A short thesis on Joji’s newest single “Run”

Image result for joji run“Run” is the newest single from 88rising poster boy, Joji. It released following a ten day-period of teasers from the enigmatic singer/songwriter. Last Thursday morning a music video for the single was also released featuring a muted blue color palette and visuals seemingly taken from Joji’s previous videos.

The single on paper seems like it’s standard fare for Joji. Its lyrical content is very similar to that of his debut record BALLADS1. It’s tinged with the same melancholic tone and delivery however, its production is far more nuanced.

Its initial guitar riff interpolates elements from a Metallica song called “Nothing Else Matters” off of their fifth studio album commonly referred to as their “Black Album”. What is most interesting about this choice is its possible implication. The Black Album was one of Metallica’s most controversial as it signaled a shift in genre for the band. Many purists weren’t receptive to the change, however, critics lauded it as their best.

It would seem Joji is going through a similar change in style. Over time Joji has moved on from his early lo-fi hip-hop influence and bloomed into more of a pop artist. Some fans have expressed their distaste for the sudden shift in tone and often make fun of his dramatic transformation from his Filthy Frank persona into the singer he is today.

“Run” is all of those feelings incarnated into a single track. It expertly blends rock and pop elements and has the Osaka-born crooners best vocal performance since “Slow Dancing in the Dark.”

Whatever this single means for Joji, one thing is very clear; it’s just the beginning.

Why Jeffery Epstein will always be a conspiracy theory.

Image result for jeffrey epsteinJeffery Epstein was an American financier with ties to President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton as well as a plethora of other powerful individuals. He is also a known and convicted sex offender. On Aug. 10th Epstein, while awaiting his trial for sex trafficking charges in a Manhattan jail, was found dead.

This was not his first brush with crime however, back in 2007 Epstein was indicted and later convicted of sexual assault of a minor as well as solicitation of a prostitute. However, unlike most other sex offenders in the state of Florida, where he lived at the time, Epstein was given special privileges. Instead of prison, Epstein was admitted to a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade. If that didn’t make matters worse he rarely ever spent time in a cell and was actually allowed to work at his West Palm Beach office twelve hours a day.

By the end of it, Epstein only had to serve 13 months of an 18-month sentence before being let go on house arrest, thanks to a plea deal set by our ex-secretary of labor Alexander Acosta. Acosta claimed he had no clue of the liberal treatment Epstein was provided but records show that all federal prosecutes that were under his authority were very aware of the circumstances and demands.

What followed immediately after were a large slough of sexual assault charges levied at Epstein from his alleged previous victims. Eventually, he was arrested once again on sex trafficking charges and promptly held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. While under investigation a considerable amount of damaging evidence of sex trafficking. He was charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to traffic minors for sex. He was also denied bail by US District Judge Richard M. Berman who posited that Epstein posed a serious danger to new victims due to his “uncontrollable” sexual fixation on young girls. He also feared  Epstein was a serious flight risk and might use it to flee prosecution.

Of course, Epstein never actually had the chance to be prosecuted, because he died in his cell at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center. It was alleged he had killed himself using nothing but a jail bedsheet. He was supposed to be checked up on regularly due to a previous attempt he made on his own life, however, the guards who were in charge had fallen asleep while making their rounds.

Jeffery Epstein will never face the trial.

This is a summary of what is currently accepted as the true story of what happened to Epstein. However, the details are shaky at best and come from a smorgasbord of sources all of which with varying levels of reputability. Of course, with there being conflicting accounts and misinformation rampant, the case of Epstein is a very difficult one. Among its many instances of foul play its given ways to one of the 2019’s hottest conspiracies. The question of whether Epstein did or did not kill himself is a point of contention for many. It’s implications even more so.

So let’s talk about conspiracy theories. Head on over to Merriam Webster and they will tell you a conspiracy theory is “a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.” This is the official definition we will be running with for the duration of this article.

The possibility of foul play or a “secret plot” surrounding the events of Epstein’s death arose not long after he was pronounced dead. The Post unveiled a story on Aug. 11 focusing on a former NYC jail inmate. In said story, the inmate said there was “no way” Epstein was able to kill himself while incarcerated. At the same time, another article this time on CNN reported that Epstein’s death would be looked into, as per the request of Attorney General William Barr.

This is essentially what lit the fuse on the whole debacle. Afterward, several new discoveries were made that all had to do with Epstein’s supposed suicide.  Medical examiners found evidence that many believed to be more consistent with strangulation rather than hanging. Regardless, medical examiners in New York City officially ruled his death as a suicide on Aug. 16. However, this answer is not sufficient for many and a private investigation is still ongoing.

So whats this investigation trying to prove? We are aware that they believe Epstein didn’t kill himself but what does that really mean? It would seem everyone has their own take on the matter. What makes this case so compelling is the number of connections Epstein made during his trudge through life. What business does a convicted sex trafficker have with President Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew?

The short answer is, we will never know, but many have used this information to support their own unfounded conclusions. Some think he was killed to be silenced, others think he was forced to kill himself and so on and so forth. The running theory or joke, depending on who you are, is that Epstein didn’t kill himself.

So let’s analyze a few pieces of “damning” evidence people have used to “prove” Epstein didn’t kill himself.

For one, the official autopsy of Epstein reported a break in the hyoid bone. A U shaped bone positioned between the skull and postcranial skeleton. Some have used this to say that there is evidence of strangulation. However, CNN makes it clear that the bone can be broken in either case, whether it’s homicidal strangulation or suicide. The fact that it is more often broken in a homicide is neither here nor there, it’s a small detail irrelevant to the manner of death.

Many often cite the lack of camera footage as proof for there being foul play regarding the death of Epstein. Reuters actually reported two cameras positioned outside Epstiens cell mysteriously malfunctioned. However, tampering is actually a common occurrence in prisons and jails among inmates aside from this one instance. Videosurveillance.com makes this very clear: “There exists a risk that inmates will attempt to tamper with a facility’s security equipment. While many prisons use tamper-resistant cameras to cope with this problem, there’s always a possibility that a camera will be damaged and lose its signal.”

Again there are pages of possible malfunctions and issues revolving around tampering listed in official documents about security cameras released by correctional facilities. Obviously, it’s a big enough issue in prisons and not uncommon for a camera to malfunction randomly due to tampering or some other form of manipulation whether Epstein was there or not.

Finally, let’s go over the most interesting piece of evidence: the security guards. Two security guards were meant to check up one Epstein every thirty minutes due to previous behaviors. However, both accidentally fell asleep while doing their rounds. During this time is when Epstein killed himself.

To debunk this allow me to take you back to seventh-grade science class. The scientific method is an empirical method of study meant to test a hypothesis. A hypothesis is based on observable phenomena and can be proven or disproven using rigorous testing. On the flip side, we have conspiracy theories that begin with a conclusion and scramble for any information to prove their idea, substantial or not. This is also a demonstration of a common cognitive bias found in people.

The confirmation bias states that people tend to listen more often to information that confirms the beliefs they already have. Through this bias, people tend to favor information that confirms their previously held beliefs. If you keep telling yourself Epstein didn’t kill himself, of course, you’re going to find information that “proves” he didn’t. This manner of thinking throws the scientific method completely out the window. Beginning with your conclusion may net you lots of evidence but you have no idea how to differentiate between that and conjecture.

I didn’t have to explain why those pieces of evidence were wrong because the whole thing was wrong from the beginning. To agree with this conspiracy, you would also have to agree with a plethora of other instances inconsistent with reality. I could have released this article back when this topic was still relevant because I purposely wanted to wait for the trend to die down. Now that it’s no longer funny to say “Epstein didn’t kill himself” I think we can all focus on the raw facts here.

So there you have it. While Epstein may be dead, the case has not been allowed to rest. With several of his alleged victims filing lawsuits toward his estate, it would seem old habits die hard.