The whole art and science of Method Research: learning to read the signs empirically and with street smarts.

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Madonna may be calling, but the Patriarchy’s favourite female monster act keeps getting the wrong number. She doesn’t get that she is not a rebel. She is The Man.

I found this article to be a good indication of how unself-aware she is — and unaware of modern society.

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Madonna never became a somebody: she picked the wrong profession.

She became an anybody and an everybody.

She was a fantasy stand-in: she would sing on stage, and her fans would imagine themselves on that stage singing those songs and gyrating — only they imagined they were more famous and iconic.

Once social media allowed anybody and everybody to make fishy pouts on selfies and post it to Instagram, she was redundant. Fans didn’t need her anymore because they could have a new fantasy of being “discovered” with their own selves instead of her — they didn’t need hours of rehearsals — they just had to film themselves and put it on Facebook and watch the likes coming in.

Those fans aren’t “slaves”: they just went out on their own, hoping to either strike it big, or whine for socialism when the whole famous thing didn’t pan out.

Madonna has no clue about the modern age. Of course she pines for the good old days when the gate-keeping Patriarchy told the little people that she was hip, cool, and edgy. They had slim pickings. She is a product of a bygone era, but still tries to play the role of a maverick that she never truly was.

IV

But Madonna has something in common with journalism: they never got it because they were not empirical, but had the benefit of a benevolent Patriarchy who shielded them from their own obliviousness with those fabled gates.

Trump figured it out, however. He saw it. He is a lot hipper than Madonna and more savvy. He saw Twitter was where all the cool kids were going, and so, he won his presidency with it.

Just to be clear: he didn’t merely just post on Twitter: he figured out its rigs and system, and did something unprecedented with it: win the highest public office in the world on his first try.

Journalists and Madonna fumed with jealousy, and the press is trying to make up a narrative about how there is a recession in the US, but it isn’t.

Because the press has another void in their brains: they cannot read any of the signs.

They don’t have Method Research. They don’t have F.R.E.E.D.

I do, however. It is the system that took me the majority of my life to create.

V

What is happening to the US economy isn’t a recession: it is a transition. The dinosaurs of the economy are becoming extinct, while the fittest new animals are thriving. Journalism collapsed. Hollywood is crumbling. Bricks and mortar retail is struggling.

What they all have in common is an inability to learn and adapt because the old rigs gave them real power and control. They lost the rigs, which were always their crutch, not magic wand, and they don’t want to confront the reality of their true mundaneness. They are Madonna, fuming that the illusion of being a Chosen One came with an expiration date, instead of shifting. Madonna’s ignorance is a real knee-slapper: for all the talk how she “re-invents” herself, she has never re-invented her structure. She is static.

Just like journalism. Just like Hollywood. Just like bricks and mortar retail.

The mindset of the world is shifting and rapidly so. It is something I have noticed and chronicled for years.

And I took it all into my equations.

I do not need to appeal to authority to tell me what will happen because I have devised a superior method that is faster and more accurate than employment statistics.

You look for the unintended consequences. You look for subtle shifts.

Because people lie. They keep the most critical detail away because to reveal it would expose a vulnerability that explains a seemingly baffling situation.

They will tell you everything is wonderful when it is horrific, for instance. Or, if they are doing well, they will claim poverty in order to get pity and gain something from someone who has something that they want.

When I worked as a journalist, this kind of thing would happen all of the time. There was not a single story where there wasn’t at least one crucial holdback that I had to find to explain what was really going on.

It didn’t matter how benign the story, it was always something. It could be minor or major, but it altered the essence of the story, in every single case. I never played up on it in my reports because it was my job to tell people about the reality of a situation, not present a narrative of me being some sort of great detective.

But I saw the shifts as I saw the subtle inconsistencies of what people told me. I could look for signs and test various theories as I continued to research.

And then I could build up on it through Method Research, the process of studying something by walking among those who you are studying by becoming one of their number.

Madonna’s still in the dark about why she isn’t a monster act any more. It has much to do with her age, but also because the times shun people who want to be seen as larger than life. She wants to be an event and an icon. People would rather place themselves in that position on a smaller scale. The way she puts out albums is old school. She should have gotten out of the music business a decade ago, and do something else. Trump did. He decided to try politics. He succeeded.

Madonna just wants attention. She still wants to be somebody, but music is disposable entertainment, and that hamster wheel is broken. She wants to tell the little people how to think, hoping to convince them to pay attention to her again by properly grooming and instructing them to fall for the correct mindset. Not happening. People prefer their own mindset, thank you very much.

Journalists are also stuck in that stupid loop. They keep trying to tell people how to think instead of understanding how thinking has changed in the last twenty years.

And it is their job to feel those changes, not work against them or ignore them. Method Research is the very art and science of honing instincts: you can have data to back up your deductions, but your senses are more in tune and accurate than those snail’s pace offerings.

For people who follow scripts and rules, Method Research terrifies them. They are passive by nature and want to parrot authority in order to sound smart without having to do the legwork.

But for those who are truly critical and active thinkers, they can glide on any wavelength to see reality in order to find the truth, regardless of the time or place to see the light…

New York Times spews garbage and is not the feminist paper of record: How journalism failed women and still do in 2019.

The New York Times is pure garbage, and this bullshit article can be classified under Too Little, Too Late, Assholes.

Why do we have psychopaths get elected? We absolutely know these hypocrites lie to the public, have affairs, take bribes, and do all of the things that they proclaim they find morally reprehensible.

I know this because I worked as a journalist and hung around the halls of various public offices and saw the floozies get passed around various politicians who then gave them patronage appointments — and journalists saw this up close every day and said nothing.

Journalists also play those games as the Times’s own Ali Watkins did…and faced no consequences for it.

So to all of you women who are upset about the oppressive and illegal anti-abortion laws, here is the memo:

Journalists could have exposed these con artists before they ever got elected. They could have told you about their mistresses, lies, hypocrisy, and every other immoral, illegal, and shady thing they do out in the open. They could snap pictures of their drug use, casting couch antics, and everything else, but they keep quiet.

In other words, it is the sin of omission.

So let us not pretend the press is a friend to women. It never was, and it never will be.

They could also expose the lies and cons of far Right activists by exposing their affairs and how they snag their man by getting knocked up before marriage. They could expose these charlatans with ease.

So if you want to know how to break the iron grip of a lunatic fringe, start by demanding that newspapers such as the Times reveal all the dirty little secrets they are keeping from the public.

It will sicken you. It will shock and appal you — but by now, it should never surprise you…

Actrivism, Part Nine: Immerse yourself in wavelengths. Learn to ride in someone else's soul.

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Nicola Tesla was a smart man. He’s #35 on the List of People Everyone Should Know.

And I took a lot from his ideas, particularly about understanding the deepest truths of the universe by understanding energy, frequency, and vibration.

Or, riding on the wavelengths of other people and groups.

When I decided to study the ways of journalism by becoming a journalist, what I was doing was riding on the wavelengths of this collective, how the justify their beliefs about themselves and how they process the world around them.

In-groups have their own little set of arrogant ideals, and they like to fancy themselves as superior, even when they are seen as underdogs or undesirables.

Look at CBC getting haughty because Fox News didn’t air someone who has gotten a lot of free press opining about the rich and their taxes.

CBC has conducted countless interviews that never made it to air.

When you interview a lot of people to make a narrative, some do not perfectly “fit” your pattern, and you will exclude it.

I have had editors cut out people I interviewed for articles, and I never found out until after publication.

But even in j-school, when one CBC producer came to lecture us, and we were given a real-life scenario, and we had to pick and choose which interviews made it and which ones were excluded.

So let’s not pretend. I have been interviewed for stories, and I never made it in the final product.

If you do not align perfectly with a narrative, you are removed.

I wrote OutFoxed: Rupert’s war on journalism, and I recount how the FNC is careful who they air, but it is not just the FNC.

Whenever you rely on narrative, you are going to do that sort of thing to keep the mindset in place.

Once it happened to me when I was writing about women who broke the law to appease a mate. I included a young woman who murdered a perfect stranger because her boyfriend asked her to do it.

The reason I included that case was to show it wasn’t some sort of romantic notion or that every woman was duped. I wanted a textured story, but the editor lopped it off, and the nuances of the story completely changed. I was not happy.

But that is the mundane reality of the newsroom.

I bet you do the same thing on Twitter and Facebook — cherry-picking articles and propaganda posters (that is what a meme poster is, kids) that fit perfectly with your beliefs with no dissenting perspective and stories.

But you take it for granted.

I didn’t.

I wanted to ride the wavelengths of the profession.

But once I began writing books about my findings, I wanted people to be able to immerse themselves the way I did.

So I did something very subtle: I presented the facts objectively through structure, but in such a way the mimicked the mindset of those I was writing about.

I did it with all of my books. You are going inside the mindset of the profession, feeling the same rhythms and frequencies as those working in it.

But a funny thing happened.

Some reviewers didn’t get it.

One was upset that I took the same “pot shots” at FNC pundits that they took on others, while completely missing the point.

The same goes for my latest book, When Journalism was a Thing.

The mimicry of the energy, frequency, and vibration completely went over some reviewers heads.

Not everyone was clueless, mind you. A lot of people understood the point.

I remember when I was a relationships columnist with the Hamilton Spectator, and I did the same immersion with a short 600-ish word column about money.

Someone wrote in, and got it. As in, felt it.

I set up a stage. I get into character — but not a fictitious character. It is Method Research, and I am a Actrivist.

I will upload the column and response another time.

But even back then, I would reflect the frequencies of those I was writing about.

That requires not being so me-centred. It is a you-centred exercise.

This is how you deal with the emotional aspect of covering people or events.

That’s how you walk through Infinity with someone else’s heart and soul to see their perceptions and go through their motions as if they were your own.

There is no Us Versus Them. You become the Them.

Outside and inside. You are both. Above and below. Left and right.

This method is the way of the Radical Centrist. You learn by becoming, and you gain energy by allowing its essence into the very stuff of your soul to see what are the problems and the core of their cause.

By becoming part of the problem before transmuting yourself into the solution…

Toronto Star nincompoopity continues. Children, grow up.

I am still laughing at this stupid article from the knuckle-draggers of the Toronto Star:

Why experts say Canada should follow Australia’s lead on China in wake of Huawei crisis

Yay, experts. They are never wrong, so you can’t question this bullshit. I like this attempt at shutting down debate:

Canada should not be afraid to follow Australia’s lead in standing up to Beijing in policy and practice, say experts who have analyzed foreign relations for decades.

Ottawa has long prioritized economic gain over national security, worrying over the state of its relationship with the global heavyweight rather than voicing and defending its interests, say analysts.

They have analyzed things for decades, so you can’t question the big gaping holes in this article.

Nice try, but there are so many things wrong with this bullshit story that I could write a book on it.

For starters, Canada is not Australia. We cannot just blindly follow someone else’s playbook and expect the same results. If a single “expert” is making that decree, take away their credentials. They are morons.

Australia has its own problems right now, and they stem from their unpopular policies at home and abroad. Canada doesn’t need more luggage.

And the worst of this article is its Middle Class mindset that it is all about tweaking the nose of other nations to “slap back” at them — and that everything will work out in the end.

You don’t know that, and neither do your experts.

For example, you do not know what dirt China has on the Canadian government or its players. You don’t know what China owns here or what the contracts say are penalties. Australia may be in a better position than Canada and can afford to do what they do.

And you do not know what’s actually going on between Australia and China — you do not know what backroom concessions the Aussies had to give in order to save face publicly. That is not something “experts” would know. That is something insiders would, however.

You keep quoting the arm’s lengths people, who cannot tell you anything that is useful — just the façade of it.

Canada has to solve its own problems actively and originally, not crib from other regimes. That requires being creative and not stealing playbooks from other countries and appealing to authority.

If governing were that easy, then we wouldn’t be having the big problems we are having now…

Actrivism, Part Eight: Armchair experts have no idea what goes down or what's up. It is the reason I became an Actrivist.

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Growing up in the 1980s, I was a huge fan of the Eurythmics. I had all of their albums, including remixes, and had to special order In the Garden.

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I never got to see them in concert, but concerts were never my thing as a teenager. I did go, but usually, something extra had to compel me. I went to see Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine in Orlando for New Year’s Eve, for example. I have seen rock concerts in Belograde, such as Zdravko Colic’s.

While some kids went to see Madonna, I went to see Alan Ginsberg perform is poetry in Europe.

I had a big LP collection, and a lot of old and obscure nuggets from every era, but The Eurythmics were my favourite musical act.

Except I was the only kid in my neighbourhood who admitted to liking them.

Other kids always made it sound as if I was some sort of oddball for liking the band. I didn’t buy it. They wouldn’t be putting out multiple albums and having tours around the world if I were the only one, and I said it. They were a Top 40 act, and as special as we all like to feel, I don’t think their record label would go through all that trouble and expense just for me.

And I used to say it.

For years, I would have people ask me, “Do you still like The Eurythmics?”

Hell, yeah, I do.

To this day. I can still listen to Annie Lennox sing or Dave Stewart play the guitar and I am in a better mood.

But now, thanks to social media, you can find fans congregate anywhere and anytime. No one needs to feel like an outsider when it comes to pop culture preferences these days.

Yet, that kind of familiarity does have a downside.

You can find groupings of anything, and then a pecking order begins to form, where someone positions themselves as the “expert” of whatever the group believes.

And that’s a problem now.

But armchair experts were always a problem, and that’s why I became an Actrivist.

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I was a teenager when the civil war in the former Yugoslavia broke out. I didn’t have a lot in terms of experience in adult matters. I was a smart kid. I was an observant kid. I was a kid who studied, and had a gift of researching things and finding obscure sources because I had no trouble picking up a phone or pen and communicating to people in various position of power or access and asking them questions.

Of course, I got shot down a lot of times. I was even called rude because I wanted to know about serious things and went straight to the top. I wasn’t rude. I was curious, and there was no reason to say no to a simple request, or direct me to someone else.

But more times than not, I had big packages mailed to me, filled with all sort of things, and I read it from cover to cover. To me, this was exciting and fun. I couldn’t believe that none of the other kids in school were doing it. Anyone can smoke weed and get hungry and paranoid at the same time. Whoop di do. Not everyone can write to a foreign cabinet minister and get information on their military spending. Go me!

The fun and exciting reasons came grounding to a halt when war broke out and journalists were all parroting propaganda. I found out their source, and I was pissed. They learned nothing from the Gulf War and the babies and incubators hoax.

Maybe there was a reason for it. They didn’t have to learn because their mandate may have been something other than to inform.

But I didn’t know, and I knew I didn’t know.

I could speculate like an armchair expert. That is as easy as smoking weed. No effort, and something else alters your mood for you.

I could also research. That’s how I started.

And I wrote letters, got information, and had banker’s boxes that took up a sizeable chunk of my room — and living room, and dining room, and grandma’s room. These boxes had academic articles, newspaper and magazine articles, UN reports, government documents from around the world, think tanks, responses from reporters and editors, press releases and documents from PR firms, you name it. Every day the mail or courier came to my door. I read everything cover to cover.

I was, at this point, far more informed than an armchair expert. I was also far more informed than any journalist covering the war. I had one anchor from a PBS news program tell me she researched her topic by reading a couple of newspapers, and here I was with boxes piled to the ceiling — and one box alone had cassette tapes of information I got over the telephone.

Yet she got to spew uninformed bullshit, and I couldn’t catch a break.

This was, to say the least, maddening.

But everyday, I would get more information, not just documents, I got video footage of atrocities committed against Serbs. I obtained photographs that also contradicted what media reports were spewing.

If there was an Internet back then, I would have been a teenaged media outlet because in the course of my research about the former Yugoslavia, I stumbled upon other interesting intelligence not about that war or area.

I wasn’t an armchair expert. I was an actual expert.

Yet I was missing a key element all the same.

As much as I read books on journalism, all of it was bullshit. None of it actually aligned with the chasm of what I had and what was being reported. It was like night and day.

When I decided to become a journalist, I had a lot of information already. I knew how to conduct experiments as a psychologist.

But I still needed to know more so I could compare what I had with what the reality of the profession truly was.

VI

Being a journalist gave me insights that put a lot of those banker’s boxes into context. I learned a lot about the MSM, such as the veracity of a lot of their “experts” and pundits. Far from being unbiased and the most qualified, a lot of them were friends with someone in the newsroom — or their parents were friends with each other, but it was schmoozing, not c.v. that determined who got to speak in a public forum.

Insider knowledge helped a lot. These days, you can listen to a radio station and know that some experts pay advertising dollars and basically pay to be quoted. But even when I was a journalist, a lot of articles were just advertorials — another form of the same practice.

Armchair experts are easy to spot: they make guesses, and because they do not know how news is constructed, they make folksy guesses and make assumptions that are wrong and it shows.

The problem with social media is that it gives an illusion that things are all “out there” and all you have to do is point, click, swipe, or tell Siri what you want, and now you are an instant expert.

But you’re not unless you do things inside that system because what you read is created by other outsiders who also don’t know what’s going on. You have no scaffolding or perspective.

And people think it is all obvious and self-evident. It isn’t.

Quiz them to see just how little they know about the basic mechanics of easily accessed information.

Seriously.

And I have parents telling me that their grown children are much smarter than “we were.”

There will always be smart young minds around.

But even the smart ones need context to actually comprehend the significance of what they know.

I have first-hand experience in that department: as much as I knew, there was far more I learned by actively working in the profession I was studying. I didn’t fall for the lures. I wasn’t taken in by cognitive dissonance where I began to explain away and justify things just because I had to do them as a reporter.

I was the subject of my own experiment, and with that, I learned a new way of learning and gathering information.

And learned armchair experts are worth the experience they have — which is none…

Actrivism, Part Six: Journalism's slow decay through the eyes of an Actrivist who walked miles in their shoes.

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While the New York Times boasts of increasing subscriptions, other smaller newspapers are having yet another round of job cuts.

What is happening in the world of newspapers is what happened to my grandmother after she became immobilized after the paramedics dropped her.

Because she couldn’t move and was confined to bed, her body slowly started to break down.

Mom and I pretty much spent 24/7 moving her from side to side with pillows to prevent bed sores and to keep her system going, every fifteen minutes. Mom slept on a sofa in grandma’s room. Technically, there are beds that move you automatically, but they do not work like they should in theory. When grandma landed in ICU and was on such a bed, she got bed sores, and it took us quite a bit to heal them.

You absolutely have to keep active or your body stops functioning.

The arteries start dying, but not right away. The smaller ones start to atrophy first, and it puts more pressure on the big ones to function.

But eventually, everything shuts down.

And the person expires.

I witnessed this up close with someone I knew since the day I was born.

But I recognized a lot of what I witnessed with her with something I witnessed exploring journalism.

Smaller properties atrophying slowly before starting to cannibalize the big ones. Overall numbers continue to drop. That’s reality, and it has been for the last couple of decades.

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The insanity of the journalistic groupthink is mystifying. You go to the doctor who tells you that you have cancer, but with surgery, chemo, and radical lifestyle changes, you’ll be healthy again, and she even shows you your tests results, x-rays, ultrasound, scans, blood tests, everything. You have all of the signs and symptoms. The doctor even goes so far as to encourage you to get a second, third, and fourth opinion, and runs all of the tests, and it all comes back the same. There is no debate that you are in danger.

What would you do?

(A) Go for treatment ASAP, change your lifestyle, and resume your life.

(B) Deny that you are sick, say all those tests results prove that you are healthy as you were in your youth, attack anyone who says you are sick, and go about the same way you did before.

Journalists opted for B.

You may have been young, healthy and strong, swaggering around, bossing and bullying kids on the playground, and come off the victor of bar brawl after bar brawl, but now you are sick.

Denying your weakness isn’t going to turn your fortunes around.

That’s at the heart of the profession’s collapse.

I could see that because I went in to study it. It is the difference between joining a cult because you believe their twaddle, and going in to study it because you see the twaddle for what it is.

Yet you still do the same things, but finding out why this cult believes in what it does — how do they talk themselves into believing something clearly not aligned with reality.

Where did it go so horribly wrong?

And what are the excuses this cult is using to keep reality away from them?

I saw the decay up close. I also walked miles and miles in their shoes. I was a journalist, but I wasn’t a member of the cult. That’s how Method Research works.

And even though I was a journalist, I was also an Actrivist. I questioned myself, and my motives: why did I interview someone a certain way? Why did I pitch this article? Why did I use this source before another one?

That’s how you see the flaws and how you improve the methods.

That’s what you are supposed to do: not statically cling on to an old rule and think that the world evolves and changes, but you got a Get Out Of Reality Free Card.

Hell, no.

Being an Actrivist means being flexible and always refining and evolving. It is woven into the mandate and definition. Activist/Actress.

You act.

You keep moving, stopping to reflect and refine, but then you keep moving again.

So that you are not left behind, but chasing out in front.

You are future-focussed.

You see all around you as you keep moving, walking in another’s shoes in order to understand their place in the evolving world.’

So that you don’t start to rot and lose your lifelines one by one.

Because I have seen that up close.

And no one should ever have to go through that.

But when a profession willingly chooses it, is appalling.

My grandmother didn’t choose it. It was imposed upon her by careless hands.

Journalism has no excuse for it, but they thinking up news one every day as they rot in place…

We don't need politics. We need empathy, respect, and compassion. You know, the things that count.

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His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naïvest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.

“You appear to be astonished,” he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.”

“To forget it!”

“You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

“But the Solar System!” I protested.

“What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently: “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”

—Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in A Study in Scarlet.

II

I am not pretentious, but I am not stupid. I know details, and get nuances and catch on to Shibboleths. I don’t shop in Manhattan, but Secaucus, New Jersey where there are those fabulous outlet malls, for instance. I have ever since I was a teenager. I prefer the complexities of Bénédictine over most other liqueurs. Armani for the wife, Versace for the mistress, but Moschino for Alexandra.

I am not some yokel. If I don’t know something, don’t assume I wanted to know it. I heard it, determined it to not be all that, and promptly forgot it.

Such as whatever script someone spews at me. Brag all you want. In one ear, out the other.

What interests me is human motivation and strategies. Who are you as a person matters, not some bullshit story you are telling me to impress me or make me jealous.

Because I am not obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses, people think that I am going to be impressed and feel inadequate. Don’t be silly. What Alexandra wants, she gets, one way or another.

And Alexandra gets what she wants and needs all by herself.

I am choosy and I am fussy.

I love to learn. I just signed up for this Oxford short course. I love to write books, and that’s what I am doing.

I don’t have to take the course, but I like to expand certain areas of my mind, and bring them up to code.

I have three more pieces of unfinished business. Right before January, it was a dozen. None were minor.

After those are taken care of, it is the next level upwards and forwards.

But I never forget my roots.

I don’t look down on people who didn’t have the same opportunities. I respect and admire them greatly, and not in some precious, condescending way. People survived wars, slavery, incest, abuse, terrorism, illness, poverty, and victimization. They didn’t “bring it on” themselves. I am genuinely outraged that my country treats First Nations people like they were disposable, for instance, while we have grifters who live it up on the taxpayer dime.

The US Democrats act like the Catholic church — they talk a good talk about liberties, preach to tell you that you are inferior and need them to guide you, use Doomsday scenarios with their environmental policy, and yet keep begging for donations as they ride around in limos.

And like the church they emulate, they are the ones who get caught doing really infuriating things that prove they are hypocrites, making the New York Post very giddy.

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What is with this whole blackface thing, anyway? I mean, it happened in my junior high during class, and even then as a tween in the 1980s, I thought it was downright racist.

I can believe in forgiveness as a general concept, but it isn’t my place to forgive. I’m a white Canadian. I take my cue from the people who were wronged.

I remember The New York Times having this priggish Op-Ed piece when Megyn Kelly said kids did it in her time, and the opinionist got all snooty, claiming it wasn’t happening in his time and he was a couple of years older than Kelly.

Bullshit.

It happens now, but as we know, it happened then, too. I smell pants roasting.

So here is one group of people who branded themselves as a morally superior party having a cemetery of skeletons jumping out of their closets proving that it really doesn’t matter who you vote for — they aren’t authentic. The labels of these political sects is just a front for conniver who wants to wear a paper crown and will tell you whatever you want to hear.

III

Canada has the same problem right now. The federal Liberals are equally troublesome. While Postmedia owns both the Toronto Sun and the National Post, getting to play both sides of things, I found this National Post column interesting:

The other jab in this combination of punches is their regular mentions of Justin Trudeau’s “family fortune” — a phrase the prime minister himself used inadvisedly in a press conference.

“That amount ($5,000) is peanuts for a prime minister who inherited a great family fortune,” said Conservative Rosemarie Falk, by way of example.

…But there is good reason why the Conservatives are adopting such deceptive tactics: they are working.

What deception? That the Prime Minister has no empathy or ability to adjust his perspective? His policies are not for the poor. They aren’t good for the Middle Class. They cater exclusively to limousine liberals: people with money who do not want to be inconvenienced economically nor personally.

And then Trudeau opens his mouth and proves it, as the Toronto Sun gleefully pointed out:

“We see proof that the conservatives simply don’t understand that low income families don’t benefit from tax breaks because they don’t pay taxes,” said Justin Trudeau.

It is Trudeau who doesn’t even know the basic reality of his own poor. Poor people do have to pay income tax even if they make less than $12,000 a year.

They also pay HST on goods and services. There is no tax exemption when you buy basics.

The left-leaning press kept their mouths shut on this one, as usual, hoping not to draw attention and censoring unflattering nincompoopity from the Jive Turkey because they know if the Tories win, there is no goodie fund for them.

What you have is a prime minister completely incapable of genuine compassion and empathy:

“While we continue to stay focused on Canadians, Conservatives continue to stay focused on how I grew up,” Trudeau shot back.

Yes, because you never grew up. The Grits focus on themselves, no one else. When you keep the poorest at arm’s length, you have no idea who they are, what they need, or how they came to be poor.

Method Research would go a long way to understanding what needs to be done.

For one, I would force any candidate running for prime minister to be forced to live for two years among the poorest of his or her nation with no help. All funds would be cut off, and they would be monitored.

You are going to live in a shitty little shack. You are going to have to get a joe job. You are going to have to pay the bills with whatever you earn.

Two years.

No limos. No colorful culturally-appropriate costumes. No designer clothing or children’s socks.

And, for giggles, you’d be sent up to the remote location where everything is more expensive.

Then you would be grow up, put on your big boy pants, and have a fresh perspective.

It would be good if everyone was healthy, happy, and prosperous.

This isn’t reality.

And ignoring it isn’t actually working for the Left. People aren’t blind or numb to their own whispering problems.

With Trudeau, it is shallow gestures and empathy phrases with no core to it, He apologizes for other people’s actions of the past, thinking that means something.

Not if those injustices are still alive and well in the present and you don’t see them.

Anyone with drama training can shed a few crocodile tears. So can people clocked for speeding and bawl to the nice police officer not to give them a ticket.

Kids in toy stores can do it, too.

That doesn’t prove you have empathy, respect, or compassion.

I am still haunted by my grandmother’s agonizing death. She chose to live because she didn’t want to be away from her family. To her, she did not want to abandon us and sacrificed everything to look out for us. She worried about how much sleep I got and agonized about my derailed career. She gave me pep talks and advice as she lay dying.

I looked after her 24/7. I had been so focussed on her that I abandoned myself in the bargain. My mother did the same.

And then my mother was diagnosed with cancer and then I was, too a few short weeks later.

We looked after each other. I had to trudge in the snow to walk a long way to the hospital to see my mother after her surgery three weeks after have surgery to remove my left ovary.

They gutted me. My stomach muscle was split in two. I was oozing and in absolute agony. I didn’t take the morphine I was given. I didn’t even pick it up because I could not be under any influence because I had to drive and look after my mother.

And I can barely walk, but I make the trip twice a day to the hospital where my mother lost a lot of blood and had a hard time keeping awake because of it. I had to look after her as I am terrified that my cancer has spread.

But I march to the hospital every day like a soldier. I would go to Fortinos to buy my mother something with flavour to eat as I also would bring her coffee, and try to cheer her up, and I can barely sit in the hospital chair, still in shock that asymptomatic me had motherfucking ovarian cancer.

And then she comes home, and a few weeks later, she has to have another surgery because she had something so rare that the doctor who had to operate never seen it before.

It is a never-ending siege of trauma.

And I know there are people who not only had it as bad, they have it even worse.

They have children with incurable degenerative conditions.

I have a bracelet a student made for me in jewelry summer camp that I taught one year. She was the sweetest, cutest, kindest little girl who took the class so she could make things to raise money for the fatal disease she has.

But she gave me a present because even though she is ill, she wants me to know that she likes me.

And it moves me. If I had the power, I would make her problems disappear.

But I don’t, and it bothers me.

I have known people who are going through extraordinary lengths for their terminally ill children, fighting a brawl with the heavens to extract every extra second at the expense of everything.

And we have a deluded prime minister who has his panties in a knot because his rivals have his number and keep dialling it.

We have never had a prime minister — on the left or right, who put children first.

And no, photo ops of you reading to them doesn’t count. Fuck you.

Neither is giving people money per child — it encourages the wrong kind of people to keep having them for the free money. I used to sit in the solarium and watch outside my old house on Main Street East in Hamilton and see Stroller Row.

We have children in battered women’s shelters. We have children who are sex slaves being passed around and videotaped.

The Grits give money to newspapers who fucked up their own worthless profession — but completely ignore children’s services.

This is vile and disgusting.

I like my art. I like my surrealist paintings, my books, my theremin, my Kintsugi, my Alexander Katsulin pottery, Turkish coffee, and antique furniture.

I like Sherlock Holmes, Han Hoogerbrugge, the Hives, and the Blue Beetle.

I am self-indulgent and eccentric, and if you don’t like it, go fuck yourself.

You aren’t paying my bills. You don’t care that I had cancer. Go to hell. I don’t have respect for your negging.

Because it is all meaningless if you don’t have a moral compass.

And politics isn’t the place you’ll ever find it.

Neither is this neo-Victorian façade. It’s not genuine.

A kinder world comes from empathy and compassion.

That requires vulnerability and connect, not cheap acting stunts and empty words…

Actrivism, Part Five: A long and complicated journey into Mindwild.

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I was extremely fortunate that I was photographed by Villiam Hrubovcak and the picture is one of several from that photoshoot. He has shot everyone from Bjork, Elvis Costello, Billy Idol, to John Waters, and if I recall correctly, Ollie North.

I have this one he shot of me hanging in my living room.

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It is still my favourite photograph of me.

Because I usually do not pose that way. I like my face in front, but he suggested it to show off my distinctive nose; so I did, never thinking that would have been the photograph I would have selected after. I like to break my own rules, decrees, truisms, routines, and theories, but in this case, someone made the suggestion.

I do take advise. I do take chances.

Because I am not afraid to question things or people, including myself.

I test my own theories, but every once in a while, someone shows you a place where you didn’t think of testing your own rules.

But when you are intellectually uninhibited, you can question everything and eventually figure out that’s how you find the facts of reality to find the truth.

IV

Percentage-wise, Twitter brings me very little traffic to this site. I can easily deactivate my account, and my numbers would remain untouched. I have a modest, but steadily-increasing international base here, if I believe what the analytics are saying to me.

Wordpress wasn’t as accurate, and there were strange things happening. For long stretches, it would claim I had no traffic from Google searches, which I did not believe, and tested it myself on my other devices, and lo and behold, those didn’t register, either. Nice try. I cannot say the same for my current host Squarespace. So far, I am very happy with them. They are helpful, prompt, thorough, and I have never been left frustrated or have something I could not figure out on my own unresolved. I wish I came aboard sooner.

But I cannot say the same for Twitter. Is there shadow-banning of me? I don’t know why there would be, but it wouldn’t surprise me, either.

I have been on Twitter for years, and I have been hover at 1790 followers for as long as I can remember, according to them, which is low. I am also on Ello, a smaller social media site, and though I have not been there as long and don’t post as often, my followers have increased steadily to over 3600, more than double what the Twit nets me.

And I do not make the first move to gain followers. People come to me first. So that’s quite a difference where the pool in one site is far greater than the other. By mere chance alone, I should have more than double on Twitter than I do on Ello.

Maybe the difference is that I don’t trust Twitter. There is no proof that any organized groundswell of reaction is organic, spontaneous, or genuine, and I doubt that it is any of the above. It is way too easy to game the system. It has become social propaganda for various advertisers and political groups that is intermingled with naive people who are followers by design, and believe everything they see on the Troll Scroll.

There is no respect for people. They don’t call it Twitter for nothing.

And there is nothing more deceptive than that Blue Checkmark. It does not signal what is being said is true. It does guarantee that the person writing that tweet is actually there person, it could and most likely is an assistant or PR firm.

Nor does it guarantee that the person isn’t being paid by an outside party to shill.

It doesn’t have any safeguards. The same can be said of Wikipedia, and I do not see it as a credible source of information, either.

And often who gets the blue checkmark mystifies me. They aren’t actually well-known. You can do a basic search on them and virtually come up empty-handed. They are not always people of note, let alone “social influencers.”

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Google has my verified profile, however.

My Twitter profile is there, even though I am an author of several books and do not have the little blue checkmark. I didn’t put my Twitter account there. People do look me up by name because Google’s own analytics let me know.

So across various platforms, there is a real inconsistency. Google has me verified, and directs people to my Twitter feed, yet Twitter will not give me the verified status, even though I worked as a journalist, and have several books under my belt. I had one late last year, and one coming out next year.

By all accounts, that should be more than enough, especially considering how low the bar is.

But it is hard to justify lobbying for something that I know is rigged and filled with propaganda spewed from behind a curtain.

It is more than fake news. It is fake followers. It is just fake.

It is not an informational portal. It is an advertising vehicle to push ideologies just as Facebook is amateur press release.

And whenever you challenge something on that platform, the vipers come out to intimidate with insults.

Don’t give me lip.

Give me proof.

But when you cannot verify who is writing the tweet is who they say they are, nor whether or not they are being paid to say it, you won’t find any proof there at all.

V

Twitter wasn’t build to prove. It was built to bully. It was built to foster groupthink. It was made to prime, groom, and deliver audiences with the right mindset to build clusters of thought.

The word count is too low for anything rational to transpire. At least Facebook talks about connections as “friends” and LinkedIn uses the word “connection.” Twitter was the one who used the trigger word “follower.”

It is brazen enough. They might as well use a pigeon over the Mountain Bluebird they have as their logo.

But it gives the illusion of control and genuine interaction. You think you know what you see, and that is its strength. You don’t know what’s on the other side of that missive or the motive for it being there.

It makes it a prime breeding ground for manipulation.

But it also weakens and devalues words and opinion. There is too much clutter.

Because everything is virtual, the impact is not as great as it appears. The turnover is fast for anything to take root and grow. People let off steam with slacktivism. People try to one-up others. There is petty rivalry, but few real tangible results that hit their targets.

For example, #MeToo. It seemed as if it did its job, but what did the faceless movement actually net?

It took down a lot of men on the Left because they could not live up to the book of rules. They were done in by a misfiring of Alinksy’s Gun.

But that’s not who that gun was meant to shoot: it was men on the Right who were supposed to crumble and fall.

Brent Kavanaugh was supposed to have fallen. While the damsels-in-distress marched in their cosplay red robes, he ultimately got issued a Supreme Court black robe.

Twitter is not a precise weapon. So far, Donald Trump seems to have known how to use it.

Digital media doesn’t know how to use it. They crashed. Traditional media also was clueless and collapsed.

For a social media site that is all about communications, it doesn’t actually work the way people think it does.

Just one septuagenarian. This quadragenarian has no use for it.

Because Twitter is like a bad psychic: you can see the rigs a mile away.

It’s that transparent.

And the motives for people’s continued gullibility when using it.

It doesn’t interest me.

I prefer a more instructive challenge.

Which brings me to Mindwild.

VI

I always thrived with a challenge. I like puzzles. I like when things are not obvious to me.

I when I can challenge my own rules, turn them over, see them break, and then find the atom of truth.

Knowledge is flexible, not static. It evolves, changes, and grows, and why I like to revisit past knowledge and update what I know.

So when I decided to go into journalism to study it, I had to think about a lot of things very carefully.

I had to define what I was doing, and if I didn’t reach certain milestones, or things didn’t go to plan, I needed plans and counter-plans.

I called it Method Research. I was taking my laboratory into the real world. It was like a scientist placing herself into an atom to study it.

My job? Being an actrivist — being actively inside the world I was studying.

These terms were my shorthand to remind me what I was doing. It is very easy to get lost in the moment and forget what to do. It’s like sparring with someone in the boxing ring and then forgetting to keep your guard up.

And what about the experiments I was conducting?

I dubbed those Mindwild. The point was not to think I was confined. I was out in the wild. I was part cavewoman fighting for survival naturally, and part android, carefully analyzing the natural elements to process information empirically.

And my experiments had to reflect these two extremes, bringing them to the radical centre: don’t take sides. Take notes. Take facts.

That meant my experiments could be as wild as I come up, but my analysis had to be as disciplined as they could be. Chaos and order at the same time.

I was methodical but took advantage of any opportunity presented to me.

It was all about taking snapshots of reality, all while remembering who I was and what I was doing. It is not as if there was a roadmap.

I was the cartographer, and I wasn’t just mapping out the profession, but who I was in it because as much as I was an experimenter, I was also the test subject.

And I learn a lot about journalism, myself, how to conduct experiments, and also the nature of truth, reality, perception, and interpretation.

For example, I learned how we define out terms confines the outcomes of what we reap from its definition. The more ill-defined it is, the less we get out of it.

And journalism is a profession with no desire to define any of its terms.

How do you define “fact-check”, for instance? It is doublespeak and a nonsense word that is suppose to give false reassurance to the believers and shut down and psych out detractors.

How can you even have an imprecise and folksy term for something that dictates specialization and precision?

It’s a scam. Worse, it is a patronizing scam.

It’s no different than saying someone is a doctor: what kind of doctor? What is their area of expertise? An oncologist or internist? And even then, they have their specialized area.

Or lawyer. What kind of lawyer? Criminal? Divorce? Real Estate? Corporate?

So the word “fact-check” is pure bullshit.

It’s just an arrogant bunch who use the word to snow people who don’t know the industry.

But that doesn’t work on people who know because they worked in the business, never falling for its alleged prestige and bragging rights.

While society moves towards AI and conducting research with cold arbitrary logic, they are losing the wild part of the equation.

The part the develops instincts. You can teach someone to box with a textbook, but put them in the ring, and they will lose to the person who had to fight in real life for their survival without a trainer.

But, have someone fight in the real world for their survival as they have a trainer and a textbook and war manual, and they understand the theory and the practice.

That’s what I called Mindwild.

I didn’t just use it working as a journalist. I still use it to this day. I can look at something, and see the rigid thinking and assumptions its structure and content is based on.

And it can do a lot to your thinking.

I became a political atheist.

I believe in peace. I believe in progress. Neither can be found using an antiquated model of governance or journalism.

I also became a radical feminist, but not in the traditional sloppy definition of it.

But that means that (a) you do not expect an Establishment will change because you shamed them, and (b) you have to have active strategies to building new systems and not rely on old patriarchal models.

Most importantly, I learned as much about myself as I did about the world around me.

The world chose to stagnate and to old on to toxic security blankets.

I chose to flourish and grow without worrying about myself because I know who I am.

Someone who doesn’t worry about memorizing a script.

Because I don’t hide behind a script, I have allowed myself to mature and blossom, and I know who I am.

And it’s not any established role someone else has rigged up to keep people from succeeding.

I have learned to challenge the rules of anarchy and enigmas because I become both, and broke more barriers because I knew that even anarchy masks something beyond it.

And that means there are new frontiers we haven’t even seen yet.

The world is never a bore — there is always some new thrilling truth to learn, and yet people still cling on to the same old boring lies.

The world is beautiful. The future is exciting.

But you’ll never know it until you explore it, study it, nurture it, love it, listen to it, and unleash yourself in it.

That’s Method Research.

That’s Actrivism.

And that’s Mindwild.

Every atom is an omniverse of excitement and thrills just ready to be unleashed itself.

If only you are brave enough, loving enough, and truth enough to open it…

Actrivism, Part Four: Journalists vogue around the edges. An actrivist acts inside the core.

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Bunny Yeager was a pin-up model and a contemporary of Bettie Page, but she was also a photographer who captured her fellow glamour model.

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Working from both sides of the profession was helpful and that eye of hers contributed to many of Page’s most iconic images.

The photographer who snapped my picture for Hamilton magazine was a beauty queen and model before becoming a photographer herself. By sheer coincidence, we went to the same middle school and were in the same homeroom class, but as there were three different grades in each homeroom class (6,7, and 8), we weren’t in the same grade or classes; so we knew each other, but hadn’t seen each other after the year was over.

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I usually don’t like being photographed, but she did a stellar job of capturing me as I am.

She used natural light in that magazine. I have had my photo taken professionally over the years, but the way she did her job was unique — and it was her experience from the other side of the equation that did it.

There is a balance that is a subtle representation of that era of my life — the boxer’s muscle, the prim and proper punkiness, and, of course, the computer.

The nuances of details — the comic book vibe, the jewelry, the perkiness, the black turtleneck (out of the several tops I was asked to bring — it was the one she picked) — it is all in there.

And that is not as easy to capture as it looks — all without being busy or cluttered.

Which itself reflects me: a Trompe-l'œil minimalist.

I was extremely impressed with the subtextual complexity.

But that was her genius, not mine. I was no control freak and had no expectations coming in. No overt or subtle hints from me.

But that’s what happens when you study something from both sides of the equation: no one has to tell you anything: it becomes one with the very stuff of your soul.

And you don’t need to fake anything: you’re merged inside the core because you are acting inside of it and know its every grain.

IV

Journalists always had to fake it. They vogue and have to spin a big, melodramatic narrative. And one that never aligns with reality.

Because they have no idea what this whole objectivity is about. They think it is being around the edges because it is a bad thing to be in the core.

But that’s the atom of reality. Objectivity does not mean you don’t immerse yourself or move in the very eye of the storm.

Because Left and Right is the huge red flag that you are voguing at the edge.

You are not in the atom of reality.

The Radical Centre.

When you are an Actrivist, on the other hand, you have to act, and that means you are always moving around exploring everything.

You want to get into the heart of the thing that you are studying. You are walking among the subjects and environment you are studying, but also in its core.

You are in the eye of the storm because you do not want to waste your steps. You want to understand the deepest truths — so you go right in to the core to see what is the heart of the reality to find its Truths.

Once you understand the core — the real reasons why reality is in its current state — no one can lie to you by trying to push you away from the core and toward the façade — the edge.

Left and Right are misdirections.

Both sides will try to sell you lie that they are different with one being superior to the other.

And they will point to the content, which is another misdirection.

I can tell you I believe in saving bunnies, but if I shove them in cages in the dark, then my words are meaningless.

It is the structure of my actions and methods that are important.

What are the motives, strategies — and stratagems?

That’s what you need to find out.

Journalists vogue for the public, telling them they are the guardians of the universe and all that jazz.

If you don’t know what they are doing, you will take them at their word.

If you are walking in the core of that profession, you can square the words with the behaviours.

And then you don’t have to be dependent on anyone’s word.

You have the actions. You have the results.

You have the structure to see if it contradicts the honeyed content.

But when a profession keeps the cores of what they are covering at arm’s length, you start questioning why are they so afraid of it.

Because they fear their own core — or lack thereof.

Actrivism is the way of conduct research to become one with the core. By the time you are done, if becomes part of you.

And you develop a feel and see the feints, ruses, and rigs used to keep other’s at arm’s length.

But by then, you see the misdirection of voguing and know precisely where to look and how…

Actrivism, Part Three: If you had actrivism, you wouldn't be looking for easy solutions because you would be the solution.

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NewsGuard is snake oil?

You don’t say, Drudge Report!

Of course it snake oil. It is meta-propaganda.

That a partisan press outfit showed how easy NewsGuard is garbage goes to show you that the political propagandists are of the low-grade quality that brings to mind Mr. Haney, the snake oil huckster from Green Acres.

And just how much the public in the West have been infantilized.

When print ruled, you had a lot of sketchy publications, yet not a single one required a “label” or a “NewsGuard”, and, in fact, had there been a law to slap on such patronizing labels, people would have gone ballistic.

Comic books had labels because they were geared toward children.

And treating adults like they were five would have caused an uproar, and justifiably so.

What we are seeing is one side of the political equation placing badges on a side they find inconvenient, and that has fascist origins.

What we have are two partisan thugs trying to silence and shame people for having thoughts that are their own.

This puritanical temper tantrum is burning itself out. If just a couple of people stand their ground, the gig is up.

If you stand up to the bullies on the playground, they retreat because they don’t want effort, and they certainly don’t want everyone else to know how weak they really are.

NewsGuard is garbage. It is a scarlet letter used to shame publications so that people will not be exposed to different ideas, right or wrong.

I know NewsGuard is propaganda and garbage. I don’t need such a thing because I am an Actrivist.

I learned how news is actually constructed by actually having jobs that involved constructing it.

I experimented, and tweaked things to see the limits of it. NewsGuard is no match for me.

And best of all, I don’t spew propaganda.

I can recognize it from the Left, Right, Centre, Mainstream, Fringe, you name it.

Because I have spent my entire life scouring more articles, transcripts, books, and journals than most people. I can break down New York Times propaganda with ease. I can break down Fox News propaganda with equal ease.

Both a propagandistic and partisan outfits. One is not superior to the other: one merely panders to a different psychographic than the other. They prey on people’s manufactured “images” they present in public, and tell the pigeons what they want to hear.

It is the reason I don’t have respect for either.

The Default Delusion dictates if one side is wrong, then the opposite is has to be right by default, and that’s not true. More times than not, it is a false opposite, and equally wrong or deficient.

But when you study something by working in its core, you know how things work. There is no guesswork or trying to make that educated guess — you know every piece and how it all fits together.

But you also go in ready to break down the pieces. You take nothing for granted. You go in with the express goal of seeing the problems, and finding solutions.

And the solution isn’t to pretend one faction is superior to the other.

You also start to see how personal fear and selfishness creates the biggest problems to concepts and institutions.

Once you see the heart of the matter, you know you can find a solution because you finally know what you are confronting.

And there is no app that can solve that problem. There is no machine, AI, or software that can do it, either.

People created the problem, and that means it is people who must solve it.

Not a proxy.

Not a manipulative propagandistic app.

But human beings brave enough to understand they are dealing with human beings — not narrative monsters…

Actrivism, Part Two: It is very easy to cower behind your opinion or theory. It takes guts to prove it. And no, reposting another coward's tweet or meme isn't it.

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Canadian Prime Minister Jive Turkey pukes out Aesop’s fable about wind and sun spinning around at the same time, meaning, he is admitting to being someone who is full of hot air.

But these days, who isn’t?

We have no shortage of Kings and Queens issue their royal decrees on Twitter. They know absolutely everything and are never wrong. They know how to run a government! And a business! All ideological opposition are the evil, crazy, and stupid Enemies of the State!

They have proof! Another Tweet and a meme poster!

So there!

When you ask them for their actual experience and research, they become enraged.

It’s self-evident!

Well, if it was, then you wouldn’t have proffered an idiotic and self-serving idea in public.

But you did, even though you have no way of confirming or refuting your theory and opinion.

And that is a serious problem: we are littered with millions, if not billions of dubious opinions and sketchy theories.

When I wanted to know what was wrong with journalism, I could have puked uninformed garbage, but as I am not a coward who hides behind fantasy, I wanted to see the reality of journalism.

There was only one way to do it: by becoming an actual journalist.

You want to know how this monster looks, thinks, and behaves, Ms Kitty? Go into its lair and face it.

And that’s what I did.

Beauty and the Beast? A true feminist version of it, but one where Belle marches to the beast herself and confronts it.

No dancing around.

My initial ideas weren’t 100% correct. I gained experience. I researched.

And I went in to see how it could be fixed and improved.

What we are seeing now is an increased frustration that social media cancels competing opinions out. It is like pressing a button on a nonfunctioning machine, and then you keep pressing it faster and faster, and increasingly violently, hoping it will work without you having to shell out money for repairs or replacements.

You have no idea how it is made, how it works, or what it is actually used for because you just press a button. You could fix it yourself, or build a better one from scratch.

But you don’t know how because all you do is waste your life pressing a button, thinking you are doing something active.

But you’re not.

I went in ready to learn about that machine from the ground up, inside and out.

That’s what you do if you want to genuinely contribute something constructive to the discourse.

Social media enabled the delusion that all opinions and theories were equal or had any value.

And they don’t.

If you are not getting proper medical treatment at a hospital, the scope of your knowledge is of patient, not of a medical practitioner.

You know only one side. You cannot make a leap and guess what the other side is all about.

You need to be working on the other side in order to know.

But people on the other side do not always know what it is like for the patients, and they, too, know only one side of the equation.

So you have two sides that are equally ignorant of the other side. They can be in the same room and interact, but that’s not enough.

We don’t learn by osmosis, and you cannot merely guess. That’s why government consistently fail their people: they don’t actually live among those they are governing.

And the electorate do not walk among those who govern, either.

That chasm is real and it is the serious problem. We don’t have a human Hoffding Step, as it were, that can weave in and out because they went into politics for the express purpose of studying it.

But we do have someone who went into journalism for that reason.

Me.

Being an Actrivist means going in with a plan all along, not going in for one reason, and then having to rely on an incomplete picture reconstructed from hindsight.

Hot air is reserved for people who don’t actually know what they are talking about: they just keep hoping their babbling wears people down and they will cave in because they, too, don’t know, and don’t want to bluff their way.

But that doesn’t work on people who do know. You can lie in their faces all you want: they know what you really are and can confidently call you a big fibber.

Because the world has too much blah, and that’s a real bore.

But it needs the excitement of fresh and active ideas that bring new creations to life — without making the same boring old mistakes that need constant babbling to pretend to prop it up…

Actrivism, Part One: What is an Actrivist?

I call what I did to study journalism Method Research: it is like Method Acting, only you are not acting but Researching and making your life the subject of what you are studying.

But what is a person who does it?

They are a Method Researcher when they are analyzing data, but when they are walking among those you are studying, you are an Actrivist.

An activist actor, but not in the theatrical sense, but in the literal sense of not sitting there passively observing, but actively experimenting with the subject matter at hand.

I have talked about Activism previously, and how it came to be. The origins are of me loving Shakespeare as a kid, but having to improvise Romeo and Juliet because no other kid wanted to be Romeo, but also wanted to be Juliet, boy or girl.

No one wanted to be below in the living, but above in the dining room overlooking the “balcony” overseeing the living room.

I learned that it was more fun not to parrot lines and just let the play happen.

Because the script does not play in the real world.

The psychology and the journalism came much later.

But the concept that you can explore the secret big thoughts and emotions of a makeshift stage to curate it came from there.

A big idea from a little girl.

But when I use the word “Actrivist”, I have no shortage of people telling me that I made a “typo.”

With no regard that I am describing the word and explaining it, and that there is no possible way that I have “misspelled” “actress.”

I am not a moron, and you should not have some misogynistic assumption that a female cannot create a new word, concept, or invention.

And actrivism is all three.

It is the method of gathering empirical data by removing the barrier between observer and environment.

So, for example, a researcher might give a questionnaire to cancer patients on how they are feeling or set up an experiment to see how this demographic reacts to unintentionally insensitive comments.

The researcher will get usable data, but no context.

Now let’s say he also has cancer.

He will have context because he will create a questionnaire that goes to the heart of the issue, and can measure his own responses to unintentionally insensitive comments.

But then has to account for his own biases and situational blindness by comparing and contrasting with other people in the same boat — but them compare it to those who don’t have cancer.

He can see the hidden nuances that a naive researcher couldn’t possibly think up.

He is not at arm’s length from the issue: he is living in its core.

That’s the utility of Method Research. You are not making excuses for skirting around what matters the most by making up a lie that you need to be “objective.”

That is an excuse for acting like a psychopath.

And just because you are emotional, doesn’t mean that you are irrational — nor does it mean that you cannot conduct experiments or observe, and then later analyze when you are away from it.

Nor does it mean that someone else can’t do it, nor does it mean you do not use traditional empirical methods to put everything together.

From the inside to the outside.

You study the whole, and academia’s biggest problem is they know a lot about the outside, but nothing about the inside because by their very rigs and rules, that kind of knowledge is not seen as knowledge but an impediment that gets in the way.

I remember taking an AI class in university, and seeing that kind of thinking in papers, and how pathetically easy it was to trip up systems by putting in various monkey wrenches. Salvador Dali paintings did in those theories every time.

Even now, with AI, all I have to do is study it, and it is still a simple matter to muck it up, despite the press release-like article the press parrots from tech companies.

People who fear emotions want to prove they can be emulated and bypassed, never understanding why feeling are more important than thoughts. Unless you have the feelings, you don’t know what you should be thinking, and you waste your life coming up with excuses as you cower in the corner because all of the solutions you thought up never took reality into the equations, and then they never work out.

And yet, academia consistently looks down on emotions. You look in the wrong direction, that’s where you are going.

If you want to know what’s what, treat emotions with respect. Look up to them, not down.

That is the reason we need Method Research and Actrivism.

So we can finally explore that uncharted frontier, and then come up with answers that actually work…

Method Research, Part Nine: Everything has a rig. That lesson came to me in high school.

I

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II

Are people in the press idiots?

Well, yes.

That’s what happens when you choose to be a follower.

I have been talking months about Trump’s Chaos Narrative, the press now finally clues in.

Trump is down, not out. For those of us who didn’t try our brains with cocaine in the 1980s, he has gone through this kind of thing before. His enemies think they have backed him in a corner, and he does something unexpected and rises from the ashes.

His Chaos Narrative is over. This is intermission. The Phoenix Enigma is a completely different rule book. His detractors are now clinging on to a script that just got burned.

You can turn over the rules in more than one way.

That I learned in high school.

III

When I was in junior high, we had a yearbook and I was on the committee for both years. We didn’t actually do anything, I noticed, other than make posters. The teacher actually did the entire book from all the photography to the layouts. I had the lone poem published in my Grade Eight yearbook, but the “committee” seemed to be in name only, and I found it frustrating.

Then I went to high school and was on the yearbook committee every year, and in my senior year, I was yearbook editor.

Unlike junior high, I was heavily involved in its creation. I took lots of pictures. I did the layouts and came up with the ideas. By Grace 11, I did more pages than the entire committee combined. I kept track of every page as I looked for events to cover.

I didn’t like it, however. The first teacher advisor spelled my first name wrong on my personalized copy, which was the alleged “perk” of working on the committee. Alexander instead of Alexandra? I typed out my name, and then she ruined my Grade 9 yearbook for me.

And then it happened again in my Grade 12 Yearbook, but the advisor didn’t give me a personalized yearbook. I was furious when I came back to pick it up the following year. I typed the sheet and handed it in, and I know how to spell my own name.

In my Grade 11 Yearbook, one of the members did a two-page spread with tiny writing crammed around artistically, with my advisor not paying attention to what a teenaged boy would try to sneak in — only after it was printed did her husband notice. I was editor of the current book and it took a lot of arguing to convince her not to tear out those two pages, but have him black out the offending parts every single book instead.

I caught a lot of attempts at people trying to get crap through. I was more eagle-eyed than what kids assumed I would be.

But as I said, I didn’t care much for yearbooks one way or another.

But I found being on the committee extremely useful and instructive.

For one, you know everything about everybody. The office would print out lists of everything from teachers and students and hand it over to us. I knew everyone’s credits, grades, and the like.

Second, I knew exactly how the year would play out right in September. Student life was predetermined. Everything was tightly controlled and scripted, and we’d get the playbook from Day One through the yearbook committee.

That way, I could plan my year knowing in advance what was the rigs with my roadmap.

And I don’t like scripts.

I was doing a lot of things off the script, such as finishing my studies one year early. I also did a literary journal. I wanted to do a short comedic play, but the only way I could do it was by presenting as advertising for yearbook. I had organized a simulation experiment that got serious local media play because there were parents throwing fits about it — but there was a lot of positive feedback from students, the press and the public who supported it. (It was a simulation of Apartheid in South Africa, for the record. Most students received a “black” passport and were forbidden from a lot things that the “white” passport students got to do. I didn’t invent the concept, but I got feedback from my friends who had it in their high schools, telling me what a flop it was; so I tweaked it just enough to get publicity and praise for it. It almost got derailed when Student Council got wind of it and went ballistic, trying to water it down. My advisor for that committee went ballistic in turn, and demanded an emergency meeting where I pushed and presented my case for it, and they backed down and had it go as is. Then parents went ballistic and called to complain because they thought watching racism and inhumanity on the news was enough, and then the principal cancelled it after half a day and students were upset because they actually wanted to feel the same loneliness as people who were oppressed as a show of support, but then that same principal turned around on graduation and used it in her speech about what a great school we were for having it because of the positive press and laurels they got for having the courage to do it.)

I had access to things because of that committee. I did fight for things, but if I couldn’t get them one way, I knew how to bypass it. When I suggested we have a small literary section in the yearbook, I was shot down by the advisor, but then I just made my own journal. I didn’t have a seat on Students’ Council, but I didn’t want it, either, because once you had a seat, you got tethered.

I did have a seat when I was yearbook editor. You could be elected by your fellow students or appointed if you were in charge of the committee. My seat came from the latter. I found it to be a real drag, but it was amusing nonetheless with students thinking they had control over their committee, when in fact, I knew that was coming up because I was on yearbook. It was all preset for us.

I had a peculiar reputation back then: one the one hand, I was seen as a Miss Goody Two-Shoes. I didn’t drink or do drugs. I was academically-focussed.

But on the other hand, I was seen as rebellious. My old yearbooks have inscriptions from friends who called me wild, gutsy, and even insane. I was repeatedly referred to as a “chick.” I dressed wildly. I often wore a beehive or flip to school. I wore leopard print and mini skirts with boots. Sometimes I wore a black stocking on one leg and a white on the other. Back then, everyone wore Polo by Ralph Lauren. I wore Mondi, Christian La Croix or something exotic my grandmother thought up for me.

Grandma’s designs were wilder by a mile. Some kids said I dressed like an alien. I didn’t care, but it was fun.

Child of the 80s who dressed more like she was from the 60s.

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But not always.

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That was the other reason I knew about a rigged system.

Teachers had complained to me that I wasn’t behaving the way they expected someone like me to behave.

While other kids were trying to fit in, I was trying to expand my horizons. I didn’t want to box myself into something inauthentic.

And it helped by knowing how scheduled and choreographed the year was going to be.

Here are where all the hamster wheels are. This is the schedule when you are supposed to climb on them. Now, get to it, kids!

There was a reason for it.

If teens — who have just had their minds whacked with the novel thing called hormones — were left to their own devices, they’d dare eat other to eat dog shit and set fire to different chemicals in the science labs just to see what went bang the loudest.

I am not totally unsympathetic to the need of sublimate that new and nasty energy into something productive as students’ attention is being deflected from the real purpose and told a cock and bull story about how extracurricular activities were important for resumes, scholarships, and getting into “good schools.”

You see what happens when one is allowed to stray and wander unsupervised.

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Get the whippersnapper to worry about doing well at the next track meet and then spend hours running around in circles, and everything flies under the radar.

But if he’s left on his own, and some political and journalistic manipulators and exploiters will chew him up and spit him out whether they pretend to “oppose” him or “support” him.

I get it.

But when you have no intention of eating dog shit or blowing up the school, those rules can hurt you. You start believing in those invisible boundaries, and worse, take them as divine and natural truth and reality. You take them for granted.

You count on rigs to save you and make you adept at roaming out in the open to explore.

You don’t see that’s the cage to keep you locked up and then your senses and thinking become passive.

Creative thinking is thinking. Rote adherence is not, but can be confused for it.

I spent my high school years learning how to spot the rigs as well as how to turn them over, break them, and challenge them as I bypass them.

It wasn’t without incident, but even then, I learned how those rigs are reinforced and kept in place.

As I mentioned, I once put on a little skit for assembly. I cleared it with the yearbook advisor who told me to see the advisor for assemblies, a teacher who I had never spoken to or would have as a teacher as she taught subjects that weren’t going to be something I had to take. I never met her before. I just knew about her because teachers were all listed in the yearbook with their photographs. She seemed pleasant, approved, and then the play went without a hitch.

I ran into the next semester, and not on purpose. Here was a teacher I never had dealings with save for the one time. Now, here she is again, recognized me, and started to talk to me. I was polite, and as I didn’t know her very well, just asked when was the next assembly. She told me, and I said something benign that I am sure it would be interesting and good luck with it, and left.

The next day, my yearbook advisor sternly warned me that I couldn’t have another skit, shocking me. I said I didn’t want one. She said the other teacher said that I asked about the next assembly. I replied that I never made any comments about wanting another skit to her, nor did I have the time or desire to do something I already crossed off my list, and I had not approach my yearbook advisor, meaning that, obviously, that’s not why I asked. I was making small talk.

My yearbook adviser wanted to warn me again, and I flat-out said that I didn’t appreciate gossip or speculation about me in the teacher’s lounge, and if I was going to be interrogated because I was being polite, I wasn’t going to speak to any teacher for any reason for the rest of the year. Besides, usually, ideas were shot down ninety-percent of the time in this committee regardless of who asks; so the chances I would go to the trouble when it would likely be vetoed was close to nothing. She backed off but I could tell she was very displeased with me.

She thought she “got” me at something that veered off the sanctioned script, and in the process, revealed more of the behind-the-scenes goings-on than she should have. I was involved in more than one committee, and she knew it. If she was going to go on a fishing expedition, she could have asked if I had any other ideas for promotion. Another skit would not have been something that I would have recommended, and considering I wasn’t the editor at the time, I would have said that ship sailed. Sales wasn’t my department. That would have refuted the theory, and kept the inter-teacher intelligence-gathering under wraps.

But it got me thinking about a lot of things.

How many students get labelled because of loose talk in the teachers’ lounge. Students do it to teachers as well, but the power imbalance is there.

I changed my ways, but even silence brought certain collective assumptions. I didn’t talk to teachers about my personal and social life because it wasn’t their business, not because I didn’t have one.

I had teachers stop me in the halls — teachers I never had as teachers — tell me I should have “friends.” I would nod and thank them, and leave. This was a rude and unfounded. I wasn’t by myself. I went to events and socialized.

And then my senior year, my school held a “fashion show” over two days. In 2019, this school would have gotten in serious trouble for it by the neo-Victorian puritanicals eating prunes as they posted their disapproval on the Troll Scroll.

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The high point was when the male students, teachers, and vice principal dancers stripped off to their skivvies and grandmas were shoving money down their speedos.

But it was all for charity, which makes everything okay!

(Oh, this wasn’t the most questionable sexually explicit thing to go down in my high school. A couple of girls in my gym class showed a hardcore porn video for about ten minutes in health class. The teacher got in a bit of trouble, but didn’t lose her job over it, even though everyone forgot that as I was the youngest in the class, I was actually underage. There was something else even more serious that went down there, but that was a year or so before my time; but that’s for another day).

I bought tickets for both nights — mostly because I invited my friends who went to other high schools to see my school’s cheery debauchery up close. It was not surprising that the day after the second night that I had more than one teacher comment that I never mentioned I had so many close friends from other schools, as if that was uncommon among teens. Give me a break. I just sighed, shrugged, smiled cherubically, and walked away, making me wonder what kind of gossip network was going down in the teacher’s lounge. Yay, live action reality show!

And I was the character without a trope-ish role.

Who was Alexandra? She was skipping grades and winning awards. She was on committees. She was a wild dresser. She was mouthy, rebellious, but knew just how subversive she could be without getting derailed. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, where I wanted, and how I wanted it. Peer pressure didn’t stop me. Teachers didn’t stop me. I used to get calls from dignitaries who’d call the school, and then I’d get paged to come to answer the phone. I gave a news interview that way. I had students quip that the principal was borrowing my office for occasions, and yet he barely knew of my existence because I wasn’t getting hauled to his office, and the one time I did, it was the teacher who had to apologize to me.

It was actually a very simple and straightforward matter of turning over all of the rules because I had the scripted year playbook via the yearbook committee.

There was no “conspiracy." There was no diabolical plot. There was an adherence to traditional rules and routine. Teachers didn’t want trouble. They got their marching orders from the Ministry of Education, and followed the rules. I got that.

But I wanted to learn more than just what the government thought I should. So I made my own playground.

I graduated, skipped the prom, and then went off to university.

And then a civil war broke out, and I decided to become a Method Researcher.

But I remembered about those rigs I used to ticker with in high school and wondered if the real world really was like high school — only with more money.

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IV

J-school was my test-run of Method Research. By this time I had experience in real world journalism in short order, including a column in the Hamilton Spectator. I got the idea because I got the attention of 60 Minutes. I worked as a freelance reporter for the Burlington Post, and this is one year into my experiment.

Now I was getting a grad degree. I had enough under my belt to know what reflected the real world, and what was the academic-version of it.

So this would be my way of pushing and keeping notes of my results.

I didn’t have a yearbook committee to give me the crib sheet of the upcoming year, but for two of the three semesters, we were split in three groups for some classes on a rotating basis: one third would do radio, while third television, and one third print, then we’d rotate until we did assignments for all three media (no Internet at that time).

So what I could do was ask what the other two groups were up to, and then I’d say what I was doing. That would be sufficient.

As I was working on my assignments, I was lining up and planning for my upcoming assignments. I could actually work the phones and email and nab some high-profile newsmakers to give me interviews — some that usually didn’t grant media interviews at all, such as then controversial London police chief Julian Fantino.

By the time the first rotation hit, I had everything ready and sailed through. The second rotation went even better.

It didn’t always go to plan, but by then, I learned how to land on my feet, only one level above what my original plan was.

I had figured out to sit on my professor’s right side because when we were giving our pitches, he’d always start with the student on his right. One time, he decided to go the opposite direction, meaning I would give my pitch last.

And as my luck had it, the second to last student had the same pitch I did, and it was one of the rare times that I had no backup plan.

And it was my turn, and I said I didn’t want to say anything until I confirmed it, which was true. I promised I would check in within the hour.

I ran down to the bulletin board in the front lobby to see if anyone of note was speaking at the campus or anywhere downtown because you can’t just buy time unless you have a justification for it.

Peter C. Newman was promoting his new book — and one that I had bought and just finished reading. I called Maclean’s who gave me his secretary’s number, and he gave me an interview.

And he even autographed my copy.

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It was a high point for me on numerous levels. Newman was an excellent writer and researcher, but he was also an exceptional editor. I had written one essay on the history of Maclean’s and his notion of keeping a map of Canada with pins to ensure the entire country’s affairs were being covered was something that stayed with me, and something I used in my own work over the years, and, in fact, still do. When I wrote When Journalism was a Thing, I had my own map of the various parts of the profession, and made sure I covered it thoroughly.

It was a close call, and I learned a lot that day, from the contents of the interview to the importance of not getting complacent even when you figure out the rigs.

I interviewed a lot of different people back then, a lot who were reporters and editors of various media outlets, particularly after the Quebec referendum for a TV assignment about the media’s coverage of that watershed national event. I had set up an interview with one very popular radio host on a newstalk station that fired him and others and changed the format to music. He phoned me to let me know he’d still do the interview. He was gracious, and there are many times I wonder what happened to journalism because once upon a time, you could find humble and sensible people in the profession like him and Newman.

I often wonder if journalists realize how far down the rabbit hole they are. You had the twits, but you also had the square shooters. Eventually, the twits took over completely and their toxic mindset poisoned the industry beyond help.

I learned more about rigs in the real world. Some people tried to use them as fortresses and even silent weapons, but you also had people who challenged those rigs.

By the time I graduated, I had my hypotheses to test, my experiments I would conduct, my map of the landscape I vowed to explore, and the plan by which I would explore it. When you are an explorer and what you are exploring is a laboratory, you are part scientist, part detective, part cartographer, but also part rig detonator.

It was a fascinating way of being a journalist. It is like being a fictional character who suddenly realized she was in a comic book and then questioned the story structure, the plot devices, tropes, the author’s ideas, the illustrator’s choices, even the structure of the panels. There is something very meta about it, the way La Linea is.

But over time, I became very good at spotting and even predicting rigs.

We don’t need them. So many innovations are being denied because we think they give us power, and they merely take them away.

It is fear that keeps people holding on to them as if they were security blankets. It is irrational and counterproductive.

I understood that in high school. I understood it as a Method Researcher.

I still do, and it is the reason that I fight for a world without them…

Method Research, Part Six: Journalism's collapse was a long time coming. I had front-row seats to that disaster. And it has nowhere to go but down.

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II

My book on what we now call “fake news” came out in early 2005. The Philip Merrill School of Journalism at the University of Maryland tried to combat it in their own flawed and unempirical way and it shows.

No science, no method, and what you have is someone pointing out things without understanding. My book did it better and was more thorough.

And yes, I keep a track of those things. Notice they merely talk about “hoaxes”, not propaganda, manipulation, or public relations.

It is my business to know the goings-on in j-schools.

Because you can see that j-schools don’t know what they are doing because journalism collapsed.

The methods of information verification aren’t actually taught.

And these days, journalism has been reduced to being a system of anarcho-slavery: you have properties beholden to political parties for survival, meaning all you have is propaganda, but no guiding force to ensure it is actual information.

And when Poynter asks Did we just experience the hardest decade in journalism?, the answer is, Yes, and you ain’t seen nothing yet.

The worst is yet to come.

Journalism is a house that people who own it neglected it, justifying the archaic wiring, the asbestos, and the rotting foundation. It’s tradition! Don’t touch a thing! How dare you suggest we need renovations? Are you a Russian agent or a fascist?

I am neither. I am, however, a Method Researcher. What that means is I have the ability to inspect structures because I study them, test them, and fix them. I know what is up to code and what is a hazard.

And the house collapsed. You don’t have to be a Method Researcher these days to see it.

There is no end to the self-pity and self-aggrandizing, just look at Splinter News’ little cringey bullshit they recently spewed: why don’t you tell “young journalists” that they are as much of the problem as the old guard: all, regardless of lack of experience or exposure, that they have their set scripts and opinions, and are nothing more than obnoxious propagandists whose ideology is no solution to anyone’s problems, including their own?

When you go into a boxing ring, you are going in to fight. You don’t just train: you are developing strategies based on your opponents and your own strengths and weaknesses. You know you are going to get hit, but you understand the risks, and you keep moving.

The way you fight a war. You are going in to fight. You don’t go in blindly.

But journalism never saw itself as a profession that had to bother with strategy. Read the textbooks of the profession. For an industry that has people brags with “war stories”, there isn’t much of their ways that resemble strategic combat.

It is more like bullies and snots of high school. Playground taunts and temper tantrums is what we see.

When I entered journalism, I had an understanding of boxing. I understood that you don’t just slap around hoping to hit something: you have to have a plan.

And if I could uncover everything that I did with Method Research, why weren’t journalists doing the same thing?

One reason is that journalists are idea stealers and observers: they think that just observing and cribbing someone else’s ideas will make them passable experts. Newspeg is a nice way of saying something is newsworthy just because other people are talking about it and reporting it.

That kind of intellectual arm’s length relationship makes it difficult to know what you are actually dealing with — how many people have strong opinions on things they know nothing about: their “logic” and “reasoning” applies to the outer layer — the façade. The atomic make-up of the issue is something they know zero about.

That was always journalism’s biggest problem.

I didn’t have that arm’s length problem. When you are among those you are studying, you cannot make up narratives, nor do you fall for the groupthink.

It’s like trauma: it doesn’t just go away even if it goes away. It stays because it left an impression. That’s why people become humbled when you were passing judgments on people who have gone through something traumatic and then have it happen to you. All of the sudden, you don’t whip out easy solutions like an arrogant moron.

When you observe at arm’s length, you do not allow things to whisper their enigmatic secrets to you, and you have something significant to work with. The non-obvious things.

We are made to connect to other people, but these days, people are too disconnected: that’s why it is too easy for people to try to destroy people on Twitter. No connect or understanding of empathy.

Journalism always faked their ideas of objectivity. It is the reason the profession collapsed. They never bothered to define or quantify their terms, let alone conduct studies on how to better do it, or use those methods as journalists.

It is why we have a world groping in the dark: we need facts. We need a genuine love for them as well as an understanding of what facts means or how to apply them.

I wanted to understand journalism. I wanted the facts.

So, I became one. I never assumed I knew what it was all about because I was arm’s length away from it.

So I went into its heart and did tests. I observed and I listened to its echoes as I walked inside.

I had front-row seats.

It never had to be this way. I cannot stress this enough: its collapse was entirely avoidable. Do not blame the Internet. Do not blame Donald Trump. Do not blame other people.

You do not take care of your house, it will crumble. You can paint it, add some potpourri, and a brand-new doormat, that doesn’t deal with the roof, the wiring, or anything else.

It needed Method Research. It needed open hearts and minds. Journalism as a profession deserved better than what it got from those who worked in it…

Method Research, Part Two: Who told you that?

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III

It is very hard to be a true visionary and creative force and be successful. You have to focus your energies on creating, experimenting, revising, researching, solving, and the like, meaning that is less time, energy, resources, and focus on selling and cultivating your product and your image.

Going to parties, schmoozing, and networking? That takes a different skill set and practice.

Which means your will languish while thought thieves and plagiarists are free to rip you off because you are obscure, save time and energy on the product, and have all the time to schmooze, network, and sell their image using someone else’s hard work.

I have written about this problem before, and journalism is full of people who rip off ideas from others and then take credit without acknowledging where they got their idea or words from in the first place.

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But it also has a cumulative effect: when too many thought thieves make up a profession, they have no ideas of their own, nor do they have an actual understanding or feel for the ideas that they are stealing; so they always miss their mark as the well dries up. If you want to know why journalism never rebounded, it is because no true visionary or creative force is in that business. Who you have left are leeches with no blood to suck.

I have, for example, discussed something obscure on this site, but something that I have expertise on. There wasn’t any recent articles or news stories on it, and looking through old databases, you can find a smattering over the decades. It is almost nonexistent. Over the years, I pitched the topic to editors, who all turned it down because it was obscure and too exotic.

I mention it on my website, and lo and behold — two recent articles on the topic. And, as this site clocks certain information, I can pinpoint the who, where, and when.

That’s the nature of journalism. Before, it would be hard to prove the connection. These days, people can deny it, but you have the roadmap generated for you.

When you have an industry copy one another as they crib from others, there is no substance and no core. There is no fresh air or innovation. You mimic and follow a script because any deviation will reveal just how unoriginal and sketchy the players in the profession happen to be.

We see that kind of cribbing with governments. Journalism used to get way with it because there was no comparison, nor could people who were wronged be able to broadcast what happened. They would be portrayed as loons, and dismissed. When the Jabberwocky called the Internet arrived, it gave people an out, but as journalism was always about copying and not creating, they kept playing the same games, but their shoddiness became transparent. People could see what was happening, and the misalignment was blaring and off-putting.

And yet the profession keeps issuing decrees as if it were some sort of authority. They are not only not an authority, but they have no empirical way of measuring credibility, let alone, reliability, validity, and utility.

When I conducted my own Method Research into the workings of journalism, I saw that unoriginality unfold in different ways. It is ingrained into the profession: suggest a new idea, and it gets shot down. You see your own ideas get stolen and frequently. You see reporters crib from press releases and then snootily declare they did primary research.

Nothing can change because if one thing changes, the entire system collapses, exposing just how dependent on intellectual theft journalists are. No wonder they are openly partisan: you need someone to feed you ideas and narrative, and then you take a gamble and stick to that game no matter how much your spin is misaligned with reality.

If I were an outsider studying journalism, I would have missed all of these nuances, nor would I be able to guess the reasons why.

Working on the front lines gives you a front-row seats to the dysfunction. You can see subtext and nuance. You can follow the provenance of ideas. You see the base assumptions and the things people in an environment take for granted and believe is benign and static reality. It is the unspoken things and the things people become blind to that often explain why a problem persists.

There are unwritten rules and Shibboleths that outsiders interpret one way, but, in fact, mean something else to the in-group.

The façade is meant to keep prying eyes from seeing the red flags that the workings on the inside have flaws.

The Internet blew everything wide open, and the industry collapsed. I watched it erode and then disintegrate. I saw how circulation definitions were tweaked in order to hide the extent of the collapse.

Working on the inside with the mandate to observe and measure to hidden factors gave me a perspective that was far more detailed than if I just was an outside observer.

Mind you, traditional academia would benefit greatly if they had that kind of inside gatherers. I wouldn’t dismiss academic research, but put the two together, and new universes open up.

Journalism could have also benefitted that kind of work, but when you make a career out of ripping people off and not giving credit where credit is due, your motives are off, and hence, your solutions blow up in your face, too.

And when you spend your career cribbing, you develop no feel for anything, and are perpetually getting suckered and conned by people who see what you’re doing, and play you like a violin.

Method Research ensures that you don’t rely on someone’s say-so: you see it yourself as you live through it.

And when you feel the data and evidence, you understand just how significant it truly is — as you become innately in tune with the world you choose to explore…

Method Research, Part One: What is it?

I

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II

The Calgary Sun is in a tizzy as one of their own has been leaking leaking one columnist’s pieces to City Hall before publication. CBS News is also in a tizzy because there is an ongoing investigation and employees know squat about it.

Serbs lost the image war to Western journalists, and that defeat would plant very wicked and poisonous seeds in that profession: Serbs flailed and then retreated, and then journalists thought they were smart, in power, and cunning.

And then their arrogance spiralled out of control just as the Internet came swooping into town.

Journalists thought they had control and power. They thought they were brilliant and essential. They had no idea that just because they could bully Serbs that they could do it with everyone.

And now, look at the manure pile that makes up the Castle of Journalism.

And it stinks.

But it is interesting how unaware the profession is about their fortunes. Absolutely stupid and clueless.

Once upon a time they could puke out propaganda and people would believe them the way little kids believe that you got their nose.

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The stagnate air restricted how much people heard in terms of facts and perspectives. It is like being raised on pork and beans and nothing else.

And then the Internet brought an epic buffet, and the rest is history.

And yet, journalists keep trying to reclaim their glory when they could control the flow of information and narrative.

How does this happen?

How do you study how this happened?

In that regard, we had two ways of studying it: hiring a consultant, or having academic researchers study the profession.

Consultants are hired to improve a particular workplace or financial health. In that regard, the consultants failed and did not stem the losses or reinvent the profession.

So much for that.

Then there is academia.

But they haven’t exactly done anything, either.

It is sort of right, unless you start thinking about certain things, and then realize it is completely oblivious.

It is sort of in the ballpark, but consistently off.

Yet, it is not as if researchers in an academic sphere are wrong as a matter of recourse. Far from it.

When I was an undergrad, I was a psych student, and in order to memorize everything I was learning I used to do two things: (a) rewrite my notes in a colourful quasi-comic book style, and (b) test run what I learned conducting my own form of amateur experiments in the real world.

So, for example, if it was true that the words “crash” and collide” produce different estimates of speed for the same car accident in a lab, then I would apply it in various settings and record my results.

At first, it was informal. I found that some times, the results could be replicated in the real world under any condition. Sometimes there were exceptions. And there were times when the results would not replicate. They may happen in a lab under unnatural clinical conditions, but take that out of the lab, and everything would fall apart.

As time progressed, I practiced and refined what I was doing, learning to create natural experiments. After all, psychology is the study of living beings in the real world. I also learned how to analyze that kind of data and interpret it. By the time I was writing my undergraduate thesis, doing that sort of thing was second nature to me. I literally could devise an experiment on the drop of a hat, meaning I could take advantage of opportunities, learning all sorts of things, and I learned to observe human behaviour with an eagle eye.

It wasn’t as if people were guinea pigs or lab rats. Quite the opposite. I was the subject as well as the experimenter. I was deceiving or manipulating. It is not different than changing the way you behave when you are approaching a boss for a raise or someone you like to ask them out.

The difference was I was analyzing the feedback in an empirical way, and most other people blindly go through the motions.

And people aren’t very self-aware: that is the very reason we have experimental psychology in the first place. People aren’t even vaguely aware of what they are doing or why. They don’t think a single word alters their perceptions of reality. They don’t think their cowardice, greed, and jealousy is making them create fortresses and defence mechanisms.

People don’t think they can be brainwashed by a cult or be fleeced by a grifter who romances them. They don’t think they can have false memories implanted in a heartbeat, or that they can be tricked into hearing or seeing things that aren’t there.

Experimental psychology is mostly about how average people think and behave in their everyday lives. It is as much about the science of the mundane as much as the extraordinary…

And yet people romantically pursue people that they do not like, or feel jealous over someone else’s lies, having no clue that they have been bamboozled and manipulated.

To paraphrase one astute comedian, some people know which buttons to push because they were the ones who installed them.

As time went on, I got very proficient. I would see dysfunctional dynamics, and would quietly stymie the manipulator. Watching an exploiter or emotional abuser lose their power and control was fascinating. They would keep going back to the same behaviour, but be more forceful and persistent. I found you could break spells just by quietly putting up roadblocks.

Sometimes the manipulator would come up with a new method. I would go back to the stymieing.

One thing that I noticed was that people who were the subservient dupes were not only not aware of abuse, always using a narrative to spin it into a positive thing, but they wouldn’t take advantage of a break. Their habits made the victims, and why predators saw their ways and took advantage of it.

Sometimes the victims actually thought they were the savvy predators, thinking they were getting something out of a bad deal.

I was mastering what I was learning at the time, nothing more. I was sifting through my course work, refining and exploring various lessons, discovering that not all experiments were created equal, and many theories never applied to the real world.

So here was this teenaged girl from Canada who was tinkering with her knowledge. I turned the world into my laboratory as well as my stage to the point where I was writing essays testing my own theories instead of merely regurgitating someone else’s. I had my own theory about why war propaganda works. I had my own theory and computer model on phobia acquisition. I incorporated my own theory of reality perception in my undergraduate thesis.

And then I had my fill of the West’s anti-Serb propaganda. There is no doubt or question of the extent of deceptions. I have chronicled a fraction of it here and in my books.

But how do I find out what is really going on in journalism? It is one thing criticize and know something bad is happening, but it is another thing to see the actual core of the problem.

I wrote letters asking journalists what were they doing. They were appealing to authority or other media reports, which was a real knee-slapper because I was an undergraduate who would get in trouble if I used a media report in an essay because that was considered junk.

That I always found interesting.

Journalists were making excuses, such as telling me that the first casualty of war was truth and that a journalist’s knowledge was thirty miles wide, but only one inch deep.

Then there was the “so what” and even the outright lies they were telling me. They would actually omit or just lie about what was written or broadcast even though I had a copy of what they just spewed in front of me.

I had the UN reports, and those were misrepresented an awfully lot. They mislabelled graves. They told narratives that were directly contradicted on their own footage.

That’s the ticket.

Yeah…yeah!

Nor are they admitting to me that they are cribbing from press releases form PR firms hired to puke propaganda.

And I know this to be a fact because (a) I got my mitts on those same press releases, and (b) I seen those press releases in the newsrooms, and (c) those same companies registered with FARA because that’s the law in the US.

But what is happening here? How do I find out?

None of the books or academic articles explained it because they just didn’t do that research. The research they had was based on faulty assumptions, and so, was worthless. I am poring over databases day and night as well as reading any and every journal article I can find, and I am not netting a single thing. Nothing. It’s useless.

And then eventually, as I have recounted elsewhere, inspiration struck: I could find out what is going on by becoming a journalist.

I could work as a journalist. That’s actually a very easy job.

However, there is no point of becoming one if I am just going through the motions. I am not picking up anything because I am not focussing on the scaffolding of it.

But I knew how to create experiments in the real world. I was doing it for the last four years full-time.

I could devise and conduct experiments — natural experiments that would net me testable data that I could compare and contrast (and as I would eventually concurrently work as a college professor who is relaying information to an audience, that would serve as my comparison) and see under what circumstances certain things happened.

Actors get into character through Method Acting. I was doing the Method, but I wasn’t acting.

I was researching.

And so, Method Research was born.

Being an experimenter who is both a subject and experimenter who walks in the real-world lab, conducting actual experiments and tests to explain a facet of reality.

In my case, I was researching journalism. From rejection letters to interviewing sources, everything was fair game.

And I wasn’t a pretend reporter. That was my job. That was my label. That was how I paid my bills. That was my life.

I employed the Scientific Method. I saw how lax and lazy the structure was, and how oblivious the profession was to the tidal wave called the Internet.

I was a journalist who had the bonus of writing about the business of journalism. I was aware of what was happening. Sometimes my theories were bang on. Sometimes they were off. Sometimes they were wrong.

But unlike the academic books and papers that had no clue about that world, I knew it intimately.

When they say, “You had to be there,” it’s true. You do.

You may think you know what it’s like to have cancer, for instance, but until you have it, you don’t.

You may believe you have empathy, but empathy doesn’t take you all the way. You cannot anticipate things or your reactions.

I remember when my grandmother was dropped by paramedics and mom and I had to look after her round the clock. Mom slept on a sofa in grandma’s room and had to turn her over every fifteen minutes in order for her not to develop bed sores. She couldn’t feed herself between the broken teeth and her inability to use her arms, she was helpless, but still coherent and completely aware of what was happening.

This was a horror movie existence. Her stump could not be sewn and the leg had to be open.

It was a horrific sight. We set up her room in such a way that everyone who came in asked if we were a nursing home. We had the hospital bed, the Hoyer lift, shelves of supplies, you name it. If you are not changing diapers, you are tending a traumatic wound. We had to keep a watch to the slightest change in skin colour, urine, bowel movements, nails, breath, eyes, you name it.

And then I’d talk about what my family was going through, and almost every single time, people would have the nerve to say, “Oh, I know what you’re going through. My grandma died of cancer".” Or mother, father, spouse.

Did you look after them in your house?

Well, no.

How many diapers did you change?

Eww, none.

How many wounds did you dress?

How many times did you feed this person or bathe them?

Well, the nursing home/hospital/hospice did that.

So how do you know what I went through?

Having a sick relative is not the same as having one who was catastrophically disabled.

You don’t know. You were hands off, and now you are indulging in an offensive ruse of conversational narcissism. You are being selfish, heartless, unsympathetic, vulgar, and rude.

But every once in a while, I would come across someone who had a terminally ill child or relative, and they did go through something that horrific or were going through it.

It is a completely different conversation. The institutional indignities are real and shocking. People say heartless things to you that are vile.

I remember overhearing one recent amputee talking to the nurse who told this man that he could order groceries to be delivered to his door. She was all proud of herself even though he kept telling her that he lived alone, was on a fixed budget and couldn’t afford it, and would not be able to get into his apartment because there were stairs.

(And while I am here, let me tell all of you reading this article that if you have one step in front of your house, it is like having a mountain for someone who has mobility issues. The end. But I digress.)

You are so focussed on the war of giving someone the gift of one more day of life, that you put yourself last. You are focussed on grains. You are not babbling about “me time”. That’s not an actual thing.

Because that’s an hour away from someone who is completely dependent on you for survival, and you can have all the “me time” in the world — but once someone you love dies, there is no more “us time.”

And when that “day at the spa” cost someone their life, then what?

You don’t know what it is like to be in a war just because you were involved in a drunken bar brawl.

You don’t know what it is like to be kept a hostage just because you have to be at home for Thanksgiving.

The problem usually is when we are in those situations, we panic, and are wired for baser survivalist strategies. We don’t know how to assess things in an empirical way — we get thrown in and all our attention has to be elsewhere.

But Method Research is the way of collecting data in the real world with a plan in mind — and at heart.

It is very easy to use sophistry, over-think, and believe you can see things strictly from an intellectual standpoint.

You are missing the heart of everything, and without a heart, there is only a corpse.

So Method Research is also the method of empirical study with a balance of emotional literacy. You are not in a clinical lab.

You are out in the real world. You see truths because you face reality.

So, for example, I can conduct a study on how people behave when they have a tight deadline. I can have students sign up in my experiment, sit in a room, and I can have a loud clock ticking, and pressure them.

I will get results.

But as there is no one in the room who will have a history with the person or trigger certain emotional responses, my conclusions are shallow at best.

Now, if I conduct the experiment in a newsroom where there is an sexist editor who is sexually harassing some employees, giving his university chums a free pass, and playing mind games with those he is in competition with — and I run the same experiment, I am going to get very deep, different, and real results.

But I can go even deeper than that.

I can be one of those reporters working in that toxic stew. I can tell you exactly what is happening.

Now, if I am that reporter, I may be too panicked or focussed on revenge to see what is happening to others or to me. I will too busy declaring myself a victim or hero and demonizing other people.

But if I am a Method Researcher, I can observe dynamics. I know what i am thinking — but also feeling.

It is very easy for a psychologist to label faceless strangers. It is very different to label yourself or people who get to know around you.

And that is the difference.

That kind of intimate research forces you to be accountable to it. Who do you know better — the person you read about in news articles, or the person you live with and talk to everyday?

You can make guesses about the person you don’t know, but you don’t actually know if your fantasies have anything to do with reality.

That’s the reason I can now see the troubles of journalism, know why they happened, and predict their future — I was in that hell hole.

I can tell you that CBS employees are clueless about their workplace. I can tell you that a newspaper is falling apart, and it is more frequent than you can imagine. There have been activists, operatives, and other partisan people who can go in and manipulate a newsroom with ease.

There are no mechanisms in place, not even in national outlets.

And if there isn’t any mechanisms now — there wasn’t any back then, either.

It should have never gotten this far. There were numerous options and countless opportunities.

But when you have people who are not self-aware, they have no idea what they are doing or why.

They only think they know.

But their results say otherwise.

The View From a Sparrow's Nest, Part One.

I was twenty years old when I decided that I didn't have to follow someone else's script. Invention and creation are two concepts that are based on the idea of Fiat Lux: you create something that was never made before. In Western society, both those concepts are seen as some sort enemy to avoid.

I saw it, and I chronicled that fear of the unknown in a society that followed rules religiously.

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Try to start something new: oh, the number of committees and other make work programs that are allowed to exist in order to stymie something that has never been done before. Everyone wants to passively sit and come up with excuses why something new should never see the light of day without any expertise in doing anything new or has no evidence or knowledge in the realm of Creating, Inventing, or Innovating.

But I never let anyone stop me from moving forward in spite of the collective fear.

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Because the old ways are such a snore that lulls everyone into complacency. People steal the anonymous scripts assumed to be written by They to guide them.

How very uninspiring and unoriginal.

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Magic happens when you break away from the Committees that created the Tower of Babel. They are always babbling nonsense, trying to stop something better from arriving and delivering.

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Not me, though. I have walked through that Tower of Babel and have mused from it.

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But I left that burning tower as I look for a better way...