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Welcome to PREGNANT #5

What's up everybody,

I've been getting the magazine together piece by piece, the site is mostly ready to go - just getting content ready between myself and a few others. Exciting stuff, can't wait to share with you all.

If any of you have any interest in writing a piece for the magazine, creating video content, etc. feel free to get in touch - reading the newsletter I'm sure you have a general gist of the vibe.

Getting DP'd in the Age of Loneliness 
 

This article by River Page on Twink Revolution that talks about polyamory and it's relationship to alienation and neoliberalism is great, I've been enjoying both their writing and podcast quite a bit lately. 

Consumer Aesthetics Research Institute
 

The collections of CARI, the Consumer Aesthetics Research Institute have long been a resource for design reference and history for me but I’ve noticed that a lot of people who aren’t directly involved in the same design milieu as me have never heard of them. 

Not only is CARI teeming with in-depth visual research from oft-neglected realm of pre-2010 design, they organize their massive collection of reference according to micro-movements they’ve noticed from engaging with all of this content. They title the movements they piece together with hilarious names like Frasurbane, Zen-X, and Global Village Coffeehouse, but they’re definitely touching on something just based on the vast collections of research they’ve complied and thoughtful, well researched and substantiated descriptions they write for each collection. 

Kyushu Japan's Confuse and their Magnum Opus Stupid Life


 

I’ve been periodically checking back in on records I enjoyed a lot at specific points in my life to see if they hold up. A previous passion of mine was the Japanese noise punk scene of the 80s and 90s, so I revisited one of my favorite records from that time period Stupid Life by Confuse. 

If you’re familiar with Confuse, you’re probably most familiar with their earlier work such as the Nuclear Addicts EP or the Spending Loud Night EP which is blown out and rudimentary punk with the pure static noise guitars they became known for. 

The Japanese scene in the 80’s is pretty interesting, there was a bunch of bands (GAI/The Swankys, Kuro, Gudon, etc.) who were actually super young kids like 13 or 14 and each of these bands represented their particular town or prefecture, for Confuse that was Kyushu island, in an arms race for the most extreme sound and stage presence (some like GAI/The Swankys were supported by their parents financially in doing so.) Kuro was effectively banned from every live venue in Japan for their insanely violent shows where they threw chairs and started huge brawls, whereas Confuse was known for their adoption of their sonically extreme guitar tone.

Where in earlier Confuse records the guitar became an amorphous buzzing and hissing presence that fleshed out the bass the very present bass and drum sections, in Stupid Life the guitar becomes a psychedelic yet still aggressive presence that takes up as much space if not more than the other instruments. Confuse’s guitarist MAD had a techno producer for an older brother who taught him how to create and modify custom effects pedals which definitely has an effect on the swirling and cacophonous static vortex of sound he was able to create. While there are still the expected punk song structures and speed on Stupid Life, there is more Les Rallizes Dénudés in it’s DNA than Discharge. 


Circling back to the bit about how young these bands were, that is the charm for me of this genre and why these early recordings are so special. Although I don't have much room to talk as I was in a band that aped this style of punk in my early 20s, it feels really embarrassing to me how many grown-ass adults in America are still aping the music of 13/14 year old kids through endless carbon copy bands in this genre. 

Breadtube is Cringe


 

Surveying the current landscape of political media online, there is quite a bit of shit that sucks and is embarrassing across every format and political orientation: from podcasts to publishing platforms and magazines… there’s a ton of garbage. In my humble opinion however, nothing is quite as bad as the left-wing commentary zone of YouTube, aka “Breadtube.” 

 

I remember a few years ago people were freaking out over the “alt-right pipeline” that was supposedly present on YouTube, where primarily young people were exposed to the ecosystem of right wing thought through the algorithm and subsequently redpilled. Breadtube was formulated to combat that I guess by giving an equally digestible alternative to the right wing media present on YouTube.

Is it digestible? Sure. Is it artful? Does it feel considered or interesting? Nope, and honestly that’s a massive waste of an opportunity. We’re at this moment when most people have access to create nearly professional quality video content and you’d think because of the democratization of technology that there would be a renaissance of interesting work, especially in the historically speculative and boundary-pushing field of left politics that takes the medium of video seriously.

 

Instead, we have a hermetically-sealed vacuum chamber of rancid radical liberal anarchist takes and boundary policing, personalities who universally exude a “polyamorous tabletop gamer” vibe, and my personal bugbear vaporwave and/or freaking epic nerd culture 80s “retro” aesthetics. I know that if I was a truth seeking zoomer and happened upon Thought Slime’s page, I doubt I’d be persuaded by the incredibly cringe content I saw there. 

 

So what is to be done about Breadtube? Maybe we should expand that question to the currently-existing left in general as the mantle of free-speech and boundary pushing cultural production has been yanked out of their hands by the most pernicious and schoolmarmish elements and remade in their image. (see Matt Taibbi’s article from this week) The boundaries have been set and enforced aggressively.

 

No art of any serious importance will come out of this environment, which that leads me back the question - what is to be done? I think the only solution going forward is to create content outside of Leftism™ for yourself and for your friends.

100 Gecs and The Monkey of Doom


 

100 Gecs is one of those groups that is polarizing for a lot of people, through mashing up all of the cringe genres of the MySpace age up through the 2010s, they create something I regularly hear referred to as having an “of the internet” quality, chaotic, fun, whatever, many people also call it annoying and tedious, like I said: polarizing. 


I watched some of their music videos semi-recently and had some thoughts as I was doing so - I am definitely in the “annoying and tedious” camp with them, but less about the music and more about the general vibe.

There’s this stench on this project of a meme-adjacent “absurdism” that just 1000% rubs me the wrong way. It’s the absurdism that can only exist in 2020, an absurdism that directly correlates to the institutionalized HR department woke culture that creates portmanteau insults like “pissbaby” so as to not offend anyone, an absurdism that attempts but fails to mask that underneath all the layers of ironic detachment lies the 2020 equivalent of the “random kid” from middle school who gets regularly reprimanded for screaming “SPOON” in class. Similarly to the random kid, I don’t think there’s any substance underneath the wacky exterior, just the repetition of memes only on a larger scale and with a veneer of artsy ironic detachment. 

The Last Dance & General 90's Basketball Nostalgia


 

I’ve been watching The Last Dance on Netflix with my girlfriend this last week and it’s been making me semi-nostalgic for 90’s basketball culture. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio and my first experience with sport was going to see the Cavs play. My next-door neighbor was a few years older than I and obsessed with basketball and we’d shoot hoops in his driveway all day during the summer and play NBA Jam and NBA Live late into the night. The biggest difference between then and now that I was kind of reminiscing about while watching the Last Dance was that everyone I knew when I was a kid loved the Bulls as a default and then their local team in addition to the Bulls which feels kind of crazy to me now. 

 

Living in Portland for the last decade, people are understandably super into the Blazers. Sure, some people have other team allegiances from their places of origin, but there doesn’t seem to be a team that has that sense of magnetism that the  90’s Bulls had. Obviously the Bulls were unbelievably talented as a group, but I think the melding of different larger than life  characters had a lot to do with the draw, Rodman was so influential to me as a kid and left a huge impact at a young age. I don’t really follow modern basketball much to be honest, but it feels like that is less common now and the last really larger than life basketball player I can remember in recent memory is Iverson. 

Francis Fukuyama Seems Cool and I Want to Hang Out With Him


 

This article accuses author of the End of History and the Last Man and political scientist Francis Fukuyama’s Instagram of having “powerful dad energy” but I unironically think he seems like a chill ass dude and someone who I feel a kinship with as someone who has a lot of interests and acts upon them. 

 

What I’m particularly interested in is his passion for 3D graphics, something we share in common. He has shared an architectural model he created 12 years ago of a Georgian house as well as the computer set up he used to render the model in the current day, saying “All 12 cores on the Ryzen processor are running at close to 100% capacity” to render the model - super confusing to me because it appears as though he has global illumination turned off. 

Contain Podcast Is Extremely Big Dicked


 

I thought I would have written about this by now but I realized I have not. Can't recommend enough - if you enjoy PREGNANT I'm certain you'll enjoy Contain. 

This recent episode with the meme pages Beyond Woke & Problematic and Smooth & Striated Lanes is great, also enjoyed this one quite a bit about internet cults. 

I've Been Smoothing My Brain Out with Ecosphere Videos Lately
 

Misc. Links
 


The Double Horseshoe Theory of Class Politics by Michael Lind
 

Video essay exploring the "Backrooms Theory"
Documentary about eccentric video game programmer and author Nick Smith AKA Ulillillia

Alrighty, that was PREGNANT #5

Thanks for reading! Feel free to get in touch via email or DM. 
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