Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
New interviews throughout the week
United nations geneva conference room

The idea of international law as a system of formal equality really gets to both the sense making function and the injustice of its application here. You have a situation in which 1 people are living under a belligerent occupation of another national group that is an advanced military power and supported by the global hegemon. That is the system. If you apply a system of formal equality in terms of rights to political violence on that, you are effectively cementing the status of the oppressed as oppressed.

Dylan Saba and Jake Romm discuss their n+1 article, "Acts Harmful to the Enemy," on international humanitarian law criminalizing revolution. After the interview, we hear new installments of "Rotten History" and "The Moment of Truth" with Jeff Dorchen.

Help keep This Is Hell! completely listener supported and access weekly bonus episodes by subscribing to our Patreon.

 


Mar 1 2023
Posted by Alexander Jerri
Dilbert nazi

 

I wept no bitter tears when Scott Adams’s “Dilbert” cartoon was dropped from the Cleveland Plain Dealer after he posted a video wherein he declared:

"Based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people. Just get the f*ck away… Wherever you have to go, just get away. Because there’s no fixing this. This can’t be fixed. So I don’t think it makes any sense as a white citizen of America to try to help Black citizens anymore. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no longer a rational impulse. So I’m going to back off on being helpful to Black America because it doesn’t seem like it pays off.”

 

My non-existent tears remained unembittered when several other papers followed the Plain Dealer’s lead, even though I know we will all miss Scott’s noble contributions to the Black equality discussion and his substantial aid to Black communities. Even though I feel like we’ve lost Paul Robeson, Fred Hampton, and Muhammed Ali all over again.

But then I realized Scott wouldn’t have wanted me to feel any such loss anyway. He isn’t about feelings. He’s about offices and data and demonically elitist dogs in computer chairs.

 

I come not only to condemn Scott Adams, creator of “Dilbert,” but to bury him.

 

We are a nation of schadenfreude. That’s the kind of audience we are. When a bigot or bigshot gets taken down, as Andrew Tate was in Rumania, the audience laughs and cheers. Tate’s case is especially funny because the cause of his downfall was his own preening ego which led to his unprovoked reactionary attack on a teenage climate activist. I mean, there’s not much funnier than Tate being grabbed for sex trafficking by Rumanian law enforcement tipped off to his presence in the country by his braggadocious video with a locally branded pizza box in the camera frame, unless it’s Greta Thünberg’s parting words to seal the flame war: “this is what happens when you don't recycle your pizza boxes."

 

The bully was an obvious bully, the victim refused to be a victim, and in the end the “good guy” won in a way that was highly amusing and poetically just.

 

However, when good guys and bad guys are not so easily distinguishable, but a clearcut distinction in imposed on... read more

Feb 27 2023
Posted by Alexander Jerri
No face

Some people suffer from an inability to recognize faces. The neurological term is prosopagnosia, or face blindness. A film producer friend of ours has it. It’s polite to introduce yourself by name even when meeting him for the thirty-fifth time so he has no trouble knowing who he’s talking to and doesn’t have to pretend to recognize you to spare you embarrassment. It’s been said the one face can recognize is his wife’s, and only by the part of the forehead where her eyebrows approach the bridge of her nose.

 

I’m sure the first thing that comes to the mind of most people is the potential for the numerous pranks one could play on such a person, from something as harmless as convincing them they’re in a crowd when they’re actually in a room with only one or two other people, to the far more amusing deception of leading them to commit a crime against a close family member. You people are disgusting. That’s what you call amusement? I’m not sure I agree!

 

There is an odd kind of face, though, that can induce prosopagnosia in otherwise neurotypical individuals. Agnethotism is “being forgettable” or “having a forgettable face.” It’s the mirror image of the other thing we were just talking about, which I’ve since forgotten the word for. It’s odd that two afflictions that are basically about the ephemerality of the human face should be able to be called “mirror images” of each other, since each of them conjures a mirror or vision field in which an image fails to appear. It’s like talking about the mirror image of invisibility. But that’s part of the mystery of mirrors. Within a mirror lies another world, and if it were indeed invisible there almost wouldn’t be anything at all to a mirror. What is a mirror but an object that reflects whatever is in front of it? And if all it does is reflect the invisible, it’s unfit.

 

But the subject of a malfunctioning or malingering mirror leads us into highly speculative territory, and we don’t tolerate the highly speculative in this infotainment venue. A slight window of speculation is all we need, open just enough so that we can reach in and pull a thin conspiracy theory from it. That’s why I’m here, anyway. I don’t know why you’re here. Probably to trick someone into killing their mother, from what... read more