I was hoping to have my first newsletter of a new decade be more positive and undergirded by hope, but recent events have intervened. I think we all knew Donald Trump would have his foreign war. Nearly every American president does. (More needs to be said about Jimmy Carter breaking this pattern.) I think we all also knew it would be Iran. Neocons have been champing at the bit for decades to strafe the country and overthrow its government. I missed the news in November of last year that Iran had discovered an oil field holding approximately 53 billion barrels. That’s a whole lot of resources and money powerful people in the West feel entitled to.
I don’t know much about Iran or its internal politics, so I had no idea who General Qasem Soleimani was until I’d heard he’d been assassinated and that as bad as it sounded in a vacuum, it was worse with more context. It’s the equivalent of killing a nation’s second in command, who is also its key military and intelligence strategist. Iran has said it will respond. This will go badly quickly, it looks like. All the same tired arguments from the 2003 invasion of Iraq are being recycled by the same idiot pundits, and the lies are coming thick and fast. There are even claims from VP Pence that Soleimani helped mastermind 9-11. It’s literally exactly the same lazy, thoroughly debunked playbook. It won’t matter. The establishment U.S. media have learned nothing, nothing at all, since 9-11.
I learned about Soleimani’s assassination as I was taking a break from binge-watching the new Netflix series, Messiah. It’s about a charismatic Iranian man believed by some to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. His emergence on the world stage creates upheaval. It’s a really well-crafted show, but you have to fight past a lot of CIA and Mossad propaganda. I plan on doing more longform cultural criticism this year, and I think I’ll write my next piece on it.
My first piece of the year was a longform discussion for my patrons about how Mad Men’s avoidance of race makes it representative of the 2010s. I honestly didn’t realize there were people who thought a whitewashed show like Mad Men handled race well, but they’re out there and told me about it on Instagram. You can read the piece by becoming patron. You will also receive an ebook of my essay collection, Disposable People, Disposable Planet and other rewards.
Thanks for reading!