Black Holes And Red Pills

I generally eschew the temptation to editorialize around Elon Musk's adventures in "red pill" Wonderland. For me, it's not terribly difficult to abstain. I'm not actually tempted, which is to say I'm wholly disinterested. Musk styles himself a kind of libertarian liberator par excellence -- self-appointed king of counter-narrative and Jesus of the anti-"woke" apostles. In reality, he's just another unfortunate soul who fell into the wrong rabbit hole and got lost down there. Plenty of very sm

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17 thoughts on “Black Holes And Red Pills

  1. Did you see Musk’s latest mind-blowingly offensive tweet? He posted it 2 days ago, and as of today, it’s still up.

    As far as I can tell, it’s a further endorsement of the “great replacement” conspiracy theory. I’ll post a link to the tweet below, but I would caution anyone not to click on it if they’re at work. For those not wanting to burn their eyeballs, the tweet is simply a meme, from a fairly common format:

    The bottom half is a picture of Pam from The Office, with the classic text, “They’re the same picture.” The top half is 2 very different images. On the left, a scene from the game Diablo IV: “You have died,” the game reads, as a bunch of shadowy, dark colored demons stand over a blurry white angelic figure. The second picture what looks like the cover photo from a gang-bang video, showing a petite white woman not wearing much, while 8 black men in their underwear stand behind her.

    What advertiser in their right mind would ever use this platform? Is there some audience they can’t risk not reaching that’s not to be found anywhere else? This isn’t some fringe white supremacist with 164 followers. This is the site’s owner, with 164 million followers. There’s no one person your advertisement is more likely to show up next to, and this is what he’s promoting.

  2. A while back it was really obvious. There were paid links at the bottom of Newsmax pages which, while marked as such, were easy to click on. Our friends at Sputnik were frequent posters there. Not sure if it is still the case.

  3. and of course Musk single handedly derailed a planned Ukrainian attack on Russia’s naval fleet by cutting of their communication network (allegedly…)…I see him more as a narcissistic sociopath, (much like a former president). Musk has seen the attention and success and is now in full emulation mode…still hoping 2022 was “Peak Musk.”

    Excellent effort, H…you’ve been rolling lately, with salient global political and historical coverage…really appreciate you and these efforts…

  4. I was a progressive liberal until fairly recently when I guess I had my own ‘red pill’ moment. I believe in progressive causes and uphold the same values, but I now consider myself a center-left liberal. As you mentioned the information warfare happens on both sides but I’ve noticed people have blinders on for progressive causes. There is a cultural shift and most probably have no idea what is happening with Gen Z. The overnight trending sensation that is Bin Laden and “evil West” topics come to mind.

    Progressive Gen Z ‘influencers’ constantly demonstrate extremely selective racism, intolerance of religion, hatred based on political affiliation, and disgust for their country. In my view this is extremely regressive and not ‘progressive’ by any sense of the word. I frankly don’t care what side of the political aisle this comes speech comes from: it is wrong. Making excuses for this behavior, rather than trying to correct it, is not doing anyone any favors, but most of Gen Z would sooner call you a racist or privileged than admit it’s a problem. I can barely go a day in Manhattan without hearing ‘I hate white people’ or something similar. I constantly hear about the ‘evil white Christians’ but those same people will proclaim how we must be open and understanding of Muslims. I see prolific statistical manipulation and misrepresentations that are excused because it is done for ‘just causes’. Days of headlines proclaiming Musk as anti-semitic just prove that point; it’s boilerplate nonsense. The right will do the same thing with anti-white racist claims. Which side is more ‘progressive’ in this case?

    In the past year or so, the right has become more alienated and even moderate Republicans are now thrown in with MAGA. They did it to themselves in a quest for power and influence, so I have little sympathy. But that doesn’t mean what they say should be ignored. When Trump was talking about immigration, he was widely branded a racist and relentlessly attacked. I think he’s a scumbag, but is the message really that different when it comes from Eric Adams?

    Similarly, we tend to lump together all right-wing views as ‘conspiracy theories’. But there is a huge difference between PizzaGate and national security concerns with TikTok, an app ultimately controlled by an adversarial state. How easy would it be for the CCP to manipulate the algorithm at the margins to promote extremely divisive content onto our youth? Is that a ‘conspiracy theory’?

    In summary, I really think we all need to hold everyone to the same standard regardless of political affiliation, race, or sex. We should be open and understanding of all people, right-wingers included, and we should seek to find commonality with our fellow citizens. The truth is almost always somewhere in the middle.

    1. I hope your migration to the center is indicative of a wider trend. That might postpone things for a while. A short-term tell is that I was deluged with Black Friday deals on bulk ammo. Ahead of the 2020 election, some vendors were charging one or even two dollars a shell. Now it’s down to 30 cents each on 9mm ammo. If those prices start to move up again, you’ll know we are in trouble.

      As to TikTok. Take a peek at the top 10 apps downloaded from the Apple AppStore in the US. Chinese apps are well-represented. You’ll have to ban ALL Chinese controlled apps, such as Temu, if you worry that the PRC will use them to manipulate gullible Americans. The PRC has done the opposite so it could be called a reciprocal act.

    2. Boy, Anon sounds like Manhattan has really changed. As recently as nine years ago, an overprivileged white man (me) could still dress up in a suit, go into the office, collect a large paycheck with great benefits for doing absolutely nothing all day, then step out on the town for scotch, bourbon, sushi and steaks, all without having to suffer a harsh word from anybody. Good thing I left when I did! Sounds like it’s a rough place for rich white men now.

      1. lol I can sense a tinge of sarcasm. It’s fine, there are crazies of all shades, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. It’s just a trend I do not see abating. And it is certainly highly highly politicized, but I suppose it always has been.

        1. One of the defining features of the Trump era is that in order to keep Trump out of power, you have to accept anyone who opposes Trump into your camp. There is no space for nuance anymore, it’s us vs them. It would be great if there were a strong majority of moderates with solid values, and an intolerance of extremism, but with a willingness to move cautiously forward to improve the country and the world. But that’s not where we are.

          1. I won’t say this is totally incorrect, but this kind of panicked attitude is exactly what MAGA does. This view is also heavily influenced by left wing media, who just like the right have a vested interest in making things seem more dire and extreme than they actually are. Your values, for the most part, are not all that different than Republicans. The biggest difference is perspective, and the most important perspective to hold, in my view, is that an existential threat can come from either side of the aisle.

          2. Anon, with all due respect, your characterization of this situation is detached from reality, a point I’ve tried to gently make previously. Your comments have a “the gentlemen doth protest too much, methinks” sort of feel to them. There’s no sense (none) in which any kind of liberal in America (center-left, progressive or whatever else) can say that their values are “for the most part, not all that different than Republicans” in 2023. The Republican party has systematically jettisoned anyone who opposes Donald Trump. Disavowing Trump is a one-way ticket out of the party. It’s not a party — it’s a personality cult. Period. As far as the social side of things, I hate to be this blunt, but conservative ideology is antiquated. It’s not consistent with modernity which is to say it’s not consistent with reality. And, with apologies, anyone who dislikes the country citing the rather glaring disparity between the Founders’ rhetoric on one side, and genocide against Native Americans and the enslavement of Africans on the other, is on pretty solid ground. Finally, if you think it’s annoying to hear “I hate white people” in Manhattan (which, as noted, is a ludicrous mischaracterization in the first place) just imagine what it’s like to be a minority in America. You’re African American and you walk into a Target and some salesperson whispers to the other “I hate black people.” Or you’re Hispanic and the people whose toilets you’re forced to scrub for a living assume your brother’s a gang member. Or you’re a Muslim and every time you get on an elevator you can just tell that everyone in there with you is thinking “Dear lord, I hope she’s not wearing a suicide vest.” Or, relatedly, you’re an attractive woman and every other man who passes you on the street is thinking something that I can’t even type here. I know a lot of center-left liberals and let me just say: They don’t talk like you. I think you’ve got early onset Republicanism, my friend, and you just don’t want to admit it.

        2. I hope that my values “are not that different than Republicans.” I suspect that you are harkening back to the era where “Country Club” and Fairfield County Republicans ran the party. That’s just a happy memory. The GOP southern strategy, masterfully expanded upon by Karl Rove, has changed the party to one based on racism.

          Think of immigration. Are people opposed because slimy immigrants are stealing American jobs? In an economy where the #1 issue appears to be a lack of workers? Or is it because they just don’t like people who don’t look or talk like you?

          The same way many of their grandparents were treated., even though they were nice white people.

          1. Couldn’t reply to H but I meant with actual Republican citizens – not the clusterfk that is the governing party. But I get your point. I still don’t think further alienating the Republican base is the answer. They are still logical to a certain degree, even if their view is highly distorted and influenced by evil men. That means they can be reasoned with. I think you understand the motives of leadership, but do you honestly think that the majority of Republicans are actual racists?

            H, I honestly don’t know anyone who expresses those racist thoughts about Muslim/black/hispanic. I would know people who are say more cautious around people who dress like gang members, but that’s completely independent of race. Maybe this was common 20 years ago, but your life would be completely destroyed today. So honestly, who would think that these days other than poor uneducated white people who are becoming themselves a marginalized group. It is possible to have compassion for marginalized groups, try to elevate them, build up their communities, invest in their schools, make sure gangs can’t recruit the next generation, etc. These are all possible without burning everything down. The West has many faults, sure, but the West is also the reason slavery is essentially limited to Asia/Middle East today, and the reason a large part of the world is not living under some fundamentalist oppressive regime. I don’t know who it serves to ignore that. I firmly believe these social issues are rooted in socioeconomics and poverty doesn’t care what race you are. I readily admit systemic racism was a driver in the 20th century. But I also recognize the progress made towards eliminating those barriers, even if the work is never “done”. Does that make me a budding Republican?

          2. Anon. Reasonable thoughts on issues with so many interpretations and possible outcomes.

            But as to how many Republicans are actually racist, make a field trip from NYC to New Orleans. Then on over through Texas to Lubbock. Get drunk and talk to drunk people.

  5. It seems to me all narratives are guided by self interest. Certainly all major news outlets – BBC, CNN, FOX, FT – appear this way. Having read FT for some time, I am dsiheartened that they swept under cover Hunter Biden’s crimes and the administration’s cover ups – remember cocaine at the WH?. Everyone has an agenda. Im not sure Musk does. Or maybe he does and hides it too well. What specifically was anti-semitic in what he said, and was the backlash that ensued warranted?

    1. David, please. Give me a break. This is most assuredly not the platform for Hunter Biden conspiracy theories. Have a little respect for your own sanity. That you would mention Fox in the same breath as the BBC, CNN and the FT suggests you’re lost down the same rabbit hole as Musk. I encourage you to climb out before it’s too late. I’m closing the comments section on this article now. This is no longer constructive.

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