Monthly Archives: September 2004

Working on an image update…

Just processed this email. It made me smile.
I think it will do the same for some of you as well.

Subject: Geek tattoo
To: submissions@bmezine.com

I had the usual 'what picture should I get tattoed' dilemna, so I solved it in a bit of a geeky way.

Chris, Sandbach UK

Another 15 minutes

I missed mentioning it when it first came out, but my old friend Rebekah just pointed out to me that I got a very kind mention in the Transvision Coverage over at BetterHumans.

An excerpt from the article (check out the whole thing for more coverage) — emphasis mine:

Transhumanist memes, however, are moving far beyond academic settings and avant garde artists. I was immensely pleased to see the radical body modification community come out and join us at TV04. Most notably, Shannon Larratt of BMEzine attended the event. Transhumanists and body modifiers have a major shared interest: Maintaining morphological liberties.

Larratt, as an important figure in the body modification community, has done incredible work to bridge the gap between the two camps, using and promoting technologies that allow people to morph their bodies into desired forms. “Ultimately,” Larratt writes in part one of his report on the conference, “if we're going to leap forward from these dirty ape fleshbag bodies of ours, we have to embrace the right of every individual to transform themselves in any way they see fit, be it a split tongue or be it a robotic tongue.”

Thinking about the body modifiers who came to TV04, I couldn't help but wonder what this community will look like in coming years. At future TransVisions, we're apt to see full-out cyborgs, transgenic creatures and glow-in-the-dark skin.

PS. Are you going next year? I hope to…

Off to the CNE

So I was reading this story (more) about a 16 year old kid at the RNC from some school newspaper. When he saw an AIDS group setting up to protest, he went over to take pictures of what they were doing, thinking it would be a great shot for his paper — the Secret Service grabbed him (along with the protesters), threw him in prison, and charged him with indicting a riot (a felony), as well as assault and disorderly conduct charges. His parents hope to get the charges dropped.

Ignoring for a moment how chilling it is that reporters — let alone student reporters — are being arrested like this, look carefully at the trumped up charges. Felony. That means this kid, mistakenly believed to be a reporter with anti-Republican leanings, is being threatened with joining the 3.9 million Americans that can't vote due to having a felony on their record. Interesting tactic for dealing with protesters!

Not surprising either when Bush is inside talking about all the success he's had, but in August alone there were 1,100 US combat casualties in Iraq, about two a day being fatal (more), which makes it the bloodiest month so far. In addition, “three out of four” casualties are now of the “acute case” type — or to put it in simpler terms, the amputee rate is way up.

Continuing in the religion of peace department, the death toll in Beslan (the Russian school incident which took place in a small town of 30,000 people) is looking like it's going to hit 500, almost all children (more). Putin is being accused of both bungling the incident and lying about it, but if I'm to believe the pundits on TV, it's Muslims in general that are getting a real beating — again they're making this “where is the outrage? whine (more).

Suggesting that Muslims in America or other Western Muslims have a responsibility more so than people in general to condemn the event is to suggest that they have some relation to the terrorists or are the same group, or otherwise have a direct affinity. It's not as if Christians are expected to all collectively apologize when a gay teen is beaten to death, or an abortion doctor is murdered. It's not as if Christians or even Catholics are expected to apologize every time a priest rapes a little boy.

If anything, God — in every flavor — needs to apologize to man for suggesting the idea that he exists (or at least show up, make a lot of noise and fireworks, and announce, “look you dumbasses, would you stop killing each other in my name, and just be nice to one another for a change?).

A nice long entry, as requested

Watching interviews with American politicians always disturbs me when they talk about their youth — they all know each other. So many of them went to school together, have family ties to each other, worked together in the old days, and so on. Even if they don't agree or are in different parties, they're from the same place.

Eugenics is the science of improving humanity through selective breeding. I'm sure most of you remember reading about it in school when you read Plato's Republic;

When young men prove themselves good and true in war or anywhere else, honors must be given to them, and prizes, and particularly more generous freedom of intercourse with women; at the same time, this will be a good excuse for letting as many children as possible be begotten by such men.

One of the problems with being a genetic organism is that if you manage to evolve a society where breeding does not favor the “best” or otherwise most successful, and especially if breeding rates increase in your “less favorable” members, you face a very serious threat: devolution. We're doing this culturally as well as we make public schools easier and easier (and teaching less and less), lower standards across society, increase state welfare, and so on.

But don't think the rich — the ruling class — are going to permit it to happen to them. The rich, on the whole, breed with other rich people — class mixing is a giant taboo. They are raised going to the best private schools and private universities. They are expected to be athletes and leaders and on the whole work incredibly hard to both excel to their maximum potential and to retain and improve their bloodline.

And it's worked — look at the family trees in US politics. There really is a ruling class, and it's almost impossible to break in. The only way to break in is to prove to them you deserve admittance to their gated communities, and then you're one of them.

The part that surprises me is that everyone who's not of that class just keeps on voting for them. You know why? It's because as much as they were bred to be the ruling class, two thousand years of breeding has made the rest a servant class on a genetic level.


From The American Conservative, read this.


Now let's look at what's in the news this morning.

First of all, Afghanistan (yes, Afghanistan) is still a mess as Taliban continue to fight to control the country (more) and urge the people of Afghanistan to cut off US fuel supplies (more). That said, the PR machine still expects Bin Laden to be captured just in time for Bush to parade him around in a cage before the election (more). Just in time.

Iraq is still a giant mess as well, with both Americans and Iraqis dying daily (more) and oil pipelines under constant attack (more). Given that Halliburton and other giants work in these nations by doing things like bribing violent and corrupt governments (more), is it really any wonder that when the people of these nations get guns in their hands they turn them on the pipelines?

Election stuff… Soldiers stationed overseas have lost the right to a secret ballot (more)… of course, they're doing better than Afghanistan's citizens. While Bush may praise them like crazy (he did again in his speech) on “registering 10.35 million people to vote”, but that's not really anything to be proud of in a nation of 9.8 million voters (more). America may only be able to get 50% voter turnout, but Afghanistan can get 106% turnout, woot! Of course, most of the speeches there — cough, Zell, cough (more) — were litanies of lies that you'd really have to be incredibly uninformed to buy. I'm not sure if I'm more shocked that the average voter is so stupid, or more shocked that so many people are willing to knowingly go along with the lie. But it's no secret I suppose that the GOP are big fans of lies and secrets (more)… and big fans of 9/11 (more).

Schwarzenegger was especially funny — telling his stories watching of Soviet tanks rolling through his town — given that they left Styria two years before he was even born (more). Then his talking about how much he loved Nixon… wait… Nixon? Well, I suppose it could have been worse, he could have talked about how proud he was that his father was a Nazi (more) while he was reminiscing about how much Austria sucks (which incidentally has better healthcare and minimum wages than most of the US). Of course, when you're preaching to the ignorant, facts are irrelevant.

Oops, South Korea's got nukes too (more).

Oops, US troops in Iraq have suffered nuclear attack (more).

Oops, they're also available on the South African black market (more, more).

This FBI spy/mole Israeli story is interesting as well (more) — as was the first gay ripple (more). Now, it's old news that Israel has agents — including seductive agents — inside US (and other) intelligence agencies. What's more interesting is the extent to which these agents were able to help shape US policy (more, more). Where it gets even more interesting is that these Israeli spies have a 30-year history with the current neo-con Cabal, and that Ashcroft is stepping in to block the investigation (more) as much as possible. Not that there aren't a dozen other reasons to have the whole lot of them up on treason charges, but add another to the list.

I linked to this story a few days ago, but I wanted to mention it again because it so perfectly showcases the world we've created. How sad is it when poor people have to trade food for weapons? How sad is it when it happens on a national level? Thailand, wanting to replace its aging US jets with new Sukhoi Su-30s, is currently trying to trade 250,000 tons of chicken for Russian weaponry (more).

In other Russian news, Japan and Russia may finally reach a peace treaty after nearly sixty years of Russian occupation of the Kurils… and what will make them come to this historic agreement? You guessed it, oil (more)!

I'm not really sure what to say about the Russian school hostage/killing situation — almost 300 dead, over 500 wounded (more), some of whom won't make it. It's officially an “al Qaeda” attack, with Arab and Chechnyan cooperation in pulling it off (and presumably the airliner explosions; more, more). This story is a first hand account of what went on inside the school. What can I say but you should probably expect a whole lot more of this crap, and don't be surprised if it starts to happen in America as well if current trends continue.

Reactions

It's really quite fascinating watching the outright hatred that the tooth whitening article is bringing out… a lot of people very angry that it's being covered at all, even though in terms of “is it body modification” it's easily inside what BME (and certainly BME/News) has covered in the past. It's certainly more permanent, painful, and drastic than much of what's covered.

I think though that maybe tooth whitening strikes a nerve in the same way as exercise, liposuction, fashionable clothes, and so on do — as “symbols” of the attractive end of the mainstream that many people with atypical body modifications are rebelling against (and for some also symbolizing a class struggle because of the expenses involved — ignoring that many people spend more on their tattoos than a surgical “extreme makeover” would cost). That is, it's not so much that there's a disagreement on whether it's modification, it's more a question of politics and whether we want to allow “those sorts of people” on BME.

That is, does getting a modification that brings you closer to the cultural beauty norm somehow make it “less valuable” because it's some kind of affront to the individual or even this counterculture? Here's a simple truth about the cultural beauty norm:

Beauty, on a cultural level, is defined by what most people agree is beautiful.

So most people will think that white teeth are attractive. Most people will find a fit body attractive. We've been programmed with these attractions because at our core we're biological machines that need to spread our genes — these “beauty markers” have evolved as indicators of underlying biological suitability. Tattoos play into that as well in the form of both self-beautification and attention attracting behavior which is also very common in animal mating behavior.

Anyway, so the point is that you shouldn't feel bad about wanting to look a certain way, even if most people agree that it's beautiful. You shouldn't feel bad about wanting to look the exact opposite either. You should look however you want to. But don't ever let anyone here tell you that you should accept brown teeth or an out of shape body that's shaving decades off your life as some kind of “be proud of who you are” rebellion. If it's what you want, then great, but if it's not what you want, change it into something you do want… but don't think you have to keep something you don't like about yourself just because it's “how you are”.

Who you are are naturally is nothing to be proud of.

You have no more right to be proud of who you are naturally than you do to be “proud of your heritage” (aka white pride, etc.). You did nothing to earn or achieve it. You should on the other hand be proud of your achievements. You should be proud of the things you've worked hard to achieve and to bring closer to perfection. You should be proud of who you've made yourself.