Posts Tagged ‘Celebritism’

Le Pen Trumps Plutocracy?

December 14, 2015

At first sight the rage of the likes of the magazine “The Economist” against Trump and Le Pen is strange: after all, The Economist is on the “right”, so are the preceding two. A clue: The Economist put the preceding two in the same bag as Bernie Sanders, under the mysterious label “Populist”… I guess a “populist” is someone for the People by contrast to those who are not (the likes of “The Economist”).

My own mom accused me to be “Front National” just because the French (“far right”, not that it is clear what that means) National Front has adopted certain issues I have long held dear. For example, many countries (and not just in the West) have seen the rise of new aristocracies. ⅔ of the top French companies by market value are held by inheritance, whereas it’s only around 20% in the UK or the USA; the reason emanates directly from the tax system; and the exact same tax forces are now at work in the USA, namely the exemption of the hyper rich from taxation, and inheritance tax, with a artfully crafted loopholes and exemptions. Notice in passing that this is a case where France is more “capitalist” than the USA (contrarily to legend).

Sugar Coated Plutocracy: French Aristocracy Bond Girl & Palme d’Or: Most Of French Power Is Held By Dynasties: Ancien Régime All Over Again

Sugar Coated Plutocracy: French Aristocracy Bond Girl & Palme d’Or: Most Of French Power Is Held By Dynasties: Ancien Régime All Over Again

[“Léa Seydoux“, in the latest Bond movie, above, of her true name, Léa Hélène Seydoux-Fornier de Clausonne, is from an immensely rich and famous family, which has been that way, for many generations. So it is, all over French society: Sons of… and Daughters of… are those who succeed and get into the .1% of everything (singing, acting, administrating, politics, medicine, engineering, etc.). Consider the just published book “Fils de.. Filles de...”]

I guess, by that token, I am pro-Trump as Trump has embraced single payer, or even socialized health care system. In truth I am pro-truth and about issues.

Much of these outrages emanate from a political system which has embraced hero-worship, instead of issue-worship.

Hero-worship, celebritism spurns thinking. Thus a world where 97% of the convicted for serious crimes in the USA do not come in front of a jury, and are judged by non-judges… While Americans are persuaded they live in a country of justice. Or a world where a human right lawyer in China joined Marine Le Pen in being accused of “ethnic hatred” (the difference being that Le Pen is number two in French preference for president whereas the Chinese lawyer has been incarcerated for 18 months).

OK, let’s quote some of the (honorable, supposedly) USA “Republican” pundits. A raging conservative, Guy Benson, bemoans that:

“Republican voters — driven, it would seem, by Trump backers — became astonishingly supportive of (a) maintaining the Iran nuclear deal, (b) government-run and -funded healthcare, and (c) race-based affirmative action when the pollster informed respondents that those positions were held by Donald Trump, as opposed to Barack Obama.  These aren’t hypotheticals, by the way.  Follow those links, and you’ll discover that longtime Democrat Donald Trump has embraced all three liberal stances during his current presidential run. Not back when he was donating generously to Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid over the years (yes, yes, “because he’s a businessman!”), and not even more recently, when Trump was declaring his support for the wasteful “stimulus” package enacted by Obama, whom he declared had rescued the American economy; no, these are viewpoints articulated by the current iteration of Trump.  The punchline is that his supporters don’t care at all.  Trump’s Democrat-style campaign is driven by feelings and identity, not issues.  The HuffPo survey also revealed the same phenomenon at play on the other end of the spectrum, as hordes of Obama cultists reflexively tossed foundational liberal-left ideals overboard after they were told they were agreeing with Trump, versus Obama.  Can we abandon all reason and alleged principles in order to march in lockstep with an anointed political figure, or oppose a bete noir?  Yes we can. The point is that emotion-based hero worship can heavily erode afflicted parties’ previous adherence to values, ideology, and critical thinking.”

Hero-worship, what I call “Celebritism” is an increasing problem, and fully a part of the oligarchic phenomenon, itself a subset of the plutocratic mindset.

The plutocratic phenomenon does not suck out all the air from democracy, but from intelligence itself (the USA’s first billionaire, Carnegie, explained this, 130 years ago). Yet plutocrats should remember this: at some  point great vengeance is exercised (it happened even in the USA, witness president Eisenhower 93% upper margin tax rate). And history indeed shows that, at some point always, the pen trumps plutocracy

Patrice Ayme’

Pantheon Pathos

May 27, 2015

CHOOSE ALL YOUR GODS WELL.

Today, the French government inducted another four resistance fighters to the Pantheon. Good point: they could keep on doing this for a million years. Bad point: Why should most resistance fighters and their descendants would have to wait thousands of years to be recognized as equally worthy?

Worse: this shows that the French republic is (mis)guided, to this day, by (what I call) celebritism and arbitrariness (what makes those four resistance fighters more valuable than others? That they were connected to a general, De Gaulle, one of them by genes)? And even worse: but I better reserve this for the punch line.

Diminishing French President Dwarfed By Pantheon

Diminishing French President Dwarfed By Pantheon

Pan-Theon: All Gods. Choose your gods well, don’t just pick up a few, and make others angry.  Yes, silly and erroneous decisions diminish civilization. Be it indirectly giving weapons to the so-called Islamist State (as Obama worried he would, and then did!), or just pointing at a few, as they were Muhammad, worthy of a discriminatory cult.

Why to worry so much about France, some will sneer? One of my USA friends recently, slightly infuriated as she was (thanks, in no small measure to my finely tuned devilish ways), told me “Nobody cares about France anymore, the place has become so irrelevant. Look at me, I learned French, and my children are learning Spanish.”

Most people do not know why France is so important, but a hint is that France gave birth to both England as we know it, and gave enough of a shove to England in America, to give birth to the USA (something finalized at Yorktown, when the three French commanders, La Fayette, Rochambeau, De Grasse, and the American commander, Washington brought the rendition of the British Army and its German troops). The USA itself, at this point, is just an addendum to Frankish history. That’s not just a slight, but a heavy duty.

The truth, and the French are the first to forget it, is that the Imperium Francorum (“Empire of the Franks”) was the successor state of the Roman Empire, SPQR, the Senātus PopulusQue Rōmānus, or more directly, of the Imperium Romanum (Roman Empire). After four centuries of Frankish recovery (including stopping and reversing the Islamist invasion), the Roman Empire was officially re-launched at Christmas 800 CE, when Charlemagne was crowned by the Pope one and only Roman Emperor in Rome (to Constantinople’s rage).

So all of Western Europe is actually the set of Frankish successor states.

Thus it matters what France is doing today. It was good that the Frankish Franco-German leaders, Hollande (because, as the Franks, is ancestors came from there) and Merkel proposed greater unification for the Eurozone. (Ahead, and because of, Cameron hair brained des-unifying proposals.)

So today, the French government decided to install four resistance fighters to the Pantheon.

Coffins representing the two women and two men — Genevieve de Gaulle-Anthonioz, Germaine Tillion, Pierre Brossolette and Jean Zay — were escorted through Paris streets to be interred Thursday after a sound-and-light show Wednesday night.

The women’s coffins contain only soil from their gravesites: their families didn’t want the bodies exhumed. Maybe they knew, deep down inside, that the ceremony is unfair, and that it is just political exploitation.

Indeed, why not to honor all resistance fighters? And these two women did not die under torture, actually, they did not die at all. Others died under torture from the Gestapo and its minions. At the very least, those who died under torture ought to get to the Pantheon too. The point is that, although these two women resisted, they did not resist to such a degree that they would have been worth of the torture chambers, right away.

Many others were; including British female agents, parachuted in France to conduct sabotage; many were tortured to death by the Nazis. We know this, for example from SS Commander Barbie’s Memoirs. Those girls who parachuted over France knew the risk: to be caught, and tortured to death. But why are they not parachuted, as they deserve, in the Pantheon? And don’t try to tell me they were not French: the moment they parachuted into Nazi occupied France with weapons, they became French, as far as I am concerned.

Hollande apologists will point at rising anti-Judaism (euphemistically, and grotesquely called “anti-Semitism”), and that celebrating resistance to Nazism helps to fight it. Yes, agreed, but my objection stands: why those four, and only those four. Because they were favored? De Gaulle’s niece was carefully not killed, because Heinrich Himmler thought she could be exchanged. She was also from some small French nobility.

So what’s truly celebrated here? Celebritism? At least, in part, and, as far as I am concerned, too much. Celebritism ought to be condemned, it’s something for civilization to leave behind. Celebritism is exactly why we have to choose between Clinton and Bush, as usual. And why Bush’s grandfather was one of Hitler’s most precious collaborators. Celebritism is also why income and wealth inequality has reached much higher level than during the Late Imperium Romanum (which did die, fundamentally, from said inequality… Or, at least, so I claim).

Celebritism supports oligarchy, which supports plutocracy, which supports intellectual fascism, which supports stupidity. Turtles all the way down to hell. Kill celebritism, and, ultimately, you will kill the cult of stupidity. It should not require much brains to realize that being obsessed by those who are famous for being famous is rather hare brained.

The French Republic has a duty to do better, because, historically, it guided civilization. The clowns presently in charge ought to be reminded of their shortcomings. (But, naturally, if too stupid, they can’t understand any of the preceding.)

Patrice Ayme’

Note 1: So far there were only 71 persons in the French Pantheon, including one woman (Ms. Curie; why her Nobel Laureate, and discoverer of nuclear energy, daughter, Irene, is not there is another mystery to me). All the “just”, those who harbored Jews at the risk of their lives, as my grandparents did, are there. So there is a precedent for admitting a CLASS, at the Pantheon.

Note 2: The original Pantheon still stands in Rome. To this day, it’s the tallest free standing (purely) concrete structure in the world. (That’s probably why the Christians did not destroy it: too tough, and no stone to steal to build their Vatican and what not…)

Soloing, & Celebrity Cult

March 16, 2015

We are living in the Internet age, and the plutocratic age. Plutocracy wants celebritism to rule the minds. When people feel, think, and live through celebrities, they are ready to do so through plutocrats.

Plutocrats hence push everywhere for the celebration of the unique act, because unicity is what they extoll.

And no act is more unique, and useful, to plutocrats than those which say life is not important.

My Friend John Bachar Free Soloing, Showing Off. Fell To His Death, Free Soloing

My Friend John Bachar Free Soloing, Showing Off. Fell To His Death, Free Soloing

[I was told, Oct. 2015, that this is actually Dan Osman, see comment; Dan was also, and more than John, living off stunts; he died jumping off Leaning Tower, close to where the pic above was taken, when his rope broke.]

Hence it is no wonder that the New York Times wrote a long article on a solo climber (I have known the author, Dan Duane, a friend, for decades, but, as one will see below, this does not make me blind, or, otherwise said, it’s dangerous to be my friend…I have been pitiless with my friend Barack, trying to set him right about non-battlefield usage of drones, in no uncertain terms…).

In The Heart-Stopping Climbs of Alex Honnold, we read that the master of climbing without ropes spends his life cheating death (By Daniel Duane, March 12, 2015).

“Honnold could afford to buy a decent home, if that interested him. But living in a van — a custom-outfitted van, in his case, with a kitchenette and cabinets full of energy bars and climbing equipment — represents freedom. It also represents a commitment to the nomadic climber’s ideal of the “dirtbag,” the purist so devoted to climbing that he avoids any entanglement that might interfere… When he’s not climbing overseas in places like Patagonia, France or Morocco, he lives an endless road trip through the Southwestern desert, Yosemite Valley, British Columbia and points between. Along the way, he has turned himself into the greatest living free-soloist, meaning that he climbs without ropes, alone.

Unroped climbing is, of course, the oldest kind, but ropes and hardware can provide such a reliable safety net that nearly all climbers now use them. This is typically done in pairs, with one climber tied to each end of the rope…”

What happens then is that, if one climber falls, but the rope has been put around prominences, or through safety equipment that the lead climber may have installed (“nuts” or camming device, or ice screw) or found (bolts or pins), then, hopefully, the rope will not break, and the fall not be so long that death or injury will occur.

Sometimes, everything fail, and both climbers fall to death (although this is rarer on harder rock walls). Sometimes the rope fails, sometimes some pieces fall out, and the tumbling leader is gravely injured and the other climber has to go alone for rescue (something that happened to me).

Dan pursues:

“But using gear slows progress. A roped pair, taking turns climbing and fussing with all that equipment, might spend six hours on a climb that a free-soloist floats up in 30 minutes — focusing purely on the pleasure of movement, the tactile sensation of hands on rock. Free-soloing also carries the mystique of self-reliance in the face of extreme risk: On cliffs where even elite climbers employ complicated rope systems, the free-soloist wears only shorts, a T-shirt, a pair of climbing shoes and a bag of gymnast’s chalk to keep the hands dry. Honnold has free-soloed the longest, most challenging climbs ever, including the 2,500-foot northwest face of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley, where some of the handholds are so small that no average climber could cling for an instant, roped or otherwise. Most peculiar of all, even to elite rock climbers, Honnold does this without apparent fear, as if falling were not possible.” “Peculiar” is the word. Some people have defects in their agmydala. Or they just have no culture: the most famous soloists died, soloing.

I sent the following comment:

***

If everybody tried to live like him, nobody would.

That’s the problem.

It’s not a morality, it’s a lethality.

I have climbed my entire life. Much more years that the gentleman. However, there were many close calls. Some from avalanches, including rock avalanches. My closest friends died in the mountain. They were top professionals of climbing, having achieved the highest guiding status in existence. Higher than Mr. Honnold. And one of them soloed at a higher level (he died from an avalanche).

This last friend, Damien Charignon, kept most of his 5-13+ soloing secret. Not to worry his family. And he knew it was amoral. So he did not do it much. I tried to discourage him as much as I could. Because soloing is amoral.

All serious mountaineers have to solo at one point or another. Soloing is not really a choice.

But it should stay an exception. Flaunting it will just bring more death. I have on sighted, roped, including in Yosemite, pitches where famous soloists fell off. And I did not fall (although I was much less of a climber than them).

So what to say? Those with a moral soul will not flaunt soloing. Doing so leads other young, impressionable people to try it, and they would surely die. This has happened many times in the past.

A devil may care attitude is not exactly something to encourage for humanity at large nowadays. There is already much too much of it… Under the sponsoring of corporations determined to instill in all the feeling of playing around with life.

Another example: a French “reality show” called, appropriately enough, “Dropped”.

Ten people died, most of them French, including three celebrities, last week in Argentina, when their helicopters collided.

Some will whine that I am unfair.

Not so. The Argentinian pilots were experienced, the French crafts brand new. The cause of death was clear: even experienced pilots are not trained for formation flying, something very special, and that the military trains for specially. Especially with helicopters, which can rob, each other air, so to speak. “Reality TV” shows love formation flying, and they don’t worry so much human life: celebritism is more important.

Patrice Ayme’

Fascism As Esthetics: Celebritism

June 25, 2014

CELEBRITIES ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM TO BE

Apparently bitten by the critique that he spends his time pleasing the enemy, Paul Krugman, insists that he is no crude man. In an apparently unrelated situation, hedge fund billionaire Milner a Multiverse fanatic, has attributed his enormous three million dollar prize in mathematics and biology.

What’s the connection? Celebritism. Krugman is afraid to contradict celebrities, Milner is anxious to spread celebritism to (some) top scientists. Celebritism is the sugar around the bitter pill of oligarchism.

Spain's Motto [Alcatraz]. Want Progress? Plus Oultre!

Spain’s Motto [Alcatraz].
Want Progress? Plus Oultre!

Krugman: Jared Bernstein agonizes over the role of wonkish analysis (which spell-check keeps trying to change to “monkish”) in a political environment in which “facts and smart policy are on the run.” It’s something I worry about too.

On one side, if wonks don’t point out what we really should be doing, who will?…

On the other hand, if wonks only propose things that won’t happen, what good are they?”

It seems that Krugman does not understand that, where there is a will, there is a way. Reciprocally, if there is no will, there is no way. To propose strategies that could, and ought, be willed, eschews him.

Indeed  the case for real progress has to be made stridently, and repeatedly. Indeed Obamacare is much better than a hard vacuum, but now it’s the law, so really drastic progress ought to be proposed instead of crowing constantly about how good Obamacare is. If I want to hear crows, I go on a walk. Even Obama wants people such as Krugman to push for the right ideas.

Whereas “politics is the teaching of the possible” (Die Politik ist die Lehre vom Möglichen; Otto Von Bismarck, author of Universal Health Care in the Kaiserreich, 1883 CE), the art of the critic ought to be to present strongly what ought to be willed. Critics are not in charge of sausage making… (See Note on the “art of the next best“.)

By just presenting to the masses what is OK with the Tea Party, one becomes Tea Party. When the democrats were in total control in the first few weeks of Obama’s first ascent, they made constantly the Tea Party case, showing their true nature (somewhat on the right of Hank Paulson, who had to go on his knees just a few weeks earlier to persuade Nancy the Plutocrat Pelosi to save the economic system!)

Where there is no belligerence, there is no esperance. Wonks conk, monks honk.

Says Columbia U. mathematical physicist Peter Woit, from “Not Even Wrong”:

“The first set of winners of the $3 million Milner/Zuckerberg financed Breakthrough Prizes in mathematics was announced today: it’s Donaldson, Kontsevich, Lurie, Tao and Taylor. There’s a good New York Times story here.

When these prizes were first announced last year, I was concerned that they would share a problem of Milner’s Fundamental Physics Prizes… One oddity is the award to Kontsevich, who already received $3 million from the Fundamental Physics prize. Given my interests, I suppose I shouldn’t criticize a prize structure where physicists get $3 million, mathematicians $3 million, and mathematical physicists $6 million.

While this prize doesn’t suffer from the basic problem of the Physics prize (that of rewarding a single, narrow, unsuccessful idea about physics), it’s still debatable whether this is a good way to encourage mathematics research. The people chosen are already among the most highly rewarded in the subject, with all of them having very well-paid positions with few responsibilities beyond their research, as well as access to funding of research expenses. The argument for the prize is mainly that these sums of money will help make great mathematicians celebrities, and encourage the young to want to be like them…”

My comment (immediately published by Woit, whereas the New York Times sat on my Krugman comment for hours, since I am on the censorship list):

Milner is a celebrity. And a financial manipulator who became immensely wealthy with what Roosevelt and the Bible called contemptuously “money changing”. He profited immensely of a system, plutocracy, that is mostly about oligarchy pushed so far, that even the character of those “leaders” become diabolical.

It’s diabolical to make us believe that mathematics will progress more by giving more power to those who have more than enough to do good math.

Overall, science and mathematics do not have enough practitioners. A striking example is antibiotic research where a small effort needs to be done to find new antibiotics. To have a few individuals who are much richer will have no positive effect whatsoever. This is certainly true in math and physics.

In biology, immense greed has clearly undermined research (individuals have made up to half a billion dollar a year in that field, but one cannot find the comparatively modest finance for new antibiotics research). Making a few persons very rich promotes greed.

So why is Milner doing this? Maybe it’s subconscious. The oligarchic principle is that humanity is unworthy, but for a few celebrities who never get enough. This is what Milner is truly rewarding. His reason for being what he is. Someone obsessed by individual power.

Want to help science and math? Finance studies on how to persuade governments to finance enough advanced public free instruction in science and math, starting in preschool. Through heavy taxation of the richest celebrities, starting with Milner and his kind.

The very fact that Milner and his ilk have so much money to spend on celebrities demonstrate that they are not taxed enough. (The same goes for private jumbo jets a la Google founders.)

Celebritism makes people obsess about one not themselves. It’s deeply immoral: if our ancestors had obsessed about other people that they never met, they would have been eaten by lions pretty soon. But we are here, so they were not like that.

“Moral”, the “mores” means what is always “more”, what persists, what allows to persist. The celebrity cult, just as watching obsessively sports, or dance, on TV, is a deep offense against self-reliance. Such anti-evolutionary behaviors ought to be discontinued.

Part of the fundamental concept of fascism, is to make one, out of the many. This is great in combat, yet devastating for the collective mind. Celebritism is a pernicious way to make people obsessively love the reduction of the many to the one. Thus, it’s immoral.

Down with the prizes! Long live Gregory Perelman. Perelman solved several conjectures, including the Thurston and Poincaré), but adamantly refused the Fields Medal and the Clay Prize (one million dollars). Perelman had strong moral objections to the hierarchy in mathematics. So do I. So does Alexandre Grothendieck. Milner’s clumsy intrusion makes a bad situation worse. And Krugman’s meek bleating for the status quo ante to defend that ugly concept, pragmatism, does not behoove true intellectuals.

Plus Oultre!

Patrice Aymé

Note on the “art of the next best“: Krugman made a whole noise about the fact that his choice, and that there is a whole body of economics about that. The problem is that this is NOT principled. This is the art of the “corsaire”. “Corsaire”? Yes, corsaire, in French. What Krugman does not tell you, probably because he does not even know, is that this whole body of thinking (including “corsaire”, in French), comes very explicitly from Otto Von Bismarck. In other words, this mode of thinking, unprincipled, led to catastrophe. Bismarck, a polyglot, invented the “art of the next best“. Without knowing it, Krugman thinks like a Prussian imperialist.