Friday, September 30, 2011

DCU, EU, and Panarchy in the [anywhere]

I have decided to give you three or so thoughts a day, each thought relating to a different location, for four days (this one a day earlier than planned).

DC UNIVERSE: This week saw the release of the final batch of comics in the September relaunch of updated/hipper DC Comics series.  And if DC made it through this month without too many embarrassments, I think it’s in large part due to observing a principle (consciously or not) very similar to that that made the Lord of the Rings movies good adaptations: There is nothing devastating about subtracting/streamlining stuff, but if you add something, it had better not seem whimsically contrary to what was supposed to be there (leave out Tom Bombadil if you like, but don’t make up a wacky talking dog or have Gollum turn out to be a robot Frodo's dad built).

So, yeah, maybe Superman and Flash have never been married – and Young Justice never existed – but if they avoid quirky, dumbass moves like declaring that Flash was always a famous rock musician...or that Penguin was always Alfred...or that Riddler has always been a Gordanian philanthropist, I bet they won’t really alienate too many people, besides those like me simply too old and weary to carry on.

In short, it sounds like they really didn't get too creative, if you know what I mean.  Now make new stuff instead of vandalizing the old and everybody wins.

(Meanwhile, at Marvel: I predict we will never, never see Scarlet Witch or Quicksilver on screen because of the potential ambiguity about whether the characters belong in the Avengers stable or the X-Men stable, with all the inter-studio copyright issues that would raise.  But you know who else joined the Avengers in the early days in the comics, doesn’t belong to the X-Men stable, and would work very well on film?  The Vision.  Him plus Ultron in an Ant-Man movie perhaps?  Bit of a Dr. Manhattan + Mr. Data vibe?  None of this is to be confused with the punk band X, who I’m very, very pleased to be seeing tonight.)

EUROPE IN GENERAL: Many people complained, I notice, that during all the econ talk in the last GOP debate, no one really said much about Europe, undergoing its own momentous meltdown.

PANARCHY: The end of the Euro or even the EU would be a good thing from the point of view of those of us who think local tends to be more efficient than big-and-centralized or homogenous.  A nineteenth-century solution (which, for obvious reasons, I brought up at the recent seasteading event I attended) was panarchy, the idea that instead of insisting (as anarchists do) on a world devoid of government, we simply give every individual a choice as to which of the world’s many competing law codes he will subscribe to – as long as everyone else gets a heads-up about which he’s picked before doing business with him. 

You see how that process might be facilitated by nations-on-boats – not to mention the more mainstream idea of “charter cities” in otherwise poor or badly-governed nations, an idea to which the seasteaders are also warming.  I say all this as a guy whose favorite presidential election was 2000, just because it taught people to cope with protracted uncertainty and showed them how ambiguous the whole process is – perhaps even inspiring some people to wonder if we could function with no president at all (yes, we could). 

Northeast Anarchy, Northeast Republicans, and Israel/Palestine

I have decided to give you three or so thoughts a day, each thought relating to a different location, for four days.


•I have no idea whether Pras of the Fugees got anywhere near the Ron Paul event at Webster Hall on Monday (from which I tweeted profusely once more – and where I took the pic seen at left), as it was rumored he would, but his purported Paul sympathies have led me to wonder what it might have been like had his Fugees bandmate Wyclef Jean won in his bid to become president of Haiti.  Imagine the poorest country in this hemisphere being transformed by libertarian policies – or at least adopting the gold standard.  (Does Lauryn Hill favor the gold standard?  Does anyone down there make Ben Bernanke voodoo dolls?  Would that give new meaning to the phrase “voodoo economics”?)

•Do not fear that there were no unexpected characters at the Paul event, though: Although I encountered no John Birch Society members, oddly enough I met a Lyndon LaRouche fan and, perhaps more important, Ted the guy with psychedelic pink pants who was seen on YouTube leading a big call-and-response speech about the Constitution at, yes, the Occupy Wall Street protests (which I had in fact thought was a rather Tea Partyish moment compared to most of the protest happenings, such as cops pepper-spraying an already-immobilized woman in the face). 

Half-expecting Ted to say he was either a hardcore leftist at Webster Hall checking out the opposition or just a very confused hippie, I asked him about his views, and it turns out he’s studying behavioral economics and as a result leans toward “asymmetric paternalism,” basically a small government that nonetheless subtly “nudges” people in Cass Sunstein style toward behaviors deemed socially beneficial.  Whether we like it or not, I think even weirder political cross-pollination lies in the very near future.  Of course, I kinda like it.

•Perhaps this indicates I’m not macho enough to want to be part of a unified conquering army, though: There is, I kid you not, a medical condition called anarchism (also called anorchism) characterized by being born without testicles.  This bit of trivia seems like a potentially useful comedic ace up the sleeve, not necessarily my own sleeve, in some hypothetical political arguments.  I wonder if somewhere in the world there has in fact been someone who believed in anarchism and had anarchism – and whether this led to any confusing conversations, e.g., “Yes, honey, that was what I was saying earlier, but what I think you need to know now is...”

•Just as Virginia Woolf deduced that “On or about December 1910 human character changed,” so too, “The class war began in 1971,” explains ludicrous columnist Sally Kohn in Washington Post.  Like a growing number of libertarians, I’m happy to start the political conversation with the issue of disparities in wealth.  The answer to the problem is not more Progressivism, though – the Progressivism-induced entanglement of business and regulation a century ago is how we got here.  Now is a good time to remix and remodel ideologies, but what we really need are Counter-Progressives.

Class warfare talk is mostly for idiots, though, the sort who must render concrete and personal any abstract issue such as economics.  The upper class becomes a bad tribe, replacing the need to understand the filter processes by which economies allocate resources and society rewards producers (in much the same way that some people’s eyes glaze over if you talk about banking, unless they think they can spot one ethnic group behind it all).

Many – including friends of mine with similar views – have similarly accused the Tea Party of being motivated by racism or religious-tribal self-interest.  But if we buy this report, it seems that the people allied with it believe it to be an econ movement and those opposed to it think it’s a social-conservative movement.  That certainly jibes with my own experience of these rallies, some of which have been led by black people (and some of which no doubt contain Herman Cain supporters, though Janeane Garofalo has concluded those people are just racists in disguise, of course – you can’t win).

Skin color be damned, though, it’s the influx of hippie-type chicks, which we never had back in the 90s in free-market movements, that really strikes me about the Paul and Tea events.  They’re so gung-ho for liberating the economy from big government, they don't even seem to care that Ron Paul's pro-life – even though most of the women themselves aren’t.  Another amazing reminder of the culture’s ability to move on from ostensibly-permanent core issues.

And, yes, I’m told libertarian views are even becoming more common at Brown University (take this as a refutation or confirmation of my old attitude toward the place as you wish).  I have one spy – pardon me, Facebook friend – who’s there now, and he says a huge portion of the politically interested students he encounters are libertarian-leaning – and probably disillusioned with Obama, too, I’ll bet.

This much I will concede: Poor Obama, who I well realize is not so terribly different from Clinton or Bush or Romney, has become the bete noire, if you will, motivating one of the biggest shifts toward free-market beliefs that has ever happened, I think.  (And even among the lefty-artist types of NYC, I am for the first time hearing many of them using the “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” label to distance themselves from ongoing government bungling in the economic realm, though their education will take years yet.)

•It amuses me that I still occasionally find myself among people here who get worked up about whether they are, say, anarcho-capitalists (a term used so often among the young folk now that they commonly just say “an-caps,” a nickname I never heard before this year, I don’t think) or “voluntaryists,” with the latter seemingly becoming a bit popular within this undeniably very tiny demo.  I just can’t bring myself to care too much about subsets that tiny anymore.  But this catch-all Tea Party thing, by comparison, seems to have (big, big) legs.

THE NORTHEAST (NOT THE SOUTH): Assuming for the sake of argument for a moment that the GOP nominee will still likely be Romney or Perry,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

China, Brooklyn, and the Carolinas via England

I have decided to give you three or so thoughts a day, each thought relating to a different location, for four days.

CHINA: I know this wouldn’t go over well with my neocon friends, but if we’re strapped for cash and China is ostensibly looking more amenable to expansionism, how about we just bug out and let them try keeping order in all those unstable Islamic places?  Keep ’em all busy on both sides, we go back to building things and designing stuff, with any luck have cheap fusion by the time China’s running all the oil wells.  Just a thought.

BROOKLYN: Speaking of dubious science, there wasn’t too much talk at the Story Collider science readings I attended on Tuesday about the claims this month that scientists may have detected neutrinos going faster than the speed of light (instead, there was some misrepresentation of evolutionary psychology by a feminist, but we’ll save that for another time).  But my science sources tell me that (A) the neutrino scientists admit it was likely experimental error of some sort and (B) going to the press and saying that this changes everything unless someone can figure out where we went wrong is a great way to pressure lots of people into cleaning up your mess. 

Which is science as usual, really (most initial claims turn out later to be wrong, which I think my fellow skeptics sometimes fail to take to heart), but here accelerated by public pressure and interest, at least from that small portion of the public that understands this would completely rewrite time and space.  (Speaking of hip events in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Forum events I’ll be hosting haven’t started quite yet, but I’ll let the world know before they do.)

ENGLAND/THE CAROLINAS: We should probably consider ourselves lucky that some moments in history that weren’t so libertarian tend to be retroactively interpreted as if they were.  (So, for example, the Founders had no problem with individual states having established religions, but that’s been largely forgotten.  And Magna Carta was a limit on the king but only for the sake of a handful of nobles, etc.)

In one of my favorite weird forgotten examples, John Locke wrote the original Carolinas constitution, revealing that his theorizing probably did less to foster freedom than did the simple experiencing of living and trading in the New World.  He framed an almost utopian (yet traditionalistic) system of rigid class structures and pseudo-aristocracies...that the Colonists simply ignored.

And the key event for which he’s sometimes seen as the chief theoretician, the Glorious Revolution of 1688 (as I’m reminded with some disappointment by Macaulay’s history of it, written two centuries later, and written about by me a couple weeks ago), had only a little to do with protecting the English constitution against monarchical tyranny and a lot to do with getting rid of a Catholic monarch and bringing in non-Catholic ones before the Catholic one could foist tolerance of Catholics on the populace.  And it really was a tolerance bill, not an imposition of mandatory Catholicism on everyone, that made Parliament and its allies (who admittedly were being ignored in the legal process) freak out and say: We gotta get rid of this guy.

James II was even going to toss tolerance of Protestants and Puritans into the bargain, not just his own fellow Catholics.  But that didn’t sweeten the deal for an Anglican-filled Parliament and the associated establishment.  In later centuries, everyone – including Macaulay – celebrated it as if it were the birth of freedom and the defeat of the tyrannical papists and Jacobites (which may in turn explain the longstanding resentment that crops up against Catholics even in polite British society and otherwise progressive humor).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Steve Benen, Sam Harris, E.J. Dionne, and Ron Paul: All Human

One of the most important elements of politics is knowing what’s humanly possible and what isn’t.

•As a political blogger for Washington Monthly, Steve Benen is in a position of some responsibility and really ought to be smart enough not to think all his political foes are sadists who secretly agree with him but want to hurt people.  That’s how children think of their foes.  Yet he wrote a piece about how Republicans wanted to stop the latest Fed “rescue” plan – you know, the one that likely caused today’s 400-point Dow plunge – out of a desire to see Americans suffer.  Because that’s always good for votes, you know.  He fails what Bryan Caplan dubbed the “ideological Turing test,” ability to model the beliefs of others.

•More nuanced is the hope of atheist Sam Harris that an ethos opposed to Lying (even so-called white lies, which are the dangerous gateway drug) can be cultivated.  He knows it’s an uphill battle – but this is the sort of thing that can be somewhat mitigated by talking about it. 

(Of course, sometimes bad things happen when you talk about it: I think a notorious breakup of mine was sparked in part by me waxing philosophical about the importance of vowing to avoid even white lies – after all, if you can’t muster the courage to say “I’m not crazy about that hat,” how will you muster the courage, when the time comes, to say “I’m cheating on you,” I opined?  The ex in question was not at all comfortable with this principled stand – nor with any others, as far as I can tell.  But perhaps a bit more on that in two weeks, as we reach a special media-event anniversary.)

•As I noted on Facebook, E.J. Dionne lays bare his ignorance of economics – and FDR’s – in this telling passage from his column yesterday:

Franklin Roosevelt described the other way in 1932: “Our Republican leaders tell us economic laws – sacred, inviolable, unchangeable – cause panics which no one could prevent.  But while they prate of economic laws, men and women are starving.  We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature.  They are made by human beings.”

Once human beings throw off the chains imposed by the idea that all economic laws are “natural,” they discover the capacity to change things and can use the tools of democratic government to do so when all else fails.

If we all just wish hard enough, people, there’ll be upward-sloping demand curves, Fed money-pumping without inflation or stock jitters, and, needless to say, unicorns with unlimited zero-interest loans.  You just have to believe.  Likewise, there are no laws governing the behavior of gases, since in principle each atom could choose to move in a surprising way or to vote for Obama.

•Those not falling for Dionne’s crap, Obama’s, or Benen’s might wish to join me at Ron Paul Liberty HQ at 178 Mott St. at 8pm for the 9pm GOP debate.  Let us hope Ron Paul and Gary Johnson augment rather than undermining each other and that the rest of the field is forced to play keep-up.  Or at least that Paul and Johnson make some minimal effort to explain to the audience what the hell they’re talking about, lest I stop talking about both of them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

All Tomorrow’s Tea Parties (or at least last week’s and this week’s)

Sept. 12: Romney sounded uncomfortable in last week’s debate being asked if he supported the Tea Party, as well he might, given his pro-government bashing of Perry for being too anti-Social Security, which may lead me to vow not to vote for Romney (and if he gets the GOP nomination, perhaps even to check out the decreasingly-relevant Libertarian Party again this year to see who they run). 

If Romney fears it is unhip to don the tricorn, though, he should take note of gothy cartoonist Dame Darcy’s new portraits (see above) of Adam Ant as he appeared in my favorite rock video of all time, “Stand and Deliver,” as perfect a fusion of Enlightenment era and punk era as one could ask for (perhaps a model the Tea Party should heed).

Sept. 17: Nice to see Ron Paul win the California straw poll, but, as usual, it’s a reminder small sample sizes are meaningless and easily skewed by the clever (as Ron Paul fans of course are).  Fewer than a thousand people participated. 

Sept. 18: That’s still more people than were left at the so-called “Occupy Wall Street” anarchist rally (with its chanted rewriting of the Constitution) by the time I strolled by twenty-four hours later on Sunday – on my way, coincidentally, to a more pro-capitalist anarchist bar gathering a block or so away. 

I am less frightened of the left-anarchists than I am of screenwriter/director Harmony Korine, who started a documentary about fistfights (and abandoned it when he got hospitalized), who released a short film starring members of the alarming South African rap band Die Antwoord this year, and about whom Wikipedia says:

Previous to [his film] Mister Lonely Korine had written a story about a pig named Pistachio.  The film was to take place during a race war in Florida and have a boy who would saddle the pig, put adhesive on its feet, climb up walls, and throw Molotov cocktails.  “It was going to be my masterpiece,” Korine comments.  The script burnt in a fire, and Korine spent $11,000 trying to recover it from his computer.  He retrieved one sentence.

Sept. 18, Part 2: I only wish libertarians were faring as well as the alarmed and laughable Bill Keller of the New York Times made it sound in this concluding passage from his column on Sunday:

Against Obama we have a cast of Republicans who talk about the federal government with a contempt that must have Madison and Hamilton spinning in their coffins. The G.O.P. campaign sounds like a contest for the Barry Goldwater Chair in States’ Rights: neuter the Fed; abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education and a few other departments; turn Medicare and Social Security into individual 401(k) programs; dismantle national health care and revoke consumer protections. Rick Perry, who likes to rouse Texans by claiming the right to secede from the union, sometimes sounds as if he has expanded his view to encompass the secession of all 50 states. Even Mitt Romney – at heart a Republican technocrat (and the only candidate I’ve ever seen give a campaign speech with PowerPoint) – talks as if the main role of the president is to grant waivers from any kind of mandate upon the states. Such is the power of our new, centrifugal populism.

Do they really believe this, or are they just playing to the Ron Paul libertarian niche? Do you really want to find out?

So let’s get real. Yes, Obama could do better. But we could do a lot worse.

I may have to reuse that “centrifugal populism” phrase.  I like that.  But then, I’m the guy whose favorite 90s sci-fi show was Bablyon 5, which was full of near-libertarian pro-secession speeches like this.  You tell that corrupt Earth government, Capt. Sheridan.  (My single favorite moment on the whole show, though, was when Sheridan realized that his ex – played by the innocent-looking Melissa Gilbert from Little House on the Prairie, Bruce Boxleitner’s real-life wife – was possessed by a demon and so called in a tactical nuclear strike on her.  Make of that what you will.)

Sept. 21: Tomorrow night, catch a debate of a different

Friday, September 16, 2011

To the Paleos and Neos: Please Stop Fighting, Mom and Dad (a five-part plea)


I should probably keep quiet and be grateful I'm not involved in the foreign policy argument raging on the Republican Liberty Caucus of New York e-mail discussion list (basically, the recurring Ron Paul vs. hawks/neocons argument).  However, the existence of the argument itself -- as opposed to the merits of either side's position -- is of great interest to me, in way that may resonate for some of the less-vocal observers of this fight (and maybe help smooth it over a bit). 

I'm just old enough to have come of age as the Cold War was ending and thus to remember when the hawks, free-marketeers, libertarians, and neoconservatives all seemed to be "the same people" and (virtually) no one ever bothered to make much distinction between paleos and neos and so on (they all cheered when the Soviet Union collapsed).  I think that was healthier in many ways (we’ll be here forever if I get into all of it, but basically I think maintenance of the free-market coalition -- and some sort of "fusionist" philosophy underlying it -- is actually of paramount utilitarian importance for the world and furthermore is genuinely philosophically coherent, rather than just being politically-expedient, though I may just be a product of my political upbringing and subconscious needs, etc., etc.).

At this point, each side will probably think I'm leaning toward the other's position (much like one time when I organized an Israeli/Palestinian bar debate), but really I'm not (indeed, it seems as though a big part of the problem with these arguments is failure on both sides to pass what libertarian economist Bryan Caplan and later David Boaz called the Ideological Turing Test -- that is, basically, being able to model the other side's motivations as something non-alien and non-demonic, the way we wish columnists from the other party would when writing about us). 

My point in recalling the Reagan coalition (for all its flaws) with some nostalgia is that there is enough overlap in the worldviews clashing within the free-market movement today to make it seem a bit weird and unnatural to me to see foreign policy become a coalition-splitting issue -- even though I'm not saying there's no argument to be made that it's the most important issue (and even though this split's been going on for a decade or two, depending on whether you start the clock at '89 or '01, and should thus seem normal to me by now). 


Anyway, in what I think may be a shortcut to reasonableness, I've tried to avoid being most ardent on the issues that are most coalition-splitting (and, as suggested above, I think I could make a case for that being philosophically wise, not just politically expedient: if libertarians are split on, say, the question of abortion or intellectual property rights, that may be a very good indicator that those are genuinely ambiguous issues by our philosophical standards and thus not ones where it's wise to be an extremist one way or the other).  I speak -- without contradiction, I'd argue -- as:

•a libertarian (who'd even like to see the world become anarcho-capitalist but is pleased by smaller victories, too)
•who also thought of himself as sort of a Strauss-influenced neocon early on and hasn't really “turned against” those views in any important way (yet usually disagrees with David Brooks)
•but also was heavily influenced by the traditionalism of Chronicles magazine and the paleocons
•and is for now rooting for Ron Paul
•and endorsed him in an article back in 2007
•in which I argued that he's so good in so many ways, it'd be silly to let foreign policy be the decisive factor (either way) in deciding whether to support him,
•and I will nonetheless probably vote for Perry if he gets the nomination unless he starts revealing far more statist tendencies than he has so far.

(I’m not sure I could vote for a ticket with Romney at the top after his pro-Social Security haranguing of Perry lately, but that’s an uncertainty that one might well have whether one were libertarian or merely a GOP fiscal conservative.)

To get back to the foreign policy question: I wouldn't want America left defenseless against terrorists, of course, nor would I rule out intervention overseas on principle...but I also think the military-industrial complex is so vast that even a President Paul wouldn't likely succeed in eliminating it all...and he's probably not going to win why not push his candidacy as far as it'll go, in order to spread his other, less coalition-splitting (free-market, limited-government) ideas as much as possible (with just a dash of greater military restraint catching on as well) before, in all likelihood, Perry or Romney gets the nomination? 


But electoral strategy is secondary for current purposes.  I'm more interested in de-emphasizing the neo/paleo spat, which I was worried back in '01 would prove unproductive and indeed self-destructive, and I think it has.  (The left-wing joke version of this point would be to say, "We will need a coalition of warmongering Zionists and isolationist neo-Nazis -- working together -- to beat Obama in 2012," but don't quote me out of context on that!)  

The greatest danger in tribal fights (as evidence around

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trains, Singers, Schizos, Gumby, Romney, and Zaphod as PUA

•Grant Morrison, despite being the quasi-revolutionary figure I wrote about for Reason, seems deliberately to have shoehorned several of the earliest Superman covers into the plot of last week’s Action Comics #1, writes Rich Johnston, with Superman stopping a train, facing a wrecking ball, frightening a corrupt guy with a drop off a skyscraper, and getting hit by a tank shell.  In retrospect, I thought some of the plot twists seemed a bit forced, but they were nicely Depression-era old-timey, which is kinda cool.  There are truths more ancient even than the Silver Age, my friend.

•Another ancient thing is that 1920s subway train I rode Sunday, a whirring old ceiling fan from which is visible above. 

•Also visible above: a bunch of golden retriever puppies from the website of the show Comical Radio, which on Thursday at 12:30pm Eastern (98.7 FM) will feature amusing (and conservative) singer Hannah Meyers, who is arguably as cute as the pile of golden retriever puppies (I’m not the only one who’d say so – I’m just being objective).

•Somewhere in between the singer and the puppies is this Beasties video (not those Beasties) of Diana Schoenbrun’s do-it-yourself cloth monsters.  You can find her and her books about making such creatures at Maker Faire this weekend. 

•Less funny, more overtly political – and harder to believe actually existing in the real world – is the Aimee Allen song about Ron Paul, as heard in her 2008 video.  It’s not quite Rush singing about Rand, but it’s got an admirable urgency to it that they do not, and I would dare argue that she’s cuter than Geddy Lee.  On the downside, she uses weird references to Satanic conspiracies that Rush would not deploy, but politics requires coalitions of differing perspectives. 

•If you think Allen’s weird, at least she’s more mainstream than the person who appears to have posted a re-edited version (which I will not link) of her video meant to reveal the conspiracy of reptile men running the world.  Have we reached the point where there are more schizophrenics who fear the reptile men than ones who fear the CIA, I wonder?  Are there psych stats on that?  It’s fascinating to me that you can be completely out of your mind and still operate modern video editing equipment, though maybe I’m just old-fashioned. 

•I am saddened to see Vimeo has deleted an old video by a pleasant-voiced narrator calmly explaining his impressive system of folding and sectional furniture and how it would by now be popular if local authorities didn’t conspire to beat him up.  My decision to attend an event about “seasteading” tomorrow is rooted in greater respect, though.

•The alternative to the world of secure property rights and civil liberties for which Aimee Allen longs is one in which men dressed as Gumby ineptly attempt to rob stores at gunpoint, as seen in the other picture above (and recently in the news).  And yet I must defend property rights.

•With the last big poll before last night’s debate showing GOP voters favoring Perry (30%), Romney (18%), and Paul (12%), I’m now leaning toward just wanting Paul to come in ahead of Romney, even if Perry’s the nominee.  I was torn about Romney, but his eagerness last night to beat up Perry for the heresy of criticizing Social Security means I must vow not to vote for Romney if he gets the nomination.  As so often happens, without me trying to be a weirdo, the person viewed as most acceptable to the mainstream is the one I must reluctantly declare morally out of bounds. 

•Then again, a Perry/Romney ticket is looking increasingly logical (in the electoral-political sense of “logical”), and I suppose I’d hold my nose and vote for that (you can’t put two people from the same state on the ticket even if they want to be there, so there would never be a Perry/Paul ticket, whereas picking up votes from both the South and, potentially, my native New England is a winning strategy).  In the meantime, I’ll just be happy if Ron Paul’s reference to Austrian economics gets people Googling that topic, which unifies econ, psychology, politics, and philosophy like nothing else in this world, solving virtually all human problems.  But, hey, if you’ve got other things to do...

•Two reminders the world could be in worse shape:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rebuilding This Site, Rebuilding That Site

Naturally, it appears circumstances will take me two places a truly risk-averse person wouldn’t go on this terror anniversary: the subway system (where Michael Malice and I will try out the temporarily-recommissioned, weekends-only 1920s subway train running noon-6 on the 2/3 track between 42nd and 96th) and downtown (where I’ll watch Rev. Jen Miller’s kooky comedic films at 9pm at Bowery Poetry Club).

In other 9/11-related news, Republican Liberty Caucus chairman Dave Nalle announced on Facebook that today he’s unfriending all Truthers (with mercy on a case-by-case basis if they make their case to him).  No biggie by most humans’ standards but sorta bold for a guy with so many Ron Paul allies at this crucial juncture, I think (as a Texan, Nalle’s also led the RLC criticism of Perry).

It’s a thin line sometimes between healthy debate and anything-goes lunacy, and I intend to walk that line in Williamsburg soon, at a bourgeoning events series I’ll host called the Brooklyn Forum.  To facilitate that, though, I’m going to make some changes to this website (and my other online activities), so for the duration of the gradual pre-Forum tinkering, I’ll cut back on the frequency of blogging (as I’ve been threatening to do periodically almost since this blog began, roughly half a decade ago, when 9/11 was a mere five years prior instead of ten). 

The plan is to post a weekly entry, on Tuesdays.  I will also fix various old problems that have nothing to with Brooklyn Forum (nor 9/11, nor Y2K) such as at least some of the links broken in the transition to Blogger, etc.  One or two things may get snazzier.  Bear with me. 

In the meantime, a few actual 9/11-related items:

•Yesterday online, Gerard Perry shared a nice New York-inspired performance by New Yorker Suzanne Vega.

•Out of towners might like to know that now there really is construction visible aboveground at what for a decade has been the embarrassing and bureaucracy-plagued hole at Ground Zero.  I’m glad that’s happening by the tenth anniversary, at least.

•If One World Trade Center, a.k.a. the Freedom Tower, ends up looking as nice as its Wikipedia page suggests, we’ll be doing OK.  (As I type this, the page also contains a slightly-tackier pic of the partially-constructed building red, white, and blue-lit for today’s tenth anniversary, but the sentiment is appreciated, and it’s considerably less tacky than making the Flight 93 memorial a giant red crescent pointed toward Mecca, which seems like the kind of design decision a committee makes if it’s trying to provoke civil war, or else is very, very stupid.)

•And, just as sentimentalism should not lead us into unwise political, economic, immigration-policy, or foreign-policy decisions, neither should it cause us to be guilt-tripped into believing every story about mysterious, ostensibly Ground Zero-caused illness, as my old ACSH co-workers have repeatedly noted. 

One almost self-refuting part of this statistics-based story about such ailments, for instance, is the brief mention of World Trade Center exposure correlating with a decrease in lung cancer (and after all that hubbub!).  If I thought that was any more medically plausible than all the disease-increase claims, I’d go huff some pit-ash right now, just to be safe.  Breathe in enough and we could all take up smoking!

Try to stay sane, America.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

11 Notes for a Weekend of Heroes (and Supergods)

1.  As an epilogue to my Reason piece on Grant Morrison’s book Supergods (about the history of superhero comics), here are a few pages of Superman’s new first-adventure-ever (from this week’s Action Comics #1, also by Morrison – poised, fittingly, between Labor Day and the 9/11 anniversary): Superman is using vigilantism to enforce labor, immigration, and safety regulations.

I will let this economic affront slide only because (A) I’m really not going to keep reading the things and (B) part of Morrison’s plan is to show Superman starting out more young, naive, and idealistic.  Let us hope he is a calloused neoconservative (mugged by alternate realities) by the time George Perez’s companion, present-day-set series, Superman, debuts in a couple weeks.  

2.  Morrison makes no secret of being politically on the left but is admirably open-minded, and I think we can declare him a Viridian – that is, someone who hopes technology, not Luddite pessimism, will relieve many environmental problems (in this he is apparently much like Reihan Salam, who I noted in a comment below my Sept. 2 blog entry).  Morrison started sounding Viridian in the 1990s in his future-set comics miniseries DC One Million, I’d say, as soon as he introduced the idea of solving all eco-problems by building cities in space-warping tesseracts and thus leaving the Earth virtually untouched by homo sapiens – something I still regard as an Arthur C. Clarke-worthy bit of problem-solving imagination.

Morrison does not take pride in pessimism the way so many intellectuals (blue, green, red, or otherwise) do.  He worries, but he looks for the silver (or perhaps I should say Silver Age) lining.

3.  Actually more conservative and libertarian in its way than anything involving capes these days is a comic by Inverna Lockpez and Dean Haspiel that came out the same day as the Action relaunch: Cuba: My Revolution.

4.  Tomorrow, I plan to celebrate the advance of civilization – and the survival of New York City despite 9/11 – in what might be considered a “dieselpunk” fashion, by riding the actual 1920s subway train (sponsored by Boardwalk Empire) being used on weekends this month on the 2/3 line from 42nd to 96th. 

5.  Then at 9pm tomorrow, it’s Rev. Jen Miller’s Bowery Poetry Club showing of the short, strange films with which she’s affiliated, surely an affirmation of ongoing weirdness downtown, of the good kind.

6.  Meanwhile, New York’s own They Might Be Giants will be performing in Vermont, watched by a couple friends of mine – and kids, now that TMBG have accepted their proper role as entertainers of both children and Gen Xers.

7.  Speaking of both history and comics, I noticed History Channel’s recounting of the history of comics the other day, with interview moments such as Batman editor Denny O’Neil describing a store clerk shouting to his buddies: “Hey, dis is da guy dat killed Robin!!”

8.  One comic collector who could have used a hero was the retarded man who had his Superman memorabilia stolen, surely a villainous deed, committed by a goateed man named Gary, apparently.  Ultimate Fighting Champ Matt Hughes (no doubt an influence on the dueling-UFC-brothers drama Warrior) has a gym in the same town as the victim, I’m told, so maybe some UFC fighters need to pay this Gary person a visit.  (Last month, my obligatory movie joke would have been: RETARDS SHALL RISE.)

9.  Morrison’s Supergods book suggests we are becoming real-life superheroes, but I wonder/worry: will we become villains, too?  That is a question the kindhearted Morrison does not address.  (Combine villainy with rising flash mobs – and the inevitable Fight Club and Matrix revivalism on the way in eight years – and we could have big cultural trouble brewing.  Not to mention the replicants, Terminators, Sentinels, and ED-209s on their way in the next few years, if old sci-fi is to be believed.)

10.  But as a model of avoiding conflict – whether left vs. right, Muslim vs. Jew, retard vs. goatee, or robot vs. human – here’s a reminder of a classic children’s story that can be appreciated by communists wary of selfishness and shirking and perhaps appreciated even more by those wary of communists: The Little Red Hen (or should they rename it The Little ANTI-Red Hen?). 

Like Sarah Palin’s paleo speech, tomorrow’s 9/11 commemoration ceremonies, and the bold new era of Brooklyn Forum events I will soon launch, that chicken may help bring us all a bit closer.  You decide, comrade.

11.  I at least feel a bit closer this month to Mom – whose favorite soap opera, All My Children, is ending on the 23rd – since it’s reportedly going out sci-fi style, with a plot reuniting over a dozen resurrected characters via some experiment called the Orpheus Project.  That might be the most sci-fi thing I’ve heard outta daytime TV since the guy who played Baltar on the original Battlestar Galactica tried to use a freeze ray against Port Charles on General Hospital.  Never forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Superman, Rick Perry, Dan O’Connor, Hannah Meyers, and Gaddafi

It’s been a busy week, with Labor Day, a GOP debate, 9/11 memories, tonight’s party for libertarian Democrat congressional candidate Dan O’Connor (see you at Lolita Bar, 266 Broome St. at 6:30), and later tonight Jason Mitchell’s comics art show (at Urban Folk Art Gallery, 101 Smith St. in Brooklyn).  Tomorrow, too, there’s wee neocon comedy-indie-singer Hannah Elka Meyers at Sidewalk NYC at 11pm (Ave. A and 6th St.).  

And if all goes according to plan, circa this weekend I’ll have a review up on Reason’s site of a (real) book by Grant Morrison, who is as of this week also the new writer of Superman’s adventures amidst DC Comics’ line-wide reboot.  I’ll link to that when it happens [HERE IT IS NOW!].


Of the GOP debate, I’ll dare to be positive, risky as that is, and say they sounded good collectively.  I'd probably vote for any of them, really – yes, even Santorum or Huntsman – over Obama (of whom I got to hear an evaluation from Richard Epstein after the AEI panel about which I tweeted last night). 

It pains me that Newt Gingrich still sounds smart but has already shot himself in the foot (however mildly) a few times and is thus unlikely to rise.  I was hoping we could avoid the Palin question, since she’s a scary mixed bag, but perhaps she will be encouraged to run by that positive NYTimes column about her linked atop Drudge today.  Basically, Anand Giridharadas just discovered the paleoconservative anti-government, anti-corporatist combo – which can be a powerful ideological experience – thanks to Palin’s rather paleo speech last week, with Giridharadas making her sound like the long-sought third way.  Better paleolibertarianism than “market socialism,” if something has to fill that slot.

My half-hearted assessment of the four actually-declared GOP frontrunners, in short:

--Perry: probably possessed of some libertarian instincts but perhaps too dumb to be trusted (he did all right in the debate itself, but how well would his I-don’t-care-about-some-scientist approach to dismissing issues hold up under pressure from an opponent or press who still remember and resent Bush’s dodging of questions?)

--Romney: hopelessly moderate but smart, comes across well, can probably win

--Bachmann: the most textbook-conservative (when you think about it) and most Tea Party-tied, as well as perfectly articulate, though now seemingly floundering

--Paul: awesome but probably too weird (and prone to

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Democrats and libertarians 9/9; Republicans 9/8; the gold standard 1886

I call it “eclectoral” politics:

This Friday (6:30pm) brings a campaign kick-off party for Dan O’Connor, the libertarian Democrat for U.S. Congress from the 12th District, which spans Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, and more.  I’ll be there, and it’s a familiar location: Lolita Bar (266 Broome St. at Allen St. on the Lower East Side, one block south of the Delancey St. subway stop).  Details are on Facebook.

(Since Dan also spoke at Manhattans Project, this is a nice transition between the era when I hosted those events and the impending, vastly more historically significant, era in which I host events in Williamsburg.  More soon about the Brooklyn Forum!  Speaking of my organizational skills: sorry about that line in the mass-e-mail referring to a “Tuesday” GOP debate when I meant Wednesday – and sorry about making you wait one more day for my blog entry touching on Superman.)

•You know my loyalty is to libertarian – specifically, moderate anarcho-capitalist – principles rather than any one party, though this 1 min. 21 sec. video does somewhat shake my confidence in anarcho-capitalism.

Can there be a Democrat Tea Party?  I think it's fair to say of my fellow libertarians that we were torn during the two decades after the Cold War about whether to (A) work within the Republican Party or (B) openly rebel and break with that party – especially during the decade of Bush’s big-government conservatism.  In the end, we did both, producing a more-libertarian faction within the Republican Party, partially though not fully synonymous with the Tea Party movement (the Venn diagram overlap between all of these things is ambiguous and shifting). 

There had been hope, I thought, of steering the GOP-in-general and conservatism-in-general in a more-libertarian direction.  But a faction will do.  And it avoids the Libertarian Party’s (or a hypothetical new party’s) third-party-as-spoiler problem, for the most part. 

So: can this model be replicated within the Democratic Party?  There was never hope, I rightly said, of turning the whole resolutely-statist Democrat/liberal ideology in a government-shrinking direction.  But perhaps the Democrats need a rebellious internal faction comparable to the Republicans’ – and there's no iron law of history that says it must be a socialist faction instead of a second Tea Party, though it’ll surely find itself less easily tolerated than the GOP’s. 

Remember, a half-century ago, both major parties were ideologically mixed rather than being clearly Democrat-left, Republican-right.  How about two newly-mixed parties, but this time with libertarians instead of Rockefeller-Republican types scattered across the two parties?  Might the “liberaltarian” writers be able to foster the use of the term “Tea Party Democrat” despite their dislike of the Republican one?  It’d be music to many ears, though a terrifying sound to the enemy.

•Instead, “liberaltarian” (and “Rawlsekian”) Will Wilkinson was attacking Ron Paul and Paul-type libertarians in The New Republic in recent days, but one week ago, Matt Welch of Reason deployed Conor Friedersdorf against him, and rightly so.  We all know electoral politics is imperfect and messy, yet Will somehow manages to see Ron Paul as a greater threat to liberty than Democrat Bob Casey, to whom he donated money – and who favors just about every statist measure you can think of (but isn’t a defender of rich white males, as Wilkinson claims Paul is). 

I actually see Wilkinson as a bigger threat to libertarianism in general, with his dangerous and broad historical-social-justice arguments than, say, National Review’s Kevin Williamson with his new cover article rightly mocking the cranks and loons who

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Selection: “The Steampunk Bible” by Jeff VanderMeer

This volume’s a tad haphazardly organized, but it’s such a lovely and handy compendium of things steampunk, chock full of gorgeous photos from today and period illustrations, that it doesn’t matter.  Not quite a true encyclopedia (with, say, alphabetized or chronological entries for reference), it nonetheless tells you what you need to know about how this strange movement arose, what its antecedents were, when it hit the mainstream, who the main players are, and what the distinguishing characteristics of the movement are. 

The main revered ancestors described here are Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, though I was delighted to learn about “Edisonade” novellas of the 1870s, often depicting heroic boy inventors with mechanical ostriches and the like, that seem precursors not only to steampunk but to pulpy heroes like teen inventor Tom Swift, who was such an inspiration in my own youth, read decades after publication.  My all-time favorite comic book miniseries, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, is also noted – as are scads of busty geek chicks posing for photos at conventions in combo bustier-and-cybernetics outfits. 

It all seems to have taken off in the mid-80s, almost immediately after its more-consistently-futurist older sibling, cyberpunk, got rolling – though even cyberpunk had a certain self-aware-datedness element to it, not to mention an affinity for film noir tropes, something precursors to cyberpunk such as Michael Moorcock’s postmodern Jerry Cornelius novels and the film Alphaville had as well.

An Arkwright film would thrill me by combining several of my favorite tropes – not just steampunk (including giant airships belonging to an alternate-history twentieth-century Prussian Empire) but Bowie, anarchism, and the multiverse.  Coincidentally, this same week I was reminded by the Wikipedia entry about oddball political pundit William Lind (not Michael Lind), who expressed a desire for telegraph access not long ago and admires Kaiser Wilhelm II, of just what an oddball the Kaiser himself was (and he lived, exiled from Germany, until WWII, waxing and waning in his anti-Semitism in part, it seems, due to whether he was on good terms with the monarchy-ignoring Nazis back home at the time).  They are both rather steampunk, inadvertently.

What fascinates me in a way about steampunk – and this may just be further proof that I am destined always to be an observer rather than a fully-immersed participant in any subculture – is the thought that countless other subcultural combinations with just as much internal logic (and potential beauty) are possible.  There could be Enlightenment-punk using eighteenth-century styles, to be sure – and there’ve been enough faux-early-twentieth-century projects (in fiction and fashion) for the term “dieselpunk” to crop up at least a few times on Google.

Will steampunk fade away – or do we stand on the verge of the floodgates opening and thousands of mix-and-match, ironic, era-combining mini-movements arising?  I’d love to see the latter.  At those coming Williamsburg events I’ve been teasing, I will even encourage it, if I can.


As far as I know, there hasn't yet been a great, highly

Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Selection: Lord Macaulay’s History of England (plus Michael Lind vs. libertarians) Book Selection: Lord Macaulay’s History of England edited by John Burrow

I will celebrate Labor Day in part by reading Thomas Babington Macaulay during the impending thunderstorms.  He was one of the very first people in England to warn of the menace of the “reds” – way back in the mid-nineteenth century – even while promoting liberty, property, and progess.

The quintessential Whig historian, he – correctly – saw history as humanity’s fumbling progress in the direction of the Victorian English ideal of freedom, civility, morality, secure property rights, science, and rapidly-rising standards of living.  Anyone who calls that standard culturally arbitrary is as blinkered and inhumane as an egalitarian vegan who insists that human intelligence and penguin intelligence are of equal richness and moral worth, just different (like a mom who insists that her mentally retarded son is as smart as a Nobelist but smart at drooling and falling down instead of physics). 

This book is one section of a larger work meant to describe English history from the Glorious Revolution to Macaulay’s own time.  He begins here just before 1688, describing the public’s mounting fear under James II, who would be ousted in favor of imported Dutch monarchs, in what has to be seen as one of the greatest fusionist episodes in history from a traditionalist-libertarian perspective, cementing an English tradition of liberty by radically altering a traditional monarchy – and turning the then-dominant Dutch trading empire into an English trading empire in the process, in turn boosting financial prospects for English colonies such as the ones in the New World.

Macaulay was not shy about rhapsodizing about the moral and political lessons to be drawn from history, and one of his most valuable habits was reminding people – in a fashion after my own heart – what ingrates they are when they forget how greatly improved their material circumstances are compared to those of their ancestors.  Like a sci-fi author, he confidently predicted vastly increased wealth and technology in the future, too.  He was right – and inspiring.  Humanity would accomplish nothing listening to his arch-traditionalist foes alone.

(Yet I owe my possession of the book to a traditionalist, in way.  Justin Shubow gave away a collection of Macaulay books when he moved to DC to do things such as help run the National Civic Art Society.  I missed the giveaway but was left with a hankering for Macaulay, so I bought this book.)

Macaulay dealt in broad strokes and made mistakes, though.  Jeffrey Collins’ review last year in New Criterion of a biography of Macaulay notes that Macaulay viewed the Potato Famine as a “sharp and effective” remedy for Irish barbarity, and he was contemptuous of Catholics in general as an impediment to what we would now call libertarian and skeptical tendencies (then liberalism) among the Protestants and Whigs of Britain.


Just last month Macaulay was also the climactic villain in this grotesquely skewed smear-column likening libertarians to fascists, written by Michael Lind,

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Book Selection: “Doomsday Book” by Connie Willis Book Selection: Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

I begin four days of entries about UK-related works with this historical/sci-fi novel about a time-traveler scholar from the mid-twenty-first century coping with all of the real-life complications that might beset someone visiting that mysterious, alien place known as England during the fourteenth century.

I started reading it one week ago during preparations for hurricane Irene, which was the perfect time to read things like passages about whether to cauterize the main character’s nostrils before her time-trip began in order to protect her against the Middle Ages’ omnipresent smell of corpses and rotting meat.  If you enjoy watching seemingly-simple plans become almost infinitely complicated while smart people try to cope, check out this novel.

Fittingly, since health concerns, including the looming threat of the Black Plague, play such a big role in the novel, it was recommended to me by a staffer at the American Council on Science and Health, where I used to work.  Also fittingly, I last week met a recent DC-NYC transplant named Bethany Shondark Murphy who revealed that her middle name is a bastardized version of Jean D’Arc – so much change over the centuries.

Too much change, perhaps, for one member of the comedy troop that taught us to laugh at the Middle Ages: Monty Paleo – pardon me, I mean Monty Python.  But John Cleese sounds ready for a subscription to American Conservative or Chronicles in that article on Drudge today.  The UK and the U.S. are very similar countries, but it’s interesting how much more easily people accept the idea of English-as-an-ethnicity in a nation over 90% white, which is decidedly different from the more abstract and hybridized U.S., New Hampshire notwithstanding. 

I would recommend that any future time travelers reading this aim for New York City instead of the English countryside, as you’ll find it much easier to blend here, with no one knowing what normal is anyway.

And speaking of time travel: steampunks rejoice!  The producers of Boardwalk Empire are sponsoring a recommissioned 1920s New York City subway train, which is making actual runs on the 2/3 line each weekend this month (as Kevin Walsh of Forgotten-NY notes).  If this is the doing of a DC Comics villain from the 1920s, I say we dub her the Time Flapper – but more on steampunk in two days and DC Comics in three days.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Macho and Failing, from GOP to ATHF

The living distraction that is Sarah Palin seems unlikely to run for president.  Half the country thinks she’s a joke (you need at least some crossover appeal to win, always), three quarters of Republicans don’t want her to run, she makes money just being a celebrity, and according to the latest Fox poll of likely GOP voters she’s part of the amazingly unpopular single-digit gang of about ten GOP presidential candidates who simply aren’t catching fire.

She’s polling at 8 – 8! – and all the other GOP candidates besides Perry (26) and Romney (18) are lower than she is!  I know it’s early, but you’d think just by random chance, one of the others would be having a shinier day in the sun.  But no.  Again, it’s early, but can we just accept a Perry/Romney ticket and skip the year-long pain to come?

Palin need not retire from public life, of course.  I think she’s too macho to do that.  (In fact, I suggest she build a special arena for her speeches and sporting activities called the Palindrome, full of “haras.”)  But machismo can make you ridiculous.  Witness:

•This badass criminal athletics prof who sounds oddly like a cross between an FX series and an AMC series.

•A drunk and overly-manly Carl demonstrating rock music to Greek sirens, in a thirty-second scene summing up three thousand years of Western history.

•His neighbor Master Shake in a racially-shocking Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 sequence.

On a more serious note, though: tomorrow, a look at a truly tough and heroic gal, the heroine of Connie Willis’s novel Doomsday, using her rustic survival skills on a time travel trip to medieval England.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Four Pillars of Todd Seavey Wisdom

I hope you enjoy philosophical self-indulgence (with some nightlife).

As alluded to in my Matt Welch-inspired Twitter comments the other day, I try to learn from both tradition and innovation, basically a trad/trade combo.  But really there are four main components to my thinking – or more superficially, maybe I should just say four Todd “likes,” often noted here but worth repeating.  (Of course, having a list-like system of thought of any kind risks making one sound like a graduate of Asperger’s High.)

In the narrowest concrete terms, the four things often manifest as thoughts about (1) sci-fi, (2) libertarianism, (3) science, and (4) punk.

This tendency even manifests itself in unintended ways in my schedule.  For instance, I just noticed that I have only four significant events on my calendar this month besides work, and they are (spot the pattern):

(1) buy Grant Morrison’s Action Comics #1 on Wednesday, Sept. 7 (hey, I can stop after that, but it’s not every day a Scottish anarchist is the keystone of a whole DC Comics relaunch – more about that next week, in fact)

(2) attending the Friday, Sept. 9 (6:30pm) campaign launch party for libertarian Democrat (!) Dan O’Connor for U.S. Congress at Lolita Bar

(3) hearing the latest round of science-themed stories from the speakers at Story Collider, at Union Hall, 702 Union St. and Fifth Ave. in Brooklyn, on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 8pm

and (4) see the aged punk band X perform at Irving Plaza on Friday, Sept. 30 at 7pm.

Join me for all of them!

By my tetrahedral standards, the nation’s actually

Thursday, September 1, 2011

And Batman Wept: Farewell, 1980s – Hello, 1990s Grunge!

Since ancient times, philosophers have said there comes a point in each man’s life when he must set aside 1980s nostalgia and take up 1990s nostalgia... 

...a time to set aside the dark thing spawned in March 1986 (when DC Comics’ Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries gave us an unstable, troubled, hybrid reality – supplemented that same year by grim Watchmen and myriad Dark Knights – that truly died yesterday in Flashpoint #5, after twenty-five years of identity crises)...

...a time to let a new generation wrestle with profound cultural questions such as “So, wait, does Flashpoint #5 mean that Earths 0, 13, and 50 are no longer part of the multiverse?”...

...a time to let the young relish the return of body armor and bad attitudes (under the guidance of iconic 90s artist Jim Lee)...

...a time to stop beating punk, indie-folk, and the neo-New Wave thing to death (just as I was getting a handle on them) and admit that a quasi-grunge revival may already be at hand if the recent Red Fang and the enduring Fu Manchu (who Dave Whitney likes) are any indication...

...time to nod with understanding as news arrives that Cameron Crowe has a documentary out in three weeks called Pearl Jam Twenty in honor of that now-ancient band’s anniversary...

...time to pray I will be hip enough for the Williamsburg folk when I host bar events there this fall.  (Is it hip once more to tell them I almost moved to Seattle instead of Manhattan back in September 1991?)

Maybe the truly pop-savvy thing to do would be just to prepare now, biding my time, for the neo-Strokes revival nine years hence

P.S. Do we have to do “world music” again in a few years, or can we skip that since it was never a coherent genre?  This is an important trad-hip question that works on multiple levels, like Batman weeping for a lost world.

P.P.S. On the other hand, the Justice League now including Cyborg and fighting Darkseid does sort of smack of the mid-80s “Super Powers” version of the Super-Friends TV show.  No, no – best not to think in those terms.