Saturday, February 17, 2018

Former white supremacist says he knows how to defeat the rising neo-Nazi threat

Christian Picciolini is a 'reformed extremist' and the author of 'White American Youth: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement and How I Got Out.' (Dennis Sevilla)
Christian Picciolini has never met a self-confident white supremacist.
"People gravitate towards extremist movements because they're searching for identity, community and purpose," he told Day 6 host Brent Bambury.
'It makes me very sad to know that I planted so many seeds of hate.' - Christian Picciolini
It's a group the writer knows well. He became a member of the Chicago Area Skin Heads (CASH) as a teen. Two years later, he became their leader.
"I had no idea about what I was getting involved in," Picciolini, now 44, recalls. "[I was] 14 years old, I didn't know anything about politics or even racism … I was afraid of losing something and I didn't have much to lose." He left the group when he was 22.
Christian Picciolini performing with his band WAY in Weiman, Germany, 1992. (Christian Picciolini)
For more than 20 years, he has atoned for the hurt he caused.
As a reformed extremist, he runs a group called Life After Hate. He also recounts his experiences in speeches and his new book, White American Youth: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement and How I Got Out.
"It makes me very sad to know that I planted so many seeds of hate."

Becoming racist

The child of Italian immigrants, Picciolini says he didn't grow up racist. In a video on his website, he describes the teenage angst and bullying that led him into the white supremacy movement.
He was also angry at his parents.
"They loved me and they surrounded me with love," he says. "But they were also gone seven days a week, working 14 hours a day to support a small business, and at that young age I didn't really understand why they weren't there."
It's young people with experiences like this that white supremacy groups target, Picciolini says. Many members once felt isolated or "marginalized."
Being part of a larger group, he says, offers them a sense of purpose.
''There are two things that extremists love: silence and violence.' - Christian Picciolini
One strategy for finding members, Picciolini tells Bambury, is to search online groups and forums for vulnerable people.
"They go to ADHD and schizophrenia forums and autism forums to look for people who are angry, who are lonely, who are marginalized, and then they swoop in and promise them paradise."
Looking back, it was no paradise.

Seeking redemption

Picciolini regrets his time as a white supremacist. While in CASH, he fronted a metal band that wrote and performed blatantly racist songs.
"One of the toughest things that I've learned is Dylann Roof, four months before he committed that tragic act at the Mother Emanuel church in Charleston [South Carolina], had posted … lyrics from a band that he had heard," Picciolini recalls.
Those lyrics were his own.
"I can't help but feel partly responsible for what he did and for what continues to happen across the United States and North America."
People march to Columbia University to protest against former leader of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, and against white supremacists in New York, U.S., October 10, 2017. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
Picciolini worries that racist rhetoric, particularly in the United States, will continue to grow. He points to the Twitter activity of President Donald Trump, who has retweeted conspiracy theories from known alt-right groups. Picciolini fears those tweets validate their beliefs.
And those beliefs, Picciolini warns, could lead to the rise of an extremist third political party.
"Folks who might be isolated, who might be affected by grievance, are going to gravitate [to it] because of the empty promises that are made based on conspiracy theories."

Fighting fire with fire

The way forward, he says, is not to attack those beliefs outright.
"There are two things that extremists love: silence and violence."
If we're silent and ignore them, Picciolini says, they grow. But if we fight back, it's validation.
"They then use that as a victim narrative as if something is being taken away — as if white people are under attack," he says.
Instead, Picciolini encourages people to embrace members of alt-right groups. He wants to show them that they should not be afraid of the backlash they may receive if they renounce their views.
It's that attitude that helped get Picciolini away from extremist beliefs.
"Ultimately, what happened was, I began to receive compassion from the people that I least deserved it from," he says.
"I was able to humanize instead of demonize."

To hear our full interview with Christian Picciolini, download our podcast or click the 'Listen' button at the top of this page.

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Caricaturist skewers, honors subjects | Jersey Retro

Posted Feb 16, 4:11 PM
Gallery: Drew Friedman's Chosen People

"What's wrong with me?" caricaturist Drew Friedman once asked his wife, Kathy.
It was some years back, and Friedman had finished a magazine illustration depicting movie producer Harvey Weinstein. "I drew him real fat, with these pockmarks and everything," Friedman said in a recent call from Pennsylvania. "I thought, 'Why did I do this? He's probably a nice guy.'
"When the drawing came out, he bought the piece, so there you go. And now, we know he's not such a nice guy. So that worked out."
Friedman's caricatures sometimes honor, sometimes skewer, his subjects. The artist -- whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Village Voice and Readers' Digest -- has published his 12th book, "Drew Friedman's Chosen People" (Fantagraphics Books, 136 pp., $19.99), which collects more than 120 caricatures of the famous and the obscure, the forgotten and the never-known, the old and the older.

Caricature subjects include Steve Jobs, Larry David, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Whoopi Goldberg. There are plenty of the old-timey entertainers that Friedman is so enamored of, such as Al Lewis, Shemp Howard, Groucho Marx and Bela Lugosi.
Some were commercial assignments, such as Hillary Clinton dressed as Wonder Woman (from "back in more innocent times"), which Friedman did for the New York Observer. Counter to what you might assume, there are no depictions of President Donald Trump.
"That's sort of on purpose," said the New York City native, 59. "I've drawn him many times over the years, from the time he was a real estate developer. But not lately. I was kind of tired of it. I thought I'd give people a break. I'm online every day, and there are so many artists who draw him, so many Photoshopped images of him. I can't really compete with it all."
Friedman wrote brief bios of his caricature subjects in the back of "Chosen People." In the one for Woody Allen, he implies that the filmmaker swore off writing for the Observer after it published Friedman's caricature of him.

Explained Friedman: "Fifteen or 20 years ago, Woody Allen wrote a piece for the New York Observer about his lifelong love of the New York Knicks. The late (editor) Peter Kaplan assigned me to draw the cover. I did this really in-your-face drawing of Woody as a sports reporter, with lots of freckles. When the piece came out, Woody's sister, who is also his producer (Letty Aronson), called Peter Kaplan and told him that Woody was very upset by this drawing, and that 'He will never work for you again.' Peter felt bad; he was a huge Woody Allen fan. He called me up and he was very upset. But then he said, 'You know, (expletive), it's a great drawing.' "
The caricatures are presented alphabetically, which provides for some odd pairings on facing pages. Friedman is certainly the first artist to put Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart News chairman and White House strategist, next to Bobby Barber, an obscure, diminutive comic actor from long ago.
"I actually felt bad about that," Friedman said of the pairing. "I felt bad for Bobby Barber. He was this funny guy who did a million movie and TV show appearances. Abbott and Costello used him. I love him. I felt bad that he was next to Bannon, that he had to face that."
Friedman's stuff is fun to view on the web, though you couldn't see him drawing for online exclusively. His work almost has to be printed. But the medium of print has been so embattled, so threatened, over the past decade. People are always talking about the death of print.
"It sounds sexy, 'the death of print,' but I don't believe it," the artist said. "In my bio in the back of book, I write, 'His work has appeared in Raw, Weirdo, Heavy Metal, National Lampoon, Spy, the Village Voice and many other publications that no longer exist.' I can't see doing art for online. To have that physical object -- it means something. I'll die out with that."

Following is more of my interview with Friedman:
Q. In "Drew Friedman's Chosen People," the caricatures are presented alphabetically, which ties your hands in a sense; you can't control which caricatures go next to each other. But you do have facing spreads of, for instance, Bob Dylan and Robert Crumb, so that the art is not interrupted. Please talk about the puzzle in putting "Chosen People" together.
A: Puzzle is a good word. Like, there were two Lou Jacobi's (caricatures). But they didn't fall together, so my editor (Eric Reynolds) did some finagling. When the book was just about complete, he said, "I need one more. If you could give me somebody whose last name begins with a Z, that would be perfect. Then, I wouldn't have to shuffle pages around." So I'm thinking, I did Frank Zappa. Who else is there? Then it dawned on me: George Zucco. That was a perfect way to end the book. It begins with Forrest J Ackerman and ends with George Zucco.
Q. Some caricatures you drew "just for fun," as Merrill Markoe says in her introduction. But a lot of them were commercial assignments.
A: Some of the ("just for fun" caricatures), I'd never drawn before. But some of the assignments still applied to the "Chosen People" title. I wouldn't do somebody I wasn't somehow drawn to. I've said a polite "no" to some assignments -- young actors or TV shows that I'm not aware of. Not that I admire everyone I've ever drawn. Some, I have not. I'm not necessarily a fan of Steve Bannon or Kathie Lee Gifford or Rudy Giuliani.

Q. You wrote brief bios of your caricature subjects in the back of the book. Two of the bios are already outdated. You say that Bannon was still White House chief strategist "as of this writing," which was fairly prescient of you. Also, you have a Kevin Spacey caricature, but in the bio, you don't mention the trouble he's in. Does it feel like the world is moving too quickly?
A: I kind of called it with Bannon. With Kevin Spacey, there was time to slip something in about his being accused of sexual assault, but we left it out. We decided to just leave that alone. The face is what matters most. And people have commented that I kind of captured what was going on beneath the surface. Even if it's just a raised eyebrow or something subtle, the face tells what's beneath the surface. It's tricky. It's hard to be topical. It's easier to stick with deceased celebrities (laughs).

A documentary titled "Drew Friedman: Vermeer of the Borscht Belt" is in the works from director Kevin Dougherty. Said Friedman: "He's been working on it for the past year. He's taking his time. What I've seen looks really good. He has access to film me here at my studio. He's interviewed Mike Judge, Merrill Markoe, my dad (Bruce Jay Friedman), and some artists -- Barry Blitt. (Robert) Crumb might do it, but he (Dougherty) would probably have to go to France."

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Florida School Shooting

Violence Is Not a Product of Mental Illness. Violence Is a Product of Anger.

How to Stop Violence

Mentally ill people aren't killers. Angry people are.

Spc. Ivan Lopez is pictured in the Sinai Peninsula during his service with the 295th Infantry of the Puerto Rico National Guard. Lopez is suspected of fatally shooting three people before killing himself at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas on April 2, 2014.
Photo by Puerto Rico National Guard via Reuters

In the 1980s, around the time of the massive deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, I was working toward my degree in clinical psychology by training at a psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C. One sweet, diminutive, elderly patient sometimes wandered the halls. She had been committed to the hospital after she stabbed someone in a supermarket. She was what is sometimes referred to as a revolving-door patient: She was schizophrenic and heard frightening voices in her head, and when she became psychotic enough, she would be hospitalized, stabilized on medication, and then released back to the community. There she would soon go off her medication, become psychotic, be rehospitalized, stabilized again on medication, released, etc.

At her commitment hearing, she testified that she had become extremely upset in the grocery store before repeatedly stabbing the man in front of her in the checkout line. The hearing officer, aware of her history and sympathetic to this woman with such a sweet demeanor, asked helpfully if she had been hearing voices at the time. Yes, she replied, she had. "And what were the voices telling you?" the officer inquired supportively. She explained that the voices were telling her not to hurt the man, but he had gotten in the express checkout lane with more than 10 items, and that made her so mad that she couldn't stop herself.

In addition to being a valuable cautionary tale about grocery etiquette, the story illustrates an important truth about violence and mental health: Violence is not a product of mental illness; violence is a product of anger. When we cannot modulate anger, it will control our behavior.
In the wake of a string of horrific mass shootings by people who in many cases had emotional problems, it has become fashionable to blame mental illness for violent crimes. It has even been suggested that these crimes justify not only banning people with a history of mental illness from buying weapons but also arming those without such diagnoses so that they may protect themselves from the dangerous mentally ill. This fundamentally misrepresents where the danger lies.
Violence is not a product of mental illness. Nor is violence generally the action of ordinary, stable individuals who suddenly "break" and commit crimes of passion. Violent crimes are committed by violent people, those who do not have the skills to manage their anger. Most homicides are committed by people with a history of violence. Murderers are rarely ordinary, law-abiding citizens, and they are also rarely mentally ill. Violence is a product of compromised anger management skills.
We are a culture awash in anger.

In a summary of studies on murder and prior record of violence, Don Kates and Gary Mauser found that 80 to 90 percent of murderers had prior police records, in contrast to 15 percent of American adults overall. In a study of domestic murderers, 46 percent of the perpetrators had had a restraining order against them at some time. Family murders are preceded by prior domestic violence more than 90 percent of the time. Violent crimes are committed by people who lack the skills to modulate anger, express it constructively, and move beyond it.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, the reference book used by mental health professionals to assign diagnoses of mental illness, does very little to address anger. The one relevant diagnosis is intermittent explosive disorder, a disorder of anger management. People with IED tend to come from backgrounds in which they have been exposed to patterns of IED behavior, often from parents whose own anger is out of control. But the DSM does not provide a diagnostic category helpful for explaining how someone can, with careful advance planning, come to enter an elementary school, nursing home, theater, or government facility and indiscriminately begin to kill.  
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, Fort Hood's commanding general, speaks during a press conference on April 2, 2014, about the shooting that occurred there earlier in the day.
Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images

Violent crimes committed by people with severe mental illnesses get a lot of attention, but such attacks are relatively rare. Paolo del Vecchio of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has said, "Violence by those with mental illness is so small that even if you could somehow cure it all, 95 percent of violent crime would still exist." A 2009 study by Seena Fazel found a slightly higher rate of violent crime in schizophrenics—but it was almost entirely accounted for by alcohol and drug abuse. Likewise, the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study found that mentally ill people who did not have a substance abuse problem were no more violent than other people in their neighborhoods.

With no clear explanation of the causes of violent crime from the mental health field, and with significant encouragement from the gun lobby, the public has begun to seize on the wrong explanation for tragic, violent events. They focus not on the IED-diagnosed patients but on those with other diagnoses, schizophrenia in particular, ignoring the fact that what the perpetrators have in common in every single one of these cases is a loss of control of their anger.
The attribution of violent crime to people diagnosed with mental illness is increasing stigmatization of the mentally ill while virtually no effort is being made to address the much broader cultural problem of anger management. This broader problem encompasses not just mass murders but violence toward children and spouses, rape, road rage, assault, and violent robberies. We are a culture awash in anger.

Anger disorders are a product of long-term anger mismanagement. They are a pathological misdirection of normal aggressive feelings. Anger is, at its essence, a part of the basic biological reaction to danger, the fight or flight response. The physiological shift makes us stop thinking and mobilize for immediate action, as though our life depends on it. It is a primitive response, and very powerful. Anger prepares us to stand our ground and fight. It helped our ancestors survive, but in today's complex technological world, it is often more hindrance than help. The angrier you feel, the less clearly you can think, and therefore the less able you are to negotiate, take a new perspective, or effectively handle a provocation.
The violence that is a part of anger disorders is fueled by chronic repressed rage that has found no socially acceptable outlet. It is fostered by families in which adults behave in violent, intimidating ways or in which anger is tightly repressed. In either situation there is no appropriate model for the safe or constructive expression of anger.

One of the allegations that have recently been made is that the mental health community is failing society in dealing with violent crime. I would agree with this assessment. We have failed to provide an appropriate diagnosis for out-of-control anger or a framework to assist people in understanding the senseless violence around them, and worse, we have done nothing to prevent it.
The truth is, anger management skills are simple techniques that can and should be taught to children and adolescents. We should not wait to teach these skills until verbally or physically violent behavior has become habitual and, often, life-threatening.

The skills involve balancing the initial fight-or-flight response, governed by the sympathetic nervous system, with its opposite, the parasympathetic nervous system, which permits reasoning to take over again. It's simple, but it requires a significant amount of practice. There are many techniques that can be taught to achieve this end: deliberate shifting from emotional to more objective thinking, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques, communication and listening skills, and identifying warning cues before anger boils over.

Mindfulness training is a technique that shows great promise as a tool for the development of healthy and constructive management of negative emotions. Mindfulness can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. It has been used with success in populations as diverse as cardiac patients, prison inmates, police officers, and children. It incorporates deep breathing, heightened attention to one's internal state, and the acceptance of internal discomfort. One can observe one's own thoughts without identifying with them and acting on them.

Dialectical behavior therapy, a kind of cognitive therapy developed by the psychologist Marsha Linehan, was designed to meet the needs of extremely emotional, volatile individuals and has been used successfully over the past 25 years. It incorporates mindfulness skills and also teaches distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Uncontrolled anger has become our No. 1 mental health issue. Though we have the understanding and the skills to treat the anger epidemic in this country, as a culture, we have been unwilling to accept the violence problem as one that belongs to each and every one of us. We have sought scapegoats in minority cultures, racial groups, and now the mentally ill. When we are ready to accept that the demon is within us all, we can begin to treat the cycle of anger and suffering.

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De-Funding Public Schools to Fund Private Schools

Blood on Their Hands

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Return Of FANGORIA

The iconic horror magazine is coming back - with some familiar faces at the helm.
By Phil Nobile Jr.

I have some exciting news to share with the readers of BMD: next month, I'll be teaming up with Dallas Sonnier (the producer of Bone Tomahawk and Brawl In Cell Block 99) to orchestrate and execute the resurrection of Fangoria magazine.
Launched in 1979, Fangoria was a constant genre presence for decades. In a pre-internet world, it was the only place to get horror movie news, insight, and hype. It spawned a convention, an awards show, a video label, and an entire generation of horror fans. The magazine changed owners a couple times over the years, and in the 2010s it ran into some difficulties. Its last printed issue was in 2015, and Fango was declared dead by those in the know shortly afterward.
That's not okay. As I said in today's press release, there needs to be a Fangoria.
So Dallas' company Cinestate has acquired the Fangoria property from the previous owner, and Dallas is now Fangoria's new publisher; I'll be Editor-in-Chief of the magazine, and creative director of the brand.
Fangoria will be reborn later this year as a deluxe quarterly edition, a collectible horror film journal featuring voices both new and familiar (do the names Timpone, Gingold, Zimmerman, or Borders ring a bell?). It will present smart, fun, exclusive horror film coverage - all in time for the magazine's 40th anniversary next year.
I know what you're thinking: why is the BMD Bond guy leaving to run Fangoria? I guess that's a fair question, though long-time readers (and my friends) know that I'm just as steeped in horror, even if it hasn't really been my primary beat here at BMD. But if you require receipts, in the past I've written about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (and its most hated sequel), authored several posts about the career of David Cronenberg, and written here and elsewhere about George Romero. I once wrote and directed a feature-length documentary about John Carpenter's Halloween for A&E. I was one of the masterminds behind Within Week, for God's sake. The truth is I was a horror guy long before I was a Bond guy, and I'm looking forward to creating and curating more content in that space. That I'll be doing it under the brand that's singularly responsible for my lifelong fascination with films and filmmaking is something about which I'm immeasurably excited. Real talk: I bought my first issue of Fango over 30 years ago; becoming its new Editor-in-Chief is gonna be surreal as hell!
The biggest life adjustment will be leaving BMD. As I said in a private note to my colleagues earlier this week, BMD is my family. I've formed lasting friendships with the site's other writers, have been honored to meet and get to know a few readers, and as an editor it's been my privilege to introduce many new voices to the BMD audience. I've been writing here since 2010, and this family of writers and readers has become a support system I never dared dream for myself. I didn't realize my life was missing BMD until I found it - no, more accurately, until we created it together. The BMD team members are all sitting at computers hundreds, even thousands of miles away from one another, but we've made something special together, and it's going to connect us for life. My BMD family is a forever thing.
But the Fangoria gig is a full-time business venture, and I'm going to need to dig in and focus for a bit, so at the end of this month I'll be stepping away from my role here as Editor-at-Large. If they'll have me, you might yet see me pop back in for an editorial here and there, or a podcast now and again. And my new responsibilities will have me crossing paths with my BMD pals at festivals and events all year; I suspect we'll all be seeing each other in real life more than we currently do. In short, I'll be around.
And of course, I'll still be reading. Because I know I won't find another pair of clowns who make the often inane film news cycle as hilarious and entertaining as do Evan Saathoff and Scott Wampler. No one else on earth will move me to guilt-purchase all the vintage deep-dives I haven't yet seen like Jacob Knight and his evangelical film advocacy. There is no one else I can count on to dissect horror franchises in the unique, fastidious fashion of Brian Collins. I'll never find another Amelia Emberwing, Andrew Todd or Siddhant Adlakha - my dear Millennial Triumvirate - whose combined passion and smarts cause me to rethink most of my old man points of view at least once a day. And I can only hope to replicate at the new gig the kind of thoughtful, calm, pragmatic leadership Jenny Jacobi has provided BMD in recent months.
And try as I might, I'm not going to find on any other site the talented, diverse, and divergent collection of voices that have assembled under BMD's roof over the years - folks like Emily Sears, Leigh Monson, Anya Stanley, Jeremy Smith, Priscilla Page, JM Mutore, Russ Fischer, Candice Frederick, Kolleen Carney Hoepfner, James Shapiro, Amanda Hughes, Jof Gurd, Marisa Mirabal, Mustafa Yasar II, Kalyn Corrigan - there are literally too many to name. If I may be so bold, BMD's readers can get a little narrow in their focus, often acting as if the site hosts a very small core group of writers. But I'm pretty proud of the wonderfully varied extended writing team we've assembled, and it's my parting wish that you'll dig in to some of the newer-to-you author pages linked above.
And I hope the readers I've come to know over the past seven-plus years will come and see what we've got planned at Fangoria. But it's not a website I'm plugging; Fangoria is a magazine, and it belongs to (and in) the physical world. When I was a kid, saving up for, finding, and reading a copy of Fangoria was a ritual, and I'm excited by the challenge of trying to bring that magical feeling back to readers, to restore the title to that special, desirable thing it was to me back then. At the same time I'm intrigued by the challenge of putting in readers' hands a version of Fangoria that has kind of grown up with them.
It's gonna be fun, and this thing we do should always be fun.
I start the Fango gig on March 1st. I'll be here right up until then. After that, I'll see you in print!
Cinestate's full press release is below.
DALLAS, TX (February 15, 2018) ––Fangoria Magazine is returning from its digital grave and back into print where it belongs. Thanks to a new investment, a new Editor-in-Chief, and a new Publisher, the world's highest-profile horror movie magazine is reemergingas a collectible quarterly with the first issueset to drop this fall in time for Halloween.
Cinestate, the Texas-based entertainment company,completed the deal to acquire all the assets and trademarks of the Fangoria brand, including the magazine, from The Brooklyn Company.Cinestate CEO Dallas Sonnier diligently courted the previous publisher Thomas DeFeo for several months, with the two signing an agreement that turned over the rights to Sonnier & Cinestate.
Sonnier's first move as the new Publisher was to hire his favorite film writer Phil Nobile Jr. as the Editor-in-Chief of Fangoria Magazine.Nobile comes to Fangoria from his role as Editor-At-Large for the website Birth.Movies.Death., and as a writer/producer for Stage 3 Productions in Philadelphia, where he created a feature-length documentary on John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN.Nobile will also act as the Creative Director for the entire Fangoria brand.
"There needs to be a Fangoria," says Nobile. "The magazine was a constant presence in the genre since 1979 - and then one day it was gone. That felt, to us, tragically incorrect. Fango was, for multiple generations, a privileged window into the world of horror. It gave us access to filmmakers' processes and secrets, opened our eyes to movies we might have otherwise missed, and nurtured a wave of talent that's out there driving the genre today. I'm proud and excited to be part of the team that's bringing this institution back."
As part of the arrangement, Cinestate controls all material from over 300 issues of Fangoria Magazine, including articles, photos, and exclusive interviews, spanning the past 39 years.The contents of the now-infamous Fangoria storage unit in New York, a veritable treasure trove of horror history collected over decades by former staff, has arrived at the Cinestate offices to be sorted and cataloged.
Nobile and Sonnier quickly approached and landed deals with popular Fangoria legends Tony Timpone and Michael Gingold to return to the magazine with their own columns, and to consult for the company. Additionally, the publicationalready has excited commitments fromcontributorsincluding frequent Cinestate collaborator S. Craig Zahler (BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99), Ashlee Blackwell (Graveyard Shift Sisters), Samuel Zimmerman (Curator, Shudder), Grady Hendrix (PAPERBACKS FROM HELL), Meredith Borders (former Editorial Director of Birth.Movies.Death.), Rebekah McKendry (academic and horror historian), and Preston Fassel (whose project OUR LADY OF THE INFERNO is currently in development at Cinestate). Nobile shall further curate a diverse roster of voices for the new iteration of the legendary publication.
"We are fully committed to restoring faith in Fangoria with the horror fan community, so many of whom bought subscriptions, but never received their magazines. We have also been reaching out to previous Fangoria contributors to introduce ourselves and invite them back into the tent for future collaborations. This is a process, but we are confident in our ability to earn back trust and be good partners in a brand that personally means so much to so many awesome people," states Sonnier.
Sonnier was able to complete the Fangoria asset acquisition and fuel growth in Cinestate by raising over $5 million of investment for his company.The primary investor in Cinestate is a member of a prominent Texas family that wishes to remain anonymous.As part of the deal, Cinestate also acquired the assets and trademarks to out-of-print publications Starlog and Gorezone.
A full staff is in place and operating from the Cinestate offices in Dallas, TX.Zack Parker, formerly of Shudder, joins Fangoria as the Director of Brand Management, along with Jessica Safavimehr as Associate Publisher and Ashley Detmering as Art Director.Nobile will be based out of New Jersey. The team is dedicated to putting Fangoria back where it belongs – in print.
"When I read Fangoria as a kid, it was a special ritual. I had to save up for it, and then I had to find it. And bringing it home ten times a year became a kind of sacrament, poring over every photograph on every page, reading that whole thing front to back, then doing it again," Nobile says. "We want to restore that analog thrill to readers. We want to duplicate the excitement that I remember bubbling up around a new issue of Fango, put that excitement in an envelope and mail it to our subscribers. Fangoria is not something that competes with online blogs. Fangoria is not an algorithm. Fangoria is something you hold in your hands, something you spend a bit of time with in the real world. That's what it was for decades, and that's what we're going to make it again."
Cinestate will further develop Fangoria into a brand for producing movies and podcasts, as well as publishing horror novels.Cinestate VP Amanda Presmyk will head up production on a slate of Fangoria-presented horror movies that Sonnier will bring to the table for Cinestate's new label.
Cinestate is currently in post on a gonzo reimagining of the PUPPET MASTER franchise, as well as Zahler's next movie DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE for Lionsgate starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn.Cinestate also published its first novel in January – Zahler's HUG CHICKENPENNY: THE PANEGYRIC OF AN ANOMALOUS CHILD, which is being developed into a feature by Zahler, Cinestate and the Jim Henson Company.

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Ex-GOP lawmaker: Vote Republicans out of office if you want mass shootings stopped

Ex-GOP lawmaker: Vote Republicans out of office if you want mass shootings stopped

Former Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) on Wednesday argued American voters must flip the House of Representatives to a Democratic majority if they want Congress to address gun control in the wake of a Florida high school shooting that left at least 17 people dead and others injured.
"And so if this is the issue that defines your ideology as a voter, there are two things I would suggest tonight. First, flip the House. Flip the House," Jolly told "CNN Tonight." "Republicans are not going to do a single thing after this shooting we saw today. But I would also offer to Democrats, work for incremental wins."
Jolly, who left office last January after losing a reelection bid, argued Democrats should work with the law enforcement community on gun control legislation.
The former Florida congressman said "Republicans will never do anything on gun control," referencing the shooting at a baseball field last year that left House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseGOP to play hardball with Dems on funding bill GOP lawmakers help people injured in train crash Google searches for MS-13 spike after Trump's State of the Union speech MORE (R-La.) seriously injured.
"The idea of gun policy in the Republican Party is to try to get a speaking slot at the NRA and prove to that constituency that you're further right than generations past of Republicans have been on guns," he said.

At least 17 people were killed and more than a dozen injured when a gunman opened fire at a high school in South Florida on Wednesday.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE and many other lawmakers on Wednesday offered their thoughts and prayers to the victims.
Multiple Democratic lawmakers have called for Congress to take action on gun violence.
Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyGreen group backs Sens. Baldwin, Nelson for reelection Dems press Trump for 'Buy American' proposals in infrastructure plan Chuck Schumer's deal with the devil MORE (D-Conn.) said on the Senate floor that mass shootings are "a consequence of our inaction."
"This happens nowhere else other than the United States of America — this epidemic of mass slaughter."
"It only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction," he added. "We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else."

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The government won't research gun violence because of NRA lobbying

By Joseph Frankel On 10/2/17 at 2:26 PM

A man with an assault rifle attends a demonstration at Gettysburg National Military Park. Mark Makela / Getty

A 22-year-old rule is still stimying government funding for research on gun violence. As mass shootings, like the one that took place Sunday in Las Vegas, continue to kill and injure, article after article cites a gap in gun violence research as a roadblock to any progress on gun policy. This gap dates back to a 1996 appropriations bill, known as the Dickey Amendment. The amendment declared that "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control."
While the rule itself does not directly block research on gun violence, it was signed into law along with an earmark that drained money from CDC programs to study gun violence. The $2.6 million in funding originally intended for the program was redirected elsewhere. Since then, the amendment has created a strong chilling effect in the way funding is distributed as well as a lost generation of researchers who study gun violence, Boston University's Sandro Galea told Newsweek.
In academia, where funding shapes careers, relatively few researchers are willing to stake theirs on studying the issue. As Garen Wintemute, a researcher at the University of California, Davis, told The Atlantic, "I've received death threats. It kind of comes with the territory."
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In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, Former President Barack Obama did call for the CDC to study gun violence. The effects of that order have been minimal. This past month, the NIH also took steps to close its dedicated gun violence research program.
The government is not the only source of funding for gun research. Private companies and academic centers also fund research into gun violence. Still, as a statement released by House Democrats after the San Bernardino shooting in California lays out, "We dedicate $240 million a year on traffic safety research, more than $233 million a year on food safety and $331 million a year on the effects of tobacco, but almost nothing on firearms that kill 33,000 Americans annually."
Questions remain about the extent to which research could truly inform policy. Calls for CDC funding on gun violence research also operate on the assumption that policy is formed by fact and that commonsense gun policy means the same thing for everyone. Neither is necessarily true. But, as Galea says, this kind of research could help create policies that would respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners, which may make it more politically palatable.
When the gag rule is brought up in the news, media coverage often returns to the same rhetorical point: that, in light of whichever mass shooting has happened most recently—a year ago it was Orlando, and before that, Sandy Hook—politicians and researchers should step up.
Today, it is Las Vegas.

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CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin watches mother of dead child rage against impotent lawmakers

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Root of All Cruelty?

Perpetrators of violence, we're told, dehumanize their victims. The truth is worse.

Violent acts are often motivated, rather than countermanded, by ethical norms.
Illustration by Gérard DuBois

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A recent episode of the dystopian television series "Black Mirror" begins with a soldier hunting down and killing hideous humanoids called roaches. It's a standard science-fiction scenario, man against monster, but there's a twist: it turns out that the soldier and his cohort have brain implants that make them see the faces and bodies of their targets as monstrous, to hear their pleas for mercy as noxious squeaks. When our hero's implant fails, he discovers that he isn't a brave defender of the human race—he's a murderer of innocent people, part of a campaign to exterminate members of a despised group akin to the Jews of Europe in the nineteen-forties.
The philosopher David Livingstone Smith, commenting on this episode on social media, wondered whether its writer had read his book "Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others" (St. Martin's). It's a thoughtful and exhaustive exploration of human cruelty, and the episode perfectly captures its core idea: that acts such as genocide happen when one fails to appreciate the humanity of others.
One focus of Smith's book is the attitudes of slave owners; the seventeenth-century missionary Morgan Godwyn observed that they believed the Negroes, "though in their Figure they carry some resemblances of Manhood, yet are indeed no Men" but, rather, "Creatures destitute of Souls, to be ranked among Brute Beasts, and treated accordingly." Then there's the Holocaust. Like many Jews my age, I was raised with stories of gas chambers, gruesome medical experiments, and mass graves—an evil that was explained as arising from the Nazis' failure to see their victims as human. In the words of the psychologist Herbert C. Kelman, "The inhibitions against murdering fellow human beings are generally so strong that the victims must be deprived of their human status if systematic killing is to proceed in a smooth and orderly fashion." The Nazis used bureaucratic euphemisms such as "transfer" and "selection" to sanitize different forms of murder.
As the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss noted, "humankind ceases at the border of the tribe, of the linguistic group, even sometimes of the village." Today, the phenomenon seems inescapable. Google your favorite despised human group—Jews, blacks, Arabs, gays, and so on—along with words like "vermin," "roaches," or "animals," and it will all come spilling out. Some of this rhetoric is seen as inappropriate for mainstream discourse. But wait long enough and you'll hear the word "animals" used even by respectable people, referring to terrorists, or to Israelis or Palestinians, or to undocumented immigrants, or to deporters of undocumented immigrants. Such rhetoric shows up in the speech of white supremacists—but also when the rest of us talk about white supremacists.
It's not just a matter of words. At Auschwitz, the Nazis tattooed numbers on their prisoners' arms. Throughout history, people have believed that it was acceptable to own humans, and there were explicit debates in which scholars and politicians mulled over whether certain groups (such as blacks and Native Americans) were "natural slaves." Even in the past century, there were human zoos, where Africans were put in enclosures for Europeans to gawk at.
Early psychological research on dehumanization looked at what made the Nazis different from the rest of us. But psychologists now talk about the ubiquity of dehumanization. Nick Haslam, at the University of Melbourne, and Steve Loughnan, at the University of Edinburgh, provide a list of examples, including some painfully mundane ones: "Outraged members of the public call sex offenders animals. Psychopaths treat victims merely as means to their vicious ends. The poor are mocked as libidinous dolts. Passersby look through homeless people as if they were transparent obstacles. Dementia sufferers are represented in the media as shuffling zombies."
The thesis that viewing others as objects or animals enables our very worst conduct would seem to explain a great deal. Yet there's reason to think that it's almost the opposite of the truth.
At some European soccer games, fans make monkey noises at African players and throw bananas at them. Describing Africans as monkeys is a common racist trope, and might seem like yet another example of dehumanization. But plainly these fans don't really think the players are monkeys; the whole point of their behavior is to disorient and humiliate. To believe that such taunts are effective is to assume that their targets would be ashamed to be thought of that way—which implies that, at some level, you think of them as people after all.
Consider what happened after Hitler annexed Austria, in 1938. Timothy Snyder offers a haunting description in "Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning":
The next morning the "scrubbing parties" began. Members of the Austrian SA, working from lists, from personal knowledge, and from the knowledge of passersby, identified Jews and forced them to kneel and clean the streets with brushes. This was a ritual humiliation. Jews, often doctors and lawyers or other professionals, were suddenly on their knees performing menial labor in front of jeering crowds. Ernest P. remembered the spectacle of the "scrubbing parties" as "amusement for the Austrian population." A journalist described "the fluffy Viennese blondes, fighting one another to get closer to the elevating spectacle of the ashen-faced Jewish surgeon on hands and knees before a half-dozen young hooligans with Swastika armlets and dog-whips." Meanwhile, Jewish girls were sexually abused, and older Jewish men were forced to perform public physical exercise.
The Jews who were forced to scrub the streets—not to mention those subjected to far worse degradations—were not thought of as lacking human emotions. Indeed, if the Jews had been thought to be indifferent to their treatment, there would have been nothing to watch here; the crowd had gathered because it wanted to see them suffer. The logic of such brutality is the logic of metaphor: to assert a likeness between two different things holds power only in the light of that difference. The sadism of treating human beings like vermin lies precisely in the recognition that they are not.
What about violence more generally? Some evolutionary psychologists and economists explain assault, rape, and murder as rational actions, benefitting the perpetrator or the perpetrator's genes. No doubt some violence—and a reputation for being willing and able to engage in violence—can serve a useful purpose, particularly in more brutal environments. On the other hand, much violent behavior can be seen as evidence of a loss of control. It's Criminology 101 that many crimes are committed under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and that people who assault, rape, and murder show less impulse control in other aspects of their lives as well. In the heat of passion, the moral enormity of the violent action loses its purchase.
But "Virtuous Violence: Hurting and Killing to Create, Sustain, End, and Honor Social Relationships" (Cambridge), by the anthropologist Alan Fiske and the psychologist Tage Rai, argues that these standard accounts often have it backward. In many instances, violence is neither a cold-blooded solution to a problem nor a failure of inhibition; most of all, it doesn't entail a blindness to moral considerations. On the contrary, morality is often a motivating force: "People are impelled to violence when they feel that to regulate certain social relationships, imposing suffering or death is necessary, natural, legitimate, desirable, condoned, admired, and ethically gratifying." Obvious examples include suicide bombings, honor killings, and the torture of prisoners during war, but Fiske and Rai extend the list to gang fights and violence toward intimate partners. For Fiske and Rai, actions like these often reflect the desire to do the right thing, to exact just vengeance, or to teach someone a lesson. There's a profound continuity between such acts and the punishments that—in the name of requital, deterrence, or discipline—the criminal-justice system lawfully imposes. Moral violence, whether reflected in legal sanctions, the killing of enemy soldiers in war, or punishing someone for an ethical transgression, is motivated by the recognition that its victim is a moral agent, someone fully human.
In the fiercely argued and timely study "Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny" (Oxford), the philosopher Kate Manne makes a consonant argument about sexual violence. "The idea of rapists as monsters exonerates by caricature," she writes, urging us to recognize "the banality of misogyny," the disturbing possibility that "people may know full well that those they treat in brutally degrading and inhuman ways are fellow human beings, underneath a more or less thin veneer of false consciousness."
Manne is arguing against a weighty and well-established school of thought. Catharine A. MacKinnon has posed the question: "When will women be human?" Rae Langton has explored the idea of sexual solipsism, a doubt that women's minds exist. And countless theorists talk about "objectification," the tendency to deny women's autonomy and subjecthood, and to scant their experiences. Like Fiske and Rai, Manne sees a larger truth in the opposite tendency. In misogyny, she argues, "often, it's not a sense of women's humanity that is lacking. Her humanity is precisely the problem."
Men, she proposes, have come to expect certain things from women—attention, admiration, sympathy, solace, and, of course, sex and love. Misogyny is the mind-set that polices and enforces these goals; it's the "law enforcement branch" of the patriarchy. The most obvious example of this attitude is the punishing of "bad women," where being bad means failing to give men what they want. But misogyny also involves rewarding women who do conform, and sympathizing with men (Manne calls this "himpathy") who have done awful things to women.
As a case study of misogyny, Manne considers strangulation—almost always performed by men on female intimate partners—which she describes as "a demonstration of authority and domination," a form of torture that often leaves no marks. Other forms of expressive violence are very much intended to leave marks, notably "vitriolage," or acid attacks, directed against girls and women in Bangladesh and elsewhere. Catalysts for such attacks include refusal of marriage, sex, and romance. Then, there are so-called family annihilators, almost always men, who kill their families and, typically, themselves. Often, the motivation is shame, but sometimes hatred is a factor as well; and sometimes the mother of murdered children is left alive, perhaps notified by phone or a letter afterward—See what you've made me do. The victim is also the audience; her imagined response figures large in the perpetrator's imagination.
Manne delves into the case of Elliot Rodger, who, in 2014, went on a killing spree, targeting people at random, after he was denied entry to a sorority house at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He slew six people and injured fourteen more before killing himself. In a videotape, Rodger, who was twenty-two, explained that women "gave their affection and sex and love to other men but never to me." And then, talking to these women, he said, "I will punish you all for it . . . . I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you."
Manne makes clear that Rodger wasn't objectifying women; he was simply enraged that their capacity for love and romance didn't extend to him. Manne's analysis can be seen as an exploration of an observation made by Margaret Atwood—that men are afraid that women will laugh at them, and women are afraid that men will kill them. For Manne, such violent episodes are merely an extreme manifestation of everyday misogyny, and she extends her analysis to catcalling, attitudes toward abortion, and the predations of Donald Trump.
Nor are the mechanisms she identifies confined to misogyny. The aggressions licensed by moral entitlement, the veneer of bad faith: those things are evident in a wide range of phenomena, from slaveholders' religion-tinctured justifications to the Nazi bureaucrats' squeamishness about naming the activity they were organizing, neither of which would have been necessary if the oppressors were really convinced that their victims were beasts.
If the worst acts of cruelty aren't propelled by dehumanization, not all dehumanization is accompanied by cruelty. Manne points out that there's nothing wrong with a surgeon viewing her patients as mere bodies when they're on the operating table; in fact, it's important for doctors not to have certain natural reactions—anger, moral disgust, sexual desire—when examining patients. The philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum has given the example of using your sleeping partner's stomach as a pillow when lying in bed, and goes on to explore the more fraught case of objectification during sexual intercourse, suggesting that there's nothing inherently wrong about this so long as it is consensual and restricted to the bedroom.
As a philosopher, Manne grounds her arguments in more technical literature, and at one point she emphasizes the connection between her position and the Oxford philosopher P. F. Strawson's theory of "reactive attitudes." Strawson argued that, when we're dealing with another person as a person, we can't help experiencing such attitudes as admiration and gratitude, resentment and blame. You generally don't feel this way toward rocks or rodents. Acknowledging the humanity of another, then, has its risks, and these are neatly summarized by Manne, who notes that seeing someone as a person makes it possible for that person to be a true friend or beloved spouse, but it also makes it possible for people to be "an intelligible rival, enemy, usurper, insubordinate, betrayer, etc." She goes on:
Moreover, in being capable of rationality, agency, autonomy, and judgment, they are also someone who could coerce, manipulate, humiliate, or shame you. In being capable of abstract relational thought and congruent moral emotions, they are capable of thinking ill of you and regarding you contemptuously. In being capable of forming complex desires and intentions, they are capable of harboring malice and plotting against you. In being capable of valuing, they may value what you abhor and abhor what you value. They may hence be a threat to all that you cherish.
If there's something missing from these approaches to violence, it's attention to first-person attitudes, how we think about ourselves as moral agents. I can resent someone, but I can also feel shame at how I treated him or her. Fiske and Rai sometimes write as if the paradigm of moralistic violence were the final scene of the movie in which our hero blows away the terrorist or the serial killer or the rapist—a deeply satisfying act that has everyone cheering. But what about doubt and ambivalence? Some fathers who severely beat their misbehaving children, or some soldiers who engage in "punitive rape," are confident in the moral rightness of their acts. But some aren't. Real moral progress may involve studying the forms of doubt and ambivalence that sometimes attend acts of brutality.
In a masterly and grim book, "One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps" (Little, Brown), Andrea Pitzer articulates some of the perplexities of her subject. A concentration camp exists, she says, whenever a government holds groups of civilians outside the normal legal process, and nearly all nations have had them. They can be the most savage places on earth, but this isn't an essential feature. During the Second World War, American camps for the Japanese weren't nearly as terrible as camps in Germany and the Soviet Union. There are even some camps that began with noble intentions, such as refugee camps set up to provide food and shelter—though they tend to worsen over time, evolving into what Pitzer describes as "permanent purgatory."
When concentration camps are established, they are usually said to exist to protect the larger population from some suspect group, or to be part of a civilizing message, or to be a way to restrain some group of civilians from supporting hostile forces. From this perspective, concentration camps are a means to an end, an example of instrumental violence. Typically, though, the camps do have a punitive aspect. Pitzer tells of how, after the First World War, Bavaria's Social Democratic premier, Kurt Eisner, was slow to demand that Germans be released from French and British camps; he wished instead to appeal to the Allies' sense of humanity. Eisner was Jewish, and Hitler fumed about this "betrayal" in a speech in 1922, saying that the Jews should learn "how it feels to live in concentration camps!"
Certainly, Pitzer's description of various concentration camps contains so many examples of cruelty and degradation that it's impossible to see them as a mere failure to acknowledge the humanity of their victims. As the scholar of warfare Johannes Lang has observed of the Nazi death camps, "What might look like the dehumanization of the other is instead a way to exert power over another human."
The limitations of the dehumanization thesis are hardly good news. There has always been something optimistic about the idea that our worst acts of inhumanity are based on confusion. It suggests that we could make the world better simply by having a clearer grasp of reality—by deactivating those brain implants, or their ideological equivalent. The truth may be harder to accept: that our best and our worst tendencies arise precisely from seeing others as human. ♦

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How to Write Like an Architect: Short Primers on Writing with the Neat, Clean Lines of a Designer

in Architecture, Design, How to Learn for Free, Writing | February 12th, 2018 Leave a Comment
We have another national crisis on our hands.
Our children are not only ill-equipped to read maps and tell time with analog clocks, their handwriting is in serious decline.
Forget cursive, which went the way of the dodo earlier in the millennium. Youngsters who are dab hands on the keyboard may have little impulse—or opportunity—to practice their printing.
Does it matter?
It sure as shootin' might be during a zombie invasion, given the attendant breakdown of digital communication and the electricity that powered it.
But even in less dire times, legible penmanship is a good skill to master.
As Virginia Berninger, professor emeritus and principal investigator of the University of Washington's Interdisciplinary Learning Disabilities Center, told The New York Times, "Handwriting — forming letters — engages the mind, and that can help children pay attention to written language."
Hand lettering is also a complex neurological process, a workout involving various cognitive, motor, and neuromuscular functions.
There's also a school of thought that teachers who still accept handwritten assignments unconsciously award the highest grades to pupils with the neatest penmanship, which is easier on tired eyes. Something to keep in mind for those gearing up to take the handwritten essay portions of the SAT and ACT.
Let's remember that letters are really just shapes.
The Finns and French have long-established uniformity with regard to handwriting. In the absence of classroom instruction, Americans have the freedom to peruse various penmanship styles, identify their favorite, and work hard to attain it.
(This writer is proof that penmanship can become part of the DNA through practice, having set out to duplicate my mother's delightful, eccentric-to-the-point-of-illegibile hand at around the age of 8. I added a few personal quirks along the way. The result is I'm frequently bamboozled into serving as scribe for whatever group I happen to find myself in, and my children can claim they couldn't read the important handwritten instructions hurriedly left for them on Post-Its.)
Historically, the most legible American penmanship belongs to architects.
Their precisely rendered all caps suggest meticulousness, accountability, steadiness of character...
And almost anyone can achieve it, regardless of whether those are qualities they personally possess.
All it takes is determination, time, and—as taught by Doug Patt in his How to Architect series, above—more tools than can be simultaneously operated with two hands:
an Ames lettering guide

a parallel rule or t-square
a small plastic triangle customized with bits of tape
a .5mm Pentel drafting pencil
If this sounds needlessly laborious, keep in mind that such specialty equipment may appeal to reluctant hand writers with an interest in engineering, robotics, or scientific experimentation.
(Be prepared for some frustration if this is the student's first time at the rodeo with these instruments. As any veteran comic book artist can attest, few are born knowing how to use an Ames lettering guide.)
It should be noted that Patt's alphabet deviates a bit from traditional standards in the field.
His preference for breathing some life into his letters by not closing their loops, squashing traditionally circular forms into ellipses, and using "dynamic angles" to render crosspieces on a slant would likely not have passed muster with architecture professors of an earlier age, my second grade teacher, or the font designers responsible for the computer-generated "hand lettering" gracing the bulk of recent architectural renderings.
He's likely the only expert suggesting you make your Ks and Rs reminiscent of actor Ralph Macchio in the 1984 film, The Karate Kid.
There's little chance you'll find yourself grooving to Patt's videos for anything other than their intended purpose. Whereas the late Bob Ross' Joy of Painting series has legions of fans who tune in solely for the meditative benefits they derive from his mellow demeanor, Patt's rapid fire instructional style is that of the busy master, deftly executing moves the fledgling student can only but fumble through.
But if the Karate Kid taught us anything, it's that practice and grit lead to excellence. If the above demonstration whips by too quickly, Patt expands on the shaping of each letter in 30-second video tutorials available as part of a $19 online course.

Those looking for architectural lower case, or techniques for controlling the thickness of their lines can find them in the episode devoted to lettering with a .7mm Pentel mechanical drafting pencil.
Explore further secrets of the architects on Patt's How to Architect channel or 2012 book, also called How to Architect.

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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His 2020 Campaign Message: The Robots Are Coming


Andrew Yang, a New York businessman who wants to be the Democrats' next presidential candidate, believes that automation threatens to bring Great Depression-level unemployment and violent unrest. Credit Guerin Blask for The New York Times
Among the many, many Democrats who will seek the party's presidential nomination in 2020, most probably agree on a handful of core issues: protecting DACA, rejoining the Paris climate agreement, unraveling President Trump's tax breaks for the wealthy.
Only one of them will be focused on the robot apocalypse.
That candidate is Andrew Yang, a well-connected New York businessman who is mounting a longer-than-long-shot bid for the White House. Mr. Yang, a former tech executive who started the nonprofit organization Venture for America, believes that automation and advanced artificial intelligence will soon make millions of jobs obsolete — yours, mine, those of our accountants and radiologists and grocery store cashiers. He says America needs to take radical steps to prevent Great Depression-level unemployment and a total societal meltdown, including handing out trillions of dollars in cash.
"All you need is self-driving cars to destabilize society," Mr. Yang, 43, said over lunch at a Thai restaurant in Manhattan last month, in his first interview about his campaign. In just a few years, he said, "we're going to have a million truck drivers out of work who are 94 percent male, with an average level of education of high school or one year of college."
"That one innovation," he continued, "will be enough to create riots in the street. And we're about to do the same thing to retail workers, call center workers, fast-food workers, insurance companies, accounting firms."

Alarmist? Sure. But Mr. Yang's doomsday prophecy echoes the concerns of a growing number of labor economists and tech experts who are worried about the coming economic consequences of automation. A 2017 report by McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm, concluded that by 2030 — three presidential terms from now — as many as one-third of American jobs may disappear because of automation. (Other studies have given cheerier forecasts, predicting that new jobs will replace most of the lost ones.)

Mr. Yang has proposed monthly payments of $1,000 for every American from age 18 to 64. "I'm a capitalist," he said, "and I believe that universal basic income is necessary for capitalism to continue." Credit Guerin Blask for The New York Times
Perhaps it was inevitable that a tech-skeptic candidate would try to seize the moment. Scrutiny of tech companies like Facebook and Google has increased in recent years, and worries about monopolistic behavior, malicious exploitation of social media and the addictive effects of smartphones have made a once-bulletproof industry politically vulnerable. Even industry insiders have begun to join the backlash.
To fend off the coming robots, Mr. Yang is pushing what he calls a "Freedom Dividend," a monthly check for $1,000 that would be sent to every American from age 18 to 64, regardless of income or employment status. These payments, he says, would bring everyone in America up to approximately the poverty line, even if they were directly hit by automation. Medicare and Medicaid would be unaffected under Mr. Yang's plan, but people receiving government benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could choose to continue receiving those benefits, or take the $1,000 monthly payments instead.
The Freedom Dividend isn't a new idea. It's a rebranding of universal basic income, a policy that has been popular in academic and think-tank circles for decades, was favored by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the economist Milton Friedman, and has more recently caught the eye of Silicon Valley technologists. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen have all expressed support for the idea of a universal basic income. Y Combinator, the influential start-up incubator, is running a basic income experiment with 3,000 participants in two states.
Despite its popularity among left-leaning academics and executives, universal basic income is still a leaderless movement that has yet to break into mainstream politics. Mr. Yang thinks he can sell the idea in Washington by framing it as a pro-business policy.
"I'm a capitalist," he said, "and I believe that universal basic income is necessary for capitalism to continue."
Mr. Yang, a married father of two boys, is a fast-talking extrovert who wears the nu-executive uniform of a blazer and jeans without a tie. He keeps a daily journal of things he's grateful for, and peppers conversations with business-world catchphrases like "core competency." After graduating from Brown University and Columbia Law School, he quit his job at a big law firm and began working in tech. He ran an internet start-up that failed during the first dot-com bust, worked as an executive at a health care start-up and helped build a test-prep business that was acquired by Kaplan in 2009, netting him a modest fortune.
He caught the political bug after starting Venture for America, an organization modeled after Teach for America that connects recent college graduates with start-up businesses. During his travels to Midwestern cities, he began to connect the growth of anti-establishment populism with the rise of workplace automation.
"The reason Donald Trump was elected was that we automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin," he said. "If you look at the voter data, it shows that the higher the level of concentration of manufacturing robots in a district, the more that district voted for Trump."
Mr. Yang's skepticism of technology extends beyond factory robots. In his campaign book, "The War on Normal People," he writes that he wants to establish a Department of the Attention Economy in order to regulate social media companies like Facebook and Twitter. He also proposes appointing a cabinet-level secretary of technology, based in Silicon Valley, to study the effects of emerging technologies.
Critics may dismiss Mr. Yang's campaign (slogan: "Humanity First") as a futurist vanity stunt. The Democratic pipeline is already stuffed with would-be 2020 contenders, most of whom already have the public profile and political experience that Mr. Yang lacks — and at least one of whom, Senator Bernie Sanders, has already hinted at support for a universal basic income.

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Opponents of universal basic income have also pointed to its steep price tag — an annual outlay of $12,000 per American adult would cost approximately $2 trillion, equivalent to roughly half of the current federal budget — and the possibility that giving out free money could encourage people not to work. These reasons, among others, are why Hillary Clinton, who considered adding universal basic income to her 2016 platform, concluded it was "exciting but not realistic."
"In our political culture, there are formidable political obstacles to providing cash to working-age people who aren't employed, and it's unlikely that U.B.I. could surmount them," Robert Greenstein, the president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington research group, wrote last year.
But Mr. Yang thinks he can make the case. He has proposed paying for a basic income with a value-added tax, a consumption-based levy that he says would raise money from companies that profit from automation. A recent study by the Roosevelt Institute, a left-leaning policy think-tank, suggested that such a plan, paid for by a progressive tax plan, could grow the economy by more than 2 percent and provide jobs for 1.1 million more people.
"Universal basic income is an old idea," Mr. Yang said, "but it's an old idea that right now is uniquely relevant because of what we're experiencing in society."
Mr. Yang's prominent supporters include Andy Stern, a former leader of Service Employees International Union, who credited him with "opening up a discussion that the country's afraid to have." His campaign has also attracted some of Silicon Valley's elites. Tony Hsieh, the chief executive of Zappos, is an early donor to Mr. Yang's campaign, as are several venture capitalists and high-ranking alumni of Facebook and Google.
Mr. Yang, who has raised roughly $130,000 since filing his official paperwork with the Federal Election Commission in November, says he will ultimately raise millions from supporters in the tech industry and elsewhere to supplement his own money.
Mr. Yang has other radical ideas, too. He wants to appoint a White House psychologist, "make taxes fun" by turning April 15 into a national holiday and put into effect "digital social credits," a kind of gamified reward system to encourage socially productive behavior. To stem corruption, he suggests increasing the president's salary to $4 million from its current $400,000, and sharply raising the pay of other federal regulators, while barring them from accepting paid speaking gigs or lucrative private-sector jobs after leaving office.
And although he said he was socially liberal, he admitted that he hadn't fully developed all his positions. (On most social issues, Mr. Yang said, "I believe what you probably think I believe.")
The likelihood, of course, is that Mr. Yang's candidacy won't end with a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Still, experts I spoke with were glad to have him talking about the long-term risks of automation, at a time when much of Washington is consumed with the immediate and visible.
Erik Brynjolfsson, the director of M.I.T.'s Initiative on the Digital Economy and a co-author of "The Second Machine Age," praised Mr. Yang for bringing automation's economic effects into the conversation.
"This is a serious problem, and it's going to get a lot worse," Mr. Brynjolfsson said. "In every election for the next 10 or 20 years, this will become a more salient issue, and the candidates who can speak to it effectively will do well."
Mr. Yang knows he could sound the automation alarm without running for president. But he feels a sense of urgency. In his view, there's no time to mess around with think-tank papers and "super PACs," because the clock is ticking.
"We have five to 10 years before truckers lose their jobs," he said, "and all hell breaks loose."

Email Kevin Roose at, or follow him on Facebook at and on Twitter: @kevinroose.
A version of this article appears in print on February 11, 2018, on Page BU1 of the New York edition with the headline: His 2020 Slogan: Beware of Robots. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe
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