Where Have All The Zero Hedge Veterans Gone, Long Time Passing?

Imagine if you will for just a few moments that we reside within a small town in America or Europe or anywhere else in the world for that matter. The physical location isn’t important because we’re talking about a virtual world. Our community consists of several thousand residents of mixed race, creed and color and we are united mostly by our desire to hear and speak truth in a world nearly devoid of it. Many of us have been looking for exactly this type of safe haven for a very long time and can scarcely believe our eyes when we first stumble in from the wasteland.

In so many ways our little town is our cherished refuge from a world gone mad with corrupt central governments bent on exploitation and self destruction. Rarely does a day go by when we don’t leave our cozy homes to visit the town square and discuss the founder’s latest observations as well as the day’s news and events. Often we speculate on what’s coming round the bend and even catch up with a few old friends now and then. Home is where the heart is and for many of us home is Zero Hedge.

Most of our fellow residents are known to us by sight and nickname, but only a few do we know well enough that we would expose ourselves on a personal level and engage in a lengthy and sometimes deeply heartfelt conversation. Conversations I might add that are normally reserved only for those we truly trust in the “real” world. And yet amazingly these discussions are conducted out in the open and in full view of the world, virtual or otherwise.

But aside from these few friends the rest of the inhabitants living in our community are considered casual acquaintances or workplace friends, someone we know well enough to discuss local and national politics or even economics, but not much else. That doesn’t mean we don’t love our town and our neighbors because deep down we all share a special bond. We are all on the vanguard of truth speaking and for many of us this is a novel experience. On the surface we are very secretive yet surprisingly quite open. Zero Hedge is uniquely different by design.

home is the castle


Of course, there’s a very good reason why our community is constructed in this unusual manner. A shield of invisibility separates you and me from everyone else, a barricade of anonymity that was intentionally erected to provide a sense of safety and security for all, mainly because our community is surrounded by hostile and often unseen forces. The anonymity was and is designed to shield everyone in such a way as to enable frank and open conversations that would otherwise be stifled if conducted out in the open and among the antagonistic.

And for the most part the community’s design has been a rousing success, particularly for the founder Tyler Durden and the rest of the fight club core who regularly use the town square as a bully pulpit to speak truth to power. The group’s anonymity forces those who would attack Tyler in order to restrain or bury free speech by way of ad hominem smears and personality bashing to either ignore Tyler’s message or confront it using verifiable facts and logical argument.

In general the community has grown rapidly as both veterans, who were here when the first cornerstones were laid, and later arrivals cheer on the daily disclosures and running commentary. Speaking truth to power has never been so satisfying while still tinged with some inner fear. In some ways Zero Hedge has become our confidant, our mentor, our analyst and our sanity. Personally I consider it my own Radio Free Zero Hedge, a beacon shining bright during these increasingly dark nights.

But some of our veterans have been stealing off into the night with barely a whispered farewell or even a quick explanation for their disappearance. Unfortunately this is where the community’s anonymity works against us. Other than the few occasions where residents have willingly dropped their masks and now conduct private conversations outside the confines of the community, there is very little discourse among the residents other than what is conducted within the town square. Thus there is no effective way of discovering where all our missing veterans have gone.

Something's Missing

So in some respects our town is missing a part of its heart and soul, that intangible something that brings together divergent parts to create a living breathing community. While Tyler Durden is without question the voice and creator of Zero Hedge the activist and truth speaker, we the residents know remarkably little about our own community. Our town recently celebrated its two year anniversary and while there was much to cheer, I for one have been feeling for some time that something important is missing.

While every blog has its own personality and feel, over the course of time the readers generally get to know quite a bit about the blogs founder through editorials and conversation. The creator’s initially thin voice is slowly filled in with deeper tones and tenor and the body is fleshed out with substance and color. The voice becomes a personality, then for some it becomes a friend.

While Tyler renders an opinion within the text of nearly every one of his postings, his opinion is nearly always limited to the subject matter at hand and rarely do we get to glimpse even a snippet of Tyler the person. Most likely this is done because he wishes to remain totally anonymous and considering the explosive nature of some of his disclosures, I can’t say I blame him one iota. But this does leave a vacuum of sorts within the fabric of the community and so the herd will naturally seek its own substitute.

In contrarian communities such as ours where we’re all bucking the trend and swimming against the tide, there is often great emotion bubbling just beneath the surface. Our town isn’t just a financial blog; it’s a calling, a movement, an event, the place to go where contrarian views aren’t the exception but the norm. While Zero Hedge started out as an obscure hangout for financial nerds and wonks it quickly morphed into a place of inspiration and refuge. Along the way some of the residents have developed small followings or even minor cults, becoming community leaders plucked from the crowd by natural selection.

While some of these personalities are relatively new, several have been with Zero Hedge since the beginning. And many are now gone, missing in action, A.W.O.L. I don’t wish to imply that there’s skullduggery or grand mystery behind the disappearance of our veterans. After careful thought I think it’s something simpler, reasons that revolve around what Zero Hedge was and what it has now become. And ultimately something else that is well beyond the control or influence of this blog and which is beginning to spread within the general population.

While I’m in occasional email contact with two of the missing veterans, for the most part I have no direct knowledge of the reasons for their absence, only my supposition and gut instinct. Of the two I talk to on occasion, their reasons for leaving are obviously deeply personal and I won’t pry. But after recently flirting with the idea of leaving Zero Hedge myself, I believe I may have some insight into why some leave and come back while others leave and never look back. Let me try to explain what I think is happening.

timewarp

At times it appears as if Zero Hedge resides within a time warp or rift. Tyler and company produce such a blinding stream of posts that often it’s difficult to remember what was discussed yesterday let along last week, month or year. Because of this linear rush of time, rarely do we sit back and consider what Zero Hedge was, only what it is now. This is one of the missing pieces I mentioned earlier, the critical element of perspective and history from the residents point of view that’s not part of the mix.

All communities have a sense of history and continuity which acts as a binding agent, tying the past to the present and which the residents take with them as they walk into the future. This is done with a combination of books, oral histories, community days and events, impromptu gatherings of friends over beers and so on. During times of community stress, it is this history as a group that is relied upon to sooth rattled nerves and smooth out life’s bumps and bruises.  

While there is most certainly a singleness of purpose and deed within Zero Hedge, it is primarily Tyler’s show along with the occasional penetrating contributor. For the community at large, we are mostly spectators and hanger-on’s with varied opinions and sharpened elbows. While many are satisfied with the Rugby style discourse, I sense in others a desire for a deeper connection, a more intimate and friendly environment, reminiscent of the old Zero Hedge town square when the veterans ruled the roost.

Many of our lost veterans provided breadth and depth to our conversations as well as a big picture perspective when shouting, hysteria or trolls threatened to overwhelm. While each had his or her unique idiosyncrasies and ideology, nearly all had a strong sense of ownership and protective custody. How many times did we hear a veteran declare “Don’t mess with Zero Hedge because if you do you’re messing with me”? Newbie’s that wandered in from the cold and immediately started whipping their shtick around were quickly slapped side the head and sent to the back of the bus for remedial education.

Like that strong willed but kind uncle who visited during the holidays and whose presence moved the room, our veterans were an important part of the internal control mechanism that all unorganized groups develop as a matter of instinct and survival. Natural leaders emerge and are respected not just for their inherent authority, but because of their common sense approach and fairness even to those they oppose. Thus form and function develops out of chaos and the community coalesces. What was once random noise and movement becomes coherent and comprehensible.

 

Tyler

While Tyler has always been the booming voice of Zeus bellowing from atop the Zero Hedge mount, Tyler for the most part is content to let his postings, opinions and biting tongue find their mark. But back when the veterans roamed the land there was another strong presence that is now sadly missing as well. Marla Singer was our Athena or Themis, the community’s Goddess of order, civility and decorum. At your own peril did you mess with Mother Nature for with the flick of her sharp tongue serial transgressors were quickly removed from The Hedge.

Marla wasn’t malevolent, vindictive or even egotistic, thought it was obvious we were dealing with an opinionated intellect that could swallow most of us whole in one single bite. What contributed to her presence and gave her natural authority was her capacity to be playful, self deprecating and wonderfully witty. Her late nights spinning tunes on Radio Zero or her presence in chat did more than anything else to build our budding community identity. None the less, after ample warnings and prods from her big stick, she didn’t suffer fools well and many repeat troublemakers were quickly kicked.

This was a stabilizing force that was the implicit bite behind the veterans bark and thus our small community continued to grow with vigor in part because the roads were swept clean at night. This doesn’t mean Zero Hedge stifled creative thought or energetic disagreement. On the contrary, because the residents knew that well reasoned and logical arguments would be fairly aired while disruptors and airheads would be muffled, Zero Hedge quickly became known as the place to come for thoughtful discourse and stimulating against-the-grain ideas. 

We sometimes forget how radical Zero Hedge was perceived as being back in the day. Early on in its development concepts such as manipulated precious metal markets, stealth Fed pumping or the Plunge Protection Team, all factual reality that had been tirelessly trumpeted for years by a small cadre of truth speakers, were laughed at outside the contrarian community as the ranting of the delusional.

Then Zero Hedge and other dedicated blogs and alternative media sites joined together in singing the song, adding their considerable weight and influence to these issues and pushing them to the front of the news cycle. What was formerly verboten is now accepted even by the mainstream media as a given and an integral part of the overall black matrix.

Chnage

So where have all the veterans gone, long time passing? Why would they leave when we’re beginning to lever open some locked doors and we’re breaking through the wall of lies? The most obvious reason is that the community has changed and, at least in the eyes of some of the veterans who have left, for the worse. There is little doubt that change has occurred though much of it is a function of growth and popularity and thus just a fact of life. If you’re selling something that’s in demand, in this case financial and political truth, you’re going to suffer growing pains as you scale up to fill the vacuum.

But the civility and camaraderie, the sense of ownership and protective custody that I talked about earlier, is now missing or at least greatly diminished. While Tyler specially and Zero Hedge in general have always told us that they have no obligation to moderate the comment section, the presence of Marla in the early days acted as a de facto moderator creating an artificial environment that as it turned out wasn’t sustained. As Marla slowly withdrew from active participation, civility and order withdrew as well to the point where today obvious and self described trolls and disruptors have taken up permanent residence within what was formerly considered safe territory.   

However I don’t think this alone was enough to disenfranchise all the missing veterans though I sure it was for some. There appears to be another more important and seldom discussed dynamic at play here that works hand in hand with the community changes and which the blog is not responsible for in the least. What is rarely discussed within the contrarian community in general and among the truth speakers in particular is a concept or phenomenon that I call truth speaker’s fatigue.

 

LaDanaide Utter Exhaustion

Similar to disaster charitable giving fatigue, truth speakers fatigue is at its core about lost hope and belief. The person afflicted often feels that after investing considerable emotional and intellectual capital, little or no headway has been made and the methods used appear to be useless. Since the initial effort was driven almost exclusively by emotional adrenaline and with little thought to specific strategy and measurable outcomes, it is easy to lose momentum after several perceived defeats, emphasis on perceived.

As I said earlier, many of us have been wandering the wilderness for years recognizing something was terribly wrong, but not knowing specifically what was wrong let alone how to deal with it. Suddenly we find Zero Hedge and are infused with a sense of hope and belief. We come to believe that because we are surrounded by like minded individuals and are stronger as a group we might finally be effective and become a force to be reckoned with. Maybe, just maybe we can really make a difference and slow down or even stop the insanity.

Becoming involved with speaking truth openly and repeatedly, particularly if it’s our first time, can be a powerful and intoxicating elixir which often leads to flights of unrealistic expectations and unreasonable goals. I speak as one of experience, having drunk heavily from the cup on a few occasions. One is infused with a sense of power and destiny after seeing that many of man’s problems can easily be rectified by clear thinking, honesty and awareness. What we fail to fully grasp early on is that we come by this knowledge via desperation and a sincere desire to stop our own internal pain and suffering.

While our intent is genuine and heartfelt, over time and after repeated disappointments that our disclosers are making little headway, we slowly come to the realization that not only are there many powerful forces trying to bury the truth, but that those who would most directly benefit from the truth, our fellow sufferers, are among the most difficult to shake awake. This is the cut that is the deepest of them all, the ugly realization that they simply aren’t ready to sever the ties that bind themselves to their own misery. 

Ties that Bind

This understanding is similar to waking one day and realizing deep within your soul that you married the person next to you for all the wrong reasons and that now it is over and never really was. Or that after many years of climbing the corporate ladder, you suddenly realize no happiness or fulfillment will ever be found where you just spent half your life working. Faced with the realization that little progress has been made in breaking through the never ending lies and finding themselves emotionally spent to boot, I suspect several veterans simply gave up and faded back into the black abyss.

Similar to the turmoil of a midlife crisis, a few may never recover from this devastating loss of faith and will wander aimlessly and without purpose, discarding first their career, then their family and finally themselves. Others try desperately to reinsert themselves back into the Matrix, swallowing again and again every blue pill within reach in a hopeless and ultimately futile quest for the blessed ability to just forget. Still others will sink into abject apathy as a form of emotional self protection.   

And then there are those who after much soul searching and anguished debate come to understand that the problem isn’t really out there but rather within. After two or three internal renegotiations and subsequent scaling back of expectations that always lead to additional failure, we come face to face with the second ugly truth, that it is our ego we are wrestling with, that we could not save even ourselves let alone the world.

It was our pain that led us to seek truth and it was our pain we wish removed by spreading the truth. While we expressed the desire to make the world better, it was ultimately for our own benefit that we wished it rebuilt. As with the unloved spouse or unfulfilled career, we were laboring for all the wrong reasons and thus futilely spinning our wheels.

Revelation

If this shocking revelation can be internalized and then accepted, only then do we begin the next phase of our journey of truth, one where the reason and intent for our action is now squarely aligned with our expectations. We now know that we are here only to work on ourselves. If by chance others happen by and grab onto the life raft we now occupy, this is a wonderful bonus but not by intent or design.

Now properly sized for the next leg of our journey and thoroughly busy digging deeper within, we discover one of the ultimately liberating truths. Whereas before when attempting to spread awareness and awakening, in the eyes of those still sleeping we appeared frightening and threatening. All we really had to offer was the opportunity for them to witness their own pain and suffering without the benefit of a numbing agent or self administered anesthesia, hardly an attractive package even when it is offered for free.

Now that we are engaged in traveling our own path of self centering and discovery, first of ourselves and then our place in the world, involuntarily and unconsciously we begin to exude strength and confidence. Suddenly we become an attractor, an example of what can be. Now we have substance to offer others which leads to greater happiness and inner peace. Since we are no longer forcing anything upon others, but instead we now own and wear what everyone else desires, now we are seen as valuable and attractive. This inner knowing cannot be taught or passed on, only found within and then tried on. 

If at this point we choose to pick back up the truth speaking baton we quickly find that we are vastly more effective. While the necessity to overcome the lies is still there, we no longer project a sense of urgency or even desperation that was present before and which the sleep walkers sensed both consciously and unconsciously. Whereas before we were perceived to be a threat to their apathy and feigned indifference now the sleep walker senses our inner calm and stability while hearing the same information as before.

With their internal barrier to what we are saying now softened or even withdrawn, we have a more receptive audience rather than defensive or even hostile. While this alone doesn’t mean they will actually awaken, it does mean the seed has been planted in a more fertile and hospitable environment. Just as you and I needed repeated exposure to the truth before we began to wake from the dream, so will they. But now the process has started and the bridge to awareness is at least in sight.

Misty Bridge 2

I don’t know if any of the missing veterans, or anyone else on Zero Hedge for that matter, has left under the circumstances I just described. But firsthand experience working with others in various truth movements, along with conversations with friends who are walking similar paths, tells me that I’m most likely close to the truth with at least a few. If we could question our missing veterans as to why they are no longer around, I suspect each would have specific reasons for their departures. And while on the surface I’m certain all their reasons may be valid, we all tell ourselves stories in order to bury the bitter and unspeakable truth.

Does any of what I have written ring true with you or can you indentify with any part of this essay? I read the comment section of Zero Hedge on a daily basis and from my perspective there are many residents who are walking wounded and who are depressed and in denial about it. I have come to understand that any pain I may be feeling is a loud and clear signal that something’s wrong and that I need to change direction. My pain is not to be avoided but rather respected for what it is, a message that I’m not sized right and that I need to refocus within.

Ultimately we are ineffective in any endeavor we may engage in and we might even be damaging to ourselves and those around us if we are in pain and in denial about our need for treatment. This would be all too obvious if our legs were broken, but for some reason it’s completely lost on us if we are spiritually broken. Ultimately in order to heal it doesn’t matter where you’ve been or where you are now. A wise man once told me that what’s important in life isn’t so much that you’re on the correct path, but rather if deep down inside you there’s a desire to be on the correct path. Once the student is ready, the teacher will always appear. The search for answers always begins within.

 

Cognitive Dissonance

01-24-2011

Like this article? Take a second to support Cognitive Dissonance on Patreon and gain access to exclusive Patreon Only articles!

21 thoughts on “Where Have All The Zero Hedge Veterans Gone, Long Time Passing?”

    1. @Disenchanted

      I had noticed that Hedgeless was not around lately….but that isn’t unusual for him. If I remember correctly he “quit” once before, then reappeared to post again. His last ZH post was on Jan 24th. I suspect he is busy with friends, family or his own place. He does seem to have quite a ‘homesteading’ operation going on where he lives.

      Contrary to popular belief the contributing editors on ZH do not have a common coffee room where we all sit around and swap war stories. :-) There is no communication between contributors unless we initiate it ourselves. While I have an offline email relationship with Banzai7 and George Washington, it isn’t very frequent that we talk to each other. Often we talk more in the comment section under each others’ articles then we do privately.

      And over the last 4 1/2 years I can count on one hand the number of communications I’ve had with anyone at ZH itself. We are given complete freedom to post what we want when we want with no interference from ZH itself. It’s a great sandbox to play in.

      If I hear anything I will let you know.

      Cognitive Dissonance

  1. Hello Cog D:

    A great deal of what you comment on in this essay rings true with me, and thank you for putting it out there. I feel that the morphing of the market into the casino was some part of the old timers loosing interest as their anger and frustrations mellowed more under control by withdrawal – from the market and from the anger being expressed at ZeroHedge. My initial attraction to ZeroHedge was the market wisdom and understanding of these people. Then came the propensity of speaking truth to power. Now, it’s mostly my only news source.

    Maybe many are experiencing sorta’ a “tortoise syndrome” era for those that are bearing witness to what’s around them. Yesterday I chanced upon a video that spoke directly to me, and today to your question of those who might be picking up the baton. It gave me a new flicker of hope. It may be an old one, and only new to me, but it struck me as very current and I offer it to you for whatever benefit you may glean.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lcgdOEKsJ8&list=PL166942AFCDB84572

    My best wishes and continuing gratefulness,

    Glynn

    1. Zero Hedge has changed over the years. As I said in my audio interview there is no ‘community’ bulletin board we contributing editors can read to stay up to date with “Tyler’s” thinking.

      I suspect that “Tyler” has also grown weary of the never ending insanity. In fact I have often wondered if the original “Tyler” is still there. There is no doubt that there are several different “Tylers” these days. The different writing styles are a dead give away.

      Cognitive Dissonance

  2. Hi, Cog. Your piece hit a nail directly on my head. While I still read and post occasionally on ZH, my posts are far less frequent. Why? People who know me in “real life” have listened to me preach about the rot in the system until they are tired of it, frankly. There is not much appetite for truth even from one so well-meaning as I. Slowly, very slowly in my case, the realization has dawned that the person who needs to change is me, not them. But, hey, on the bright side I haven’t seen anything from MDB lately, either.

    1. Jeez, missed his post on 3/22 on confiscation of deposits in Cyprus. Hey, you can’t have a good conversation when everyone is on the same side of the boat.

        1. I’m guessing it’s MillionDollarBonus that’s being referred to here. I’m still up in the air as to whether that one has been satirical from the start, or actually believes what it posts.

          But then there’s also Million Dollar Bogus who’s a completely different animal.

  3. This is a great, older post. It is as relevant today as it was when written.

    As you know, I have been at ZH a long time. Nearly as long as yourself. I suppose I must have posted around 5,000 comments, many of them quite long representing a lot of actual thought about what we are all experiencing and going through. I have a minor reputation for bring the fire. It has been an epic journey.

    How do I survive? I am at all times a warrior and a hunter. I bring the pen and wield it like the sword. When the critics come after me over something I have said then either I admit to their just points, or I just turn on them like a jaguar and hunt them. This is my habitat and I own every inch of it, in shadow and light, and the engagement will go where I will it.

    I will leave ZH behind when the engagement no longer matters. Until then this cat will prowl and the timid apes should away to the trees.

  4. Since I posted the comment above I’ve yet to see H_H make a ZH post.

    I guess I’ve been posting/commenting @ ZH a little over two years ago after lurking about for a year or more without setting up an account. But I’ve got to ask here, what was up with the whole slewie the pi_rat(or was it stewie?) character? I guess ‘he’ disappeared not long after I finally set up an account and began to post. From what I remember he, as the Brits would say, seemed to be ‘losing the plot’ just before he vanished. Does anyone know if he was banned?

  5. I have been reading ZH since around 2009 (it is now 2016) and things have only gotten worse. I have never been anything but a visitor there – never even registered to make a comment. (I have always appreciated your perspective Cog, and have just joined here because I believe in supporting worthwhile endeavors and lives lived thoughtfully.)

    Everything you have written here rings truer than ever, and especially so your description of how the ZH used to be run. For years I visited as equally for the comments section as I did for the excellent posts… the discourse was exactly as I was thirsting for: intelligent, everything was debatable, and sometimes unbelievably funny perspectives too. Sure, people got into heated arguments, but it was never what it has become now.

    The comment section has become a sickening festival of thoughtless racism, absolutely crushing sexism, and juvenile idiocy. It might as well be Reddit or IRC. I skim the comments looking for your name and the other old names, and their perspectives are few and far between. Some posts I don’t even bother looking at the comments now: I know they will only disappoint and disgust.

    What bothers me even more are the posts themselves though – especially the politically oriented ones. They have changed their tenor, and all-too-often gone is the “here is what we know so far, come to your own conclusions.” In the past, opinions were reserved until actual facts came in – now authors freely “inform” us what Erdogan’s motives are, what “leftists” want, and post irrelevant fluff from popular culture. It appears to me that ZH has begun to engage in it’s own brand of propaganda, and is openly pandering to that chorus of trolls at the same time.

    I still read every day, but I no longer trust it.

    I enjoy both yours and Mrs. Cog’s post immensely however and look forward to more. Thank you!

    1. Dear ChickenArt,

      If I were to use one word to describe the problem with Zero Hedge, it would be ‘click bait‘.

      OK, that was two words.

      In the world of public opinion, volume is often confused with credibility. And in a world of lies, credibility is gained not by speaking truth to power as much as via total eyeballs and viewership. In my opinion, essentially Tyler made a deal with the devil. As ZH’s popularity has grown, so has its need to feed the hungry beast.

      Whereas before three or four carefully crafted pieces a day was more than sufficient to keep the readership and comment section sated, now the number has grown to thirty or forty in order to keep the ADHD crowd appeased. To achieve this superhuman feat with only two or three ‘Tyler’s’ requires pulling articles from other sources. Since ZH is, or was, uniquely different, anything drawn from outside pales in comparison.

      The result is no longer thirty year old single malt Scotch, but rather Johnny Walker Red with hints of Chivas Regal here and there. Once or twice a week Tyler comes out with something simply brilliant. It is these hidden gems that keep me coming back day after day. For the most part the comment section has devolved into, and is now dominated by, a rabble of trolls, agents, bigots, opinionated egomaniacs and various other sycophants.

      There are still those present who wish to engage in introspective, insightful and eye opening discussions. But for the most part they are drowned out by the need for the herd to reach for the lowest common denominator. In my opinion ‘community‘ simply cannot exist in a civil and sensible form beyond a few hundred participants, particularly when no leadership is exerted or desired. This devolution is occurring all over the alternative universe and is a subject I think about all the time. The alternative media, in many ways, has become the new mainstream media. The herd will rule.

      This isn’t just by accident or human nature though. Here I speak simply as an observer and not someone who is ‘in‘ at Zero Hedge. The last time I ‘talked‘ via email to Tyler was 6 years ago. I know nothing about the inner workings of ZH beyond what is widely know……..mostly courtesy of that recent Bloomberg hit piece.

      That said, I am a student of both human nature and the forces arrayed to exploit human nature and people’s desire to lie to themselves and be lied to. Governments, both foreign and domestic as well as official and shadow, along with various other entities such as multinational corporations, the military industrial complex, big pharma, the banksters and so on have a vested interest in swaying public opinion and subverting, co-opting and controlling dissidents, malcontents, truth speakers, social movements, small political parties……the list is endless.

      Zero Hedge is in many ways a danger to the status quo. Therefore great forces are applied against ZH using various psychological operations (psyops), most often in the comment section. I won’t delve into the techniques used. George Washington has written several articles on the subject, two of which can be found here and here. A great deal of what you complain about on ZH can be found in those two articles.

      I try to apply two philosophies when reading and writing on ZH, particularity when I write articles as a contributing editor. One…..take what you need and leave the rest. Two…..always attempt to take the high road. I am not consistently successful with either approach, but I can say I honestly try. That is all we can do when faced with such monumental roadblocks to personal growth.

      On another note, Mrs. Cog and I discovered your website and were suitably charmed by your artistic offerings. In fact, we just purchased the sunflower with chicken garden flag. I hesitate to mention your website here without your permission since I respect everyone’s desire to remain anonymous. Just give me the word and I shall come back and edit this comment to include your lovely fare.

      P.S. Please keep my real name under wraps. You are one of only a small handful who know who Cognitive Dissonance really is. :-)

      (Edit: I just saw your ‘name‘ is linked to your website so I will post it here. http://www.chickenart.com/)

      Yours,

      Cognitive Dissonance

  6. I don’t post on ZH much anymore, but not because of the click bait. Most of the articles are “same old”, I know all that stuff already, to the extent any of it conveys any truth. What an echo chamber for unproductive, unthinking hatred that place has become! Say the truth and bam – it’s not “fight club” it’s just a fight and a dirty one at that.
    Sometimes I do it just to watch the resulting flames, which I probably shouldn’t do, just to make myself feel superior to the obvious losers and their ad-hominem attacks with no factual backing or reasonable counter argument.

    But some things you just can’t say there – no one is listening.
    So you got burned on GM bonds when they said they were going bankrupt and you held them anyway (and then our administration cheated the rules – who’s your enemy there – yourself, and those guys, not GM!).
    So you whine about Elon Musk getting some subsidies. Name another outfit in any of those businesses who hasn’t been getting larger ones longer than he’s been alive? Bob Lutz (climate denier, hot rod freak) admitted Elon drove GM to make electric cars (I have one, I\it’s great). The Launch alliance readily admits they drop out of competitive bidding for launches when SpaceX bids, because they can’t come close in pricing – and they’ve been getting subsidies since WWII.
    I could go on…I like his hotrods, and even though it’s turning into a bad idea, his solar business (which he didn’t start but took over from a less successful relative) did attempt to solve the big issue – you pay up front if you’re off the grid as I am. Most can’t or won’t do that or won’t suffer not having enough power for awhile as they build up. Human nature tricks.

    Jews are money-tropic, it’s in their religion and they are trained from birth (as are most in my generation in whatever their parents believed). Since as a result they usually wind up with most of the money, and therefore most of the power, they’re an easy target for hatred – history shows this repeatedly. Do they reall cause every bad thing? Some, no doubt do bad things, but that’s true of anyone with money and power.

    That kind of hatred is what I call “lazy brain syndrome” – stereotyping to avoid having to see each individual for what he/she is – that’s more work to do, and most don’t (won’t) bother. Who, therefore, is the inferior one?
    As a further example of this syndrome (and we’re all guilty to an extent as we have finite brains and a fairly efficient lossy compression algorithm built in) we remember how we felt about something – not what happened or what was said in detail. This means it becomes very difficult to change our outlooks when presented with new factual information. It requires tossing out one’s life experience if all one had “saved on the mental hard drive” was interpreted and lossily compressed – die-ing to oneself is a popular meme in many religions and philosophies for just that reason, and is the reason evangelists work with skid row types most successfully – when you’re at the bottom you have less to lose.

    How much better to simply invest the effort in remembering what really happened and therefore being able to apply fresh viewpoints with no loss and substantial gain! It’s a hard habit to pick up, but worth it.

    And oh, Cog, and Mrs Cog – I’m baaaaaack! Hope all is well on your homestead, the site is looking good.

  7. As an aside, when GM announced they were going to go bankrupt, I shorted the living crap out of their stock, covered at essentially zero, and bought a custom Camaro SS, later traded in on a Volt. Maybe that affects my attitude, just in the reverse way that it appears to have affected most ZH’ers?

  8. Oh how kind of you to make a purchase! I always appreciate that, and I hope you enjoy it. I do have fun creating the art, and no problem posting my website URL. (No problem keeping Cog… incog.) Hey, I even quoted Thomas Paine in the 2016 calendar. :)

    As for ZH, lowest common denominator indeed. And exactly, it’s those hidden Tyler gems that keeps me visiting there. Occasionally I find decent links to other sites, and the stray insightful comment as well – but boy is it work to find these days.

    George W. is another one I often read and enjoy – thanks for the links, I vaguely remember those spot-on articles. Unfortunately for our society, trolling works really well to derail and drown out intelligent discourse. Being a former computer network engineer (and before that I spent years removing viruses and such from PCs) I spent much of the early 90’s on places like Internet Relay Chat, a veritable Wild West of hacker gangs and website attacks – I have never experienced such trolling as I did back then…. until now. (What passes for) discourse has shifted towards the political and cultural, but it’s obvious that the players involved have the same tactics (as you have described so well.) It’s a full-on onslaught: great forces and those vested interests are very decidedly being applied.

    You made another great point, that the very anonymity that protected “the Tylers” served in the end to make it vulnerable as well. Somebody had to be the one who started it all and decided who else would be a Tyler… but whoever those people are or were, something has very much shifted.

    Given what I believe to be true about the media in general (that it’s essentially an extension of the spooks and deep state) it wasn’t a big leap to come to the conclusion that ZH is on it’s way towards compromise – but I haven’t quite given up on it yet – it’s still got some gold (hah) and as you said, still represents a danger to the status quo MSM. So that keeps me going there. The conclusion that other alternative media sites are also devolving down that path didn’t fully forumulate in my mind until you mentioned it, but I have to agree. I have to read a million different viewpoints and pages just to filter out a grain of what I suspect might be the truth.

    I must also agree that in the end the only thing we really have power over is ourselves. As anyone paying attention knows, it is all too easy to despair instead, and I guess we all go down that dark path before we must turn around and choose our own: what to do about it all? My husband and I started our own farm/homestead seven years ago (I raise chickens, go figure.) Stepping outside of our former dependence on that current system has been the primary goal, along with “saving our souls” so to speak: what do we have to offer that is better? What can we do to heal this world? As you and Mrs. Cog already have figured out, it’s a never-ending thorny one sometimes…

    Regards,
    Sarah

  9. I registered with ZH years ago and still visit daily. But as ChickenArt noted a couple posts ago, “The comment section has become a sickening festival of thoughtless racism, absolutely crushing sexism, and juvenile idiocy. It might as well be Reddit or IRC.” Comments years ago used to be thoughtful, and frequently insightful. But that was long ago. I now rarely read them–they’re invariably rants & screams. Quite boring. And admittedly sad to see. And I wonder why there is no moderator activity. Apparently a decision was made to leave the sandbox unsupervised. And the result is a running commentary of trolls and cretans.

    I hope ZH remains standing. If one article out of 30 shines, scanning the site regularly makes it all worthwhile. Yet, yet… seeing any exceptional site devolve from its brief brilliance into something degraded and coarse is discouraging.

    1. pgarner,

      Just my opinion but…..it appears a decision was made within ZH to expand clicks, page views and probably revenue. The brilliance of the early ZH was its slow delivery of well researched and written articles and the highly educated participants in the comment section. As ZH has devolved into the lowest common denominator, those who built ZH have fled for the hills and were replaced by the herd.

      To moderate the comment section would require at least one full time person and most likely two. And while I do agree the comment section has degenerated into chaos and at times is beyond comprehension, employing moderators would add the dominate perspective of the moderators to the mix. Dominate because the moderator has the power to get the last word in by banning the dissenter.

      As I said above, I take what I need and leave the rest….which is no different than any other media. I think the root of our disappointment is the realization ZH could have been so much more. However, this assumes we know what ZH could have been. That supposition is not all that certain. Can anything remain pure when it baths daily in a cesspool?

      Cognitive Dissonance

  10. I spent several years as a moderator on a large international forum. I was one of about six moderators. We burnt out quickly, even regularly squabbling amongst ourselves about who to ban, where to draw lines, what to do with repeat offenders. So I can empathize with the ZH decision to leave well enough alone.

    And regarding this discussion–all of our criticism and angst aside–ZH continues to remain an unusual and largely brave site. The “cesspool” is there, but… As I wrote earlier, I’d feel a keen sense of loss if it went dark.

Leave a Reply