Jan 17Liked by Penfist

I appreciate your position, though I disagree with several points.

Substack is not a neutral platform, hosting a wide variety of voices. The founders derive direct revenue (10%) from newsletters that spew actual Nazi propaganda (not to mention vaccine disinformation, election lies, racism, etc).

Substack makes bank on newsletters that are aiding in the further erosion of democracy.

In addition to monetization, Substack actively furthers these newsletters via recommendations, interviews, and Notes' algorithms.

As to your larger points, I agree. Substack is a minor player in an asymmetrical battle.

Expand full comment

If Substack deplatforms content with which I disagree, it will just go somewhere else and I may lose awareness and think the threat has disappeared when it is just growing outside of my sight. What about that? What would you do with the neo-Nazis, the racists, the fascists, and the disinformation and conspiracy peddlers?

Expand full comment

Well, there's a difference between deplatforming and demonetization.

At any rate, the GOP is now the party of neo-Nazis, racists, fascists, disinformation/conspiracy peddlers from the politicians to the pundits to the right-wing cable/radio/podcast/tech bros.

They don't lack platforms to spread

their venom

Expand full comment

So very true, you make very valid points. It's always hard to make the distinction between that which is "tolerated," and that which behind the scenes is applauded.

Expand full comment

"It's always hard to make the distinction between that which is "tolerated," and that which behind the scenes is applauded."

What is applauded "behind the scenes" and often right out front via a publicly traded prospectus for the investor class is a business model. Anything that is grist or grits for the mill of publishing (now platformed anywhere in Cyberia) via their symbiotic partners in revenue generation the Public Relations and Advertising industries has a business model.

The business model is the founding document, like budgets in our Pay2Play republic we rarely link founding documents with morals and values and other codes of Right and Wrong (or every other entity). Journalists often don't bother to link to the public statement of Business Model (BM).

Take that BM and it can either target an exclusive and exclusivity-seeking clientele or the rabble which is distinct from the Public Interest.

The former, here referenced as the "rabble" are a market constituency providing the comforts of belonging to something larger than themselves, while insisting on Libertarian absolutism and the prerogatives of being an individual with no responsibilities to any larger entity than themselves. This kind of zipperless f**K is a widely exploited commodity and very frequently benefits many a bid-net model. Like the fast-disappearing Wage Slave Working Class it has only its own labor and any affiliated labor with which to petition for representation. Recall his\herstorically our nation states' street rabble colonial street protests and demonstrations: "NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION."

The Rabble has zero representation in a Pay2Play republic and lacks any value to any body politic or mediated polity or REPRESENTED CLASS unless it can and does organize with others of the rabble with which to affiliate and dissolve into a constituency. The rabble without being further affiliated or targeted has no market or legislative petition\policy value per se. No Public Interest angle there. They exist as the marketing sphere's raw and natural resource to be refined and turned into a commodity.

From this context I side with and understand Penfist's clear Public Interest-ed statement in response to readers who disagree on this or that distinction 'tween "de-platforming" and\or exploitation via "monetization" or commodification, especially of the tricky interior games I catch my own self and inner voice and mental tapes that I often label and\or misrepresent to myself and mis-identify to others as my "conscience."

Acerbic and very useful cultural and social critic Pauline Kael once commented over Community Radio that she had concerns about that particular organization of Community Radio stations (Pacifica Radio) over which she broadcast voluntarily for no pay and that she periodically joined during Fund Raising Listener Pledge Drives for that non-profit organization which seemed to her to be an example of "the Commodification of Conscience..." After all, the Public Interest too is a raw resource for all kinds of revenue streams to profit maximizing and non-profit status enterprises in our Econ-o-comic system.


In this review of Neil Postman's brief yet prescient book of media discussions\essays pay special attention to the 4 bullet points by reviewer Nathan Eberline:


"... perhaps the issues he raises are too far embedded to be recognized as concerns. Regardless, he noted one point on modern politics that should still startle voters. Postman referenced the Greek philosopher, Xenophanes, who observed that “men create the gods in their own image.”

"...Today’s political campaigns modify this idea: “those who would be gods refashion themselves into images that viewers would have them be.” If voters seek candidates whose images reflect what we want to be, then substance does not matter. The tangibility of policy ideas is secondary to the candidate’s image. Relatedly, history can play no role in politics, because history only matters insofar as someone takes seriously the idea that patterns of the past can inform what we face today and the days to come."

Penfist recapitulates from within his own specific sets of concerns to those who would censor Substack and other such BM's (business models) based on unstated ethical or moral codes as well as those that would Commodify Conscience in Pauline Kael's crucial concept in her critique of her own participation in a non-profit biz model that was and is always enriching some profit-maximizing entrepreneur our Pay2Play Political E-CON-O-My is ever privileging in our representatives' legislative, law-enforcement and policy-making....

"If Substack de-platforms content (the Golden Goose) with which I disagree, it will just go somewhere else and I may lose awareness and think the threat has disappeared when it is just growing outside of my sight. What about that? What would you do with the neo-Nazis, the racists, the fascists, and the disinformation and conspiracy peddlers?"

Mitch Ritter\Paradigm Sifters, Code Shifters, PsalmSong Chasers

Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa (Refuge of Atonement Seekers)

Media Discussion List\LookseeInnerEarsHearHere

Expand full comment

Well written Pen. I agree with so much of what you've well-articulated. Roughly 98%, if I had to put a number on it. Putting beliefs in religious dogma and a belief in the supernatural in the same basket, suggests to me that there's no room or place for personal experiences that so many of us have had that defy CURRENT explanation. The temptation is that if we've never had such an out of this world type experience ourselves, then the people who have must be dull or naive.

For me to ignore my own experience would be akin to me being present on the Capitol steps Jan 6th 2021 and denying that there was anything beyond some rowdy tourists. We each have to deal with our own realities but that in no way suggests that we should not use insight to analyze what we make of it.

I'm not sure if you got to read my - "The Christmas Story, Facts like Hen's Teeth." I'd venture to say you'd be unlikely to disagree with more than 2 or 3 %. As I said, I think you wrote an excellent piece.

Expand full comment
Jan 17·edited Jan 17

Many thanks Penfist for helping to make me feel less alone. I'm generally non-binary where political identity is concerned, although my tendency since inculcation by the counter-balancing forces of Community Radio as a kid during my formative years which took the place of the TV my parents disallowed on school days and nights and then a less traumatic and continuing valued experience than you describe from your childhood inculcation into a schismatic Christian upbringing as I managed to avoid with the often absurd yet widely self-mocked in a culture that greatly valued self-mockery namely the sectarian Orthodox Jewish Day School, High School and modern Orthodox Zionist summer camp as camper and kitchen worker through those formative lower and high school years.

That Zionist summer camp named Massad Aleph near Tannersville in the lovely if Nazi infested among the more culturally attuned early Germanic communities of Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains also inculcated earlier generations of campers and workers including scathing Zionist critic Noam Chomsky and tireless Zionist apologist and legal weasel the capital L self-identified Liberal Alan Dershowitz (still representing Donald Trump I see). So, just from that bit of sharing on my well-spent yoot you can guess I continue to lean lefty without any desire to label myself as such.

Although I've spelled myself with a capital "L" for Left Wing in some political debates with fixed binary position self-identified capital C Conswervatives since I know that in any given day I am in situations that call for a pronounced even severe Conservative character in decision-making.

As a kid earning extra money from neighbors and some relatives I made money baby-sitting and that always brought out my most Conservative side as concern that I not get distracted from keeping tabs on the kids I was supposed to be acting as guardian over.

Safety first. Most parents I've met who do label and identify in binary Identity (Politics and Culture) also reveal when getting to know them various sides to their cultural tastes, lifestyles and character and if they become parents also present a Conservative side to their pre-Age of Reason kids.

However I've found myself sharing Matt Taibbi's resistance to the quick recourse to CENSORSHIP one finds in certain varieties of "WOKE" Progressive circles that rivals the DeSantistan Conswervative MAGA that call for going so far as to ban school curricula that arouses any Critical Thinking in grade and muddle school through high school, much less the college-level Critical Theory curricula in any respectable university. Needless to say, I've been chastised and in some cases ostracized by some of my fellow politically lefty leaning friends whose concern for the proliferation of actual Nazi and Fascist public expression mirrors the post-Holocaust and Nazi German state's adoption of laws that restrict such expression for having led to such human suffering and mis-leading of the populace.

So thanks for using fewer and clearer words and phrases in your valuable SubStack declaration of your own position. I also subscribe to some SubStackers who identify as big P Progressives and who defend the de-platforming of Neo-Nazis and revanchist Nazis. The Bad Actors and Terror crowd will always herd together on 4Chan or wherever the Dark Web and QAnon is located. I'd rather read their stuff and know what the "enemy" is thinking. I get the danger to masses who are swayed by cults of personality. Do I need to point out the winner of the first U.S. state political party primary for Commander In Chief or the runner-up candidate?

I also get ostracized by most of the Diaspora Jewish Community which has backed the blocking of all translations from Hebrew into English of such principled Zionists as personal role-models of mine like the once ubiquitous on Israeli radio and tv Public Interest programming. Including a widely listened to pre-Sabbath Friday afternoon drash or biblical exegesis pegged to current events in the Muddle East that was carried on IDF Galei Tzahal\National Radio Waves of the IDF FM frequency and often excoriated the behavior and policies of the IDF and often supported humanitarian activist groups that supported actively opposing serving in the Occupied Territories. Yet this figure drew the observant Orthodox Israeli listeners who like early U.S. Christian evangelicals often shunned political participation. Until they were herded and exploited by Daddy Warbucks and the Neo-Feudal Lords of Finance into fully and fascistically backing the most far-right extremist candidates and parties as Israel flipped from secular to a religious state in the sense of the Identity Politics movement spear-headed in the U.S. among Christians by such as tax-obsessed personally secular Grover Norquist, mystically absolutist Dominionist author and self-identified fundamentalist religious revivalist R.J. Rushdoony and Son's various "Roads to Dominion" (the title of a good explanatory book by former academic Sara Diamond who quit academics when she couldn't find any stability in the movement of even public colleges and universities into the Adjunct Gypsy Professor gig economies advocated by secularists and religious alike under the rubric of Neo-Liberal\Neo-Conservative E-CON-omics).

Sara Diamond's book "Roads to Dominion" looked at how the Left\Liberal identified political movements of those late 20th C. decades were out-worked, out-sweated and out-strategized on the recruitment of evangelical and fundamentalist Christian revival movements of the 70's, 80's, 90's into engaged and cohesive political alignment with those most secular of leaders as the Reagan Right. Not unlike the political and socio-economic shift that succeeded in Israel with a similar type of recruitment of large blocks of formerly dis-engaged from secular political life Haredi and Observant Orthodox Jewish Zionists in Israel and the Jewish Diaspora.

These were movements led by young, bright and clever political strategists and steering tacticians like the Christian Right's Ralph Reed and Frank Luntz.




All this ended in Israel and the Jewish Diaspora organizations when capital L Liberal PM Yitzhak Rabin (later assassinated after speaking at a massive Peace Now Rally in Tel Aviv by a capital L LOONIE and capital T TERRORIST). That same capital L Liberal IDF General and Prime Minister of the Labor Left coalition chose to pressure that widely influential circa 60's and 70's, 80's Orthodox Humanitarian who so influenced me, namely Yeshayahu Leibowitz to resign from his tenure holding the ISRAEL PRIZE for lifetime achievement and contribution to the cultural and scholarly life of Israel.


That figure, Yeshayahu Leibowitz has been all but wiped from Israeli published and broadcast life, and references actively suppressed in any translation out of the Hebrew works of social advocacy and reform, although some of his Hebrew talks, debates and both civic\political and biblical\talmudic works continue to be referenced and posted to U. of Tube dba YouTube if not translated into English and other languages for fear of "Yeesh" contaminating the official ZIONIST LINE of HASBARA (Propaganda\Public Relations industry as founded by Edward Bernays here in U.S. at start of 20th C.) that keeps the gravy train of the global Jewish Diaspora following the call to silence internal critiques and debates that might cast the cash cow in an ungolden light.....

One explanation for why the Israeli demonstrations against terminal far Right Wing Israeli acolyte of Daddy Warbucks, namely PM Bibi Netanyahu and his cabinet of terrorists in actuality and not merely in political identity and in coalition with necessarily moderating smaller parties those internal Israeli public uprisings against the decades of extremist Right Wing political mis-leadership rarely generate mainstream Jewish Diaspora support protests abroad.....Jewish Voice for Peace being the exception:


Keep on doing!

Health and balance,

Tio Mitchito

Mitch Ritter\Paradigm Sifters, Code Shifters, PsalmSong Chasers

Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa (Refuge of Atonement Seekers)

Media Discussion List\LookseeInnerEarsHearHere

Expand full comment