Those cheeky ancient Greeks, eh?
First with the sexy, sexy child sex and then with creating the western world’s defining story structure.
Leaving that first bit aside, let’s move on to the second bit:
The total dominance of the three act structure as a means of telling stories about ourselves has infected us with an erroneous myopia.
We are almost built to expect that once the bad guys are defeated, the story is over. There’s maybe fifteen percent of runtime left in the film and then… boom. Credits roll.
Culturally, we expect very little gap between the tipping point and total success. Somewhat ironically -because Peter Jackson took his sweet time to wrap up Return of The King- I am using this as the example.
The very act of destroying the ring collapses the entire Mordorian military industrial complex. Barad-Dûr falls (oddly enough, in a manner that is more in keeping with conventional physics than other towers we could mention), and Sauron’s armies are literally swallowed by the earth.
Our attention spans are trained to expect this. Who wants to watch the supporting cast go through the arduous task of cleaning up all those orcs? The bad guys lost. Let’s move on to the bit where Aragorn ruins his own coronation by bursting into song at an impolite moment.
I think about this now because when I tune in to our current apocalypse I perceive a change. Having spent a good part of the year in archonic territory, my dream experiences have shifted. It feels to me that patronage has been withdrawn from the current masters of the universe. On an intuitive level, it feels like our reinforcements have arrived. I wish I had more for you than a feeling and a few potent dream visions but there it is.
This is not something I would say lightly but it’s possible that we’ve actually won. It’s just that they haven’t lost yet. Sure, there are just as many orcs to mop up as there were yesterday. Here’s hoping we have the patience to do so. But still… something feels different. Something feels averted.
Take Palestine. I have no idea how this played on American cable ‘news’™ media but it’s impossible to overstate how significant the UN recognition of statehood actually is at a geopolitical level:
The 193-member assembly voted 138 in favour of the plan, with only nine against and 41 abstentions. The scale of the defeat represented a strong and public repudiation for Israel and the US, who find themselves out of step with the rest of the world. [...]
Abbas, who flew from Ramallah, on the West Bank, to New York to address the general assembly, said: “The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly: enough of aggression, settlements and occupation.” [...]
Israel and the US immediately condemned the resolution. The office of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, described Abbas’s speech as incitement and full of lies about Israel.
Lies, Israel? At the UN? Really?
What about bombing journalists and then sending them emails from the Israeli prime minister’s press office saying they were bombed for covering Gaza? What about shelling a building that contains France 24 and Sky News?
Can anyone else detect that the old rules just aren’t working anymore? Bibi didn’t get the president he paid for. (Clearly he missed Joe Biden’s speech about betting against the American people.) So his Plan B was to throw Israel’s
toys bombs out of the pram and right into Gaza because that usually works. This time it didn’t. That’s actually huge.
Now, let’s take this statement from a defense department general counsel in Oxford yesterday. It relates to the ‘war’ on Al-Qaeda:
The US is heading for a “tipping point” beyond which it should no longer pursue al-Qaida terrorists by military means, one of the Obama administration’s most senior lawyers has said.
Good news, then. We can only hope that this will lead to a wholesale rollback of the anti-democratic nightmare that has defined US domestic and global policy making for the last eleven years.
Of course, we’re not holding our breath because the lawyer’s statement means almost nothing. Al-Qaeda is, after all, little more than an intelligence agency fantasy and always has been. From Mother Jones by way of other news sources:
A recent report put together by Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkley analyses some striking statistics about the role of FBI informants in terrorism cases that the Bureau has targeted in the decade since the September 11 attacks.
The report reveals that the FBI regularly infiltrates communities where they suspect terrorist-minded individuals to be engaging with others. Regardless of their intentions, agents are sent in to converse within the community, find suspects that could potentially carry out “lone wolf” attacks and then, more or less, encourage them to do so. By providing weaponry, funds and a plan, FBI-directed agents will encourage otherwise-unwilling participants to plot out terrorist attacks, only to bust them before any events fully materialize….
The report reveals that in many of the stings, important meetings between informants and the unknowing participants are left purposely unrecorded, as to avoid any entrapment charges that could cause the case to be dismissed. Perhaps the most high-profile of the FBI-proposed plots was the case of the Newburgh 4. Around an hour outside of New York City, an informant infiltrated a Muslim community and engaged four local men to carry out a series of attacks. Those men may have never actually carried out an attack, but once the informant offered them a plot and a pair of missiles, they agreed. Defense attorneys cried “entrapment,” but the men still were sentenced to 25 years apiece.
“The problem with the cases we’re talking about is that defendants would not have done anything if not kicked in the ass by government agents,” Martin Stolar tells Mother Jones. Stolar represented the suspect involved in a New York City bombing plot that was set-up by FBI agents. “They’re creating crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror.” For their part, the FBI says this method is a plan for “preemption,” “prevention” and “disruption.”
In fact, let’s take the case of their most recent straw man set up to replace the last one. You know the one… the 1980s CIA asset who the French claim had medical treatment in an American hospital in July 2001, got fatter and more clay-like the few times he showed up on video after 9/11, required dialysis, had family connection to the Bushes, was possibly the victim of a dubious ‘raid’ by a team who suffered heavy casualties soon after, was ‘buried at sea’ (ha!) without a single image taken in stark contrast to Saddam’s snuff film and who may have actually died in 2001 according to someone else who was herself assassinated. Have the whole thing explained to you in under five minutes:
The straw man in question is Anwar al-Awlaki -for a time the ‘new’ Bin Laden- who was apparently killed in a drone strike in October. (A more believable death than the last one, that’s for sure.) Upon the reports of his death, it was widely noted that the US had him in custody twice and let him go. What was less-widely reported was that, just before he was killed, al-Awlaki actually fronted up to a goddamn US embassy to allegedly have his passport taken off him. Surely that would have the opportune time to nab him? Unless that wasn’t why he was there. What wasn’t really mentioned at all at the time of his death was that he dined at the freaking pentagon mere months after 9/11. The ‘new’ Bin Laden indeed!
Let’s circle back around to some of the archonic players still on the board. There is Karl Rove’s irrational and barely concealed rage at an election that, for once, he couldn’t steal. Because, as the NSA proved, stealing elections is what Fox/The GOP does. This led to billionaires impotently advocating treason and barely functioning states advocating secession.
The theory is that more people would vote if they knew their vote “counted,” but either way you look at it, those odds remain in the favor of the Democrats if the country switched to counting only the popular votes.
And now they want to secede…
Of course any of the other aforementioned states could, in an act of treason, secede by force to become the world’s newest impoverished nations. Not only are the majority of blue states the most populous, they are also the states with the most wealth, and with that comes the most taxes. And those blue states’ taxes pave their roads, turn on their street lights, run their schools, and make their water drinkable.
While some Republicans in the Great Plains, the Rockies, and much of the Deep South complain about the bright red map, they’ve failed to realize it’s the deceptively small blue cogs that actually keep the machine that is America rolling along — and it’s the blue states’ money that fills the tank.
But they lost. Romney, Rove, Fox, Bibi, Trump… even laying that absurd Benghazi trap (bye, Petraeus!) they still lost. It’s increasingly possible Bush and Cheney could be arrested for war crimes. The New World Order is dead on arrival. This is, of course, extremely good news. However it still leaves us with rather a large number of orcs.
To me it feels like all this bullshit is coming to an end. Like the financial industry, it just seems hard to envision a world where people actually swallow this steaming crap anymore. The Extreme Right exhausted itself over several generations of manipulation, lies and attacks to get to this point of total fascism, population control and global war. They almost made it, too. In fact, they’re still almost there… but I just don’t feel the inevitability of the outcome like I did earlier in the year.
Let’s move on to the current POTUS and a press release he issued on November 21 from Air Force One that has appears to imply -grasp at your pearls everyone- that there are toxic elements within the federal government that have gone rogue and have violent intent. (!) The standards contained within the memorandum are:
[T]o provide direction and guidance to promote the development of effective insider threat programs within departments and agencies to deter, detect, and mitigate actions by employees who may represent a threat to national security. These threats encompass potential espionage, violent acts against the Government or the Nation, and unauthorized disclosure of classified information[.]
Heard about this one? No, of course you haven’t, and if you are familiar with Operation Mockingbird you may freely speculate as to why. Consider the absolute field day that Fox News would have made of this had it come out prior to the election: “the President has gone insane. The President is a conspiracy theorist.” Non-stop for days. After the election? Nothing.
To be clear, this is really weird. It may just be so much bureau-goo but a casual thirty minute internet search didn’t manage to pull up precedent in any other relatively stable governments. (Feel free to share if you find them.) But then, as previously indicated, the largest, most labyrinthian military complex ever assembled on planet earth is bound to have competing factions. It’s just very rare for them to be called out and possibly hunted down.
Of course, it’s a dangerous game the President is possibly playing. The last one to try and break the back of the CIA ended up murdered by them. And the Nazi collaborator whom he fired wound up investigating his death but I’m sure that’s completely innocent. Such an unfortunate outcome may indicate why hosing out the cages of the intelligence community never really makes it to the top of the presidential policy agenda. (Famously, Clinton was supposed to have backed off his lifelong obsession with UFOs because, in his own words, he “didn’t want to end up like JFK.”)
None of this should lead us to believe the game of thrones is over. Murky, strange shit is being built in the Israeli desert as we speak. But if Obama makes moves toward what has been obvious to everyone since 2008 as the best approach to Iran then he just went from ‘least worst option’ to ‘not entirely shit’:
Prior to George W. Bush’s presidency, a diplomatic opening with Iran was at least intermittently viewed by the Clinton and first Bush administrations as falling in the “nice to have” category—a desirable prospect, but not essential for American interests. For the president who takes office in January 2009, strategic rapprochement with Tehran will fall into the “must have” category. Iran’s location—in the heart of the Persian Gulf and at the crossroads of the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia—was always strategically important. It’s more so now that we are bogged down in two ground wars in countries along its borders.
Iran’s oil and gas resources have also heightened its strategic importance. For more than a decade, the United States has been successful in its efforts to keep European energy companies out of the Iranian upstream—that is, out of the discovery and production of crude oil and natural gas—with the effect of limiting Iran’s rates of oil and gas production. This policy amounts to declaring that the world’s second-largest proven reserves of conventional crude oil and the world’s second-largest proven reserves of natural gas should stay in the ground until Washington decides otherwise. Such a position might have been bearable (if shortsighted) in the 1990s, when energy prices were low and the adequacy of global supplies was not an immediate concern. Today, it is profoundly irresponsible.
The lack of new European investment in Iran will, among other things, delay Iran’s emergence as an exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). But, from a more strategic perspective, U.S. policy is leaving the field open for increasingly capable Chinese, Russian, and other non-Western energy companies to take the lead in helping Tehran develop its hydrocarbon resources.
Thing is… I don’t actually mind when kings behave like kings. Even as a non-American, I can see that an Iranian grand bargain may be nothing more than a shameless attempt to safeguard American energy security but that’s what a President is supposed to do. Furthering American interests is his job. What I object to is the toxic neocon shitstorm that has utterly subverted this function, stealing elections, radicalizing domestic populations, turning war criminals into billionaires at our expense and making the entire planet a much darker, more dangerous and entirely less-free place to incarnate.
Why all this on a magic blog? Can’t I keep my left of Lenin ranting where it belongs on Comment Is Free?
No I can’t.
Because this is what the archonic battle looks like. It is these forces that are literally deciding what is and isn’t real in yours and my physical reality. And, from a magical perspective, the thing about these forces is that they behave -perhaps unsurprisingly- like the Great Old Ones. Once they’re here, the game is up. There is no pitched battle in the third act. You cannot ever destroy them. (That is not dead which can eternal lie.) But… you can stop them getting here by fucking with their portals until the stars are no longer right.
Portal fucking, it turns out, is actually remarkably easy. You just need to see these things moving. You just need to call bullshit on their bullshit. The clue is in the name but dark power can only ever move in the dark. If you shine a light on it, if you reject it, then it will eventually fail. Here is where the storytellers have left us without a map. We may just have turned the tide on unstoppable forces but that doesn’t mean the tide has gone out. We have more than the last few moments of the third act to go.
It is this revelation that reminds me of the penultimate episode of Buffy.
Buffy: I just realized something. Something that really never occurred to me before. We’re gonna win.
Not for the first time, it feels to me like the Slayer may be right.