Wednesday, December 16, 2020

A Gauntlet Celebration: The Gauntlet's 200th Post Post - A Look Back, and Ahead

Hello all to, or back to, the spurious yet genuine, taciturn yet verbose, elusive yet findable, Gauntlet of Balthazar.

It seems a small celebration is in order today, as this very post marks the 200th entry since this blog was initiated (relatively) way back (by internet standards) on October 3rd, 2016.

Certainly some months, and even years, have seen a greater volume of content here than others, and as the site has evolved some subject matter has very obviously come to dominate a greater share of posts than others. Overall, the "From the Writer's Studio", "Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away", and Political Philosophy posts have some- what overwhelmed Media Reviews, "From the Design Studio", "Sculpture Garden" and "Mixology", let alone Photography, the "My Dictionary; Word of Day", and Product Review features. 

Perhaps it was a presumptuous task to attempt to tackle all of these fields in equal measure in the first place. But, nonetheless, even if the ratio continues as is, the initiating premise for the establishment of the Gauntlet was for it to not just to serve as a marketing tool for Nevekari Enterprises and Stubborn God Productions projects, but equally to be an outlet for "excess" artistic expression, as well as to provide a safe place to posit philosophical polemic away from combative keyboard warriors on the established social media platforms. After all, arguing with those who frankly haven't really familiarized themselves with the implications of their own positions is clearly a grand waste of time, and if they don't grasp their own philosophy, how could they ever be capable of allowing themselves to understand the deeper motivations and causal factors of the powers-that-be?

Therefore, while I'm very pleased that it seems a fair percentage of the Gauntlet's readers are liberty-minded, anti-authoritarian individuals, pro-democracy protesters, and I suspect even civic nationalists from around the globe, I certainly hope that even if there are many others who disagree with the sometimes uncompromising positions stated here (I'm clearly referring to the Globalists, Marxists, and Communists out there of course), I trust that even those mired in those camps might find some redeemable value in the various arts posted here. I mean, hey, on some level, art is all about exploring a deeper understanding of humanity at its core - and I'm pretty sure we all need that. 

I like to feel that this blog has been very helpful tool in spurring on the creation of content - providing a framework of self-imposed "release dates" and a clear litmus of audience appreciation by topic through the analytics. As I've stated more than a few times lately, readers in beleaguered Hong Kong have recently stepped up to supply the overall top user numbers, once dominated by the US, and followed by Russia, China, Germany and dozens of other nations, and either way, that's just great. Obviously, the Gauntlet wants everyone, from everywhere, to enjoy the content here, and ideally to support the source of that content by subscribing to Nevekari Enterprises YouTube Channel, following 391 & the Army of Astraea's Bandcamp page, and "liking" the Stubborn God Productions Facebook page, among others.

I can't express enough how far these frankly simple and cost-free little acts go in support struggling artists, but in a world dominated by media giants and companies with seriously massive marketing budgets, every organic view, every play, and every "like", serves not just to edify the self-esteem of the creators, but more so aids in bolstering the image of the company in the eyes of more influential creators. Overall, this can only lead to growth and point the way to collaboration with those who can aid a project in finding a true universal audience to scale. 

Well, I guess the mighty Gauntlet is off for now - plasma oozing out of its golden seams and strange appendages, so look forward to more groovy tunes, more wry observations, and more insightful reviews - including a followup in the Star Wars universe looking at The Mandalorian Season Two. Thanks so much again.

Till next time. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away: "Virions"

Welcome back to the Gauntlet of Balthazar for another great Tuesday morning record release day. 

Today's recording (unlike the last two releases) is entirely a solo affair, and represents possibly the most minimalism-focused of all of the recent 391 & the Army of Astraea projects. 

"Virions" is a Three-Track Extended Play Single that addresses the loss and isolation people have, and potentially will, feel when experiencing the consequences of global viral pandemics. By this I'm not referring to Flu's with a 99.5 recovery rate, but more so instances such as the Black Plague, Ebola, and hypothetical species die-off illnesses, such as presented in the 2018 Nevekari Enterprises penned series, "The Immune" - which is currently being shopped for production. A demo episode of the series, "Isolation Room", can be found online.

Through the process of recording I realized "Virions" might just be the first installment in a series that explores this theme - so uh, stay tuned. Also look for the first 391 & the Army of Astraea Singer-Songwriter Folk-Rock release - which is quite imminent.

Anyway, as specified on the issue's Bandcamp page: "In light of the overall Spatial / Stereophonic nature of the recordings, as well as the inclusion of certain Sub-Tonal elements throughout, the use of high-fidelity headphones as a listening medium is encouraged". So yeah, that's the best way to listen. 

As usual the embed is below, so enjoy, and if you can, please follow 391 & the Army of Astraea on Bandcamp, and share if possible. Thank you all. 

Till next time.


Saturday, December 5, 2020

Republicans Versus the Race Party...I Mean the Democrats Part III - 1854-1877 >>> [re-issue]

Salutations and welcome to, or back to, the Gauntlet of Balthazar for Part III of the revised "Republicans Versus the Race Party...I Mean the Democrats (1854-1877).

I'm guessing that if you did read through the earlier post in this series, you either fully take my point, or are in such a state of the current left-right partisan denial that you either perceive the facts, yes facts, presented here as "fake news" or "lies", or that you have rationalized that "it was all a very long time ago", or that there was such a mythical political occurrence often referred to as a "party switch".

I know that unlike real liberals, or I guess I should say, moderate Democrats - an ardent Marxist might even add that it all of this history stuff really doesn't matter because it's all about the post-modern "now' and that all truths are subjective, and besides, both of the major political parties of the United States were founded on an oligarchic and exploitative racist premise rather than a set of lofty philosophic and Constitutional goals, so it's all moot, and the entire system should be destroyed a.s.a.p - ideally replaced with a Socialist "utopia"...that they of course will run.

Well, pull up a chair and stay a while because in this installment the march of history will take us from the founding of the Republican Party in 1854 till the end of reconstruction. Surely the same rebuttals to this overview can and will be logged, but I believe that by the end of the series in total you will see that my central thesis will be fully illuminated: which is, that the Democratic Party has for the most part consistently focused on a lurid race-based platform through its history. I will show, and have shown, how from the DNC's founding that Democrats sought to pervert a liberal aspect of Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party in order to bolster not only the continuation of African-American chattel slavery in the south, but to encourage it's growth in newly acquired states.

In the aftermath of the Civil War we will see how this Anti-Republican / Anti-Northern sentiment contributed to the founding of ethno-identitarian movements such as the Klu Klux Klan, and the diminished rights of free African-Americans under the Jim Crow laws through the "Gilded Age". I will then show how the Progressive Movement in the early part of the twentieth century was forced to find a home almost exclusively among Republicans due to the bane-fullness of the Democratic platform, while contrarily in Great Britain, Progressiveness was clearly a left-wing phenomena. Lastly, we will examine period movements that the Democrats did indeed come to embrace and fuse into their platform in the WWI era - these being namely Trans-National Globalism and the highly questionable Eugenics Movement - a precursor of German National Socialist race theory.

Looking forward to the next part of this article to the 1921-1974 time period, we will look at Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and the emergence of the Military-Industrial Complex, the so-called "party switch", President Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society" program and Nixon's "Southern Strategy", and eventually, we will look at the current year - where we can now all plainly see the Democratic Party platform rife with the "woke" politics of racial identity - wrapped in a nauseating veneer of Socialist class, race and gender warfare.

Whether being hawkish on appropriating Native American land after the War of 1812, to seeking to keep Catholic immigrants out of America, or oppressing blacks in the nineteenth century, enfeebling them in the urban ghettos in Civil Rights era, and plying Marxist race, class, and gender warfare theory in order to exacerbate victim-hood identity and racial animosity - this, is par for the consistent course of the left, or I should say, the Democrats.

So let's get started, shall we.

Part Three: 1854-1877 (The Civil War Era and Reconstruction)

As previously mentioned in the prior installment many Southern Whigs, reflecting the adversarial underbelly of the party among it's Anti-Masonic constituents, rather than joining one of the two parties straight out opted to join the xenophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic American Republican Party (not to be confused with National Republican Party of John Quincy Adams). Perhaps to forgo confusing the populace with a similarly named entity, it was soon renamed the Native American Party - as in Native-born Americans, not Native Americans as in indigenous Indians. The party was soon after renamed the American Party (in 1855), but was commonly referred to as the Know Nothing Party (1844-1860). They even had a oath-bound secret wing know as the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner created by Charles B. Allen in New York City. Conflicts involving the Nativist movement and their adversaries took place in major US urban areas, and can be seen in historical dramatic form in films such as Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York".

I find it highly ironic (or is it a telling precursor?) that this movement was based in otherwise free-wheeling, liberal New York. Perhaps what is even more ironic was that the Know Nothing Party was founded by a man who holds the distinction of being the first American Jewish Congressman - Lewis Levin; often referred to as "Uncle Sam's youngest son" and "Citizen Know Nothing".

Born in 1808 in Charleston, South Carolina, Levin was quite the unusual character - an activist, a lawyer, a congressman for the First District of Pennsylvania, a frequent duelist, anti-alcohol crusader, clearly not a religious Jew who intermarried, and spawning from a family rife with mental illness. While Levin himself did not seem to possess particular personal animus toward Catholics, he nonetheless appealed to those who despised them, and it was this ethno-religious identitarian constituency that served as his power base. If I had to find a current parallel for the Know Nothing's it would probably be the "Alt-Right", though generally speaking, Alt-Righter's are not really best described as "right" as they are anti-Constitutional, economically Socialist, Ethno-Fascists.

But, carry on...

Of the somewhat collectively unremarkable mid-nineteenth century U.S. Presidents who served in the period following Andrew Jackson up to the Civil War, their names, states of origin, and party affiliations are as follows: Martin Van Buren 1837-1841 - New York (Northern Democrat), William Henry Harrison - Virginia (Southern Whig), John Tyler 1841-1845 - Virginia (Southern Whig), James K. Polk 1845-1849 - North Carolina / Tennessee (Southern Democrat), Zachary Taylor 1849-1850 - Virginia (Southern Whig), Millard Fillmore 1850-1853 - New York (Northern Whig / Know Nothing Party after 1856), Franklin Pierce 1853-1857 - New Hampshire (Northern Democrat), and James Buchanan 1857-1861 - Pennsylvania (Northern Democrat).

As you may note, these officials were for the most part Southern Whigs or Northern Democrats (and one Southern Democrat and Know Nothing switcher) with not a single Republican in sight. On some level this only made sense as Washington D.C. was firmly in Democrat establishment territory (Virginia) since Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican days, and as slavery was "their" issue, their base was fired up to hold onto the institution. Republicans had been pretty much "pushed out", and their increasing abolitionist sentiments garnered quite the adversarial response from their Democrat opponents.

As I pointed out in Part One of this article, the Democrats did indeed absorb many of the Libertarian notions that were part of Thomas Jefferson's Anti-Establishment derived party, but while Jefferson held a firm disdain for religious authority, Democrats of the mid-nineteenth century period utilized their Protestantism to bolster the moral justification of holding other humans in bondage. If you are unaware of this phenomena, I'll explain just how they managed to do this, philosophically. You see, in their reading of the bible, or more specifically the "Old Testament", otherwise known as the Jewish Torah, they observed that slavery among the Jews of ancient times was sanctioned - as long as the Jewish slave-holder did not hold another Jew as the slave. Islam later incorporated the same motif, and thus, Muslims were quite eager about slavery in the Middle Ages, as long as their slaves were culled from Pagan (Sub-Saharan African and Eastern European) stock.

Anyway, in one tale (in Genesis 9, I believe) regarding the descendants of Noah, his three sons - Japheth (the Aryans - such as Greeks, Persians, Anatolian's, etc.), Shem (the Semites - such as Jews, Arabs, Assyrians, the Ethiopians, etc.) and Ham (the Hamites - such as the Egyptians, Berbers, Nubians, etc.) are catalogued. As punishment for a frankly obliquely mentioned infraction of "mocking" his father's nudity, God declares that the progeny of Ham (the Hamitic peoples) would be forevermore forced to serve his brother Shem's progeny. As Christians, the mantle of being a Semite through philosophical emanation or transference via Jesus Christ was a common notion, and thus, Hamites were destined to serve as slaves, by the order of God. As an aside I feel I should mention that in a very real historical way this did indeed become a truth in that the ancient Egyptians, after falling to the Islamic conquest, had undergone the slow process of Islamization starting in the eighth century, and could be views as a Hamitic population "submitting" to a dominant Semitic language and religion.

Be that as it may, these post-colonial goyim were no Semites, nor were their African slaves of Hamitic background, as they were prior to their importation to the new world, predominately of West African (Bantu) origin. Regardless, this was the applied religious thinking utilized to philosophically fortify the institution of slavery, and thus, the more religious the better. In fact, it almost goes without saying that convincing your slaves to buy into this religious paradigm was ideally the first order of business.

And so, with a bible in one hand and a sword in the other, this same rational fueled the Indian Removal Policies of Andrew Jackson's Democrats onward, and bolstered white ethno-identitarianism, anti-immigrant xenophobia, and anti-Catholic sentiment. It was this thinking, most earnestly expressed in the ranks of the Southern Democrats, that urged those Northern Democrats and Southern Whigs who sought to temper the slavery issue, to  create a number of Pro-Union parties that came about immediately predating the outbreak of the American Civil War.

It should be noted that the abolitionists - embodied almost exclusively in the ranks of the Republican Party (and their allies among disenfranchised "Barnburner" Democrats), held the reins of state almost exclusively from the Civil War onward in the 1861-1933 period. Turnabout being fair-play and all that. The only exceptions to this golden age of Republican dominance was the National Unity Party Democrat Vice-President Andrew Johnson - who finished out and followed Abraham Lincoln's term after his assassination (1865-1869), Grover Cleveland's two interrupted stints (1885-1889, 1893-1897), and Woodrow Wilson's two terms (1913-1921). Needless to say this only made sense, as the Federal government was after the war firmly Republican ground, and Democrats had to slowly gain Republican trust in order to be part of the national government and dialogue once again. 

But let's get back to the years immediately leading up to the Republican-Democrat / North-South fracture that broke the Union - otherwise know as the American Civil War.

While many citizens aligned with either the Anti-Slavery Republicans or the Pro-Slavery Democrats there were indeed many smaller parties that hoped to forge a compromise between the two, or in some cases to push the envelope further. One such third party came into existence solely to push the extreme wing of blatant Pro-Slavery thought. Known simply as the "Opposition Party", the OP was exclusively represented in the south from 1858-1860. However, their fire was short-lived, and they, as well as the American Party (or Know Nothing Party) soon fused with many Southern (Cotton) Whigs and Unionist Democrats and became know as the Unionist Party (1852-1866).

Strange bedfellows they may seem, but as all were Pro-Slavery, but also Pro-National government, and Anti-Republican, the old civic nationalism of Thomas Jefferson persisted and molded all three into the core of the the successor of the Unionist Party, know as the Constitutional Union Party (1860-1861). In many ways the CUP was the last entity that sought a true compromise between Northern Republicans and Southern Democrats in a final effort to avoid the increasingly clearly forthcoming war between north and south. However, it can't be mentioned enough that Jefferson's libertine values were largely lost on these fallen Whigs, who had become little more than slavery apologists. In fact, their party can only be described as a Southern Unionist religious center-right party - far more Conservative than a libertine like Jefferson could envision.

Perhaps members of the Constitutional Union Party thought that the imminent war could be averted, and that tempers would cool and the status quo of ignoring the slavery issue would be the order of the day once more. After all, there was indeed a "stall" embedded in the US Constitution deferring the legislature from confronting the contested issue of slavery for fifty years from the signing, so perhaps they weren't completely unrealistic, only if not for retrospect. But this compromise codicil was specifically included by both sides as a balm for the nation to come into existence as one unified entity, capable of focusing on forging a nation free from the British yoke rather than immediately fighting a Civil War at the founding. Surely, that would have only supplied the means by which the British would re-take their lost colonies.

As the war increasingly took it's bloody toll and compromise fell away, the only third party to survive was the successor of the Unionist Party, re-dubbed the Unconditional Union Party (1861-1866). Formed in Missouri, the UUP was ideologically Classically Liberal as well as being both Federalist and Pro-Union, so it should come as no surprise that in the aftermath of the Civil War their members merged into, you guessed it - the Republican Party. Once again the push and pull of Jefferson's Libertarian civic nationalism and John Adams' Federalism was firmly represented an internal counter-point within the Republican camp - not on the Democrat side of the aisle. 

Thus, as we can plainly see, the majority of those holding abolitionist, pro-union thought invariably ended up Republican, while the majority of Democrats through the nineteenth century firmly held to secessionist thinking and race politics - endorsing the aggrandizement of slavery, the diminishing of Native American territory, and thereafter adding a pinch of Nativist anti-Catholic immigrant sentiment to their repertoire.

Obviously the war served to crystallize the Republican party, and ever since the GOP has been referred to as "the party of Lincoln", but for the purposes of this article, Lincoln's well-known life, and minutia about Civil War combat is fairly superfluous. So, I'll just press fast forward...  

After the War, only the two familiar parties survived the once fractious American political landscape - the Republicans and the Democrats. This period, know as the Reconstruction (until 1877), could easily be described as the "de-southification" of the South. In essence the national government - almost entirely dominated by Republicans, administered the South as a territory of conquest. For thirteen years Republican's sought to mold the eleven former Confederate states back into Union states, meanwhile insuring the rights of newly freed African-Americans.

The more radical the Republican Senator, the more extreme those rights were sought to be insured and implemented. The more earnest the Democrat the more those rights were sought to be undermined.

On July 9th, 1868 the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution was ratified as thousands of Northerners still flooded into the south in order to build schools for the freed slaves, as well as to fill government posts and Church pulpits, while others assisted the U.S. Army administration and the Freedman's Bureau in re-shaping the African-American community. These Republicans, often pejoratively called "carpetbaggers" by the "occupied" Southerners, often promoted and elected freed blacks to local and national government offices, much to the chagrin of the humbled secessionists who lived below the Mason-Dixon line. Boo-the freak-hoo! 

Till next time.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Mixology: Introducing "The Frost"

Well, it seems it's time again for another visit to the Gauntlet's colorful but not frequently visited mixology feature.

Today's creation is somewhat seasonally inspired, and I think, came out fairly well, especially in light of the fact that there was a distinct danger that this drink could have turned out absolutely atrocious.

However, it did not, and my daughter coined its name as "The Frost" - due to it's shimmering silver quality. In general it's a light, dainty, fruity, and whimsical, sort of cocktail. 

So let's get right to it.

You will need:

1 ounce of Peach Schnapps

I ounce of Butterscotch Schnapps

I ounce of Vodka (preferably Tito's)

1/2 ounce of Simple Syrup

3 drops of Vanilla Extract

Shake with Ice

Mix with 4 ounces of Club Soda

Optionally garnish with a Slice of Light Syrup Peach


Please feel free to try out the previous beverages presented in Mixology department - "The Emerald City", "The Brookside", and "The Island Leprechaun".

Till next time.

Monday, November 30, 2020

From the Writer's Studio: Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White...and Sometimes Bad Guys Do! - Writing Complex Villains

Welcome back to the often loquacious Gauntlet of Balthazar for another foray into the deconstruction of literary archetypes, and hopefully a growing primer of techniques that will enable you to arm your growing screenwriting palette with the "oomph" necessary to craft the greatest possible scripts your abilities will allow. For all the rest, if you prefer only to consume art, then hopefully this post will just make for some compelling reading.

In this installment of the Studio I'd like to take a look at the hero versus villain duality, and how the grey areas even within seemingly polar opposite foes, can be laced with nuance and counter-indications which will help make those characters come alive off the page. In this, I'm talking about full extremes - not just moving the characters into the protagonist versus antagonist zone. So, you're welcome!

Back when I was a kid, my father used to take me to the movie theater, and afterwards would sometimes announce, "The quality of the hero is defined by the qualities of the villain", and in this he was for the most part correct. I say that he was mostly correct only because in my mind if all that defines the hero is his or her opposition to the villain, then while this is a motivation that can be easily understood by audiences, oh what a cardboard character must he or she be. 

Saying that, the audience has to in general understand what has driven the villain to "evil", or the character will appear to them as a melodramatic caricature, and in the worst cases will seem all but comical. To address this an element of loss, suffering, abuse, or a slow change over time can be inserted to justify the reality of the character.  Notwithstanding, evil for evil's sake does have an appeal. But even the most archetypal baddies - the prideful Christian Lucifer, Shakespeare's scheming Lady MacBeth and Hamlet's presumptuous Uncle, Star War's tragic hero cum villain Darth Vader, The Manchurian Candidate's manipulative Eleanor Iselin, the despicably self-motivated Colonel William Tavington of the Patriot, Disney's mysterious Maleficent, the Wizard of Oz's Wicked Witch of the West, Batman's chaos-psyche filled Joker, Harry Potter's sinister Lord Voldemort, and any other looming figure in print or on celluloid all possess a history of causal events, sometimes justifiable doctrinal beliefs, and / or personal motivations that can be easily understood by everyone - even if their actions and machinations are revolting to the average person.

One practical exercise that could serve as a technique for building nuance into your villain might be to think of superhero costumes. Yes, I know. Silly. But yet, we routinely find both sides donning masks. The hero has only two reasons for obscuring his or her identity. One, to protect the identity of his or her loved ones from being drawn into his or her conflicts and and suffering reprisals, and two, to appear as symbolic of an ideology, such as Captain America, standing for, uh, the American way - liberty, freedom, individuality, and all that.

Villains on the other hand, wish to conceal their identity so they are harder to identify by the authorities, right? But this is simplistic approach, since the majority of masked malefactors are in positions where their evil persona is all that they are, or have become. Sure they can wear their costume as a symbol of their ideology just as some heroes do, but true villains - especially the very worst of them, don't really care about the fate of their loved ones, right? So why bother with a mask? Well, it could be that the villain is aware on a deeper level that what he or she is doing is absolutely repugnant, and so the mask is worn out of shame. 

Shame is the fulcrum on which a villain teeters - the miasma between the actual human part of their personality and the persona they have adopted. It is this conflict in which you can explore the grey areas of these sort of characters souls while maintaining their status as your book, script, or film's overarching threat.

Of course, implied or overt threat can be presented without malevolent intent - such as the shark in "Jaws", who merely hunts, as is her nature. But it is that lack of malevolent intent that defines a threat generator not as a villain, but as an antagonist. You might fear or hate the shark, and project intent onto her, but the feeling is not mutual. Sharks don't feel hate for you. They are what they are.

But back to characters who possess malevolent intent and have an overarching plan - the two main definers of villainy. If the character you have designed appears to pursue his or her "plan", with consistency and malevolence, then by default, they will not be perceived as simply an antagonist - no matter how much shame, introspection, sympathy, regret, or even likability, you imbue them with.

I personally really enjoy writing compelling villains, (especially in an serialized context), who present the trifecta of "P" motivations - personal, philosophical, and plan. Add to this the malevolence, and all you need is back-story, interpersonal relationships, and the power structure in which they enact their villainy. 

It has often been said that a villain believes he is the hero of his own story, and this is absolutely not only true, but it is essential in designing a nuanced and layered villain. Marvel's ultimate bad guy, the Mad Titan Thanos, is a great example of this, in that he fulfills all of the requirements listed above. However, I should point out that in the comic books and graphic novels of yore, one of his primary personal motivations for his proposed "universal reset" was that he was in a relationship with Mistress Death - a personification of death itself. Thus, he was in it for love. This element was unfortunately removed from the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, probably because it would have presented as "too weird" for the average movie-goer, and the writers instead shifted his Thanos' love relationship to his adopted daughter, Gamora. I personally would have included the original element in some way. Then again, I would have also included Thanos's brother, Eros (the embodiment of love), as well as his anti-hero nemesis, Adam Warlock, as well.

But hey that's just me.

Well, that's about it for now. So go out there and craft your protagonists, your heroes, your antagonists, and even your out-and-out villains. But remember, if sometimes good guys don't wear white, then sometimes villains do!

Till next time.

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Great Electronic Music of the Day Give-Away Catalogue Reconfiguration

Hi all, and welcome back to the wily and wordy Gauntlet of Balthazar.

I have to admit that I've been holding back on penning several fiery articles here, mostly political in nature, probably because they're not based in fact or historical events. Within reason I sort of despise just ranting about personal feelings regarding larger issues, so let's just leave it at that for now, and let me get back to the point of this post - which is what I'm referring to as "The Great Catalogue Reconfiguration".

For quite some time I've been vexed by the past releases in the Gauntlet's "Electronic Music Piece of the Day Give-Away" series. Not that I have a problem with the tracks themselves or releasing them piecemeal online, but more so how they were compiled into albums on Bandcamp and elsewhere.

Therefore, I've made some changes to the "filing system" and extracted a number of tracks from the three 391 & the Army of Astraea compilation albums issued in 2018 and have retroactively released them as "singles" (and EP's). In all, these extracted tracks now supply five issues, and the compilations are, obviously, somewhat shorter and more focused on covering periods of releases rather than being "best of" samplers. 

The albums, "Sweetmeats for Little Turks", "Battles and Realms: Catalogue Vol.1", and "Battles and Realms: Catalogue Vol.II", are still available on Bandcamp, and the original "best of" version of "Sweetmeat for Little Turks" has been left as is (for the time being) on Soundcloud. 

The retroactive singles are now: "The Aeon / Anaapotheosis" (2016), "Bipedal Locomotion / Urbitariot" (2017), "Clara and Natalia / Nine Hostages" (2017), "Veritas" (2017), and "Easter Fool / Subway Hat" (2018) (pictured above). While they're in no way pop music, I'm pretty sure they each deserved individual release status in the first place, and besides, I think the cover art came out quite nice for the most part. 

Anyway, the embed players for the five releases are directly below. So enjoy, share, and please, please, please, follow us on Bandcamp if you can. Thanks so much.

Till next time.

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Dark Gauntlet Rises: A Happy Gauntlet of Balthazar 40,000th Page Visit!

Welcome back to the Gauntlet of Balthazar for this little post celebrating our 40,000th page visit. 

I have to admit that I've sometimes been confused, but more often very pleased, at the growth of this blogs audience. And while I'm fairly inconsistent with the frequency of uploads, as well as the content itself shifting gears based on my whims, I nonetheless appreciate each and everyone's time spent visiting these pages. So, whether you first came here for the the writing, the politics, the music, the art, or the reviews, I hope that at the very least you've found the diversity of content respectable and of interest.

Saying this, I'd like to turn to the Gauntlet's readers in Hong Kong, who have recently supplanted the United States as the dominant supplier of page visitors. As I've mentioned before, I've never explicitly penned an article in support of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Hong Kong, but I expect that the consistency of the Gauntlet's anti-Communist messaging and disparaging of Marxist Intersectionality, Post-Modernism, Critical Race Theory, Regressive Progressiveness, and the historical hypocrisy of the American Democratic Party, as well as the UK's Labor Party, has made this abundantly clear.

As a Right-Leaning Libertarian, or as I like to deem it a "Neo-Whig", I must say that I am overtly adoring of the accomplishments of American founding fathers like Jefferson, Adams and Madison, as well as the U.S. Constitution. This has led me to be, let us say, highly critical of Marxism, Socialism, and Communism, which I might add, I was fairly intrigued by when I was but a lad. 

Likewise, as a Jewish kid growing up in New York, (like most Blacks, Latinos, Irish, Asians, Women, Gays, etc.) I was expected to be a lifelong Democrat, regardless if they as a political party didn't reflect my core beliefs in any other arena, let alone if they overtly conflicted with principles that I had come to feel were more important to my overall identity. 

The Democrats, specifically in their 1990's Neo-Liberal "kleptocrat" manifestation, told me to keep voting for them, even as they contradicted not only my beliefs, but their own. Soon after, the DNC started to embrace the  same far-leftist doctrines that I had moved away from as far back as the middle of my college years. Much of this was later called "identity politics", which seemed to be designed not to help different people to get along, but rather to divide them, not to mention attempting to force me to feel apologetic, embarrassed, or even hateful, towards what I was, or held dear - yet, keep up the good votes, sucker. 

One could say that the dissonance I felt is what led me to resist further the media brainwashing that I experienced and saw all around me as par for the course. I imagine that people supporting the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong can easily relate to this. as they were expected to slowly abandon the society and principles they had lived under for a century, and let it give way to the slow creeping entrenchment of Chinese Communist Party surveillance, social media scoring, and repression of free speech.

In recent years we have seen Big Tech, Big Government, Mega-Corps, and the Media, all fall under the shared spell of far-leftist ideology, ushering corporate and globalist political interests to overlap. While we have seen agreement in that they all like money very much, these once-disparate forces nonetheless appear to prefer forced "equality", authoritarianism, and censorship far more.

Though Hong Kong had incorporated some aspects of British and Western society, they also never left behind their Chinese culture. One could in fact argue that China's "Great Leap Forward" attempted to destroy and rebuild Chinese society in order to create Marx's "New Man" - a goal that is highly questionable, and is as unattainable as the false utopia proposed by misguided street thugs the world over for upwards of two centuries. 

This is indeed why the most infamous, so-called "right wing dictators", such as Hitler, Mussolini, Ataturk, etc. were all actually products of Communism, Socialism, and Progressive politics, no less than Mao, Stalin, Castro, Pol Pot, and Chavez. It is absolutely amazing that academics and the media were even able to get us to accept the notion that a Socialist like Hitler - who believed in gun control, abortion, universal health care, the influence of the state on the entrepreneurial economy, and was anti-church and anti-free speech, was on the right side of the political spectrum. Nonsense!

Thus, we Classical Liberals, Pro-Democracy Protestors, Moderates, Skeptics, Independents, Libertarians (right and left), Republicans, Conservatives (religious and not), and the true working classes, need to support one another in resisting the expansion of Communist authoritarianism and the leftist-brainwashed "latte liberal resistance" - who are in  actuality the establishment they have long protested they stand against.

I hope that the future holds in it a greater day for liberty. 

Thanks again. Till next time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Not So Electronic Music Album of the Day Give-Away: "Working Backwards - A Collection of Collaborations"

Hear ye, hear ye, and welcome to, or back to, the Gauntlet of Balthazar for another installment of the Bandcamp hosted Electronic Music Give-Away of the Day feature. 

This release marks a departure from the usual 391 & the Army of Astraea electronic fare of the last few years, as the recordings included in today's new release, are dominated by guitar, bass, vocals, drums, etc. It is also comprised only of collaborations, is archival (1980's-1990's), and features Punk, Post-Punk, Power-Pop, Alternative, Industrial, and Soundtrack pieces.

The tracks included on this album have been culled from a number of collections of digitized and re-mixed recordings, and is being released today under the title, Stubborn God Productions - Working Backwards: A Collection of Collaborations

For the most part I'm pleased with the general quality of the tunes as they turned out, but in some cases the original sound has been long lost or (if a live performance) may represent the only existing recording of track in question. I'm likewise very happy with the cover art for the project, as well as the album art of the various collections the tracks have been taken from.

Below is a composite of the individual track art, and below that the embed of the album. So enjoy, share, and "follow" 391 & the Army of Astraea on Bandcamp if you can. Thank you all for your support, and as always, till next time.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Electronic Music Give-Away of the Day: An Existing Release Release

Hi all.

I just thought I'd check in for a bit in lieu of tomorrow's release of Stubborn God Productions - Working Backwards: A Collection of Collaborations, with a retro-active update to a previous Stubborn God release - The Sovereignty Soundtrack Extended Play Single, which was uploaded in December 29th, 2019. 

"Sovereignty" is a hard-science-fiction episodic series designed by the award-winning and multi-nominated screenwriting and media content company, Nevekari Enterprises

The audio release originally contained four tracks, but over the course of the last year, others were begun, and I must admit that I started to conceive that a "Sovereignty Volume II" might be in hiding in the wings. However, at present, I have decided to augment the album into a five-track sampler instead.

The additional track in question is now the finally of the album, and it is the overtly bombastic anthem for a fictitious crypto-fascist entity within the series called the "New Order Earth Sphere Government" - which is a global-military administration that is dominant on Earth, and on colonies in space, in the story now of 2158. The exact title of the piece is "Renovare Et Supra" - which is a neo-Latin phrase for something like "Rebirth and Beyond" - which is a palpable element to the characters of the post-dystopian reality they inhabit.

Anyway, the embed is below, so listen, enjoy, share, and if you'd like - click on the "follow" button on Bandcamp - from whence the album, and all the others, have their primary home. 

Till next time.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

September Hiatus Complete: Upcoming Album Release Announcement

Welcome back O mighty Gauntletarians!

From the top I must apologize for my the lack of posts logged here through the month of September - especially in light of the incessant political and media manipulation, as well as social chaos, originating from those beholding (knowingly or not) to the utopian religious tenets codified by that misguided authoritarian (and self-hating Jew) Karl Marx. Oh well, there goes the culture war!

Likewise, while I often pondered over the last month which bit of film media to rake over the review coals (then again I repeat myself about Marx's insidious influence), or which aspect of screenplay writing I might feel like dissecting, I instead spent the last few weeks finishing off a series of final mixes for a collection of music tracks I decided would be released this October. 

Unlike the last few electronically-driven outings by 391 & the Army of Astraea, this forthcoming release is a very different kind of animal. First of all it features mostly guitar, bass, and vocals. Second of all it's historical and represents some of the earliest analogue recordings Stubborn God Productions ever made - dating as far back as the summer of 1984. Third and last of all, the collection features no solo work - only collaborations. And so, it's mostly duets, but also trios and in a few cases four-part band. Genre-wise we've got Punk, Post-Punk, Alternative and Power-Pop, Industrial / Electronic, and some very embryonic Soundtrack works. 

While I had literally dozens and dozens of source tracks to choose from, I eventually settled on just twenty that I feel cover the period in question nicely. Needless to say the repair work required to force many of these pieces up to suitable audio quality was extensive, and so in some cases they are as good as they will ever be. 

The album, Stubborn God Productions - Working Backwards: A Collection of Collaborations, will be released on Bandcamp on the morning of October 13th, 2020 (Yeah, I'll admit it - I'm a sucker for the long since replaced record store Tuesday release day), and will be embedded here on the Gauntlet. It may or may not be uploaded to Soundcloud or other platforms, so if you think it's worth sharing, please forward the link to people you think might appreciate it. 

Anyway, I have a few other posts ruminating in the corners of my mind for after the release, so hang in there figuratively and literally...Yes I'm talking to you Hong Kong. Keep up the good fight!

Till next time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Why the West is Becoming Clockwork Orange

Welcome all. 

I think I'll just jump right in.

In Anthony Burgess's pivotal novel (1962), and the classic film directed by Stanley Kubrick (1971), the hyper-violent dysfunctional protagonist, Alex DeLarge, stands as a seminal paragon of the real world psychosis we currently see all around us, or well at least in urban areas of western nations.

His tale is a cursory warning to the cultural elite and extremists on both sides of the political spectrum that a society lacking in positive role models, morality, civic values, which relies solely on the extremes of authoritarianism and over-indulgence, would inevitably create a generation of, well, monsters. 

In my opinion that rushing train car has almost arrived at the station, and the clown world we now see in American cities like Seattle and Portland, puts on full display the monsters that the neo-liberals slowly created over the last few generations. Liberals, through their control of media outlets, and most importantly, their influence over the educational system - have made youth culture their preferred weapon in the culture war. Likewise, their knowing or unwitting goal of impressing Post-Modernist relativism and Marxist Intersectionality (in all of its class, race, and gender war splendor) on those youth in their formative years has become their guiding principle. 

Alex DeLarge is very cultured. He likes Classical Music. He knows some Russian, and he lives in a welfare state overwhelmingly populated by older people (much like the impending age discrepancy demographic of many nations maintaining low birth, I suggest, 2045?). His gang of droogs take drugs, steal cars, fight with rival gangs, beat up homeless people, dodge corrupt police officers, and in general rob, rape, and pillage.

As the story goes on, the conservative tendency flexes its muscles and Alex ends up in prison, where he soon volunteers to undergo an experimental violence-aversion therapy in exchange for early release. The more sympathetic (liberal) characters, who wish to indulge, are very hopeful, but they have a hard time dealing with the fact that aversion therapy is pretty much torture, and so, later they regret what was done to "the poor lad". In the end the aversion procedure is erased and Alex is used by the media as a poster boy for the well-meaning nature of the recently elected liberal opposition party. In his lengthy absence Alex's old gang mates have become, you got it, corrupt police officers, and we are left with expectation that he will eventually return to his old ways. 

In the real world, when you undermine traditional family structure, when you discourage a work ethic, when you pit races, classes, and genders against one another, and when you deny basic shared civic values, and even principles of reality - submitting that "truth" and "facts" are relative, you can't help but create children guided not only by their "ID", but more so by narcissism. 

In the U.S. these narcissistic virtue-signalling Post-Modern Marxists have no choice other than to take to the streets and force their opinion on others through intimidation and coercion. Because, as narcissists, they've hit on the golden ticket, and so, everyone good must be like them, right? All that's left is choosing their target and then...berate, attack, and in some cases, murder those who they suspect don't agree with them (yes, even when they're...gasp, black!). The fact that the supposedly moderate left in the halls of power will not condemn their little Frankenstein's is no different than the elites in Clockwork Orange giving Alex DeLarge a pass for his past crimes, 'cuz he's the victim, right? 

Last week members of the fascist, yet supposedly anti-fascist, crypto-organization, Antifa, finally did what I suspected they would have gotten around to much earlier - burning books. While they pose as righteous zealots, they employ overt fascistic methodology, and so, I knew it was just a matter of time. I also knew what book it would be. Of course there was a chance that it could have just been a book with language that they have deemed "Un-PC" such as Tom Sawyer, or it could have been a book written by someone they actively dislike, like Ben Shapiro, or maybe even Trump's autobiography...'cuz Orange Man Bad! But face it, those printings just aren't foundational enough. So one guess...yes, you got it, The Bible. How could it have been anything else? So brave, Such magnificent warriors!

Of course, they wouldn't have had the guts to burn a single copy of the Quran, now would they? But hey, dissonant narratives are funny like that.

In the end these narcissist-elitists will continue playing working class heroes and fomenting violent revolution. They will maintain their disdain for civic nationalism as well as their neighbors while displaying their overriding ignorance of enlightenment liberalism. And most sadly, having inculcated the post-modernist sub-text, they will continue to burn flags and holy books. 

Alex DeLarge would have been proud.

On that cheery note...Till next time.

Monday, August 3, 2020

From the Writer's Studio: "Clowns to the Left of Me, JOKER to the Right - Stuck in the Middle with You". The Gauntlet Reviews JOKER.

Welcome back, Gauntletarians.

Well, it looks like I’ve finally gotten around to penning my review of DC’s “Joker” (2019), featuring Joaquin Phoenix as the dysfunctional antagonist-protagonist, Arthur Fleck.

I should mention that while I'm a fan of superhero (or super-villain) films, in my youth I was far and away much more into the Marvel brand than DC. Nonetheless, “Joker” is not the usual sort of comic book adaptation, with the closest parallel perhaps being the X-Men derived series “Legion”; which also features a protagonist with delusional psychosis. Regardless, Arthur’s mental illness is primarily characterized by radical mood swings between tragic melancholy, violent anger, and disturbingly manic giddiness. However, he also occasionally blurs the line between outward reality and his internal imagined reality - so, bi-polar schizophrenia? I personally think that the filmmakers were going for the touch of the old maxim, “in an insane world, it's the sane man who appears insane”, but let’s face it, not- withstanding any post-modern moral relativism re-write, the Joker is coo-coo for cocoa-puffs.

I’d like to break this review down into a few elements; the first being some general observations about various aspects of the film making, then the screenwriting, then the movie’s influences, and lastly, the political context of the film.

In General

So first, what I liked about “Joker”.

Joker is remarkably filmed, with some nice establishing shots. It is consistently lighted, comprehensively designed, adequately edited, and Joaquin’s acting is, well, it’s impressive - not- withstanding that he is almost typecast to play characters with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems.

The film holds the viewer’s attention, tightly, and the script is solid. At times the dialogue is fairly minimal. The only deviation from the original comic book origin of the Joker is that in this revision there’s no mention of Arthur’s immersion in a vat of chemical waste, which frankly, could have played nicely into a botched suicide attempt by the protagonist, as the film gen- erally chronicles a man being beaten down by life one nail at a time.

But hey, that's just me.

The Setting

Supposedly set in “Gotham City”, the film appears as mostly identical to the Kingsbridge and Spuyten Duyvil sections of the North Bronx, New York circa 1979-1984 - graffiti covered subway train cars and all. As someone who grew up nearby, this was an eerie flashback to my youth, and I can’t count how many times I trudged up the massive set of steps located at 237th Street, which Arthur desperately scales, and euphorically dances on, throughout the movie.

The Story

The story is fairly simple.

Arthur lives with his elderly (and ill) mother in a dreadful apartment while barely eking out a living as a paid clown. He is essentially a modern Incel, and aside from his mother, the only other relationships he seems to have are with a state-appointed social worker / shrink, and his co-workers at the clowning agency. He is infatuated with a fetching neighbor, but from afar. We learn early on that government funded has been cut and that his therapy, and the medicine that comes with it, will be coming to an end. It’s a nice element, (an information bomb, as I like to call it), because it creates a sense of impend- ing doom as we expect this will just accelerate Arthur’s slow descent into violence.

This motif is paralleled by a literal “Chekhov’s Gun” being introduced in the first act, after Arthur is attacked by gang of miscreant youth, and a co-worker offers him a handgun for protection.

Needless to say, the Wayne family plays into the story, and we learn that Arthur’s mother was once a maid in Wayne manor. We also learn that she may have imparted her own psychosis through hereditary to Arthur, and as the film progresses he makes several discoveries about his origins that further push him over the edge. Within reason Arthur feels that everyone in his life is either mocking him, is insincere, or is flat-out lying to him, and thus, he begins to take action, or rather, revenge.

The Influences

There are three or four filmic antecedents that immediately come to mind when watching “Joker”.

The obvious would be Heath Ledger’s portrayal of Joker in Dark Knight (2008), but that’s a minor thematic parallel. What is more visceral are two Robert De Niro films originally made in the period presented in Joker. The first is “The King of Comedy” (1983) and second is “Taxi Driver” (1976).

De Niro appears in Joker as a late night talk show host, Murray Franklin (a homage to Joe Franklin?) assuming the Jerry Lewis role in “King of Comedy”, while he played a delusional comic, similar to Arthur, named Rupert Pupkin, who is so desperate to gain notoriety; that he kidnaps the host in order to force his staff to allow him to guest host an episode of the show. While “King” possesses a similar theme to Joker, the descent into violence seen in Joker is actually more reminiscent of De Niro’s passive-turned-vigilante cabbie in Taxi Driver.

This element was also manifested in Michael Douglas / Robert Duvall film “Falling Down” (1993), which chronicled a middle of the road guy snapping and going on a violent rampage across Los Angeles – so, another relationship.

The Politics

When Joker first came out there were a number of media reviewers who immediately labeled it a “white supremacist” film. These were of course the same people who effusively lauded “Black Panther” (2018), which I might remind, presented a zenophobic isolationist ethno-state that regularly engaged in wars against their own nation’s minority ethnic groups, and covetously guard their intellectual property and maintain an immigrant-free impenetrable border. Had the characters in Black Panther possessed white faces, those brilliant geniuses would have rightly noted that the paradigm was borderline Hitlerian, but hey, maybe they’re just that simplistic and aren’t capable of seeing politics and philosophy past melanin.

Anyway, I was puzzled by their assessment, and still am. I understand that clowns wear “white face”, but these reviewers couldn’t be so uninformed to think that lead white paint, which evolved in bubonic plague ridden Italy, and probably mimicked a dark irony about the unimaginable scale of death occurring all around them, was somehow tied to current issues of American race divisiveness.

In the aftermath of the film’s release and the scuttlebutt about clowns being racist, the meme gurus of 4chan soon created the rainbow-wigged “Honkler the Clown”, obviously a making reference to “Honky” – an outdated Black slur against white people. The leftist mob ate it up and, as expected, they declared that this indeed confirmed their suspicions and that clowns were indeed a symbol of white supremacy, just like Kek / Pepe the frog. While the ease by which 4chan manipulated the paranoia of Marxist-inclined folk is humorous, the Libertarian fellas at South Park chimed in with “Mexican Joker”, making light of not only the clown meme, but also of school shooters emulating Joker.

Near the end of the film there are widespread anti-capitalist riots (inspired by Joker) which all but prophetically look like real life in leftist-dominated urban areas of America in 2020. Mind you, De Niro has been an almost brutish and outspoken adversary of President Trump, and Phoenix is likewise an Eco-warrior, so pretty much leftists who have been conditioned to reflexively fight back against those who either don’t agree with their ideology, or at the very least, don’t politely lie down and shut their mouths – unlike street-fighter Trump.

I personally think that all of these films - Taxi Driver, King of Comedy, Falling Down, and Joker, all actually reflect an internal cognitive dissonance within leftist psychology, and not at all in those to the center and right. The latent violence and authoritarianism of the left has become globally visceral and visible over the last few decades, yet this is routinely suppressed or re-framed by the media, or I should say, their media.

The far left generally has always sought to radically change society, (and even human nature) forcefully if need be, and they are fine with compulsion, media warfare, collateral damage, fire and death, in the name of their utopian end goal, yet, handguns – they’re “icky”. They have historically advocated for blacks and other minorities, yet they do this with the soft bigotry of low expectations, and of course, as a general rule, these valiant nobles have no black friends.

Let’s be honest here, it’s leftists that fantasize about reliving past protests movements…and epic riots, and are apt to rampage through the streets. Their elected representatives will not condemn, and even express admiration, for masked fascists who terrorize the public and murder blacks while insisting they are ant-fascist and pro-black.

Joker, in my opinion, is symbolic of the cognitive dissonance between positive change and radical destruction creates in the leftist heart. Yet while the Joker is sympathetic to the cause, he is still at heart only interested in his own agenda - motivated by revenge and chaos. 


All in all, I suggest you check out Joker. 9/10 Gauntlet’s up!

Till next time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Unwitting Post-Modernists

Welcome back to the wily and elusive Gauntlet of Balthazar for some passing obser- vations regarding cultural indoctrination and the conformity of thought.

You know, the little stuff.

We are of course all products of our particular environments, the time period in which we were born, and the cultures in which we were raised, as well as being strongly influenced by our nationality, economics, family, and broader sociological interactions. But, in the current Culture War, the philosophy of Post-Modernism has largely succeeded in gradually altering core sensibilities on a global scale.

I personally don't think that most people know what Post-Modernism is, nor do they even realize that they are Post-Modernist in their thinking - hence why this article has been titled "The Unwitting Post-Modernists".

Now obviously, some folk are more naturally immune to the effect of Post-Modernism, and I can't imagine hearing a member of a rural tribe in Papua New Guinea ever state that "Truth" is a "Relative Construct", but for those in the West, and all those influenced by modern urban culture, thoughts and statements such as this have become standard parlance, and in this, Post-Modernist philosophy has succeeded as an element of Cultural Marxism where Socialism has largely failed in political practice.

According to Wikipedia:

"Post-Modernism is a broad movement that developed in the mid-to late 20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism, marking a departure from modernism. The term has been more generally applied to describe a historical era said to follow after modernity and the tendencies of this era. 

Postmodernism is generally defined by an attitude of skepticism, irony, or rejection toward what it describes as the grand narratives and ideologies associated with modernism, often criticizing Enlightenment rationality and focusing on the role of ideology in maintaining political or economic power. Postmodern thinkers frequently describe knowledge claims and value systems as contingent or socially-conditioned, describing them as products of political, historical, or cultural discourses and hierarchies.

Common targets of postmodern criticism include universalist ideas of objective reality, morality, truth, human nature, reason, science, language, and social progress. Accordingly, postmodern thought is broadly characterized by tendencies to self-consciousness, self-referentiality, epistemological and moral relativism, pluralism, and irreverence.

Postmodern critical approaches gained purchase in the 1980s and 1990s, and have been adopted in a variety of academic and theoretical disciplines, including cultural studies, philosophy of science, economics, linguistics, architecture, feminist theory, and literary criticism, as well as art movements in fields such as literature, contemporary art, and music. Postmodernism is often associated with schools of thought such as deconstruction, post-structuralism, and institutional critique, as well as philosophers such as Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Derrida, and Fredric Jameson (not to mention Michel Foucault - pictured to the right 👉).

Criticisms of postmodernism are intellectually diverse and include arguments that postmodernism promotes obscurantism, is meaningless, and that it adds nothing to analytical or empirical knowledge."

Fair enough - but this goes far beyond simple skepticism and deconstruction.

While an Asian Empiricist might deem this as a "Baizuo" idea, or a less eloquent Western Conservative might frame this whole approach as "book-smart Libtard thinking", there is no denying that we live under the philosophic yoke of the Post-Modernists. Well, at least most of us.

When I personally encounter someone who unconsciously promotes relativist thought, I like to regurgitate a nice maxim I've develop- ed specifically in order to address this creeping malaise. Try it on yourself - it goes like this: "YOUR Truth is that you believe that Gravity is a construct. THE Truth is that when you jump out of a skyscraper window - you die." Simple, eh? I've also had numerous discussions wherein any number of Post-Modernists insist that all sexual relationships are equally valid and beautiful. While this sounds "nice", it invariably puts them in the uncomfortable pos- ition of defending pedophilia, which through history, and in almost every human culture, has been collectively seen as an absolute wrong. But hey, a child's agency, or the lack thereof, is a construct too, right? So feel free to also put them on the defensive. It's a jolly good time.

Post-Modernist thinking in league with third wave radical feminist theory and the general swell of interest in antiquarian Socialist ideology has made it's home in university settings since the early 1980's, and over time has aided in inculcating the "educated" youth of the world into re-framing their thought along lines that now seem "normal". 

Sadly, for those of us who lean to Enlightenment liberty and /or Conservative values, our antecedents - rather than push back against the insidious influence of Post-Modernism, went along with it, because hey, we're supposed to respect everyone's beliefs, right? I guess the reasoning was, "Better to err on the side of being polite instead of contradicting someone". Thus, over time, the right ceded the moral high ground in the Culture War to a philosophy that proposes that there is NO MORALITY.

Nice hat trick, if I do say so myself.

Ironically, as a writer I'm a bit of a relativist, and I firmly believe in the maxim that a villain believes that he/she is the hero of their own story. However, while I try to dispassionately present all sides of a given philosophy, a Post-Modernist writer prefers to present everything as equally meaningless - but they will invariable avoid presenting a character who is not a Post-Modernist. They think this makes them inclusive and diverse, but they are missing the fact that not only are many people not Post-Modernist in their thinking, but many are overtly anti-Post-Modernist. That is the reality of diversity, and no matter how many "sensitivity advisors" one might find on a modern movie set, or human resources office pool, the fact is that while they might control the dominant narrative, they do not control how and what people think - nor should they. Conversely, I am quite aware of how many readers or viewers, simply because they have been strongly influenced by Post-Modernism, might perceive a characters as a "bad guy", just because the character in question reads as an "absolutist".

One would think that such relativists wouldn't be so quick to jump to judgement, but since the hallmark of their thinking is narcissistic and ideologically fueled, this has led leftists to move further into the "Social Justice Warrior" motif, to the point at which western societies are being torn apart by the monsters they created - misguided idealistic youth who believe they are rebelling but are at their core actually authoritarians dedicated to supporting big-tech, mega-corps, the state, and their utopian ideals of "changing" and "saving" the world.

Sadly, what most ardent Post-Modernists, as well as Marxists, fail to grasp is that human nature can not be changed, and thus, all that their movement will accomplish in the long run will be social and inter- personal nihilistic destruction. This is why the so-called Anarcho-Communist anti-fascists (Antifa) are essentially fascist in their approach, and their stated anti-racism has been corroded with the soft bigotry of low expectations, inverted self-hatred, and rabid antisemitism.

In the end, I expect that Post-Modernism will eventually fade into the annals of history, and one day people will read the ponderous term papers and meandering novels that encapsulate the bourgeoisie Frankenstein psychosis of this period, and will try to relate to a world captivated by lack of beliefs. Well, aside from the belief of virtue signaling held together under a veil of Marxist utopianism and the tools it has always used to place, and keep, itself in power - class, race, and gender warfare.

Till next time.