Charlie's Blog: SOC 21


SOC 21

Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.

It is a Saturday night around 9 o'clock as I begin this. It might be next Saturday before I finish it. Writing an SOC post is like smoking a cigar. A relit cigar is no good. In the same way, an SOC that you have left and returned to is never as good as one written in a single sitting. But these days, I have to take what I can get. The extended writing binge ended a long time ago. I write in chunks of time here and there.

I have a backlog of things in my brain, so it feels good to get some of it downloaded to the page. A thought that I return to again and again in both my writing and thoughts concerns the input of culture. This comes from all of the news about fake news. Once upon a time, cultured and intelligent people read the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and The Atlantic. Now, I see those rags as essentially anti-culture. It's like how people knew that an art film was actually just a pornographic movie with subtitles. In the case of these rags, they are left wing propaganda and cultural Marxism masquerading as being intelligent writing. Consequently, I no longer read them.

What has been the long term consequence of eschewing this left wing media in favor of conservative blogs and talk radio? I am actually better informed. A certain family member calls to drop some bomb on us that he saw in the Times except we've already read about it and discussed it at the C-household days before. And his facts are almost always wrong. The fact is that the Times is a day late and can't get it straight. Why is this?

I think it takes longer to create and spin the news than to report it. Conservatives report the facts, and they don't need to spin the facts because they are what they are. They don't have to formulate a response to an event because conservatives remain the same. This comes from having a stable body of beliefs. So, a cop shoots a black perpetrator. Those are the facts. The left wing media has to go the extra mile to show that the cop was racist, the police department is racist, and hide the fact that the guy had an arrest warrant and fully loaded handgun pointed at the officer. Or, when it is something like the Tennessee church shooter, they don't bother reporting it at all because the guy was black, the victims were white, and he was stopped by a gun owner.

Conservative media get it right. I follow a lot of sources for conservative news, and they don't always agree. You can count on Mark Levin and Michael Savage not getting along. You can bet that the American Conservative will have a different take than National Review or Breitbart. Conservative media is not monolithic in its presentation. But I think it is more reliable. This is because conservatives believe in truth while progressives are liars. It is their nature to lie because they are the offspring of Saul Alinsky and Satan.

I have struggled to answer the question. Should you expose yourself willingly to contrary viewpoints? I am someone who went to college, so it was drilled into me at the time to be able to consider other points of view. But, in hindsight, I see this was merely a way for my left wing professors to get their foot in their door. Since then, they have evicted the residents of the home and have locked down every campus in the USA in a deathgrip of leftist propaganda, political correctness, and intolerance for Christian and conservative viewpoints. They obviously don't practice what they preach nor do they even preach it anymore. It was useful for a time until it could be discarded.

The simple fact is that our universities would be in much better shape today had they not been so open minded yesterday. Likewise, most of the conservative viewpoints I acquired way back then are still the viewpoints I possess today. I got knocked off track in my thirties by atheism and libertarianism, but I found my way back. Now that I am looking at 50, do I really expect to change my mind again?

Chesterton was right when he said that the point of having an open mind was so that you could ultimately close it on to something solid. For me, the solid things are Catholicism, conservatism, and free market capitalism. If I live to be 100, I am very certain that I will still believe in those things.

When I move beyond the realms of religion, politics, and economics, things get a bit harder. Right now, I am listening to some Bach suites played on the lute. It is simply beautiful music that elevates my soul and mind. This comes after listening to some U2 concert performances that did not elevate my soul and mind. They just rocked. I am always tempted by rock music but leave feeling dissatisfied while I have to discipline myself to listen to classical music which always delivers.

I do not believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is reinforced by my Catholicism and conservatism that rejects the relativism of progressive ideology. Rock music is inherently a progressive musical form which means that it is inherently inferior.

I recently read an article that despite the Anthony Hopkins characterization in Silence of the Lambs, sociopaths do not actually enjoy classical music. They like rap music by a wide margin. This is not surprising to me. This isn't to say that everyone who listens to rap is a sociopath. But clearly high culture and sociopathy don't go well together.

There is a reason Hannibal Lecter is depicted as such a cultured individual enjoying fine wine, music, and art. Part of it is just the creative effect of the juxtaposition of being a cultured killer. It is intriguing in fiction, but it just doesn't exist in fact. The other reason is that it is adig against Western culture and civilization. Western Civ is depicted as bloodthirsty, oppressive, and barbaric by progressives, so it plays well to this crowd to equate Western culture with madness and murder. The reality is that the Marxists are the ones with the debased cultures and high bodycounts.

On a personal level, I wonder if I should eschew debased culture in the same way that I now eschew the mainstream media with their fake news and propaganda. I am definitely at the halfway point in listening to both classical and popular music, but I think I am ready to scrape off the garbage for good.

What you bring into your mind affects who you are. Pornography is the most potent example of this. But why stop at pornography? Bad music has a similar effect on mood and intelligence. Rap music turns its listeners into thugs. Electronica turns its listeners into Ecstasy fueled ravers. Progressive rock turns its listeners into nerds. We can go on and on.

I have felt the urge to make this change for some years now. I know good things will come of it in much the same way that good things have come from my turn to veganism. What I am rejecting is cultural indifferentism. Once you embrace the truth that beauty is not relative, you owe it to yourself to reject the indifferentism that comes from relativity. That hip hop music blaring from the car stereo really is bad. You're not imagining that disgust. That noise really is disgusting.

It is Sunday morning one week later. Like I said, these things don't get written in one sitting. I can't sleep because my hay fever is giving me the hacks. Fall is the worst time of year because the ragweed decides to procreate polluting my air.

When I come back to a post, I read what I've written and pick up the dropped baton. The problem is that sometimes I read over the half-written post and find that my thinking has changed. With this one, my thinking has not changed. I was watching Bill Maher bash on Trump in a video on Breitbart which is the only time I get exposure to Marxist media. I couldn't finish listening to his monologue as he called "thoughts and prayers" the Republican way of saying "tough shit." The guy is utterly repugnant.

Bill Maher is what I was as an atheist. Once upon a time, Maher was a libertarian, but he has degraded into a full blown progressive. He should have been fired over that N-word thing, but progressives get away with things that no conservative would ever do. The Left is without morality or consistency.

On a sidenote, I don't do "thoughts and prayers." I just do prayers. "Thoughts and prayers" is just some political correctness so as not to offend unbelievers. Prayer really does work. I have seen some amazing things that show that God is not a genie in a bottle, but He does act. God hears your prayers.

People need to pray. My descent into atheism came from my failure to pray. I stopped talking to God. I couldn't understand, but I understand now. But I had cut my lifeline thinking I was tied to a sinking ship. The reality was that God was cutting me free from an anchor of Calvinist and Protestant heresy. When I came to the surface, I didn't wait for the ship but went swimming in the wrong direction. Had I continued praying, I would have been saved then and there. But I had to spend a night treading water in the ocean of atheism.

The problem that I have today is a bad habit of not praying. I strive to follow the norms of Opus Dei, but I am not consistent with them. As such, I am always frustrated. I think my frustrations are tied directly to my laxity in prayer. I believe that if I prayed more then more would happen.

It is Monday morning now. It is Columbus Day. I am a Knight of Columbus, and I am totally in support of this holiday. I think the native peoples of the Americas were murdering savages, and Columbus would never have come here had it not been for the murdering savages of Islam that made an eastern passage to the Orient impossible. Columbus brought civilization and Christianity to our hemisphere. God bless him.

I watch this vegan guy on YouTube who I don't recommend to readers because he is so foul, but I enjoyed this vid with him talking about the whiny YouTubers being beaten down in the Adpocalypse. The Adpocalypse deals with the demonetization of YouTube videos by the YouTube brass. Some people claim it is political or whatnot. The reality is that videos of many varieties do little to nothing for advertisers. Basically, YouTube was a bubble, but it was a very lucrative bubble for awhile for YouTube content creators who were able to make enough money to quit their real jobs. Now, the bubble has popped, and those same creators have turned to "ebegging" in an effort to get people to support them in their low work lifestyles. Basically, you make a contribution to Patreon for your favorite YouTubers. I can tell you now that I am never going to do that.

FITSNews is another site that I follow for local news here in SC that has now turned to a subscription model. You get so many free articles then you have to pay to see more. Basically, it is a paywall like the New York Times has. Do paywalls work. Generally, the answer is no. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times have some success with paywalls, but I think this comes from legacy subscribers who are/were already paying for the print version of their publications. Those models become less and less lucrative by the day. For everyone else, paywalls are a disaster.

There is no money in online content creation. A guy like Matt Drudge has a high traffic site. In fact, his site is one of the most successful on the internet worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year in revenue. BTW, I have never clicked on an ad for the Drudge Report. But Drudge's success comes from the fact that he has no overhead. He doesn't produce content so much as link to content. Of course, those content creators probably appreciate the avalanche of readers that a Drudge link produces. Others probably resent that a guy who does nothing to produce this content can make money off of the labor of others.

The Drudge model is nothing new. People think it is new, but it isn't. Drudge is doing what publishers and record companies and magazine editors have done for decades. All of these outlets merely took the talent and creativity of others and made money from it by distributing the content to a wider audience. The New York Times has the same model as Drudge except they have to pay for all that reporting. Drudge does not.

How did Drudge get to this point? Basically, he was there first. He started a webpage in the nineties and kept plugging away at it. He built a readership over a long time, and there you have it. By the same token, it could vanish overnight if websites decided to erect paywalls and cut off his deep linking. And his cash comes from advertising. No one would ever pay to subscribe to the Drudge Report.

You figure others might try and copy Drudge, but they don't. This is because his success is a unique thing. There is no formula for what he does. There is also the fact that Drudge caught a lucky break at the beginning of his career as he was the first website to go after the Monica Lewinsky story.

I spend a lot of time pondering what I call "internet economics." The conclusion that I draw from all this pondering is that the cyberworld is not much different from the real world. For instance, I see Amazon as being the same thing as Sears, Roebuck, and Co. from an earlier era with their mail order catalogues. the only real difference is that Amazon puts its catalogue online, but it is essentially the same business model. Netflix is HBO for our times except you get to watch your movies and shows on your time. The cyberworld seems different, but that difference is not massive but slight.

The real asset on the internet is attention. You have to have an ability to draw eyeballs. I don't know how to pull off the trick. The second trick is to monetize that attention. There are three ways this is done. The first is direct payment such as a subscription. The second is advertising. The third is to sell your own products and services. Of those three, the subscription thing is the one that will certainly fail. This leaves advertising and selling your own stuff.

I don't know how to pull off making the internet a successful thing. I can't even get readers for my blog. Maybe I will figure it out one day and win the internet lottery and get rich. But I wouldn't bet on it.