Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Visiting Andy Warhol

About a week ago, I posted a self-portrait of a young artist and asked readers to guess who it was. No one got it, and I can see why. I wouldn't recognize him either.

The answer is Andy Warhol, and the city in question is Pittsburgh, which I visited recently. The Warhol museum is the largest museum in the U.S. devoted to a single artist. The part of it I enjoyed the most was the highest floor, devoted to his early years.

There were several of his art school explorations:


(The teacher noted "good drawing" on the lower right corner.)


There were several of these street scenes, drawn from life.

Warhol's earliest painting is included. It's titled "Nose Picker 1: Why Pick on Me," though it was originally titled "The Lord Gave Me My Face but I Can Pick My Own Nose," 1948 (age 20).


Another painting, titled "Three Children," hangs beside it:


Warhol left Pittsburgh for New York just after art school in the early 1950s and almost immediately became a successful advertising illustrator. According to the accompanying text,

Warhol’s professional success as a commercial illustrator was largely due to his ability to create art very quickly and his willingness to respond to the revisions clients demanded. One of the most well-known 1950s ad campaigns he helped create was for I. Miller Shoes. The idea of decorative beauty was exaggerated in almost all of these illustrations, and at times the image of the shoe became very abstract….



The panel continues:
Among the art directors with whom he worked, Warhol was known for his timid yet appealing personality. He was a quick study — given an assignment, he would turn in a brown paper bag full of drawings on the subject the very next day. His simple yet sophisticated drawing style, in contrast to the era’s burgeoning use of photographic advertising, appealed to art directors, as well as to the post-war Americans, who were becoming savvy consumers.
By the late 1950s, Warhol was employing assistants and making $70,000 a year, which is about $600,000 in 2016 dollars. (I wonder if he knew Ellen Raskin, who was also a successful New York illustrator at the time?)

I loved this drawing for "The Magic Flute":


The museum does a great job of explaining Warhol's blotted-line inking technique, including a video. Their text gives these details:
In the 1950s Warhol refined a process that he had discovered in college, creating a signature style for his illustrations with a technique known as “blotted line.” This working method combined drawing with basic print-making and allowed Warhol to repeat an image and to create multiple illustrations along a similar theme….

Warhol’s blotted line process had several complex steps. First, he drew or traced a line drawing onto a piece of non-absorbent paper, such as tracing paper. Next, he hinged the tracing paper to a second sheet of absorbent paper by taping the edges together on one side. Opening the papers like a book and using a nib pen, Warhol inked over a small section of the lines on the tracing paper. He then transferred the wet ink onto the absorbent sheet by closing the pages and lightly pressing or “blotting.” He repeated this inking and blotting until the whole drawing was transferred.

Completing a large blotted line drawing took time and multiple pressings. The method resulted in dotted, broken, and delicate lines. Warhol colored his blotted line drawings with water soluble dyes and applied gold leave. He also used hand-carved rubber stamps to create patterns, often combining both techniques in a drawing.
Warhol used this technique in some of his earlier noncommercial works as well, such as this three-panel screen:


One detail about his work that I found especially interesting was the lettering that appears in some of his earlier works. Here's the story on that:
[Warhol's mother] Julia was a highly original, though untrained, artist in her own right. Her subjects were often cats and angels… During Warhol’s early commercial years, Julia was his first assistant and collaborator. Warhol incorporated her beautiful handwriting into his design work and she began signing her son’s name to his work. Warhol also turned her handwriting into several custom-made Letraset [sheets].


From there the displays segue into the soup cans and Brillo boxes we all associate with Warhol, and there's lots of cool details to see and minor facts to learn. But it's too much for a blog post, so I'll stop there.

Oh, wait, there was one artifact on a lower floor that I just have to include. It's the original photo, with Warhol's crop marks indicated, that he used for his many famous silk screen prints of Marilyn Monroe:


If you get to Pittsburgh, be sure to visit Marilyn and Andy.




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Another Statue to Remove: Albert Pike

If we’re going to be toppling statues of Confederates, it’s good to remember there’s one Confederate general with a statue in Washington, D.C. It’s located near the Judiciary Square stop on the Metro, and, as I recall when I visited in 2014, is very close to D.C.’s city hall and court house. You know, D.C. — a city that until very recently had a majority black population and where residents have no voting representation in Congress.

The statue, unfortunately, sits on Federal land and is maintained by the National Park Service. So the residents of the city have no say in its existence, as is true of so many inequities in D.C.


The Latin words “Vixit Laborum Ejus Super Stites Sunt Fructus,” which translate to “He has lived. The fruits of his labors live after him,” are inscribed below the feet of the female figure.

The man at the top of that pile of stone is Albert Pike, who was, as the base tells us in words carved on all four sides, an Author, Poet, Orator, Jurist, Philanthropist, Philosopher, Soldier, Scholar. Most importantly for the reason it was erected, though, he was also a prominent Mason. And possibly one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan. A few years after I took these photos, his list of titles had some spray-painted words added to it: Black Lives Matter.

Born in the Boston area in 1809, Pike left New England at 22 and went to New Mexico, then Arkansas. He married there and ran a newspaper. As he and his wife were in the midst of having 10 children, he studied law and took the bar at 28. They moved to other southern cities over time, including Charleston, South Carolina. Pike was part of the Know-Nothing Party in the late 1840s, but — according to the Washington Post — “left when he found the party’s support of slavery insufficiently intense.”

He became a Mason in 1850, at age 41, in Arkansas. The state's main Masonic building, in Little Rock, is named for him.

Pike was 52 at the start of the Civil War and was made a general, overseeing Confederate relations with six Native American nations. It sounds like he had no talent for command, though, and deserted (or resigned?) after losing a battle where he led native fighters and lost. He was charged with treason by the Confederacy and then later by the Union. Luckily, Andrew Johnson was also a Mason, so he pardoned Pike.


Not long after the war, he was editing the Memphis Appeal (today known as the Commercial Appeal). As the Post writer puts it, “It is during this time that he is alleged to have fallen in with the nascent Ku Klux Klan. The first ‘Wizard,’ former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, traveled the region drumming up support for his organization. Among those so drummed, some say, was Albert Pike. Whether he did in fact join the Klan is no simple question.”

According to the Post, “Even if Pike wasn’t involved with the Klan, he did believe that the races should not mix. He was against integrating Masonic lodges.”

But here’s something Pike wrote for an editorial in the Appeal, April 16, 1868:

With negroes for witnesses and jurors, the administration of justice becomes a blasphemous mockery. A Loyal League of negroes can cause any white man to be arrested, and can prove any charges it chooses to have made against him. ...The disenfranchised people of the South...can find no protection for property, liberty or life, except in secret association.... We would unite every white man in the South, who is opposed to negro suffrage, into one great Order of Southern Brotherhood, with an organization complete, active, vigorous, in which a few should execute the concentrated will of all, and whose very existence should be concealed from all but its members. (source; this site includes other evidence that Pike was indeed a Klan founder)
Pike moved to Washington, D.C. in 1870 at age 61. He wrote a book called Morals and Dogma that is unreadable, most say, but is or was beloved by the Masons enough that they raised money for this statue within 10 years of his death in 1891. Even though they have their own bust of him in their Scottish Rite temple along 16th Street NW, where the library is also named for him. They really, really liked him.

I think Pike's has enough memorializing for one man in his multiple Masonic locations. We don't need a public one on a street in Washington, D.C. Time for it to come down.




Pike was over 6’ tall and more than 300 pounds, with waist-length hair, it's said, though it doesn't look quite that long in this photograph.


The double-headed eagle on the banner held by the female figure clutches the words "Deus Meumque Jus," which mean "God and my right" or "God and my moral rightness," a common Masonic phrase.

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Details in this post come from the Traveling Templar (a Masonic site, which insists Pike had nothing to do with the Klan), the DCist, and a 2016 article from the Washington Post.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Early Seuss on Spelling

Dr. Seuss, it turns out, had an interest in spelling reform. I recently ran across a collection of his early writings and cartoons called The Tough Coughs as He Ploughs the Dough, which contained this series of drawings and captions:


Ough! Ough! Or why I believe in simplified spelling

It was forty-five years ago, when I first came to America a young Roumanian student of divinity, that I first met the evils of the "ough words." Strolling one day in the country with my fellow students, I saw a tough, coughing as he ploughed a field which (being quite near-sighted) I mistook for pie dough. Assuming that all ough words were pronounced, the same, I casually remarked, "The tuff cuffs as he pluffs the duff!" "Sacrilege!" shrieked my devout companions. "He is cursing in Roumanian!" I was expelled from the school.


The ministry being closed to me, I then got a job as a chore boy on the farm of an eccentric Mr. Hough, who happened to spend most of his time in the bough of a tree overhanging a trough. I was watering a colt one morning when I noticed that Mr. Hough's weight had forced the bough down into the water. "Mr. Hoo!" I shouted. "Your boo is in the troo!" Thinking I was speaking lightly of his wife, Mr. Hough fired me on the spot.


So I drifted into the prize ring. But here again the curse of the oughs undid me. One night at the Garden, I was receiving an unmerciful trouncing from a mauler twice my size. Near the end of the sixth round I could stand it no longer. I raised my feeble hand in surrender. "Eno! Eno!" I gulped. "I'm thruff!" "Insults like that I take form no man," bellowed my opponent, and he slugged me into a coma! Something snapped! ...a maddening flash...and all became black. Fifteen years later I awoke to find myself the father of three homely daughters named Xough, Yough and Zough. I had become a thorough-going Augho-maniac.
Not Seuss's best verbal work, I realize, but you can see glimpses of his later illustrations (Horton, the way he renders trees) in the drawings. And he's right about the ough words, of course.

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My past posts about English spelling reform.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Fish Out of Water

I was having breakfast with a friend the other day when the art on her T-shirt finally registered in my visual brain:


What a clever melding of a fish and a mandolin! The illustration gives a clear idea of the type of event this is —fun, light-hearted, and near the water — without saying a word.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Recycle to Reuse

If you don't spend much time in the countryside, you probably have no idea what working farms look like. (One of my back-burner ideas is to travel the country photographing what farms really look like. Maybe someone else has already done this.) For instance, silo storage is pretty much a thing of the past. Instead, farmers wrap their hay and silage in huge plastic bags on the ground, sometimes in long mounds, sometimes in giant rolled bales.


They do this for good reasons, which I did not know until I read this story in the Star Tribune. The plastic is safer and costs less, but it also keeps the silage fresher, with more nutrients.

It ain't cheap, even so. And it even costs money to throw it away. "With 100 cows, [one farmer] said he was spending $1,700 a year to have 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of plastic trucked to a landfill..." That's 30 to 40 pounds of plastic per cow; the amount per cow is generally about 15 to 20 pounds a year, according to another farmer.

The main focus of the Star Tribune story is an Arkansas company called Revolution Plastics, which is now collecting plastic from farmers who use at least 2,000 pounds a year. They distribute dumpsters and pick up the contents over the months and years for free. They've got about 1,100 dumpsters in Minnesota and 3,300 in Wisconsin, with another 3,000 farmers waiting for delivery.

The company then bales the plastic and ships it to a Minnesota collection hub, from which it's sent to Arkansas to be washed, shredded, heated, and finally turned into plastic pellets that have a range of product uses. The energy footprint of those pellets is less than that of "virgin" (oh, that word) plastics. One product made from the pellets is trash bags that are used in Winona County parks and the Three Rivers Park system in Hennepin County.

According to the Recycling Association of Minnesota, other companies are looking for ways to recycle the plastic discarded by the marina industry, which uses huge amounts wrapping boats for the winter.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tiananmen Squared

As we wait to see if IMPOTUS will take us into nuclear war, some friends are visiting China. One of them posted these thoughts on Facebook, and it has resonances for me, from my interest in making cities that work for people to government suppression:

Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world, though a certain connotation of "public square" we have in the west is absent. It is immense, and except for a couple of heroic monuments and gardens on the perimeter, it is just a vast expanse of concrete. And people. Mao's mausoleum was closed today so we weren't even tempted. One of the photos [he posted to Facebook] shows some of the many surveillance cameras trained on the site. There is absolutely no reference to June 4, 1989, anywhere, and the word is effectively conveyed not to mention it. 
The square is obviously built for assembling lots of people to see a show of military force or to hear a message from the government. I'm sure they have similar spaces in North Korea.

Meanwhile, Indiana Republicans are expanding voting access white-dominant areas and decreasing polling places in black-dominant areas... and Alabama is purging its voter rolls just before an election. And 52 percent of Republicans polled support the idea of postponing the 2020 election in order to make sure only "eligible citizens" vote.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This Was a Test of the Emergency

This seems appropriate during this week when IMPOTUS has threatened fire and fury against North Korea.

In April 1953, my dad was in the Marines during the Korean War (though not in Korea itself). His unit was sent to a nuclear test in Nevada. In 2004, one of my sisters (Daughter Number Four) interviewed him and got this story about what it was like:

Dad missed the orientation because he was on KP that morning, but his friends said the Marines were bused to see the Ground Zero area where the A-Bomb would be set off. They saw houses, animals, and vehicles right around it. Their bus drove right past the tower with the A-bomb on it.

The next day, the Marines were bused to within 4,000 yards of Ground Zero (about 2.25 miles). They were in eight-foot-deep trenches with railroad-tie reinforcement. Their leaders also asked for volunteers who were placed in bunkers at 2,000 yards (a bit over a mile) from Ground Zero.

Dad remembers the countdown. The Marines were packed into the trench, each one facing the back of the guy in front of him. They were ordered to not eat or drink after the test.

When the bomb went off, it was so bright you couldn’t see the walls of the trench. You could just barely see guy in front of you. He knew there would be a loud report at some point. It was like this:

1. Flash
2. The ground moving
3. Boom
4. Stones flying into the trench.

About half of the men in his area were ordered out of the trench to march to Ground Zero. Ahead, they could see that most of the things that had been in the area before the blast were now gone – big trucks, vans. The buildings they did see were flattened.

The Geiger counter guys accompanied them, watching for radioactive exposure. (There were no docimeters, only Geiger counters.) A big fat Captain who was Air Liaison for the Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Companies was eating a candy bar.

They had gone about 500 yards when the Geiger counters went crazy. Everyone turned around and left the area.

As they were marching back along the sides of the field, there were Army-drab buses taking people down to Ground Zero. The area is known as Frenchman Flats. South of it, the fallout went right into ranches
As an aside, my dad has always semi-jokingly said the nuclear test is responsible for the fact that I have only sisters.



This may be a photo of the explosion that day. It was taken on April 18, 1953, at the Nevada Test Site, and comes from this site


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Young at Art

For today, a mystery self-portrait of a famous artist, painted when he was 16 years old:


Who is the artist? And does the answer reveal the name of the city I visited recently?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

No Way to Fill a Heart

I saw this sign in a used clothing store the other day:


It's funny, in a way, that it's posted behind the area where all of the used purses are hung (Kate Spade $110! Michael Kors $45! Coach $82!), but the words are pretty annoying:

As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled.

Now, if the purse is being emptied because its owner is sharing with others, that might be one thing. I could see that helping to fill your metaphorical heart.

But I don't think that's what it means. It's saying that as you buy things, the hole inside your self is filled up with the stuff you bought. Right? Especially in the context of a retail store, that's what it means.

No, no, no. We can't fill the holes we may have in our souls with stuff we buy. Beliefs like that are a major reason for our consumerist, climate-destroying culture. And to see it turned into a joke is pretty irksome.

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And the fact that it's even about purses in the first place... ugh. Only the longest-term readers of this blog will remember that I have a thing about purses in general.


Monday, August 7, 2017

A New Name for Trump

I have a new name for Trump, now that I can no longer use my original one (Turnip):

IMPOTUS!

Isn't that perfect? For the record, I didn't make it up; it's a Twitter hashtag.

This whole POTUS (president of the United States), FLOTUS (first lady of the United States), SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) acronym thing used to annoy me, but I've gotten used to it.

I thought it was a recent phenomenon brought on by the need to abbreviate in tweeting and texting, but according to Merriam-Webster, the -OTUS suffix comes from telegraphy and goes back to 1879 for the Supreme Court and 1895 for the president. FLOTUS got started as the Secret Service code name for Nancy Reagan.

While we're on the topic, be sure to look up what the acronym GOAT means, if you don't already know.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Three Shirts

Put a bunch of climate-change activists on a college campus together and what do you get? Lots of great T-shirts.






There were a lot more, I'm sure, but these were the three I managed to snap!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Heading into Paranoia-Land

I'm seeing a confluence of thought in some of my reading that's pretty frightening, honestly. Maybe more frightening than the existence of Trump himself (aside from the possible nuclear war thing, but... you know, other than that).

A few weeks after the election, I read this post on a blog called Forsetti's Justice and its main point has been resurfacing in my thinking ever since. The anonymous writer, who grew up in rural Idaho, describes the epistemic closure of religion as the core of the problem:

In deep red, white America, the white Christian God is king, figuratively and literally. Religious fundamentalism is what has shaped most of their belief systems. Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive for introspection, questioning, learning, change. When you have a belief system that is built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t “coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans.” The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble.

It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views are automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they WILL NOT even entertain the possibility it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system and the fact I’m the enemy because I’m an educated liberal. At some point during the discussion, “That’s your education talking,” will be said, derogatorily, as a general dismissal of everything I said. They truly believe this is a legitimate response because to them education is not to be trusted. Education is the enemy of fundamentalism because fundamentalism, by its very nature, is not built on facts.

The fundamentalists I grew up around aren’t anti-education. They want their kids to know how to read and write. They are anti-quality, in-depth, broad, specialized education. Learning is only valued up to the certain point. Once it reaches the level where what you learn contradicts doctrine and fundamentalist arguments, it becomes dangerous. I watched a lot of my fellow students who were smart, stop their education the day they graduated high school. For most of the young ladies, getting married and having kids was more important than continuing their learning. For many of the young men, getting a college education was seen as unnecessary and a waste of time. For the few who did go to college, what they learned was still filtered through their fundamentalist belief system. If something they were taught didn’t support a preconception, it would be ignored and forgotten the second it was no longer need to pass an exam....

For us “coastal elites” who understand evolution, genetics, science…nothing we say to those in fly-over country is going to be listened to because not only are we fighting against an anti-education belief system, we are arguing against God. You aren’t winning a battle of beliefs with these people if you are on one side of the argument and God is on the other....

Another major problem with closed-off, fundamentalist belief systems is they are very susceptible to propaganda. All belief systems are to some extent, but fundamentalist systems even more so because there are no checks and balances. If bad information gets in, it doesn’t get out and because there are no internal mechanisms to guard against it, it usually ends up very damaging to the whole. A closed-off belief system is like your spinal fluid — it is great as long as nothing infectious gets into it. If bacteria gets into your spinal fluid, it causes unbelievable damage because there are no white blood cells in it whose job is to fend off invaders and protect the system. This is why things like meningitis are so horrible. Without the protective services of white blood cells in the spinal column, meningitis spreads like wildfire once it’s in and does significant damage in a very short period of time. Once inside the closed-off spinal system, bacteria is free to destroy whatever it wants and does.

The very same is true with closed-off belief systems. Without built-in protective functions like critical analysis, self-reflection, openness to counter-evidence, willingness to re-evaluate any and all beliefs, etc., bad information in a closed-off system ends up doing massive damage in short period of time. What has happened to too many fundamentalist belief systems is damaging information has been allowed in from people who have been granted “expert status.” If someone is allowed into a closed-off system and their information is deemed acceptable, anything they say will readily be accepted and become gospel. Rural, Christian, white Americans have let in anti-intellectual, anti-science, bigoted, racists into their system as experts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, any of the blonde Stepford Wives on FOX, every evangelical preacher on television because they tell them what they want to hear and because they sell themselves as being “one of them.

The truth is none of these people give a rat’s ass about rural, Christian, white Americans except how can they exploit them for attention and money. None of them have anything in common with the people who have let them into their belief systems with the exception they are white and they “speak the same language” of white superiority, God’s Will must be obeyed, and how, even though they are the Chosen Ones, they are the ones being screwed by all the people and groups they believe they are superior to....

Are rural, Christian, white Americans scared? You’re damn right they are. Are their fears rational and justified? Fuck no! The problem isn’t understanding their fears. The problem is how to assuage fears based on lies in closed-off fundamentalist belief systems that don’t have the necessary tools for properly evaluating the fears....

When a three-thousand-year-old book that was written by uneducated, pre-scientific people, subject to translation innumerable times, edited with political and economic pressures from Popes and kings, is given higher intellectual authority than facts arrived at from a rigorous, self-critical, constantly re-evaluating system that can and does correct mistakes, no amount of understanding, no amount of respect, no amount of evidence is going to change their minds, assuage their fears.
(I recommend reading the whole post, despite his disinterest in paragraph breaks [I've added a few in the above quotation], and looking through his other thoughts since then.)

Since then, I've heard or read others saying similar things about the closed system of the religious right, though I didn't save the links. Then yesterday I read two unrelated pieces of writing that add up, at least in my head, with Forsetti. One, from the most recent issue of Discover magazine, provides some of the explanation of how religion works to undermine what little rationality we humans have at our disposal:
...the inexplicable lure of religious, spiritual and mystical experiences (RSMEs) [has] long fascinated researchers. [A classic] textbook...describes RSMEs as moments of revelation that strike like lightning; swept away by ecstasy, you may lose your sense of place, time and self, and have feelings of redemption and ineffable beauty.

Now, with the help of imaging technology such as single-proton emission computed tomography (SPECT), researchers can see how these experiences play out in the brain.... [researchers] used SPECT to measure changes in the cerebral blood flow of three Muslims during prayer.

It turns out that while they were praying, participants had less blood flow to the prefrontal cortex and frontal lobe, the areas of the brain where complex behaviors such as planning and expression of personality take place. "Hence, the feeling of surrender," [the researcher] explains.

He and his team also observed a slowdown of blood to the parietal lobe, the area that integrates sensory information to help us form a sense of self. When activity in that part of the brain is dialed back, instead of their usual self-identity, the volunteers instead reported a feeling of "oneness" at the peak of their RSMEs.

Finally, researchers saw a spike in the activity of the limbic system, the brain's emotional center, and changes to the thalamus, which helps us shape our sense of reality. All of these results...are tied to what he calls the five core elements of religious experiences: sense of intensity and unity, tranformation, clarity and a feeling of surrender.
The other was a Tweet storm by writer and professor Jared Yates Sexton, who, like Forsetti, grew up in a rural community and, more particularly, as part of a religious and ultra-conservative family. He wrote this as a response to inciting right-wing media like the NRA video and its more recent ravings:
When I was young my poor family talked constantly about fighting a war against the New World Order. They've been fantasizing for decades. At the heart of that was a fear that American sovereignty would be overthrown by globalist forces. That narrative is in play now.

They honestly believe that if Trump were removed from office it would be the doing of globalist connected to the New World Order. To be ready for this, a thing they've talked about for thirty years, they've stockpiled supplies and weapons. They've focused on this.

And this isn't just a passing thing. It's a constant conversation, a constant focus on what happens "when it all goes down." It's extremely hard to listen to Far Right media and not hear the ramping up of this narrative. It's a "coup," it's an "overthrow"

Trump's base IS the group that's been waiting for this event. They talk openly about violence if he's removed. With this [Mueller] investigation, we're heading into a tumultuous time. I think everyone needs to be aware of the connotation and possibilities. There's a really potent narrative being pushed on the right and these people are extremely tuned to hear it and believe it.
So, if critical thinking is the enemy because it doesn't come from the approved religion, and the approved religion is fomenting insurrection... And they're the ones with the guns... Where does that take us? As a few respondents to Yates said on Twitter, their gun stockpiles can't take on the U.S. military, and that's true on paper. But who makes up a significant share of our rank and file military? People from these same backgrounds and parts of the country, right? Will they turn their weapons on their own people, even if they don't straight-up revolt against their commanders?

I'm heading into paranoia-land, I know. It's the speculative-fiction-reader in me. But jeez.