Anyone with a pulse and half a brain knows that work sucks. From comics like Dilbert to cult classics such as Office Space and Fight Club, the 9-5 grind has long inspired despair and twisted gallows humor. However, one doesn’t have to be a pop culture expert to know that people hate their jobs. Just take a gander at polls, which show that a whopping 13% (!) of employees around the world are engaged at work. I imagine that if these polls only measured the attitudes of regular workers and omitted top managers and independent entrepreneurs, that percentage would be even lower. Of course, these numbers are hardly surprising, since anyone who enjoys waking up early every day and commuting to work is clearly nuts.
“Whenever I’ve developed an enthusiasm, I’ve always been curious in what debunks my enthusiasm… when I got interested in Judaism I became interested in those books that were most damaging to Judaism… when I was a Christian I became interested in what debunks Christianity… when I was a Capitalist I became interested in Communism… this is the way I’ve always lived my life, I realize that to everyone else it seems schizophrenic and wildly contradictory and impossible to put together…[it’s] just the way I investigate everything.”
— Luke Ford in Stark Truth TV’s new documentary “Supply”
Luke Ford has been many different things in his 52 years; so many so that it is impossible to keep them all in your head at once. He might be well described as porn journalist turned alt-right journalist who, all the while, has remained a steadfast convert to Orthodox Judaism, but this description would leave out other distinct flavors: Luke’s being Australian, his background as the “son of a preacher man”, his devotion to the Alexander technique and other ergonomic endeavors, not to mention his interest in psychology and 12-step work.
Perhaps the most catch-all way to describe Luke, though–other than as a man at life-long war with his own narcissism– is as an investigator: a seeker of truth, who tends to position himself as close to the source as possible. While some of us are interested in Jewish spirituality from afar Luke put on the Kippah and Tzittzit himself, and moved to the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angelas: one of the city’s two hearts of Orthodox Judaism. While we’ve all found ourselves enticed by pornography, Luke has the distinction of actually having immersed himself in the industry for a decade, interviewing hundreds of performers and producers, and even directing a porno himself. And of course, while if you’re reading this blog you likely have interest in the alt-right, chances are you have not explored it as up-close-and-personal as Luke, whose daily livestream has featured virtually every major figure in the movement.
The concept of beauty throughout history has been a force for creation, inspiring mankind to reach the pinnacle of civilization. From men accomplishing great things to win over a lover, the beautiful female as a muse for the artist, religions building great temples and cathedrals to attract worshipers, kings and emperors building monuments to demonstrate their greatness, and businesses using aesthetics in architecture and advertisements to attract more consumers.
In today’s society aesthetics serves primarily as a force to manipulate people to keep them striving and conforming to the liberal capitalist system. Advertisements use aesthetics to create a vision of a product to consume; not just the product itself but an overall aesthetically pleasing scene involving beautiful women, luxurious furnishings, great architecture, natural scenery, and music to create the mood.
Aesthetics then become a mechanism to keep people enslaved to the system in hope that they can one day date or marry an attractive woman, buy aesthetically pleasing merchandise, vacation in aesthetically pleasing locals, and live in an aesthetically pleasing community.
Prior to the 1950’s, the urban core of LA, centered around Downtown, was relatively small. It was also much more compact and vibrant, however, than it became in the second half of the 20th Century. In recent years, there has been renewed interest in urbanism and walkable communities, and LA’s downtown, historic core is now revitalized and booming with new highrise construction.
While LA is just in the early stages of creating an integrated metro system, the region once had a vibrant street car system connecting the urban core with extensions to street car suburbs such as Santa Monica and Pasadena.
According to Curbed LA : “in 1945, a sinister corporation called National City Lines took over the thriving Los Angeles Railway, which served most of the sprawling region. Then, over the course of the next two decades, LA’s extensive streetcar network was eliminated and the iconic Red Cars that Judge Doom mentions were replaced with shiny new buses.
There has been a growing movement within the New Urbanist scene to retrofit car-oriented suburbs. There is even an excellent book on the subject titled Retrofitting Suburbia by Ellen Dunham-Jones. The book focuses primarily on retrofitting aesthetically unappealing, car-oriented suburbs that were built in the 2nd half of the 20th Century.
Despite opposition from suburban NIMBY’s this idea makes practical and aesthetic sense. Your typical American suburban commercial thoroughfare is lined with ugly strip malls with massive parking lots that are aesthetically unappealing, ecologically unsustainable, and unfriendly to pedestrians.
I spent an afternoon with Robert Stark in the podcaster’s hometown of Santa Barbara, California.
I arrive at his place around 1:00 PM: a magnificent vaporwave mansion in the Santa Barbara Hills, overlooking the city below. It is amazing to think that it is from here that Robert has recorded hundreds of interviews with fringe celebrities ranging from deplorables like Richard Spencer and Greg Johnson to oddballs like Xiu Xiu lead singer Jamie Stewart, and Leisure Suit Larry creator Al Lowe…
In the 1980’s, the San Fernando Valley was known as “America’s Suburb” (think the original Karate Kid and Fast Times at Ridgemont High). It has come a long way downhill, at least from a middle class perspective. LA’s stark income inequality is as visible here as anywhere else, with neighborhoods populated almost entirely by immigrants planted right next to wealthy, gated communities. The white middle class that once called the valley home have long since fled to nearby Santa Clarita. Here I’ve captured some of the destitution of Van Nuys Boulevard, moving into the neon of the relatively prosperous Ventura Boulevard.
“The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov