Plugging in the ignorance – The rise and fall of paid trolls


democracy, sydney media jam blogIf you remember the hype about the internet connecting the world, you may be amazed to learn that trolls were never predicted. In this neo-McCarthyist environment of harassment, it seems an odd omission of judgment. Paid trolls are  a major industry.

A level of resistance has been created, inefficiently and slowly, but the trolls are now in their necrotic heyday. So are their regressive sponsors. The return to primitivism has been a global phenomenon. These clueless clowns are the school bullies, reborn as trolls. They’re two dimensional, surreal, and arguably insane, despite their paid status.

Any basic communications workshop will tell you that any form of communication is based on a variable knowledge base. Some people need baby talk; some can’t stand it. Some resist information, simply because they don’t know how to adapt it to their knowledge bases.

Ignorance and troll basics

freelance writing, Paul Wallis books, writing tips

Wish I’d known this when I started out.

The internet, which is a mix of expertise and interests, is an environment in which some very basic, if very old, bullying techniques work well against user ignorance. These techniques are learned. For example – Make an irrational, polarizing assertion, and the inexperienced will try to deal with it, instead of running it over. Many people try to figure out why these situations arise, rather than taking the more practical option of simply shutting down the trolls.

Note the difference – The assumption, totally incorrect, of a rationale behind what is basically irrational behavior. I’ve had a few experiences in which I chose to confront the trolls, and like school bullies, they backed off. I didn’t (and don’t) give a damn about any possible rationale; I write a lot of op-eds, and if someone thinks my opinions can be changed by a thread full of political or other bullshit, they’re out of their minds.

Admittedly, I’m very pushy and aggressive, and the way I react probably wouldn’t be a very comfortable response for others. My observation, though, is that browbeaters and other trolls don’t have a lot of substance or stamina. It’s like hitting a soap bubble. They don’t know how to deal with a situation where they have no effect at all.

Paid trolls – A study in ignorance

Are we poor enough yet HYFDAY versionThe average troll is no major feat of intellect on any level. They tend to be copycats, with no real spark of originality, as individual operators. As paid trolls, they stick to scripts. They even use exactly the same phrases, targeting homophobia, racism, hatred of the poor, etc. It’s a virtual keyword list for the current 2016 election campaign, which has resurrected every right wing troll cliché in the last 8 years. Originality isn’t their forte.

The revelations of paid trolls are like “confessions of a salesman” with an ugly twist or many. Third parties act as proxies for political interests, for example, changing their names and dodging identification. Some democracy, eh?

Troll techniques include responding to specific cues, and other spontaneous outbreaks of personal sincerity. The whole process is whitewashed with “our opponents play dirty” (ever see a liberal who could be bothered?) and essentially a macro for online behavior.

Job page 16Expert online bloggers looking for work have encountered pay-for-trolling ads with regularity.Can this be ignorance? It is, ironically, in that the need to pay people to agree with their views obviously hasn’t rung any bells with troll sponsors. They’re paying people who don’t believe a word of it to be trolls promoting their “views”. FOX news has been outed, with some credibility, in this regard. (So who’s surprised? These people have never been anywhere near reality, why start now?)

The real effects of trolling apply to those who are actually influenced by this ridiculous, rabid, and totally fake behavior. “Some of the people, all of the time”, in effect. Weak people, lost people, those ignorant of the realities of this fake fanaticism, it’ll always hit a few.

The effect in political terms is totally disproportionate. Hysteria based on bogus personal views is absurd, but it happens. The mindless mobs in the 2016 elections, including a lot of people who obviously can barely read or understand simple sentences, are indicative. This is ignorance, incarnate. (It’s also the price of insane education policies. You can’t be this ignorant without some help, these days.)

The setting sun of Trolldom

2016 US elections, sydney media jam

Who needs reality anyway, when you’ve got American media?

That trolls are effective is undeniable. Obnoxious and gutless as they are, they do a lot of damage. Trolling kids’ Facebook pages is perhaps the lowest of the low. The fact that the self-important internet doesn’t deign to do much about this very common practice is indicative of another type of very insular ignorance from people who should know a lot better.

That’s likely to change, and quite rightly, probably brutally. There are enough grounds for legal action in this area to drive a fleet of aircraft carriers through. Forget the theory about immunity from legal liabilities for websites. There’s no such law, anywhere on Earth. Nor are the trolls themselves immune. There’s no service agreement on Earth which protects them; most service agreements, in fact, stipulate conduct rules.

Trolls can be identified, even using botnets. Arguably, the average botnet is a defining DNA sample for anyone operating it.  I’m not going to explain how, (why give these bastards any warning?) but it’s a LEGO-like process. Just about anyone with experience managing a troll-besieged website forum (I’ve done it myself) could tell you how.

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam, creative process, creativity

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas.

Ignorance is its own greatest liability. There’s money to be made in anti-troll operations. Think of the publicity, the market credibility, and the related benefits alone. Merchandising, website management software, you name it; it’s a few billion for the taking, at the trolls’ expense.

The trolls and their handlers have made themselves valuable targets. One bit of case law will kill the sponsors, and the rest will run for their lives. The personal troll culture, which was always a load of crap, will be history, killed off in the process by better options for those being trolled.

Put it this way – If you could make $500,000 in a pro bono, bona fide class action against trolls and/or their corporate sponsors, would you be in it?  So would the rest of the world. Compensation for what is basically a type of assault is normal legal practice. There are no hard legal issues; it’s just a matter of proof. Expect a stampede when the dam breaks.

The future of Trolldom is extinction, and good riddance. Ignorance and the promoters of ignorance deserve whatever they get.

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The writing game – Where there’s no compromise at all


democracy, sydney media jam blogThe writing profession is weird. I’ve been writing for many years. What I see online is the product of bureaucracy, not inspiration, opinion, or actual thought.

Some of these guys can actually write.  It’s not that they’re bad writers, at all. The trouble is that they don’t. They’re writing recipes, not content. They’re writing “the way you’re supposed to write”, which is a surefire recipe for being ignored by readers, if not publishers.

The mere theory of writing doesn’t create great reading. It creates good structures, good technical writing, but not stories, ideas, or the sort of fantastic experience reading can be.

There’s a theory that “modern readers”, the poor, truly starved bastards, are different. They want sex, action, character models, and, well, everything. Well, thanks for the mouthwash, clowns. If that was the case, nobody would read the news, non-fiction, or anything else.

The media theory of writing

My books, oddly, are about endless different realities. No wonder they don't sell.

My books, oddly, are about endless different realities. No wonder they don’t sell.

The compensating theory for that situation is the interestingly futile theory, promoted by publishers these days that they don’t read at all – They watch media. That’s partly true. The visualization is done by media, meaning the audience doesn’t get a chance to do any visualizing of their own. It’s grade school again. That’s one of the reasons that so much you see is instantly forgotten. The brain didn’t have any role in seeing it, so the memory is vague at best.

It’s also a big step towards genuine illiteracy. Literacy means understanding what you read, and the meanings of ideas. Literacy isn’t a parroting exercise.

However – Even the reality TV trash factories use writing. They don’t really recognize ideas; they just tell a story. Girl meets boy in a ridiculous environment, then guess what happens. It’s trivializing human experience on a colossal scale, but that’s OK if you’re a real idiot.

For writers, however, writing trash gets on your nerves. I made a decision, decades ago – I won’t write for morons. I don’t. I write for people who at least have the balls to do their own visualization. I know a lot of people don’t even have the guts to be themselves, but to hide from a book? That’s getting way down there.

The very first line of my very first book is “The fungoid looked pleased with itself”. Now visualize – What does a pleased fungus look like? I thought it was a pretty simple joke.

You see where this is going in terms of writing preferences. I can describe a pleased looking fungus, do a graphic and call it a pleased fungus, or let the readers think for themselves. Also to the point – I have to look at descriptions like that, if I write them.

All of which is leading up to this – Some things aren’t simple. Some story ideas aren’t simple. You need to be able to visualize. It makes reading a lot more fun, too, but try finding that in writing theory.

Catch 22Some books are real world shakers. Catch 22 was one. Nobody had ever seen anything like it, and back then people had enough vocabulary to discuss it. They even knew how to enjoy a book. A movie was made, bravely enough, and the visual media couldn’t deliver the same effect as the book.

If writing doesn’t get inside your head and make you visualize, it’s missing the target, or the target is missing the point. Visualization is a critical part of life and of human history. Fire and the wheel were the result of visualizations. So is every other design ever made. Anything you’ve ever used or worn was made by visualization in some form.

Case in point – Horror – Horror stories are scary because of a type of visualization. The unknown is scary enough, but if you happen to have a Thing/Blob around, it’s a lot scarier before you see it, because of that type of visualization.

What’s a compromise, and how soon can I shoot it?

If I can’t write stuff for readers to visualize, I can write the easy way and make it look difficult – This pathetic arse wipe of a culture wouldn’t know the difference. The pity of it is that I’m not lazy enough to do it that way.

Industry standard takes less than 10% of the effort of top quality work. A chimp could write to the usual Grade 7 level if it could stay awake. Even these “Heil Everything” publishers could do it.

But writing like that would be compromising with something I truly despise. I want to write something worth writing, and not just for the money. There can be no compromise. I’m currently thinking about something right out of the ball park for “modern” media (it’s a macro from circa 1950) which might work on my terms.

… But if I see any compromise with We Heart Crap, it’s shootin’ time.

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Management science, depending on what drug you’re using


democracy, sydney media jam blogManagement science texts are to the English language what diarrhea is to ballet. They need something to make them more interesting and easier to survive.

Many academics, mainly to avoid being bored to death, have suggested that illegal drugs may achieve this noble goal. I’ve put together a few examples of dictated management science texts on the subject of management dynamics for enlightenment and transcription, and to annoy as many people as possible, as follows:

Are we poor enough yet page 8Cocaine – Management dynamics are critical in any organization… (Snort, wheeze) … These dynamics are sort of sparkly-tingly. They’re like a 40-year-old eunuch trying to date a super model in a coin laundry. (Cough) You may be there, but the people you want aren’t. (No, that’s my face. I’m using it. Whaddya mean, “Why”?) You need to approach the working mechanics of management dynamics with a fruit salad-like zing. (We got any more? Go sell your other kidney, it’ll be great.)

Ice – Management dynamics are (Get out of my face right now, dude) essential parts of a truly efficient, profitable business culture. (Sound of breaking furniture) You need (smash, crash) to understand the core fundamental essentials of (gunfire) making your role effective. (Put down the chainsaw, Mom) (Sirens) Don’t forget to subscribe!

Oxycontin –  Management dynamics are the cushion on your butt to get you through the business roller coaster ride. They’re the (Huh? What? Oh, yeah, he’s been glued to the ceiling for weeks now. I think he’s napping.) …big deal for your… something… (Ah, I’ll do it later.)

Paul Wallis books, Threat-Hamster, Wanderlaugh

My books, oddly, are about endless different realities. No wonder they don’t sell.

Testosterone – Management dynamics are what make you a man among men. A god! People will come from all over the world simply to get beaten up by you and turned in to a puddle. (Sound of traffic) Get your management dynamics right and the world is your pussy! (Whispers into mike – Nobody needs to know you’re a gerbil whose last date was with a toaster. You know, guys – The big stick approach – All class, buffed and dressed to shill. Like you’re a real someone.) You can name your own price for anything. (Traffic louder. Sound of horns and brakes) You can be… (Hey, you…Crunch… grind, squish…)  

LSD – Management dynamics are a trip. It’s like a big swirly world where you manage things and then start to wonder why and all these horizons suddenly appear and you go and check them out and your dynamics are really cool and you can focus on things really clearly and just chill out in the colors. Chickens. Millions of chickens, marching across the plains into that limo and out on to red carpets. Screw it, I’d rather listen to music, read comics and zone out for a few billion years. It’s safer.

Marijuana – Management dynamics are something you need to think about. Well, no. You don’t need to think about it. You just need to realize that – What…. Why would anyone want to realize something like that, particularly about themselves? Nah, when I smoke my inner social hypocrite dies again for the thousandth time and I bury him with a few laughs… You wanna manage anyone, just act like a human being. Can we publish that? Thought not.

As you can see, we’ve proved that drugs can prevent management science texts. Later we hope to prove that they can also prevent people from becoming management scientists.

Trump, schmump – 2016 is about the perversion of democracy


democracy, sydney media jam blogAmerican politics has become an anti-democracy. It’s a multi-generational socio-economic snuff movie in progress. It has the elegance of a sewer, the grace of duly institutionalized hemorrhoids, the natural grandeur of a toxic waste dump and the nasty odor of advanced corruption and decay oozing through the cracks in every part of it.

The problem-creating machine is generating useless, hideous, hysteria when it should evoke nothing but contempt.

How can you believe in these subhuman vermin? Donald Trump is simply the current incarnation of this culture. He’s the thing from the machine. He’s not original. He’s an ad lib collection of unsupported statements without any working basis, just like the other clown droppings. This is the norm, just with much more publicity.

2016 US elections, sydney media jam

Who needs reality anyway, when you’ve got American media?

The rest of the process is already history. Some of America’s Least Interesting, the real political nobodies, have done what is basically all they ever do – Jump on the bandwagon. They’d follow Kermit the Frog if he was leading, too. Democracy may not work any more, but sycophancy does.

The Tea Party was the template; this is the indie version. The method works. Now, the GOP can’t do anything without Tea Party permission.



What happens next, whoever wins the nomination, is franchising, creating the usual oligarchy of two dimensional bozos as extras in a Presidential campaign.The scum are now running the machine, for their own benefit as usual. Some democracy – None of the people need apply.

Now ask yourself – What has this process ever solved? Has it solved the poverty, the crime, the hideous decline in standards of living, the nutcase culture, or anything else?

What are they going to do – Lose another war, lose another generation, lose another crisis from the mindless Wall Street psychos? Treat more vets like crap, more sick people like animals? Make meds even more unaffordable? How damn dumb can you be to trust a single word of this garbage? Will they make you rich? They never have. America became a super power despite its politics, not because of them.

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas.

Policies based on fiction, polarization as a way of life, you name it; rhetoric has replaced reality for all functional purposes in American politics. If the United States went from 13 pernickety colonies to a world super power, the Disunited States has arguably done more damage to itself than the Civil War, in a mere few decades of those 240 years. Hating other Americans is now standard, expected, practice. Legislating against them is the basis of an entire industry of one-sided legislation-writers. It’s a hideous outcome of decades of abuse.

The prognosis isn’t good, either. America is OD-ing on high fructose BS from people who’ve contributed nothing but destruction to the nation. The American people are being treated like toilet paper. Quite literally anything, however totally insane, can and will be published and smeared in vast, smelly, unhygienic quantities on the American public. The quality of what’s smeared can be analyzed, sermonized, disenfranchised, forgotten, misbegotten, or simply sprayed on by media hacks, but it doesn’t really matter. This feed of unsanitary crap has become the basis of the World’s Greatest Democratic Process.

Reality, that tactless thing, indicates a few flaws in this process. It’s been Groundhog Day, November 22, 1963, repeated endlessly for American democracy at all levels, for many years. This is just the current version. The bullets are now media events for nutcases, and there’s no lack of ammo. The Hill has replaced the grassy knoll. The targets are now simply more numerous and come with demographic analyses. The targets can’t take cover anywhere; every filthy word, every disgusting bit of innuendo, every maniacal statement, from any source, will hit something or someone.

America’s media has proven to be a pretty iffy, not to say embarrassingly feeble, defense against this barrage of BS. It’s been demoted to a mere assistant facilitator. It’s also now getting smeared enthusiastically with the same materials, and making a hash of dealing with it.

The collateral damage in the big picture isn’t being addressed by media very effectively, either. Trump may be loud and obnoxious in attacking any name, descriptor or noun, but the side effect is that it makes everyone else, however bizarre, malicious and divisive, look good. Trump is a political amateur with a shelf life; the vicious, unprincipled professionals are still around, and they’ll outlast him by decades. Anything that makes them look good isn’t good for anyone.

The machinery which delivers this tonnage of the proverbial, isn’t being analyzed effectively. For example, the crowds – People who can obviously barely read are suddenly political activists, passionate about polysyllabic things they may or may not be able to spell?

White collar people are suddenly “enriched” with political zeal, when they should know so much better? 2016 is the year all these “disaffected” redneck robots spontaneously become concerned citizens? All those Conspicuous Libertarians are surprisingly silent, after decades of ultra-verbosity? You may expect the usual 4-year madness, but you could buy a ton of grass seeds from Wal Mart, and not get this level of implausible, instantly sprouting, grass roots support.

“Disaffection” looks more like pure opportunism, from people who aren’t well known for using their time without hard currency incentives. That’s not new, either; Pre-paid enthusiasm and Rent a Mob aren’t exactly unknown in many forms of political marketing. It’s a non-topic in the play-nice American media, though.

Trump will come and go, like any demagogue. He’s not the issue. If it wasn’t Trump, it’d be someone else. It may mean up to eight years of pure hell for America, but he’s the symptom, not the disease. The poisoning of the American democratic process is far more important, and far more advanced.

The sane side of American politics (fascinating expression; got anyone in mind?) can stop congratulating itself on not being Trump, and start trying to find some sanitary wipes and disinfectant. This very poor political hygiene can lead to total democracy failure, if the condition persists.

www.sydneymediajam.comAfter 10 years, this site deserves better than for me to be screwing around just trying to publish. I’ll give it a couple more shots, then decide.







Vick Strizheus Review


Wasp2Vick Strizheus is a top Internet marketer. He’s also one of the most controversial people ever to work in marketing. He’s deeply loved and loathed.

I decided to check out this guy, because of my own long lineage in advertising and online marketing.

Vick Strizheus – History and Criticisms

Strizheus is a higher-end marketing advisor. He’s a started out and has achieved so much at a young age, and he’s had his own highly publicized ups and downs. His early career, notably with Empower Network, was a grim experience. He got himself out of that black hole with a venture called Big Idea Mastermind, which helped him learn a lot about Internet marketing and what people were really looking for in marketing education. Snap to today, Vick Strizheus’ Project Breakthrough is now delivering what Internet marketers have always wanted – real results. It is affiliated with Vick Strizheus’ High Traffic Academy company.

Ads_Cover_for_KindleHe Americanized his name from Vitaly to Vick (most people from non-English speaking backgrounds do) –and even that, for some reason, is a target for flak from the critics. An old court case is still doing the rounds online, too. The net text of the critics is “scam”.

Most of these Vick Strizheus scammer reports look like a young guy going through the train wrecks of being a young guy in any complex entrepreneurial business environment. He’s never denied his past misadventures. He, unlike his critics, however, has grown up and moved on.

Additionally, he addresses some of his prior experiences on his website, such as inaccurate Vick Strizheus Empower Network reviews. He doesn’t try to avoid the issues – he addresses them head on and that is something anyone can appreciate.

vick strizheus, internet marketing coaching,

Vick Strizheus

Vick Strizheus Website Review.

I’m a journalist. I’m not in the business of defamation, nor melodrama and character assassination, for that matter. I’m in the business of analysis, not allegations. I checked out the Vick website, as follows.


One of the first things I checked, given the various critiques, was compliance.

I found as follows:

  • All fees disclosed upfront – Yes, for coaching. The Product page is currently under construction, but would expect prices to be straightforward.
  • Get rich quick claims – No. Quite the opposite, Strizheus specifically cites who should use his services. He’s targeting marketers, entrepreneurs, and online businesses.
  • Prices – High, but ballpark for top of the line coaching services, and apparently popular.
  • MLM “recruiting drives” or inducements – None.
  • Testimonials – A lot of people seem to be prepared to get in front of a camera and say they’re happy with Strizheus. This doesn’t quite gel with the critics, or their various claims. The “Vick Strizheus scam artist” reviews are just not holding up with so many people seeing positive results from his teachings.

Style and Substance – Strizheus, Analyzed

Customer_Service_Han_Cover_for_KindleThe most glaringly obvious thing about Vick Strizheus is that he is a born salesman, and a good one. He has an informal, friendly presentation style, which is a lesson in itself. This style, in fact, is core business for what he does – Engagement. “Engagement” is not a buzzword. It’s bread and butter for online business.

He addresses basics like product differentiation, affiliate marketing, Costco methods, and other useful information on his free Million Dollar Idea videos. These are good intros to basic online marketing ideas. He spells them out, he’s interesting, and not at all “godlike”, unlike many marketing experts. He is a real guy providing advice from his own experience and what he has seen pan out for many others.

Additionally, he addresses some of his prior experiences on his website, such as inaccurate Vick Strizheus Empower Network reviews. He doesn’t try to avoid the issues – he addresses them head on and that is something most anyone can appreciate.


His content stands up with current marketing practices. My advice – Check Strizheus out on his merits. He does have a lot of useful stuff to say, and says it well. He’s certainly no fool or hack message recycler in terms of actual content and substance. Check it out, see what you think.







Writing about stupidity


Wasp2It’s an American election year/millennium, and for some reason I’ve decided to write about the issues involved in writing about stupidity. What a coincidence.

How many things do you see in person or on media which are basically sagas of stupidity? How many unnecessary, repulsive, useless things that should never happen? Now – How would you feel to write about these things every day? Think it might get a bit samey?

Stupidity is a monoculture. The only variation is in the nouns and verbs. Everything else is the same. Something obviously dumb is done, and the rest is the collateral damage to people’s lives.

DC Doom page 30Stupidity is the worthless, the futile, and the insane, in one ongoing, unwholesome package. Try being a humanist when all you write about is moronic events. Even the insanity looks like some sort of recipe – Get something wrong, or some basically false fact, add a few idiots of any flavor, and just go from there.

To say that I’m fed up to the back teeth with these endless idiocies is a massive understatement. So much of it is recycled stupidity, too. It’s ancient crap, with a more recent date. There are so many interesting, exciting things happening – And they never get a mention. The primitive, the regressive, the mindless, you name it – Most of the “news” belongs in some prehistoric dunghill. If someone invents a pyramid-shaped wheel again and again, don’t be surprised.

Job page 23Then there’s the hysteria – How excited and enthusiastic can you get about stupidity? Some people become fanatics, supporting one form of total lunacy against another. The most repulsive of the lunacies are those which are “omniscient”. All other idiots, presumably, are wrong, immoral, and criminal. Sound familiar? It should. It’s all that’s in the US headlines right now.

You can make allowances for people being credulous. You can understand people preferring one view to another. It’s just that when everything hits the fan around the world, as it’s been doing for a decade or so, you expect people to learn. Not to simply continue clutching the illusory teddy bears of ideologies, unquestioningly believing in things which have never existed.

Didn't know that, eh?

Didn’t know that, eh?

This is the life support for stupidity – Belief that it’s anything but stupidity. The theory, for example, that effective administration of a modern society somehow equates to 100-year-old dogma and social structures is more than a bit questionable. The idea that politics, which does nothing but create problems for the future, will solve problems is like saying a disease cures you of doctors. A church comprised of pedophiles, money launderers and apologists for pedophiles needs credulity and gullibility much more than faith. The common media theme that crime is entertaining supports global crime in a way no form of brainwashing ever could. A financial system which preaches greed at everyone’s expense and expects respect is another example of how belief promotes stupidity. On that basis, Bernie Madoff should be a saint.

Ads_Cover_for_KindleStupidity in action can be defined as doing something which is wrong, harmful to oneself or others, or similarly counterproductive. I Just about everything done in this world at the social level is counterproductive.

Pollution – This is a true global plague. It does enormous harm to the health of people around the world, and actually kills large numbers of people. Toxic materials, a plague of respiratory ailments, and what’s done about it? Very little, grudgingly, and only after the damage has been done. Prevention? Lip service at best. The world might as well be smoking 3 packets of cigarette a day. Intelligent, or stupid?

Stupidity can also be defined as not doing things that need doing. The news is like watching a house burn down and the occupants complaining about the fact that somebody invented fire, while conscientiously not calling the fire brigade.

The writing angle

Now consider the process of writing about stupidity:

  • Some moron has done something incredibly stupid.
  • You need to explain the situation.
  • You need to understand the logic of the situation.
  • You need, in effect, to understanding the thinking of absolute morons.

Put it this way – How many avoidable wars, disasters, economic crashes, and social catastrophes have happened in the last 20 years? How did they happen? What could have been done better? Did stupidity play a major role?

Results – Millions of dead, maimed, dispossessed, impoverished, neglected, people, and none of it needed to happen. Writing about damage control, perhaps? Nothing is ever done well, problems always remain, people continue to be shafted, but on a global scale.

When writing about these subjects, you have two choices – You can be a standard pooper, that is stick to the story and not point out how stupid these situations are and how hopelessly dumb the causes are. That’s the mainstream approach, and it sucks like a psychotic vacuum cleaner.

These days, I don’t give a damn what people think of me as a writer. I do, however, try to be honest, and I can tell you this – Stupidity directly or indirectly kills and injures more people than most wars and plagues every day.

The only thing I want to write in future about stupidity is its obituary. It won’t be a very sympathetic piece.

www.sydneymediajam.comNow thoroughly fed up with not being able to update SMJ. Expect some developments.


Why do people continue to wallow in outdated ideas? A theory


Wasp2If there’s one thing the internet does better than anything else, it exposes the sheer antiquity of so many common issues. Hopelessly out of date ideas fester. Ridiculous mindsets seethe. There’s a reason for that, and nobody’s going to like it.

I’ve spent a lot of time listening to “debates” on subjects my parents and their friends were talking about decades ago. It’s incredible to watch these dino-ideas lumbering around, so long after their time. To say that I’m less than impressed is a massive understatement. Genetics, space, science, arts, race, religion, you name it – The reinvention of the wheel of debate about ideas is now a global industry. It’s also arguably the most destructive force on Earth, in terms of improving the human condition.

Why do these hopelessly impractical old ideas still exist at all?

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it's a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas.

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas.

Why are all these old ideas brought out of their endless closets and paraded around like newborn babies? The technologies have changed, sure, and added some traction to meaningful debate, but these debates aren’t meaningful. They’re obsolete.

They’re also hysterical. It’s axiomatic in human history that ideas are discovered by geniuses, developed by hardheads and cynics, misrepresented to fever pitch by ideologues, and perverted by morons. It’s a particularly dull process.

What’s not usually considered in the process, however, is the very different knowledge bases from which ideas are developed/exploited/lost in hysteria:

  1. The geniuses, rabble that they are, have what could be called “inspired” sources of knowledge.
  2. The hardheads and cynics have pragmatic knowledge bases.
  3. The ideologues are either mindless acceptors of whatever ideas happen to be around, or thinkers with different views based on their usually very eclectic knowledge bases.
  4. The morons simply adapt ideas to their own mindsets and knowledge of whatever degree of obsolescence. “Everything’s OK because a chicken told me so” more or less covers this vacuum.

Symptoms of dysfunction – The knowledge bases of ideas

Mass Media page 1

Media “ideas” – A disease which doesn’t even know it’s a disease.

The knowledge bases, not surprisingly, reflect a lot about the individuals and groups using them. What’s not generally understood is that you can practically track a person’s whole life story by their ideas.

These knowledge bases are sourced from an early age, in specific environments. How you learn says a lot about who you are.

That, in turn, usually relates to socio-economic environments. An extremely unfashionable, but usually pretty accurate, view is that the poor and undereducated are literally decades behind the times. (Many people do react very effectively to these situations, and bravely get themselves out of these environmental graves, but these knowledge bases tend to stick in socio-economic classes.)

This unsightly situation even affects whole nations. Growing up in Australia, I was told by my parents at about age 4 that Australia was usually 20 years behind the US in many areas of thinking and cultural/technical development. How true that was, I learned very soon, to my utter, and in some cases ongoing, disgust.

However, in my observation, the basic rule holds true – Those in disadvantaged circumstances tend to be either unaware of more advanced thinking and ideas, which aren’t directly relevant to them. People raised in those environments, however, are also likely to bring with them the outdated ideas and mindsets of their origins.

Outdated ideas – The plague affecting the world

Mass Media page 5This may seem like a rather expedient, not to say downright snobbish, viewpoint at first glance. The problem is that outmoded ideas do persist, and they are truly toxic. America, the home of the Big Idea in modern history, is awash with absurd anachronisms. Western culture, in its superficial obsession with technologies and fads, lugs around old sitcom ideas and clichés as role models, career paths, and a lifestyle.

(Racism and hate, two of the nastiest and most destructive idea spectrums on Earth, are good examples. Logically – It’s none of your damn business who someone else’s ancestors were. The rest of the world wasn’t born for your, or anyone else’s, approval. Yet that insular, impractical, useless range of ideas is the sole basis of so many so-called ideologies, poisoning the human environment for centuries.)

It’s hard to imagine a more useless scenario. These ideas aren’t just out of date – They’re major liabilities in practice. New ideas are too unfamiliar for easy processing in this museum of thinking. That slows down their adoption.

Mass Media page 3Hiding behind “norms” of thinking is also the working basis of anti-intellectualism. This is idea-phobia, as much as a totally dysfunctional approach to reality. New ideas take over; if you’re behind the eight ball when they kick in, you’re likely to stay there, be left behind, or have to undergo an arduous, thankless, process of catching up.

It’s not a pretty picture, and it’s not that simple. It’s quite natural, and reasonable, to hold on to ideas you like; these tend to be trusted ideas, perspectives, and useful ways of thinking. Ironically, in this putrid mess of anachronisms, some older ideas stand up quite well.

The problem is that some people can’t make the distinction between the utterly useless ideas and the ones that still hold true. They’re certainly not trained to think like that. Basic thinking, like metaphysics and core rational logic, have been left out. How do you criticize an idea with no working logic to help you? You can’t use a calculator on these things.

Education is a mixed blessing in this regard. You can teach, sure, but any teacher will tell you that some ideas simply aren’t learned, let alone taken up as working models. Many ideas simply aren’t understood, simply because they’re too far removed from individual realities.

You have to wonder why this book is STILL so far ahead of "debate" so many years later. A classic case of the current thinking being so far behind previous thinking.

You have to wonder why this book is STILL so far ahead of “debate” so many years later. A classic case of the norm being so far behind previous thinking.

You could argue that religions persist simply because they’re inaccessible ideals. The human mind doesn’t seem to mind grabbing hopeful ideas, however vague and badly expressed. Political “ideals”, (contradiction in terms) however much proven to be no more than hot air, are accepted as options for various reasons, with whatever level of belief. People in hideous circumstances don’t refuse hope, however insincere those offering it may be.

(One of the reasons I don’t make a habit of attacking the religions despite plenty of provocation and seemingly endless just causes is because sometimes they’re all some people have. Much as I despise the hypocrisy and general practical uselessness of religions, who’s to begrudge people a little peace and hope?)

So – Ideas of all ages, in one unholy, impractical potpourri of mutual abrasions. Progressive people often don’t get old style thinking. Old style ideas seem ridiculous. Old style ideas, in turn, often ignore anything which conflicts with them.

Bottom line – Outdated thinking will persist and continue to obstruct, until new ideas are made more accessible, and above all, more meaningful. Media can do that, and usually doesn’t. Nor do the “intellectual elites” seem to be particularly useful in that regard. Our heroic “thought leaders” seem to feel that their ideas have precedence, regardless of their own total lack of achievements in the wider world. Marketing can promote new ideas, and usually does so incredibly badly. You can promote a Playstation game in a future world, but not a real human future? Grim.

If you want people to understand new ideas, explain them. Show them to be practical in real terms. Make the ideas usable, not some distant manifestation of yet another inaccessible fountain of wisdom outside personal experience. Get on with it. Humanity can’t live in a state of built-in mental constipation forever.

LOGO with Sydney Media Jam edit 300PPIStill cursing lack of progress on updating SMJ. Will try, but not optimistic.


The brats of the 2016 election – Grow up, America


Wasp2This would have to be the most inelegant election campaign since forever in the US. What are they voting for, whose tantrums are better? As though it’s not bizarre enough that some section of the US public assumes its limited choices of some rich slumfucker over others, the level of “debate” has gone back to grade school at best, hell at worst.

(Like “coarse wanguage”, do you, brats? Want a few lessons, pig sucker boys? You talk like wannabe frat fags, even when you’re trying to shock. What, are you pretending to be real people? Peasant trash. You’re an embarrassment to democracy.)

The 2016 election is going to be hell, whatever happens. The GOP has brought this mess on itself. That said, the wider US is now bringing the equivalent on itself. This is the nadir of American democracy, in so many ways. Maybe “nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people”, but the country’s been in much better shape, and much less broke. Take the 1% out of the picture, and you’ve got a pretty sorry-looking nation, economically and in real terms.

Who needs reality anyway, when you've got American media?

Who needs reality anyway, when you’ve got American media?

How much verbiage is going to cure America’s woes in 2016? Do you really believe you’re going to Disneyland? Doesn’t matter how much word-crap you apply; the last 30 plus years of social and economic abuse isn’t susceptible to persuasion. How many tacky little statements will cure the TB problem, medical bankruptcies, pollution, plagues of other issues, and everything else?

Seems the Cliché Factory is big on non-statements and unsupported rhetoric. Can you make a corpse great again? Can you go back to Camelot and watch I Love Lucy again? Do slogans ever mean anything? “Yes We Can” turned in to “…But We Don’t Wanna” in Congress. The entire electoral and governance process is now a zoo for the most trivial vermin.

How can anyone believe that these empty KFC bucket-screwing cockroach droppings will ever do a damn thing? They never have. This herd of vaginal maggots hides in privilege, coming out to claim messiah status every four years. 2016 is just another year for self-enrichment.

How naïve can you be, to assume that everything will get better if you simply believe in more claptrap from the depths of some damn political marketers’ lazy brains? You really think these smug scum can manage America’s ever-more-excruciating global and national issues? They can barely put their own speeches together or get to the end of a sentence without minders and TV production.

Imagine a Trump-like shopping list:

  • Refer to greatness.
  • Refer to genitalia.
  • Equate the two.
  • Insult a few people on principle, if for no other reason.
  • Win primary.

Now imagine a GOP shopping list:

  • Ask Tea Party for permission to go to the bathroom and ask for discount. (Whee!)
  • Try to find out what’s happening in primaries.
  • Run away.
  • Make a few more speeches to a dazed audience, then run away again.

Pretty damn unimpressive.

An American shopping list:

  • Enjoy the crime and poverty.
  • Try to remember what that thing with the stars and stripes does.
  • Spend some quality time trying to find relevance in anything you see or hear.
  • Retreat in to madness or porn.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Where? When? America has forgotten who and what it is. The glory days are now folklore. This is no longer the 20th century. The Greatest Generation took that world with them and it’s not coming back anytime soon. This isn’t Rebel Without A Cause; it’s November 22, 1963, repeated endlessly. This time it’s America getting assassinated, every day of the week, by authentic vermin unfit to fall out of the ass of a Wall Street statue.

Grow up, you stupid bastards. This is not a drill. Stupidity is giga-expensive, not funny. A pack of slimy simpering sycophants isn’t a team of fighters. Remember, in any game of poker, there are always losers. There’s always a last card, the one you’re stuck with. You can hold, fold, or find a game you can win. You don’t have to play the game at all.

Jazz basics for millennials – When the music turns feral


www.sydneymediajam.comThis thing is written as a sort of primer for a modern generation deprived of real music and musical creativity. Jazz is usually misunderstood by Sitcom Land. It has a strange image of incomprehensibility, outside the mainstream throwaways.

Most people know that it has a highly technical side, and a sort of Big Band image from the past. They know improvisation is part of it, even if they don’t know what the improvisation is all about.

So people listen to jazz and pick up bits of it, occasionally. The divide is when hooks go beyond hooks and musical lines get blurred. This is actually part of the jazz tradition, ironically, in a musicscape where traditions are contested on a routine basis and new musical forms are created in a particularly vague way which only the musicians themselves have much insight in to how and why things happen.

Jazz history

Excuse a slightly potted, generalized history; the history of jazz is so vast it’d take a few books to do justice to it. Check out Ken Burns’ Jazz series for a good historical narrative.

Jazz is arguably the successful, often ultra-classy, ultra-feral, grandchild of the blues. It’s not blues, but their musical genomes are often pretty close. Jazz is core black music, made of sweat, years of playing, ideas and dreams from America’s heartlands. In its early days, white musicians loved it, and picked it up, giving it exposure to a much wider audience in still-segregated 20th century America.

Their contribution did help, however indirectly. Eventually, people like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, with quite a bit of help from Cole Porter teaching people how to listen to modern music, got recognition. They were so good, so much fun to listen to, and so inventive, they broke through in a truly whiter than white environment.

They basically blew everything else away. In the 1940s, Swing and Boogie, dancing cousins of jazz, added to the mainstream acceptance, sold lots of records, and basically rewrote the script for commercial black music. That was the start of what’s now considered “jazz” in its current rather pixelated mainstream image. For white musicians, it was an ongoing revelation; they didn’t know people could play like that.

Types of jazz

Trad jazz is usually a sort of generic form. It was the earliest form of popular jazz. It’s instantly recognizable and still going, over a century later. The top is where things are happening.

Modern jazz is the advanced, eclectic form; this is where the big ideas get a run to see how they go. Modern jazz and trad are pretty different, but you can hear the roots if you compare them. Modern jazz made the point that it didn’t need to be returned to the wild. It never left.

Free form jazz is the truly experimental form. This is real avant-garde; ignore the recycling attempts and listen to the original ideas. It’s a truly progressive form, and anything happens on a regular basis.

Experimentation includes new instruments, new mindsets, and, critically, the joy of playing, in all genres and sub-sets of the jazz universe.

Jazz aesthetics are also very different and extremely diverse. Jazz is very tonal; every note contributes. The word “vibe” comes from jazz. There are no real rules. Nobody needs them. It’s about the music. You get the oceans of Ellington and Basie, Armstrong’s show-stoppers, the mystic experience of Thelonious Monk, and/or the multi-layers of Ornette Coleman in the same basic musical genre. You get Billie Holiday’s extraordinary note by note epics, or the “to hell with it; let’s play” stuff of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. A little more digging will find Mingus’ expansive, marathon-running excursions in to anything and everything in his unique style.

Jazz genres – This is a sort of semi-slanderous, unreliable, descriptor mechanism which seems to come from some marketing culture than jazz itself. For example – Smooth jazz, in its truest form, is pure silk. It’s stunning. Smooth jazz in its much more commercial “we have to make a living somehow” form is a different species, usually lacking the maniacal genius of its more famous namesake.

Jazz culture

Modern jazz was also the first real venue for musicians as a whole to start questioning and departing from the plodding, tiresome formatting of “standards” in musical forms. This almost bureaucratic approach to music almost killed classical music as a living thing. Since when is nitpicking an art form? It didn’t do other types of music many favors, either. It was boring, predictable, and pretty lifeless for those who actually play.

This was a revolution that like most things in jazz spread wider than jazz. Other types of music got the message soon enough, and agreed with it. Progressive rock, for example, basically re-quoted all the arguments by modern jazz for experimentation. Modern blues, with a few winces, did the same.

The big deal in jazz at all levels is talent. You get respect for individuality, not parroting. You are what you play. BS doesn’t survive long in this environment. Jazz is a combination of fun and interest. It’s also very practical – Technicalities aren’t admired for being technical, unlike the constipated forms of musical theory – They’re admired if they work and deliver a good sound.

The other big deal about jazz culture is that it also permeated all of popular music. Jazz lines can be found in movie soundtracks, ditties, jingles, Broadway, Motown, Atlantic, and a lot of the epic music on YouTube. It’s not hard to see how completely it’s entered the world’s musical thinking.

Just as well. Music would be very tame if it hadn’t.

Jazz is a language for both fans and musicians. It’s mental shorthand for aficionados, with references built in, with or without words; the music becomes the words in a conversation.

Jazz audiences are also very much part of the culture. Many jazz fans play themselves, and none of them, to my knowledge, will come up with statements like “too many augmented fifths”, unless at gunpoint. Criticism is more likely to be “didn’t quite bring it off”, not some mere squeaking, shallow technical argument. Jazz audiences love jazz and are a part of it; they’re not there to create an obstacle course for it.

Jazz people

The vast scope of jazz produces an equally vast list of people. To do justice to these guys and ladies would require a modern, obsessive Shakespeare with a lot of time on his hands. The most important thing from this perspective is the sheer uniqueness of each musician. I’m going to stick to the people I know enough about to comment on here.

Thelonious Monk – I swear; I’d never seen anyone look at a piano like that until I saw him on YouTube. This is some sort of relationship which has to be seen, if not necessarily understood. Do not expect to be able to predict where this guy goes, song by song.

Louis Armstrong – The most visible front man of jazz for decades, vocal gravel and horn player extraordinaire. Armstrong was just too good and too much fun to avoid, and nobody tried too hard to avoid him, even in the bleached, boring, deserts of so much mainstream white muzak of those times.

Duke Ellington – The MC of big bands, the ultra-musician, a genuinely loved guy, and one of the Mozarts of jazz. No hype here; all real music, and the major generator of future generations of jazz.

Count Basie – Put it this way; he could be on the same planet as Ellington, in that format, and be seen as an equal. Another nest for the fledglings, his band produced Mingus, among others.

Charlie Parker – The Bird, and he knew how to fly. He was a sort of heretic, but he got his respect for pioneering a form of jazz that didn’t previously exist with Dizzy Gillespie.

Dizzy Gillespie – A “more organized” Charlie Parker, with a hell of a lot of musical ideas. A true modernist, he had a famous public dispute with Louis Armstrong about his music. For the record, at a technical level, his multi-perspective approach probably reprogrammed modern jazz, consciously and otherwise, to its subsequent evolutions.

Charles Mingus – I’m listening to him now. This guy is a sort of musical Magellan. He can do any or all of the familiar forms, then go off on his own multiple tangents in any single piece. There never was a big enough box for Mingus. Listen and learn. I’ve been listening to him for years, and I’m still learning.

Billie Holiday – Patron saint of all female singers since, Holiday has a voice that could give lessons to anyone. Each song has a sort of life in it which you may not get; but you can’t miss it.

Ella Fitzgerald – The class act of class acts, with pitch that could cut a diamond or perform surgery. A case of the human being as a musical instrument. A lot of her songs are now “standards”, but when they came out, they were mindblowing and still are. Listen to the originals.

Ray Charles – One of the greatest of all time in any kind of music, Charles is another escapee at birth from categorization; that said, he’s also a great example of the modernized form of jazz. He shows the sheer range and flexibility of core jazz in so many ways.

Miles Davis – The prolific range of his recordings tends to obscure the very basic fact that Davis was a fantastically creative musician. I think he’s at his best when he’s in full flight, not making any musical compromises.

OK, we’re up to over 1500 words, and I could, and will, go on forever. If I were to give a simple description of jazz, it’d be “For people who haven’t stopped thinking, living and loving”. Check out the videos and enjoy.



www.sydneymediajam.comSMJ still not able to publish. Working on it.