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What the fuck is this? what can I expect? (Is it gonna bite me?)

What am I going to publish here, and why you should read it.

Hello to anyone reading this!
Through a combination of luck and algorithmic magic (praise be the algorithm!) you have ended up in my trashfire! Now, there is nothing to worry about regarding physical safety: there is not literally a trashfire here. This is just a blog I have set up so that I may dump some of my writings into. I have three main reasons for doing so:
-exposure. I’ve been told that the single best way to improve any creative skill is to let others see and critique it; so, I encourage anyone to post feedback to any of my writings. As per the front page presentation, I still reserve the right to curate comments when I think you’re being a shit-gibon.
-Archiving. I write a lot. Like, a lot a lot. This leaves me with legions of notebooks/word documents/google docs filled with disorganized ramblings which will never see the light of day. I therefore wanted to set up a place where I could finally collect those writings I personally like, but which I would never think good enough to send to a publisher.
-Incentive. I have severe ADHD; this often means I start writing stuff and junk, then never finish said stuff and junk. Setting up this here space means I can pressure myself into writing coherently just a tad more often.
So, without further delay, here’s the type of stuff you can expect from me:

-Media criticism. This will probably be the bulk of what I do here. I am a graduate student in English, so most of my days are spent critiquing media in one way or another. Whenever I write such a piece that is (1) too short to be an article/essay, (2) not rigorous enough, and/or (3) outside my personal expertise, I will post it here. Who knows, I might also post some of my serious-person-adult research articles.

-Short Fiction. I enjoy writing short fiction, and will share some on here. I don’t expect I’ll post anything over a page or two, definitely nothing over ten, but I’ll share whatever I think people might find funny/revolting/sad/[emotional].

-Poetry. Yup, poems. I’ll try to keep the flowery, middle-school poetry to myself, and just post the angry or sarcastic type, because I am a Very Serious Adult-Person.

-Opinions/news criticism. As they say, opinions are like assholes: everyone has one, and they all stink. But I will still be exposing mine (ambiguous phrasing is beautiful, isn’t it?). I will try to keep the politics (mostly) tame, and sensitive topics will be marked as such; I do not, however, think it possible (nor pertinent) to keep these things off my blog. Because politics and news media have such a huge impact on everyday life, I think it’s important to think critically and publicly about both of them. I might also dissect pieces of news media, on a more formal level (headlines, what is said/ommitted, etc.). As part of my undergraduate degree, I minored in journalism and still care deeply about the medium, and sharing criticism is my personnal contribution.
Now, while I do consider that differing opinions are a good thing, there are a few fundamental things where disagreement is impossible; that is, areas where disagreement simply means (to me) that you are a bad person, period. Here they are:
-Human rights. No one should be discriminated against on the basis of gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, nationality, ability or age. Full stop. If you harbor any kind of -phobia (islamophobia, transphobia, homophobia), then (1) you will never convince me and (2) you probably will not enjoy anything I have to say.
-Basic scientific facts. Gravity is a thing, the earth is round, gender is fluid, climate change is real. All of these are established scientific facts, and if you argue against them, you might not be a bad person, but you’re definitely an idiot.
Might add to the list if I remember something, but that’s pretty much it for now.
Anything else is open to discussion/disagreement.

Hope you enjoy your time in the trashfire!
-Angsty Possum

The Pecking Order

Or, hack journalism at its finest

Last week, an article came out in the New York Post with the headline: NYC medic helped ‘make ends meet’ with racy OnlyFans side gig.” This was, in short, a chickenshit puritan’s mid-life sexual frustrations being condensed into a half-baked hit-piece on an essential worker struggling to make ends meet. I would have thought that even the most craven & unscrupulous smut-peddler would balk at publishing that sort of filth, but it seems I was wrong. Fortunately, this saga has hilariously backfired; the paramedic in question received an outpouring of support, and has not been fired at the time of writing. However, this situation raises a few questions about ethical journalism for me. 

Learning journalism, I was lucky to have an unorthodox professor; he had had a long career in various forms of journalism, public relations, & academic work. Rough around the edges, with an air like a former Hell’s Angel, he impressed upon me & my student colleagues that principles should be inviolate. Between snitching & jail, you go to jail, you never publish a death before the family’s notified, and, crucially, always, always ask yourself: do people really need to read this story? In an ideal world, a journalist’s job is to inform the public; ensure that they are aware of their community, and that whatever power wants to hide gets dragged into the light. Anything which doesn’t do either of those should get trashed. Now, this might mean an unglamorous career covering Junior League Hockey; that’s fine- your article on the neighbourhood kids’ victory will fill their parents’ hearts with pride, and that’s renown enough. 

Now, tell me, what was gained from the drivel published in the NY Post? To mind, the core of this story is this: strapped for cash, paramedic resorts to sex work to suplement their income. There is a story here which the public should hear; how is it that, in the middle of a pandemic, in the richest country in history, a healthcare worker cannot meet their basic needs? How is it that they need to resort to sex work in order to survive? Sex work is fine and dandy with me(if you think it isn’t, check your browser history, then shut up), if intentional; this paramedic’s interviews tell me that, had they been paid properly, sex work wasn’t part of the plan.  An article detailing the difficulties faced by the workers we currently need most would have been a fine piece of journalism; include some details on policy failures, on the inadequacies of American Healthcare, and you’ve got a solid article. Instead, we got some hack’s pent-up sexual inadequacacies aimed squarely at destroying the livelihood of the type of person that’ll save his life after a 6th stroke; great job, New York Post.   

Foreign Relations

Geopolitics done right

These rooms used to imply some smokescreens, literally and figuratively; the smoking bans had shed the material layer, leaving only the euphemistic smoke around. Now, this here was quite a multicultural affair, only noticeable through hats, though: turbans, flat caps, a fez or two. Since UN resolution #42069, summits like this had happened a handful of times; usually, the United-States, Russia, and associated proxies and guests. On the guest list today, president Ivanka Trump and Vice president (and first husband) Donald-Trump-In-A-Vat-of-Formaldehyde, Arch-Prime-Reverend Vladimir Putin, King+1 Johnson, of house Boris, and Best Comrade Xi Jinping, were being mediated by Angela Merkel’s brain (in her chancellor’s jar of office). The issue at hand lay in the recent discovery that the war between Canada, Zuckerland (formerly Hawaii, U.S.A.), and the Emu Republic of Central Australia (ERCA) had actually been a proxy-war between the U.K. (and their U.S. protectorate), The Russian Federation, Not Empire, Promise,Fingers-Crossed Emoji (RF,NE,P,FCE), and the newly-formed Republic of Popular People of Xi’s China(Winnie the Pooh is an Imperialist Lie) (RPPXC(WtPiaIL)). 

Condolences had been sent to the families of those killed in that war (+/- 12 people, and Maxime Bernier, Best Boy of Canada), and this summit had been called; this to either reach diplomatic conclusions, or arrange for an official war between all hold-outs. Right now, the sticking point lay in the question of ownership of Garbage island; technically in Russian waters, China lay claim to it, America claimed it in response to China, and King Johnson kept babbling “TEA?,” which everyone took to mean that he would assert his country’s rights to this patch of garbage floating in the arctic. The whole shebang was exacerbated by the constant blaring of 2016 U.S. election results coming from the First Husband’s public announcement system, and the President’s insistence on carrying her stuffed-Kushner around, 15 years after the latter was dismembered by the Saudi Crown Prince, the King’s 4 year-old son. 

Having reached an impasse, Merkel-Brain finally declared an end to the summit; the customary 30 minutes had run out, and it was time to prepare the official war room. 

President Trump broke into tears, but still wheeled her Father-Husband-VP’s vat through the door. She settled in a corner, cowering behind The Donald and Stuffed-Kushner. 

King Johnson, of House Boris, was force-fed a cup of tea dosed with a mixture of amphetamines and jet fuel; his aides then dragged him to the middle of the room. 

Best Comrade Xi was forced into a red crop-top, and nothing else, then pushed in by his second-in-command. 

Arch-Prime-Reverend Putin, who was quite taller than earlier, with much coarser and darker hair, squeezed through the door, an AK-47 shaped lump deforming his pants. 

Finally, the ceremonial brick, machete, and empty beer bottle (Budweiser, the world’s ONLY beer), were laid on the central table. The door was shut, locked, bolted, barricaded, and, finally, international diplomacy could run its course. 

Fables for Doomers

Or, trying to appeal to the younger generation during a pandemic

Jeff the Turtle

This is the story of a turtle named Jeff. Jeff lived in a swamp, along with his extended family and relations; Jeff’s a pretty sociable guy. He’s got a sweet thing going with a pair of crocs someone dumped in the water, but we’ll let his sexual kinks fly cause he’s a pillar of the community. Now, one day, turtle Jeff wanted to go on an adventure; however, the government had sold fracking rights to the swamp, so jeff fucking died when the workcrews dumped poison sludge all over the pond.
But those hot crocs survived, nasty hoes that they are. 

You will die a tragedy, and turn into a fucking joke

Our story begins with Gertrude, the little brontosaurus. She fucking drowned in a tar-swamp; her skin and bones eventually turned to oil. That oil was drilled by a racist dickhead Texan, shipped off to China, where it became plastic. That plastic was then molded into a dildo for bored westerners who can’t get it up unless a young asian child died providing their latest sexual release. 

Seventy million years of history to get rammed up some boomer’s asshole; ain’t that the best?

A brand new day

Today is a good day for George. After enjoying an amazingly long sleep, he’s ready to take on the world. Literally. Cause George’s a fucking ancient virus, recently thawed by climate change.

Good fucking job, Chevron.

Incels, this is what you are doing

This one’s about Felicia, and her friend Boris. Boris wants to fuck Felicia real bad, but he’s socially inept. So, he does the obvious: he acts real nice, listens to her talk, buys her dinner, holds the door, etc. all with his coital goal in mind. Then, Felicia finds a great gal to date, and Boris calls her an ugly skank.

Cause Boris is not a nice guy; he’s a rapist afraid of the cops. 

She’ll

Imagine, if you will, this scenario: an heterosexual couple, one cis man and one cis woman. Crazy, I know. Man beats his wife on the reg, is explicitly horny on main (literally, he’s pitching a tent on main street right now), and is an all-around, grade-A, pure asshole. But he wears a pussy hat.
That’s what corporations look like on March 8th. 

Parenting under late-capitalism

Heya, young parents, have you heard about the new power-lean-in-empowered parenting method? It’s real simple, and leaves plenty of time for you to figure out how you’ll pay your hospital bills! 

  1. Designate one of your kids as “Boss kid.” Preferably, select the least talented/most likely to die eating caramel; you don’t want a useful kid doing the ordering. 
  2. Tell the others that they are to listen to “Boss kid” at all times. Give their allocations to “Boss kid.” He’ll know how to best spend them. 
  3. That’s it! You can now enjoy your day, knowing that “Boss kid” will ensure the best outcome for everyone!

The ant and the Grasshopper

This one’s a completely original, never-before seen fable for the ages. It’s about an ant and a grasshopper. The ant spends the summer gathering food and junk for the winter; it laboured day, night, that in-between moment in the evening, around 9PM you know? 

Meanwhile, the grasshopper fucked about, pretending to be important, giving speeches on the value of hard work for 2K a head, that sorta shit. Come winter, he also took half the ant’s shit because he owned the burrow, for some reason. So the ant fucking died.

An Overdue Revue of a June Protest

Or, where I pinpoint my geographical location for all to see, and out my sympathies for BLM, wrecking any pretense of unbiased journalism

Walking out the metro, you already feel the high-voltage around the park; witches and queers and pinkos in a massive swell of cooped-up impotent rage. The long arm of the law has decided that the best tactic here’s no tactic; take the bastards at their word, and hope they stay fenced-in at the park. They know the angry masses are a fucking bear; when it’s hibernating, it’d take a goddamn atom bomb to wake it up. Once awake, though, it’ll chew your goddamn face off if you so much as poke it.

Before we join the masses, me and my train loiter half-way between a group of Dirty Commies, leaflets and all, and a coven of black witches hexing at the cops. Speaking of which, one high-school dropout, yellow vest and ersatz penis at attention, gleefully skips our way the second I take a drag from my 11th smoke since stepping out into the sunshine. I already got my “relax-es” and my “sorry officer-s” circling my tongue when the coven explodes in porcine noises; a tall one in the center just starts demolishing Mr. L’agent. Before you know it, he’s regressed fifteen years, and “yes-ma’am-ing” all the way back to the rest of the gestapo. I tip my smoke to the sorceress, then follow my folk to join the human ocean occupying the center of Emilie-Gamelin plaza. There’s someone giving a speech, somewhere in the park; I can’t spot where, who, what, because there’s a giant fuck-off cargo container smack-dab in the middle.

Now, I’m thinking we’re all here for a… stand-up protest? Whatever the fuck that is, and whatever the fuck that can accomplish; but as we stream past the cargo, there’s folks taking to the streets. That kind of craziness is my favourite part; you know the cops expect it, but having them run ahead to block streets and corral us is still funny. Like all marches, slogans and chants and placards abound; the goal’s to get noticed as a unified group. Ironically, what I’m seeing from the ground couldn’t be more disparate; along the BLM true believers, the red n’ black flags, you got a bunch of sunday-mornin’ liberals- to them, this is a family outing. You can spot them real easy: whenever someone chants “tout/le monde/deteste la police,” they’re the only ones not singing. They do serve to swell the numbers, and that’s great; I got no ill-will towards these folk. I just think “they’re so close to gettin’ it, yet so far.” But, really, who cares? I’m of the opinion that no one should take any of my opinions seriously; I am a bitter, jaded queen, hell-bent on maintaining a teenaged anti-authoritarian posture. 

For about three hours, we zigzag along; only excitement came when I spot some of the Sturmtruppen putting on their Sunday finest. I shove my bag in the arms of Friend Gerta, with a bit of rant as spice:

-Goddamn…hold… yeah, fuck, the fucking police, la-bas, they getin’ ready, moi aussi, goddamn…
All the while switching my PPE mask for a good ole’ P100 filtration mask; I know it deals with metal dust, can it stop tear gas? We’ll find out. 

Now, false alarm there; being in an anti-police protest, surrounded by the vultures at every corner, a guy’s bound to be paranoid. Case in point: some fuckwit douchebro you’re-not-my-real-dad type shoots off a firecracker at hour 2; I jumped ahead 2 meters, pulling at Friend Gerta and Friend Helga like I could shield em from bullets. Once everything dropped, I see the fuckwit and resume the march. 

Finally, the destination is revealed to us: city hall. Good- knock the fucker’s door down, burn the flag, destroy the financial district. We sit at the sidelines for a bit, knackered and all, and we watch the holiday marchers turn tail towards the suburbs. As we’re having a snack, some kind of pure-aryan french-canadian conspiracy-buff type just explodes at a group of marchers, and that’s it for me. Too much bad blood around here, and I can see the footsoldiers of Capital closing in, 2 blocks away.

Ruling Post-Apocalypse: The House can’t always win

Or, the pitfalls of capitalist technocracy

                Ever since its release, I’ve had a lot of discussions with friends about Fallout: New Vegas; the most interesting point of contention in these discussions lies, of course, in everyone’s differing preferences regarding the game’s resolution. Each one of us brought to the table our personal choices, and the reasons we made them; as an aside, I often stood out by saying my preference was Yes-Man (might expound on this later). These conversations, and a quick look at global achievement stats on Steam, left me with an interesting observation: people fucking hate the Legion and the NCR both, and I concur, but some will not extend the same scorn to Mr. House. This is perplexing to me; while he may not be as brutal as the Legion, nor as imperialistic as the NCR, Mr. House is probably the most tyrannical out of the three. Thus, I’ve decided to analyze Mr. House, his political philosophy, and the mechanisms of his power.

  1. An Old-World Capitalist

Before the war, Robert House was a billionaire casino owner who, through some admittedly brilliant moves, was able to predict and prepare for the coming nuclear war between China and the U.S. There is no question that the man is smart; that he could see the coming war, predict the ensuing revival of society, and safeguard most of Las Vegas against the nukes discards any doubt one may have. However, neither his intelligence nor his actions elevate him above ideological concerns. House is a capitalist through and through, with his goal being the establishment of New Vegas as a business. This is best illustrated by his attitude to the NCR and the Legion. He wants NCR out, but around, so that he may profit from tourism out of their territory. He wants the Legion gone, simply because he cannot profit from them; he has no say on their brutality, their use of slavery, their rigid stratification of society. In his eyes, the one thing that makes them undesirable is that they consider gambling, drugs and prostitution, all things House profits from, as degenerate practices. 

Now, isn’t the result generally positive? Even if done for profit, isn’t he doing the right thing? To answer this, we need to look at what capitalism is, how it operates, and why, ultimately, motives matter. Very succinctly, Capitalism is an economic system founded on two basic things: private (or productive) property, and capital. In NV, the private property in question are the Strip casinos; House owns them, and so collects profit from them. Currency spent at the casinos goes to him. This accumulated currency is called capital; capital can be used however its owner sees fit. If House so desires, he can hoard all of it, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves. This is an interesting contradiction of capitalist economics: owners have incentives to hoard wealth, but this prevents others from spending at the owner’s properties. If, say, House has a monopoly on food production, this could lead to mass starvation, even though there is plentiful food. Nowhere in this equation do moral concerns appear; if working with the Legion provided greater profits, House would probably do so. If one sides with him at the end of the game, there is nothing preventing him from siding with any future fascist state for profit. This also ties into the nature of ownership under capitalism. Individual ownership of private (or productive) property entails that said individual makes every decision; any discontent is simply removed from the system at the whims of the owner. As in my earlier example, of siding with the Legion for profit, we can see how dangerous this could be for the inhabitants of New Vegas. Furthermore, if House ever comes to the realisation that he could do away with humans altogether, and rely solely on his robots, he could enact a wasteland-wide genocide without much effort.

But he will not have this realisation. Why? Because House illustrates a quote by Slavoj Zizek perfectly: “it is easier to imagine an end to the world than an end to capitalism.” A capitalist at heart, House’s goals are to keep growing his wealth, even after a global apocalypse. What’s the point? What benefits does House gain from his wealth? He is immortal, yes, but only by remaining physically cooped up in a hibernation chamber. He can interact with the outside solely through his robots but does so only when strictly necessary. He does not seem to want anything beyond wealth. He gives no indication that he ever wants to restore his body, and walk the earth again; similarly, he loathes interacting with people from outside his casino. And yet, he meticulously plans out a way to continue gathering wealth after the end of the world. In the end, if House had any imagination outside of his cold, calculating, Capital-hoarding computer of a mind, he might be able to do some good with his immense resources. But he can’t. Because he’s an Old-World Capitalist. The reality of the wastelands is that survival should be prioritized; the whole genre of post-apocalyptic fiction speaks to this. But House cannot reframe his worldview without recognizing the futility of his own life.

  • The cult of expertise and technocratic rule

The most common argument I’ve seen in support of house lies in his technical abilities, his access to resources, and his near-godlike powers of prediction. For the sake of this argument, I will treat all of these things as true; Mr. House I an intelligent man, nigh-omniscient and with access to near-unlimited resources. I still think he’d be a horrible leader. Of course, my earlier dissection of the profit-motive is disqualifying in and of itself, as is his desire for the continuation of capitalist economy. I first want to outline exactly the areas of House’s expertise; to mind, it is twofold. He is an expert in robotics, and a businessman; these qualify him to participate in a society as a roboticist, or a businessman. It does not qualify him to lead a society, let alone when he does not have popular consent.

This is quite a common fallacy; we often fall for it in our world. An expert in, say, astrophysics, pronounces himself on evolution/religion/climate change/feminism/etc. etc., and we tend to trust their judgment. Yet, they know less than fuck-all on the subject they’re talking about. Like… Einstein was a socialist, right? A lot of socialists thus pretend that their position is intellectually superior, because Einstein. Means shit-all, though; he might have been brilliant in his area of expertise, but Einstein’s opinions on politics are just that: personal opinions. Now, I happen to agree with Albert here- still doesn’t mean his thoughts should change anyone’s mind. Same goes for Mr. House; your first encounter with the man is carefully framed by him, so that you see things his way, see him as the god he sees himself as. However, go off-script for a second, and you’ll see he starts panicking like the scared bitch he is. All his calculations, all his planning, years and years spent securing himself a place in the new world- and you can just saunter over to his coffin and drive a sledgehammer through his face. This is the flaw in expert-oriented governance: experts have blinders on; anything outside their field is of no concern. Now, the best of them know this, and defer to others when faced with unrelated problems. But not guys like Mr. House; this type of expert will drive the world to extinction because they can’t see past their blind spots.
               Furthermore, expertise rarely works alone. Scientists generally work in teams, engineers too, etc. etc. Knowing this, it becomes laughable that House would rule Vegas on his lonesome; his solutions to every problem seems to be either: throw money at it, or send in his robots; there are situations where this won’t change a fucking thing. Cooperation is necessary, as is diversity of tactics; however, this is a topic for my piece on the Followers of the Apocalypse.

  • The Friendly Face of authoritarianism

House’s rule over Vegas is secured by his legions of securitron robots. These rolling TV screens usually showcase some cartoonish version of policemen or soldiers; what better way to flaunt your totalitarian power than that? Earlier, I mentioned that House could enact a wide-scale genocide on New Vegas at a moment’s notice, and I’d like to highlight this with the securitrons. By default, they lack proper drivers to run all their capabilities. This, however, still leaves them with: a 9mm submachine gun, laser rifles, and bulky appendages which they can use to beat on House’ opponents. Once upgraded, it gets scarier. They now have rocket launchers, self-repair protocols, tougher armor and, scariest of all: a grenade launcher for “crowd control.” Crowd. Control. A semi-automatic grenade launcher. For Crowd Control. Think about that. Do you really want the guy who thinks its fine to use fragmentation grenades for crowd control to rule a Wendy’s, let alone a crowded city?

                Now, veterans of the game might be tut-tutting me right now with: “the securitrons aren’t unique to House, though. What about Yes-Man?” And don’t worry.

                I’ll get to Yes-Man.

Apocalypse on the brain

Or, coping with impending doom through fictional impending doom

Today, I’m dropping politics for a hot minute, and I’m crawling back to my wheelhouse: literature. Specifically, I want to share some observations and personnal favourites from two overlapping genres: Post-apocalyptic and Dystopian fiction. For the blessed few that have never encountered those genres: PA refers to narratives taking place during or after a local or global cataclysm which destroyed civilisational infrastructure, and Dystopian fiction refers to narratives about authoritarian/oppressive societies, whether post-apocalyptic or not. A good, popular example of both is the Hunger Games series.

I’m mainly writing this here post for the sharing part I mentionned, but I also want to reflect on both genres as a whole; through consuming an inordinate amount of them, I’ve come to a few observations which I want to share with the digital void.

1-Cultural differences in writing PA/Dystopian fiction
Having read PA/Dys. fiction from all over the globe, I’ve started noticing some interesting patterns; specifically, how different cultures write/speak about apocalyptic/dystopian scenarios. Throughout my readings, I’ve formed a few broad categories with overlapping features: European, Commonwealth, American, and Indigenous Australian/American. I’ll be going over each of them separately, drawing parallels and contrasts where applicable. As with any generalized category, examples and counter-examples can be produced Ad eternaem. My goal is not to say “all PA/Dys. fiction produced in these areas fits these characteristics; I use this framework to illustrate the different ways we experience and extrapolate these scenarios.

American: Individual freedom and the hero’s burden
Let’s kick this off with the most prolific producer of fictional narratives, the U.S. of A. To my mind, three defining features of American culture influence its PA/Dyst. narratives: rugged individualism, the american dream, and “civic religion.” The first refers to the individualistic approach that permeates American culture; the individual citizen is presented as the end all, be all master of their own fate. This fosters an approach to politics, ethics, business, etc divorced from any consequences beyond the individual. In AP/Dys. narratives, this translates in narratives centered around spectacular individuals, upon whose shoulders rests the fate of civilisations. The Hunger Games is a good example of this, as is the movie adaptation of V for Vendetta. These narratives are also infused with the “American Dream” mythos, or the “rags to riches” story arc. In Hunger Games, this is examplified by Katniss’s journey from oppressed citizen to resistance hero; her position as resistance hero also strengthens the perception that movements center around one exceptional person. I digress, but these cultural phenomena could also explain the relative unpopularity of anarchism in the U.S.(real anarchism, libertarians/”anarcho”-capitalists are monarchists in denial). The final one, “civic religion,” is slightly weirder. Americans do not conceive of their country as most others do; that is to say, Americans revere the idea of America and its institutions more like a religion than a Nation-State among many. This leads them to view the founders as prophets, and the various legal documents structuring their society as religious texts, inviolate and inviolable. Now, in reality, the “founding fathers” of America were no different than those of Canada, South Africa, Australia, etc. except in their use of armed rebellion rather than slow political distanciation; white slaveholders who wanted to have all the money and land, rather than most of the money and land. The founding documents (declaration of independance, constitution, etc.) are also just like any other foundational documents; they are expressions of the founders’ ideas of a just society, and they outline the nation-bulding and lawmaking processes. Also of note here, the constitution is a copy/paste of the Haudenosaunee’s “Great Law of Peace,” the foundation for the Iroquois Confederacy. How does this translate to PA/Dys.? Well, usually, PA/Dys. narratives will include reference to an imagined Utopia (the world after the oppressive govnt. falls, the idealized past, etc.); in American PA/Dys. narratives, this Utopia will generally have a similar shape/outline to the country Americans think they live in, which usually amounts to the word “freedom” shouted at max volume.
In short, American PA/Dys. narratives tend to center heroic individuals as solutions to societal ills, said hero usually goes rags-to-riches, and the PA/Dys. world is meant to compare unfavourably to the country Americans think they live in.

European
Some of the most thought-provoking PA/Dys. narratives were written by Europeans, and, boy, is it worlds apart from the heroic onanism Americans engage in. European authors tend to center the loss of individual freedoms, like Americans do, but in a manner that integrates this loss into deeper systems of oppression. Two of the most famous examples are, of course, Orwell’s 1984 and Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange. While both narratives focus on individuals, their experience is framed as an infinitesimal part of a larger society. Winston in 1984 ultimately only acts as a guide to the book’s universe; in the grand scheme of things, his actions make little difference. As we learn at the end, his fate was sealed long before the book starts. Through this, Orwell invites us to think of authoritarian structures in minute details: what actions strengthen them, undermine them, what mechanisms are used, etc. Burgess’s novel works in much the same way; Alex’s story is simply indicative of larger societal trends within the world of the novel. While this version may be more depressing to the reader, it achieves something that American PA/Dys. narratives cannot: realism. While, true, the societies imagined by both authors are yet to become reality, there are plausible logical scenarios one can follow to get from the authors’ real world to the world they imagine in their books.

Commonwealth
By “Commonwealth,” I refer to the collection of settler-societies established under the British empire; specifically, Canada, Australia, and South Africa. These tend to follow the European model quite well, showcasing the individual experiencs of persons living in either Post-apocalyptic or dystopic settings, in the context of a much broader society. The key difference lies in the importance of landscape to these authors. My main examples here are Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and George Miller’s Mad Max (particularly Fury Road). In Atwood’s novel, both rural and urban landscapes are used to signify that this Dystopia is not merely a disconnected fantasy world; the novel takes place in familiar settings so as to impress upon the audience that this society might be a few years down the line, if things go awry in a certain sequence. Mad Max seems completely different, however, doesn’t it? It does, at first glance. However, one can easily see Miller’s attempts at decentering any one character; others have said this before, but Max is not the hero of Fury Road. Neither is Furiosa, for that matter; neither of them are the protagonnist either. They are, ultimately, small actors in a much larger system, and it is only by working together that they can achieve anything. The desert here also emphasizes the importance of cooperation, and the futility of totalitarian rule; Immortan Joe might rule over his people, but he only does so through hoarding essential resources (that are in no way scarce), right in the middle of a goddamn desert.

Indigenous American and Australian
Two things: I currently live in North America, therefore I live on stolen land, and I am in no way suggesting here that there is any cultural overlap between Aborigenese and North American Indigenous populations. However, in broadstrokes terms, the novels I’ve read from both currents tell me that there is some overlap in how oppression is perceived in both cultures. Namely, that these authors do not see PA/Dys. narratives as some cataclysmic shift from our current way of life; they mainly regard it as an acceleration of extent systems of oppression. The two main novels I will refer to here are Metis writer Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves, and Aboriginese scholar Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book. Both novels deal with the aftermath of continuing environmental degradation, and the ensuing cumbling of settler-nations. In Marrow Thieves, Euro-Americans suddenly stop dreaming en masse, and somehow convince themselves that harvesting indigenous people’s marrow will heal them; this acts as an allegory for real-world settler-indigenous relations, only here the cannibalization is literal rather than figurative. Throughout the novel, Dimaline invites the reader to see this not as a farfetched, ludicrous scenario, but merely as the logical endpoint of settler-liberalism; there is a “business-as-usual” vibe to the whole ordeal, one in which indigenous populations have been living since Europeans first invaded their lands. If this sounds depressing, I assure you that it is nothing compared to Wright’s book. In Swan Book, the “Post-apocalyptic dystopia” is…the real world? Maybe ten years down the line, in fact; nothing much seems to have changed, except that Nation-States everywhere are breaking down due to environmental disasters, resource wars, and diseases. Like Dimaline’s novel, there is a very strong sense that this state of affairs is par for the course for indigenous populations. But how does that differentiate them from Euro-American PA/Dys. narratives? Mainly, these novels work by limiting their extrapolation to a much bigger extent than even European PA/Dys. narratives; the fact that you can recognize your own world in these novels make them that much more effective.

2- A list of media you should consume, and my comments on each
Or, where I lack inspiration to write a proper subtitle, and compensate by poking semi-ironic fun at myself.

Books
-The Marrow Thieves, Cherie Dimaline (Metis)
I’ve recounted some key aspects of this novel above; I’ll add here that it’s a fantastic read. It’s intended for teenagers/young adults, so expect less violence, more optimism, and just a dash of naivete; a great novel all-around, even jaded Serious Adult Persons will find something to like.

-The Swan Book, Alexis Wright (Waanyi people)
How to describe this one? Well… The Marrow Thieves, except for adults. Structural violence abounds, the tone oscillates between rage and despair, and there is no happy ending; it’s also a fucking slog to get through, owing to the dream-like quality of the writing. And it is the one novel everyone should read, especially white folks in settler-nations like myself. To give you a taste of the tone, the opening line is “Upstairs in my brain, there lives this kind of cut snake virus in its doll’s house.” It’s honestly one of the best novels I’ve ever read. Strongly advise reading 1-2 pages at a time, then taking the time to digest before moving on.

-The Road, Cormac McCarthy (American)
The one American I include, and its the one that destroys every one of my earlier arguments about American PA/Dys. narratives. No bother, trendbreakers are welcome. The Road is probably the only novel more depressing than learning that Sylvia Plath stuck her head in the oven while her kids were in the other room; McCarthy took a look at all post-apocalyptic narratives, and said “you guys realize the whole country would burn down without maintenance, right?” Following a man and a boy, the book drags us on a journey through the charred landscapes of America, where having a shopping trolley and two bullets in a pistol makes you a rich man. Worth the read, if you want to kill any apocalyptic fantasies you may harbor.

-Nineteen Eighty-four (European)
This one isn’t good so much as a story, but as an extended definition of authoritarianism. Orwell takes care to explore the mechanisms of totalitarian rule in minute details, and lays out his thesis as to the most effective means of controlling a population. Also, some conservatives might do well to read it, because many of them seem to ignore what “Orwellian” means.

Video Games
-The Long Dark
This one is a must; stranded in the Canadian wilderness, the player has to expand a significant amount of grey matter figuring out how to survive. The long stretches of silent walking through the woods leave plenty of time to appreicate the beauty of the game world, and listen to the amazing soundtrack.

-This War of Mine
Okay, this one isn’t really PA/Dys., but I’ll count it anyways. The player controls a group of survivors in a war-torn city, just struggling to feed themselves, and keep their brains bullet-free. This is a game where “should I rob this old lady” and “is a carrot worth a bullet in the back” are recurring questions. Strongly recommend.

Sons of Brewers

Whew, this blog’s really just becoming my dumping ground for political opinions, eh? Well, no matter, I got uninformed opinions about politics out the ass, so here’s some more shit.

When I was in the 2nd grade, I got my first history class- that changed my life! To imagine that, before me, before my mom and dad, there was thousands of years of people doing stuff! Wild! Studying the chain of events that led to today, that became a passion of mine. Like, did you know the first societies to settle down did so to brew beer? I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s my headcanon for human civilisation. Everything that’s happened since (the Greeks, Rome, the shogunate, crimea, the holocaust) all happened because some homo sapiens wanted to get wasted. I like that thought; makes me all fuzzy inside. Recently, though, my interest in history turned from “where do we come from?” to “where are we going?” and let me tell ya, I do not like that question. Because, take a second.

Where are we going?

Where do we want to go?

Because, as far as I can tell from the world, we seem to have gotten mixed-up somewhere. We begin as hunter-gatherers somewhere in Africa. Bear with me; we, as humans, decided to settle down. Cool, so far. Our goal: get wasted, and make sure everyone’s fed. Good, good. At some point, we realize there’s not enough resources for everyone; we became selective and tribalist- fair enough, still in antiquity here. Now, from what I know about Rome, they had what we could roughly call “wellfare.” Good, making sure food gets to the hungry. Then the middle-ages, famine and shit, and feudalism. One guy holds a bunch of people as serfs in exchange for protection; bad, but understandable still. Fast forward a bit, industrial revolution; produce ten times more with half the people. So, following our earlier “make sure everybody eats” goal as humans, shouldn’t that have been liberating? Because it seems we forgot that along the way. Wasn’t the whole fucking point of this human… thing… to make sure everybody could eat? Have shelter? Where did we go wrong?

Currently, there’s two empty homes for every homeless person.

We produce food enough for ten billion people.

Shops literally destroy inventory cause they can’t sell it. Not enough people to afford it.

Do you get my point?

Because, as far as I’m concerned, the point of life should be, I dunno, make sure the next generation is better off, and the one after also is, and so on.

But whatever, I’m just some douche on the internet. What the fuck do I know, eh?

Harry Potter Politics vs Sportsball politics

Where the score’s made up, everybody’s friends after the game, and millions of people die

So, back from an extended hiatus, cause I’ve been busy, (read: lazy) and I decided to jump straight back into spicy takes. As you might glean from the intro to this blog, I dabble in politics a bit. Okay, a lot. Too much, in fact. So much that I recently started greeting everybody with a limp handshake and a promise to get their job back. Now, I just decided to pop on here, and write about a lil’ thing that bugs me about modern politics. First though: I’m not gonna pretend this is some revolutionary shit. Others probably observed it before, and it’s probably not a whole new phenomenon. But, since this blog’s mine (ALL MINE, MUAHAHA!), Imma rant about it all I fuckin’ want.

So, on to the actual thing. Two things, actually, which I’m calling, as per the title, Harry Potter and Sportsball politics. Let’s start with Harry Potter politics, since that’s the one that bugs me most. Simply put, HP politics is when someone, usually a liberal (in the American sense), draws a direct paralell between real-world politics and Harry Potter, or any piece of pop-culture really. It’s most egregious within the #Resistance, that movement of mostly white, middle and upper-middle class people who object to Trump mostly because he’s a mean, crude man. They’ll compare the president to Voldemort, his stooges to the death eaters, they’ll photoshop a lightning shape on Hilary Clinton’s forehead, they’ll compare Liz Warren to McGonagall, and so on and so forth.

Now, this seems innofensive enough, just a bit of silly fun by rich liberals with nothing better to do, right? right? Would I be writing this if I thought it was? Yeah, nah. This shit is (1) not funny (2) not cute and (3) indicative of how little these types of people understand politics. Now, I am a proud leftist, why am I shitting on Liberals, you might ask? Well, simple, (1) liberals (as understood in America) are not leftists and (2) I enjoy shitting on liberals. Probably more than on conservatives, to be honest. Dunking on conservatives is like shooting fish in a barrel. With a thermobaric missile.

Now, why do I think HP politics is such a nuisance and should disappear forever, preferably with the series itself, and its TERF-y author? Well, it all comes down to the implicit political message of the Harry Potter series as a whole (which is also the political message of a bunch of pop-culture, not HP exclusively). That message, distilled to its purest essence, is this: society is fine, it does not need to change in any meaningful way, evil is both (1) as obvious as a brick to the face and (2) a character flaw (softly implied to be genetic in Voldemort’s case), and if society could just work as planned, we could ignore evil dudes and focus on levitating couches and shit. This is a problem because (1) sometimes, societies need to change in meaningful ways, and half-measures ain’t gon’ cut it (think slavery: radical change was needed, sooner rather than later), (2) evil is much more complicated than “evil wizard bad” (or “orange man bad,” if you will), and is more often than not the result of years and years of incompetence, mixed with some opportunistic malfeasance, and (3) echoing both previous points, the problem is not “orange man,” it’s that we live in a society structured in such a way as to give a cruel, opportunistic moron outsized influence over billions of lives (Yes, billions. American politics are world politics now, wether we like it or not).

When your political frame of reference is Harry Potter Politics, you’ll only be able to notice an idiot like Trump as evil, cause he’s the only one that’s dumb enough to announce his evil shit first (the wall, the camps, the muslim ban, the trans ban,etc.). You’ll then get totally blindsided when some buzzkill leftist like me comes along and says “yeah, Obama built those camps, Obama drone-striked like it was going out of style, Obama only became pro-gay when it was politically expedient, etc.” Plus, once you get your “chosen one” (Hilary in 2016, Biden in 2020(Godfuck, America’s so stupid)) into office, its back to brunch with ya, and politics becomes white noise again. Meanwhile, the healthcare system’s fucked, the planet’s burning, children are still in concentration camps, and the “chosen one” is dumping tons of bombs into middle-eastern weddings cause the groom might have met Bin Laden’s nephew’s son’s wife at some point. Wow, this got longer and meaner than I intended. Sorry, liberals. If it makes you feel better, I like you more than conservatives; just because I think they’re intentionnaly cruel, while I think you’re just daft as fuck. For christ’s sake, Harry Potter literally joins the wizard secret police at the end; ain’t you supposed to be against the Gestapo?

But hey, let’s lay off the libs and thermobaric some fish! Cause this next thing, sportsball politics, is really fucking obvious among republicans! In short, sportsball politics is when you treat politics like it’s a football game; you root for your team, you hope they win, but you don’t think that (1) you can impact the outcome and (2) that it’ll change a goddamn thing either way. It’s the polar opposite of HP politics’ resistance-porn but, in practice, they create the same effect: apathy. HP politics tells you that someone is fated to fix everything; sportsball politics tells you there ain’t nobody to fix anything. So, following the logic of sportsball fans, you just back your team come hell or high water. Or, in the Republicans’ case, even when your candidates are: credibly accused of sexual assault (Donny T), credibly accused of paedophilia (Roy Moore, Don Ton), credibly accused of Neo-Nazi sympathies (Steve King, From the D to the T), just a goddamn lunatic (Donnnnnnnaaaaald), etc. Because, at the end of the day, if the guy that creeps on teens is on your side, he’ll get your vote.

But why does any of this shit matter? Well, both of them further solidify politics as both a popularity contest and a fandom when, in reality, it influences all of our lives. This is where I bring back my earlier comment, about American politics being world politics. Because of its oversized influence in the West, America’s internal politics are a goddamn nightmare for foreigners. It goes from kinda mild (if shit goes down in the US, you can be goddamn sure Canada’s getting splattered a bit, Google Maxime Bernier election 2019 for reference) to fucking horrifying (google any middle-eastern country, or Chile, or Vietnam, or any other country where America decided to swing its dick). Whenever America holds one of its century-long elections, the rest of the world holds its breath, hoping its the guy who’ll fuck them without lube instead of the one that’ll sodomize them with a baseball bat. And make them pay for the privilege.

But, how do we avoid these pitfalls, you might ask? Well, I’m not an expert honestly. I do have a suggestion: DO YOUR GODDAMN HOMEWORK FOR ONCE! It’s an election, not a goddamn spelling bee! Do some research on candidates, stop taking them at their word. See what their voting record is, find out if they’ve been accused of rape, or if they ever burned a cross in someone’s yard. Libs, stop looking for a self-insert politician; political change comes from mass movements, not your childish fantasy of Kween Hilary or whatever. GOPers, stop backing Nazis and rapists; is that so hard?

Ruling Post-Apocalypse: Caesar’s Legion

Not Caesar, Mussolini

                Among the more powerful factions of the Mojave Wasteland, Caesar’s legion is easily the one that stands out most. Named, organized and equipped in the spirit of the historical Roman Empire, the legion presents itself as an antidote to the chaos of life in post-apocalyptic America. Their military is rigidly organised, their territory is safe, and all swear allegiance to Caesar (real name Edward Sallow). Their means so pragmatic, their rhetoric so logical, one could be forgiven for not seeing them for what they are: fascist thugs. For it is not the aforementioned Roman Empire that inspired the political makeup of the legion, but that much more recent Italian authoritarianism, Mussolini’s fascism. The legion is probably one of the better examinations of fascist ideology in fiction of its times; whether this is intentional on the developers’ part is irrelevant.

Now, I know that the term “fascist” has been diluted somewhat since the 40’s; it has been used to describe every shade of the political spectrum and has been reduced to a shorthand for “bad.” It does, however, have an actual definition and usage in political philosophy, and remains an important term in media criticism. Rather than designating a specific mode of government, fascism refers to a mode of political organizing. In short, it is a pragmatic movement, characterized by its unprincipled opportunism and its creation of in-groups and out-groups. The process of defining outsiders and insiders is repeated every time an outside force is neutralized. For the purposes of this analysis, I will use Umberto Eco’s fourteen defining features of Ur-fascism. Ur-fascism is Eco’s name for the political philosophy, stripped of symbols and cultural signifiers. I will delineate the legion’s adherence to this mode, then explain why, of all the contenders in this post-apocalyptic war, the legion is the only definite “bad guy.” So often video games try to equivocate their internal politics by painting everything so deep gray that one could easily think this was the case here; the legion’s rhetoric and comments from outsiders can make the legion seem a sensible choice in this world. Yet Obsidian Entertainment refuses the gray brush here, and explains, in short, why even sensible and polite Nazis are bad.

                Eco’s first characteristic is Ur-Fascism’s cult of tradition, or rather the veneer thereof. Fascism takes from historical tradition whatever message it wants to spread, molding and shaping it into a syncretic traditionalism. Looking deeper at the Legion’s Roman inspiration, it becomes apparent that said inspiration is only skin deep, mere artifice to hide the authoritarian folly of the leader. The name itself becomes an interesting example of this: The Legion. Not Rome, New Rome, the empire or any other name that might imply an interest in the social organization of such a world. The Legion implies that this, despite all posturing to higher ideals, is merely a militarist, destructive force, meant to conquer, assimilate and repeat. For Caesar’s legion, and historical fascisms, this process is not the means to an end: it is the end. To repeat this process ad nauseam, until nothing is left but the leader. As Eco and other historians of fascism point out, fascist movements require an external enemy; there is no resting point for fascism. Once one group has been eradicated, the need for an enemy means that a new “outsider” needs to be defined, otherwise an internal one will suffice. This leads to the implosion of any fascist movement on a long enough timeline. In this instance, the name of the organization belies what they really seek, even unknowingly. Militarism and the creation of out-groups will come back later in the analysis; for now, let’s proceed to Eco’s second characterictic of Ur-Fascism.

                The syncretic traditionalism espoused by fascistic movements also forces a refusal of modernity and progress. Historical fascisms have had an admiration for scientific achievements, especially those that could further their imperialist ambitions; social progress, on the other hand, was squarely associated with the enemy. This is why nazi antisemitism was comorbid with misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and hatred of the political left in general. While none of those things were unique to Germany, they stand out particularly in contrast to the Weimar Republic’s politics (Inter-war Germany). One must not forget that the biggest Nazi book-burning targeted the Institut fürr Sexualwissenschaft, which specialized in research pertaining to the LGBTQ community.  Caesar’s virtual fascists take this refusal of modernity to heart; most of their criticism of other factions within the game world centers around their perception of social progressivism as profligate- a borrowed term from latin, and a synonym of degenerate. This word, degenerate, is significant: it is often used by fascist movements to smear their adversaries. Its implications of decadence and downfall are not accidental; fascists are obsessed with what Roger Griffin calls “palingenetic ultra-nationalism.” This, in short, is the belief that “our people” are ancient, fated to rule the world, but have been on the decline for some time, this decline being blamed on external, evil influences. When Caesar’s Legion calls for the removal of “profligates,” they are drawing a distinct line between themselves and historical fascisms.

                Eco’s third, fourth and fifth point all share representation within Caesar’s Legion, in the form of the heavily stratified, autocratic organisation of the Legion. Individuals are discouraged from questioning orders, to the point of committing suicide if ever captured by the enemy. Because, as Eco puts it, action for action’s sake is a sign of strength, criticism is a sign of “degeneracy,” and disagreement with any aspect of the system, particularly the leader, is tantamount to treason. The Legion’s focus on martial pursuits illustrates this tendency quite well; soldiers are bred, born and raised to act without question, to kill at Caesar’s order, and die for the cause.

                Criteria six, the appeal to a frustrated middle-class, does not apply here, as society has already collapsed within the Fallout universe. However, point seven, rabid nationalism, describes the Legion quite well. Considering the cult of personality surrounding Caesar, the subordination of everything to the needs of the “state,” one would be blind not to see this as post-apocalyptic nationalism. That the Legion eradicates those cultures it conquers is also significant; by destroying allegiances to one’s original culture, it forces idolization of the Legion and its leader even on those it subjugates. This forced identification with the Legion as a nation also illustrates another aspect of fascism Eco didn’t touch on, namely its unprincipled opportunism. Since fascism depends on mass movements but aims to install a relatively small group in power, it often assimilates its “enemies” in order to achieve its goals. These fair-weather allies will eventually be cast back as outsiders once they are no longer needed.  

                Characteristics nine, ten, eleven and thirteen are all interested in its militaristic aspects. The Legion itself is based on the idea of a struggle for survival; specifically, a violent struggle for survival. As many acknowledge within the game, once the Legion conquers everything, their armies will simply turn on each other; this echoes the idea of a life for struggle that Eco put forth. We can see this in the Legion’s organization; specifically, that everything the Legion does is done to shore up their expansionist efforts. Every one of their “settlements” is in fact both factory and military camp. This is all that the Legion requires anyway; why bother making anything else? Of course, their larger territory includes a larger economy; but as is recognized within the Legion, said economy is bent to the whims of the Legion’s constant warfare. That they let trade flourish in their territory is not an indication of any liberal tendencies; the Legion simply needs trade to feed its war machine. Points ten and eleven refer to popular elitism and heroic education. The former refers to the idea that each member of the ideal nation is superior to all others, and the latter follows in educating everyone into heroes. The idea of supremacy and heroism mesh within the Legion, giving birth to an army of warriors that will run to their deaths, all in a vain quest for glory. As many members of the Legion’s upper strata recognize, these soldiers’ lives are expandable in pursuit of their goals.  Point thirteen refers to the idea that the leader speaks for all; his word is the word of the people, and since Caesar wants war, the people want war.

                The final point I will be inspecting is number fourteen: fascist “newspeak.” In Fallout, the Legion’s members all use borrowed terms from Latin: Ave, Vale, profligate, decimation, etc. This has two main effects: distinction from outsiders and identification with insiders. If all members of the Legion sound, to outsiders, like they speak another language, it reinforces the distance there is between them. As such, the mere act of speaking to outsiders becomes nearly impossible- reinforcing the isolation of Legion members from the world. Identification with insiders helps reinforce this and creates a sense of community among them so as to strengthen the movement and isolate it from outside influences. This results in a monolithic state, bent on destroying all others and running to its own end.

                But, in the end, why are they the bad guys? Their roads are safe and their members well-fed; but, in the end, societies cannot be maintained in a state of war for eternity. Aside from the self-defeating cycle of destroying outsiders, then creating new outsiders to destroy, the Legion’s social structure is not meant to maintain a society in the long-term. One can imagine a million micro-rebellions happening within its bounds from the start. However, no need to even imagine a million- one suffices. Whether it comes from disgruntled generals, slaves or even the legionaries themselves, it will eventually happen. Inertia applies even to political systems, especially to those that wish to “stabilize” the world into an immutable monolith. Or, echoing my introduction: the antidote to chaos is not to freeze everything in place.

Ruling post-apocalypse: A series on Fallout: New Vegas

Where I have fun with politics and videogames

As a spot of practice, and a bit of entertainment, I’ve decided to start a short series on politics within Fallout: New Vegas. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Bethesda Softworks, Fallout: New Vegas is the 7th game produced in the Fallout series. It is considered a spin-off from the main series, and acts as a sequel to Fallout 1 & 2, rather than the more recent Fallout 3, mainly due to Obsidian’s development team having worked on 1 & 2 as part of the now-defunct Black Isle Studios. The game’s central narrative focuses on a post-apocalyptic war for the control of New Vegas between the democratic New California Republic, the authoritarian legion, and the technocratic Mr. House. Through this, the player is offered an interesting look at various forms of political organization, be it through the three big players, or the myriad smaller factions encountered in the Mojave wasteland.

As everythin else on my site, I will post installments irregularly, but here is a non-exhaustive list of what I’ll be looking at:
-The Legion, and fascist authoritarism (This will drop at the same time as this here post)
-The NCR and liberal representative democracy
-Mr. House and technocratic oligarchy
-Yes-Man and Techno-anarchism
-The Followers of the Apocalypse, The Kings, and Anarcho-mutualism
-The Brotherhood of Steel and Pseudo-Feudal Technocracy
-Echoes of The Master and Communal Transhumanism: The super mutant and identity
-The boomers, gerontocracy, and militant isolationism
-The Big Empty and the limits of science
-New Canaan, the tribes of Zion, and colonialism
-Ulysses, The Divide, and the pitfalls of nostalgia

Cheers, hope this tickles your fancy!
-Angsty Possum