Category Archives: New Media

Interview With An Iconoclast: Part Four

The conclusion of my participation in a study on the progressive blogosphere, I have posted this over the past several weeks to give readers an idea of where I am coming from as well as to ensure that if it is published my comments will not be taken out of context.

Question: So what is your opinion on things like “friday cat blogging” or music threads? Why are they so pervasive? what purpose do their serve?

Ed Encho: These are not things that have any interest for me personally but the internet is a lot like television in some respects. Take the electronic crackpipe for instance, there are some worthwhile things on but hardly anybody ever watches them choosing instead to surf through a tsunami of trivial bullshit like cooking shows, reality shows, end times crap, sports, courtroom shows and anything on FOX but they bypass community television, educational programming, history, CSPAN, BBC News and anything of even remotely socially redemptive quality. The internet is quite like this too because of the things that you mention and of course the porn which is hugely popular. You know the saying of casting pearls before swine…

Not everybody is a political firebrand, an iconoclast or an activist and even some who are need diversions once in awhile, such things serve their purpose but the vastness of the internet as a place where nearly everything that could possibly be wanted to be known is largely responsible for the backlash against the tyranny of the Bush administration. Without the internet we would all be in that bizarre period leading up to and directly the attack on Iraq where Bush’s face was on billboards, yellow ribbon magnets were on three quarters of the SUV’s, all dissent was treated as treasonous and the PNAC boys were riding tall in the saddle. The internet is a real threat to the powers that be and the system that they serve and you are going to start working at closing it down – at least from elements that are exposing the bastards and organizing.

I predict that in the next year at the most you will see an increasing focus on trumped up charges of domestic terrorism and anarchism being used to justify a crackdown. It is already in the works with that demon love children of Jane Harman and Joe Lieberman (they have interesting histories of loyalties to those that seek to remain unthreatened by exposure because there is a lot of money riding on it) H.R. 1955 and S. 1959 which are bills that will allow for committees to determine what constitutes thought crimes and potential domestic terrorists. Look at that Ricin thing in Nevada last week, that is going to be used big time as justification and when they search the guy’s library I am willing to bet money on it that they are going to find a lot of things that are very critical of the establishment including books and materials questioning the official story of 9/11. Now this may sound overly paranoid to some but trust me, by now I know the tactics and the internet and blogosphere are regarded as threats. The military even has some exercise, I believe it is called CYBERSTORM or something that particularly focuses on muting the blogosphere.

But they won’t be trying to close down the Friday cat blogging or Brittney Spears stuff, that you can count on.

Question: But why then do so many political blogs, feminist blogs, and progressive blogs take part in those types of things? What purpose might they serve for a blog like Feministing for example?

Ed Encho: I am unfamiliar with that one blog in particular but I do see these things on other blogs on a fairly regular basis so I understand what you are talking about. A lot of people really are into these things as areas where they have their little cyber communities and put up their personal stories, pet pictures, the music stuff that you mentioned, movie reviews yada, yada, yada. These are the sort of things that you have to deal with if anyone is kind enough to offer a forum although I largely feel that it is self-defeating to a large degree because it takes the focus away from the issues and the politics which are really the purpose for any of the blogs to begin with but my opinion is that it diminishes the power of a blog rather than enhances it and allows for it to not be more taken seriously. The real political junkies and diehards just don’t really give a damn about pet stories etc so they are not going to end up being repeat posters on blogs that devote too much space to that sort of thing they will seek out something where there are others that are more issue focused. Anyway, a lot of that stuff more fittingly belongs on MySpace, Facebook or some of those networking sites that are so popular right now. I post on a number of different sites and there is a real eclectic mix with some of them and things are put out there that I personally would never feel comfortable with doing.

One thing that I really would like to advise progressive bloggers to be cautious about is that I feel that it is potentially dangerous is for people to post personal videos of themselves, their families and their pets on blogs where there are often contentions political opinions being thrown around. Now you call me paranoid but I fully respect and understand just the sort of vicious psychopathic rat bastards that are out there in cyberspace and I sure as hell wouldn’t want them knowing what myself or my kids looked like –especially since the reports of child molestation and sexual predators more often than not involve right wing, authoritarian oriented type personalities. I read about too many of these things where some whacko gets pissed off and gives out a home address, phone number or other information on a blogger who is then stalked or threatened and I would strongly advise people to use extreme care when posting this sort of thing. The sort of people who are drawn to the Republican side of things – like FREEP and some of the other more fascistic sites are not people who should be taken lightly. One thing that liberals and progressives have a problem with is that they are often too trusting and too inclusive and you never know what sort of snakes might slither into the tent if you aren’t careful.

Now of course this is all just my opinion and I don’t intend to somehow demean people from posting what they want but the sharing of things better suits a smaller and more intimate online community than really serious advocates of social change and the reigning in of the warfare state which should be the first and foremost priority of anyone who is really serious about this stuff. I guess that I am a bit guilty myself because I have a guy who primarily does a sports take once a week or so although it is mixed with political and social commentary to make it a bit more in line with the regular content but I really try to stick with social and political stuff because that is what is really important. I also do not have any personal pictures of myself out there that would serve to make me a potential target although I do have a security system, dogs and several firearms so there would be easier prey if one were so inclined as to engage in any sort of illegal stalking or other threatening activities over postings that they may not dig. You would be amazed at just how hostile that some of those out there on the rabid right get over some things and they are easily manipulated by ass clowns like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and their ilk who have no qualms about using their own little brand of terrorism to quash dissent- look at that kid that Michelle Malkin was stalking over S Chip and that is really pretty minor compared to some of the organized thuggery that I have heard about. There was a series on this that ran on Buzzflash awhile back by Pamela Troy called Dangerous Clowns that you need to read at least the part about FREEP grassroots activism that sends a chill up my spine.

There are a lot of very frustrated and angry people out there who are unable to channel that into more productive things but are always looking for scapegoats and given the nature of the blogosphere it really only takes that one great posting where everything falls into place and it goes viral resulting in massive denunciations from extremists and threats. I did one a few years back, a vicious rant on the red states called “Peckerwood Nation” that not only got me the threats from the usual right wing scum and southern racist separatists but also was denounced by that colossal asshole Jonah Goldberg who is a pretty big player when it comes to right wing propagandists, the foul product of the vile womb of Lucianne Goldberg who along with Linda Tripp colluded to tape those calls from Monica Lewinsky during the great blowjob inquisition. I believe that he was actually the worst person in the world on Olberman last night. You never really know when you are going to smack that one great post out of the park that will take you from obscurity to infamy overnight and having a bunch of family pictures out there is only an invitation for trouble.

Question: I feel that a lot of those types of blogging allows for the creation of authenticity, by sharing life stories etc it creates a connection with the writer that one cannot get with the heads of large movements, or main stream media types. People seem to care about that.

Ed Encho: Yeah I see your point on the connection thing but how far does that really go offline, I mean are we really substituting our authenticity and ability to interact with others by doing so via the computer only? This is a question that has been asked by people who are far smarter (and better paid) than I am. But let’s put that thought aside and deal with your comment on authenticity. This is a unique new medium and the mainstream can’t really get a good handle on it because it really offers empowerment to people despite the lack of organization. I really attribute a lot of credit on the successes of the blogs to the total arrogance, corruption and lack of integrity of the mainstream media that has done nothing but carry water for a system that is thoroughly compromised, is being discredited by the day and acts as nothing but water carriers for the elite who really run things.

Using myself as an example (and I am far from the only one), I would never have been able to write the things that I do and expect to have any sort of a forum in the mainstream media, such things are only obtainable by an ability to survive a filtering process that serves the interests of the corporatists and certainly never encourages originality – at least not anymore. The blogs offer an opportunity for those who have a bit of talent and are passionate about bringing about change and propagating ideas to do so without having to go through the process of having every decent intention leeched out of them by a journalistic educational institution that is increasingly looking for flacks, hacks and shills rather than real muckrakers in the finest traditions of American journalism. I challenge you to show me any decent story that has originated in the lapdog press that the alternative media/bloggers haven’t been way out ahead of.

I will guarantee you one thing though and that the next Hunter S. Thompson, H.L. Mencken, I.F. Stone or any one of a long list of great American writers will come from the blogosphere and not the corrupt mainstream corporate media. The secret is that the best of us do this because we are passionate and we really care about the truth and American ideals and are doing this for nothing rather than playing careerist games. It’s almost like we have gone back in time where journalism and writing is done by the REAL people instead of those whose paychecks and lifestyles depend on their ongoing and continued ignorance whether it be real or a compromise by folks with mortgages to pay, social status to be maintained and kids to put through school. American journalism is a sad state and every great writer is likely spinning in his or her grave at the mind numbing lemming food that passes for honest reportage and opinion in this sorry land of fear and Idiocracy. I could probably name you at the bare minimum FIFTY bloggers and columnists who are not mainstream that just shame the corporate media that is more intent on trying to pass off phonies like Katie Couric and every big haired bimbo with nice tits who is able to read off of a teleprompter as legitimate journalists. And as far as the other bloggers go you could find thousands of them who have more credibility than Couric and the rest of the MSM shithacks – I mean look at the ‘experts’ who were trotted out for last night’s latest dog and pony show in this sham democracy, Bill Bennett? Give me a fucking break. This stuff is cutting edge and more and more people are renouncing the corporate media by the day, it is a dinosaur wailing away and sucking in it’s last breath as it is mired in a tar pit and the hunters and predators are closing in.

Question: That kind of leads to my next question, do blogs lead to more chances for agent provocateurs to infiltrate? How much success can one have in changing a system when most of the planning/postings etc are public?

Ed Encho: As for the agent provocateurs if you have any knowledge at all of history as well as the way that the big boys really play they are out there and they are doing everything that they can to fragment, discredit or otherwise seduce, this sadly is the nature of our modern society and the empire and the blogs really make such tactics much easier as there is a lack of face to face contact. The military regularly trains cyber warriors to go out and influence public opinion on blogs, political parties do it all of the time, there is the Israeli online tool Megaphone that was made available specifically for perception management and the ever present “TROLLS” who disrupt the conversations on blogs with rudeness and thread hijackings. To answer the second part of your question there is a chance to actually change the system through the blogosphere but I maintain that the first part of any such change must come through education simply because of the corruption of the mainstream media, that is one hell of a rock to roll up a hill by itself because the damage has been so massive to the American mind but I have a lot of hope on this one because of the availability of the information to the public.

As for planning for events, protests etc in my opinion this part is going to have to be done by those partaking in it to come up with some sort of hybrid communication system utilizing both blogging, online participation but keeping some of the key details compartmentalized and offline. This especially applies to anything that could potentially resuscitate the failed labor movement which the oligarchy absolutely will do everything in it’s power to stop, they have spent too much money in destroying it and enabling the corporate goliaths but there is hope because a lot of good things are happening as awareness of this malignant system grows and the inability to change things using the existing political framework continues to be eroded. As for the future who knows, I am just a blogger and like to howl at the moon, spread awareness and work at building that precious coming alliance between progressives and antiwar libertarians and conservatives through postings and essays. I am not an organizer but if I were I would start to give some very serious thought to adapting to a future where limitations will be slapped on the internet by studying communication methods utilized by past resistance movements and then being able to use both modern and historical tactics for grass roots organizing and agitation. The big boys are already making plans for such things in the British Ministry Of Defense report that this story Revolution, Flashmobs and Brainchips references that is warning of social unrest due to the dismantling of the middle classes to fully globalize – they are already winning the propaganda war by slapping the old Marxist devil horns on them. This is very interesting stuff and it gives a peek into what the power structures are planning for.

Question: So if blogs to be successful as a movement have to go somewhat offline or behind the scenes (to protect from infiltration), is the concept of a fully blog movement even possible?

Ed Encho: Given current conditions I would say that it is a mixture of what the blog and the owner of the blog are trying to accomplish. If it is a blog that is based largely on putting out information and educating then no because at this point we are not quite at the point where that in and of itself represents enough of a danger to the existing establishment to merit them totally cracking down. There are so many blogs right now that the ones with the real serious information are pretty much appealing to a fairly limited audience but one day that may change and the system will address that when that time comes. Never for one minute think that the sole purpose of everything is in maintaining the illusion of true freedom and a wholesale crackdown on bloggers would be bad P.R. Not to say that there aren’t efforts being made to actively engage and suppress certain information but right now most of the efforts are focused on anything that really represents a threat to the war machine. Look at that thing with the Marine throwing that puppy off of a cliff the other day, now that resonates with people and there was mass outrage (strange that more empathy is felt for pets than Iraqi babies) cooking but a counter offensive was launched to beat it back. The military does have actual information warfare specialists (as well as the giant surveillance industrial complex records our every activity for profit and control) that track such things but don’t believe me, just do the research.

So now we get to the big question about the blog movement and actual social change and my opinion is that in and of itself the progressive blogs are not going to be capable of bringing about such changes without somehow translating that into grass roots activism. Don’t get me wrong, it is a huge influence on public opinion though and just the myriad of groups that are capable of mounting mass email campaigns, doing research and the like are largely a reason why we have not slid even deeper into fascism during this sad period in American history. The blogs are limited in that they can only go so far and ultimately that action is going to have get to the streets, it took years of massive protests to bring about the end of the Vietnam war or for that matter to make the civil rights and women’s rights movements into reality, a lot of good people laid it all on the line and suffered for the grossest of injustices to be not only recognized but rolled back and it took a hell of a lot more courage than sitting in front of a computer and writing screeds, manifestos and rants.

So when do I or anybody else finally reach that point? Who knows, that is yet to be seen and largely depends on uncontrollable circumstances but the blogs are a hugely important part of whatever change will be coming primarily because they provide the seeds for ideas and then once the ideas sprout the blogs can nurture them and eventually spread them into other camps who will also adapt the best parts of those ideas and incorporate them into their particular messages. I look at the best of the bloggers as the pamphleteers and essayists of the modern age and it took a lot of time for those early Americans of hearty souls who loved freedom and despised tyranny who they have descended from to gather enough support and courage in order to get the revolution up and running.