[Scene: Felapton Towers music room. Camestros Felapton is sitting by a 18th century cherry-wood Moog synthesiser, writing notes on foolscap paper.]

Timothy the Talking Cat: Well another chapter of Jor-Dan King of the Lobster Men is finished and also my cat-nip fuelled hangover is finished.

Camestros: Can’t talk, busy.

Timothy: A new project is it? Spill the beans.

Camestros: Hermeneutic filks

Timothy: I can’t say I know that young lady. Is she a relative of yours?

Camestros: What? No. Filks are reworking of songs with new lyrics, a sub genre of music popular among fandom.

Timothy: Sounds dull but show me what you are working on.

Camestros: I’m trying for the ultimate minimalism within the sub genre and using the works of Simon & Garfunkel as a starting point.

Timothy: Let me see…

Timothy: You don’t seem to have changed any words.

Camestros: Ah ha! No look again!

Timothy: ‘The Sound of Silence’…this is just a print out from lyrics dot com but you’ve capitalised one word.

Camestros: Exactly! See, see ‘ the words of the prophet are written on the Subway walls’

Timothy: Huh?

Camestros: It’s now about a sandwich shop.

Timothy: ‘In the clearing stands a boxer…’

Camestros: …is about the breed of dog.

Timothy: ‘I am a Rock’…

Camestros: …is about Dwayne Johnson impersonators

Timothy: And the weird smell around the house?

Camestros: That’s not a song…Oh you mean the lingering vapours from having the carpet cleaned after your cat-nip frenzy?

Timothy: And you’ve been locked in here breathing those fumes for several days while I was delirious?

Camestros: Maybe…

Timothy: You are off your noggin mister…and that means…I’M IN CHARGE!

[Cue theme music]


The Conspiracy News That’s No Suprise

Yesterday NBC News published a report on the Qanon conspiracy scam. The details are notable but the overall conclusion won’t be a surprise for most: Qanon was/is a scam cooked up by some internet trolls/grifters.

A denizen of YouTube and two 4Chan moderators cooked up the scam between them and with apparently not much effort scammed the Alt-Right for months. The plan was simple enough: if you generate your own secret source with hot tips and gnomish warnings, then your content channel (whether it was YouTube videos or a 4Chan board) would always have the scoop. You can read further analysis here

Some general observation:

  • It’s grifters all the way down. There is ALWAYS an angle, a hustle, a scheme, a get-rich-quick aspect. The one constant that connects the various kinds of the modern US right movements is that it is highly monetised.
  • The communities these scams appeal to confuse the properties of interesting fiction with the properties that indicate truth. It is the aesthetics of the idea that commands belief.
  • While you would think cynicism and gullibility are polar opposites, those two qualities appear to exist in equal measure. There is not a neat divide between the scammers and the scammed.

I mentioned in a previous post the connection between the Amway selling scheme and the false rumours about Proctor & Gamble being connected with Satanism. Money, cynicism, and a special kind of gullibility.


More Behind the Scenes of Monster v Robot


Robot’s publicist forwarded me this note:


Not sure Robot is really getting favourable coverage. People might not get that inside that metallic exoskeleton there’s a being of real soul and compassion. Here they are enacting one of their favourite movie scenes and skipping through Alpine meadows full of flowers.

Good if you could share that with your readers.”

Not a problem!

Today’s Graph: US Real GDP per Capita


The data was from here

US Real GDP from 1870 to 2017, adjusted to 2012 prices.

Looked at as a whole America is not poor and America is not particularly short of money per person compared with previous decades. I know that is, on one level, an unremarkable thing to say but there has been such a long running campaign that somehow modern nations ‘can’t afford’ schools, healthcare or infrastructure spending that is it worth noting that technically ‘per person’ the US has never been richer. The issue is not the total divided by the population but the distribution and the unwillingness of the wealthy to pay taxes to support the fabric of the country that makes their wealth.


This graph is from here showing the same thing but on a post-WW2 timescale (grey areas are dips in GDP).


The Making of Monster v Robot

Monster has been getting fan mail after their appearance here and people have asked me about the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of this hi-tech production. Unfortunately, production is very much a trade secret but I do have an exclusive photo of Felapton Towers staff rehearsing with Monster.


A consumate professional as always. Also condolences to the family of the Felapton Towers wrangler pictured.