The Implications Of Big Tech Concealing A ‘Soft Singularity’


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Let me qualify what I’m proposing — I’m simply looking at what appears to be happening (Big Tech can read our minds via our phones) and then playing out the implications of such a theory.

I could be totally wrong. It’s very possible. But some of Tik-Tok’s apparent abuses of digital telepathy have made it seem so obvious to me that some sort of Soft Singularity has happened without anyone telling us that I have to talk about it.

Let’s review the evidence as to why I think a Soft Singularity has happened. First, Facebook some time ago patented mind-reading technology. Second, repeatedly over the last year or so, I’ve noticed being pushed ads that are so specific to what I’ve been THINKING about that no possible algorithmic explanation makes any sense.

What’s more, especially with Tik-Tok, there is an abstract nature to some of the things I’ve been pushed that is alarming. If you work on the assumption that my mind is being read by my phone, it’s not like they know the word “GIRL” is at the forefront of my mind, it’s as if they actually are rooting around my mind to the extent that they can push videos of “GIRL WHO LOOKS LIKE ANNIE SHAPIRO.”

The prospect of that going on with millions of Tik-Tok users, not just me, is extremely dark and surreal. It starts to make you think about the moral implications of Big Tech (especially a Big Tech company so close to the Chinese government) knowing that much about a big chunk of the American population.

Not, at this point, let me be absolutely clear — if I’m missing some way that they can simply figure out that I like girls who look like a specific woman that I think about a lot via algorithmic assumptions, then, so be it. I will feel a lot better. But, even then, the algorithms would be so good at their job, that that, in itself, would be cause for alarm.

So, I guess what I’m suggesting is it’s at least possible that technology has advanced a lot further than we think.

The Thing About Space Aliens


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The thing about space aliens is I suspect that there is some sort of growing down low consensus in the scientific community that the universe is probably full of life — much of it intelligent and space fairing.

But, to date, there have just been very tiny clues that indicate this is the truth.

What’s more, you could actually know this to be an absolute fact and if you don’t have any proof to back you up, absolutely no one will believe you.

That’s the wild thing about this subject — unless you have absolute proof that aliens exist, then, lulz, you’re a crazy person.

This makes you wonder not only what the aliens may be waiting for, but why we’re having growing a bit of evidence here and there that they exist in the first place. Are we reaching a point in our technological advancement that we’re interesting to aliens? Are we seen as a threat to them or ourselves?

Anyway.

I don’t expect any First Contact any time soon. But it is something to think about. It’s a least possible that there’s a lot more going on out there in space than we might think.

Only time will tell exactly what.

Sometimes, They Come Back


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

As of Monday (at the latest) I’m throwing myself back into the novel I’ve been working on the last few years. Everything is in place — I should be able to write the first draft very, very quickly.

I’ll always be the guy in the circle. Me, 2032

What started as me raging against the Trump Era now has a very different context — it’s going to be a lot more character based, a lot less preachy and…also a warning of what might be to come.

I really just want to forget the Trump Era ever happened. And, yet, given Trump’s apparent interest in the “Patriot Party” concept, I have decided to read up on Hitler. My fear is because of the “megatrends” that caused the rise of Trump in the first place, that he and his movement will come back in a big way far, far sooner than any of us might otherwise believe.

So, in preperation for the rise of honest-to-God-American MAGA-Nazism, I’m going to start to study Hitler, his rise and his use of power once he got it. My fear is that Trump — or a “velvet fist” of, say, President Lara Trump and Vice President Mike Pompeo — may finally turn us into an autocratic managed democracy like Putin’s Russia.

America is currently an autocracy without an autocrat and something pretty huge would have to happen for our democracy not to go the way of the Weimar Republic within no more than 10 years. But, let me make it clear — Trumplandia’s Fourth Reich wouldn’t be expansionistic. It’s not like Trump or Lara Trump would want to take over the world.

It would be an implosion, not an explosion.

The United States would collapse in on itself, maybe even to the point that there was a complete re-imagining of the world order. The United States would leave NATO, pull all its troops out from South Korea, etc and also have some sort of “Final Solution” for the “Liberal Problem.”

Or, to put it another way — there are some fucking dark forces at work on a macro level in the United States.

Weirdly enough, there really hasn’t been much discussion about how Elon Musk is just a few years away from ending the trucking industry as we know it. When 3 million high paying blue collar jobs fashion overnight, there are going to be a shit ton of angry men and women who might embrace neo-Luddism. And that would cause a massive jiggling of our political economy.

The Patriot Party might fuse the far Right and the far Left into an anti-technology party while the corporate elements of the Democrat and Republican parties might fuse together in response.

Anyway.

The point is — Trumplandia ain’t dead yet. Sometimes, they come back.

Holy Shit: Trump May Found His Own NSDAP — The Patriot Party


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Well, if you want to get in on the new Trump grift, I suggest you become active in the founding of The Patriot Party. History may not repeat, but it does rhyme, so it’s very possible that Stephen Miller will ghost write a Trump book called “My Struggle” then in four years we’re going to look back at the events of January 6th as Trump’s “Beerhall Putsch.”

Trump — or some member of the Trump family — will win in 2024 and we’ll go full Nazi. Though, I doubt The Patriot Party will be expansionist. It will be more about the country imploding into itself and doing away with the “liberal problem” once and for all.

Now, history rarely goes in a straight line, so it’s very possible that the Republican Party is going to tear itself apart for one election cycle. So, in that case, it would be closer to 2028 or even as late as 2032 when Der Fuhrer assumes control.

Though, at that point, Trump himself will be so fucking old that it might be something more along the lines of a the “velvet fist” — Lara Trump as POTUS and Mike Pompeo (or whomever) as Veep. There are now a half a dozen would-be autocrats waiting in the wings to finally strangle American liberal democracy.

It’s only a matter of time before one of them becomes president or vice president. No more than, say, a decade. Probably closer to four years. The macro trends that brought us this point of being an autocracy without an autocrat aren’t going anywhere.

The United States is going to be in political neutral for about two years no matter what. We’re just going to be in something of a political daze until the Republicans — or Patriot Party? — take over the Congress and we really REALLY have something to worry about.

And, as I’ve mentioned before, if Trump was smart — which he is not — he would put his political puck where macro trends suggest we WILL BE not where we ARE: he’d really try to rearrange American politics by banking hard LEFT when it comes to technology — become a neo-Luddite. Remember, Elon Musk is just a few years away from destroying 3 million (!) high paying trucker jobs via self-driving semis. If Trump — or someone in the extended House Trump — could make saving those 3 million jobs part of a political platform, well, you got yourself a powerful political movement.

It would have to be Steve Bannon to think that up, though. Trump, himself, is an idiot.

We now know what’s potentially ahead of us now. All the overblown fears that people like me had during the first Trumplandia Reich will be a lot closer to coming true once Trump founds the Patriot Party and we have our very own Red Hats (as opposed to Brown or Black Shirts) running around, beating the shit out of people like me around election time.

Pray.

Some Idle Biden Era Predictions


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Biden Will Be Impeached
The moment the House flips, Biden will be impeached over simply being Biden. That’s an absolute at this point.

Kamala Harris Will Face Pressure To Use The 25th Amendment
As we grow accustomed to the Biden Era, Biden will set the tone of his era, just like Trump did. And, as such, we’re going to notice that he IS a little bit senile. The FOX News bullshit echo chamber will latch on to this, and turn it into a regular Benghazi 2.

President Harris?
I have high hopes for Biden, but he’s old as hell. I wish him a long life and eight years in office, but he IS 78. So, somehow, some way, I just don’t see him lasting through his first term. I hope I’m wrong. I usually am. Harris will be a great president that will really shake things up — and, as such, get her into a huge amount of political trouble.

A Jarring Transition
We’re just not prepared for the Biden Era. It’s going to be a bumpy first few days and weeks after Biden is sworn in. We’re just not going to know what to do.

The Trump Deep State
One of the biggest problems for Biden will be The Trump Deep State. All those MAGA hacks now “burrowed” into the Federal government are going to come after Biden and his policies in a big way. By July, that could be what we’re all talking about.

Runaway Jury?
If Trump doesn’t play his cards right, his second impeachment trial in the Senate may serve the purpose of a Trump Era Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the sense that before we know it, folks like John Bolton and Don McGahn will be testifying at it in a new political Trial of The Century. The whole thing will drag out as each side throws more and more firepower at the issue.

Comparative Political History: The Paris Commune And The American Capitol Riot Of Jan. 6th, 2021


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I barely know anything about the Paris Commune, but I know enough to know that it may be the closest comparison one can think up when it comes to the Capitol Riot of January 6th in Washington.

But there are some pretty big differences.

If you look back at what happened on January 6th, we were extremely lucky for a number of reasons — the riot didn’t really have any leaders and it didn’t really have any long-term agenda or ideology. It was just a smash-and-grab coup attempt.

But imagine if there had been some sort of leadership on January 6th. They could have established a security perimeter around the Capitol. They could have taken hostages and they could have formed a “government” at the Capitol building.

If they had had any organization or forethought, they could still be there right now, hold up at the Capitol in their own “commune.” I doubt they would have called it a commune, but that’s what it would have been.

They had a very specific historic opportunity and — thankfully — they completely blew it. They “caught the car” and then didn’t know what to do with it. There won’t be a next time.

Any coup-like event that occurs in the future is going to require a shit ton more work by those involved. I still think given macro trends that while there may still be significant political violence in the coming years, it’s the 2024-2025 period we need to keep an eye on.

The Curious Case Of Dua Lipa


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Let me begin by saying I’m rather indifferent about what Dua Lipa might — or might not — do with her image. But I’m of an age that there is something interesting she’s doing, or not doing, that is of note.

Where’s all the Dua Lipa T&A?

I grew up with Madonna getting naked as possible as often as possible. And, while we’re talking about Madonna versus Dua Lipa — holy shit is Dua Lipa a charisma heatsink. Ms. Lipa is going 100% by every other metric than what is more crucial for her to become a long-term success: she has no stage presence. She’s extremely stiff and can’t dance. So, while Ms. Lipa probably has a better singing voice than Madonna, she’s rather meh as a star.

Anyway.

Again, I don’t care one way or another, but Ms. Lipa is a stunning young woman and you’d think there would be a few “oopse, I showed a nipple!” or “here’s my buttcrack for the fans” picture that might pop out here or there.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more there is, strangely enough, not a lot of soft-porn in the music business anymore. We have Ariana Grande wanting to make everyone think she’s 12 years old while be about as sexualized as possible…and yet she’s never decided to make her think of her as more of an “adult” by getting nekkid.

I guess Miley Cyrus has a high T&A factor, but does she really?

I’m starting to think that The Powers That Be have made a collective decision not to show us as much T&A in the public square. Maybe as a result of #MeToo? Hmmm, what an interesting possibility?

Let me be clear — porn is still everywhere. But the usual running-around-nekkid practice of young female singers we grew accustomed to in the 80s, 90s, 00 seems to have abated.

Back to Ms. Lipa.

She’s drop dead gorgeous. If I was younger, she’d be a celebrity crush. But I’m too old for such things. She’s just an attractive young lady for me, the old coot.

‘Catching The Car:’ The Capitol Riot, Reassessed


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The key thing we have to appreciate is what a fluke the riot at the Capitol was on January 6th. While future history may prove me wrong — I’m often wrong — it definitely seems as though a lot of things went wrong at the same time on that date.

What happened January 6th was a classic instance of “catching the car.” How else do you explain how gleeful many of the people who participated were? In the moment, most of the people involved had no idea the gravity of what they had gotten themselves into. It was all a big party.

Or, once the beating the shit out of people phase was accomplished by nastier aspects of the mob, it was a party to everyone else. I almost went to DC to “cover” the event for myself and I now find myself sheepishly blanching at what I might have gotten myself into had I gone. I probably would have charged into the Capitol to cover such a historic event, only to get arrested for trespassing, etc.

So, in a sense, I dodged a bullet.

Anyway, I think, in a sense, the terrorists have won in the short term and we’re all terrorized while the actual threat is back to near-zero. So, we’re going through all this pretty much for no reason. The moment people started getting arrested for their participation in the Capitol riot, I think the threat evaporated.

There may be isolated political violence over the next four years, but the Big Ugly has been punted down the road to the 2024-2025 time frame for a number of reasons. A civil war / revolution is coming…just not right now.

In Defense Of Flowers


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I have to get this off my chest.

I was listening to the Script Notes podcast — which is really good — and one of the hosts, Craig Mazin, off handedly said, in effect, he hated flowers.

Wait, what?

I’ve done a Twitter video about this already that Mazin saw and responded to, natch, but the idea that someone like Mazin hates flowers really, really, grates on my nerves.

That someone like Mazin, who is an inspiration for someone like me, wouldn’t like flowers, is flabbergasting. The love of flowers, to me, is so basic to the human experience that to not like flowers it to not have a soul. Some 10,000 years ago, it’s likely a very tired hunter would pause after the hunt to pick up some flowers for his girl back at camp.

A basic appreciation of flowers is to be human. The beauty of flowers — like most beauty — is fleeting. As such, that’s the point of loving flowers. Men give women flowers because they’re both — in our eyes — beautiful and worthy of our respect and devotion. That women tend to like flowers more than men is a bonus — especially if you’re a man who’s in the dog house.

So it really bothers me that Mazin, who ‘s a great writer and storyteller, wouldn’t like flowers. That, in itself, makes me question some things. It gives me a bit of cognitive dissidence. I struggle to understand how someone who wrote Chernobyl, could not like flowers.

Anyway. I’ve belabored this point too much. But I had to vent again.

The Metrics Of Normality


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’ve always been something of a kook. I have never known what I was supposed to do. Or, using the metrics of, say, a New York Times reporter, I’m nothing more than an Internet crank.

The few times I’ve interacted with New York Times people, I’ve had no complaints. Though, I have to admit that Maggie Haberman was randomly mean to me on Twitter when I accused her of doing “access journalism.”

I have to admit to myself that if you combine my age with my general “delusional jerk with a good heart” personality that, well, “normal” people are going to dismiss me. And, really, there’s probably nothing I can do at this point to fix the problem.

I’ve been too conspicuous in various ways on the Internet in my numerous flights of fancy since I left South Korea. There’s no going back. I’m just a middle aged weirdo at this point.

Even if something were to change my lot in life, it would be nothing more than a recontextualizing of my weirdo life. I would be praised to the extent that successful people are respected for….being successful.

It’s just taken me too long to get to the point where I know who I am and have the wherewithal to do anything about it. In other words, I could save the sweet baby Jesus out of the Hudson River and within 24 hours I would be just another Ken Bone.

My life doesn’t fit the media narrative, for better or worse.

Maybe some of this is me thinking about how the rules of life change as you go older and nobody tells you? It sucks. It really sucks.

But you have to have hope. If you don’t have hope, spring in your step and a mischievous glint in your eye no matter what, then, really, what do you have?