Tag Archives: Chomsky

Welcome to Camp Reality!

Post dedicated to John, who came up with the name Camp Reality.
Has this ever happened to you? You’re from an authoritarian country whose dictatorial leaders rob the population of the nation’s natural wealth, squirreling it away in Western banks and real estate. It’s so bad that you had to leave your homeland. But, as it turns out, the regime you fled publicly attacks the United States and blames economic problems on being “surrounded by enemies?” Now, every time you try to explain the plight of your people to American leftists who are in many cases fighting for the same social justice you’d like to see in your country, you’re accused of being a secret millionaire, billionaire, or a dupe of the CIA. You try to explain why the sources they are using are worthless and you suggest other info, but they act as though their access to internet makes their opinion equal to yours, even if they’ve never had so much as a passport. Is there anything you can do? NOW THERE IS! 

You can recommend your friends take a very special summer vacation to Camp Reality (TM)! At Camp Reality, they won’t be able to hide from the truth using the internet and confirmation bias to pick sources of information which confirm their worldview. No, here at Camp Reality, they’ll get the most realistic hands-on experience of living under a 21st century authoritarian kleptocratic regime! Inspired by the groundbreaking work on racism by Jane Elliot, Camp Reality teaches people who live in the privileged West who like to live vicariously through countries, regimes, and people they may never have encountered in person what it’s actually like to live under those regimes they have deemed to be “anti-imperialist” simply due to public rhetoric and propaganda.

After signing an extremely detailed 45-page legal waiver which temporarily suspends any rights they might have under their own government, entrants to the camp will have their choice of three different “difficulty levels” based on three different types of real-world authoritarian regimes.

 

Level 1: Easy Mode

This mode is designed to replicate conditions in a 21st century soft dictatorship, specifically the Russian Federation. In the early days you’ll experience chaos as corrupt officials and police either fail to protect your property or actively help criminal groups. After week one, attendees may breathe a sigh of relief when a new leader promises to bring stability. All seems well and you’re prospering until you start to realize that the old gangsters have just been replaced by new ones, and now the state becomes more and more overbearing. Eventually the “economy” starts to decline, the leader changes the constitution so he doesn’t have to leave office, and suddenly you can be facing criminal charges for sharing a joke on social media. If you speak out, you’ll be deemed a traitor who hates your country, often by simulated leaders whose own simulated family members live in luxury in Europe. Hopefully your business doesn’t get raided by someone connected or wiped out when the leader starts a needless war and invents “counter-sanctions” in response to the sanctions he provoked with his own short-sighted actions.

Level 2: Hard Mode

This mode is modeled after countries like Venezuela. Your leader endlessly rants about “Yankee imperialism” while his cronies skim money out of the state oil company and stash it away in Yankee banks and real estate. After a while, the store shelves are empty and you’ll spend at least one whole week trying to scrounge for food. You’ll get a chance to tell simulated Western social media users about the conditions in your country, only to be told that you’re just some “millionaire who lost his land” or a dupe of the CIA calling for military intervention for “regime change.” These people will then bombard you with articles from “your” country’s state media and the state media outlets of government friendly regimes to tell you what’s really happening.

Level 3: NIGHTMARE! 

This mode is based on Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime. We ask that attendees choosing this mode please read the legal waiver very thoroughly and wear comfortable, NON-FLAMMABLE clothing.

After surviving attending Camp Reality, your friends and family members will have learned a valuable lesson in empathy and how social justice without internationalist solidarity can often be a slippery slope to fascism. But don’t take our word for it, read these testimonials from actual attendees of Camp Reality!

“Since I came of age around 2003, I used to compare every international crisis to the Iraq invasion of that year. After attending Camp Reality, I learned that not every regime the US government criticizes is really just trying to fight for its people against the influence of transnational corporations. As it turns out, some regimes really do just suck, and criticism from the US government isn’t the same as openly advocating for a massive invasion as the Bush administration clearly did in late 2002 to early 2003!”    -Carla, 32,  Hard Mode

 

“I used to think the only reason Western media was so critical of Putin is because he made Russia strong again and he opposed NATO. After spending a month in a simulated regime modeled after Putin’s I realized that NATO encirclement was really just an excuse for authoritarian measures and for why my country lagged behind Europe despite massive wealth in natural resources. I also learned that when I posted about this online, I was accused of being a traitor and a Western agent even though I really just wanted to see my country succeed. I think the best touch was how when I brought up problems, people would tell me about something terrible in America as though that had any relevance to the issue I was trying to discuss. It’s the same thing I used to do online!”   –Ryan, 26, Easy Mode

 

“Oh God! Oh God! I…I…I can’t….I don’t even…Who, who are you? Am I safe? Is this safe?!”    –Meghan, 28, NIGHTMARE!

So why delay? Tell your insufferably edgy little shit of a cousin to put their money where their mouth is today and send them to CAMP REALITY!

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Leftist intellectuals: “We’ve been phoning it in for a while now, actually.”

LONDON

Australian-born journalist and leftist intellectual John Pilger admitted on Wednesday that he has been “phoning it in for a while now” on the topic of Ukraine.

“To be honest, I had to Google Viktor Yanukovych when all that Maidan business started,” Pilger said.

Having located Ukraine on a map and after carrying out extensive research on Wikipedia, Pilger said he then applied what he and several other leftist intellectuals refer to as “the formula.”

“It works like this. The US, EU, NATO, IMF, Monsanto, etc. appear to be supporting one side in a conflict, in this case, Euromaidan versus Viktor Yanukovych and his Russian backers. I might not know anything about Yanukovych or Russia, but if all those other governments are criticizing them, that means they must be good. Working backwards like this, I determined that Yanukovych must have been a progressive leader who was trying to look out for Ukraine’s working class by opposing IMF-imposed austerity.”

Pilger wasn’t the only leftist intellectual applying “the formula.” Noam Chomsky also admitted to falling back on templates in order to create talking points about Ukraine and Russia.

“I haven’t paid attention to Russia in years,” Chomsky admitted in an interview. “On Democracy Now! I was asked about the murder of this opposition politician, or NGO worker, or something, named Boris Memtsov or Nermtsev or whatever. A lesser leftist intellectual would have been shitting bricks right there, but I’ve been doing this for a while. I just started rambling about the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and my old favorite trope, where I talk about how our government is hypocritical.”

When asked if Chomsky thought there was anything wrong with self-proclaimed “anti-imperialist” intellectuals openly endorsing the 19th century great power politics of other countries, Chomsky said that there’s no problem “so long as you’re not talking about the US or one of its allies.”

“Sure, if some neoconservative think tank pundit endorses toppling governments in the Middle East or Latin America so as to secure US economic interests, I’ll be all over that,” Chomsky said. “But if Russia does the exact same thing, using openly imperialist rhetoric to justify its actions, I’m happy to back them up even if it is indisputably far more authoritarian than the United States. I didn’t get to be idol of so many white American college students by dialectical thinking and nuance, you know.”

Filmmaker Oliver Stone announced his plans to make a documentary about the “US-sponsored coup” in Ukraine after meeting with Viktor Yanukovych in Moscow late last year. He too admitted that he hadn’t really done much research into Ukraine, Euromaidan, or the conflict with Russia.

“You don’t have time to do research when you’re investigating conspiracy theories,” Stone explained. “The whole mainstream media was saying that Yanukovych was corrupt and authoritarian. Obviously if that’s what they were saying, it couldn’t be true. As it turns out, Yanukovych himself told me it was all a lie.”

Stone’s working hypothesis is based on deriving conclusions from the “propaganda” against Yanukovych and Russia.

“Our corporate hegemony advocates neo-liberal politics which lead to massive inequality between the rich and poor. Based on this, and based on the fact that the corporate media assails Russia and Yanukovych’s government, I’ve managed to determine that the real reason Yanukovych was overthrown was that he was planning to unveil a new socialist system whereby each citizen would receive free housing, food, education, and medical care. Apparently they’ve been planning to implement the same system in Russia for quite some time, but they can’t because the US State Department is meddling in their internal affairs.”

When asked about Ukrainians and Russians who are opposed to their own governments, the filmmaker shook his head.

“Obviously they are misguided. What kind of person would question their own government, assuming it’s not the American government or that of one of its allies? These people need to open their eyes and really see what’s going on in their country.”