Odds & Ends, part 3

Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum

"“Remember, any state, any state, has a primary enemy: its own population.” Noam Chomsky "It is almost always the case that a “spontaneous” movement of the subaltern classes is accompanied by a reactionary movement of the right-wing of the dominant class, for concomitant reasons." Gramsci There are all these narratives out there right now. The public discourse is in constant process of developing or erasing certain of these narratives, or finding that they often overlap. Edward Snowden's saga seems to have become a lightening rod for *some* of them to come together. Yet, in all cases, one thing remains constant, and that is that the last thing the U.S. (and most of Europe, … [Read more...]

Control & Punish

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I think one of the effects of mass corporate culture, especially Hollywood film and TV, has been to create a very clear style code for certain events in the material real world. I was thinking of this in terms of Obama's new crackdown on what he insists be termed "leakers" (not whistle blowers, and the reason for that is something the next link explains). The entire NSA saga has generated a certain spin, a certain narrative, from mainstream media. But the facts....and here I will link Richard Raznikov's recent article: http://lookingglass.blog.co.uk/2013/06/22/hammer-this-fact-home-16154325/ The facts....the facts are that what this amounts to is almost the exact definition of … [Read more...]

Odds & Ends part 2

Nature of Reality Installation interior_lg

Something occurred to me regarding the last posting. I got a few hate mails from people about autism; and this usually took the form of complaints about my insensitivity to their (the autistic email writer's) hard life, or in general those with autism and their suffering. So, a few things first -- though they lead into the actual topic of this entry: suffering is pretty much what the entire world shares. You cant stand and look around in all directions, no matter where you are, and not see suffering. Secondly, this is the province of *hurt feelings*. Unless I had an out of body experience, I didnt rape anyone, beat up anyone's children, burn down anyone's house, drop napalm on any … [Read more...]

Topos of Domination

mushi anime

I have been wondering a lot recently at the various afflictions connected to warfare: most of them falling under the heading of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This was once called *shell shocked* after the first world war. I guess PTSD sounds better, more clinical, more hygenic. And then I weas wondering at the (seeming) high numbers of people being diagnosed with some form of autism. Thirdly, I have been thinking about theatre. So, let me open with some thoughts on theatre. When I participated at the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival, I was aware of how unique it was to be working outdoors. I think everyone who sees plays performed outdoors is aware of the sky above. … [Read more...]

Odds & Ends

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I wanted to write a few things on art and surveillance, and add some other odds & ends to which I didn't want to devote an entire post. By way of getting into these things, I wanted to first comment on the current NSA surveillance story. A piece appeared in various papers, on various news blogs, essentially reporting that the majority of U.S. citizens find these surveillance practices perfectly alright. http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/majority-of-americans-believe-nsa-phone-tracking-is-acceptable Now polls (as this story points out) are notoriously flawed, and usually can be manipulated to achieve whatever result is desired by those paying for the poll. Still, regardless of how … [Read more...]

Afraid of the Dark

Raghu Rai, India

"Conciliatory laughter is heard as the echo of an escape from power; the wrong kind overcomes fear by capitulating to the forces which are to be feared." Adorno I have used terms like radical pedagogy, or aesthetic resistance (and they aren't mine, I've just overheard them or read them, and find them worth using). Today, not just culturally, but especially culturally, the authoritarian and fascist sensibility is channeled into categories of sentimental applause, or binary divisions of like/not-like, and more subtly, it assists an already existing condition of thought on the left, or in all opposition, for cynicism and snideness. There is almost a spacial metaphor here: the … [Read more...]