In the past if an individual wanted to issue propaganda the best they could usually do was a stack of mis-printed flyers that ended up in the mud or clogging up the storm drains.
Now with social media everyone has their own little propaganda platforms. We use them less and less for socializing and more for creating images. Unrealistic self-aggrandizing and censored propaganda. As a result there are two selves – the true self, and the projected self, or constructed self.
People like Goebbels, Stalin’s Pravda, Mussolini and Kim Il Sung were pioneers of the genre. Back then it required the resources of a nation state to be able to so carefully craft the image of the self that the true self desired. Stalin, for example, loved to doctor photos. He stood about 5′4 but Soviet propaganda photos depict him as much taller. Similarly photos were doctored to show him sitting next to Lenin and smiling when in fact there were many people sitting between them. Most famously was the complete removal of Nikolai Yezhov from all official photographs. Yezhov was the former head of NKVD and Stalin’s personal hatchet man until he fell out of favour with Stalin. Just like his successor and predecessor Yezhov was executed in the NKVD headquarters basement.
Essentially Stalin used doctoring of images, and the communist mouthpiece paper, the Pravda to make himself appear closer to Lenin, to erase any photos suggesting that Yezhov and Stalin had ever even met.
So what the hell does this have to do with social media in 2017? Now everyone has access to that technology and more control over their own image than Kim Jong Il (inventor of the hamburger and author of 5,000 books during college according to DPRK sources) could have dreamed. High school kids can doctor photos, blogs serve as personal Pravda’s, our own little propaganda papers. Even without realizing we use social media to present the image of our ideal selves, rather than our true selves. We can construct our own realities. Simply block viewpoints we don’t agree with. Delete embarrassing photos, take back statements and expressions than no longer align with your views with a couple of clicks. Leave no trace. Change your name, remake your body, tell everyone you’re on vacation in France. They’ll believe it, why wouldn’t they?
Technology is not inherently good or bad, if and how you make use of it is whats important. Are we becoming our own Stalin’s and Kim Il Sungs? How much of this is really us and how much of it is just how we want to appear to the outside world.
–Jack Blare, April 12, 2017
Back when I first kicked junk, in 2010 nobody knew what hydromorphone or fentanyl even were. People would just look at me confused. “Its like morphine but stronger.” I’d tell them. Back then I was almost exclusively snorting hydromorphone (I had a good source). Most everyone else was into oxy back then. They introduced Oxy Neo as an abuse-proof replacement for oxycontin tabs. While there are ways to prepare Oxy Neo for injection they are quite complicated and take a long time. Some, especially the First Nations worried that entire communities would go into withdrawal at once.
Cops want to stop junkies but junkies want to shoot up more. They have no limits, don’t give a fuck about safety and were dead set on getting their fix. Then came the old standard to save the day-heroin. It was and is cheaper than pills. The doctors stopped prescribing oxy due to the stigma around the name it and needed a replacement other than morphine. They found this in Dilaudid, or hydromorphone, a drug 5 times the potency of heroin, or fentanyl patches which is 100 times the strength.
Now its 2017 and people are dropping like flies. I always preferred hydromorphone because unlike H which is just a powder, hydromorphone came in little balls that were supposedly abuse proof. 30 seconds with a mortar and pestle beg to differ, however the point is that these little balls are near-impossible to tamper with or replicate without a lab. Lacing them with fentanyl would be more trouble than it was worth. Not so for powdered heroin or easily pressed oxycodone tablets. They started showing up in overdose deaths all over North America. Fentanyl is cheaper to produce than heroin, easier to smuggle and can be made in a laboratory.
By the time I stopped shooting up fentanyl had all but replaced heroin in some places. It was even popping up in cocaine, a stimulant. Even worse were the reports of carfentanil being used as a cut, a thousand times stronger than morphine it was never used by humans until recently. Prior to that it was used for tranquilizing elephants. Shortly before stopping I was sold fentanyl-laced fake oxycontin as well as straight fentanyl. Even snorting a bit of it put me on the nod and I was seeing triple. Lucky for me I didn’t OD and voluntarily signed up for a suboxone program. I didn’t want to go down with the ship.
This isn’t about morals or strength of character-anyone can be an addict. I go to the clinic and see people older, younger, in suits and in construction boots, new mothers with babies. All levels of society, every race. Addiction affects us all. Now more than ever it is clear that we need to treat this epidemic as the health crisis it is, and stop placing blame on addicts. There should be more funding for education and expansion of clinics specializing in addiction treatment and a much expanded needle exchange system. People need to be aware of the other options available to them, such as methadone or suboxone, and a heroin maintenance program should be established as well as safe injection zones. These are proven methods and not only will they reduce ODs but they’ll lower the amount of blood borne diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis C.
Finally and most importantly opioid addicts, as well as their friends and family should always carry or have easy access to Naloxone. A single dose of naloxone will completely reverse an opioid overdose, even fentanyl. You can get kits at your local pharmacy at no cost so there really isn’t any reason not to have it around.
–Jack Blare, 2017
I shot myself in
The head searching for life’s truths
Written in dry blood.
Every time I think I have finally found a decent balance of medication one of my doctors has to fuck it up. Now I get to choose whether to withdraw from klonopin, which I’ve been taking as a prescription for four years, stopping suboxone and going through an opioid withdrawal or go back to shooting coke, dilaudid and fentanyl.With my anxiety at a peak, this being the year my dad died, my genius doctor is taking me off the medication that stops me from obsessively slicing holes in my body during panic attacks. I guess i could go on enough methadone to be too out of it to feel anxious. Really not caring much. Every time I try to do things the “right” way it somehow gets fucked up. Now the cravings have returned and all I want is double shot of hydro right in my mainline. I don’t trust anyone at all. 240 pages into my novel and I just stopped caring. I’ll write more when I get some speed. I’m so irritated at this point I would do practically anything. The only thing stopping me from going back to my poly-substance trash can ways is that B. is visiting. She’s the only person who’s opinion actually matters to me. If things go well maybe it will break this fog of misery. If not I’ll go west. I have places to stay and enough connections not to have to worry about anxiety or withdrawal. What most non users don’t understand is that we know its fucking awful for us, we know that a bad shot can kill, we’ve had cotton fever and we don’t care. When you live that sort of lifestyle its not a matter of if you die, so much as how and when. Everyone accepts it except the ones so tweaked they think they’ll live forever. The truth is that by the time you’re sticking needles in your flesh looking for a working vein and spending all your cash on your habit you don’t give a shit if the next shot puts you down. There is only the present and the present is junk. Some, like me, get out before that last one but every day more people drop like flies and nobody really cares. Whats another dead junky to this world?
Every day your scroll down your dash reading post after post about Donald Trump, all of them negative. If there is a dissenting viewpoint its usually squashed with outrage. All you have to do is read the suggestions at the top to see that Tumblr is a very left-leaning website. These are good values to hold in my opinion but this platform has become an echo-chamber of liberal ideas and propaganda, what I mean to say is that we’re preaching to the choir. Just as 4chan is an exclusively right wing website Tumblr has become exclusively left wing. The result is that we are talking to each other and reassuring one another with the same ideas but not enacting the change we want because political posts on Tumblr will only,or mainly, be read by people who more or less share the same viewpoints.
Its important to have political discourse but if you want to really change people’s minds you have to get your message across to the opposition and the apolitical. So while Tumblr is a great blogging site its not the best place to voice your political opinion if you’re on the left precisely because there are so few right wing people actually using Tumblr.
Sun slips below the horizon
Shadows wake the demons
lying dormant in innocent minds
The roads forward are blocked
Yet years still slip by
Night after sleepless night
–Jack Blare, 2017