juicy meat #2: femininity coaches on social media, preliminary notes

“juicy meat” is an ongoing series analyzing media content. This instalment contemplates femininity coaches on social media.

“Femininity coaches” are trending right now. They’re plying their trade on Youtube, TikTok and elsewhere. Lots of commentators say elements of this are “problematic”, but what actually explains the phenomenon? Some early thoughts…

Why Femininity Coaches Now?

  1. Cultural backlash against “Female Chauvinist Pigs”, a phenomenon best exemplified by the Call Her Daddy podcast. Certainly true, right? Femininity coaches reject the Call Her Daddy woman but stop short of outright “social conservatism”, a welcome compromise.
  2. The bitter internet lurkers favourite explanation and sometimes the explicit conceit of the content: hypergamy. Femininity coaches can help you secure a “high value man”, that’s the hope. Women definitely complain about the quality of men in the current day so maybe the stakes are just that high.
  3. Pure fantasy. The content in question has virtually no practical relevance for most of the people consuming it. This is clear from many “comments” and obvious more generally. This explanation is best seen in light of the immersive and intimate quality of the digital media environment. You’re curled up in bed alone in your apartment and a “femininity coach” ambushes you on TikTok.
  4. Women’s desire for feminine intimacy with other women. Straight women desire lots of intimacy from other straight women.* That said, stuff like woman-on-woman hair-brushing has surely declined in the era of the smartphone. Maybe alluring imagery on said smartphone fills the gap? Do current-day men (including “high value men”) really want women to be “feminine” in the style of this content? It’s iffy.** Is this all a woman-on-woman fantasy-projection?

*See: ASMR, fodder for any number of future “juicy meat” posts.

**To be clear, I’m not speaking for myself. I’m not taking a position any which way but playing the objective social analyst.

juicy meat #1: A beauty influencer’s monologue on work, class and adventure

“juicy meat” will be an ongoing series analyzing media content. Content being the “the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind” according to Marshall McLuhan. Further context for this particular document will be provided at a later time.

“Yeah, so… to go back to just everything I’ve been talking about. Ummm… There’s a topic in the anti-work subreddit that really spoke to me and I’m showing you right here it says ‘anti-work is not a right vs. left issue, this is a top vs. bottom movement, everyone deserves to have a livable wage, every single person no exceptions. No one should have to work until death or work multiple jobs just to survive. Don’t let multi-billionaire corporations pit us against each other, this isn’t a social issue, it’s an economic issue that negatively effects all of us.’

I believe there’s a lot of social engineering happening right before our eyes that is dividing us, it’s dividing the people, the working class, where we fight against each other while those at top they get to basically just control everything and they’re engineering these false narratives that are pitting us against each other. If you think about it, the top %1, there’s very few of them compared to the rest of the world and everyone else and imagine if we put aside our differences and worked and helped each other and understood each other more. We see each other as enemies rather than brothers and sisters and we have a common enemy which is a very small percentage of people who are puppeteering everything, who own everything, and I truly believe people are waking up from this, they’re starting to see beyond the veil that’s in front of us.

I know this year was very tough for a lot of people around the world because of just.. a lot of the uncertainties with the future uhh.. inflation of course, what’s happening with money. There’s been a lot of civil unrest around the world too so… I didn’t come in this video for solutions it was really just more to have like an open dialogue and discussion with you on this because most people are not happy with their jobs, they don’t feel valued, they have meaningless work, they have soul-sucking jobs that are robbing them of their time and energy where they can allocate that to things that they enjoy, they love.

I remember growing up and going to school and being told this was how things worked and if you follow the rules and you’re a good person, you’re a good citizen, you will be rewarded. Now that I’m older and I see the world through a new lens, through the lens of someone who’s an adult, who’s in this economic system, that is so far from the truth. It’s the corrupted people who are winning and who are passing off the laws and rules and those who are decent, decent people who are taxpayers, they are the ones who are getting robbed, they are the ones who are getting blindsided by the system and [I] think people are just fed up.

I think people just want sovereignty. I think people want to be able to pursue their dreams so now we have to reevaluate what is the future going to look like… I think this is a good note that I can end on… is that in life you can make so many different plans and be prepared but there’s so many elements that are completely out of your control and being anxious about things you have no control over will only make things worse. And so, the best advice I can offer that I used myself when I was feeling anxious and I was in debt and I didn’t have a job and I had to figure my future out… was to learn. Be a self-learner, you have so much knowledge at your disposal now compared to when I first started out and you can learn so much and learn things that bring you joy, learn things that you’re good at, learn things that can help you create a better future for yourself. And in a way, yes, it is scary but it’s also exciting that means it’s a new adventure, there’s new things to be created and to be learned and… you have to ask yourself where do you want to start. Don’t be scare of the unknown, see it as an invitation to grow as a person and also it’s exciting, you never know where it’s going to take you right?”

YouTube, fandom and “intimacy”

Youtube’s Intimacy, Fan Passion and Digital Eye Contact

“When we surveyed our teen and Millennial subscribers, 40 percent told us that YouTubers understood them better than their friends or family.* But a whopping 60 percent of them told us that a creator has changed their life or view of the world.”

“This embrace of openness by both fans and creators has led to a stronger link between them and the traditional teenage fan club. Sixty percent of those same subscribers tell us that the community they form with other fans of their favorite YouTubers is stronger than those they form around traditional celebrities from TV, music, or film. And earlier in the book I mentioned that the same percentage tell us that a YouTube creator has changed his or her life or view of the world.

When I asked Tyler about this, he explained that even the format of vlogging encourages connection. ‘YouTube is so intimate because it’s a YouTuber talking directly into the eyes of the viewer,’ he said. ‘It’s physically so close to the screen, it feels like you’re with your friend.’

But I believe that intimacy goes even deeper. When you first encounter actors, you’re likely encountering them performing a role. Their success depends on your believing their portrayal of someone they are not. With YouTubers, it’s the opposite; their success depends on your knowing and liking who they actually are. That doesn’t just lead to a situation that’s more intimate; it’s the definition of how intimacy is built.”

Public space, Hannah Arendt and Toronto

“If cultural homogeneity is no longer an option, how do we live together? An indispensable precondition for peace and harmony is to have place and spaces where we tread the same sidewalks, see each other, simply walk to a park or public square to meet friends, take our kids to play, walk our dogs, and through unscripted interactions learn to cope with our inevitable differences and understand our commonalities. Virtual space does not replace that. As with many other earlier communications advancements – telephone, movies, television – new technological capabilities are absorbed and become complementary to this still-basic need for face-to-face encounters.

Encountering the “other” in public has something fundamental to do with self-actualization. As philosopher Hannah Arendt observed, humans appear before others in public in order to be recognized. Personal identity is exposed and revealed. This “revelation” of identity cannot happen in isolation; it cannot result from self-reflection alone. Our public self is revealed in a public place. In our city, we cannot help being aware that we have been born into a world that is inhabited by many others who are different from ourselves. We can also see that, in large part, we benefit form that reality and thus we consider it a positive condition of our shared lives as city dwellers.

A pervasive desire for some form of sociability in true public space seems to meet a fundamental human need. On a personal level, many of us have a longing for the unscripted possibilities – a life of absolutely “no surprises” is deadly dull. Too, the experience of seeing and being seen among our peers in public confirms our own place in the universe as humans and the connectedness of things. In true public space we can reveal and communicated our uniqueness as individuals and at the same time recognize the differing identities of others. These interactions, even when they provide something as simple as awareness and familiarity, speak to our collective viability as an urban society. In the absence of public spaces where such mingling can occur, problems of exclusion can easily arise. When citizens do not meet their fellow citizens – in all their variety – there emerges the very real danger that the unknown “other” will be seen as in some way threatening. In our heterogenous city, we have an obligation to ensure the existence of a space for communication and interaction among all citizens; and it must be inclusive enough to allow access and use by everyone.

There is an important political dimension, as well. The presence and stability of the commons is critical to democracy.We need space for political freedom, places where people can demonstrate, express dissent, and freely vice opinions in public.”

Counterpoint: Nathan Jurgenson in The Social Photo

“‘The Moment’ is not just a solitary experience. And, often, when people praise disconnecting from the digital in order to be ‘in the moment together,’ it really is a privileging of mere geography. The fetishization of contiguity has a long tradition and is echoed in our everyday language: each time we say ‘IRL,’ ‘face-to-face,’ or ‘in person’ to mean connection without screens, we frame what is ‘real’ or who is a person in terms of their geographic proximity rather than other aspects of closeness-variables like attention, empathy, affect, erotics, all of which can be experienced at a distance. We should not conceptually preclude or discount all the ways intimacy, passion, love, joy, pleasure, closeness, pain, suffering, evil, and all the visceral actualities of existence pass through the screen. ‘Face to face’ could mean much more than breathing the same air.

Geographic proximity remains important to whether we call something ‘close’ or ‘in person’.or ‘face to face.’ At times it is perhaps the most significant variable. But it certainly should not be the only one. To start from the prerequisite that co presence is solely dependent on proximity in space devalues so many other moments where closeness occurs and happens to be mediated by a screen. Physicality can be digitally mediated: what happens through the screen happens through bodies and material infrastructures. The sext or the intimate video chat is physical-of and affecting bodies. Video chat brings faces to other faces. You are aware of, learning from, assessing, stimulated by, and speaking through bodies and the spaces around them, as details of those spaces filter in and are noticed or foregrounded. This screen-mediated communication is face-to-face, in person, physical, and close in so many important ways, and distant in only one.

Likewise, being geographically close does not necessarily assure the other qualities of proximity. You can be in the same room with someone, but that doesn’t mean you are actively caring for or about them: maybe you are not listening; perhaps you are there out of obligation. You can be distant in all the ways you were close in the video conversation, not ‘in the same place’ at all. To be sure, mediated communication comes with miscommunication, degradations in the fidelity of the message, the loss of meaning. But to downplay mediated communication is to downplay the cultural and social possibilities of communicating with those who are far away, to exchange across culture, to send messages to those in the future, to speak to yourself from the past, to interface with the dead.”

Ukrainian nationalism, the far-right and Maidan

“More importantly, they had the force of an organized minority: they had a clear ideology, they operated efficiently, established their own ‘hundreds’ within the self-defence structures. They also succeeded in mainstreaming their slogans: ‘Glory to Ukraine’, ‘Glory to the Heroes’, ‘Death to the Enemies’, ‘Ukraine Above Everything’ an adaptation of Deutschland über Alles. Before Euromaidan, these were used only in the nationalist subculture; now they became commonplace. Probably everyone who used the central metro station in Kiev in December witnessed a scene like this: a group of nationalists starts to chant ‘Glory to the Nation! Glory to Ukraine!’, and random passers-by on their way to work or to their studies chant back: ‘Year Glory to the Heroes! Death to the Enemies!’ Everyone now knew how to respond, what was expected of them.

Of course, not everyone chanting ‘Glory to the Heroes!’ was a far-right sympathizer-far from it. The majority chose to interpret the slogans a certain way, as referring not to the heroes of Bandera’s Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, but to the heroes of Maidan. Still, this was a real success for the far right, something neither the liberals nor the small numbers of leftists who took part were able to achieve. Why these slogans rather than other, not so questionable ones? Why not some socio-economic demands? It shows who was actually hegemonic in the process. Numerically, yes, the far right had a minor presence, but they were dominant on the political and ideological level.”

“Yes, Ukrainian nationalism now mostly has these right-wing connotations, and the emphasis on the figures you mentioned has clearly overpowered the leftist strands. But when it emerged in the late nineteenth century, Ukrainian nationalism was predominantly a leftist, even socialist movement. The first person to call for an independent Ukrainian state was a Marxist, Yulian Bachinsky, who wrote a book called Ukraina Irredenta in 1895, and there were many others writing from Marxist positions in the early twentieth century. But any attempts to revitalize socialist ideas within Ukrainian nationalism today have been very marginal. Part of the problem is that it’s not so easy to reactualize these ideas: the people in question were writing for an overwhelmingly agrarian country, something like 80 per cent of Ukrainians were peasants. The fact that the working class here was not Ukrainian was, as we know, a huge problem for the Bolsheviks, intensifying the dynamics of the Civil War in 1918-21 because it was not just a class war, but also a national war; petty bourgeois pro-Ukrainian forces were able to mobilize these national feelings against a working-class movement that was seen as pro-Russian. Today, of course, Ukraine is no longer an agrarian country but an industrialized one, and since roughly half the population speaks Ukrainian and half Russian, it is no longer so easy to say who is the oppressed nation and who is the oppressor.

Then there is the fact that the right has worked to reinterpret figures such as Makhno along nationalist lines-not as an anarchist, but as another Ukrainian who fought against communism. In their eyes communism was a Russian imposition, and anarchism too is depicted as ‘anti-Ukrainian’. At the Maidan, the far right forced out a group of anarchists who tried to organize their own ‘hundred’ within the self-defence structures. They also physically attacked leftists and trade unionists who came to distribute leaflets in support of the Maidan-one of the speakers on stage pointed them out, saying they were communists, and a rightist mob surrounded and beat them.”

Why is Ukraine the West’s Fault? John Mearsheimer (viral Youtube lecture notes)

PRELIMINARY COMMENTS
-What are core strategic interests? Areas of the world where you’re willing to fight and die. For the USA: Europe, northeast Asia and the Persian Gulf.
-Through WW2 the USA was Europe-first, the great powers in Europe were more important than the great powers in northeast Asia.
-The Persian Gulf is important because of oil.
-“Since the beginning of this country Europe has been #1”
-But a fundamental shift towards Asia is taking place where northeast Asia becomes the most important region thanks to the rise of China.

-The Persian Gulf is still important as it’s connected to Asia because of oil flowing to India and China.
-The USA is leaving Europe behind and that’s important because Ukraine and NATO concern Europe.
-France, Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Russia are the big countries that matter in Europe strategically speaking.
-They are connected: Ukraine is right next to Russia, Poland is right next to Ukraine, Germany to Poland, France to Germany.
-Ukraine is a badly divided country and what’s taking place in Ukraine can be called a civil war, roughly between the east and west of the country.
-The east-west divide in Ukraine is by language: Ukrainian speakers in the west and Russian speakers in the east.
-In the 2010 election Viktor Yanukovych was elected and the voting pattern look like the voting pattern in the 2004 election (east vs. west).
-The divide is also at the level of economic orientation (a customs union with Russia vs. preferring the EU). Ukrainians are also divided about joining NATO or not.
-Europe is dependent on Russian gas. Many of the countries in Eastern Europe and Germany are heavily dependent on Russian natural gas which gives Russia huge leverage and makes it difficult for the USA to put pressure on the Russians.

CAUSES OF THE CONFLICT: Mearsheimer’s View
-There are three different levels of causes: deep causes, precipitating causes (ie. things were not terrible until Feb 22nd 2014 so what caused it then?), and the Russian reaction (why the Russians do what they did with regards to Crimea and eastern Ukraine?).
-Bottom line: the west is principally responsible for this mess, not the Russians.

DEEP CAUSES
**THE AIM OF THE UNITED STATES AND ITS EUROPEAN ALLIES IS TO PEEL UKRAINE AWAY FROM RUSSIA’S ORBIT AND INCORPORATE IT INTO THE WEST**
-The aim is a western bulwark on Russia’s border and Russia says “we will do everything to prevent that”.
-The first part of this strategy is NATO expansion. We have been moving NATO eastward to Russia’s border (big “NO NO” for Russians).
-EU expansion is all about integrating Ukraine into the west (in this case economic integration as opposed to military via NATO).
-The USA fostered colour revolutions like the “Orange Revolution” which meant promoting democracy in Ukraine and in others places. The USA “runs around toppling regimes” and puts in place democratically elected leadership.
-In Moscow and Beijing they don’t like democracy promotion.
-The Chinese believe that the USA was behind the protests in Hong Kong with the goal of promoting democracy and getting leaders who are pro-American (this is the USA strategy with democracy promotion).
-There were two tranches of NATO expansion in recent years: 1999 (Poland, The Czech Republic, Hungary) and 2004 (Baltics, Romania, Bulgaria).
-The Russians made it clear from the mid 1990’s that they were adamantly opposed to NATO expansion. However, they were too weak to do anything and it didn’t involve a major state on their border. The Russians were willing to live with smaller states in NATO.
**Key moment: NATO Bucharest summit in April 2008. NATO’s final declaration was: NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s euro Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO**. The Russians made it perfectly clear this was unacceptable.
-Putin said at the time that Georgia and Ukraine becoming a part of NATO is a direct threat to Russia.
-The August 2008 war with Russia was a consequence of this. Georgians thought that that the USA was sending them a signal that could get “uppity”.
-The Russians clobbered the Georgians and Georgia is in deep trouble today.

PRECIPITATING CAUSES
-Key events leading up to the coup.
-The coup of Feb 22nd 2014 is of enormous importance. That’s what really throws the crisis into gear, “the coup”.
-What causes the coup? It all starts in November 2013.
-Yanukovych is negotiating with the EU to form an association agreement that brings the EU and Ukraine much closer together.
-Putin was not willing to countenance Ukraine going with the EU only, so he offers a very sweet deal (the question of corruption is relevant here, the EU wants to eliminate corruption and the Ukrainians don’t really want to).
-Jan 20th the first two deaths.
-Feb 18-20 lots of people die on the streets.
-On Feb 21st a deal is worked out for May elections that will remove Yanukovych from power. But protestors refuse to accept the deal and there are significant fascist elements amongst the protestors. More violence ensues.
-Yanukovych flees for his life to Russia on Feb 22nd.

KEY EVENTS AFTER THE COUP
-Feb 23rd the Ukrainian parliament votes to repeal minority language laws.
-Feb 27th Russian units begin seizing checkpoints in Crimea.
-Feb 28th Russian forces begin moving into Crimea.

-Key point for Mearsheimer: the Russians didn’t invade Crimea, they were already there because they had a leasing agreement with a naval base and had military forces there. Russian units were already in Ukraine.
-On March 6th the Crimean parliament votes to join Russia and hold a referendum on the matter.
-March 16th referendum is held in Crimea.
March 18th Russia incorporates Crimea.
-Fighting then breaks out in eastern Ukraine. Is Russia involved? Not sure, but Russia is certainly intent on support them.
-Bottom line: Russia took Crimea and they’re not giving it back.
-What some say is that Putin wants to conquer Ukraine. They say Russia wants to run rampant and recreate the Soviet Union. Not going to happen, Putin is too smart.
-If you really want to wreck Russia you should encourage it to conquer Ukraine.
-Putin is wrecking Ukraine and saying to the west you have two choices: either back off OR continue to trying to make Ukraine a western a country on our doorstep in which case we keep wrecking the country.
-The name of the game from a Western perspective is to make Ukraine a part of NATO and in that case Crimea would be a NATO base, NOT HAPPENING from Russian POV.
-Do you want a frozen conflict or do you want to wreck Ukraine?
-Russia’s motivation: it’s a great power and has no interest in letting a major country on its border be incorporated it into the west.
-For the USA the Monroe Doctrine dictates that the western hemisphere is “our backyard”. We went crazy at the idea of the Soviets putting military forces in Cuba.
-What if China were massing troops in Canada and Mexico? How would we react? No one should be surprised about Russia’s reaction. They told us after Bucharest and we didn’t listen
-Was Russia’s response surprising? For some reason Obama and all the elites in the west were surprised, perhaps because they are 21st Century people and think the balance of power politics doesn’t matter anymore (joking, laughs).
-If we’re having trouble with the Russians think about how much trouble we’re going to have with China. “I’m at home” in China because they are 19th century people.

CAUSES OF THE CRISIS: CONVENTIONAL WISDOM **NOT MEARSHEIMER’S VIEW**
-Putin is the main cause. He’s crazy and irrational. He’s bent on creating a greater Russia and bears resemblance to Hitler.
-But the idea that Putin bears any resemblance to Adolf Hitler is absurd.
-If Putin could create a greater Russia he would do it. He can’t do it because Russia is a declining great power.
-AS I SAID, IF THEY WERE TO TRY AND CREATE A GREATER RUSSIA BY INVADING UKRAINE .. THEY WOULD BE “JUMPING INTO THE BRIAR PATCH”
-If you want to wreck Russia, tell them to create a greater Russia, it will lead to no end of trouble.

-Putin is much too smart for that and is in the process of wrecking Ukraine so the West can’t have it. Putin is very strategic, not irrational and not the main cause of the crisis.
-The USA sees itself as a benign hegemon seeking to promote stability in Europe. Japan, Poland and Germany see the USA as a benign hegemon.
-Russia, China and Iran DON’T SEE IT THAT WAY. Because they don’t see it that way, when you take measures that you think are going to be interpreted as benign, the other side will not agree. They see them as threatening (take democracy promotion, they don’t understand it. You have to put yourself in their shoes).

-Conventional wisdom: Putin’s behaviour proves that it was wise to expand NATO eastward to include Ukraine and Georgia.
-But, there’s no evidence that we thought Putin was aggressive before the crisis.
-There’s no evidence that we were expanding NATO because we had to contain Putin. We were thinking like 21st Century men and women, we did not think that Russia was aggressive (after Feb 22nd we then decided that Russia was aggressive, before “the crisis” there was no notion of containing Putin so the West had no clear notion/strategy even by the anti-Putin logic).
-Putin is a 19th Century man.
-President Obama and all of Washington were caught with their pants down, they did not see it coming.
-We’re doubling down, getting tougher and tougher with the Russian’s because we never do anything wrong. We’re a benign hegemon and this is the 1930’s all over again.
Can we succeed? My argument is we’re playing a losing hand. The mindset is you can punish the Russian’s economically, but when core strategic interests are at stake countries will put up with a lot. Ukraine is not a vital strategic interest for the West.
-Lets assume we’re backing Putin into a corner, is this good? We’re talking about a country that has 1000’s of nuclear weapons and the only circumstance where they choose that option is when they are desperate, when they think their survival is at stake. All this over a country that is not a vital strategic interest to the USA.
-When you incorporate Ukraine into NATO you give them an Article 5 guarantee. What sense does it make to give an Article 5 guarantee to a country that is not a vital strategic interest?
-Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Ukraine. The USA has a reverse Midas Touch.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?
-Create a neutral Ukraine that is a buffer state between NATO and Russia.
-WHAT YOU DON’T WANT IS A WESTERN UKRAINE IN NATO AND EASTERN UKRAINE IN RUSSIA AND THE RUSSIANS AND AMERICANS WHO HATE EACH OTHER EYEBALL TO EYEBALL.
– We have to explicitly abandon NATO expansion and fashion an economic rescue plan for Ukraine that includes Russia, the IMF and EU.
-We have to guarantee minority rights esp. language rights in Ukraine.
-We have to dampen down the conflict in Ukraine, give the east autonomy and protect minority rights. Are we going to do any of this? NO.
-Will there be a new Cold War? No, Russia is not the Soviet Union and China is going to be something like we’ve never seen.

-We need SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN, VIETNAM, TAIWAN, SINGAPORE, INDIA and RUSSIA to balance vs. China. We’re driving the Russians into the arms of the Chinese and we need the Russians on Iran also.
-Will the United States pivot to Asia? Yes, it’ll only take one big crisis in the South China Sea. Russia is not a peer competitor.
-NATO IS IN SERIOUS TROUBLE AND WILL END AS A FUNCTIONING ALLIANCE OVER TIME IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS PIVOT TO ASIA.

-The Japanese wonder whether we’re going to be there for them because if we have trouble with Ukraine and fighting ISIS can we really pivot to Asia?
-If the USA does pivot can they be trusted? Do we want to depend on them?
-Also, Iran and Syria (we need the Russians on both).

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR UKRAINE?
-People in the West think my position is deeply immoral because Putin has authoritarian or thuggish tendencies.
-But the West is leading Ukraine down the “primrose path”, with the end result being Ukraine is going to get wrecked.
-We ought to create a neutral Ukraine and build it up economically. Getting it out of contention is the best thing that could happen to the Ukrainians. We’re encouraging the Ukrainians to play tough with the Russians, we’re encouraging the Ukrainians to think they will become part of the West.
-The Ukrainians are almost completely unwilling to compromise with the Russians and want a hardline policy but their country will be wrecked and we’re encouraging that outcome.
-It would make much more sense to create a neutral Ukraine.

LECTURE Q&A
-The Republicans and Democrats are the same on foreign policy.
-We have huge power so we are free to do foolish things, we’re allowed to pursue foolish polices. In that context it’s hard to make arguments against the establishment.
-China’s rise will force the United States to think more strategically.
-We’re the most secure great power in the history of the world.

-Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union all broke up because they contained different nations. Inside Ukraine do you have a similar situation?
-The majority of Ukrainians in both the west and east want to maintain the integrity of Ukraine, they don’t want to split Ukraine. We should maintain that attitude amongst the Ukrainian people.
-But as time goes on there might be enough bad feeling to break the country.
-The idea was to press Western European institutions eastward and make the East like the West over time. Many are now pessimistic about where Europe is headed. There’s no optimism now like in the early 1990’s.
-Three things about China: Taiwan, South China Sea “rocks” in dispute with Japan and the Japanese are very worried about China.
Nationalism is very important in the Chinese case: communism as an ideology no longer has much legitimacy and they had to find substitute and it’s nationalism. At the core of Chinese nationalism is the century of national humiliation 1850-1950. China was humiliated by the European powers, the USA open door policy and Japan.
-Because nationalism is so important this narrative is front and centre.
-There’s the possibility of Chinese and Japanese nationalism being at odds and spinning out of control.

-Angela Merkel said that bringing Ukraine into NATO is a prescription for disaster. Based on that I thought the Germans would play a key role in tamping down on the USA.
-The Germans are scared to look themselves in the mirror, they are scared of taking the lead on anything.
-Since 2014 Russian nationalism has ramped up and that’s shored up support for Putin.
-What’s going on inside Ukraine is inextricably bound up with WW2. There are some fascists involved in Ukraine which spooks the Russians.

Steve Bannon, gaming and “these rootless white males”

“Bannon made another decision that wasn’t immediately obvious but that would have a significant effect on the size and nature of Breitbart’s audience and eventually on the 2016 presidential campaign. He wanted to attract the online legions of mostly young men he’d run up against several years earlier, believing that the Internet masses could be harnessed to stoke a political revolution. Back in 2007, when he’d taken over Internet Gaming Entertainment, the Hong Kong company that systemized gold farming in World of War craft and other massively multiplayer online games, Bannon had become fascinated by the size and agency of the audiences congregating on MMO message boards such as Wowhead, Allakhazam, and (his favorite) Thottbot. ‘In 2006, 2007, they were doing 1.5 billion page views a month,’ he recalled. ‘Just insane traffic. I thought we could monetize it, but it turned out I couldn’t give the advertising away.’ Instead, the gamers ended up wrecking IGE’s business model by organizing themselves on the message boards and forcing the companies behind World of Warcraft and other MMO games to curb the disruptive practice of gold farming.

IGE’s investors lost millions of dollars. But Bannon gained a perverse appreciation for the gamers who’d done him in. ‘These guys, these rootless white males, had monster power,’ he said. ‘It was the pre-reddit. It’s the same guys on Thottbot who were [later] on reddit’ and 4chan-the message boards that became the birth place of the alt-right.

When Bannon took over Breitbart, he wanted to capture this audience. Andrew Breitbart had drawn a portion of it enchanted by his aggressive provocations on issues such as race and political correctness. Bannon took it further. He envisioned a great fusion between the masses of alienated gamers, so powerful in the online world, and the right-wing outsiders drawn to Breitbart by its radical politics and fuck-you attitude. ‘The reality is, Fox News’ audience was geriatric and no one was connecting with this younger group,’ Bannon said. But he needed a way to connect. He found it in Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay British tech blogger and Internet troll nonpareil.

The purpose of all this incitement, at least in Bannon’s mind, was to entice the online legions into the Breitbart fold. ‘I realized Milo could connect with these kids right away,’ he said. ‘You can activate that army. They come in through Gamergate or whatever and then get turned onto politics and Trump.’ In this way, Breitbart became an incubator of alt-right political energy. Although Yiannopoulos was most interested in cultivating his own celebrity -Bannon thought he looked like ‘a gay hooker’- he was more than willing to do his part and make the political connection explicit. ‘How Donald Trump Can Win: With Guns, Cars, Tech Visas, Ethanol… And 4Chan’ read the headline of an October 2015 article he wrote.”