The Night Sky

I have been finding a sort of crypto-reactionary critique surfacing in places that purport to be either leftist or "progressive" (and yeah, I don't know what that word means either) or at least liberal. And it seems a new class of apologetics has joined left leaning but corporate owned publications. The largest problem, or at least the one I want to respond to, has to do with aesthetic critiques. Take for example, this piece on Arrested Development by Peter Queck and Bhaskar Sunkara. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/28/arrested-development-was-a-communist-utopia-and-season-four-ruined-it/ This is fairly typical of this new crypto reactionary apologetics. … [Read more...]

The Unseen

"Humility is truth." Saint Theresa of Avila Over at the very interesting and worthy blog, BLDGBLOG, we have this recent posting... http://bldgblog.blogspot.no/2013/05/in-box-tour-through-simulated.html (and photos courtesy of Venue ...where their piece originally appeared....http://v-e-n-u-e.com/In-the-Box-A-Tour-Through-the-Simulated-Battlefields-of-the-U-S-Army I lived for a year or so up in Yucca Valley, next to Joshua Tree and several miles down wind from the 29 Palms Military Base and test range. They had several model cities there, at one time, and many locals had secured employment playing "Muslims" in simulated combat. The irony, if that's what it is, is that the … [Read more...]

Theatre of Mayhem

"It is necessary to recognize that acts of extreme violence and cruelty do not represent merely an odd or marginal and private retreat into barbarism. On the contrary, warlike values and the social mindset they legitimate have become the primary currency of a market-driven culture that takes as its model a Darwinian shark tank in which only the strongest survive. In a neoliberal order in which vengeance and revenge seem to be the most cherished values in a “social order organized around the brute necessity of survival,” violence becomes both a legitimate mediating force and one of the few remaining sources of pleasure.11 At work in the new hyper-social Darwinism is a view of the Other as the … [Read more...]

Techno Entitlement

automation/technology Gavin Mueller has an interesting article at Jacobin here: http://jacobinmag.com/2013/04/the-rise-of-the-machines/ Kevin Drum wrote a piece at Mother Jones.....here: http://www.motherjones.com/media/2013/05/robots-artificial-intelligence-jobs-automation What seems missing from most discussions of this subject (both automation and technology) is that the way both have evolved, in practical terms, as mostly management and control mechanisms for the poor. The elite class seems almost to pay for a life free of machines these days, or least technology is mediated with a human face. There is a technology of comfort that few can afford. Most of us must endure … [Read more...]

I’m OK, but You’re Sick

Several stories felt related this week, even if perhaps not directly. Lauryn Hill was sentenced to 3 months jail time AND court ordered to undergo counseling to help with her 'conspiracy theories'. Now I was amused to see Hill carry a copy of Marcuse's Eros and Civilization into court with her, but I also remember she was with that anti Aristide pro capitalist Wycliffe Jean, so, I take a Mulligan on the whole thing ....except to note that courts mandating counseling is strangely disconcerting. Not to mention that serving actual time for tax evasion seems restricted to black Americans. I don't recall any Wall Street crooks being sentenced for....oh ...wait.....right, they were never … [Read more...]

Public/Private

May 13, 2005...Pope Benedict beatifies the late Pope John Paul in a ceremony at the Vatican. Child killer Michael Ross is executed in liberal Connecticut. First execution in that state since 1960. Condi Rice is promising prompt action if it turns out U.S. soldiers did indeed desecrate copies of the Koran in Guantanamo Bay. Meanwhile in Andijan, Uzbekistan, that morning, troops on direct order from President Karimov, open fire on peaceful, quietly standing protesters. It is estimated that a thousand were shot dead. No exact figure is possible because the bodies were carried off to mass graves by government troops. The United States continues to bestow aid and love on President … [Read more...]

Inventing Memory

One of the things that has occupied my thinking recently, is the idea of how enclosed narrative has become by the rigid cliches and structural limits of corporate produced film & TV. One can feel the desire to break away from this in the expanded narrative form of certain otherwise kitsch shows such as The Sopranos or Homeland, The Killing, or Breaking Bad. The network formula of the one hour form that stands alone as a narrative with a beginning and end was being challenged to some degree by simply allowing each one hour installment to be part of a season long narrative. The experience felt much more liberating than it actually was, of course. This inevitably leads to thoughts about … [Read more...]