Saturday, February 4, 2012

B.A.D. followup

As a followup to yesterday's post, I thought I should make note that Corrente is also observing B.A.D. (over several days, which seems also quite in keeping with the tradition). Good on them!

Friday, February 3, 2012

B.A.D. - today and every day

I don't know if skippy is planning on observing B.A.D. (Blogroll Amnesty Day) at all this weekend, but since today is the anniversary of the original B.A.D., I feel a need to observe it. I'll level with you and say that I'm not really adding five new blogs to the blogroll (it's been a ridiculously busy day). However, I can rather easily name off five blogs that I linked to rather recently that are deserving of far more traffic than they receive.

So here goes, starting with four political blogs:

Fuck Yeah Marxism-Leninism

Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism


The Southern Socialist

And a jazz blog: That Fat Eb feels Mahogany to me. Matt Lavelle.

A couple of these are Tumblr blogs, reflecting my increased interest in Tumblr as a medium for both blogging and connecting with others on the left. Of course I continue to love free jazz, and whenever I find a blogger out there who is into the genre, I just have to link to 'em. The music was punk before there was punk, and at its best is as revolutionary as any form of music can be.

I'm still as convinced as ever that unlike the Gated Community Blogs, whose proprietors seem to generally believe in exclusiveness, lefty bloggers worth their salt would be best to gravitate toward inclusiveness. In this turbulent era, those of us on the left (in particular the anticapitalist left) need to be as connected and be writing and acting in solidarity as possible. My offer still stands: if you link to me and have noticed that I don't reciprocate, give me a shout out in the comments and I'll add a link to your blog.

At least one other blogger appears to be keeping the B.A.D. tradition, Pruning Shears. Good on ya!

My apologies on getting to this so late in the day. I really have been swamped.

In from the cold

I always love it when voices that had seemingly gone silent re-emerge. In the free jazz world, a number of prominent artists from the first wave (think 1960s) went silent by the decade's end. Some, like Henry Grimes and Giuseppi Logan were presumed to be dead. A few years ago, Henry Grimes was found, quite alive, and - with some nurturing - returned to active performing, composing, and recording. By happenstance, I've discovered that Giuseppi Logan was rediscovered a couple years back and has also begun to grace our ears with his compositions. Reviewers were often unkind to Logan during his brief early career, but have been far kinder to his more recent work. His early work, while certainly not easy listening by any stretch, was engaging, dissonant, and filled with humor (at least to my ears). When I would hear some of the so-called "no wave' artists of the late 1970s/early 1980s, as well as some of the artists who would revive free jazz in the 1990s, I could hear the influence of Logan's all-too-thin body of work. It is good to have him back - hopefully influencing the next generation of jazzheads.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blogroll Amnesty Day - Fifth Anniversary

February 3rd falls on a Friday this year, and those with a long enough memory around blogtopia (yes, skippy, I know) are aware that Friday is the fifth anniversary B.A.D. As a keeper of a tradition that emerged from that dark day in 2007, I will once more make an offer: if you link to my blog and I have somehow failed to reciprocate, please leave a comment with your blog's title and url and I will make sure to add your blog to my blogroll. I don't know if skippy will still be doing this, but I hope so. It's a nice tradition.

An alternative take on “The Gestalt Prayer”

Let’s set the stage a little. Anyone who might remember the days of the “human potential movement” probably learned Fritz Perls’ “Gestalt Prayer”:
I do my thing, and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you and I am I.
If by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.
At some point in the late 1970s the editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Tom Greening, compiled some of the alternative versions (and the occasional parody) of “The Gestalt Prayer”. One that I found especially useful and timely goes as follows:
I do my thing, and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you and I am I
And if by chance we find
Our brothers and sisters enslaved
And the world under fascist rule
Because we were doing our thing -
It can’t be helped?
I don’t know who the author of that version was, but it originally appeared in some publication called Rough Times. In it, I see a warning against the hyperindividualism that would come to define American culture during the last quarter of the 20th century up to the present in the still early years of the 21st century.

Another version, penned by You-Yuh Kuo, provides some food for thought as well:
If I just do my thing and you do yours,
We stand in danger of losing our society
And eventually ourselves.

We owe our present to the past
And ourselves to previous generations.
How much can we call ours?

Wild geese fly easier as a group.
Tulips look more beautiful as clusters.
We do not find each other by chance,
Nor together only by twos.
Don’t think too much about yourself.
There are many things we can do together.

We must begin with ourselves, true.
But why not lose ourselves, too,
In communal spirit,
For all, not for one or two?
Perhaps a call to solidarity?

Still too L for O?

I know I am.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Occupy Movement Banner Project is still alive

You have no doubt noticed that the blue "I support the Occupy movement" banner on the upper left-hand corner disappeared temporarily. Well it is back. Turns out that the person who created the script had to find a new host, due to traffic. Checked my bookmarks, found the website responsible for the script to find out what happened. Saw the code for the new script and... a quick update later, and the banner is back. Make sure to check out the Occupy Movement Banner Project. It is a worthy endeavor.

Something tells me that he won't be missed

Jonathan “Jack” Idema, a former Green Beret from North Carolina who was convicted of running a private jail in Afghanistan where he tortured terrorism suspects, died Jan. 21 in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. He was 55.

Read the rest here. Ted Rall has a story of his own encounter with Idema back in the early days of the previous decade. "Colorful" is a polite way of characterizing Idema. Sociopathic war criminal would be a more apt characterization.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

From an interview with Richard H. Kirk

I was watching the BB C documentary Synth Britannia the other day. I thought it was really interesting how you mentioned that some people think the Cabaret Voltaire album Red Mecca was more the soundtrack to the riots in 1981 than the Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’. I was wondering what you thought of the recent riots, because there are a good few parallels. 

It is interesting, because 30 years on we are still living in the same fucking situation. We’ve got David Cameron in power, like we had Thatcher coming in in the late 70s. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t just close England down, because this country is fucked. Cameron will have blood on his hands this winter. So many old people are going to die because he has not kept a lid on the energy companies. Everything’s being cut down. Hospitals are bad enough, but now they are talking about cutting more jobs, cutting benefits for the old and disabled. I just think, you bunch of callous bastards. They’re all millionaires. They don’t understand what it’s like to be poor. I’m not saying Labour are any better.

Nicking a load of iPods does not a revolution make, but I definitely see similarities to the 80s. It’s spookily similar.

The rest of the interview can be found here.