-Near Area 51, Nevada
Freedom of the press belongs to he who owns the press.
A keyboard is my press, and this is my news; it is fairly liberal, but never unbalanced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: So you’re the new liberal media. Don’t we have enough liberal media?
A: “Liberal” media regularly features right-wing spokesmen — to show you how not-liberal they are. “Liberal” news anchors never provide viewers a real source-check on what those right-wing mouthpieces say. “Liberal” journalists rarely pose follow-up questions to the most self-evidently insane statements. That’s why the “liberal” media is full of ridiculous, easily-debunked talking points flying around without challenge, filling the airwaves with pollution. Right-wing nontroversies rise in the wingnutosphere, are picked up by right-wing noisemakers like FOX News, and then get featured by “liberal” media using the frames and narratives prepared on the right because the noise is “controversy,” which the “liberal” media confuses with news. When CNN takes tea parties seriously, the term “liberal media” loses all touch with reality. There’s nothing “liberal” about 95% of all media, so I’d say we need more real liberal media and less please-don’t-call-us-liberal media.
To be sure, one segment of the Occupy movement is the same leftie-progressive bunch that has always existed in our politics. Community organizers have led the way outside the parks with Occupy Homes, for example. Netroots has been engaged in a “Move Your Money” campaign. However, what’s new and interesting about Occupy is the strong youth demographic showing up for acts of civil disobedience — we haven’t seen that in a long time, and it shows us just how dire the American economic situation has gotten. The occupation of parks represents the growth of America’s invisible underclass in a way that cannot be ignored; consequently, the American conversation has turned away from austerity to inequality. Half the country gets poorer all the time while the top 0.01% see record profits, and that is exactly the description of an oligarchy in decline. The Occupy movement is civilization trying to preserve itself against its own elites — something that has happened many times before in history, though with various levels of success.
Q: What do you think of the Tea Party?
A: First of all, there isn’t one “tea party.” There are actually several tea party organizations. Second, everyone should stop capitalizing “tea party” — and stop pretending it’s a new political force. Tea parties feature the same right-wing authoritarianism and agit-prop left over from the days of George Wallace and John Birch, which is why their stupid talking points sound exactly like the paranoid insanity of yesteryear. Tea party activism takes place in a closed universe where reality has been turned inside-out over a birth certificate. Enthusiasts constantly project their own minds on others. Anything they don’t understand about our complicated, globalized world becomes a new shadow on the wall of Plato’s cave. The activists represent perhaps 2% of the US population; sympathizers account for maybe another 25%. Altogether, they’re the same 27% of America that approved of Bush at the dead end of his presidency. What began as an online Ron Paul phenomenon has been morphed by K-Street money into a new brand name for the same old culture warriors and conservatives, only now they’re worse because they’re desperate.
Q: What are “culture wars” and why do you study them?
A: All human conflicts begin and end in culture. We fight, or make peace, according to cultural norms and as cultural groups. This is what Aristotle was talking about when he described the state as “not made up of so many men, but of so many different kinds of men.” This phenomenon shows up in almost every current issue of any kind. For instance, a blogger cannot cover infrastructure issues without discussing car culture — or its nascent and growing rival, bicycle culture. I have tried many times to get liberals to understand gun culture. You can hear it all from the tea parties as an overweening fear at the “browning” of America, Islamophobia, and a general sense that “they” are taking “our” country away from us. They talk of American values as conservative ones. Tea parties are, in fact, conservative culture. Glenn Beck knew exactly what he was doing when he accused President Obama of harboring hate for “white culture,” then refused to define what he meant by the term. Cultures threatened by climate change, social change, or demographic change always resist. It’s the fight-or-flight instinct on a mass scale, which is why Jared diamond discusses culture in his studies of collapsing civilizations. If you think I’m exaggerating, read a book on branding. Advertisers have been playing on this human trait forever: just think of Coke vs Pepsi, Chevy vs Ford, and other brand wars. Much of what gets called “microtargeting” in elections these days is actually just communication to a subculture — soccer moms, NASCAR dads, etc. — in order to activate its adherents. Because we all adhere to something. Even the outcasts band together, right?
Q: How did you get into blogging?
A: The internet finally caught up with me: I have been pounding out opinion pieces since I was a teenager. They have been printed in The New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and various daily papers since I was fifteen. I also write strange little fiction stories that are usually inspired by this blog. All of it is informed by years of study, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and the nine years I spent in uniform serving the country. About 1999, the notebooks in which I used to rage silently morphed into blog posts and took over my life. Osborne Ink began out of frustration with a social network. At one time, I was getting 100,000 hits a week to a MySpace account with more than a thousand “friends.” Rupert Murdoch didn’t need the help and I was tired of dealing with add requests from Infowars readers. At the time, this site was just a stump left over from a short and unremarkable career in copywriting.
Q: Is it true that bloggers are all rich?
A: BWAHAHAHAHA!…No. I’ve been blogging since before they called it “blogging,” but I have yet to see my first check from George Soros. Every month, the Veterans Administration deposits a chunk of change in my bank account as thank-you for a lumbar spine that will never be the same. It’s not a rich life, as I can no longer work in most traditional occupations. This blog is entirely reader-supported.
Q: So you, what, blog all day in your underpants?
A: No, generally I wear comfortable pants while working. I spend most of my day curating and writing and editing video, and sometimes leave the house to talk with actual people about stuff. I’ve made some documentaries and launched an effort this year to cover the state legislature, which means I had to look decent.
Q: So why are you a socialist and/or communist?
A: Generally, people who think socialism and communism are the same thing don’t know what the words mean. Communitarian economics begin with the smallest level of human society, the family. Social economy begins with two or more families living in proximity. By the time humans invented money and markets, a million years of evolution had accustomed the entire human race to work collectively. This is how aqueducts and pyramids and libraries and fire departments and the internet get built. Hell, half the internet is social networking — and the internet is a government creation. If I’m a socialist, it’s because you’re being socialist right now.
Q: OK, what’s up with the flags?
A: That’s called an Osborne Flag, and no I didn’t make it up. Thomas Osborne Mann left England for Spain in the 18th Century. In 1772, he set up his first winery to produce sherry and used a bull for the logo. Osborne Wines is still in existence, and the only billboards left on Spain’s ad-free highways are the Osborne Wine silhouettes. They’ve had the sales text removed, but you might think of them as similar to barns painted with “SEE ROCK CITY” across the American Southeast. At some point, the bull began to appear on Spanish flags at soccer matches as a symbol of national competitive spirit. The Osborne Flag amuses me because I spend so much of my day calling out bullshit.
Q: So why are the bulls “marching” behind a rabbit?
A: When this site got premium ads, they didn’t always load. So I filled out the relevant DIV tags with animated .GIF images. Monty Python was barely exaggerating about rabbits: a buck in his territory is a fierce creature with VERY big, nasty teeth. I happen to be proud papa to a beautiful Dutch rabbit, and he decided to share logo space with the ink bottle. Think of the bunny as a communist dictator and the bulls on parade as his army marching past a May Day review stand.