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FTSA: The Best of 2013

December 16, 2013

by J. Andrew Zalucky

Well readers, looks like another year has gone by, and I have to say that 2013 has been the best year ever for this website! Granted, we’ve only been in existence since the spring of 2011, but hey, progress is progress! The year saw a wide variety of commentary and analysis from various contributors, with more and more articles published for a steadily growing readership. There are many articles I’d be happy to celebrate here, but as a tribute to our readers, let’s look back at the most-read articles of the year!

1.) No, Your PS3 is Not Making You Crazy


The persistent urge to blame violent media for the ills of society is nothing more than a dodge of real questions of mental health. It comes from the desire of those who see things about modernity they dislike, and choose to throw their alienation on the face of larger forces of culture like music, film, and gaming.

2.) Oh, and Tarantino Isn’t Making you Crazy Either

movie violence

it should keep us open to the fact that violent media provides an outlet for a certain element of the human consciousness that Pixar movies and romantic comedies don’t quite reach.

3.) “Over There”: An Interview with a US Soldier Returned from Afghanistan


“There is a remarkable amount of suffering in Afghanistan. I’ve grown numb to a lot of tragic things here, because it could always be worse. I’m glad I’ve experienced these realities, because now I am more aware of all we take for granted here in the United States.”

4.) Wait…So Was Hitler a Hipster


But when you think about it, if everything is distilled into a meaningless slop of irony and pretentiousness, is there really any room left for the statement: “fascism is evil” or “genocide is wrong” or “a human has a right to his or her own life”.

5.) Only the Names and Faces Change

postmodern image head

Because after all, if we are just powerless playthings of the cultural forces around us, we might as well just sit and pontificate to one another with paragraphs of meaningless jargon until our ears bleed. It is not unlike believing in conspiracy theories, at once both stultifying and self-reinforcing: there are forces beyond our control that guide our destiny, “why don’t we act to change that?”, because we are powerless…so let’s just go on The History Channel and sell books instead.

6.) The Shame of Mass Incarceration in America

Change in US incarceration rate

The United States today is in a real crisis. Over the past 40 years, the US prison population has exploded into the largest system of mass incarceration in the world. We imprison a higher percentage of our population than Russia, China, Iran, and many other nations, with the possible exception of North Korea, but even this embarrassing comparison is not totally certain.

7.) Why Bi-Partisanship Can Really Suck


What we need is a strong opposition movement of principled Liberals, Libertarians, and those Conservatives who are passionate about defending the constitution. Articles, protests, campaigns of awareness, and of course, the choices we make with voting and campaign contributions will all be a part of this. But first, one must…drop the facade of party allegiance.

8.) Revenge of the Nerds: The Positive Effects of Video Gaming


Another important function of gaming is that it allows for an imaginative space outside of everyday reality in which a person can explore, uninhibited by the constraints of the “real world”.

To those who would dismiss this as wasteful escapism, then why bother reading works of fiction? Or to that matter, why even use your imagination at all?

9.) Fascism: What it is, and How NOT to Fight it


It is easy to become comfortable and sneer at hysterical reactionary groups like BNP, Golden Dawn, and their Salafist counterparts when they sit outside the bounds of our mainstream political consensus. It is much more important to notice and be vigilant against their ideas when they take root, however subtly, in our own democratic institutions; especially when they are smuggled in through the cargo hold of “national security.”

10.) Essential Video: Carl Bernstein on “The Idiot Culture”

Edward snowden paula deen

The disease manifests itself in two ways. First, it distracts the public from news they ought to know if we want to live in a robust, democratic society. Second, it turns many public figures who are not in the entertainment business, into gossip fodder as well. It has reached the point where, over the last two administrations, both Republicans and Democrats have sacrificed any attachment to their supposed principles for the adoration and worshiping of “their guy.”

So with that I will say thank you to all of our readers for making 2013 such an exciting year! We have a lot in store for the coming year, until then we’ll take the appropriate time to write, and give the site a much-needed re-design for the new year!

See you in 2014!

One Comment leave one →
  1. pjk_pmp permalink
    December 17, 2013 9:46 pm


    On to 2014!


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