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Trump Toys With a Let-Them-Die Response to the Pandemic – The Nation

The Nation believes that helping readers stay informed about the impact of the coronavirus crisis is a form of public service. For that reason, this article, and all of our coronavirus coverage, is now free. Please subscribe to support our writers and staff, and stay healthy. (Patrick Semansky / AP Photo)

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On Sunday night, 10 minutes before midnight eastern time, Donald Trump tweeted, WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO! As so often, the exegetical mystery of Trumps comments can be clarified by returning to the most important source of his worldview, Fox News. Earlier in the evening, Fox News Host Steve Hilton ranted against Trumps medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, who advocated draconian social distancing measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus until the medical system can be strengthened to deal with it.Ad Policy

Hilton argued that these measures would cause more damage than the coronavirus itself. You know that famous phrase, The cure is the worse than the disease? Hilton asked. That is exactly the territory we are hurtling towards.

The push for social distancing measures, including closing schools and restaurants, is relatively new. Closure of these institutions was only announced in New York on March 15. Yet there are signs that many on the political rightand even centrist business leadersare already sick of the public health emergency. They want the economy to go back to normal and are promoting fringe ideas in an attempt to discredit mainstream epidemiologists.

Its unclear whether Trump can actually roll back any of the existing quarantine measures, which are set by governors and mayors. But Trump can certainly affect the behavior of his supporters. If millions of Trump fans think that quarantines arent worth the aggravation, they are much more likely to violate them. Thats the most likely danger of Trumps tweet and his potential shift in policy. MORE FROM Jeet Heer

Fox News has already helped poison policy on the pandemic. The network was a major promoter of the idea that warnings about a pandemic were a hoax designed to derail Trumps presidency. Trump initially went along with that until he was persuaded by a dissident in the Fox ranks, Tucker Carlson, to take the pandemic seriously.

But its clear that an influential faction at Fox still believes the coronavirus threat is oversold. On Friday, a bevy of Fox personalities, including Laura Ingraham and Brit Hume, were hawking on twitter a Medium post by Republican operative Aaron Ginn arguing that the government was over-reacting to the coronavirus. Ginn is not an epidemiologist, and his post was riddled with analytical errors. It was quickly taken down by Medium, but not before being seen by millions

On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial arguing, If this government-ordered shutdown continues for much more than another week or two, the human cost of job losses and bankruptcies will exceed what most Americans imagine. This wont be popular to read in some quarters, but federal and state officials need to start adjusting their anti-virus strategy now to avoid an economic recession that will dwarf the harm from 2008-2009.Current Issue

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In the United Kingdom, Boris Johnsons government initially followed a hands-off strategy along this line, with the idea that it might be best to let the coronavirus spread quickly in order to minimize social disruption. This idea was abandoned once Johnsons government came to realize the dangers of overwhelming the health care system.

Its not just the far-right that is talking like this. Former Goldman Sachs CEO and Hillary Clinton supporter Lloyd Blankfein tweeted out on Sunday night, Extreme measures to flatten the virus curve is sensiblefor a timeto stretch out the strain on health infrastructure. But crushing the economy, jobs and morale is also a health issue-and beyond. Within a very few weeks let those with a lower risk to the disease return to work.

The problem with these arguments is twofold: They underestimate the dangers of scuttling social distancing programs too soon; they also disregard the tools needed to return to cushion the economic shock. As evident from the examples of both China and Italy, extreme measures are needed to slow the spread of the virus or it will overwhelm the health care system, leaving a potential death toll in the United States in excess of 10 million. If the virus is slowed down, theres a real chance that the health care system can get the medical equipment (ICU beds and ventilators) needed to keep the death count to a minimum. Giving up on social distancing too early will doom countless Americans to a painful and unnecessary death.

The economic costs of the coronavirus are real, but they can be dealt with through robust intervention: a combination of universal basic income, mortgage, and rent forgiveness, bailouts for small business and a Keynesian booster shot at the end of the pandemic.

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The problem is that the political right, along with centrists like Blankfein, dont want such a heavy intervention in the economy. As a result, they indulge in a truly grotesque display of self-interested reasoning and argue that there can be a quick and easy end to quarantines, shutdowns, and social distancing campaigns.

What they are arguing for goes beyond Social Darwinism and is, in fact, a kind of cult capitalism. The existing system is viewed as so sacred that it is worth sacrificing innumerable human lives to keep it going. Even nonrevolutionary changes to the system are anathema.

Economics and medicine have always been intertwined, sometimes in strange ways. Under the surface of economic ideas, there are often metaphors taken from medicine and psychology: We talk about curing a depression, which can refer to both a person and an economy.

There flourished in Vienna from 1850 to 1870 a school of medicine some historians have dubbed therapeutic nihilism. This school held that most medical interventions did more damage than good and advocated that doctors simply oversee the natural process of recovery. There was some logic to this: It was the era of quack remedies.

Therapeutic nihilism had a curious afterlife. As William Johnson notes in The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History, 1848-1938 (1972), therapeutic nihilism lived on even past the 1870s in the pessimism of many Austrian thinkers, ranging from Freud to Wittgenstein. Therapeutic nihilism was also an influence on the Austrian economics of Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek, the foundational thinkers of the modern libertarian right. In his book The Viennese Students of Civilization (2016), intellectual historian Erwin Dekker makes a compelling case that von Mises and Hayeks opposition to government interventions in the economy was a manifestation of therapeutic nihilism.

Von Mises and Hayek were major opponents of John Maynard Keynes, who believed that economic depressions shouldnt just be allowed to run their course but could be shortened by active government measures.

As in the great disputes between the Austrian school and the Keynesians, we now face a fundamental divide in both medicine and economics. Do we embrace therapeutic nihilism and just shrug our shoulders in the face of a pandemic, hoping that it will quickly extinguish itself? Or do we believe that human ingenuity and social cooperation can work together for solutions, ones that involve real sacrificesbut that can also help limit human misery?

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Trump Toys With a Let-Them-Die Response to the Pandemic - The Nation

9 dystopian apocalyptic films that capture our current mood – i-D

Still from Melancholia.

With a global pandemic underway, the ongoing struggle of empathetic, left-leaning political movements to gain a foothold in places like the UK and US, and climate change still raging, its understandable that many people are turning to film for pure escapism and relief. But -- for better or worse -- the last few decades have proven something of a golden age for apocalyptic and dystopian filmmaking, as brilliant directors like Michael Haneke, Lizzie Borden and Kinji Fukasaku explore life either fundamentally remade or in the midst of being reshaped for the worse.

Not all of these movies feature a world-ending cataclysmic event, but many of them grapple with the effects of nihilism and apathy that can emerge when we think about the existential threats to both our planet and our society at large. Even the more action-packed flicks like Battle Royale and 10 Cloverfield Lane can easily be linked to contemporary problems like intergenerational conflict and gaslighting.

Below are nine films that offer lessons, warnings or parables that can be applied to many of the hardships were enduring on a global scale, and potentially help us figure out a way forward -- or at least to be more mindful. Who needs escapism after all?

First ReformedWhile were constantly bombarded with the perils of climate change, the horror of an irreversibly damaged, eventually uninhabitable planet is so vast and terrifying as to be basically incomprehensible. Paul Schraders First Reformed filters that existential dread into a character study of Ethan Hawkes Reverend Ernst Toller, the pastor at a sparsely attended church in upstate New York. When a parishioner confides in him that her husband wants her to abort her pregnancy due to climate change, Toller enters into a full-on crisis of faith. First Reformed deals carefully with how we reimagine foundational concepts like religion and childbirth in the face of an existential threat. The films ending, though hardly uplifting, does offer a brief moment of relief from a grim present and an even bleaker future.

Battle RoyaleA masterpiece of youth-in-revolt cinema, Battle Royale focuses on the bitter divide between Japans young people and a totalitarian government that rose to power in the wake of a major recession. Kinji Fukasakus final film is something of a lightning rod for its pervasive violence, but it is most affecting as both a depiction of typical teenage melodrama with trumped up, life-or-death consequences, and as a portrait of the kind of intergenerational conflict we see in societies around the globe. All over, we see young people rallying together for things like climate change, LGBT+ rights, and a widespread social safety net, but struggling against the inertia of Boomers and Gen Xers and the cruelty inherent in global capitalism. The youth of Battle Royale ultimately earn a pyrrhic victory at the films conclusion, which also feels dispiritingly like what so many young activists are facing today.

10 Cloverfield LaneAs an alien invasion movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane is so-so, with an extremely modest budget and pretty boilerplate action. But as a story of gaslighting, extremism, and the distorted relationship between gender and power, the film is efficient and disturbing. We spend much of Dan Trachtenbergs movie wondering if theres even an invasion going on at all, or if John Goodmans Howard -- played with an Alex Jones-ian verve for the apocalyptic and a chilling manipulative streak -- has simply captured Mary Elizabeth Winsteads Michelle using the idea of an alien attack as a false flag. The movie also speaks to the franchisification of modern cinema, as 10 Cloverfield Lane was originally written as a lean indie horror flick called The Cellar that had nothing to do with Matt Reeves 2008 monster movie. The strongest and most frightening parts of the movie have little to do with CGI aliens, and everything to do with humanitys capacity for cruelty in the name of their warped beliefs.

NocturamaBertrand Bonellos film offers a decidedly bleak portrait of modern youth, following the actions and subsequent fallout from a group of young Parisians carrying out a series of coordinated terrorist attacks around the city. The lack of a given motivation for the protagonists actions makes it difficult to find Nocturamas moral center, though as the AV Club notes, Bonello draws the line at violence, which is always abrupt and sobering. As the extremists hole up in an empty department store following the attacks, the film also highlights the hollowness of consumerist comforts in the face of true horror. The characters play with and discard expensive makeup, stereo equipment, and clothing. With memorable and eclectic needle drops of Shirley Bassey, Chief Keef and Willow Smith, Nocturama also highlights the power of music as a salve for trauma, though in this case the listeners are the perpetrators, not the victims.

I Think Were Alone NowThough slow and plagued by shoddy chemistry between its leads, Reed Moranos I Think Were Alone Now is a thoughtful flick that deals with ideas often eschewed in splashy, big budget apocalyptic cinema. Through Peter Dinklages Del, Morano highlights both the importance of work and routine, as well as the tedium that persists, even in an empty world. As the film goes on, Elle Fannings Grace appears and I Think Were Alone Now reckons with the best way to move forward after trauma, a question that will affect countless people in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.

Time of the WolfMichael Hanekes 2003 apocalypse flick picks up well after the world has ended, and offers a snapshot of a family trying to hold together and maintain their dignity and decency in increasingly dire straits. As the world grapples with pandemic conditions and people struggle with the fearful impulse to hoard vs. the altruistic impulse to help, Time of the Wolf is a somber reminder of what happens when our basic social fabric erodes. Even beyond our present frightening circumstances, Time of the Wolf offers a message worth heeding. As The New York Times noted back in 2004, the constant hardships endured by Isabelle Huppert and her family are not dissimilar from the daily reality faced by so many.

Born in FlamesMore dystopian than apocalyptic, Lizzie Bordens Born in Flames is a powerful collage that shows how even a theoretical socialist America can still be rife with problems. Told largely through faux documentary footage and radio broadcasts, Born in Flames features a pair of feminist revolutionary groups, combatting rampant sexism on the New York City streets through a mix of direct action and community organizing -- in the wake of a purported socialist revolution. And in a bit of eerie prescience, the 1983 movie shows a shoddy police conspiracy related to the death of a black woman in custody, conjuring up memories of recent situations like the deaths of Diamond Ross and Sandra Bland. As far-left youth movements continue to grow in the U.S. and U.K., Born in Flames is a crucial reminder that a revolution that leaves some people behind will ultimately perpetuate many of the problems that made one so essential in the first place.

MonosThere is an outside world in Alejandro Lanes Monos. Its where the movies teenage militia soldiers get their orders and where their prisoner -- an American engineer -- came from. But for 100 incendiary minutes, we watch a makeshift society cooperate, bicker and eventually crumble as its careful military structure is turned on its head. The superb cast of mostly unknowns functions like a group of apocalyptic survivors, as tempers flare, power struggles ensue, and school-age crushes come and go. Like Nocturama and Battle Royale, the stakes are made all the greater by the groups isolation and its survivalist tone, but the human drama is what makes this very alien story so emotionally resonant.

MelancholiaIn addition to being one Bernie Sanders favorite films, Lars Von Triers Melancholia is a hypnotic exploration of how depression corresponds to the world around us. Featuring an all-time performance from Kirsten Dunst as Justine, and an effectively cast-against-type Charlotte Gainsbourg as her sister Claire, Melancholia explores the differences between depression and despair, as well as the ripple effects of mental health. Though there isnt a colossal planet on course to collide with the Earth, it does feel like the world is ending several times per month, and if Melancholia isnt exactly a blueprint for how to behave, it does offer an intimate character study of one such situation.

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9 dystopian apocalyptic films that capture our current mood - i-D

Threshold Resurrects the Angry, Ambitious Young Man – The New York Times

When it comes to reading in an emergency, in a moment of crisis and uncertainty, comfort seems to be the order of the day old favorites, regressive pleasures, cozy classics.

What happens if they fail you? Mine have (et tu, Wodehouse?), so I am here to champion the opposite: the enlivening, more absorbing distractions of disagreement, argument and pure pique, of being profitably at odds with what you are reading; the deep diversion of a good, cleansing quarrel, especially with a book that is game and gleefully provocative. Threshold, a nettlesome new novel surly, ambitious, frequently annoying has been my treasured companion of late.

Zachary Leaders biography of Saul Bellow contained the indelible fact that one of Bellows trusty modes of seduction was to read aloud to women from his own work for hours at a time (horrified italics mine). Its the sort of detail that can inspire smug pity for the past: Who would attempt such a gesture now? What woman would tolerate it?

I had yet to meet Rob Doyle.

Rob the loafer and the mope, the impressively successful Lothario and pretentious little troll is the protagonist of this book, which could be called autofiction (the author is also named Rob Doyle), anti-woke polemic or obsessive riff. It isnt much interested in classification in fact, it would rather like to annihilate pointless distinctions outright, much like the character himself, who is on a fervent spiritual quest with the aid of acid, meditation, magic mushrooms and ayahuasca.

The idea was that, by gaining access to the weirder potentialities of consciousness, my basic stance towards existence would be altered: shorn of the tedium and banality, Rob tells us. I hoped I could come to experience consciousness itself.

Or at least shirk work for a long spell, and run from his roots: a charmless childhood in Ireland, which he depicts with characteristic delicacy as a backwater of banal, misshapen people. Rob drifts, from Paris to Thailand, Croatia and Sicily. He overdoses on ketamine in New Delhi and smokes DMT in Ireland, which inspires his most delirious visions. DMT is a psychedelic that condenses a six-hour ayahuasca trip into 10 mind-melting minutes. (You can still be an atheist up to 40 milligrams, Doyle writes.)

Every time his passport is stamped, a new girlfriend, another pliant, unnamed creature materializes at his side, endlessly willing to loiter with him at the graves of his literary heroes (the usual suspects: Cioran, Bataille) and let him drone on about his despair and indecision. Shall he write the great Berlin Techno novel? The great backpacker dropout novel? A novel of sex, death and clubbing in post-Bataclan Paris?

Are you wincing with irritation yet? Good; irritation is this narrators specialty. Hed like to be a hate figure, a Shylock, but he wonders if he has the nerve. For a time he used social media as a pressure valve, raining scorn on the trendy sentiments and masturbatory indignations that cascaded so risibly down my screen. He suppurates with rage, especially at those who have reduced art to a variety of social work. Painfully woke fare had left me craving art whose intentions were purely corrosive, art that went against democracy and virtue, glorified evil, wallowed in destruction and chaos, art whose only dictate was hostility to the notion that art should ameliorate, edify, mold better citizens.

Rob is a relic of sorts, the kind of character youd once reliably encounter in a Martin Amis novel, the angry, ambitious young man whose literary and sexual ambitions are coiled together, the type of character Henry Miller made famous and who now just as often appears as a figure of gentle satire (as in Adelle Waldmans The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P or Andrew Martins Early Work). Doyle enjoys poking fun at Doyle, his habit of making sure his books are stocked at various bookstores, his dour pomposity. At one point, Rob embarks on a sadomasochistic relationship with a woman; for a safe word, they settle on creative nonfiction.

Speaking of Miller, there is a character in Tropic of Cancer, a writer who is notorious in his circle for concealing what he is reading, lest his friends figure out his influences. Doyle, the novelist, has the opposite problem. Large swaths of Threshold the would-be writer making pilgrimage to the homes of his heroes, in order to do anything but write feel beholden to Out of Sheer Rage, Geoff Dyers affectionate tribute to procrastination, via an attempted biography of D. H. Lawrence. Sections in which Rob haunts museums hoping for an aesthetically meaningful experience feel heavily indebted to Ben Lerners novels, in one of which a character is tormented that he is incapable of a profound experience of art. At another point, it is one of Karl Ove Knausgaards most famous passages that is channeled as Rob scribbles in his notebook about how civilization forbids me from acting on my violent urges (I smile, shake hands), so my instincts wither inside me, making me unhealthy. Still other scenes recall Milan Kundera.

For all Robs bluster and desire to shock, his pilgrims progress brings him to a place of calm; age proves more effective than drugs in challenging his premises: how safe it is to sneer, how much more risky to create. He begins to regard his cynicism and jadedness as a kind of defeat, a death in life without dignity or valor. We leave this creature of posturing and alienation at books end surrounded by friends, wildly euphoric (courtesy of DMT). There was an ease in thinking nothing matters, the whole Western nihilism rap, Doyle writes. Its so much scarier to think that everything matters, every little thing is of the utmost consequence.

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Threshold Resurrects the Angry, Ambitious Young Man - The New York Times

It’s Absolutely OK to Dump Someone Over Their Awful Pandemic Behavior – VICE UK

Its stupid at this point to play the remember one month ago!?!? game, but, for these purposes, its worthwhile: One month ago, your partners rugged individualism and unwillingness to read an entire article before weighing in were charming personality quirks; the kind of stuff thats either endearing or aggravating, depending on your mood.

But now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, you might be viewing those traits in an entirely different light. Alexs individuality and and fuck it, lets party!!! nihilism isnt just Alex doing Alex when were talking about social distancing and other necessary precautions. Seemingly personal choices are now a literal matter of life and death, and could reveal a significant difference in values within your relationship, making you wonder if this person is the right match for you. (So many people are facing similar dilemmas, theres an entire website dedicated to documenting quarantine partner drama.)

Maybe you were considering breaking up before you got stuck in an apartment with your partner for the foreseeable future, or maybe being stuck with them has made you realize this isnt working for you. While the ongoing pandemic has slowed (or completely halted) most parts of our lives, this one particular thing doesnt have to be put on hold. You can still end a relationship, provided you can do so safely (more on that later).

Conventional wisdom tells us to not make any big, life-changing decisions during times of increased stress, the idea being that our little brains cant think clearly when were processing intense emotions. But the nature of this unprecedented situation may actually provide necessary clarity. There might be no better way to learn how you want to live your life and who you want to share it with than staring down your own mortality.

Rosara Torrisi, a certified sex therapist based in New York, told VICE that this moment is essentially a compatibility test for a lot of couples, old and new. The coronavirus pandemic is going to reveal not just how they respond to this specific situation, but also how they might deal with other rough life moments. Being in a high-stress moment for a long period of time in a relationship thats gonna happen, Torrisi said. Whether its COVID[-19], or someone getting really sick, losing money, or losing a job, theres a million ways that you will be stressed in a long-term relationship. This is one of those moments.

The way individuals react to a stressful situation and react to each others reactions is a fairly big part of their overall long-term compatibility. And if those responses are drastically different perhaps you skew more doomsday prepper, while your partner is more Margaritaville-chillin, stocking up only on weed and video games and telling you to calm down and lead to problems, thats important information to have. Are you cool being with someone who will never be freaking out along with you, or who you think is constantly overreacting?

Alternatively, Torrisi points out that extremely similar ways of coping might be just as bad. Lets say two partners are together and theyre exceptionally anxious and following the news, just kind of amping each other up; thats not really helpful, either, she said. That can be harder to spot, because it typically feels good when someone agrees with you and eggs you on. But if youre getting a nagging sense that the person youre with is not bringing out the best in you, its worth paying attention to that feeling.

The actual logistics of managing a break up right now are where things get a little trickier. If your partner is simply a pain in the ass who you no longer want to be with but can tolerate for a while longer, and youre already secure in your pandemic bunker, Torrisi said you may just want to stay put. If your safety is still intact, you always have to prioritise that, she said.

For the actual breakup, its important to try maintaining the peace in your pandemic bunker. To do that, Torrisi recommended having a radically empathetic conversation. Even if you find your partners behavior to be batshit and wrong, trying to understand it will lead to a calmer conversation than holding up an empty box of rigatoni and screaming, HOW DID YOU ALREADY EAT ALL OF OUR PASTA, YOU FREAK, THIS IS EXACTLY WHY WE CANT BE TOGETHER!!!!

Even if you disagree, you might have a better understanding of where they are coming from, Torrisi said. And then you can say, OK, I understand why, I can empathize with it, but I completely disagree with it. It makes it really clear for me that your decision making is not something I can get on board with, or that I want to be a part of long term.

If youre currently sharing a space and youre worried your partner may harm you if you try to break up with them, but you cant currently go to a shelter or family members house, an appropriate alternative would be to find a friend who lives within walking distance, and will agree to hunker down with you for the foreseeable future. Otherwise, resources like the National Domestic Violence Hotline are equipped to help you, even during a pandemic when theres limited mobility.

The TL;DR here is this pandemic sucks hard enough without adding the unnecessary pressure to stay in a bad relationship into the mix. DTMFA, and soothe your pains with one of your favourite rations.

@hannahsmothers

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

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It's Absolutely OK to Dump Someone Over Their Awful Pandemic Behavior - VICE UK

Nihilistic journalism and the shunning of alternative voices in media – IOL

By Thabo Makwakwa Mar 19, 2020

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Nihilistic journalism, scheming and shunning of alternative voices by some dominant media houses, cozying up to the powerful politicians and influential business people is not doing justice to a country struggling with widespread cheating and corruption, a country failing to hold leaders accountable.

The society relies heavily on media houses to access news that is ethical, unbiased and uncensored. It poses a great concern when media houses in pursuit of profits, by legal or illegal means, suspend their moral compass, accept donations from private funders and increasingly engage in unprincipled news reporting which favour and protect certain individuals while attack everybody else who criticise or differ with them.

Daily Mavericks attitude towards other media houses, journalists, news contributors and politicians, does not only exhibit toxic competition for audience but also the deadening journalistic-nihilism suffocating the breath out of every person with opposing views.

The oppressive practice of shunning other voices through brutal smear campaigns and fake news reporting delegitimizing the majority of black journalists and politicians, is increasingly creating discomfort to news readers and ordinary people who have entrusted media houses with a responsibility to shape public opinion and strengthen the society.

Daily Mavericks exaggerated obsession with political factions has spared no one who dares to have an opposing view about anybody in their receiving end of consistent smear campaigns. The shocking suppression of others right to freedom of speech by Daily Maverick has seen many individuals referred to as "fight-back faction", and SANEF has done very little if nothing to knock ethics into the heads of the editors of this publication.

The quest to dominate and lead the national narrative is overwhelmingly violent. One example is the disillusionment created by nihilistic journalists and editors in the payroll of arrogant big business and abusive politicians, with an aim to delegitimize ones reputation; campaign for the death of other voices in media and bring up any trash against the target by any means necessary. Journalists and editors have succumbed to what they deem necessary demons to possess in order to survive through tight competition. Serious commitment to ethical and truthful news reporting is replaced with simplistic and superficial reportage.

Erosion of vibrant quality reporters and alternative perspectives is betrayal to the commitment to fight for freedom of speech. Bullying of other perspectives will certainly result in many people choosing not to speak of the true depths of horrors of the powerful capital and its political representatives.

Unprincipled scheming journalists and unethical editors who have voluntarily surrendered their principles to the amusement of their political handlers and private funders, threaten the entire press community willing to speak painful truths to the public about real challenges such as wealth and power; misinformation by elites; white collar crime; political and corporate related corruption. The capture of news reporters and media houses means that the very last voice of ordinary people is silenced, and only the voice of those with money can be listened to.

The people of South Africa deserve to know the truth about the degenerating reportage. We must know the drive for wealth and power is the sole reason journalists have become the voice and spokespersons of few powerful individuals instead of being the voice of the masses. It should not come as a shock when veteran and respected journalists disintegrate from their neutral position and slide into dirty political battles where money is a determining variable. The thirst for a funded comfortable life has eaten the souls of press reportage and triggered war between obedient and disobedient voices.

It is true that everything ends. The destructive nihilistic journalism is now in the open for everyone to see, and like every other propaganda, it too shall fall into its own sword.

One of the crucial tasks for news readers and other media houses is to expose bias news reports displaying favouritism and news fixing by news people towards other news reporters, politicians, businesses and other media houses. The people must be confronted and call out these propagandists for what they are, because no one should be subjected to captured media houses spreading false stories and paying individuals to write false stories about certain political opponents.

* Thabo Makwakwa is a f reelance author and social commentator.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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Nihilistic journalism and the shunning of alternative voices in media - IOL

‘Bad Boys For Life’ Digital Release Coming This Month, Blu-ray in April – /FILM

The surprisingly good (maybe even great?)Bad Boys For Life is about to come home. The sequel is due to hit digital at the end of March, almost a full month before its Blu-ray release. This somewhat early digital release is likely meant to coincide with several other big titles that have scored early releases in the wake of the coronavirus. Movie theaters are shut down, people are stuck home, and studios are scrambling to fill the void.

You can score Bad Boys For Life on digital starting March 31, and then on4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & DVD April 21. Theres usually a gap between digital and physical releases, but its traditionally not a nearly month-long gap. Sony is likely hoping to get in on the early digital release trend that several other films have been adopting in the wake of the coronavirus, includingThe Hunt,The Invisible Man,Birds of Prey,The Way Back, and more.

Ill be honest: I had very low expectations forBad Boys For Life. But the movie was a pleasant surprise, abandoning a lot of the cruel nihilism of the second film while letting the characters grow a little. As I wrote in my review:

But its the unexpected amount of heart that ends up makingBad Boys for Lifea pleasant surprise. In the previous two films, one gets the distinct sense that Mike and Marcus really dont give that much of a shit about each other or anyone else. Sure, theysaythey ride together, die together but its hard to buy it in those movies. Smiths Mike Lowery in particular often comes across as a borderline psychopath in those first two movies someone who only cares about his own image. Mike starts like that in this film as well, but as the story races on, he softens a bit. He may not want to admit it we learn hes started dying his goatee but hes getting older now. And some people mellow out when they get older. They slow down, and they realize theyve been taking certain things for granted. If theBad Boysfranchise of all damn things can have actual emotional growth there might be hope yet for all of us.

And oh yeah, the villain of the film is awitch I feel like not enough people appreciated that fact. InBad Boys For Life, Mike Lowry (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), are back. After a string of assassinations and an attempt on Mikes life, he convinces a hesitant Marcus to hold off retirement and partner one last time. Together, they team up with AMMO, the new hotshot division of the Miami PD, to take down the merciless head of the Aretas Cartel.

Here are the special features included with the home media releases:

4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY AND DIGITAL BONUS MATERIALS

DVD BONUS MATERIALS

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'Bad Boys For Life' Digital Release Coming This Month, Blu-ray in April - /FILM

This Is No Zombie Apocalypse Novel, Author Says But We Can Learn From Them – WBUR

I work in a neighborhood building above a chocolate shop that usually smells so good it evokes a predictable wave of nostalgia even patriotism, I guess.

It's an all-American street, with no less than three different places to grab a cup of coffee. Most days, there are kids on skateboards doing tricks in the parking lot behind the bank. Toddlers stop and stare every time the bright-red fire truck cranks up its sirens and lumbers out of its cave to save the day.

That's the kind of street where I work. Youve seen it a thousand times.

But now, the candy shop is closed. It's scentless. No kids on skateboards. There's still coffee to be had, but the coffee shop patrons grab their drinks and make their way back onto the empty sidewalks, using their elbows or the knuckles to open the door.

All of this is new and surreal. At the same time, all of this is also strangely familiar.

You see, I've seen all this before. I wrote this.

Nearly 10 years ago, I published a novel that garnered a bit of notoriety. It featured zombies and viral pandemics, and so the story was riddled with empty and ravaged cities. Zombies were particularly fashionable back then.

In the screenplay version of my story, written by the late George Romero himself, the opening scene shows sidewalks empty of people, littered with unread newspapers, headlines caught in the eddies of the whistling breeze.

George often reminded me that every story was derivative. If youre telling a story about a pandemic, and my novel was exactly that, certain signifiers must be present.

In our current pandemic, these signifiers are rearing their eerie heads. Of course most are absent. We certainly aren't and will not be anywhere near burning cars. There are no gangs of bandits on motorcycles. There are no broken windows. But there are uncollected newspapers, piling up at the entrance to the office building where I've been virtually meeting with patients through the wonders of sterile technology.

Lately, people keep asking me about my book. People seem to think I might have a particular angle on the psychology surrounding our current pandemic. After all, they remind me, I spent a lot of time imagining a world where this sort of thing could happen. I even feel a little guilty. I wrote an entire novel that indulged in a kind of salacious, infectious foreboding.

In fact, I have lots of angles. My first is that I'd much prefer all of this to have remained in the movies. We watch these disaster films in part so we can leave the theater and revel in the normalcy of the off-screen world.

My second angle is that we are not in a disaster movie. What we see in the movies is a lot worse, a whole lot worse, than the unsettling emptiness on the street where I work. That's important to remember. Film scholars have noted that we tend to over-interpret familiar cinematic images when we encounter these images outside of the movies.

Thats the trap of our current predicament, and therein lies the most important lesson from my novel, indeed from all novels and movies and stories that feature the eerie and unnatural trappings of apocalyptic landscapes: We are not in an apocalypse. We are in the midst of a public health crisis that will without question end, and life will go back to normal.

This is not to say that things won't be pretty strange for a while. This is going to be tough. But this isn't about zombies. This is about the cautionary tale of the zombie trope.

My book featured characters who grew bored and frustrated with one another. Ennui was at least as dangerous as the pandemic itself. This very ennui, the lonely, one-note chords that empty streets and closed shops play in our pattern-prone brains, is the sentiment we have to guard most stringently against.

This ain't no zombie novel, but the zombie novels can teach us a thing or two. In the zombie stories, the humans nearly always end up fighting. That's the trap, and we know better.

We tend to defend ourselves by adopting the attributes of our enemies. This is problematic, because a virus literally has no attributes. It doesn't think or feel or love. The cautionary themes of every zombie film feature these tropes. Exactly when we need each other most, we start acting like zombies. And this is not the time for microbial nihilism.

Now, I must apologize. As a psychiatrist, I am going to offer clichs. Clichs are clichs, after all, because they are true. Oddly enough, we tend to ignore clichs when things get weird. I am arguing, therefore, that these clichs are currently especially important.

Play music. Tell stories. Go for a walk. Check in on your neighbor and tip your hat to a stranger. These gestures, so boring, so ordinary, are to my mind right now extraordinarily important. They preserve normalcy even as we hunker down for what looks like a long and unfamiliar haul.

We do not, as a rule, tolerate uncertainty with grace. Current research suggests that in the face of uncertainty, we generalize we decide that everything is foggy and out of focus. But there are constants of humanity, and we need to keep these in mind.We need to live in the moment even as we plan for the future. We need to keep up with routines as best we can. We need to sing and to play.

We got this. It's going to be hard, but we got this. This ain't no zombie novel, but the zombie novels can teach us a thing or two. In the zombie stories, the humans nearly always end up fighting. That's the trap and we know better.

Let's stick together, and we'll get through it.

Dr. Steve Schlozman isan assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist.

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This Is No Zombie Apocalypse Novel, Author Says But We Can Learn From Them - WBUR

Editor’s Column: Viruses don’t care, we have to – Rio Blanco Herald Times

No, we dont get to be excluded from a pandemic. As nice as it would be to have a free pass to avoid everything associated with the coronavirus situation, there is no such pass.

We can feel sorry for ourselves that a stupid virus has upended our lives temporarily (permanently, for the unfortunate ones it kills and their families). We can be angry and stomp and yell and throw things (wine glasses shatter very nicely, by the way). We can yield to sorrow and depression and nihilism. We can stubbornly refuse to comply with guidance from experts and rail against government efforts to control the speed with which this thing spreads as attacks on our personal freedoms, and we can deny not only scientific facts but real-time data from other countries around the world who are also dealing with this. We can do all those things. None of them are helpful.

A virus doesnt care if youre a Republican or a Democrat. A virus doesnt care if you had a vacation planned or a wedding or tickets to a concert or graduation or any other human event scheduled. Viruses simply dont have the capacity to care, and because they dont, we must.

We must care for one another by taking precautions and protecting the most vulnerable among us, by supporting our local business owners and our displaced workers in whatever way we can, by looking after our neighbors and friends if this thing drags on, which its likely to do, given what were seeing in other nations.

This is going to leave a mark, much like the events of 9/11 left a mark, and possibly a much larger one. What did we do in the face of that enemy? We came together as a nation to defend one another, to do what was necessary for the greater good. Will we do that again, when the enemy is invisible and already among us? For all our sakes, I hope so.

Do your part.

By Niki Turner | editor@ht1885.com

Continued here:

Editor's Column: Viruses don't care, we have to - Rio Blanco Herald Times

Hitting the nihilism on the head – Camden New Journal newspapers website

Mark Stanley in Run

RUN Directed by Scott Graham Certificate 12a

THE Aberdeenshire town of Fraserburgh is the setting for this moving and well-cast drama.

A port, it has a long association with trawler fishing and processing the catches. It is depicted as a place of hard employment and few thrills.

This setting provides a backdrop to a family hewn from the granite, suggesting the environment breeds a certain dourness coupled with hardiness and stoicism in the men and women who live there.

Finnie (Mark Stanley) has grown up in the town and once got his kicks as a boy racer, screaming his souped-up car along the dark roads, slamming it round corners, and finding a sense of escape from the long nights through revving engines.

Now the father of two and tied to a fish processing production line, the cheap thrills of the past have gone but not been replaced.

Partner Katie (Amy Manson) sees he needs geeing up she buys herself a party frock and him a new shirt, but his response is theres nowhere to go and what is the point.

He looks, perhaps enviously, at his teenage boy (Anders Hayward), who is now behind a wheel himself and zipping into curves while playing loud bassy music.

The drama unfolds after an argument at home sees Finnie steal his sons car and take it for a spin, picking up his sons pregnant girlfriend Kelly (Marli Siu) en route. Cue some soul searching at high speeds, like a version of Fast and Furious for psychoanalysts.

Mark Stanley is fantastic: it seems extraordinary he is the same actor who starred in a release last week called Sulphur and White, in which he plays a City banker. The character here is the complete opposite and he has done both with real conviction. Stanleys downplayed approach makes it completely believable, his end-of-the-world sensibility haunts each scene. He is backed by a wonderful cast.

There is a theme of Bruce Springsteen lyrics running through the story Finnie is a fan and that he relates to the Blue Collar Blues Springsteen sings about is another clever trick in bringing this moving story alive.

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Hitting the nihilism on the head - Camden New Journal newspapers website

Drinking Beer in Bushwick Amid a Pandemic – The Cut

Photo: South_agency/Getty Images

Please note the story youre reading was published more than a day ago. COVID-19 news and recommendations change fast: Read the latest here to stay up-to-date. Weve lifted our paywall on all stories about the coronavirus.

On any given weeknight at the Bushwick tiki bar Happyfun Hideaway, there are dozens of Tecateslurping, margarita-sipping young Brooklynites. When the weather takes a warm turn, that number doubles as droves of drinkers show up in the backyard, Telfar bags in hand. On Wednesday night, however, despite the onset of spring weather, the crowd had thinned, as people across New York began to grapple with the question of how to navigate life in the middle of a pandemic.

At 9 p.m., six young people sat inside: one man, blasted and teetering upon his stool, two men eating each others faces, and three more chatting in a grimy corner.

In the last hour, Trump had mandated a travel ban, the NBA season was canceled, and Tom Hanks announced he had tested positive for the virus, but the mood among the Gen-Zers at the bar remained light. The kissing couple was soon replaced by another heavy-petting duo. I went to the grocery store today, purred one of them. The bartender said, I think people are scared, but its overblown. Theres an arc to everything.

On the patio, conversation between college students returned to coronavirus every few sentences. The thing is, young people shouldnt travel. As a young person you should stay away from traveling and large crowds, a young woman studying at Pratt argued. Her Kurt Cobainlooking companion retorted, But Ive never had the money to go to L.A., talking about cheap airline tickets. The conversation lulled, briefly, before he added,Each cigarette you roll is a work of art.

They drifted from conversations about moving apartments back to the viruss impact on their graduations, from breakup drama to information theyve gathered about the virus (I dont think my sister made that up. She works in politics).

The boy joked about video-chatting into his class at NYU, telling the professor he tested positive in order to get out of class, and made snarky comments about a neighborhood DJ: Im glad the coronavirus has derailed his career.

A couple of young women on the patio displayed similar nonchalance. One shook my hand, then immediately lit a cigarette, putting her fingers to her lips without pausing to apply hand sanitizer. Asked whether or not they felt any hesitation going out for drinks, they chimed together, Oh! No! No! Not at all! Have they done any prepping? God no. Last I checked theres plenty of toilet paper on the shelves. When I asked if they would consider canceling their weekend plans, they said no. Im still on Resident Advisor [an online electronic music community]like, Whats up?!

Its chilling. Its something you cant really avoid, even if it was as deadly as some people think it is, said another Pratt student to her friend, a blonde-bobbed NYU grad. I use the subway every day, so Im fucked either way Now that I need to take care of today, Im just like Why would I think about the future?

For members of my generation, the COVID-19 pandemic is our first major crisis, and its hard to see my peers corona-nihilism outside of the major political and historical events that have happened during our lifetimes. We are an age group (18 to 23) that, for the most part, doesnt remember 9/11 or the 2008 financial crisis. We dont know the existential dread of impending war or impending bankruptcy. The 2016 election was a crisis, but it was also one we were able to tangibly react to, through student activism and renewed interest in policy.

Texting with nearly a dozen friends my age, living in places from Alabama to Los Angeles to New York, I asked if they were worried about the virus. For the most part, they are worried, but mostly about marginalized communities and health-care workers and the possibility of becoming walking death traps for the elderly. As for themselves, one friend in New Haven said, Self-isolation for a month is a lot in a college students life. Also, on a less serious level, Ive had to cancel a bunch of dates.

Knowing they arent the primary target of the virus, they tweet things along the lines of The way boomers are feeling about coronavirus is the way millennials and gen z folks feel about climate change all the time, and make coronavirus memes. One is a drinking guide to online lectures; another reads, Well Id rather be dead in [insert name of a shitty college town], then alive in my hometown. They make TikToks, one to the tune of Thats Amore: When the class moves online, and the boomers all die, thats corona!

As tasteless as these conversations might seem to older folks, its also difficult to imagine my generation not reacting this way. Born into a dying world, ultraconscious of the overheating planet, our nihilism makes sense. But then, this prideful sense of invincibility may well just be characteristic of anyone that age. Per Didion, [O]ne of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened before. In this case, its true for Gen-Z, corona is a coming-of-age crisis, the likes of which we havent seen before, and its hard to know whether or not to have a Wednesday night tiki drink.

This morning, a college sophomore texted me, If I havent died yet from my Juul or the nasty ass bar I work in, I think Ill survive the coronavirus.

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Drinking Beer in Bushwick Amid a Pandemic - The Cut

Stay home and Avoid The Hunt – Lexington Dispatch

Originally slated for release in 2019, Craig Zobel's The Hunt came under fire on conservative media for its story of liberals kidnapping Trump supporters and hunting them for sport.

The film eventually even caught the attention of President Trump himself, who issued a condemnation of the film from his Twitter account, causing a controversy that eventually led to the film being pulled from the schedule altogether.

Now the film has finally found its way into theaters, using the controversy as its main marketing draw, and to the surprise of no one who actually watched the trailer rather than just listening to the president's unhinged rambling on social media, The Hunt is more of a satire of liberals than it is of conservatives, casting the "liberal elites" as the villains and the hunted "deplorables" as the heroes on the run.

It's not hard to see that Zobel is going for some sort of "both sides" condemnation of our polarized electorate, casting the Trump supporters as wild-eyed conspiracy theorists whose worst fears have come true, and the wealthy liberals who hunt them as privileged elitists whose disdain for other side has lead them into an insular world of fake news just as bad as what they claim to be against.

The problem is that its satire is so broad, so blunt, and so misguided that absolutely nothing works. This is a film in which a villain, tasked with posing as an American ambassador, actually carries a box labeled "bribe money," which he uses to pay off foreign military agents. Subtle and clever this film is not.

The idea is that an innocent text message exchanged among friends who run a powerful multinational corporation leak to the press, leading fringe right-wing conspiracy theorists to concoct a wild story about "liberal elites" hunting conservatives for sport at a manor house in Vermont. They call the theory "Manorgate," and it spreads like wildfire on conservative media.

After losing their jobs in order for the company to save face, the liberals actually decide to hunt conservatives at a manor overseas for revenge, getting back at those who brought them down by making the conspiracy theory come to life.

This plan backfires spectacularly when they accidentally kidnap the wrong woman, mistaking Crystal (Betty Gilpin), a special ops veteran who served in Afghanistan, for another woman of the same name who made disparaging remarks about ringleader, Athena (Hilary Swank) on Twitter. Lots of blood, guts, and gore are splattered across the screen as Crystal calmly wreaks vengeance on the people trying to kill her, determined to get back home at all costs.

Gilpin turns in a strong performance; her laid back demeanor and Mississippi drawl seemingly at odds with the over-the-top decadence around her, but the film itself is one of the worst pieces of garbage to clog up multiplexes in recent memory. Zobel's brand of satire is messy and obvious, taking a kind of "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to see what lands, and very little, if anything, actually does.

The depiction of the liberals in the film is straight out of the Fox News "latte-sipping liberal" stereotype playbook, coming across as the kind of caricature that someone who thinks "did you just assume my gender" is the height of humor would come up with. The conservatives are likewise broadly drawn, shown as racist, gay-hating, gun-toting hicks that are everything the people trying to kill them think they are. For a film that seems to be pleading for understanding, its utter condescension toward everyone in the film consistently undercuts its message.

No one wins here and everyone is terrible, and that kind of nihilism not only makes The Hunt an unpleasant watch, it also seems to suggest that everyone is just as terrible as the other side believes. It doesn't seem to actually understand where anyone in this film is coming from. One of the liberals actually refers to one of her partners as "comrade," as if a bunch of wealthy white liberals would actually co-opt the language of Marxism.

This kind of utter lack of understanding of who it's depicting and why results in a film that has no idea what it's trying to say, but it's saying it loudly and constantly - proudly ignorant, arrogantly self-assured, with nothing to back itself up; just like the people its attempting to lampoon. The Hunt is reprehensible trash, neither as edgy or as smart as it thinks it is, offering up little more than empty shock value with nothing the least but constructive or interesting to say. This one's not worth risking the spread of coronavirus stay home and avoid this film like the plague.

Matthew Lucas, a former Davidson County resident, is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association and the North Carolina Film Critics Association. He now resides in Boone and has a blog where he posts regular movie reviews and commentary at http://www.fromthefrontrow.net.

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Stay home and Avoid The Hunt - Lexington Dispatch

The saddest generation: Why Gen Z is the most anxious generation ever – Digiday

Alex is a 22-year-old social media manager for a startup. Six months ago, while standing in a crowded No. 3 express train on the way to work, he had a panic attack.

I was staring at my phone, trying to simultaneously respond to a Slack message from my boss but also scrolling through Instagram and texting a friend when I thought I was going to die, says Alex (who didnt wish to use his last name because he doesnt want to be known as the depressed guy at work). I literally thought I was being crushed under what felt like a mountain of work, overwhelmed, and messages were coming at me from everywhere, and I just wanted to die.

Its a common feeling for Becky, a 20-year-old college student. Im anxious all the time, she says. What about? Being in school. Feeling pressure to have a social life. Politics. My friend is studying abroad in Spain and I read a story on Twitter about someone who got their kidney stolen in Spain. The coronavirus. Everyone I know has cancer.

The young are more anxious than ever. Young people and for that matter, old people everyone is anxious. Everyone has too much to do. The U.S. is the most overworked nation in the world.

But the specific strains of depression, anxiety and nihilism are unique to Generation Z, the cohort born between 1996 and 2016, many of whom are now graduating college and entering the workforce for the first time. It even shows up on TikTok, that platform favored by the youth, where a new genre of videos are about making yourself feel better: I woke up depressed, heres what I did, is a popular class of content. Its used as a way to bond with others on the same medication: Yo, where my Citalopram girls at? asked juliakempner08 in one video.

Studies show that depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide are increasingly more common in this cohort than ones before. A 2019 study showed undergraduate students of the Gen Z cohort had double the rates of those issues than others.

There is of course the argument that this generation is more likely to be open about mental health issues than others, meaning that everyones always been anxious, they just talk more about it. But it doesnt account for, argues Psychology Today, the increased suicide rates.

Greg Lukianoff is the co-author, with Jonathan Haidt of The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure. There has been a dramatic surge in anxiety, and depression among young people over the last 10 years versus the 15 before that. Because of changes in medical trends and cultural taboos, its hard to compare depression and anxiety reports from much earlier than that meaningfully. To the extent teen suicide rates are a proxy for teen distress, we do know that the suicide rates for older teens peaked in 1991, and were very near those peaks now, he says.

An exclusive, inside look at whats actually happening in the video industry, including original reporting, analysis of important stories and interviews with interesting executives and other newsmakers.

For Lukianoff (and Haidt) the big factor is tech and the preponderance of social media, which he says takes high school-style bullying into the real world and beyond. When I tell people to imagine the worst of junior high school 24 hours a day forever, it rightfully gives people a shudder.

After his panic attack, Alex the social media manager went to his mom, who took him to a therapist, and was diagnosed with depression. He was prescribed medication, and has since taken to 30 minutes of meditation a day. Hes also perhaps most importantly gone off all (personal) social media. Its ironic since my entire existence depends on it, but I had to. A whole group of us have.

Its what Lukianoff has observed as well: Social media allows people to gather together in like-minded groups, and this includes people who are more depressed or anxious finding each other. Research into real-world social groups shows that depression can spread among people in a social relationship; if much of the peer group is anxious and depressed, you are more likely to be, as well.

Plus, it creates feelings of FOMO, stress and therefore, sadness. Becky says she spends much of her time at night refreshing. I refresh and see what other people are doing. Its a way of checking in. Do I look as good? Whats she wearing? Can I afford it? How does she have friends?

Jessica, a 20-year-old student at Pace University says she hears about people counting posts. I havent posted in two months. Do people think Ive done nothing?

There are a few historical shadows under which millennials grew up that have little to no significance for Gen Z, also contributing, potentially to a different way of looking at the world. Most millennials were young children during the 9/11 terror attacks. Millennials came of age, and many entered the workforce, during a recession. They helped elect the first black president in history. Technological evolution was fast and rollicky during their adolescence and young adulthood.

For Gen Z, all of that is table stakes. Most havent known an America that isnt at war, and they unlike every generation before them, were born into, almost, a social media age.

Sunny, a 22-year-old employee in corporate finance, says it started for her in college as well, where her peer group sat around burnishing their LinkedIn profiles. Social media, she says, feels like a constant status update how high is your status?

And it continues on into the workforce as well. I would say my anxiety has changed, she says. The college anxiety was about academia. College had a blank dream of a job I was chasing. Now I want a dream career. There is a lot of pressure of constant next steps. Ive been working for like a month, but Im already thinking of what happens next. Its nonstop. Sometimes I cant breathe.

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The saddest generation: Why Gen Z is the most anxious generation ever - Digiday

Coronavirus: What will become of the world? – Free Press Journal

The fear is looming

When the disease was in China, it felt like it was far away. Now that it is in our neighbourhood, its seeming too close for comfort. We have begun to catastrophise within the darkness of uncertainty. We are feeling helpless, clueless, and powerless. And this is driving us to nihilism. Some of us are thinking about whether

- we will succumb to this virus

- well have access to a vaccine

- well be alive to see the end of this

- our jobs are safe anymore

- stock markets will ever stabilise

What the present is looking like

Our worry is not limited to our own health. Its extended to fretting over the health of parents, grandparents and children. A lot of us dont know how to entertain our kids during this extended school break. Or what we should do with so much spare time working from home. Were stocking up more food and supplies than our houses can accommodate. Were glued to social media, and obsessed with forwarding information without assuring its legitimacy. Memes and jokes are taking up more of our time than ever before. Anxiety is rippling through the ocean of humanity. The earth is quaking with uncertainty. What might become of us after this?

A dark future?

Natural as well as man-made disasters have the propensity to generate chaos, and render human beings powerless. There are bound to be immediate consequences like sadness and apprehension over the loss of loved ones, health, jobs, money, and security in general. Those with inadequate coping defenses resort to alcohol, nicotine, cannabis and other substances of abuse to help combat angst. However, in the longer term this lengthens psychological turmoil, resulting in more permanent depression and anxiety. Lower income individuals sense more stress because social distancing impacts their jobs and daily wages notably. Were already seeing unrest and vandalism in some countries over securing food and housing supplies. An incessant fear of the unknown can convert us all into nervous, guarded, and mistrusting human beings. And those already battling anxiety and depression stand greater tendency for catastrophic panic. Prolonged stress dilutes immunity further. If we dont contain the anxiety pandemic rightly, we might see a physically weaker human race, purely attributable to our psychological shortcomings.

There is hope

Countries are realising the need to strengthen healthcare systems and replenish health budgets. Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore governments adopted stringent measures for containing the disease, people obeyed; and saw positive results. Self-quarantine in Italy drove residents to unanimously sing together every evening from windows of their apartments an orchestra of a hundred homes altogether. In many cities, people are offering free babysitting, tuition classes, art lessons online, pick up and drop services for kids where needed; as well as food delivery for vulnerable older adults.

In spite of all the darkness, history has proven that some good always comes from the bad; that humans cognise, devise and improvise with time. The biggest yet simplest lesson humanity can learn, is that prevention is better than cure. And that we can take simple steps now, and in the future, to avoid the spread of any and many diseases. That cleanliness is important every day. And kindness doesnt need a time table. That children learn from observation how to relax in times of crisis and not go into a state of frenzy. And its good to spend time at home in general, not just during a pandemic.

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Coronavirus: What will become of the world? - Free Press Journal

R.E.M.’s end-times anthem is back on the charts here’s why – CBC.ca

On March 11, a pandemic was declared. On March 13, R.E.M.'s 1987 single, "It's the End of the World as we Know It (And I Feel Fine)," returned to the charts. As the outbreak spreads, so doesthe song's renewed ubiquity. It re-entered the iTunes Top 100 chart at No. 65 and as of March 17 at 4 p.m. PT, it had climbed all the way to No. 26.

Nate Sloan, co-host of the podcast Switched on Pop, and co-author of the bookSwitched on Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why it Matters, calls the song's return to the charts "unprecedented."

"The only other time when music from past decades re-enters the charts is Christmas," Sloan explains. "That's when all of a sudden Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatraand a 1994 Mariah Carey song pop up on the charts. Otherwise, the entire ethos of popular music is newness. This is the driving commercial engine of popular music since the late 1800s. It's sort of against the very nature of the pop machine to revive past hits, so the fact that that's happening right now absolutely shows that this is a really unique and unprecedented moment."

On March 17, R.E.M.'s Michael Stipeposted a video of himself singing the chorus from the hit song, turning the video into a coronavirus PSA with a caveat: "I'm a former pop star," Stipejokes."But don't trust social media. Go to the CDC website. Go to trusted news services for your information."

The song actually entered the iTunes Top 100 four spots above its peak 1987 position on the Billboard Hot 100, a fact that Sloan finds "fascinating" but not surprising. Sloan admits that he personally didn't care much about music charts before Switched on Pop. Co-hosting a podcast for five years about Top 40 pop has been "instructive" and he's come to appreciate the broader cultural story a chart can tell.

"I missed out on what so many people were listening to," Sloan says. "Now what I realize is that you don't have to necessarily love or hate the most popular music at any given moment. But I think we should all recognize that it can be very instructive in terms of telling us what people are feeling and thinking, and concerned and anxious and joyous about in subtle ways. Charts are always taking the temperature of people's collective consciousness."

Sloan is also not surprised that this is the retro theme song people are playing on repeat right now.

"Music is something we immediately turn to in trying times," Sloan says. "Music is something that gives us comfort and brings us together and helps us understand the world. So it makes sense to me that that's one of the first places people turn when the world is going haywire. This song provides, sort of, a mantra for people to recite in this moment when everything seems very uncertain and up in the air. What can you do when you have no control? Just throw up your hands and say, 'I feel fine.'"

Sloan loves songs that feature dark lyrics juxtaposed with a happy melody. "That is kind of its own subcategory in some ways, where the music tells you one thing and the lyrics tell you something else. I always think that kind of tension is incredibly productive and engaging," he says, laughing.

As sub-genres of rock go, "cheery nihilism" has its place in the world, and Sloan has spent some time thinking about this song, which he admits is his favourite of R.E.M.'s long discography.

"When you get that lyric ['I feel fine'], you get this really catchy melodic hook as well, something that you can sort of sing along to, something that cuts through the noise and stream-of-consciousness lyrics of the rest of the song and provides this anchoring point, a moment of simplicity and collectivity against the backdrop of the chaos of the rest of the song," Sloan says. "That maybe mirrors the overall purpose that the song can serve for people right now, the way it sort of comes together and this crystalline moment of clarity every time the titular phrase hits."

Please note: Andrea Warner appeared as a guest on Switched on Pop in 2019.

Hang out with me on Twitter: @_AndreaWarner

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R.E.M.'s end-times anthem is back on the charts here's why - CBC.ca

Coronavirus is a chance to reset our relationship with our phones – The Guardian

We are in for a long haul. We, who have become accustomed to expecting things now, are going to have to wait. It could be months before our world returns to normal, if it ever does. Or if it even should. We are experiencing something unprecedented: a pandemic in the digital age.

Yet this is a unique opportunity which we should not pass up. In this moment of pause, we have the chance to reset our relationship to tech. For the last decade, tech has been running us. Now is our chance to reset that relationship.

It wasnt so long ago that we all started carrying smartphones. We gave them to our kids. These devices seemed like such cool things to have they gave us everything now: information, transportation, entertainment, food, even sex. We never liked to think about how they were changing our behavior. Making us more aggressive with each other. More judgmental, narcissistic, impatient, impulsive. More likely to treat each other as objects to consume and discard or ghost.

We surrendered our power to companies who used these devices to modify our behavior, with algorithms designed to do just that. We agreed without agreeing to become programmed something we still dont like to contemplate because the convenience of everything we were getting so quickly felt so good.

That is, until it didnt feel good any more. Until we began to feel more anxious and depressed. The companies making these devices promised that they would bring our world closer together. Yet we felt less connected, not more.

When medical professionals began to insist on social distancing as a way to curb the spread of coronavirus, people reacted with alarm. Its scary to think that we cant connect with each other. We need each other. We have evolved to need each other not only to feel good, but to survive.

Humans are difficult and complicated and messy; it was easier to have our primary relationships with our phones

And yet, if were honest about it, we began this process of social distancing years ago. About the same time we started carrying around these phones, we found ourselves having fewer in-person conversations; we visited each other less; we had fewer parties and dinner parties; we stopped going on real dates. It seemed easier to just not deal with each other. Humans are difficult and complicated and messy; it was easier to have our primary relationships with our phones. All of this served tech companies quite well. Every click, scroll, swipe provided them with more data, which translated into more money in their profit columns.

But now were in a moment when we need each other more than ever. We will need each other to provide information, comfort, solace, distraction, entertainment, jokes. We will need each other to listen. We will need to support each other, like family members do, or should; we will need to see ourselves once again as all belonging to the same family of humankind.

And we can use these devices to do just that. We can revert our relationship with tech to the utopian vision of the early days of the internet, when it was seen as something that was going to help us grow and evolve and learn new and better ways of communicating.

But in order to do that, we have to modify our own behavior behavior that has been perversely modified by the companies seeking our data, over these last few years. We cannot troll. We cannot be the snarky one with that smartass comment that gets attention at the expense of someones feelings. We cannot neglect or ignore those to whom we bear responsibility. We cannot spread negativity. We cannot spread nihilism and death, by which I mean the death of social connection.

In order to do this, we will have to use social media very consciously. We must think before we post. We must use this unprecedentedly powerful medium with the same sense of consciousness Kafka once wrote about, in a passage that seems more relevant than ever in the time of the coronavirus: We human beings ought to stand before one another as reverently, as reflectively, as lovingly, as we would before the entrance to hell.

We can start by simply asking each other: How are you?

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Coronavirus is a chance to reset our relationship with our phones - The Guardian

‘The Walking Dead’: Samantha Morton on adapting to the coronavirus – Insider – INSIDER

Samantha Morton's character, Alpha, has lived according to the motto, "We are the end of the world," on AMC's apocalyptic zombie series, "The Walking Dead."

Currently, that motto may hit a little too close to home as people practice social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But Morton is much more positive about the state of our world, despite her character's nihilism.

"I don't feel we're at the end of the world at all," Morton told Insider when asked about any parallel between her character's outlook on life and reality.

Alpha led a cult telling a group of survivors they were the end of the world. Jace Downs/AMC

"My feelings are the world is constantly changing and we have to adapt and change with it," she continued. "If, as a society, we need to learn new habits and new behaviors to prosper whether it's to do with the environment or to do with love or respecting other cultures we just have to adapt and survive. I don't think it's the end of the world at all."

Morton's character was killed off "TWD" Sunday. In a nod to the comics, Negan infiltrated the Whisperers, gained their trust, and when the timing was right, took her out. Morton told Insider she knew exactly how she would be killed off since joining the series as the leader of the Whisperers on season nine.

Now, with Alpha out of the picture, it's looking less like the Whisperers will be able to bring their "end of the world" agenda to life.

"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. You can follow along with our "Walking Dead" coverage here.

View post:

'The Walking Dead': Samantha Morton on adapting to the coronavirus - Insider - INSIDER

Nihilism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy. While few philosophers would claim to be nihilists, nihilism is most often associated with Friedrich Nietzsche who argued that its corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history. In the 20th century, nihilistic themesepistemological failure, value destruction, and cosmic purposelessnesshave preoccupied artists, social critics, and philosophers. Mid-century, for example, the existentialists helped popularize tenets of nihilism in their attempts to blunt its destructive potential. By the end of the century, existential despair as a response to nihilism gave way to an attitude of indifference, often associated with antifoundationalism.

It has been over a century now since Nietzsche explored nihilism and its implications for civilization. As he predicted, nihilisms impact on the culture and values of the 20th century has been pervasive, its apocalyptic tenor spawning a mood of gloom and a good deal of anxiety, anger, and terror. Interestingly, Nietzsche himself, a radical skeptic preoccupied with language, knowledge, and truth, anticipated many of the themes of postmodernity. Its helpful to note, then, that he believed we couldat a terrible priceeventually work through nihilism. If we survived the process of destroying all interpretations of the world, we could then perhaps discover the correct course for humankind.

Nihilism comes from the Latin nihil, or nothing, which means not anything, that which does not exist. It appears in the verb annihilate, meaning to bring to nothing, to destroy completely. Early in the nineteenth century, Friedrich Jacobi used the word to negatively characterize transcendental idealism. It only became popularized, however, after its appearance in Ivan Turgenevs novel Fathers and Sons (1862) where he used nihilism to describe the crude scientism espoused by his character Bazarov who preaches a creed of total negation.

In Russia, nihilism became identified with a loosely organized revolutionary movement (C.1860-1917) that rejected the authority of the state, church, and family. In his early writing, anarchist leader Mikhael Bakunin (1814-1876) composed the notorious entreaty still identified with nihilism: Let us put our trust in the eternal spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unsearchable and eternally creative source of all lifethe passion for destruction is also a creative passion! (Reaction in Germany, 1842). The movement advocated a social arrangement based on rationalism and materialism as the sole source of knowledge and individual freedom as the highest goal. By rejecting mans spiritual essence in favor of a solely materialistic one, nihilists denounced God and religious authority as antithetical to freedom. The movement eventually deteriorated into an ethos of subversion, destruction, and anarchy, and by the late 1870s, a nihilist was anyone associated with clandestine political groups advocating terrorism and assassination.

The earliest philosophical positions associated with what could be characterized as a nihilistic outlook are those of the Skeptics. Because they denied the possibility of certainty, Skeptics could denounce traditional truths as unjustifiable opinions. When Demosthenes (c.371-322 BC), for example, observes that What he wished to believe, that is what each man believes (Olynthiac), he posits the relational nature of knowledge. Extreme skepticism, then, is linked to epistemological nihilism which denies the possibility of knowledge and truth; this form of nihilism is currently identified with postmodern antifoundationalism. Nihilism, in fact, can be understood in several different ways. Political Nihilism, as noted, is associated with the belief that the destruction of all existing political, social, and religious order is a prerequisite for any future improvement. Ethical nihilism or moral nihilism rejects the possibility of absolute moral or ethical values. Instead, good and evil are nebulous, and values addressing such are the product of nothing more than social and emotive pressures. Existential nihilism is the notion that life has no intrinsic meaning or value, and it is, no doubt, the most commonly used and understood sense of the word today.

Max Stirners (1806-1856) attacks on systematic philosophy, his denial of absolutes, and his rejection of abstract concepts of any kind often places him among the first philosophical nihilists. For Stirner, achieving individual freedom is the only law; and the state, which necessarily imperils freedom, must be destroyed. Even beyond the oppression of the state, though, are the constraints imposed by others because their very existence is an obstacle compromising individual freedom. Thus Stirner argues that existence is an endless war of each against all (The Ego and its Own, trans. 1907).

Among philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche is most often associated with nihilism. For Nietzsche, there is no objective order or structure in the world except what we give it. Penetrating the faades buttressing convictions, the nihilist discovers that all values are baseless and that reason is impotent. Every belief, every considering something-true, Nietzsche writes, is necessarily false because there is simply no true world (Will to Power [notes from 1883-1888]). For him, nihilism requires a radical repudiation of all imposed values and meaning: Nihilism is . . . not only the belief that everything deserves to perish; but one actually puts ones shoulder to the plough; one destroys (Will to Power).

The caustic strength of nihilism is absolute, Nietzsche argues, and under its withering scrutiny the highest values devalue themselves. The aim is lacking, and Why finds no answer (Will to Power). Inevitably, nihilism will expose all cherished beliefs and sacrosanct truths as symptoms of a defective Western mythos. This collapse of meaning, relevance, and purpose will be the most destructive force in history, constituting a total assault on reality and nothing less than the greatest crisis of humanity:

What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. . . . For some time now our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end. . . . (Will to Power)

Since Nietzsches compelling critique, nihilistic themesepistemological failure, value destruction, and cosmic purposelessnesshave preoccupied artists, social critics, and philosophers. Convinced that Nietzsches analysis was accurate, for example, Oswald Spengler in The Decline of the West (1926) studied several cultures to confirm that patterns of nihilism were indeed a conspicuous feature of collapsing civilizations. In each of the failed cultures he examines, Spengler noticed that centuries-old religious, artistic, and political traditions were weakened and finally toppled by the insidious workings of several distinct nihilistic postures: the Faustian nihilist shatters the ideals; the Apollinian nihilist watches them crumble before his eyes; and the Indian nihilist withdraws from their presence into himself. Withdrawal, for instance, often identified with the negation of reality and resignation advocated by Eastern religions, is in the West associated with various versions of epicureanism and stoicism. In his study, Spengler concludes that Western civilization is already in the advanced stages of decay with all three forms of nihilism working to undermine epistemological authority and ontological grounding.

In 1927, Martin Heidegger, to cite another example, observed that nihilism in various and hidden forms was already the normal state of man (The Question of Being). Other philosophers predictions about nihilisms impact have been dire. Outlining the symptoms of nihilism in the 20th century, Helmut Thielicke wrote that Nihilism literally has only one truth to declare, namely, that ultimately Nothingness prevails and the world is meaningless (Nihilism: Its Origin and Nature, with a Christian Answer, 1969). From the nihilists perspective, one can conclude that life is completely amoral, a conclusion, Thielicke believes, that motivates such monstrosities as the Nazi reign of terror. Gloomy predictions of nihilisms impact are also charted in Eugene Roses Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age (1994). If nihilism proves victoriousand its well on its way, he arguesour world will become a cold, inhuman world where nothingness, incoherence, and absurdity will triumph.

While nihilism is often discussed in terms of extreme skepticism and relativism, for most of the 20th century it has been associated with the belief that life is meaningless. Existential nihilism begins with the notion that the world is without meaning or purpose. Given this circumstance, existence itselfall action, suffering, and feelingis ultimately senseless and empty.

In The Dark Side: Thoughts on the Futility of Life (1994), Alan Pratt demonstrates that existential nihilism, in one form or another, has been a part of the Western intellectual tradition from the beginning. The Skeptic Empedocles observation that the life of mortals is so mean a thing as to be virtually un-life, for instance, embodies the same kind of extreme pessimism associated with existential nihilism. In antiquity, such profound pessimism may have reached its apex with Hegesias of Cyrene. Because miseries vastly outnumber pleasures, happiness is impossible, the philosopher argues, and subsequently advocates suicide. Centuries later during the Renaissance, William Shakespeare eloquently summarized the existential nihilists perspective when, in this famous passage near the end of Macbeth, he has Macbeth pour out his disgust for life:

Out, out, brief candle!Lifes but a walking shadow, a poor playerThat struts and frets his hour upon the stageAnd then is heard no more; it is a taleTold by an idiot, full of sound and fury,Signifying nothing.

In the twentieth century, its the atheistic existentialist movement, popularized in France in the 1940s and 50s, that is responsible for the currency of existential nihilism in the popular consciousness. Jean-Paul Sartres (1905-1980) defining preposition for the movement, existence precedes essence, rules out any ground or foundation for establishing an essential self or a human nature. When we abandon illusions, life is revealed as nothing; and for the existentialists, nothingness is the source of not only absolute freedom but also existential horror and emotional anguish. Nothingness reveals each individual as an isolated being thrown into an alien and unresponsive universe, barred forever from knowing why yet required to invent meaning. Its a situation thats nothing short of absurd. Writing from the enlightened perspective of the absurd, Albert Camus (1913-1960) observed that Sisyphus plight, condemned to eternal, useless struggle, was a superb metaphor for human existence (The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942).

The common thread in the literature of the existentialists is coping with the emotional anguish arising from our confrontation with nothingness, and they expended great energy responding to the question of whether surviving it was possible. Their answer was a qualified Yes, advocating a formula of passionate commitment and impassive stoicism. In retrospect, it was an anecdote tinged with desperation because in an absurd world there are absolutely no guidelines, and any course of action is problematic. Passionate commitment, be it to conquest, creation, or whatever, is itself meaningless. Enter nihilism.

Camus, like the other existentialists, was convinced that nihilism was the most vexing problem of the twentieth century. Although he argues passionately that individuals could endure its corrosive effects, his most famous works betray the extraordinary difficulty he faced building a convincing case. In The Stranger (1942), for example, Meursault has rejected the existential suppositions on which the uninitiated and weak rely. Just moments before his execution for a gratuitous murder, he discovers that life alone is reason enough for living, a raison dtre, however, that in context seems scarcely convincing. In Caligula (1944), the mad emperor tries to escape the human predicament by dehumanizing himself with acts of senseless violence, fails, and surreptitiously arranges his own assassination. The Plague (1947) shows the futility of doing ones best in an absurd world. And in his last novel, the short and sardonic, The Fall (1956), Camus posits that everyone has bloody hands because we are all responsible for making a sorry state worse by our inane action and inaction alike. In these works and other works by the existentialists, one is often left with the impression that living authentically with the meaninglessness of life is impossible.

Camus was fully aware of the pitfalls of defining existence without meaning, and in his philosophical essay The Rebel (1951) he faces the problem of nihilism head-on. In it, he describes at length how metaphysical collapse often ends in total negation and the victory of nihilism, characterized by profound hatred, pathological destruction, and incalculable violence and death.

By the late 20th century, nihilism had assumed two different castes. In one form, nihilist is used to characterize the postmodern person, a dehumanized conformist, alienated, indifferent, and baffled, directing psychological energy into hedonistic narcissism or into a deep ressentiment that often explodes in violence. This perspective is derived from the existentialists reflections on nihilism stripped of any hopeful expectations, leaving only the experience of sickness, decay, and disintegration.

In his study of meaninglessness, Donald Crosby writes that the source of modern nihilism paradoxically stems from a commitment to honest intellectual openness. Once set in motion, the process of questioning could come to but one end, the erosion of conviction and certitude and collapse into despair (The Specter of the Absurd, 1988). When sincere inquiry is extended to moral convictions and social consensus, it can prove deadly, Crosby continues, promoting forces that ultimately destroy civilizations. Michael Novaks recently revised The Experience of Nothingness (1968, 1998) tells a similar story. Both studies are responses to the existentialists gloomy findings from earlier in the century. And both optimistically discuss ways out of the abyss by focusing of the positive implications nothingness reveals, such as liberty, freedom, and creative possibilities. Novak, for example, describes how since WWII we have been working to climb out of nihilism on the way to building a new civilization.

In contrast to the efforts to overcome nihilism noted above is the uniquely postmodern response associated with the current antifoundationalists. The philosophical, ethical, and intellectual crisis of nihilism that has tormented modern philosophers for over a century has given way to mild annoyance or, more interestingly, an upbeat acceptance of meaninglessness.

French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard characterizes postmodernism as an incredulity toward metanarratives, those all-embracing foundations that we have relied on to make sense of the world. This extreme skepticism has undermined intellectual and moral hierarchies and made truth claims, transcendental or transcultural, problematic. Postmodern antifoundationalists, paradoxically grounded in relativism, dismiss knowledge as relational and truth as transitory, genuine only until something more palatable replaces it (reminiscent of William James notion of cash value). The critic Jacques Derrida, for example, asserts that one can never be sure that what one knows corresponds with what is. Since human beings participate in only an infinitesimal part of the whole, they are unable to grasp anything with certainty, and absolutes are merely fictional forms.

American antifoundationalist Richard Rorty makes a similar point: Nothing grounds our practices, nothing legitimizes them, nothing shows them to be in touch with the way things are (From Logic to Language to Play, 1986). This epistemological cul-de-sac, Rorty concludes, leads inevitably to nihilism. Faced with the nonhuman, the nonlinguistic, we no longer have the ability to overcome contingency and pain by appropriation and transformation, but only the ability to recognize contingency and pain (Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, 1989). In contrast to Nietzsches fears and the angst of the existentialists, nihilism becomes for the antifoundationalists just another aspect of our contemporary milieu, one best endured with sang-froid.

In The Banalization of Nihilism (1992) Karen Carr discusses the antifoundationalist response to nihilism. Although it still inflames a paralyzing relativism and subverts critical tools, cheerful nihilism carries the day, she notes, distinguished by an easy-going acceptance of meaninglessness. Such a development, Carr concludes, is alarming. If we accept that all perspectives are equally non-binding, then intellectual or moral arrogance will determine which perspective has precedence. Worse still, the banalization of nihilism creates an environment where ideas can be imposed forcibly with little resistance, raw power alone determining intellectual and moral hierarchies. Its a conclusion that dovetails nicely with Nietzsches, who pointed out that all interpretations of the world are simply manifestations of will-to-power.

It has been over a century now since Nietzsche explored nihilism and its implications for civilization. As he predicted, nihilisms impact on the culture and values of the 20th century has been pervasive, its apocalyptic tenor spawning a mood of gloom and a good deal of anxiety, anger, and terror. Interestingly, Nietzsche himself, a radical skeptic preoccupied with language, knowledge, and truth, anticipated many of the themes of postmodernity. Its helpful to note, then, that he believed we couldat a terrible priceeventually work through nihilism. If we survived the process of destroying all interpretations of the world, we could then perhaps discover the correct course for humankind:

I praise, I do not reproach, [nihilisms] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength. It is possible. . . . (Complete Works Vol. 13)

Alan PrattEmail: pratta@db.erau.eduEmbry-Riddle UniversityU. S. A.

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Nihilism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Nihilism – AllAboutPhilosophy.org

Nihilism Abandoning Values and KnowledgeNihilism derives its name from the Latin root nihil, meaning nothing, that which does not exist. This same root is found in the verb annihilate -- to bring to nothing, to destroy completely. Nihilism is the belief which:

Nihilism A Meaningless WorldShakespeares Macbeth eloquently summarizes existential nihilism's perspective, disdaining life:

Nihilism Beyond NothingnessNihilism--choosing to believe in Nothingness--involves a high price. An individual may choose to feel rather than think, exert their will to power than pray, give thanks, or obey God. After an impressive career of literary and philosophical creativity, Friedrich Nietzsche lost all control of his mental faculties. Upon seeing a horse mistreated, he began sobbing uncontrollably and collapsed into a catatonic state. Nietzsche died August 25, 1900, diagnosed as utterly insane. While saying Yes to life but No to God, the Prophet of Nihilism missed both.

Beyond the nothingness of nihilism, there is One who is greater than unbelief; One who touched humanity (1 John 5:20) and assures us that our lives are not meaningless (Acts 17:24-28).

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Nihilism - AllAboutPhilosophy.org

The Walking Dead star says the coronavirus pandemic isnt the end of the world. We have to adapt and survive. – Business Insider

captionSamantha Morton played Alpha on The Walking Dead.sourceJace Downs/AMC

Samantha Mortons character, Alpha, has lived according to the motto, We are the end of the world, on AMCs apocalyptic zombie series, The Walking Dead.

Currently, that motto may hit a little too close to home as people practice social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But Morton is much more positive about the state of our world, despite her characters nihilism.

I dont feel were at the end of the world at all, Morton told Insider when asked about any parallel between her characters outlook on life and reality.

My feelings are the world is constantly changing and we have to adapt and change with it, she continued. If, as a society, we need to learn new habits and new behaviors to prosper whether its to do with the environment or to do with love or respecting other cultures we just have to adapt and survive. I dont think its the end of the world at all.

Mortons character was killed off TWD Sunday. In a nod to the comics, Negan infiltrated the Whisperers, gained their trust, and when the timing was right, took her out. Morton told Insider she knew exactly how she would be killed off since joining the series as the leader of the Whisperers on season nine.

Now, with Alpha out of the picture, its looking less like the Whisperers will be able to bring their end of the world agenda to life.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. You can follow along with our Walking Dead coverage here.

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The Walking Dead star says the coronavirus pandemic isnt the end of the world. We have to adapt and survive. - Business Insider

Democrats respond to Republican nihilism by narrowing their field down to two tradition-bound institutionalists – AlterNet

Disclaimer: AlterNet does not endorse candidates but I personally support Sen. Bernie Sanders. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Monday evening saw a brief outrage cycle on social media when a clip of Joe Biden ostensibly telling MSNBCs Lawrence ODonnell that he would veto even a gradual approach to Medicare for All went viral.

Joe Biden just said he would veto Medicare-for-All because it would delay healthcare coverage.

His own healthcare plan leaves 10 million people uninsured.pic.twitter.com/mpW6Z58miB

jordan (@JordanUhl) March 10, 2020

joe biden just said even if the democrats pass a m4a proposal through the house and senate, he doesnt know if hed sign it into law citing cost

hasanabi (@hasanthehun) March 10, 2020

Others parsed Bidens answer and came up with a different interpretation.

Okay, youve seen that viral tweet about how Biden said hed veto Medicare for All. Thats clearly NOT what he said. He says what his opposition is based on, says he agrees with it in principle and goes out of his way not to say hed veto it. Watch and decide. pic.twitter.com/hcqnnsnIqy

Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 10, 2020

It is certainly not news that Joe Biden opposes Medicare for All, and, as many people pointed out, a Democratic Congress would never send a major piece of legislation to a Democratic president who would veto it. The White House coordinates with Congressional leaders throughout the legislative process.

But what made this kerfuffle especially pointless is that Democratic primary voters have narrowed a once-large field to two candidates who oppose killing the filibuster if Democrats hold the House and win control of the White House and Senate in November. Theres certainly ideological space between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Biden, but both are committed institutionalists with deeply flawed theories of how to overcome Republicans central belief that Democratic leadership is inherently illegitimate and the relentless obstruction that flows from that view.

Biden believes that he can work with moderate Democrats, which is probably true, but he also says Republicans fever will break if Donald Trump is dealt a decisive defeat. According to Biden, they will come to rue their refusal to take governing seriously and be willing to cut deals across the aisle. Hes gotten things done on a bipartisan basis in the past, and he promises that he can restore some measure of the comity that made our legislature more or less functional for much of his career.

Sanders promises that he will build a large, transpartisan movement of working people that will transcend partisanship and ideology, and bring so much pressure to bear on lawmakers that moderate Democrats and at least some Republicans will have no choice but to support his transformational agenda. (He also favors a backdoor mechanism for working around the filibuster: getting a Senate parliamentarian in place who would assent to passing complex legislation through the budget reconciliation process. This would be widely perceived as illegitimate and leave the filibuster in place for the next Republican majority to kill outright.)

Both of these theories share the same fundamental problems. We live in a heavily polarized society thats divided by culture as much as by politics, and the right has built a sprawling media network that keeps its consumers cocooned in an alternative set of facts. Geographic sorting and gerrymandering have resulted in a huge number of uncompetitive districts where Republicans rightly fear for their jobs if they wander even a small distance from conservative orthodoxy. They fear that demographic shifts will reduce them to a rump party of the South, and believe they have no other means of maintaining power other than by undermining American democracy. And rightly or wrongly, moderate Dems face deeply entrenched conventional wisdom that moving too far to the left will cost them their seat.

Most politicians first concern is being re-elected, and neither Bidens collegiality nor Sanderss mass movement is going to change that equation. Killing veto-pointsby getting rid of the filibuster and somehow addressing the Republican takeover of the federal judiciarymight.

According to NBC, the progressive advocacy group Stand Up America is putting pressure on the last two major Democratic candidates, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, to call for eliminatingthe 60-vote thresholdto pass legislation in the Senate. Perhaps one or both candidates will reconsider their position. If not, there isnt much point in debating the merits of their health care plans or proposals to combat climate change or anything else that cant be accomplished through executive action.

then let us make a small request. AlterNets journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. Were here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And were proud to say that weve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 yearslonger than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

Its through the generosity of our supporters that were able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone cant pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

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Democrats respond to Republican nihilism by narrowing their field down to two tradition-bound institutionalists - AlterNet


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