The bubbles we inhabit

are not merely empowered to separate us from discerning fact and fiction.
They separate us from debate; civic discourse; meaningful conflict;
From coalition-building; compromise; concession.
They separate us from each other.

Communities seem quaint
Common ground, a shifting place
Quicksand beneath one’s feet
We are all swamp things now
The eyes ogle, waiting for us to falter — for sport

Our shelf lives grow ever shorter
While billionaires transfuse the blood of the young
The youth don’t want my mid-life crisis
It bores them so
My tone grates on America’s next greats

Ideologies wage the fifth world war out on the vast placeless social media savannah 
Faux fantastical beasts feast upon felled paper tigers
One can only hope the most outsized egos
Are the biggest dinosaurs
When the meteor comes

British filmmaker Adam Curtis explains what’s going on

The creator of the also excellent Century of the Self film series released his latest film in October, 2016. Dubbed HyperNormalisation, it offers both a history lesson of the complicated relationship between the West, the Middle East, and Russia, as well as an unflinching look at the roles played by technology, surveillance, and the media on our modern condition of general confusion, destabilization, and surrealism.

A timeline of recent Russian aggression

It’s getting harder to tell anymore who is being paid to push pro-Russian messages, and who has just been sadly taken in by them. For all this braggadocio (braggadocious, even!) about “building a wall” to keep supposed Mexican rapists out (although net migration has been falling with our southern neighbor for some time and is now net negative), no matter what the outcome of next Tuesday’s election, the “borders” around the internet will remain difficult — if not impossible — to police for the foreseeable future.

This all makes our breathless, behind-closed-doors hand-wringing over Soviet Communist influence over the population in the 1960s seem like child’s play. No need to train up a double agent over a lifetime and infiltrate the corridors of state power anymore — just fire up Twitter (or Medium).

It thus probably shouldn’t be as shocking as it has been to find the pro-Russian lovefest coming just as hard from the far-left as it has from the far-right. It stems from a good place (for the most part): a heartfelt desire for peace and the youthful misunderstanding of how difficult (read: impossible) that has been to achieve throughout history. Still, we always want to believe we’ve cracked the nut — that Mutually Assured Destruction now keeps us safe from all the power-hungry demons of the world.

Unfortunately, the Cold War is thawing. With the Russian economy reportedly in dire straits thanks to fragile over-reliance on oil and gas production combined with the precipitous drop in oil prices over the past 18 months, Putin is in a state. A state of keeping the angry ailing Russian classes distracted by the drums of war, while aiming to keep the pampered, self-absorbed American classes distracted from the drums of war. So far to great success — at least on the latter front. It’s hard to speak to the former, although all the paid trolls do seem mighty angry.

Since we can barely pull our heads out of our navels in the U.S. to remember there’s a whole other world outside of our Big Orange Terror Bubble (which is by turns understandable and deeply concerning), I wanted to record here a timeline of events in the lead-up to where we are today (re-purposed from this post with some additional backstory on the Green Party candidate’s Jill Stein involvement with Putin):

This doesn’t include any of the “soft” lobs like the cheeky offers to monitor our elections, or the material connections to the alt-right movement here as well as the swell of right-wing political insurgencies around the world.

Perhaps history will one day show that the deepest destruction wrought by globalization was not the disintegration of America’s manufacturing sector, nor its incentivization of capital flight, but its damage to the last pillars of an aging democratic architecture slowly corroded by neoliberal economic policies in fashion since the Reagan years.

If any history still remains.