Afternoon Tea 7.19.21 - Hyperreal Individualism

Hatejacking, Irony Politics & the Pegasus Project

Coal miners are on strike, the era of trendspotting might be over, a white raven is still recovering, hatejacking isn’t what you do when you get ditched for a date, General Milley might have kept Trump from starting a war with Iran, and spycraft & Black Hat hacking for international government hire. It's Monday, July 19th 2021, and this is your Tea.

Revealed: leak uncovers global abuse of cyber-surveillance weapon (Guardian) & Private Espionage Is Booming. The US Needs a Spy Registry (Wired) All those gov’t created hacking tools that Snowden said would end up in the hands of private corporations, who would do the dirty work of authoritarian governments? That company is called the NSO group. And boy is it dastardly.

You’re Gonna Have a Fucking War”: Mark Milley’s Fight to Stop Trump From Striking Iran (New Yorker) Not many reasons to use this anymore, but Trump news always requires the same reaction. It’s a 45 second joke that never, ever gets old.

Interior Department to Investigate Abuse of Indigenous Children at American Boarding Schools (Equal Justice Initiative) Thankfully, the Dept. of the Interior is looking into our schools and history before we discover anything like what’s been found in Canada. Dozens of Catholic Churches have been burned in response to discovering the unmarked graves of hundreds of indigenous children. With over 150,000 indigenous kids having been kidnapped between the 1890s and 1996(!!), then forced into “residential schools,” I assume Canada will find many more grave sites before this is all over.

Coal miners are on strike in Alabama for the first time in four decades, but cable news is silent (Media Matters) So, we don’t care about coal miners when they’re doing lefty labor stuff huh? Sadness.

What the Hell Happened to the Claremont Institute? (The Bulwark) A great look at a place that went from respectable conservative thought leader to skull-size measurement apologists. If you’re ever in a place that doesn’t immediately guffaw at any mention of phrenology or head measurement calipers, leave that place before nightfall.

Your Brand Has Never Been Easier to Destroy (Bloomberg Opinion) “Hatejacking!” is now your Chief Marketing Officer’s greatest fear. No one wants to wake up and find out their product is being used by the Proud Boys or Alt Right. Just ask the people who make tiki torches.

The great American cool (Vox) Remember those documentaries about trend-spotters and cool whisperers? Gen Z has access to the internet, all visual imagery & movies ever created, AR & video editing software, and fast fashion. The writer labels something past “expressing individual style” that pushes past fashion trends, ironic choices, or even specific auteur motifs. At this point, an individual’s choices in how they express themselves through fashion, art, or consumption, can be essentially incomprehensible to others without context.

Now, with what young people genuinely like being harder to pin down, they’ve created a new kind of selfhood that surpasses Main Character Syndrome: hyperreal individualism. Hyperreal individualism is where the original references are largely illegible or incoherent, but the individual wishes to define themselves and create an identity around their own disparate tastes and styles anyway.

Irony Politics & Gen Z (New Models) During the 2016 election I decided that I had enough from people cloaking their Nazi-ass tendencies in irony or apathy. It looks like this worldview has about 20 years of backing behind it, and the subversion of irony is one of the great triumphs of corporate fascism.

In the mid-00s (or when Millennials were the age that Gen Z is now), the mainstream was wearing ironic T-shirts of bands they didn’t like. The enthusiasm may have been insincere but it was paid for in real dollars. This disingenuous mode of consumption was the first breach between the world of ironic aesthetics and social reality. Soon, irony didn’t so much signal active engagement as it suggested an underlying political nihilism, allowing one to disassociate from the real world effects of one’s own actions. The inertia of ironic consumption and production continued to accelerate right up until 2016—at which point the Pepe-style trolls of the Alt-right made it clear that irony had never been apolitical. Ironic propaganda functions the same as real propaganda. Ironic voting is just voting.

Rare white raven still recovering at Vancouver Island wildlife centre (Nanaimo News Bulletin) White Raven! If they yell “Alwaysless!” I’m going to lose my shit. (Editor’s Note: We sat upon the bust of Pallas above the writer’s chamber door for this joke.)

Song of the Tea: Elohim & Flux Pavilion!? Oh absolutely. The mindful post-bubble gum of Elohim, backed by two quality producers...It’s gonna be a new kind of weird but you might like the fresh air.

Take your meds, not shit.