In 1961, the Putnam Publishing Group published what has since been regarded by many as Robert Anson Heinlein‘s masterpiece. And amongst his work, this is saying quite a lot.
The story revolves around a Human who was raised on the planet Mars by colonists who landed on the planet years before the novel’s events take place. The relevant details here are that he is brought back to Earth by a second expedition, and struggles to adapt to Humans and their culture, which the novel depicts as an amplified take on the consumerist, media-driven United States of the twentieth century.
I have read one edition of Stranger In A Strange Land, specifically the 1991 edition which Robert‘s widow, Virginia, proclaimed in one introduction as “the original version of Stranger In A Strange Land, as written by Robert Anson Heinlein“. And every time I read it (I do this every so often for reasons I will not go into at this time), I get to thinking. What would the Man From Mars (a now very common expression in design and psychological circles that partly originates with this novel) think if he saw our world today? And that brings us to the subject of doom metal, also known as the most awesome form of music ever invented by man.
Although doom metal began in 1970 and has waxed and waned in terms of participating artists since then, the massive surge in income inequality and corporations being allowed to sustain themselves on the backs of working peoples’ suffering since the 1980s has made it far more relevant today than it was when first invented.
So I wonder, a lot, what Heinlein‘s Man From Mars would think if he saw corporate-kingdom America, and indeed pretty much the entirety of the English-speaking world. And doom metal as an art form serves perfectly as a partial answer to that question.
One of my favourite songs that metaphorically describes the situation I, and I suspect many on the autistic spectrum, find myself in is Wisdom And The Cage. It is the fourth song on the first disc of the Gothic Kabbalah album, an album that could have easily lost at least a quarter of its running length in idle, filler-level songs. Actually, let us do a count-up of the time represented by songs that make me ponder hitting the fast-forward button. Gothic Kabbalah accounts for 4:33, The Perennial Sophia 4:54. Trul is another 5:11, and Close Up The Streams 3:55. That is eighteen minutes and thirty-three seconds, and we are not even into disc two yet. Three Treasures, Path To Arcady, and TOF – The Trinity account for another fifteen minutes and thirty-two seconds. Then there is Chain Of Minerva, another five minutes and twenty-one seconds. Jesus, it is a good thing most of the rest of the album is so good.
But the thing is, Wisdom And The Cage is a brilliant metaphor for the life of the disenfranchised and disabled in every English-speaking country. If you have not heard it already, go and find it somewhere and have a good, hard listen. Although the song lyrically deals almost entirely in metaphors, if you interpret the song well, it can give you a real insight into how it feels to live without the hope of things you see many taking for granted.
Oh, but how some utter herd conformist retards will try to tell you that Therion are not doom metal due to being too this or that. To paraphrase one of my favourite quotes from Jello Biafra, this rigid, conservative definition of doom metal is a log way from what got me into doom metal in the first place.
Stranger In A Strange Land was published in a time when America still understood that there was some value in caring for the poorest forty percent of a society. The manner in which its antagonist views Human society, even with its exaggerated commercialism, cultism, and bureaucratic nightmares, reflects this. But Robert Heinlein lived for another twenty-seven years after Stranger was published. Long enough to see most of the Reagan reign, and its economic consequences to all classes. Indeed, much of the chaos depicted in I Will Fear No Evil has its roots in Reaganesque politics. An overpopulated Earth where so much of the populace lives in relative poverty that one cannot walk down certain streets without fear of being murdered? Tell me this does not sound unfamiliar to you, please.
Robert Heinlein was quoted as saying a number of things that I either disagree with or historical record shows are flat-out untrue. Let us take for example the byline “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”. This quote may be true on the surface, but it is abused so badly by conservatives nowadays that I believe if Robert could see our world now, he would apologise to the bottom eighty percent of earners for having ever said it. The top one percent of our world is refusing to pay for a lot of what they use. Banking services, police, protection of their wealth, they have decided that they are too good to pay for the actual cost of what they use. And as The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress details a little more in the relevant section, when one person is not paying for what they actually use, someone else has to. When a conservative says “no free lunch” to the middle class, what he really means is “I want you to pay for what I use”.
Hence, I think that if Robert Heinlein did any listening to Black Sabbath or Saint Vitus (the two doom metal bands I know of that emerged during his lifetime), he would be all about them. Contrary to what the conservative shithead brigade would like you to think, Heinlein was all about people not only thinking for themselves, but about people being enabled to think for themselves. And if there is one thing that a society in which people have to spend all their time and resources just to keep themselves alive is known for, it is stagnation. Let us take for example the rock and roll era that oldie baby boomers can never shut the fukk up about. Contrary to what conservatives would like you to believe, the economic policies of that time were actually very liberal compared to eras prior and since. The wealthiest fragment of society was taxed at effective rates ranging from eighty to ninety-one percent. Laws were strictly enforced to restrict how much of one market a company could control.
Irrespective of the basics of a situation, we always have situations where different factions want different things that will benefit them. The problem is that whilst people are very much capable of seeing what will benefit them in the short term, immediate sense, the consequences of an action over time can be very different. A good example of this comes up frequently when my mother and I discuss my problems with skin cancer. When my mother was a child, health authorities were telling people that getting out in the sun and getting burned or tanned was good for one’s skin. This, in spite of the fact that pain is our body’s way of saying “stop this, something is wrong here” and the like to us. This was not what they told us when I was a child, but the problem there was that having things like sunscreen rubbed on your body is not a pleasant experience. When an autistic ten year old boy says “do not touch me with that stuff”, what he really means is “do not touch me with that stuff or I will be cultivating a deep desire to kill you for years”. In a moment, I will explain something about blame, but suffice to say for the time being that the consequences of all these factors is that skin cancer, a disease normally associated with being old enough to remember a world before things that some take for granted were even known to the public at large, visited me in my early twenties.
(We could go on for hours about who is at fault for things like this, but I like to refer to a dialogue that Stephen King wrote in The Stand. During his stay in an army hospital as plague rages around him, Stuart Redman flatly asks one army doctor what in the fukk they have done that all these people are dying left and right from what resembles a very nasty case of the flu. The doctor states, quite rightly, that the blame for this whole incident spreads so far in so many directions that pinning it all on a singular person is futile. So it was in The Stand, and so too is the case in this sad story I have just described.)
The point here is that irrespective of what people think will be of benefit to them now, we cannot foresee all of the consequences of an action. We can make educated guesses, for sure, but nobody living at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, even those who put the Industrial Revolution into commencement, could have foreseen that a side-effect would begin to threaten the future of Humanity’s existence centuries later.
But some have written that if one wants to predict the future, they should take a look at the past. Whilst huge surges in the incidence of skin cancer within a population have very little past as a guide, I can predict with a sense of certainty that as societies like Australia move more toward “everything occurs only in the day” mentality, skin cancer rates will rise.
Robert Heinlein would have found many of the changes both to communications and entertainment that post-date his death fascinating. Given that he kept abreast of a lot of engineering developments throughout his life, I doubt that he was completely unaware of the ARPANET that was discussed as an idea as early as 1962. But the manner in which the Internet exploded into widespread use during the mid-1990s is something his novels clearly demonstrate he believed would not occur until a good deal later. But more than anything, I wonder what Heinlein would have made of the manner in which some folks seem determined to keep us in the past. Although his works often spoke of the sour cruelty at the heart of the Human condition, he also wrote of the manner in which a few could create devices or ideas that changed the lot of their fellows.
I sincerely hope that the person I listened to during one lecture on how everything is going to be on the Internet forever and ever amen reads this. Because what people like you call “democratisation” of the media is anything but. Democracy and populism are two very different things, and just because people are able to pour shit into the “ground” (read: the view of the people) does not mean every bit of shit will grow into a beautiful tree.
In fact, what you call democratic seems to more resemble the drug trade in practical execution. In the drug trade, one or two large bullies control the most basic level of supply (read: the assholes who think those are their pipes). In your “democratised” media, those idiots and assholes who post videos on YouChoob are like the small-timers on the streets who sell whatever small supply amounts they can get their hands on to other folk in their neighbourhood. They take all of the risk, get all of the prosecutions, and all of the orders to pay for whatever wrong society perceives them to be doing. I do not know how much more strongly I can say this: this is not democracy. In order for the Internet to be democratic, there need to be some rules put in place. Number one, the Fairness Doctrine not only needs to be made law, it needs to be expanded. Secondly, laws absolutely must be put into place protecting network neutrality. It is not democracy if an overlord can decide which message gets more priority in transmission according to his sole preference.
Robert Heinlein and doom metal are things that morons like Whitacre would prefer to go away forever. Because they encourage people to ask questions about his stupid belief that he owns basic infrastructure that was paid for by the taxpayers. Of course, those are not the only things he wants to go away for such reasons, but he is a classic example of what your so-called democratised media will result in. Give the asshole enough deregulation and anarchy because you confuse that with democracy, and he will use it to wipe out anything that you desire to hear and he wants to keep from you. And I will say this again: that is not, never has been, and never will be democracy.
Rule of the mob is not, never has been, and never will be, democracy.
Powered by Qumana