The best and the worst

newyear.png

Shit, I forgot to add “2016”. But I think anyone looking at this image will know what year it’s referring to…

Happy new year everyone. Wasn’t this one a stinker? 2017 better shape up its game or we’re gonna write in to complain (hey, that rhymes)! Let’s look at the things that happened this year. Let’s look at them now.

Bad

Late favorite of the Masons of Truth, Leonard Cohen, wrote at one time that the United States is the cradle of the best and the worst. That seems to be the theme of this year. America, the only country built solely on an idea that all men are born equal, is the country that elected as its president a person who constantly proves there are no lower limits to ignorance.

Donald Trump

The man who proved you can always achieve your dreams. It does not matter how badly qualified you are for an office; how deep your ignorance is or how much of a silver spoon you were born sucking on like a Danish gigolo’s swollen, veiny cock. All you have to do is drop some populist buzzwords and phone in every occasion when you’re questioned on past behaviour or future policies, and you can literally become the most powerful orange man alive!

The infinite number dealbreakers Donald Trump has made

Donald Trump is now president-elect of the United States of America, forever tainting its legacy. But this is what is going to happen. So, lest we forget, there were a couple of show stoppers: You can read about them in astonishing detail right here on the site here and here and of course on the whole world wide web (type “Donald Trump lies”) or just go here for the short version.

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir has accomplished so much this year: tipped the scale in the US election, bombed a city in Syria to oblivion, maintained a covert war in the Ukraine, maintained his annexation of Crimea, filled the Baltic sea with nuclear weapons, became something of an icon in neonazi circuits – all the while the Russian economy collapses and the motherland’s life expectancy plummets. Yeah, that is correct. If you’re born in Russia today you can expect to become poorer and live shorter than earlier generations.  It is nothing short of spectacular to drive the development of your country backwards while maintaining that jolly deathness look of all his appearances. It is also spectacular that president-elect orange pudding still believes this is the appropriate model for governing. Russia is a de-facto dictatorship.

Brexit

Being an organization of a certain progressive bent (but we would rather say truth-oriented. Because we’re not really progressives: here among the Masons, opinions change when the facts change) we’re not particularly found of a lot of what the EU has proposed over the years. As such, it’s not really the question of exiting the EU as it is currently formed that’s the issue. The issue is that the exit was made on a false narrative. All the stuff the Exit-side said was concrete, shallow, interesting and completely false (the NHS, the immigrants, reversal of globalization, Turks, Muslims etc) and what the Remain side pointed towards were big hard-to-grasp ideas and concepts the regular Englishman couldn’t necessarily take into account. And all this was supposed to be summed up in a referendum simply stated as Yes/No. Like all fuckers in Great Britain would be able to make the political and economical calculations for that to even out. It was really the day the British people where fooled by their leaders and tricked into voting for a course which will not benefit them. Because of this Britain will be isolated culturally and politically for the benefit of being less healthy and financially poorer. Sense a pattern here? Best summed up by my favorite idiot: “I’m shocked that we voted for Leave, I didn’t think that was going to happen. I didn’t think my vote was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to remain.” Elections matter and it’s rarely the team cheering for Vladimir Putin who will champion your cause.

The Democratic National Congress

Electing Hillary Clinton did not seem like the world’s worst decision at the time. Until supposedly safe states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania betrayed her worse than a humble Danish gigolo being forced by his connected handler to receive head from an infant Donald Trump and not getting a tip. (We would like to formally apologize for that analogy.) At that point it seemed like it would’ve been a better idea to have a little more debating and a few more interesting candidates. This surreal think-thank has no clear favorite for next election phase (even though the ever-young Bernie Sanders or California’s Gavin Newsom look like two solid candidates). As such, it would be terrible to make the same mistake and not let a strong interesting collection of people debate substantive issues and finally let the one with the most rational, provable ideas win. But firstly, let’s focus on containing the orange blob’s influence so that he might be kept from destroying the world.

Artificial Intelligence

Mankind has not started an enlightened path towards the future before an arms race of AI is started. We’re only in the beginning of this. But believe me, it will change everything. The problem? Yeah, no one knows the endgame, no one seems to care, and yeah, that’s most likely the end of humanity. Yes. There will be lots of questions along the rise of AI which no one is addressing. And for what? “Cognitive data” thinking up dresses, choosing the most pleasing news stories, the perfect hit song and the “perfect gift?” – what the fuck is that all about? Isn’t that shit supposed reflect experiences so we all get richer from the experience!?!? Call me old fashioned. But I’m not convinced.

(Editor’s note: that screed above is the opinion of one of our writers which is not shared by all at this blog, especially us from Doomtown. It’s only going to be the end of humanity if we choose to make it so, and the steps to avoid it are actually not that complicated: it’s all about the jobs, stupids. The robotization of the workforce could easily be the first step toward dystopia if we don’t take measures right now to put society on the path toward rational, altruist policies regarding the ever increasing have-nots. Do we want a society where the less moneyed simply die out, and all the Trumps of the world rule over an army of robotic slaves who do their bidding, which is what the current system of placing ownership as the only true moral good is pointing towards… or do we want something better, where machines are owned collectively (or at least highly taxed) and enrich the lives of all? According to Dr. Adamson, that is also how we will keep the robots from going terminator: by instilling rational altruism from the ground up. It can be done; we can collectively afford it… but giving away our power to demagogues at every turn is admittedly not a very good first step.)

David Bowie dies

One of the biggest inspirations behind this music, your favorite singer and one of the sexiest fuckers in the world dies. This is not good, in fact it is an example of something that is bad.

Many, many miscellaneous celebrities die

While it is always sad when people we admire die, we cannot discuss all these people in detail – indeed, this has been discussed so much during the year that it can almost be said to divert attention from more pressing concerns. But RIP in peace everyone, as they say.

Anti-intellectualism returns

Anti-intellectualism – the notion that people who are trained to look into subjects closely, make fact-based judgments on them and present those judgments publicly are not needed (compare the Brexit thesis that “Britain has had enough of experts”) – makes a big comeback on the political stage. As somewhat nerd-leaning people who believe clarity and science need to be centered in the global public discourse, we are very worried about this to say the least. If we as a species decide to dispense with facts and go forth into another bunch of Dark Ages of religion, pseudoscience and demagougery, we really might be on the precipice of a major paradigm change. And that is a genuinely frightening thought.


Good

As it turns out, not all in the good year of our lord – 2016 – was an absolute catastrophe. After some research we managed to find a couple of good things that happened as well.

Austrian presidential election and Colombian peace treaty

After a year of filled with folks voting against their best interest in some bizarro quest trying to say to those know-it-all experts “we’ve had enough!”, the Austrian presidential election and the Colombian peace treaty were a couple of nice breaks from all of this. The Austrians – alp Germans – voted for a Green president over a right-wing fear monger. After some afterthought some Colombians came to their senses and voted to end a 50 year long fairly pointless civil war. Both two small encouraging examples showing there’s still hope for a sane world.

The Signing of the Paris Agreement

On April 22nd, the countries of the world agreed to set humanity on a path towards survival by signing the Paris Agreement for limiting the average temperature rise of the planet to 2 degrees Celsius.

The planet will still be here, even with higher temperatures. But it’s not certain that it can sustain human life in the same way as it has. The Earth is the only place Humans know how to live. Everything we know that has ever happened, has happened here. Everyone you know lives here, everyone you know that has ever lived, has lived and died here. Let’s make sure that continues.

Gravitational Waves

One more – and this time critical – piece of the puzzle of the universe. Science, it’s just like religion, but real. Understanding the universe is fundamentally asking the same questions like about Jesus and God and the Camels and the Wisemen. It’s just that the answers will be our best understanding of what the cosmos actually consists of and how it really functions. Who knows, we might soon find a parallel universe. Perhaps Jesus lives there?

Proxima B

Earth like planet!! Need to discover interstellar travel so we can go and visit. It would be very nice to rally mankind around a common spectacular goal. This could be it. No it couldn’t, but to go to Mars would be pretty badass too.

On a sunnier note, this type of endeavour could be the type of unifying cause humanity needs to meet on common ground beyond politics and nations and ethnicity. Science knows no such silly boundaries and directional investment in interstellar travel could be the cure for the petty infighting most often called war, conflict, and poverty. Society is a social construct and the wealth of a society is largely dependent on the technology it rests on and how it distribute it. One step towards greater wealth in society is understanding the goal is not inequality and differences between and within nations. It’s between humanity and understanding the cosmos.

Theranos

Theranos collapsed in an Apple flavored Enron inspired gigantic goddamn fake. This should really be a bad thing. But companies are, like societies, social constructs. Theranos didn’t have any technology. They had a charismatic founder and no one (apparently) thought of truly checking out the underlying technology.  In a way I love it when these sort of things happen. They remind me no one is in control and we should humbly approach life’s challenges together and strive for the common good.

atcn return to the scene

January – atcn starts this blog, which has since dealt with eclectic topics ranging from typical music writing, to trying to influence American politics, to launching a new genre of music, to asking fellows what they think about things, to inviting people to the glamorous and metaphysical doings of the people of Doomtown… And please bear in mind that all this is in addition to our main focus of creating wondrous alternative rock.

Some great music was released

Some of our favorites: David Bowie – Blackstar, Leonard Cohen – You Want it Darker, Kvelertak – Nattesferd, Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree, Frida Hyvönen – Kvinnor å Barn, Radiohead – Moonshaped pool, Kent – Då som Nu för Alltid, a truth called nothing – The Orange Orangutan’s Revenge, Yello – Toy, Lambchop – Flotus

Some films that came out were pretty good I guess

I guess you can find some!?

And finally…

Regardless of all the things listed under “Bad” (and in spite of the page image), we of atcn, the Masons and all the staff here at the BOF headquarters remain resolutely optimistic. Never have more people had access to more technology, information, art or communication. The fact is that never before have more people been healthier and wealthier. While there are terrible problems in many parts of the world, overall most measurable factors still point up. Maybe the neo-fascists will change that, we’ll see. In the meantime, we will continue to work at presenting true forward-thinking (progressive in the real sense of the word, not political posturing) art and articles. We will keep communicating, sending and receiving; writing and yelling and singing about science and gods, old cities by old lakes, politics and religion, nihilism and assisted suicide and homosexuality and China, the true nature of fishing; here in our impossible little corner of the sphere that is society. We ask you to do the same. Happy new year.

Signed,

Adam, Sam, Ray, Johannes, Conrad, Nils, Caspar, Li, Melchior, Wei, Balthazar, Snezana, and all of us here at the BOF. 

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