Transmetropolitan and other Cities |Unethically Reckless Analysis

hello all it’s an election year and you know what that means Uh, no it’s time for me to read trans metropolitan again and I have some thoughts about it it’s my thoughts have changed and, uh, so I guess we’re gonna be doing this today but first trans metropolitan is a kind of a story that falls into a certain genre a sub genre a sub genre of art a sub genre of art in which the artist has something to say so bad they have to make a city about it and so I’m going to call this genre I have something to say so I made a city about it in which we see a ton of media falling into this sort of paradigm where the creator has something to say so they make a city about it we can see the the scope expand to a country like in Ben Shapiro’s ‘True Allegiance’ or Robert Heinlein’s ‘For Us, The Living’ but we can also see contract to just an apartment building or a mall like in the webtoon sweet home or the movie ‘The Walking Dead’ by noted chud whatever the fuck his name is Zack Snyder (i had misspoke and meant dawn of the dead) this kind of story didn’t ride bareback out of the Kazakh steppe in the mid 80s because even though that decade did see a backslide into neoliberalism and out of democracy that kind of only set the stage to help it gained popularity and attention even though it had already started existing and we can see just a ton of works like Judge Dredd Akira transmetropolitan Metro 2033 Avatar The Legend of Korra valerian and laureline in the [empire] of a thousand planets kill six billion demons babylon 5 Final Fantasy seven sweet home all four Mad Maxes, attack on titan elantris and Our Terry’s timeless classic Discworld which all fall into this paradigm sidenote this city doesn’t have to be a fictional city but it does have to be at least fictionalized the city in Marvel Comics that is called least fictionalized the city in Marvel Comics that is called Brooklyn In which spider-man has a lot of fun it’s (fumbles) it doesn’t count because it’s not it’s not fictionalized enough the only thing that’s weird about it is that there are superheroes in it right as opposed to like a demolition man’s LA where everything about Los Angeles has changed right these texts exist (fumbling) these texts exist in an astonishing expanse of primary genre mysteries actions adventures buddy cops conspiracies and more and because of the way they span other genres we can extract a ton about the super structure of a society just by looking at the work itself wait up have we talked about superstructure before about how in this context superstructure refers to the way that people in charge of any given society push for their own ideas and ideology to be shared by the people in that society I mean yeah it happens like look at the way the United States military subsidizes the the movies and TV shows and stuff and provides fighter jets and stuff and one of my test readers asked me which office specifically it’s actually the responsibility of the public affairs officer at each individual command across the entire DoD to reach out and and talk to people and so there’s no individual office every single command from the top of the chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all the way down to fucking Bumfuckton, North Dakota’s seven man nuclear missile team all of them have at least one person whose job it is is to use their part of their budget to do public relations stuff like this so that’s that’s of just a fact right that’s how the state does their part but the superstructure itself like how capitalists when they allowed public schools to open they made it so that the schools reflected what they needed in the factories they needed people to be able to do simple math and read and write and sit for hours and hours in rows and little grid pattern desks and that’s what schools are right? you know if you think about it Reading foucalt is kind of like a prison cool okay so the reason you can extract what the superstructure (trying to get raptor quotes on screen) So, the reason we can extract what the superstructure thinks about its society from this sub-genre is because a city is very difficult to build especially from scratch so you want to say something about the complexity of life in modern urban areas and more but that means you have to make it a city realistic enough to make a convincing argument

to show the world why you’re right you’re gonna need to understand a million disciplines including architecture civil engineering electricity water sewage ISP roads planning logistics as well as all the political machinations that goes into planning controlling and distributing all the stuff and more you might want to add in after you’re done with just creating a city some history for the people to see how the city developed into its modern state you’re gonna need some sort of avuncular cadence you’re gonna need a slide projector you’re gonna give me the next episode of Franklin Rozniak I can’t wait J-Dawg, i’m desperate please just I’ll take another asset stream (cut off pitiful begging) after you’ve created your groundwork in the city you’ll need to fill it up natives and immigrants of similans religions foods music businesses brands and so much more always find their way into these works and that’s the hallmark of this subgenre this holistic focus on making you know down to the minutest detail that the artist could manage what it would be like to live in that city right and that’s the reason why in this sub-genre invented cities are so much more common than reimagined real cities because we know what living in those real cities is like so by the time you’ve fictionalized it enough that it’s useful the authors have drastically changed the status quo and it’s it might as well just be a fictional city at that point anyway but a lot of what you’re going to end up doing to fill this city up is just take stuff that’s quote normal and either recreate it or imagine it through the lens of whatever you’re trying to say but your conceptualization of what’s normal has already been largely shaped by the superstructure some time ago on our podcast political funtime Link in the nether I addressed that YERDADISM of (Chud Voice) I was okay with gay people when I was young but no but now i’m a bigot because I Don’t like the transes or whatever fuck they say, right? my addressal of this argument was basically thus a constant and consistent philosophical investigation will allow you to live an unbigoted life as best as is possible in the given state of our hell world but there is kind of a snag on that issue philosophically which I feel like I can smooth out but that I also didn’t go over while speaking about it on the podcast the snag is this our society wide understanding of the world will change as capitalism is destroyed or phased-out right so the material conditions which are changing will also influence future material conditions and so things will change in such a way that we will not be able to understand how they change and you can ask me the question how is this different, Tyr, From the thing that the YERDADIST says right? and the difference is if you asked them if they were okay with trans people when they were younger they would have said no and now the answer is still no whereas now (reaches for best example despite not having good examples of thing that doesn’t yet exist) let me give you an example right? because the thing that I’m trying to explain is not invisible but difficult to understand and comprehend going into this thing right because we’re talking about what comes after so for example let’s say everyone has guaranteed food clothes clothes and shelter and internet and etc right and transportation right help like free public transportation whatever right we get to this like nice future position where everyone’s pretty well taken care right should a 14 year old be allowed to seek filial emancipation and get their own place to live [gestures confusedly] if you think the answer is no what about if they live under abusive parents? I think that situation is pretty clear no one should have to live under abuse so I would prefer allowing emancipation to abuse what about controlling parents who never tried fully into abuse 2/4/10 years to deal with “because I said so” is probably gonna really stunt your self-actualization so it feels like that should probably be allowed right? what about if (stumbles) one or both of your parents is being dickheads right now should that be allowed to leave just for the weekend just until uncle ray who your parents are dickheads to you whenever he’s around maybe you just leave for the weekend until he goes home or maybe you leave for the weekend and decide that you like being on your own and you stay out forever like (stumbles) is that fine? right? in modern capitalism 16 year olds can seek filial emancipation just generally and 14 year olds can with special dispensation so it would follow that in an anarchist system they could but 14 seems kind of weird to me as an age

because it seems too young to be independent but that might be because the superstructure has taught me that child labor is bad and I know that 14 year olds is too young to seek a Wage so maybe that’s the superstructure just being in my head confusing me maybe 14 year olds could live on their own right but I bet at least a handful of viewers have reservations and probably a ton of them and it’s because this is the kind of difference in changing times that I’m talking about the way we treat people with regards to their normative traits since we can evaluate claims and statements and feelings and determine who is trying to make essentialist claims even in the current mode we can easily prevent the kind of bigotry we’re currently used to fighting and we do fight it since a person can’t change their identity in regards to those traits trying to pin down the essence of who a person is based on those traits is an exercise in futility and for reasons we do not fully understand trying to understand behavior through essentialization of traits somehow always winds up being the source for violent barefacedly evil policies and always will the changes I’m talking about are literally just about the way capitalism operates no longer dictating our behaviors the kind of society wide stuff we find normal because it just happens to be profitable so when you fill in parts of your society with what’s ‘normal’ then you’re filling that space in with what the superstructure thinks is normal and that can be dangerous as hell okay let’s do an example you want to do classist policing and brutality in modern Britain and so make a city in which cops have ultimate capital judicial authority well nowadays most people who know Judge Dredd think that he’s a fucking bad-ass and fucking love him he’s like the fucking better version of the punisher you know I’m saying let’s say you’re you want to do a critique about the fascist state of Japan and how it leads us into disaster after disaster and destroys our children and our youths cool go ahead and do that but most fans of “Akira” just kind of like angry boy goes pew pew with the lazers and all that right? and this goes for almost every one of these works right? many of them end up struggling to depict a world in a way that convinces the readers with their ideology instead attracting readers to their aesthetic and even then a successful subversive text becomes recuperated very fast Sure, Drudge dreads movies glorify him as a policeman officer but they are from decades after that character has already said what he was invented to say and he just has to say it over and over and over again in grim pantomime except when an authoritarian takes charge and makes mr. Dredd into ‘oops all’ fascism apologia in a lot of ways most of what we can extrapolate about this sub-genre and as a peripheral bonus what the authors of any given series thought about their society which the superstructure influenced can be found in one series The Ankh-Morpork City Watch which is part of Discworld by Terry Pratchett most of what Sir Terry espoused in his nearly 40-year run with Discworld didn’t change poor people are human women are human trans rights capitalism is a fucking racket and more but considering the series was 41 books long not including other media a lot of the later books in the series feel kind of like a Pratchettism 101 refresher much of which you’ve already doubtlessly read so to reduce the amount of excruciating damage from that sort of experience We’ll only hit the first one guards guards written by a sir Terrynce Prattchettt no that’s not his name “Guards! Guards!” written by Terry Pratchett was originally published in 1989 seven years before Transmetropolitan started print in this book: a down-and-out misanthrope has to figure out what is wrong with his city and to bring order back to it in a way he had thought he had made a clean break from in this comically political comic satire of politics and media commander samuel vines puts down the bottle for the first time in years in order to solve a problem in the city state of Ank-Morpork which in this case is which in this case is fascism every fucking time with his ogre can you it believe it? no for real though the big bad dragon In ‘Guards! Guards!’ is fascism allegorically speaking up to and including the secret society where the bourgeois ringleader taps into the imaginary space where dragons live which is illustrative of the way that the bourgeois taps into the working-class resentment to fuel reactionary authoritarianism a bunch of working-class Stooges help him bring about a literally and figuratively draconian regime thinking it will put them in charge the dragon roasts them like the night of the Long Knives though and you can extend this metaphor to the swamp dragons that Sybil Ramkin breeds you could consider them like Sir Terry considers the aristocracy quixotic and dopey authoritarianism all of the metaphors are pretty straightforward once you’ve come back to it with media literacy in hand a lot of terry Pratchett’s ouvre were social commentary through transformative parody of some fiction the first few books were about institutionalized classism in academia using the classic fantasy chosen one archetype

then we got a few stories about feminism using witches that happened to be about gender relations and eventually book 8 ‘Guards! Guards!’ looks at institutional racism and hierarchy by way of Dirty Harry in this story James McAvoy as Samuel Vimes (The highest ranked member of the city watch) who is a consummate alcoholic gives up the bottle for long enough to realize how fucked the city is and fix it and find love with Gwendoline Christie as Sybil Ramkin in his internal monologue Vimes is constantly making observations about the nature of crime of policing of policy of society of inequality and much more in certain scenes though we see things from the point of view of Ralph Fiennes as Lord Havelock Vetinari the head of state a neoliberal Margaret Thatcher sort of stand-in and here’s where we get a little deeper into why this sub-genre is bad right-wing libertarians love Discworld even though Pratchett was a left libertarian because the way he made fun of authoritarianism in the form of Lord Vetinari struck what I like to call a Colbert major third it isn’t until very late in the series that he starts taking potshots at the things the right loves like imperialism in xenophobia which causes them to eventually dunk on the series they consider his anti auth-left book the Nightwatch to be the pinnacle of the series but right libertarians love Discworld in the same way that fascists love Judge Dredd when creating their fictional cities the creators of these stories end up having to fill in the world billing gaps to make their world feel realistic and to add in story beats to make it compelling which together almost always leaves a ton of the dominant modes ideology wrapped up in the story so a long-running series often has to circle back to a topic in order to make it clear, its stance like in Discworld or to transition away from the subgenre like in the matrix in which they specifically invite you to imagine that none of the normacies of quotidian life matter (stumbles) and that we can change the fabric of society in any way we want or the author’s will just jam a tight focus on what they want to say like Metro 2033 in order to get the point across note: Metro 33 is neoliberal as hell and very nearly a lecture so that really helps in re: being full of the dominant mode’s ideology so what we can learn from ‘Guards! Guards!’ is that by building a city one ideological brick at a time it leaves a ton of space for people to mortar in their own ideas to fill the gaps even if you had planned to fill those even if you had planned to fill those fill those spaces yourself anyway in 1996 the year before transmetropolitan started print tool released aenima an album and aenema a song on that album as a single in this song lead singerMaynard keens about how whiny people should drown No,That can’t be right let me try again in which Maynard James Keenan sings about how everybody should act more like Maynard James Keenan no no, i think it’s a song about how the listener is right and the people who don’t agree with the listener deserve to drown and they’re incapable dunces I think that’s actually legitimately what the the purpose of the song is this song creates a fictionalized version of Los Angeles in a way that kisses the landing strip if it doesn’t crash land right into this sub-genre in this song Maynard sings a misanthropic ballad demonstrating an ardent anger that wants to wipe the slate clean means testing be damned and I think that most of us can empathize with feeling of knowing the world or some aspect of it is fucked [turns out having a mouth is difficult] I think we can all respect the feeling of getting fire hosed by media and then trying to figureout how all this media reflects the world I mean like that’s the whole fucking popularity of Meow Leer like maynard’s brand of plastic people are bad Big Bang the brain bullshit was incredibly popular because media companies printed and sold it to us so effectively that we had to coin the term ‘rebel without a cause; during the Cold War as a specific sort of essentialized person who the superstructure was trying to create in order to waste thought and attention and years telling the disaffected youth that it was okay to be angry so long as you don’t try to change anything and this continues to this day there’s a thread I could follow about how ‘rebel without a cause’ is used by the US military to funnel youngsters into it but we don’t really have the time to follow that so [noncommital noise] instead we’ll just all say that the ‘rebel without a cause’ is “Normatively Angry” that is active and angry in a way that supports the hierarchy despite holding the aesthetic of transgression because the same people that the system hurts are hurt by this anger after the song has almost finished in which Maynard has spent almost six minutes ‘Ready Player One’ing us with a laundry list of things that can get fucked

and jacking off about all the way is that he wants to see the world destroyed he finally asks us to read between the lines not once in aenema does Maynard say anything that could get us to read between the fucking lines nothing that he says could get us to a point where the things that he’s saying are predictive of the ills of which he is complaining right reading in between the lines will do nothing here and let me give you an example the horrific abuses perpetrated by our politicians is reduced to hidden agendas as the sublime platonic starlet is casually misogyny’d despite having not a single war crime under her belt for simply having to deal with a job where sexual assault is a job hazard like if you’re gonna be a dick to women during the Clinton presidency it might as well have been Secretary of State Madeleine Albright note this song is a fucking Bob it’s great it’s on my lefty mood play list because I have the ideology to understand why the things that he’s talking about are bad or not and what causes those problems that he’s complaining about all the propositions are pretty straightforward once you come back to it with Anarchy in hand anyway it’s a frothy bucket of jibberish annoyances an entitled rage about other people’s bodies, habits, jobs, and preferences which leaves a nihilistically capitalism neutral flavor in your mouth aenema is an alone in this many other songs simultaneously struggle in vain to build a material analysis without access to the kind of information synthesis that makes anarchism so obvious some of these works struggle with the basics like Devo’s ‘Whip It’ some struggle to synthesize conclusions like Nirvana some adopt the aesthetics but fail to wield the theory like ‘Anarchy in the UK’ by the Sex Pistols [riffing on misspeech] and some like enema seem to have strong convictions but struggle to fill in supporting details your $2.95/day caffeine addiction and general anxiety disorder makes you worthy of Meteor/Wave ’96 because society grates on me like besides all the countless examples of baffling funny self serious and dorky media that pandered to the rebellious aesthetic [radical MIDI starts] in 1993 we do see one piece with a conclusion that accidentally bumps against class consciousness that year Aerosmith released a track called ‘Eat the Rich’ which is a bone deep sentiment that no amount of recuperation can make go away or I mean it could have been an attempt to recuperate the language of class consciousness but not even Soylent platinum could make the people want to eat the rich less the song’s ideology is that we should eat the rich because they’re drumroll please [dead silence] annoying side note because Aerosmith were involved in the creation of revolution X a delightfully hacky game in which fascists try to censor music so you have to defeat their fascism with music and violence this revelation puts the very clear thesis in one of the final lines of the song I believe in rags to riches your inheritance won’t last in stark detail eat the rich belongs in the intent probability space of a poor attempt at instilling class consciousness by invoking normative anger speaking of invoking normative anger in 1993 that was the year Bill Hicks gave his last show and I’m afraid I don’t have anything to say about Bill Hick’s last show HICKS: … How he expresses himself, what does it matter how he is in bed, He’s gay! except fuck comma shit comma and Wow that did not age well it is literally normative anger all the way down and I think all of these examples of normative anger in media are important to demonstrate so that when I say Transmetropolitan is a product of a different time you can tell I’m not trying to make excuses because I think there’s probably legitimately good reasons to put the series down for a million causes from the treatment of trans women to the cigarette brand that also happens to be whoopsie-daisy a racist slur I was able to finish it though and I think that despite the rough start it’s worth examining a little deeper before we go on, listen Spider Jerusalem is the main character he’s a foul filthy shit head of a quill who does every type of drug because he’s supposed to be Hunter S Thompson the city that trans Metropolitan takes place in is called [dejected] it’s called the city and it exists in a world that is post outrage like it’s gone so far into the future that cancer is history so smokers ironically puff on carcinoma angel brand smokes and fast-food restaurants that come complete with Happy Meals that also serve human flesh exist like a good neighbor a long Pig is there [to the tune of state farm jingle] every fucking time with this Ogre can you fucking believe it anyway there is this mid-90s end of history what now feeling that you get when you start reading this and it’s

weird but this sort of gonzo fuck you if you don’t like what I like approach to being Pro gay anti-cop sweeps you up into Transmetropolitan’s whirlwind and I just need to talk about it transmetropolitan is divided into five years and I’m going to organize them in this way the whole arc of the story looks like this a down-and-out misanthrope has to figure out what is wrong with his city and bring truth back to it in a way he had thought he had made a clean break from in this comically political comic satire of politics and media in comic form spider Jerusalem picks up the bottle for the first time in years in order to solve a problem in his city which in this case is fascism every fucking time with this ogre can you believe it in the first year only four chapters matter and the rest is just character building for the city and spider and a few others chapter one sets up spider in the city chapter two and three conflate black nationalism, cults, and trans (people) when spider goes to talk to a con man turned preacher slash political leader of a trans alien separatist group the group has all the political hallmarks of being black nationalists like move the Philadelphia group that got fire bombed by the Philly PD with a literal actual fire bomb dropped from an aircraft which destroyed 60 some-odd unrelated homes besides Theirs these trans aliens are called transients and this group declares their independence and the cops start a riot to kill them and spider Jerusalem saves them by writing his newspaper really really well it’s wish-fulfillment in chapter 4 the stripper that he meets in the previous chapter who worked at one of the preachers clubs comes to work as Spider’s bodyguard her name is Channon Yarrow and she’s a main character in this chapter Spider and Channon go to visit the President A fat sexual predator and spider berates him and then shoots him in the gut with a gun set to prolapse fun stuff it’s wish-fulfillment right over the next few chapters Spider is a relentless dickhead to Channon until she leaves to join the church set up by that same trans alien preacher for his transient people after a while without an assistant he gets a new one named Yelena Rossini and about a half a year after Shannon leaves she does return because it turns out that the preacher was crooked and he was sexually abusing his flock for profit but the whole text of Transmet never asks her about her transition or anything related to her time with them so I’ll take a trans rights where I can get ’em year two is election year first half is the primary where a Nazi named Joseph Heller after the author of catch-22 gives a bit of foreshadowing about what’s about to happen Spider supports the opposition candidate named Callahan from here called the smiler or Smiler Over Heller in the opposition primary in order to prevent Aesthetic fascism from taking over the convention but the smiler takes Joseph Heller’s Nazi stooge as his running mate because fascism doesn’t work that way Spidey Mr. Jerusalem comes to the conclusion that the smiler doesn’t believe in anything after he kills his political attache for points get it though it was a catch-22 Spider thought he could use the power of journalism to force the establishment to refuse fascism the opposition party primary arc really reflects the 2016 election if we’re being honest but because it was written by a human instead of carried out through a perfected mosaic of gerrymandered districts the system did to choose the milquetoast candidate next spider tries to side with the incumbent affectionately called the Beast who “has values” because he wants to stomp on the people who don’t vote for him and that’s better than the smiler for some reason it’s a beautiful indictment of the lesser of two evils argument the guy who purposefully causes preventable harm to opposition voters or the guy who stomps puppies for political points and will just pass whatever bill Congress gives to him and dealing with this election where Spyder is wrong over and over and over is the hump it took two weeks to read this much and one day to read the rest the smiler wins through perfidy and tries to destroy the evidence of his misdeeds including Spider who spends the next three years trying to take down the president while fighting with an illness that will kill him before the next election and that’s Transmetropolitan like yeah that’s a compression of the last three years but it just kind of blasts down the ol’ seeholes like nothing else even though there are whole chapters where the gang is just out on the street talking about a problem that has an analogue in real life asking you to be smart enough to read between the lines while yelling at you to not only not read between the lines but also stop reading entirely in the chapter business for example it shows the city’s version of the foster care system (stumble) and it is characteristically fucked as everything else in the city is the kids honestly tell Spider that their experiences in the system are what fucked them up but when he interviews the proprietor of the care home he blames their parents and society as he polices them to act right while also making zero numbers of attempts to incentivize or encourage assimilation the book tells you the truth and hopes you get it

and whereas I think there’s a place for that kind of confidence in your work I don’t think this sub-genre is the place for it to be able to read this chapter and get a reasonable semblance of condemnation of the modern American foster care system you have to 1: know about the foster care system well enough to understand the similarities and differences 2: be willing to take the word of children over adults even fictional ones 3: be media literate enough to understand the components of this chapter 4: be willing to sit through and read this very troubling chapter 5: be willing to get through three years and six volumes of normative anger to get to here and any one of those could be a deal-breaker so this short list quickly becomes a tall task the intent of Spider Jerusalem, of Transmetropolitan, of Warren Ellis all seem to bend toward my kind of ideology libertarian socialist but it suffers from the normative anger that is foist on men by the system and I think that’s actually what hurts that in a lot of ways how bad do you have to chuckle to yourself after thinking that a certain racial slur could be used as a cigarette brand for you to actually want to include that slur in your work [inchorent hilarity from the phrase ‘tar baby’] Trans metropolitan is critically supportive of transhumanism to include gender and species change and strongly prodrug Pro gay Pro sex work Pro feet Pro free speech anti-nazi it legit thinks that your reputation isn’t worth shit if you aren’t willing to wipe your ass with it in order to fight back against Nazis so that’s cool same with addressing recuperation Spider Jerusalem is made into a safe image by the establishment which actually backfires because people start to treat him like the recuperated version of him which is a dangerous mistake but this one work compared to all those other media in this subgenre that I love does go through and to do a material analysis of capital as it was acting in the mid 90s under neoliberalism and asks us to imagine a world where both radical and reactionary ideologies are fully recuperated into reservations where two parties roll back and forth largely the same but you choose between harm and more harm where the free-market is so truly free that it must allow cloning and if the clones aren’t sentient humans then they don’t get the NAP and can be cut into meat and so can any other type of exotic beasts and they sell all kinds and what about the clones? well a clone was grown to be made into meat but it was given a brain upgrade and that propelled him to the vice presidency so there are no class restrictions on success if you’re a moderately handsome white dude a city in which all drugs are legal and all types of sex and sex work and relationship and marriage where there are no detectable censors because the stream of information is so massive and distracting that there’s no way to pay attention to information unless it’s the only thing anyone is talking about where the secret service doesn’t work without upfront payment cops carry genetic code trackers in their car without even the common courtesy to claim they’re for carrying out warrants and the National Guard tanks to take up both lanes on the streets all of this is what I mean when I say that this sub-genre lets you see what the superstructure considers normal since these changes were happening before Transmetropolitan started we already see the two-party system cause the deregulation of basically everything except the military and police which have both consistently gotten more firepower and tech I could go on because out of all of these ‘I made a city’ sub-genre cities trans metropolitan is so perfectly this paradigm that I think it’s an interesting read on its own but I wanted to talk about how you read into a work for a bit some pieces of art just let you come to it and in the case of Transmetropolitan it is doing social distancing in 2020 but it’s so obvious this series has something it wants to say so it made me read Transmetropolitan through the lens of the same kind of nihilistic unintent caused by normative anger like what Maynard propagates (stumbles) and I definitely was reading more faith in electoralism than existed in basically every subject I was a bit off the mark when I started reading when I read casual misogyny I could have read positivity towards sex work I read transphobia and casual racism into the transient story because racism and transphobia do show up in this story just like misogyny does but in the same mode that our society normalizes reproduced there in order to condemn it while transmuted into something that rhymes with the truth you’re there in current year and I’m back here in 2020 and because of that I’m so inundated with right-wing dunces that the transracialism red herring immediately stinks of both transphobia and racism

but in 1996 it probably seemed kind of like a [trails off] [frantically googles active years of ‘SF 49ers’ and ‘chicago bulls’ to figure out if ‘touch down’, ‘slam dunk’, or ‘home run’ would be more culturally appropriate] probably seemed like a slam dunk to Ellis it allows him to double up racial and gender related prejudices in the real world so that he can focus on it with only one identifiable group a very narratively efficient move very clever and so because I probably won’t get another chance to organically talk about this I want to talk about the existence of ethnic and racial dysphoria because I feel like a lot of the nuance gets left out of the lefty and almost every other perspective with regards to what racial or ethnic identity actually means on this point a lot of well-informed people say what Contrapoints did most people have one parent of either gender so most people have either two parents with one gender each or one parent with one or fewer genders much less common is mixed-race or split ethnicity kids and maybe because I’m a neutral blob of genderless classless cultureless fury about capitalism and hierarchy I have a slightly different perspective about this Gary L Weinrib was born to two parents Jewish immigrants who survived the Holocaust they gave him a Western name and they called him by it in their Thick accents when he started doing music shows he demonstrated something that I think approximates ethnic dysphoria and because of this he asked them to start spelling and pronouncing his name not G-A-R-Y but G-E-D-D-Y because that’s how his parents said his name Geddy he preferred that appellation so much that he legally changed his name to Geddy Lee his first and middle name and went on to be the rhythm and vocals for Rush on the other hand in ‘Hunger of Memory’ Richard Rodriguez recounts the time that the Catholic nuns from his Sunday School came to speak with his Mexican spanish-speaking parents in order to tell them to only speak English to Mr. Rodriguez as a child because he was falling behind in his studies he eventually became an Ivy League scholar but he can’t speak English (or spanish) with his family it hurts him and it alienates him that he can’t but he also loves the culture he has become a part of and he wouldn’t exchange them can’t that be dysphoria? how about a conversion? if you practice a religion would you change your church when you feel neither deeply uncomfortable with your current service nor very enthusiastic about another no we don’t think about ethnic changes like that because in accordance with the values of the Enlightenment that America was founded on something approximating ethnic transition is so normal that we don’t ever use those modern academic terms for them but in the same way that enlightenment values allow us the transfer and free flow of culture the hierarchical values which have kept slavery alive in America made ‘Passing’ or ‘racial transition’ a desirable end goal for the swarthy people because the point was to become someone “”normal”” so convincingly That Society forgets to kill you for breaking ranks race is the biologically essentialist component to ethnicity and in Transmetropolitan even the phenotype softlocked in your genes is open to market forces and that’s why I wanted to talk about how transients are treated in the series a bit a bit more if you think of them as a racial or gender allegory only they fall apart and you end up having to pick and choose and it’s a fucking mess so I think it’s more fair to say that the state picks and chooses who to prosecute and kill and it doesn’t matter and it hasn’t ever mattered what that target is by demographic because the target is only people who haven’t organized well enough to defend themselves from this violence and that’s who the transients are the current transient target of the state’s oppression we don’t like you because we don’t like you because you’re asking too much too fast because you’re too insistent because you’re going to force our hand because you’re going to force our hand if you ask for so much because if we give you this scrap because if we give you this scrap where will it stop? because if we give you this scrap where will it stop? treating you like fellow humans? and that works really well since they are in and out of the shit constantly in the text in the end though the transients face a pretty gruesome fate because their preacher was a cocky dickhead they get gunned down and that sucks but this doesn’t feel like enough partially because I never identified why this style kind of petered out besides 9/11 after which normative anger was fueled into the imperialist war machine oh hey look we did have enough time [this was an ad lib because i didn’t think i would be able to address it succinctly enough when i wrote it] because everybody had the answer to the why the world was bad after that and partially the reason it doesn’t feel like enough is because I don’t want to stop talking to you let’s look at another long-running part of this paradigm Yakuza also known as 龍が如く [marveling at authentic Japanese pronunciation] which means like a dragon anyway it functions in an identical way as the other parts of the sub-genre a wish fulfillment fantasy in which you are placed in a city created by the authors with intense attention to detail for making it feel like you could actually live in this city and the Creator clearly has something to say the stark difference between how money is handled during the boom in Yakuza 0 and how money money is handled fifteen in-game years later during Yakuza 1 is astonishing it highlights how the Japanese people felt about that economy and how different life is following the bubble burst even the narratives evolved over time

in Yakuza 1, Kiryu in the other yakuza are fighting about a ton of money that Nishikiyami stole from the bosses But in Yakuza 0 made 10 years later the working class and small business owners of Kamurocho are getting stomped on in a turf war that you’re trying to fix and you’re having to do your best to help them out because of this you go through tons of side quests in these games eating at restaurants getting drunk and running the jewels but I want to go back to Superstructure infecting media because in Yakuza kiwami 1 there is a hostess minigame where you have to answer the E-girl’s questions correctly and eventually you get side quests which unlock their good ending which is a [clicks tongue] you know I’m not sure about the right term is it? is it titty video? anyway, one of the two hostesses is pretty into you and jealous that you’ll leave her like her first big client did you promise that it’s just ships passing in the night baby as soon as I get that titty video achievement it’s ghost city [cocks finger gun for emphasis] population you the other one is a lesbian she is into women of the three times I’ve been through this section it has astounded me each time how much she frontloads her attraction to women try to take a gander at the dialogue as this section continues you talk to her about her dating problems with women you help her choose clothes for her dates with women and then your side story climactic quest is to find out how her date with a woman went went bad actually thanks for asking [failing miserably on a technically simple line read] you find her on the street as she gets cat called by a drunk you kick the drunks ass and she tells you that the girl she went on a date with was a butch [feigning dejection] so you’re lest friend left the date in a fugue state and came here thanks for the save how and I can’t stress this enough about a nice shag me and k-dog were in accord here and he immediately sets her gay gay as hell don’t be gender essentialist he says don’t try to sleep with dudes because you had one bad date and compulsory heterosexuality is easier you have to be yourself or nothing else will work for you you’re right K-etamine she says but let’s fuck stud muffin and then you get your tid vid like what the fuck are we doing here people okay what this was was that like it had to have been intended as a red herring someone on the dev team wanted this girl to be gay and cute so that when a straight gamer boy barks up this tree looking for squirrels he has jack shit she said she was gay in all eight appointments costing you thousands of monopoly money at least once on each of the dates you can take her on which cost you thousands more monopoly money on each of the side quests including going suit shopping for her during your appointments when you answer her questions right and learn about her and talk to her the good answers are stuff like telling her she can be butch if she wants no shame in that you don’t have to look like guys want you to look if you don’t want to catch guys eyes and so on and etc and you get to the end of the sequence and save her and you’ve been with this girl for two hours straight if you’re only doing her content or hours and hours if you’re doing the other stuff in between and Kiryu looks directly into the camera and says to the player Kiryu: ‘fuck you I’m not gonna unleash my legendary dragon style on her…’ Kiryu: ‘…because she’s a gay and we all know better than thinking women owe us sex’ it points the barrel of gender consciousness at you and stares you in the face and then IT blinks sorry about the problem sir women do owe you sex Mr. Primary Demographicman and that’s what I mean when I make the claim about the superstructure influencing the design of the art let’s examine a few points of which one is probably true since this bafflingly contradictory contraption did to get made 1: 1: there was a disconnect between the writing process and the game making process without any sort of lead designer to make sure all the pieces come together without discord or contradiction but that ain’t true we got Toshihiro Nagoshi so maybe 2: 2: nobody who had the responsibility to write and plan the segment had the power to prevent these two contradictory elements from coinciding or they had the power and nobody told them that it was bad or they had the power and knowledge and they wanted it like that now this is kind of Hanlon’s Razor, right? the world is shitty because people are dummies not because there’s evil ‘never account for with malice what can be explained through incompetence’ but Weyland’s Razor is the razor that cuts through Hanlon’s Razor ‘never account for with incompetence what can be explained through the profit motive’ and so it feels like whereas it might be possible for them to have been incompetent it’s much more likely that 3: someone made this conscious choice to add a tiddy video to a storyline that should have had none maybe they paid for both because they envisioned and wrote the story and then had to include it anyway because they paid for it and maybe they just wanted three hostess stories two hits and a miss but ended up having to cut one of the two hits and just transferred the video to the miss if we’re swinging for the imaginary fences maybe someone decided that if a player weren’t scared off by the very clear lesbian that it would be too mean to allow a person to spend hours of his life on a video game girl who isn’t interested in him and then make the player character take the girl’s side o ver the player’s? imaginary scenarios of what happened don’t matter though Because when we do our analysis we end up seeing this contradiction and Yakuza on the whole as just another facet of the Japanese superstructure

that informs us of what the Japanese state thinks of its culture in any case at least one person in the studio who created the story decided the sexual agency of one of the characters, a woman who isn’t sexually attracted to men is less important than rewarding a person who isn’t even part of the story (except metatextually) and the game got released like that and that’s kind of grim Yakuza is meant to say something to young men especially those harboring the kind of normative anger that just naturally burns when you feel the system of capitalism just leaving you behind it I mean they feel it feel it he same way that women do but they’re targeted with this kind of media these boys who don’t have a place to put that energy are encouraged to get respect by being tough dickheads and to deal with stress by consuming entertainment and alcohol in a synthwave hellscape the ideology of any society is this huge amalgamation of conversations and feelings and memories and stories many of which shift mercurially in very short periods and some make a great lurches that could last longer than our conception of history and so we can work to identify these incongruities in art and figure out how to resolve them maybe make some cities that reflect anarchist ideologies or maybe make art that speaks of your human experience and don’t fill in the gaps with the superstructure’s world-view where you can help it anyway I did a sleight of hand at the top of the video in the very core of my conceit my sub-genre it’s a joke I invented it to talk to you about how the superstructure infects our ideology and about how we categorize and systematize experiences based on criteria that are essentialist and normative in the extreme I was acting like I had the keys to wisdom and to knowledge but it was a classic clever ruse you fool you rube I bet right now at this very moment you’re deflecting your anger at yourself for being bamboozled into normative anger without even considering how normative anger is used to make us focus on insignificant, essentialized, and false divisions between genre, franchises, and people That have nothing to do with fighting the real enemy Which are Nazi Furries and Elon Musk thanks forwatching and thanks to my patreons on patron including the inimitable Kevin Young Nichtschwert [without any stumbling, scout’s honor] scrublorde which is all lowercase Thomas Wolfskeller and our Gremba Wuku all lowercase if you liked us here’s some stuff on the screen and in the nether Twitter discord patreon other YouTube channels to check out maybe some references if you’re into that sort of thing if you like the art hit up Grem, who is online, on their Twitter @gremisonline or you can find them policing the Sasquatch shelter-in-place order not a Squatch in sight Enbies and gentlebutch we got him if you want to listen to some music give thanks to Brent Entriken musician explordinaire and social distancing maven who is currently experiencing ayahuasca & chill special thanks to wuku our Gremba Tier pratient [softly correcting self] Patron a lot of people have been talking about coronavirus and i’ve been one of them but i really want more content how the fuck did i forget about snowpiercer Gob: Go Grem [yelling]: I am the law [reckless automated nerf-fire] Grem [gritty]: I AM the law [nerf at ceiling, recklessly] Grem: [laughs nervously] Grem [concerned]: like I don’t want to like hit anybody with this Gob: Just shoot it at this wall Grem [triumphant]: I am the law [nerf fire, acceptable risk] [Grem laughs, so does Gob] Roomate: that even kind of sounds like a laser gun from a movie Grem: is that still going? Gob: yeah Grem: Oh Gob: Do you want me to stop it? Grem: The law just got Grem: Grembier [breaks] ok Gob: alright i’m going to stop it, that was sad