Clownshow 2016: Can a Viper Change its Stripes?

This blog really found its voice during the 2008 Presidential Elections when I noticed that the two major candidates running for office seemed to incorporating the hieroglyph for Sirius in their campaign logos.

Or more accurately, the Stairway to Sirius.

This didn't exist in a vacuum, there were all kinds of emanations surrounding the elections and their aftermath, including the "major issue" of the dog with his "star quality" and the Sirius Star and all the rest of it. There's also the strange habit of Obama to make 17-minute speeches, which has continued throughout his time in office, as well as his strange fixation on Hanuman, the Hindu god.*

Symbolic gold, until I got tired of playing the game.

I haven't paid any attention to the election this year because I don't actually believe that it's going to change anything. Indeed, we saw a rare moment of candor in The Boston Globe, of all places, informing us that no matter who you elect the agenda at the top remains the same.

And we're seeing such tidal forces at work in the global economy, it's impossible to take the old bromides seriously anymore anyway.

Certainly we're seeing the Republican Party now in a state of civil war since the rank-and-file finally realized that their victories in the 2010 and 2014 Elections meant nothing at all, that the Administration and Congressional leaders are going to do what they are told to do by the think-tanks and the corporate chieftains who will set them up for life when they leave office. 
When it comes to the issues that really effect your life and your future, the Democrats and Republicans are all on one side. And it's not yours.

Democratic voters don't realize the fix is in because they see their man in the White House as some kind of victory, despite massive downticket Democrat losses over the past seven years. And despite the fact that the only real difference between Obama and his predecessor is the rhetoric and a few social issues (most of which he "evolved" on due to outside pressure).

They are certainly identical on the major issues that matter to the Bilderberg and Davos crowds.

True, Obama has unleashed the genii of identity politics since his re-election in an attempt to keep the base mobilized, kept in its bottle since Bill Clinton was first elected.

Or so the story goes.

Perhaps instead the goal is to keep the party's coalition fragmented and paranoid and therefore dependent on the party itself.
The Republicans have been doing this for decades, after all. 
Or maybe the agenda is to prevent the anti-establishment Left and the libertarian Right from coalescing into a united front against the Establishment, something you saw some movement on during the depths of the economic crisis.  

Well...who knows.

Either way, the result of all of this manipulation is an extremely divided, stressed-out and angry country. Not to mention a country experiencing rising crime and poverty and all the rest. What that might ultimately be leading to is an open question. 

Let me just say, though, that when it comes to parsing out hidden agendas, I tend to adjudge intention by result. If you get my meaning.

But what do the symbols tell us? 

That there's so little real import to this election seems evident by the campaign logos, which are the dreariest, tiredest and least imaginative batch I've seen in years. And the ones that aren't dreary are frickin' weird.

Now, bear this in mind; entire companies can meet their year's payroll just on the sale of one logo. With some corporate jobs, sometimes much more than that.

And this is a painstaking process. Nothing is accidental or arbitrary in the design of a campaign logo, you can have designers and consultants working out literally every micrometer of detail. 
So what the hell is this?

Hillary Clinton's ugly and bizarre logo, with its right-oriented arrow and its twin blue pillars. You didn't need to be a Truther to get a strange flashback from this extremely odd imagery. 

The 9/11 link actually became a story in the mainstream press, leading one to wonder just what the hell is this logo trying to say. Something following Knowles' First Law, surely.

I don't know. But I do know that this is exactly the kind of provocation that the Clintons have specialized in since they burst onto the national scene.
Then there's the Clintons' close family friend, Donald Trump, who we're supposed to believe is "taking on the Establishment" he's been a very, very happy and comfortable part of his entire life. As you might expect, his logo is about him, featuring his profile.

But what the hell is that red stripe on his head? His combover? Pay attention to that because it pops up again..., in Bernie Sanders' logo, an otherwise dull affair. But what are those stripes supposed to be?  

The obvious inference is stripes (from a flag), but they look more like earthworms. Or better yet, serpents
SIDEBAR: Now be aware that in graphic design you're essentially dealing with signals, not explicit images. Hillary's arrow doesn't actually look like an arrow, it's a drastic simplification, an abstracted idea of an arrow. Same goes with stars, flames and all the other icons we are looking at. Bear that in mind when looking at these odd "stripes."
It's an odd design, to be certain. And what did Ian Fleming say about three times? Because sure enough, the same odd "stripe" shape pops up again…

…right here. 

That's three of the leading candidates with the same weird (and ugly) form. 
Cruz's logo (a flame and a Cruz, or cross?) is even stranger and more disturbing than Hillary's...

...because you have those weird, snake-looking stripes and then…

…the All-Seeing Eye, or some kind of eye, with a pentagram as the pupil.

It doesn't look very friendly, does it? 

I don't know what to make of this. This all could be some odd kind of serpent symbolism, I'm not sure yet. I need more data. Just remember, nothing in politics is accidental.

Which is a good time to point out that we also see a suggestion of the pentagram-eye in Carly Fiorina's (awful) logo.

Ben Carson, conversely, uses normal stripes (with squared ends) in an otherwise pedestrian effort. (I'll spare you O'Malley's and Jeb's and the rest). 

Now, you could go out on a limb and see the negative space in the stripes and say that's the White Nile and the Belt of Orion, but...

...oh, go ahead if you like.

The flame logo shows up again in Rand Paul's crappy logo, but given his father's, um, associations…

…the "flame" kind of more reminds me of the open hand column we see here. And that "flame" form is actually the shape animators are taught to use to draw hands. 

Marco Rubio's logo is…odd.
 Not exactly eye-catching. And putting his name in lowercase only adds to the impression he's a lightweight who's not ready for prime time.

But I'm far more interested in his name "Marco Antonio" (with all the connotations to Cleopatra and the rest) and to Mars the Red (Ruby) Planet itself. Keep an eye on this one.

And "A New American Century?" Yeah, definitely keep an eye on this one.

Me, I'll keep an eye on the logos once the tickets are decided after the conventions. In the meantime, I'm trying not to pay any attention to this whole charade, it seriously depresses the shit out of me.

It might depress me even more if I believed any of it, for a single minute.

UPDATE: Reader Escal-Hathor reminds of the snake-like Pentium logo and its possible etymological links to serpents (SerPentium, or 'Place of Snakes'). That's even quite Ouroboros-like, don't you think?

UPDATE: I rest my case.

* As I predicted way back when we've seen a major push on the space front, something that I saw emerge in the symbolism during the election. As readers are well aware, the space program is full of its own high initiate symbolism. They don't even try to disguise it anymore. 

Despite some of the theories you might hear I think the space program is actually an attempt to keep the global economy moving, an economy which is beginning to face major headwinds on a macro-scale.

† It may be no accident that so much of the identity politic agitation is taking place within Humanities and social sciences programs in Universities that have been in constant danger of losing funding and that some- particularly those who would prefer colleges to be retooled as training facilities for MBA and STEM majors- would love to eliminate altogether. Impossible, you say?

Japan- an entire country- is already doing it. 

With state legislatures starting to take a hard look now at speech codes and "safe spaces" and so on, "give 'em enough rope" may not be just the title of a Clash album. 

X-Files "Founder's Mutation" on The Solar Satellite

An in-depth look at the second X-Files episode and the canny way it draws on imagery from the iconic past of The X-Files to point to its future:
Obviously what James Wong is doing here is remaking William as the new Grail Quest, the new Samantha. The archetypal Lost Child, the Harpocrates to her Persephone. 
More importantly, this may all tie into what is happening with this new turn in the Mythology. Chris Carter is on record as saying ALL X-Files episodes are Mythology episodes, since all the paranormal phenomena depicted in the show is the result of humanity's alien genetic heritage. 
Now what 'Founder's Mutation' is suggesting - rather strongly- that characters like Eugene Tooms and Leonard Betts may in fact be the result of direct DNA manipulation from these clandestine laboratories.  
We know that many of the "monsters of the week" were in fact engineered beings, whether you're talking about the Eves or the Flukeman or the sleepless soldiers or the various creations of the Post-Modern Prometheus.
Fly over to the Satellite now for "They're All Mythology Episodes"

CultureWatch: GenX, History's Latchkey Kids

So, a developing theme out there in the culture is this Baby Boomers vs. Millennials war. You've probably seen it floating around. It's the kind of thing journalists love to write about and more importantly, try to referee. Pretending they can arbitrate this new generation gap makes journalists feel important. Not much else does these days.

This apparent struggle has emerged as an issue in the workplace, with Boomer management expressing their frustration with Millennial work habits. Millennials in turn have shot back arguing that it was a lot easier to find and keep a job when the Boomers were coming up (in other words, before Globalism began systematically dismantling the middle class) and that life was easier and cheaper back then.  

Indeed, in the fictitious media construct known as the post-Recession recovery, the Baby Boomers were said to have "won" the great struggle in the job market, continuing to hold a larger proportion of plum gigs than their children. I'm not sure how this excuses some of the work habits- or the overall lack of preparation- managers complain about, but hey, it's not my fight.

Some in the media have tried to smooth over the conflict, assuring the two opposing generations that they're more alike than they think, with their idealism and all the rest of it. One study even highlights the two cohorts with the title, Two Special Generations: The Millennials and the Boomers.

As in "Hey everyone, don't fight. You're all in this together. You're all, you're all…special!"

And who gets left out of this equation- again? The not-so-special generation. History's latchkey kids, those born between 1965 and 1984, Generation X.

You know, the ones who had to fend for themselves while their parents were off finding themselves. The generation who were raised on TV dinners while their parents were off at TM class. The latchkey kids left at home while their parents went to key parties. 

The generation that grew up knowing all too well how much better it was for their parents and older siblings.

But it was also the generation that- for ever-so-brief a time- were at the cutting edge of technology and culture. If Generation X had a theme it was chafing at the arbitrary restrictions it saw in not only culture and business but the business of culture and the culture of business. So many of the innovations made in the workplace- that Millennials have come to expect- were put into place by Xers, who in turn were following maverick Boomers.

It was Generation X that embraced the Internet and became its first great wave of both users and entrepreneurs ( I mean, blogging?). So much is said now about video games and the power of the industry but it was Generation X that embraced the medium and became its pioneering engineers and programmers. Having seen the Oculus Rift webinar I can safely say that I didn't see anything shockingly unlike what I'd seen in gaming 20 years ago. Maybe more bells and whistles but the same basic chassis.

It was Generation X that got fed up with the music industry monopoly and built its own scenes- punk, metal, hip hop, jam bands, rave- often dealing with a lot of legal and criminal hassles to do so. The window would be open only a frightfully short time, but long enough to break down a lot of old ways of doing business.

Of course, no one realized that the music business itself was going to be written off as an expendable asset for the mass marketing of cellphones and other consumer electronics- a loss leader, if you will. Least of all, the Xers who thought they could carve out niches for themselves as independent musicians.*

But at the same time there's also a whole range of viable alternatives to corporate pabulum for listeners, and that came in large part out of the independent spirit of the 80s and 90s.

Generation X would make its mark on cinema with the Independent boom in the 1990s, and it would do so not by embracing high art but by reframing the junk culture that babysat it in its latchkey days; X auteurs would use pulp and teen trash as their medium, and in irony of ironies, be embraced by the same kinds of critics who wouldn't give the source material these filmmakers grew up on the time of day.

Which leads me to comics and superheroes. Everything we're seeing now, all the big hit movies and TV shows, owe all their success to the material that Generation X embraced and/or created in the 80s and 90s. There hasn't been anything truly original done of any real thematic significance since that incredibly fertile period. 

All the storytelling conventions we're seeing now were established then. Not during the so-called Silver or Bronze Age and not in the past 20 years either.

And that was also a period when you saw a lot of self-publishing, a lot of self-starting on the retail end. But it would be- and to a shocking extent it remains- Generation X who embraced and supported and militated for that work. Many of them would go on to work in the film and TV industry and fight to get this kind of work on the screen.

I could go on, I mean there's a lot more besides, but you get the picture.

So why do the media care so little about Generation X? Why does all of this seem to be forgotten all of a sudden? Most of what we see are pity stories, despite the fact that many of these writers are themselves Xers. 

Well, maybe it's because of that independent streak, that rebellious nature that formed the Xer stereotype. While you can't generalize about 60+ million people, Generation Xers do tend to be more skeptical of government and authority than Boomers and most certainly more so than the Millennials. 

That tendency towards autonomy is not something that people in power much care for; look no further than the small business tax codes. Hell, look at everything everywhere these days. Autonomy and independent thinking don't seem to be on the menu, do they?

Millennials can't be stereotyped either, but we are seeing many of them embrace all kinds of trends and technologies that are inhibiting personal freedom, individuality, independent thinking and maybe worst of all, complexity. Maybe some of these Millennials-- a vanguard, if you will-- would argue that these are necessary sacrifices, that it's all leading to a more fair and just society. 

To which I'd argue to them, are you sure about that? I mean are you certain?

It's a hell of a thing to be wrong about. Have there ever been any examples were people are lured into giving something- or perhaps, everything- up in exchange for some promised better thing that in fact never actually arrives or comes true?

Or in fact what arrives is actually the opposite of what was expected or promised? Seems to me history may have a few examples of this. Quite a few, if I'm not mistaken.**

Something to ponder.

I'll end this by advising everyone to not count Generation X out yet. You're talking a cohort that grew up with diminished expectations already and has already dealt with two major economic downturns in the adult lives of its senior members. And a cohort whose vanguard made their mark by rewriting the plans laid out for them to their own liking, or at least tried. It may still have a few tricks left up its collective sleeve.

UPDATE: This is interesting.

In this light, it strikes me following in the wake of David Bowie's death how Boomers made him a star but in fact it was Xers who made him a superstar. Bowie would shift his alliance from the Boomers he came up to the Xers who adopted him as their own- a move personified in the tour he did with Nine Inch Nails in 1995 and would later concretize with BowieNet, his dotcom boom-era online service.

**  In fact, Generation X was out in front with the whole campus identity politics movement 25 years or so ago only to find themselves on the wrong end of a major backlash. Already we're seeing history repeat, only there won't be a booming job market to escape into when the reaction sets in. It seriously frightens me to consider what could happen in this dangerously polarized country in the event of a major economic downdraft.