Left and Right Meet on Scary Street

Michael Moynihan wrote here yesterday on the left/right anti-market convergence. I stumbled across a pretty hideous example of it, alas not online anywhere I could find: a "visual essay" by noted culture jammer Kalle Lasn in the March/April issue of the Canadian edition of Adbusters.

It's called "The Existential Divide," and the general tone is: we are all self-indulgent libertine scum who deserve to die. A specific quote or two:

Lately....freedom has taken a perverse, hyper-individualistic turn....

When a modest, pious man living in a poor village a world away looks at us, what does he see?...

We in the affluent west are now experiencing negative popuation growth....an unconscious collective suicide?....

In our eyes, the islamist suicide bomber has come to epitomize "the terrorist", a modern savage.....yet in fact, this "other" is a man whose life revolves around the mosque, daily prayer, restrained dress, moderate fasting, a tight-knit family and community. When pushed to the limit, a committed muslim may decide to sacrifice his own life...for what he sees as a greater social and spiritual good. Which one of us in the west will do this now?

Lasn, meet Buchanan and D'Souza, and Virginia Postrel , our former editor, is not surprised.

A reason review by Jacob Sullum of Lasn's book Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America.

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  • Fluffy||

    I'd prefer killing for the Good to committing suicide for the Good, thanks.

  • Randolph Carter||

    Kalle Lasn, of course, doesn't suffer from any kind of hyperindividuality. I'm sure he prays five times a day, says the rosary, beds down at dusk and rises at dawn.

  • ||

    We in the affluent west are now experiencing negative popuation growth....an unconscious collective suicide?....

    Yes, because what the world really needs is for everyone to have ten children each again.

  • ||

    this "other" is a man whose life revolves around the mosque, daily prayer, restrained dress, moderate fasting, a tight-knit family and community.

    That would explain his willingness to put an end to it.

  • ||

    "Which one of us in the west will do this now?"

    Any of our brave soldiers fighting in Iraq?

    I mean come on, keep your talking points straight here.

  • Fluffy||

    I think this ties in nicely to the environmentalism thread we had the other day, where I proposed that there is an undercurrent to some environmentalism of viewing a quasi-monastic lifestyle as noble and as aesthetically pleasing, and therefore of opposing consumption for its own sake, quite apart from its negative environmental impact.

    That sort of neo-Tacitonian outlook is mirrored here.

    I think you also can see this impulse in what you could call "poverty tourism" - the tendency among westerners to seek out "unspoiled" areas. "Spoilage" being defined by the absence of poverty.

    Some people are just seduced by the picturesque aspects of primitive landscapes where beaten-down men ride burros and knit fishnets by hand and beat themselves with cords inside whitewashed temples with dirt floors. In order to keep enjoying such landscapes, they devise complicated ideologies to explain why some other people [not themselves] should maintain such a lifestyle. None of them want to be the guy riding the burro, they just want to make sure that guy's around so they can take a picture of him and put it on the condo wall in a frame from Pottery Barn.

  • steveintheknow||

    When a modest, pious man living in a poor village a world away looks at us, what does he see?...

    Ooh! I know...

    A society that is so wealthy it creates positive externalities, allowing free riders like Adbusters to exist solely for the purpose of bitching about how wealthy we are. Did I get it?...what did I miss?

  • Edward||

    We've achieved all this prosperity and individualism with a mixed economy, a system of taxation to support infrastructure, and stable two-party political system, all things libertarians rail aganst. Why should one extremist pot call the other extremist pot black? You're both crazy.

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    The Green movement is all about being anti-civilization and environmentalist in name only. Indeed most of what they propose is counterproductive from an environmental prospective.

  • Randolph Carter||

    Fluffy,
    Good call. It's kind of ironic, for most of history the monastic lifestyle has been looked at (by its practitioners as well as outsiders) as an alternative to worldly life, not a better or worse lifestyle. It would be quite shocking to find a bunch of Dominicans or Tibetan Buddists going around in the 1400s attempting to enforce their way of life on the other inhabitants of the kingdom.

    I can understand the neo-Luddite fear that in time, there will be no "old world" left. There's no real reason for it - if most people want to work to make money rather than scratch dirt and provide their own subsistence, no amount of carping about sustainability will stop them. But I do feel sympathetic, because I like beautiful nature, old fashioned towns, etc. Where I part ways is that they are so scared that these things will disappear in a free world, they are willing to sacrifice (and many times, not even acknowledge) the technological and civil advances that we've made.

  • Randolph Carter||

    Edit: it would not be shocking to find Dominicans enforcing their thought patterns, but it would be surprising for them to tell everyone that they needed to be Dominican monks.

  • ||

    Lasn's hiking down the well-worn artistic path of trying to look back at ourselves through the lens of others we find undesirable.

    How utterly uninformative, unprovocative, and blasé.

    This is like a gen-y tweener trying to shock Mom and Dad by listening to Alice Cooper.

    *YAWN*

  • ||

    I'm sort of torn with Adbusters. On the one hand, they seem to be saying, "don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed," and on the other hand....

  • ||

    When a modest, pious man living in a poor village a world away looks at us, what does he see?...

    A place he'd like to be...if only they'd tear down that darn fence at the border.

  • MattXIV||

    We've achieved all this prosperity and individualism with a mixed economy, a system of taxation to support infrastructure, and stable two-party political system, all things libertarians rail aganst. Why should one extremist pot call the other extremist pot black? You're both crazy.



    Who's spoofing Edward? That's nonsensical and needlessly inflamitory even by the low standards of H&R's most worthless troll.

  • ||

    Who are you Libertarian/Reasonoids, who run interference for murderous Islam, support eliminationist anti-Semitism against the Jewish state while assuring us you're not anti-Semitic, attack patriotic websites such as Little Green Footballs (probably out of envy) to criticize mushheads like D'Souza or other eliminationist anti-Semites like Buchanan? Buchanan is a non interventionist (except where Israel is involved)-- just like you guys.

    As you say, pot, kettle, black.

    These links will show if you guys are serious about stopping homicide bombers:

    No choice but transfer

    Amendment to ban Islam

    "There's no need to fear; Underzog is here!"

  • Randolph Carter||

    There's no need to fear, I just kicked Underzog in the nards!

  • ||

    And it's Warren, ftw!

    :)

  • LarryA||

    Lately....freedom has taken a perverse, hyper-individualistic turn

    1. Freedom only comes on an individual level. Without individual rights no society is free.
    2. "Lately" goes back to at least July 4, 1776.

    When a modest, pious man living in a poor village a world away looks at us, what does he see?

    Well, it depends. If he's starving because his government confiscates all the food sent by relief agencies he sees a country where almost everyone has so much to eat they can be choosy as to how it's prepared. If he lives in a country where he's being persecuted, or even prosecuted for his faith, he sees a country where that doesn't happen. If he lives in a country where taxes and regulations eat up everything he tries to do, he sees a country where you can still be an entrepreneur. If he's living in a country where he can't raise his standard of living because he's the wrong caste, he sees a country where that is much less prevalent. If he lives in a country where he has to pay bribes every time he interacts with the government, he sees a country where for "modest" people that's still rare. If he lives in a country where the government has marked his "kind" for extinction, he sees a country where all kinds live together in relative peace.

    Why do you think we have an immigration problem?

    In our eyes, the Islamist suicide bomber has come to epitomize "the terrorist", a modern savage.....yet in fact, this "other" is a man whose life revolves around the mosque, daily prayer, restrained dress, moderate fasting, a tight-knit family and community.

    If by "tight-knit" you mean living under dark ages political and social control. If by "restrained" dress you mean "the authorities will beat, whip, and/or kill men or women unless they wear what is decreed."

    When pushed to the limit, a committed Muslim may decide to sacrifice his own life...for what he sees as a greater social and spiritual good.

    When pushed to the limit, a suicide-bomber Muslim may decide to sacrifice his own life kill as many people as he can...for what he sees as a greater social and spiritual good.

    Which one of us in the west will do this now?

    The "ordinary" folks on Flight 93.

  • ||

    Underzog-

    I disagree with Buchanan and his magazine (The American Conservative) on everything except their foreign policy analysis. I think most libertarians here would say the same.

    And no one is stopping you from signing up to go fight for the Israeli army. Form a volunteer legion for them, and go fight in the west bank. I think it would be admirable for you to do it. But don't send my tax money there, ok?

  • Edward||

    inflamitory?

  • Timothy||

    Who took away Edward's Thorazine? That wasn't very nice of you.

  • ||

    Underzog-

    Its funny you say you oppose "Islamofascism" when the proposals you made were quite fascist!

  • ||

    Underzog = Parody of Right Wing Neo Con?

    Hoozah for using the internet as your medium of performance art!

  • bill||

    this "other" is a man whose life revolves around the mosque, daily prayer, restrained dress, moderate fasting, a tight-knit family and community.

    Don't forget treating women like property and killing them if they get out of line.

  • uncle sam||

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-20070622-000002.xml

    Item #4 on Muslim suicide bombers.

  • ||

    Its funny you say you oppose "Islamofascism" when the proposals you made were quite fascist!

    Ceaser!
    I can glean some percepts from your incoherence. If one tries to win this war or one wins this war, then one is a racist.

    Since I have ideas to win this war, of course I'm ipso facto a racist to you reasonoids. You guys blasting me is not justifiable -- but it is understandable.

    What is not understandable, but rather hypocritical, is you chaps blasting mush head D'Souza and anti-Semite Buchanan. Their actions would be the same as yours' if you all had your druthers; i.e., throw Israel to the wolves and do political anilingus/appeasement to the Muslim/Arab terrorists.

    Why, oh why do you have a Hit and Run article criticizing those two guys? Don't you see the hypocrisy? Don't you see the irony of it all?

    "There's no need to fear; Underzog is here!"

  • ||

    I can glean some percepts from your incoherence. If one tries to win this war or one wins this war, then one is a racist.

    I never called you a racist. But I think repealing the first amendment is a fascist act, yes. I didn't think that much would be controversial.

    Which "war" are we talking about? How would repealing the first amendment win the "war"? We didn't have to outlaw socialism or even communism to win the Cold War.

    What is not understandable, but rather hypocritical, is you chaps blasting mush head D'Souza and anti-Semite Buchanan.

    I oppose their views on this particular issue. I am not a paleoconservative, I'm a libertarian. Their foreign policy view is in line with my philosophy, their views on almost everything else I completely oppose. Is it that hard for you to understand?

    I agree with Evo Morales that Bolivians should be allowed to grow the Cocao plant, does that make me a Chavez-style socialist?

  • highnumber||

    I don't think Underd(z)og ever answered my question about why an anti freedom bigot frequents these pages.

    Meh, who cares.

    Far more interesting is why (s)he bothers to put such a stupid signature at the end of each comment.
    And semicolons are considered bad style in that use. Ask any editor.

  • Paul||

    We in the affluent west are now experiencing negative popuation growth....an unconscious collective suicide?....

    Yet more proof that the general philosophy of your Adbusters reader is a religion. You can't win the argument.

    Population growth = unsustainability; social and environmental disaster; famines
    Negative population growth = individualistic, self centered consumerist society without a care for the future generations.

  • Paul||

    But I do feel sympathetic, because I like beautiful nature, old fashioned towns, etc.

    Randolph Carter
    Like in the public transit way? For other people?

  • ||

    I don't think Underd(z)og ever answered my question about why an anti freedom bigot frequents these pages.

    And it's an example of your great intellect that you throw these when-did-you-stop-beating your-wife type questions at me. /sarc

    "There's no need to fear; Underzog is here!"

  • ||

    "There's no need to fear; Underzog is here!"

    WTF?

  • highnumber||

    Amendment to ban Islam = Anti freedom bigotry.

    Answer the question before I bring up the fact that anyone who is isn't 150% ready & willing to tie Israel's and the US's foreign policies together gets called am anti Semite by you.

    Crap. Too late. I just did it.

  • ||

    Anyone read Michel Houllebecq's "Platform" ? In it, there's a bit where various European lefty commentators respond to suicide bombing at a Thai resort popular among Euro sex tourists by denouncing the victims, their materialism & hedonistic lifestyles etc, etc. At the time I thought it was typical over-the-top Houllebecq.
    Well - it seems like these dudes are beyond caricature.

  • ||

    "When a modest, pious man living in a poor village a world away looks at us, what does he see?"

    I don't give a fuck what he sees.

  • Randolph Carter||

    naw, not in the public transportation way. More in the "I hope someone buys the land and keeps it nice a la that dude that owns Patagonia or EMS or whatever and bought a bunch of land in Brazil.
    My sympathy is with the concern that maybe, in some awful alternative future, there will be no pristine wilderness left. But then again, there seems to be a market for pristine wilderness, so I'm sure it will be covered by the DEMAND KURV.

  • ||

    Eward at 1:34pm:

    Rudeness and stupidity are far more common here than real arguments, especially in response to real arguments.

    Edward at 5:19pm:

    Why should one extremist pot call the other extremist pot black? You're both crazy.

    In the spirit of "your fly is open," besides forgetting the "kettle" part of your analogy, you're also being a hypocrite.

  • tros||

    Amendment to ban Islam = Anti freedom bigotry.

    Is that guy serious? I thought that was like a Landover Baptist type thing. What a nut.

  • Sean||

    I had to deal with this kind of stuff in grad school when I got my ms in digital media paradigms. Its interesting because i really love the artistic approach alot of groups like adbusters and the people i was in school with used to convey a very neo-luddite message. They would lambast the country and its progress and then they would turn around and drool over the latest DV cam made by panasonic that they would then film their performance art piece with. I guess marshall macluhan didnt make it through to them.

    Ps sent from my iPhone bitches!!

  • highnumber||

    I am now an anti Seanite.

  • ||

    Don't forget Underzog's second link where he endorses ethnic clensing!

  • highnumber||

    At least he hasn't bragged about his iPhone.
    I propose an amendment to H&R's rules (What you didn't get a copy in your email? So that's why you've broken every one!):

    If you send a message from your iPhone, you must put that tag

    Ps sent from my iPhone bitches!!

    at the end of your comment.
    And you must send me you full name, address, and the route you generally take to work.
    C'mon, it'll be fun!

  • ||

    What is a culture jammer? Is it anything like a Senior Editor?

    What is Adbusters? Is it anything National Review?

    Weirdos.

  • Underzog||

    Don't forget Underzog's second link where he endorses ethnic clensing!

    That settles it. I was curious as to how you guys would respond to those excellent links and you've proved my contention that you fellows are no better than D'Souza or Buchanan.

    You all want to appease Islam. I hope Hit & Run will no longer lecture the board about how bad and stupid Buchanan and D'Souza are because you chaps are no better as regards Muslim terrorism. Just continue to run interference for Islamic terrorism, but don't get holier than thou at the paleo anti-Semites or mush head D'Souza because you're no better!

    "There's no need to fear; Underzog is here!"

  • uncle sam||

    Link Psychology today article.

    Item #4 on Muslim suicide bombers as a combination of polygyny and the '70 virgins' meme.

  • MattXIV||

    What really confuses me is how a bunch of anti-consumerists end up spending more on shoes than I do.

  • ||

    You all want to appease Islam.



    Let me explain.

    You, sir, are a fucktard. If we were at all interested in your knuckleheaded ideas, we would have lavished you with fawning adoration on one or more of the many previous threads in which you spammed posted the link to your fascist little proposal.

    We have not, and will not, sign on to your contemptible ideas. Please fuck off forthwith.

  • ||

    When a modest, pious man living in a poor village a world away looks at us, what does he see?

    Probably the ground, seeing as how the world isn't flat.

  • Randolph Carter||

    Wait, I can play the Underzog game too!

    Some of you demoncrats are vegetarians? Vegetarians like Hitler!

  • Underzog||

    Please fuck off forthwith.

    Here, I try to enlighten you on ways to combat Islamic terrorism -- ideas that my just save your life in addition to mine -- and you respond with more vitriolic comments. You're no better than this guy. In fact, maybe you are that guy
    (sniffle, boo hoo hoo)

    "There's no need to fear; Underzog is here!"

  • ||

    Also, sorry if this is culturally chauvinistic, but anyone who sees killing a bunch of people as a spiritual or social good is a savage.

    Obviously, I don't have a problem with killing people if it's necessary to protect the rights of others, but even then I would regard the killing itself as a grim necessity rather than a good in itself.

  • ||

    Underzog, are you implying that when you're not here, there IS need to fear?

  • ||

    Unless you are rich enough to buy everything, the very purchasing of an iPhone clearly destroys your credibility. In all things. For all time.

  • ||

    You're no better than this guy. In fact, maybe you are that guy



    Yes, because clearly:

    Supporting freedom of religion = Antisemitism

    As I said... fuck off.

  • Fluffy||

    Is Underdog a parody troll, or is he on the level? Or is this some sort of promo for the movie that's coming out?

  • ||

    Or is this some sort of promo for the movie that's coming out?



    Well, that would certainly alter my expectations as to the likely plot of the movie.

  • ||

    Or is this some sort of promo for the movie that's coming out?

    If that's the case, I suggest we invoke the Boston strategy for dealing with movie promos: detonate his posts, and charge him with multiple felonies.

  • MikeT||


    In our eyes, the islamist suicide bomber has come to epitomize "the terrorist", a modern savage.....yet in fact, this "other" is a man whose life revolves around the mosque, daily prayer, restrained dress, moderate fasting, a tight-knit family and community. When pushed to the limit, a committed muslim may decide to sacrifice his own life...for what he sees as a greater social and spiritual good. Which one of us in the west will do this now?



    I wonder sometimes if people who write such platitudes about Islamic society have any bloody clue as to how depraved the culture can be behind the scenes. Pederasty is a rather big problem in some of the Arabic countries, for example. It has, in short, created societies that have the outward appearance of piety and holiness, but are as rotten at the core as the West can be accused of being.

  • MikeT||

    And on that note, I will say as a conservative Christian and libertarian that I infinitely prefer the openly libertine West to the closet libertine Islamic world.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Speaking of Virginia Postrel, Reason was much better back when... oh, never mind. :-)

  • ||

    D.A. Ridgely,

    Nick Gillespie is crying into his pillow tonight because of you. I hope you're happy.

  • dhex||

    http://www.toothpastefordinner.com/022407/culture-jamming.gif

    man i spent like an hour looking for that.

  • highnumber||

    Jake Boone,

    You almost won the thread at 9:39 PM, but you called him (or her) "sir" and said "please." We can cut the niceties with with this kind of trash.

    Although, I guess since you use "fucktard," the rest plays as sarcasm, dunnit?

    You win!

    Songs, streamers, a party...Jake Boone won the thread!

    Jake Boone,
    Jake Boone,
    Jake Boone is on fire!
    We don't need no water,
    Let the Underzog burn!
    Burn, Underzog, burn!

  • ||

    Yeah, Jake Boone wins.

    Also, if looking out for the interests of the United States first, and not wishing to be tied to the most extreme, disgusting elements in a foreign country makes me an "anti-semite" I will take that as a badge of honor.

  • highnumber||

    Never mind, Jake Boone. The judges just saw dhex's link. They're divided.


    It's close.


    He did spend an hour to find it.


    It is on topic.



    It's been declared a tie!

    However, Jake Boone does receive a special prize: when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.

  • take a guess||

    However, Jake Boone does receive a special prize: when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.

    Oh! Can I have some LSD too?

  • ||

    Uncle Sam @ 9:17 PM

    I don't know what's up with your link to that Psychology Today article, but everytime I click on it my browser crashes. Pity...'cuz it looks like an interesting piece.

  • HalfdogHalfdeer||

    Hey Underzog,

    Loved the Churchill quote at the top of your "Ban Islam" thingy. But I couldn't help thinking that old Winny would've been no less poignant had he substituted the words "Muslims" and "Mohammedanism" with "Christians" and "Christianity", or for that matter "Scientologists" and "Scientology" (although I can't exactly vouch for the latter's forays into Western Africa). So while we're at it, how about banning all the religions. Maybe we can start with yours.

  • ||

    "around the mosque, daily prayer, restrained dress, moderate fasting, a tight-knit family and community. "
    You know, it occurs to me that JS Mill had something in On Liberty when he wrote that institutions like churches, family and community can be pretty intolerant and oppressive in their own right. Not as oppressive as (or without the help of) government which uses force, but still no cakewalk for freedom lovers...

  • ||

    underzog is awesome. He has either attained Urkoboldian levels of conscious irony or the absurdity of his posts is so pure that further mockery can only weaken the case. Either way, there is something to admire here.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Nick Gillespie is crying into his pillow tonight because of you. I hope you're happy.



    I can't imagine Mr. Gillespie wasting tears on the likes of me, not the least reason being that he just may have leather pillowcases and water could damage them.

    H&R Drinking Game rules aside, however, I will gladly (and quite seriously) aver that Reason is a much better product than in the VP days. That is not to deny Ms Postrel her many virtues as a libertarian writer and editor; but insofar as the raison d'être of Reason is to publish libertarian thought and perspective to reach a more general audience, I cannot help but think that the new generation product is a vast improvement.

  • Russ 2000||

    When a modest, pious man..

    If he's modest AND pious then the guy's obviously a hypocrite so whatever he thinks it isn't well thought. Like an Adbusters article.

  • ||

    Underzog needs to be picked up by animal control.

  • ||

    Why should I care what some religious nut in some third-world hell hole thinks?

  • URKOBOLD Animal Control Servic||

    ewwww.

    *desperately thinks of something less disgusting than underzog: maggot-ridden dead kittens who died trying in vain to escape underzog by crawling through their own intestines...

  • ||

    "When a modest, pious man living in a poor village a world away looks at us, what does he see?"

    Apparently, Cameron Diaz.

  • highnumber||

    Urkobold just fired Underzog from the Zod 2008 campaign, but luckily for the 'Zog, Dondero hired him.

  • miche||

    Wait, I thought Zog and Dondero were the same. Should not have had the last glass of wine at dinner I guess.

    Message not sent from my iPhone- my touch screen is f'd up.

  • Bill||

    "I had to deal with this kind of stuff in grad school when I got my ms in digital media paradigms"

    Wow, and I thought they only gave graduate degrees for studying esoteric crap that has no practical intellectual value. Boy, was I wrong.

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