My initial thoughts on the new conflict in the Middle East and what will surely become the new Current Thing
Well, folks, it’s official — The New Current Thing is finally here.
The New Thing arrived on my social media feed in the guise of a mutilated corpse of a young woman in her underwear on the back of a pickup truck.
Strictly speaking, the New Thing isn’t actually new, in fact, it’s probably just a return of the oldest thing. Since the first images of the Hamas incursion into Israel, killing at least 900 people, I’ve been reminded of the corny TV show in the 1987 film The Running Man: cruelty and the macabre being repackaged as mass entertainment. Each new ‘‘show’’ brings with it an entire swathe of political and ideological quandaries. COVID-19 revealed the full scale of technocratic and interlocking Public/Private Partnerships and their seemingly unlimited global ambitions. The vaccine rollout brought to the fore principles of individual sovereignty in the face of a seemingly unhinged and psychotic ruling class. The Russian invasion of Ukraine shifted the focus toward the nature of the American Empire and Europe’s place within it, as well as placing ‘‘petty nationalism’’ within a larger, civilizational context.
The outbreak of war in the Middle East involving Israel and Hamas is a relatively well-trodden path, as are its political and ideological touchstones and associated issues. Here, the New Current Thing brings with it questions about Zionism, Jewish exceptionalism, and multiculturalism. Unlike the COVID or Ukraine events there already exists a cynical (to be polite) consensus in the Online Right regarding Zionism and its influence. Other factions on the political internet will have to find a way to shoehorn their own ideology and philosophical priors into the narrative frame game. The Ukraine programming chip is being taken out and replaced with an Israeli programming chip but for the ‘‘Woke Left’’ this will mean opening up the old wounds and faultlines as to whether they continue to back the Deep State or the brown victim group. Who is the new Putler now? Jews or Muslims?
The center-right grift complex has no such confusion, Hamas and Muslims generally are the new Nazis, indeed, they were the old Nazis too there’s even a picture of Hitler with an Imam. The most tepid Tory wet lettuce has suddenly discovered blood and soil nationalism -- just not for the British. It’s all so predictable, it feels like 2005 again, no doubt Douglas Murray will be dusting off his old essays predicting an Islamic takeover of Europe by 2020.
The new kid on the influencer block is the gigantic conspiracy scene or, to be kinder, what we may call ‘‘Hidden Handism’’. In this frame, all major events are preplanned and working towards a clearly defined end which is usually a One World Government headed by Klaus Schwab. The latent American Boomerism of much of the conspiracy scene means that (with some exceptions) they tend to be sympathetic toward Israel and Jews. This in turn leads to the unlikely scenario wherein the country that was literally bought and paid for by Rothschild money and to this day has a prominent street called ‘‘Rothschild’s Boulevard’’ is somehow fighting a death match against the NWO? It gets worse when we factor in the unanimous support of Israel being beamed onto public buildings in the guise of the Israeli flag all across the West.
It doesn’t seem to matter one jot what you spaff onto social media feeds, having a take, any take is better than having no take and everyone believes sincerely that they have the hottest takes. A scorcher of a take on Xitter now means more than a little sprinkling of dopamine via a ‘‘like’’ people are earning money and so when the next Big Thing jamboree circus comes to town people are confronted with quaint questions of morality and honesty. That photo of the Pennsylvania Airshow in 2009 sure does look like an intimidating display of force. I mean, Israel has an airforce too, imagine the numbers that bad boy could run if I just…
The advent of a New Current Thing also means the advent of new ways in which we ‘‘consume’’ information. The Covid-Op was marked by short videos embedded within posts of people sounding the alarm, people dropping dead, and dancing nurses. The Ukraine conflict has seen a return to long-form analysis in the likes of The Duran as well as plenty of embedded snuff and gore videos. In my view, the Israel/Hamas conflict has marked the true dawn of the X-Space. Essentially a live stream that deploys Twitter’s advantage of easy access to pundits to create a running commentary as events unfold, which is obviously Musk’s plan to further undermine the mainstream.
The major X-Space streams hosted by Mario Nawfal have accrued between 8-11 million listeners per stream in recent days. CNN’s prime-time audience is now just 827,000. In place of Walter Cronkite forming a narrative for the nation, the X-Space is predicated on their being no narrative at all, it is merely a dissection of various differing narratives with an extreme emphasis on impartiality and objectivity on the part of the hosts. Bizarrely, this in turn leads to sensitivity around words such as ‘‘terrorist’’ or ‘‘occupier’’ or ‘‘colonist’’ because such terms have different connotations depending upon the allegiance of the individual speaking. The assumption is that the audience listening will be in a position to be informed and therefore come to their own conclusions. Yet, the nature of social media means the punditry and the listeners are often one and the same. In a sense, the X-Space is the logical conclusion to the Twitter format. The rolling coverage and endless updates serve to give an air of doom and anxiety-laden expectation that things will only ever get worse, more corpses in pick-up trucks, more bombs, more escalation.
Tragically, it’s probably not an incorrect way to view the world. There’s no real way to escape the current thing even when it isn’t locking you in your home, vaccinating you, or reducing you to poverty via inflation. You can turn off the devices for a while but you do so consciously. I touched grass this week, lots of it, huge piles of it along with nettles, moss, and weeds cut and shoveled into the compost, and while I did so I listened to Elon Musk’s X-Spaces on my phone, they finally reeled me in.
My own hot-take is that here once more we see the periphery of the American Empire crumbling. The outposts are struggling to hold the line and questions are being asked as to whether enough bullets and rockets can be produced fast enough to equip both the Ukraine and Israel simultaneously. It is in a way more comforting to think of every event being orchestrated by the Hidden Hand than face up to the more uncomfortable truth that what’s actually happening is a negotiation with decline. I will have a feature-length essay out soon exploring the contrast between a cyclical, deterministic view of history and a conspiratorial view, both of which I’m sympathetic towards. When we remove a natural or organic decline from the possibilities then what we have are just decisions being made, and this is compounded by the fact we’re ruled by corrupt and self-interested parties. The world is not more easily governed by Russia having invaded Ukraine, it is simply more unstable and chaotic. The results of whatever happens in the Middle East will probably lead to more instability and misery, but not necessarily to a more easily governed, or governable world.
The scenes of barbarism emanating from the Middle East reminded me of how, around twenty years ago, I developed my opinions on the world and why. To see men celebrating over the corpse of a half-naked woman is to witness what, in the end, is a complete lack of empathy or compassion. Regardless of the groups involved ‘‘The Other’’ would at the drop of a hat become the dehumanized object of humiliation and ridicule. Yet such an axiomatic truth is deemed heretical across the West and with no small thanks to the very people currently consumed by a vengeful bloodlust in regards to Muslims in the Middle East. And it is here that we arrive at what will most surely be the resounding characteristic of this Current Thing — hypocrisy.