Saturday, January 9, 2010

I predict that one day in the near future

Someone will be writing their doctoral dissertation on some facet of the history of blogging. I'm sure there will even be sophisticated theories and metatheories on blogging and bloggers, supporting academic careers for decades to come. Who knows, perhaps the famous Kubrik template will have whole academic conferences devoted to it.

All snark aside, it's still pretty interesting to be reminded of a little of the medium's history from time to time.

Contra Giuliani

There was plenty of domestic terrorist activity during the Bush II regime. Rather than take Giuliani at his word, do some research. All one need do is look at a report last summer by the SPLC, which documented some 75 domestic terrorist attacks and threats since the Murrah Federal Building bombing in 1995. Of course there have been some since Obama was sworn in too. What do all these domestic terrorist attacks and threats have in common? They've been perpetrated by right-wing extremists who are avowed white supremacists and ostensibly "Christian" (I use the term very loosely). Thankfully in many cases the perps were caught before they could do any serious damage.

I just think this should be mentioned for those who get bent out of shape over brown-skinned individuals from distant lands. We have plenty of our own Taliban wannabes who are homegrown, who would be more than happy to establish their fantasy of a white "Christian" theocracy here by any means they deem necessary.

Speaking of labor

As sour as I generally am about the Obama regime, I will give credit for appointing Hilda Solis to the post of Secretary of Labor. She seems so far to be making a difference. Let's hope she continues to do so.

Fighting the CEOs and winning

It doesn't happen very often, but every once in a while we get some good news - such as Teamsters taking on such powerhouses as Goldman Sachs and winning, saving tens of thousands of jobs in the process.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Musical Interlude

Long before Lady Gaga, there was David Bowie, whose birthday was today. I became a fan of Bowie's in my teens. I'd certainly heard a few of his standards on Sacramento-area rock stations by the time he dropped Lodger (1979) the album that would become the first in my collection. That album would expose me to a number of musicians whom I've continued to admire regardless of the direction my interests have taken me - Adrian Belew and Brian Eno played prominent roles on the album, and the instrumentation was absolutely incredible. I trace some of my interest in ambient music, "krautrock", and world music (especially from the African continent) to what I heard on Lodger. In 1980, I remember seeing Bowie perform some tunes - a couple numbers from Lodger, along with one of his early 1970s classics, "The Man Who Sold the World" on SNL. That may have been the high point of SNL's fifth season for me - the band was tight, the costuming was quite interesting and conceptual (see the performance of "Boys Keep Swinging" for example), and always subverting our cultural conceptions of gender. The next year's album, Scary Monsters would sort of sum up and consolidate everything Bowie had learned up to that point. I still love the single "Fashion" and the title track from that album. Whatever he was doing at the time connected pretty nicely with rock's then burgeoning new wave, while not entirely alienating the increasingly stodgy classic rock contingent of the time.

Following is a medley of videos from Bowie's classic period.

"Life on Mars?"

"Look Back In Anger":


David Bowie/DJ

Mary | MySpace Video


David Bowie - Fashion - kewego
It’s not really the 70’s any more. It’s not the 80’s quite yet. But he’s way ahead of it’s time as always : David Bowie’s music video of his hit single from scary monsters : Fashion.

On a related note

Squidward reacts to experiencing the future:

Gazing at the crystal ball

See The Blowback Effect, 2020.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dropping like flies?

Yes, Virginia, some Dims are retiring from the House and Senate. Turns out a slightly larger number of Rethugs are doing the same. So much for another meme that held more truthiness than truthfulness.

Monday, January 4, 2010

There are a couple reasons I found the "tea parties" repulsive

1) The overtly racist and eliminationistic rhetoric spouted by many in attendance.

2) The organizations behind the tea parties represent a faction of the corporatists, and seem to be proposing as a "solution" to what ails us more tax cuts for the super-rich.

There's an line from an old song that goes, "when you want money for people with minds that hate, all I can tell you is brother you have to wait."

Update: More from David Neiwert

Where is Upton Sinclair when we need him?

Tainted Burgers Show That Corporate Profits Trump Public Safety (Cargill and McDonalds Edition) -plenty of insight into a major source of E coli contamination. Enforcement of existing regulations in the meatpacking industry is, shall we say, farcical.

It may be time to re-read The Jungle.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Interesting postmortem on the last decade

Over at Unqualified Offerings, read Odyssey Too (h/t). Although I'm a bit more optimistic than the writer as to our near-future prospects, I do agree that we have some rough sledding ahead. I've been thinking a bit on some trends to look for this coming decade - some good, some bad, some just plain ugly. Perhaps I'll post a few thoughts soon.

See also, Craziest Shit of the Decade, More Lost Decade, A Wasted Decade, and Looking Back.

It's all so confusing

So, is the world supposed to end in 2012 or 2011? Better yet, why not call bullshit on all of the end of the world nonsense? Hell, I'm already making plans for an after the end of the world cookout sometime in 2013. I'm still deciding on music, but the videos below will give you a hint at what will be on the playlist.

Sun Ra sez, "It's after the end of the world. Don't you know that yet?"

Bonus video that uses a Sun Ra track - near the end you can hear chanting of "it's after the end of the world":

As the old saying goes, power corrupts

One thing that seems never to change - the culture of corruption. Dig the latest on the TSA nominee, Erroll Southers, who seems to have no problem with privacy invasion (perfect for an agency whose sole purpose is to invade privacy, I suppose), and former DHS czar Michael Chertoff, whose advocacy for full-body scanners in airports should come with a disclaimer (his consulting company has as a client a company that manufactures them). As for the former, it's a good thing his nomination has been blocked so far. Time for the Pope of Hope to find a less creepy nominee. As for Chertoff, old Skeletor has made a career out of exploiting fear, both in the public sector (during Bush II's reign or error), and now in the private sector. If he's advocating something, the wise thing to do is to listen carefully to what he says and then do the exact opposite of whatever he prescribes as a solution.

Maybe the surrealists were right:

Jacob Russell sez (h/t):
Play is not recreation... it is re-creation. We cannot magically wish away the symbolic configurations of our received world, stripping away the names with which we dress our perceptions. But we can play with them, and in play, serious or whimsical, named things regain their plasticity, loosen their attachments to the assigned order. In a sense, what is most fulfilling in any human relationship--friendship, love, the companionship of work--is a kind of play, unfixing the other from the conditioned; if there is any meaning to 'freedom,' it would be this. In language, too--we can either rehab the old structures, repairing and rebuilding--or make new. And yes, we can 'make new,' by unfixing the parts, razing the building, turning bricks to clay and glass to sand and fire. When poets pry loose the joints of syntax, and novelists refuse to follow the established maps of narrative--this too, is play, play that makes us free, and while poets cannot themselves remake a better world, they can make it easier to imagine how it might be done by unlocking our vision from the received conditions of the terrible hologram, this script we've been following to our untimely end. I see this as an endorsement of both the surrealist project(s) of the last century, though not neccesarily of (their take on them) the psychoanalytic theories they used to defend it), and of poetic movements like LangPo and Flarf--and of the least entertainment driven Rapp and Performance poets (Ursula Rucker) "I didn't come here to make you feel good... "). Less than that--and we, as poets and artists, will again and again find ourselves, against every intention, having our work, at best, serve to comfort and reinforce believers in the Hologram... and at worst, transformed into propaganda to fuel the endless cycle of war and economic exploitation.
Speaking of Ursula Rucker, here she is with The Roots from a live gig this past October.