings so why think too much into it, yet the wings could represent being “high” or “speed”. In addition, a prism of light is coming out of this creature’s flesh which I translate as meaning the illumination that drugs can bring physically, i.e., tripping. In other words, this once saint boy or young man is surrounded by a fast lifestyle in which the creature (addiction) has the capability of luring one in while also destroying someone.

Status of Peter Pan

The male figure in the art also has a right arm which is deformed in some way, which to me insinuates drug abuse by injection, i.e., opioids. This art is a surrealist interpretation of a good person who has fallen victim to the allure of a lifestyle in which hardcore drug use has suspended him in an otherworldly state where monsters surround him.

On Love: The common theme is Circa’s earlier albums was a bond between a man and woman both dealing with some sort of trauma, yet Anthony Green’s brilliance is he does not shy away from this darkness, but by confronting it, he is able to write beautiful lyrics towards a path to light. That is the appeal. He is not messing around. He is not lying. He is staring things in the face. He is taking accountability for his actions and grew from those actions.

Peter Pan, Wendy, and Other Visual Relations: A visual that inspires this male and female in a dire situation of addiction is the short film/music video, Sigur Rós: Fjögur piano released in 2012 which featured Shia LeBeouf and Denna Thomsen. The music video by Alma Har’el, depicts two lovers turned drug addicts who are in a conflicted relationship yet still have a sense of love and memories of better times, but both have an antagonist with a surrealist drug dealer. These visuals seem very in alignment with Circa Survive, yet the albums I am most referring to (Juturna, On Letting Go, and Blue Sky Noise) were all released before the Sigur Ros video. I am unsure if Alma Har’el was inspired by Circa, yet, both the Sigur Ros video and Circa’s content remind me of the story of Wendy and Peter Pan in the Pan Universe by author J.M. Barrie, whom interestingly was born in the Victorian Era, and was in the literally circles of other gothic writers such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes, i.e., the creator of the modern mystery crime genre).

https://vimeo.com/44767537. Stills are from Sigur Ros (c). All Rights are reserved to the original artists and sharing this is for educational purposes.

The time that J.M. Barrie was living was the zenith of the British Empire so there were many cosmopolitan influences making their way back to Britain such as those of India, thus the British elite were mixing English Romantic imagery such as those of John William Waterhouse (his emphasis on Arthurian-like imagery) with that of the ancient mysticism of Hindu India or China and even Africa, so these foreign mystical influences inspired Gothic romanticism (yet, also did drugs, such as that of opium which was legal at the time and pure Absinthe made from wormwood, i.e., the urban legend of the “Green Fairy”). This sort of cosmopolitan influence also influenced French art such as what would become Art Nouveau.  

The characters in Circa Survive’s albums to me are Peter and Wendy who forgot Neverland due to coming to the real world or are real people within the real world trying to find Neverland. For example, there are two cover arts associated with Violent Waves. The first was spoken about above in which the female character is in a house somewhere that seems to be a manifestation of her memories, yet another cover has a ship floating atop a planet or orb or some sense, where this orb has a similar color palette to that of other Circa Esao works. The ship is important because it relates to the Jolly Roger of Captain Hook from the Pan universe.

Art Work for the 2015 film Pan by directed by Joe Wright

I prefer for this paper to entertain the concept idea of Peter and Wendy lost in the modern world and who are suffering from amnesia about Neverland. I imagine them living in a dingy apartment, scrapping by, yet both are recovering addicts, and they lost a sense of light, but are on a mission to re-obtain it. Yet, there are evil characters such as a Captain Hook-like person who is analogous to a drug dealer. Lost Boys could represent “street kids”, who are not bad at all, but trying to survive in a harsh environment, this analogy I’m making about Lost Boys relates to the lyric from the British band, Bloc Party, where in their song, The Good News, states, “Throwing down with all the lost boys at the very edge of town”.

Tinker Bell could represent something mixed in that she is not bad, yet she wants to “keep the party alive”, i.e., keep Peter in particular young. A nymph like creature for mythology, who can promise eternal life, but nothing is without a cost. Peter as the male character for this Circa Survive analogy is a person who has a hard time growing up, i.e., avoids responsibility, whereas Wendy grew up too fast, so there is an opposite attraction to each other, where Peter’s innocence (despite his issues) is a light, whereas Wendy’s maturity and strength is a power. Yet, Wendy is very central to the story, even going so far as having to process the trauma of losing a child, such as in the lyrics of Frozen Creek, but also having dealt with assault, i.e., “She’s got the photos but no reflection, He’s got the motive but no transportation”.

This dynamics between my “Circa Survive Peter and Wendy” story-line is that it would create a powerful story line in that both male and female protagonists are both strong and central, who show levels of courage and vulnerability.

Author: This is is me. Circa Fan. Blogger as a hobby. BA from Saint Martin’s University. MS from Embry Riddle Aeronautics. Always thinking outside the box. A fan of East Coast falls.

Kanye West is Pink in Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Easiest Way to Understand

Kanye will forever be important despite his recent turns. I would fall asleep at night as a bored black teen in suburbia listening to the music of Drive Slow or Late on Late Registration.

I’ll get to the point. After Kanye’s Golden Era with College Dropout, Late Registration (his magnum opus in my opinion), and Graduation to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, he went through a lot. His mom died and this is similar to the character of Pink played by Bob Geldof in Pink Floyd’s musical The Wall. Even though Pink’s mother isn’t shown as passing away, the maternal bond is central to both characters. Yet, Pink and Kanye both came to rely on their mothers though Pink’s mother was suffocating, whereas Kanye’s mother was his anchor. This maternal bond (I won’t go all Freudian because I don’t feel well read enough into Freud to say it) was central to both people. Further, Kanye has a had problems with women though in more recent music he’s challenged his notions such as those found in his analysis of the Madonna Whore Complex in the song Violent Crimes on the ye album. This is similar to the character of Pink in The Wall with Pink as having a rocky relationship with his wife since he’s a traveling rock-and-roll musician. Pink has issues regarding fear of loss, control, etc., and can be heard in the lyrics of the song Don’t Leave Me Now which says, “I need you to put through the shredder in front of our friends, oh baby, don’t leave me now” , “How could you go? When you know how I need you…to beat up on a pulp on Saturday night, oh babe…don’t leave me now”. The lyrics depicts a man who blames his spouse of his behavior and can’t operate without having someone to coddle his bad decisions and take his abusive behavior. I’m not insinuating this Kanye, yet, still male and female relationships (or any type) can be rocky and at times have an unhealthy level of dependency going both ways where love and abuse or the ability to tolerate are seen as the same, and the negative behaviors can exacerbate as people push limits, essentially to see if the other stays around. Kanye’s relationship with sexual feminist icon Amber Rose seems similar to that of Pink’s character to his estranged wife, especially since Amber Rose left him for another rapper in an industry where masculine posturing and ego are everything, and she sexually doxed him by revealing alleged aspects of their private sex life to the world.

The Phallus and Vagina

So think about this… He lost his mom, his trophy girlfriend is attacking his masculinity in a masculine industry (historically speaking), he’s constantly in the media, he’s an artists advocating for black America while critiquing it, etc. That’s a lot to handle for a person. Black people, white people, etc., especially since rap music is so popular, took the opportunity of Kanye’s ill advised association with Donald Trump to shame him but also bring back old Civil War tropes attacking his black identity and I even saw supposed liberals equate Kanye to nothing more than a self-hating black man eager to “go back to slavery”.

Pink in the film after hearing of the infidelity of his wife in between the songs The Happiest Days of Our Lives, Young Lust, and One of My Turns, goes in a psychotic breakdown and endangers a groupie. Further, Pink’s father dies in WW2 at the Battle of Anzio and Kanye’s father was estranged from him. In addition, after Pink’s mental condition finally collapses after Comfortably Numb he starts fantasies of fascism as a type of subconscious defense mechanism to protect his deep rooted vulnerabilities and lack of stability. He equates his lack of stability to minorities, gays, “people with spots”, other ramblings and even screams to the entire crowd of his fantasy fascist supports that he’d wish they’d all be shot. A man with deep rooted issues but he’s human. Kanye’s play with fascism – which is common in the arts such as some of the works of David Bowie – during the Trump Era to me wasn’t an advocacy for fascism, but the anger of a black man within Western Civilization as he juggles the old question of “to be or not to be?”, i.e., to be a champion of our Western home or to stand at odds with it due to its history of systemic abuses which played a role in effectively…creating us.

Pink Floyd isn’t racist or fascist and their depiction of fascism in the film was a criticism of it. The film came out during the Margaret Thatcher years which was full of right-wing “Oi Oi” hate groups associated with the National Front and the conservative Tories in power. This is very similar to the far-right peripheries of the Trump Administration’s grassroots right-wing populism with groups such as Proud Boys by Zionist Nazi, Gavin McInnes, with his sad fantasies of reliving the glory days of an all white Cecil Rhodes-Rothschild Commonwealth (and, the fact Degrassi isn’t what it used to be. Gavin was born in England, raised in Canada, and helped with the hipster movement thus spawning the branch out movement of Alt Right). It should be noted that regarding the UK in the 1970-80s, punk music was being appropriated by Nazi Skinheads away from the original Skinheads who were multi-ethnic. The original punk movement was a blend of working class white youth culture mixed with black Caribbean and Black British youth culture in unison, but Neo Nazism branched out as economic conditions worsened under austerity. So, because of this appropriation, Kanye can be understood as doing that but in reverse. Taking symbols of hate against blacks but turning N-gger into N-gga.

Kanye’s play with fascism can be seen in his ironic lyrics in Black Skinhead which is really Kanye appropriating the hyper-masculinity of the far-right for his own purposes to scare the actual fascists. This can also be said about Kanye wearing the Confederate Battle Flag. By taking a symbol which was used to oppress blacks but then appropriate it to analyze it, it can help reduce the unilateral power of the symbol via its inherent white supremacy. Essentially, if that’s what you are, then this what I’ve become but I’m going to analyze it my way and your supremacy doesn’t intimidate me, i.e., we can go loco to loco any-day. The power of White Supremacy for example isn’t mere law or violence but its appropriating masculinity from minorities (and also hyper sexualizing females into caricature tropes – the Asian subservient women, the “freaky” black woman, the sultry Latina) in order to equate masculinity purely to Anglo Saxon and European standards. Thus by keeping this hidden fascism in the back of systems as a contingency plan. It’s a way how white supremacy sustains itself by positing that its form of masculinity is the apex predator of the caste system in both honor, virility, prow, level-headedness, etc. It essentially makes “outsiders” feel uncomfortable.

Seemingly normal Republicanism of Center-Right politics if pushed too far as bleed into far-right nationalism and this is something the political right has known and used for years without saying it because by not saying it, it creates an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, etc. Kanye’s loose association with the Blexit Black Republican movement in the Trump Era wasn’t Kanye being a “traitor” or “sell out”, but provoking African Americans to keep their political options open considering African Americans for the last half century plus have been Democrats and this association with Democrats hasn’t alleviated the important issues affecting the Black Community. It may not have been wise under this President but Kanye’s right to at least talk about African Americans considering Republicanism was him attempting to expand boundaries. And of course, most people didn’t get it, such as most people not “getting art”, i.e., lacking the ability to get context and seeing things simply in stark dialectics or polar opposites.

Pink in his delusion after his mental breakdown in Pink Floyd’s The Wall
“It’s my flag now!” said Kanye West on Los Angeles 97.1 AMP Radio on Monday. Kanye West leaving his house after taking a private boxing class to stay in shape. He is wearing a green jacket with Confederate flag on a sleeve, hoody, and What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD) Bracelet. Saturday, November 2, 2013. Juliano/x17online.com EXCLUSIVE

Kanye was one of my idols and I still support the guy. He’s a black man fighting for freedom and not just freedom from the perspective of black liberation but total “ubermench” or “starchild” liberation. Yet, there’s a profundity to Kanye that most might not get. In Greek philosophy there was a man by the name of Diogenes the Cynic who was known for living an eclectic lifestyle, having sharp cynical wit, and living a life as a homeless beggar to show the uselessness of certain aspects of society. I see Kanye in this mode. There’s smarts behind the “madness”. Kanye also has an element of a type of old Testament figure channeling some higher power as people suffer in something which might be called a “mental desert”. Anyways, for a young African American kid who was born in the late 80s and witnessed the power of the music industry on the black community during the transition of hip-hop to gangster rap, right a moment where Great Society programs of the 60s and 70s started to pay off such as the solidification of a solid black middle and upper middle class in suburbia, a person such as Kanye was a fresher in the early 2000s. It wasn’t just about killing, screwing, slanging. There were only two types of black people depicted in the media. The Wills and the Carlton’s. It might be funny but it really was a detriment because of course everyone wants to be a Will, which is great, but by depicting such as stark dichotomy, which was a fabrication for comedic purposes by Quincy Jones, it showed to a generation of young African American men that power, style, and suave mattered more than law, business, management, science, art, philosophy, etc. However, I’m not hating on rap because it is art but simply saying its not the entire meta-truth or objective truth of the black experience.

Anyways, Kanye instead of entirely rapping about the grassroots realism that many African Americans face such as murder, misogyny, bravado and nihilism, Kanye analyzed not only that but the silent lives of the black middle class, but he leap frogged backwards by borrowing from Ray Charles, chain-gang hymns, the Harlem Renaissance, gospel, etc. Kanye was/ an existential meteorite of hyper-aware blackness, operating in a 4th or 5th dimension, that analyzed it from all angles included those that many African Americans don’t realize about themselves. Kanye can vacillate between bourgeoisie and proletariat, between “house slave” and “field slave”, but instead of picking either/or (shout out to Soren Kierkegaard) His pop cultural references were vast spanning foreign film, classical musical scores, political commentary, high art, low art, fashion, etc. Let’s be honest, hip hop changed after Kanye, and some might say for the best, yet, for a genre still dominated by black artists, he did open the window to express yourself in ways that were more experimental, existential, etc. Being black I do know that the community is highly social, i.e., we typically tend to be a monoculture and it typically takes martyrs to take the heat to level up the community.

Kanye’s vast array of samples and influences spanning true hip hop to Duran Duran, the film Juice with Tupac and Omar Epps, the film Welcome to America with Eddie Murphy, Bloods versus Crypts, the ability to not get a taxi as night, Richard Pryor to Bill Cosby in the 80s (a big deal), to Michael Jackson to Fellini films to surreal anime, etc., in my opinion will always set him above and apart from other rappers. I’m sorry but most rappers in the day didn’t take it to such erudite levels. Essentially, he’s the Picasso of Hip Hop. I call in the modern day Gatsby, the hip hop Bukowski with an emphasis on Bukowski in the sense of complexity since Bukowski despite being seen as a woman-hater (I’m not advocating his behavior) was really being a cynic to cover his deep wounds around love and acceptance. He spoke to the common man in a non PC way while making the common man ponder notions such as poetry, stream of consciousness, etc.

I can relate to Kayne because as an African American my interests are vast. I can also empathize before judging. It wasn’t easy to simply “be like everyone else”. To white people or others, black culture is a form of punk, but when you’re black it’s just…life, so when African Americans think outside the box I always support those people and find it honorable, because equality isn’t merely a matter of nationalism or economic empowerment, but it’s a matter of representation in various fields, while also showing the world the diversity of talents and the depths of your comprehension skills.

There’s no art to the Trump Administration. There’s no soul, style, flash, suave, nothing. No pep in the step. It doesn’t bleed the soul of Americana. It doesn’t howl, it doesn’t rock.

Trump has no style. What music does he like? What is his favorite author? What nerdy hobby does he have? Does he exercise? I don’t see a revolution happening. There’s no call from the White House to be in shape, to go to a national park, to read a book or check out an iconic American artist. There’s nothing really but Twitter and streaming sites. This is why it seems people are living lives of quiet desperation. We feel the intensity of the right-wing which its undertones of violence, racism, fascism, but many are scared of what a progressive future might look like. We’ll all in space as individuals simply thinking there’s an order based on our mind’s ability to do so, but there’s a fleeting objective truth and though Trump isn’t responsible for this, he in a way in simply keeping this social issue alive with this lack of style and behavior.

To me it is all indicative of the fact that we’ve reached the end and in many ways are simply recycling culture, but we also live in hyperreality where it’s hard to discern truths, but also due to technological advancements, we’ve essentially outsourced our very souls… Things are immediate while being actually far away. Pleasure is instant but always not physical. You may have a lot of money but what is that money actually worth if things are so expensive? Division of labor which persists has sent most people in service-oriented economies into cubicles to be Quantitative Janitors, cleaning up and organizing information so high paid CEOs can make good or bad decisions. People can be bored while simultaneously exhausted. People want to speak but might feel guilt adding to the sheer volume of what is said every nanosecond in the vortex of social media. To alleviate themselves from such fates, people become sales people such as selling their personality in a seas of other competing personalities (or, even their bodies), ironically making money simply advertising things they didn’t create, but do people have the money to buy those things that are being advertised? People want a better world, but might not have thought about the sacrifice to their personal happiness which is required to accomplish such as feat. Is Starbucks and Nikes compatible with a perfect world?

Yet, for Trump he has no anima. There is no true permeating uniting Zeitgeist with Trump. I don’t think Trump America will be remembered besides the drama. No major events have actually been accomplished, but that they have been attempted. The only safe bet for an accomplishment is war, but that’s not accomplishment, but just another reminder that the American Empire needs war in order to motivate itself. It will just be another presidency among those soon to come that will be a blob in the technological infosphere. We live in a world where we know that CEOs of corporations are effectively our leaders. There’s no artistic movement that will be associated with it. No architecture that will be assigned to it. No notable music that will be remembered or given credit to it. Even the artists actually avoid Trump. Punk in the day used to challenged Presidents, but where is the Punk? Trump America is a symptom of a society that’s reached a conclusion and has perfected itself so much that it simply replicates itself but also produces lifeless material such as robot music.

It would’ve been different if Trump had allies that were actual artists, but Trump is sort of a simulation living on Twitter. Trump marginalized some of the most important people in an advanced society which are the artists. You may not like art, but your entire world is actually designed with a series of aesthetics, so when the artists are in retreat or hiding or not creating, I suspect this has an effect of antagonizing the overall public sphere which includes politics. Where is the romance even today? Does it exists in the wake of our Gender Wars? Is Trump such as symbol of gross masculinity that he literally shut of the sex drive of most modern American women.

One of the major detriments to Trump America isn’t purely what people call him out on with his penchant for post-truths (making things up), his divisive rhetoric, his dog whistles to white supremacy while dishing off any sort of social justice analysis of our brutal history within the United States, but it’s really a matter of style. Trump has no style. There is no anima to Trump America. He’s not very cool despite having a lot of money. People will less money who were President actually seemed much cooler since they understand the peasantry, the streets, the grit, the graffiti, what it means to see someone run for a touchdown on a Friday Night in Texas or the hood or wherever. Trump himself was a creation of the very thing which is pulling people apart which is the postmodern gunk of the internet age.

Trump is Max Headroom but a right-wing version who was weaved into existence by armies of online trolls where many exists in this black hole of memes, racism, Darwinism, ethnic nationalism, the Occult, medieval fantasy escapism, meat and beans constipated Alex Jones right-wing tighty-whitey conspiracy theory, Aleksandr Dugin, wannabe Jordan B. Peterson philosophers (since Peterson isn’t a philosopher), fascist imagery or flags, the list goes on. Trump has no cultural sway on the United States unlike other Presidents, because due to technology and postmodernity, he’s a type of anomaly birthed from the internet. A simulation almost. Regardless, past Presidents had a sense of style in how they envisioned their country. We all remember Ronald Reagan’s suburbia with cult-classic films and having this common enemy to unite around; Bill Clinton was the joy of the post-Cold War era of capitalist convenience for the yuppie turned family man or woman; George W. Bush, even with his evangelical Christianity still had a type of suburban middle-class joy about it, and Obama strongly tapped into counterculture that was equivalent to urban cool of old school CBGBs or new wave, and this was a time of people experimenting with music, food like Anthony Bourdain, etc. There was a joy about traveling, seeing new cultures, learning and building bridges. People became interested in making the world a better place. I don’t get that Trump. What is the one causes he cares for in the environment? What type of music does he want to preserve? What American literature does he want people to rediscover? There was optimism despite the harshness of reality. Trump has no real sway over culture. He’s a part of it but has no real sway, largely since he’s so combative with and disliked by the artists who create the expressions that make an era iconic. When I think back to the 80s even though I probably wouldn’t have voted for Reagan, I still appreciate the artistic craft of that era be it New Wave, punk, awesome teen movies, the works. Sure, there’s way more important things than culture, but culture is also important. It’s like the climate in a room. It’s the Feng Shui of the house.