Vote Even if it Breaks Your Heart

Today I’m casting my primary vote for the ONLY progressive candidate in 2020 #Bernie2020. I know, at this point it’s just to boost delegate count and it won’t make much of a difference.

When I found out, back in March, that my donating, phonebanking, and other activities didn’t mean anything next to a few well placed phone calls by a certain ex president, I was distraught, heartbroken. The constant whine of #VoteBlueNoMatterWho #RidinWithBiden people since then…

“Biden wasn’t my first or even my fifth choice, but I will Crawl Over Glass to #VoteBlue “

“2020 is too important”

“We can’t let tRump win”

These are the same people who oohed and ahhed at the prospect of a Michael Bloomberg as the nominee:

“wowee, he could crush Trump, he’s a REAL billionaire”

“Look, he’s hiring microinfluencers to do ads for him, neato”

Turning the most vile aspects of that person into virtues. He’s rich, that means he worked hard right?

As an aside, his little “microinfluencers” move, such an obvious bullshit move, if it worked, he’d basically be doing an Uber on campaign advertising. Making all those influencers into contract employees and underpaying them for their work.

But enough about Bloomberg, everyone forgot about how they bigupped him five minutes after he was over, after he’d done what he needed to do, help fuck over Bernie.

Yang was entertaining at least, but a closer look at his policies showed that he was a libertarian techbro in a progressive ballcap. Yang deadenders are especially sad now, going as far as promoting Bret Weinstein’s incredibly lame and obvious astroturf #Unity2020

Worst, by far, were #Warren ppl:

Constant twoface positioning, “oh, I’m with Bernie”/”Bernie is going too far”

The misogyny allegations, got so much more attention from Liz Lads and Liz Lasses than anything Tara Reade said, 1000s of times more substantial tho her claims were.

Body language experts, how many houses, what’d he say about Castro, essays from 50 years ago, RussiaRussiaRussia, and then, when we started getting primary results, it was clear and obvious:

No one was voting for her. All the bluster and selfies and doggos couldn’t hide the fact.

But she hung in there long enough to seal the deal on Super Tuesday, tipping the scales just enough to hand Biden at least two states and maybe more. And the gullible Warren ppl were all “she doesn’t owe you anything,”

Now these same clowns all think they know what they’re talking about b/c Rachel Maddow or the PodJohns told them something about how Biden’s the most progressive, and it’s just like, do u know how full of shit you are, or do you actually believe this???

Jo or Joe? My Response

My thing about voting is, everybody should do it, I’m very much in favor of voting every single time you have the chance, but be prepared for disappointment. I really like the saying, “Try again, fail again, fail better.” Voter apathy is this self-perpetuating thing where people don’t think voting does anything and low voter turnout makes sure of it, and that spiral continues.

Voting is just one political act. This last year, I donated, I phonebanked, I drove to Queens for a rally, etc. I did all that stuff because I was convinced that Bernie Sanders should be the next President. Now it looks like that was all for naught, and for a while I felt really shitty about it. I still feel shitty, but I used to, too. It sucks getting owned. After doing more reading and learning about the way political movements go, I get the idea: most of the time you’re going to take the L. Try again, fail again, fail better. I made a few friends along the way, I’ll take that as a win.

I’m voting in CT, which is a pretty reliable Democrat state, so it’s not like my one vote’s going to mean a lot, at least for POTUS. I’ll probably vote for Party for Socialism and Liberation – PSL candidate Gloria La Riva. I like the Jorgensen campaign’s Q and A section, the ability to say yes or no directly is admirable. But so many of her answers are completely opposite my political goals. So, gun to my head, Jo or Joe, it’s probably Biden (I’m going to throw up now).

But let’s not forget, we’re heading into an election that a hell of a lot of people have already decided is going to be illegitimate. What’s going to happen November 4th and beyond? It’s probably going to suck, but we should be kind to each other.

Bernie Leads Among Military Donors

This kind of thing makes my heart happy. In the Navy, it felt like the culture was permeated with conservative framing. Military uses a lot of reactionary rhetoric to inspire people: appeals to tradition, fighting a savage enemy, conformity with the in group. Conformity is a massive part of it, teaching people to read the uniforms of others for rank markings and awards, so you know how to address them. Lots of time spent learning how to stand in rows and march and render a salute. This does something to your values, I think. You find out that you gain respect and status in the group if you can do conformity better than your peers. This conditioning is powerful and it exerts influence in any group of military members.

However, this stat would suggest that those military members do not hold the values of the dominant workplace culture. It suggests that there are a lot of people who don’t agree with that bullshit.

Once, in a meeting, a senior leader mentioned what he thought was the Big Problem, at least in our command: people not opening up to the leadership about personal issues. A true leader is someone that you can go to, and few had that kind of trust for their leaders. The idea that someone under your care feels that they cannot go to you for help, that should be very troubling for any leader. Part of that fear is fueled by this culture stuff.

The quiet person in your division? The one that doesn’t join the conversation about which movie star has the best tits, or the person that doesn’t laugh at your five millionth rendition of The Only Joke About Trans People; they’re not talking to you in words, but in donation dollars. #NotMeUs

Citizen Kane: Fictional Biopic Masterpiece


Citizen Kane is a movie that I’ve heard about for many years. It left an impact in the pop culture consciousness that resonated down the decades. Watching the film, I can see the influential nature of its story of great success accompanied by a tragic flaw leading to gradual ruin. One of the ways I measure the importance of an earlier work is how much it has been referenced or parodied in later works.



The Film

The first shot of the film, a series of fences, can be seen as symbolizing the extreme privateness of Kane; the ominous gate representing the emotional gate that none ever breached, as we discover. The lighting was especially notable, as use of contrast. The shot of the table with Thatcher’s diary was especially beautiful. The film makes use of a “grainy film” effect during the newsreel at the beginning to show public events from Kane’s past. I found this technique very interesting, since I had long assumed it was used much later.


The film starts at the end, deflating the drama of Kane’s death. Instead, Welles uses that as the jumping off point for the real dramatic story, the quest to understand the great man. The meeting of the journalists after the newsreel and the scene at the end when they meet again and declare defeat serve as bookends to the apparent story of the film. The other story being told is of the rise and fall of a media titan that mirrors William Randolph Hearst.

We see Kane having no interest in any of his holdings save the newspaper. His motivation for the newspaper over other things seems to be that as a newspaperman, he can communicate to the masses. In doing so, he finds he has the ability to capture the attention of people everywhere and mold public opinion. He also finds that he can use this influence to wreck his enemies. There is a relevant quote from the documentary where Hearst explained why he didn’t go into the movie business because in the newspapers you could really destroy someone. In view of this quote, it is ironic that Welles used the medium of film to attack Hearst.


Kane, meanwhile, becomes the champion of the common man, exposing the seedy underbelly of business and politics. His turn as a politician is Trump’s personality and showmanship with Bernie Sanders’ platform. Later, when he loses the race, we gain some insight into why he does what he does. Jed confronts him about his approval seeking, or love seeking behavior. This desire for love and affection from everyone is the core of Charles Foster Kane and is part of the meaning of “Rosebud”. More about this later.

The story of Kane the newspaperman has the feel of a Behind The Music episode: an early rise to prominence, unprecedented success, call him a game changer, etc., then a tragic overreach that leads to his eventual downfall.

The film is also a detective story, as the story follows the reporter as he attempts to solve the mystery of Kane’s final words. The way the reporter’s scenes are shot brings the audience in, putting Thompson in the foreground off to the side and making the audience take the place of Thompson. The result is a more interactive experience.

As Thompson tries and fails to solve the mystery, the audience is treated to the answer Thompson was looking for all the time in that final shot with the sled burning in the incinerator.  It could be said, however, that the real answer was rather obvious when one considers Kane’s story. He is torn away from his parents as a boy, and thrust into his fortune. The psychological trauma of such an event cannot be overstated. By “Rosebud”, Kane of course is referring not just to the sled, but to the lost childhood that was taken from him. In the end, the man who could have anything he wanted only wanted the thing he once had and could not have.


The Story Behind The Film

Seeing the documentary, The Battle Over Citizen Kane, casts the family separation aspect of Kane’s story in a new light; this is Welles the boy genius, thrust into fame at an early age and robbed of his childhood. I am reminded of Macaulay Culkin, Lindsey Lohan, Dana Plato, and a host of other people who achieved early stardom and fell to a degree due to the pressures of fame. 

More than anyone else, the story of Charles Foster Kane reminds me of Michael Jackson. The parallels are almost creepy. Youth stolen, massive fame and fortune, making headlines everywhere, eccentricities galore, a massive estate epitomizing excess, a fall from grace followed by a slow descent into obscurity and madness, an end shrouded in mystery. The mystery surrounding Jackson’s death, the suspicion of foul play, however unfounded it may have been, mirrors the mystery of Kane’s last words. In both cases, the truth may be forever lost to those seeking it. The Michael Jackson story, along with any extreme high achiever, teaches the lesson that such high achievement comes at a cost. Welles knew this lesson very well.

In the documentary, I noticed that Orson tended towards selfish, self destructive behavior. This both helped and hurt Welles the artist as it made him work incredibly hard and demand everything from his performers while also wreaking havoc on his personal life.

The real life story of Welles being hated by Hearst and Hollywood and his movie being disregarded because of what amount to personal reasons is a shame, but Welles is not entirely without blame. His seeming arrogance and his choice to go after Hearst in this film play a part. The vindication that came when the film that caused so much hate turned out to be a masterpiece was too little too late for Welles. By that time he’d already been in decline for over a decade. One wonders, if Citizen Kane received a more fair assessment upon its original release, would Orson Welles have been able to top it? Or would it be a sophomore slump? We will never know.