Grandma and Grandpa Don’t Know What the Fuck is Going On
When Captain Marvel switches sides she represents a breaking free of the burdens an old coalition of national identity, whom now have gone rogue.
When Brie Larson releases a trek through the Grand Tetons, recorded in secret and held for release, she may or may not know her publication is coordinated to bring attention to the national park at a time in which commercial appeal and potential national security co-align. She may or may not know that Grand Teton was central to a secret covert plan to execute national contact tracing in opposition to the ongoing strategy of Google and Apple. She may or may not know that the staunchly anti-Obama Republican Senators obstructing Covid-19 relief positioned the events of Grant Teton to demonstrate and profit from what might be called a commercial model of national security. Coordinating a Covid outbreak at Grand Teton would have necessitated the model of contact tracing be distributed to all the counties the visitors would have arrived from.
Were I to discover that my career had become influenced by the set of secret stakeholders coordinating the administration of national security, I might be initially honored by its flattery and humbled by my inexperience. Were this to be carried out during a particularly haphazardly administered government, and one that contentiously tears apart national relationships and harmony, I might grow concerned and outspoken that my power, or representation, what ever I might believe that to be, might be used carelessly, haphazardly, or in a way that creates harm. I began to hear the alarm bells during the early spring of last year when rhetoric of war had begun to become hostile towards Iran at the same time that mysterious proxy politics of diplomacy were frantically miscommunicated through the news media as increased hostility. For me, this had begun playing out in Philadelphia, where ravenous sentiments for war and aggression towards China were already going strong, and defense money is their lifeblood, and peculiar fluctuations of the oil markets seemed striking.
But the tell-tale moment for me: watching news circulate of Brie Larson “hate white men” who should move out of the way to make way for women of color.
Most of us know the clip from her speech at the Crystal Award for Excellence in Film, but at this time, in early spring, the clip was seemingly being dredged up from nowhere with no particular resonance to the news of the moment or media market. I had heard of Brie Larson and Captain Marvel, and knew I generally had a positive impression of her as a smart woman who had earned her spot in a large Hollywood machinery and enjoyed using her platform for good. In that regard, she felt very relatable to me and my career in STEM and space-oriented entrepreneurism; and, I too believe the world usually benefits from more heroes and heroics. I wanted to like her. So, I was puzzled by this circulation of a clip through major media markets that seemed designed only for the purpose of making me want to dislike Brie Larson. That felt unreal, to me. That felt like what in the artificial intelligence and social media circles is called a failure of veracity, a knowledge subject I had been asked to advise on.
What irked me, moreover, is that I had looked around for nearly half a year to find strong, talented, rising women and people of color in Philadelphia who could broaden the narrow social hierarchies of the patriarchal and elitist city. In wanting to like her, and her mission, and being told not to, I resisted. I took what I could from her message and tried to share it with the leaders of the technology and security entrepreneur networks I had been building up as part of my own mission, and found far too view people willing and able to act on it.
There is a strange and impersonal line between trying to adjudicate the use of a person as a representative token or exemplar of a purpose or cause, to separate the strange fake reality of their persona from their underlying reality as a person. To the best degree of consent which anyone can provide as an unacknowledged third-party, I have tried to carry out, equitably and with the deepest fondness, the set of communication modalities which were allowable within the social and political environments in which the news and political media were operating. I have unwavering delight believing that I am honoring her realistically and respectfully, having been a stranger to her in my writing.
That Brie Larson broadcasts on YouTube with a platform of creators is an arbitrage of equity for the stock market, ensuring that Google stays equally high in the market regardless of whether Google prospers by contact tracing or by elevating its commercial platform from the media attention of a creator.
In skilled hands, these platforms ensure that a public media representation can be made that equitably adjusts Google out of the contract tracing business and ensures that the company is free of anti-trust violations or fraud. However I cannot with good conscious recommend the continued user of this modality to be scaled across national security broadly for they too carelessly treat the intention and necessity of the civil liberties of a free and open press, and also require of our country’s actresses and creators far too much subjugation to a system which deprives them of their voice and their own use of their platform.
These arbitrage programs, scaled across national security, ensure that the stock market stays high and innovation of services occurs across the sector, thereby delivering the promises of the two primary bases of the President.
That President has lost re-election, and now is a time for national rebuilding.
How We Got Here
The program may deliver terrible programmatic results for the country, but it does deliver the guarantees that got the President into Office. And, to be fair, administration of the economy, national security, and democracy is very much the obligation of selecting trade-offs and coalitions that follow your lead, and letting the rest of the market, initiative, incentives, and outcomes do the work.
The program as selected by the President Trump administration requires that the strength of platforms of distribution and media drive attention economics through ads and earned media. These trade-offs require strengthening control and distribution of all earned media channels and a whipsaw attention circus for redirecting our societal attention to the right places at the right time. As I write this the conspiracy laden fake network OAN is claiming election fraud…
These failures, inherent in the structure of the program, and its consequences on our society, is why Hillary Clinton left this program off the table when she ran for President. That she underestimated the power of earned media and its zeal for a campaign promising to strengthen their power and revenue in the hands of carnival barker Trump and his broad network of deeply entrenched television producers is regrettable, but not particularly ignoble or ignorant.
There is a long history of using Hollywood to broadcast coordinating culture across agencies working independently across branches of government. The most famous of this year may be the song Wind of Change, which helped the CIA shift sentiments of Russian defectors during the Cold War. Most epic is the Marvel cinematic universe starting with Iron Man himself, which helped coordinate foreign and domestic security priorities beginning in the early to late second phase of the Iraq War, and ending with Captain Marvel herself.
There is an interesting quirk of politics that I think of in times like this that I have come to respect as perhaps the most important perspective of leadership.
Wind of Change, for example; who is that song for? On the one hand, the song is a massive cultural phenomena, catapulting to worldwide stardom through Germany radio play and subsequent longevity of the touring band anthems. So, surely the song is lyrically written to receive the attention of all listeners; but, the specific encoding of language of the song are chosen for one or a few very narrow set of listeners, who will appreciate the same words in a new context to generate a new meaning. This is sometimes calls the new intent. Do this enough and you can broadcast a persistently consistent message globally.
I think of this when I hear politicians speak. I know if they are good they are not only speaking to me, but the business and political leaders of each sector of the economy, or foreign policy, or town within their whistle stop tour. In decoding that system of turns-of-phrase we arrive at the intent of intelligence.
So, again, what is Captain Marvel breaking free from when she challenges and wins against Supreme Intelligence? And, perhaps more especially, what is Brie Larson doing when she calls for greater visibility to the writers and critics of the new Hollywood voices? Or, moreover, does she know what she is doing?
In these times I think of a growing tension between the guards in charge of defending the nation, and moreover, defending the nation as progress and evolution change the nature of the systematic coordination already in place.
Because I may side with the political and social progressivism of culture, and climate change, and socioeconomic equality, and healthcare, and science, but I hesitate the moment I hear a choir call for change without a mindful mind full of the systemic integrity which must be jostled around in order to change.
I won’t go so far as to say that is why the eighth season of Game of Thrones sucked, but I would love to get a download of the HBO writers’ experiences.
Here’s what I think happened: Hillary Clinton correctly corralled the Obama security, and Intelligence, apparatus and coordinated with foreign, and State, policy, and built a presidential platform upon her twenty years of developing global ecosystems of women and other leaders to carry out its policy agendas. Donald Trump leveraged a potent network of resentful security agencies and national media networks, which Hillary Clinton judiciously ignored, and then doubled down into bigotry and hate-filled (“white”) nationalization when his lead couldn’t carry and his ilk discovered how well hate amplified their reach.
Then, when Hillary Clinton lost, all the women of careerist expertise had lost their positioning within the securitization complex, tumbled, and were also supplanted by whatever junior varsity bozos Donald Trump could stuff in his cabinet. With two strikes down, the Democrats had to go wide with liberating gender and gendered politics in order to encompass enough women and men to rebuilt their substantial collateral damages in order to present to a viable security and intelligence apparatus four years later. With one side rocked and the other diminished, this led to a “queering” of the political media calculus.
So, when, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany calls the Biden lockdowns “Orwellian,” she is referring to a narrow conflict that will arise between the narrow channels of security intelligence the Trump Presidency still controls and the coronavirus guidelines Biden proposes to put into place.
Were the Trump administration more broadly competent and better operating a larger administration of security intelligence, they would have no reason or need to reduce their concern to a singular memetic reference like “Orwellian.”
But, yeah, man, if the Trump administration runs the lockdowns the way the Biden administration is proposing, the result probably would be Orwellian. It is an administration of psychological projection lacking empathy, in that it is ill-equipped to understand the government to an extent that can self-identify that the Biden administration will be using different protocols which render the lockdowns most certainly not Orwellian. But who plays 17-D political chess?
The problem is that the media distribution of these piqued charges of inept protocols are funneled without grace to the listening constituents following their lead. Without them understanding how badly Trump is projecting a bad politics of administration on to the Biden administration, the Democrats come across as a sprawling bureaucracy of misgendered autocracy, heightened even further by the ridiculous lengths the Trump administration must take to hold on to its autocracy. The politics of democracy always have this failure mode when information distribution is able to usurp the administration of the elites.
Bear with me here. Flatland tells the story of squares living two-dimensional lives who are one day awakened by a cube moving through three dimensions.
The poetry of the motion matters less than the allegory of perception when we are limited by one or more of our senses. Moreover, what we consider our understanding of our world is highly defined and regulated by what we see.
So, this is the intersectionality critique of the modern media landscape placed in the art of mathematics, which is not an intrepid prospect for the explorers.
What excites me about this conceptualization of the regulation of the media landscape is that we can map these conversational and colloquially familiar ideas onto articulated mathematical architectures of algorithmic information systems, and, regulated security information passing between agencies.
This matters because what can be regulated can be legislated, and ecosystems of security which can be legislated can be build responsibly, following the law, and be constitutionally enacted by robust systems of agents following its rules.
This is especially important for reasons of practical security: at its best, each agent will be operating maximally independent from one another, and so the sharing of information will always be essentially at the threshold of making sense. The core practicality of the intelligence agencies is to make sense of the separately independent streams of information arriving from the field. In fact, this especially crucial functioning of an operating agent environment has been traditionally the tradecraft of one intelligence agency above them all, the one supreme agency different than all the others: the Central Intelligence Agency.
Agents operating in the field are often at the edge of their own understanding of their command, much like Captain Marvel becomes confused who to take direction from as alliances shift and identities change. Agents may be legally operating in international jurisdictions, possibly with blurred allegiances to multiple stakeholders and countries, depending on a robust, and diplomatic system of interdependent circumstances which they alone often can interpret.
So, for instance, perhaps one day a declared-party presidential candidate for the United States haphazardly spouts out a request for Russia to help with the election. Now, perhaps, an agent in Russia is already tasked with helping the United States demonstrate the necessity for greater election cybersecurity, in that they will be expecting to be provoked at some time in the future, and they will cyberattack the Democratic National Committee computer systems. This rather pro-forma, low-level stakeholder relationship is actually quite common in the operational tradecraft of numerous agencies within the United States and agencies around the world. Imagine how: one presidential candidate is so vastly over-qualified as Secretary of State during the United States Presidency which built up the predominant worldwide cybersecurity network, and because she is the Democratic presidential candidate she is in position to give the judicious heads up to her National Committee when the appropriate time to instigate the cyberattack has arrived. While this model of political call-to-action may cause many good intentioned citizens to feel uncomfortable, including myself, at times, it is a standard bearer of modern worldwide operating procedure; and, has this model has been in place nearly since the creation of these agencies themselves, and are essential support mechanisms for de-escalating mechanical tensions which otherwise may lead to wars. So, one day, for reasons only the perverse could imagine, a little birdie whispers in the ear of the Republican presidential candidate, who spouts out his brain-words with very little consideration of their context, risk of collateral damage, or unintended intent, and asks Russia for election help. Are you listening?
Suddenly a system of preparations have been destabilized and an agog media is voraciously feeding on the bizarre stream of events. The security agencies, once so comfortably prepared in their selected shadows will incentivize even further media discussion of these events to unanimously communicate their rapidly shifting landscape of networked circumstances as the election ensues.
The sudden upswell of attention will give the impression that the candidate is well-positioned and popular; while the candidate suddenly misperceives their grand fortunes of serendipity as an innate political talent of the highest order, which the media will hurriedly buy-into for simple sake of keeping up with the growing and increasingly splintering narratives. Those constituents that started giving their attention will slowly come to realize that something is undermining his well-established political opponents and conclude that they were having been lied to and misled all along, and this man alone can fix it.
This happenstance of dismantling the structure of these institutions works so fascinating well that a caterwauling presidency begins; the discovery will be institutionalized organically and formally throughout the administration and extruded into circumventing agencies like QAnon phenomena two years later.
Suddenly, and in a tragedy no one can quite put their words into describing, the Man Behind the Curtain will be replaced by a frustration that the new messages are not reaching their new intended crop of political figures. The Wizard of Oz will have been replaced by an urgency of intersectional necessities.
Which, from my point of view as a man discovering ways to bring the full powers of the security and defense apparatus to the social and progressive movements, is fascinating to the edge of contemplation. The system begins and ends with Iron Man and Captain Marvel, just as in Avengers Endgame.
The consistency with which the system of our democracy moves is so robust that our communal understanding consistently is communicated through the channels necessary to motivate and mobilize the intention of the better good.
As I have struggled to communicate this effectively to the people who I knew needed to know, I have found myself gravitating towards the every changing public personae of Brie Larson, and trying my best to make sense of her own personal intentions of her underlying commercial public relations, as I worked to help make greater sense of the shifting security landscape in real time. The work began in earnest in anticipation and democracy of the recent election.
The prologue to this ironic ever winding road is that this sort of security lapse is exactly the circumstances for which the Marvel Cinematic Universe was so intensely initiated, and which now has an opportunity to initiate its new era.
In much the same way that Arthur Eddington worked to make the work of Albert Einstein demonstrated and known, and aided in the repurposing of the technology of the chaos of the first world war into an industry of technology manufacturing, the events of the last four years can generate its new history.
Exciting new platforms for cross cultural coordination can be manufactured with progressive and socially-conscious gender values in front, and without sacrificing the underlying network of security apparatus which they support.
I personally look forward to what will become a great opportunity with the right partner, and I look to the women who assembled the voices of those new creators and originators for partnerships and collaborative experiences to make this new path forward our own. The methods of the craft may be well expected but the voices behind and in front of the scene will be different now.
My role can be at most translator of the experiences I have had and technical knowledge on which I have developed my familiarity with the two businesses.
But as I have done throughout my career of science, artificial intelligence, and space, I am well-intended and progressive as I reach out to make partnerships with my counterparts in the cinematic landscapes who find my story exciting.