The National Security State and Dystopian Narcissism

Today’s sentencing of Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison has provoked considerable outrage. Birgitta Jónsdóttir addresses this nicely in her piece for The Guardian, “Bradley Manning’s Sentence: 35 Years for Exposing the Truth.”

And Rob Goodman has a very compelling piece on “dystopian narcissism” for The Chronicle of Higher Education titled, “The Comforts of the Apocalypse.” Dystopian narcissism is the selfish belief that your time, your civilization, your world is somehow unique in its proximity to the end times, to the disaster, to the apocalypse. As Goodman writes: “We’re virtually guaranteed to witness the end of nothing except our lives, and the present, far from fulfilling anything, is mainly distinguished by being the one piece of time with us in it.” I’ve been saying this for years. (Though perhaps the Doomsday Argument would disagree, as perhaps would Nick Bostrom [here and here and here and here] .)

If Decadence Signals the End, Then We’ll Experience the End Decadently; Or, the Pornographic Fallout Shelter: What to Do w/ Too Much Money

CBS recently reported that Van Nuys-based porn company Pink Visual is building a “luxury” fallout shelter for the “impending” 2012 global disaster. “Multiple fully stocked bars [and by “fully” I suppose this really means fully; the booze has gotta last for the rest of time. The production of Peppermint Schnapps I don’t think will be a priority in the post-apocalyptic wasteland], an enormous performing stage [cause clearly pole dancing will take your mind off your dead and dying friends and relatives], and a sophisticated content production studio [so that one of the major human endeavors of the early 21st c., according to any scan of the internet, will not cease: the production of pornography].” Orgy at the end of the world.

Would the advertisement go something like this?: Are you despairing that humanity is gone, and the reconstruction of the world is nigh impossible? Have you given up all hope? Can you see no way to go on, to make life meaningful again? Have you always wanted to live in a hedonistic lifestyle of non-stop orgiastic bliss? Do you care more about your own personal pleasure than about anyone else? Do you want to spend millions of dollars merely on the possibility that the world will end and you will somehow be able to make it to California (and survive), where clearly your now worthless money will grant you entrance to the VIP club of the party to end all parties!? Fear not, we have your answer! Spend the rest of your lifetime not trying to eke out a miserable existence among the dregs of an irradiated and potentially cannibalistic humanity, but rather cynically/naively forget the past and future by making, well, porn. Oh, and if the internet goes down, there will still plenty of porn on the networks in-house (or rather, in-fallout-shelter).

This is the worst. Weirdly, their design looks awfully panoptic. Read briefly about this absurdity here.