I am I

Tony Smith

"*I am what I am*. This is marketing's latest offering to the world, the final stage in the development of advertising, far beyond the exhortations to be different, to be oneself, and drink Pepsi. Decades of concepts in order to get to where we are, to arrive at pure tautology. I equals I". The Invisible Committee. One of the questions one is often confronted with is to explain why or how an artwork has value, or quality. Now, in one way, this blog has often been about exactly this, but what I'm more thinking about here are the prevailing assumptions this culture demonstrates in it's non specialized outlets. Given that there is so little arts education anymore, I often find distinct … [Read more...]

I’ll Have a Scotch, Rocks.

Oscar Dominguez

Here is a story that is not uncommon these days. http://www.adistinctiveworld.net/health-department-raids-community-picnic-and-destroys-all-food-with-bleach/ And this curious bit of legislation: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-09/kansas-s-self-destruct-button-a-bill-to-outlaw-sustainability.html And this.....http://jonathanturley.org/2013/09/19/95-year-old-man-in-nursing-home-resists-going-to-hospital-police-arrive-and-shoot-and-kill-him-stun-gun-and-bean-bag-rounds/ These are examples of an ascension of irrationality in state agencies, and a new level of aggression. That is the key, the aggression is coming out of a culture now inundated with representations of violence. … [Read more...]

Breaking White

William Beckman

Nothing arouses the almost religious indignation of the U.S. populace (the educated liberal class anyway, and that means mostly white) than to criticize their favorite TV shows. Vince Gilligan's AMC series Breaking Bad has, as we close in on the final two episodes, reached clear cult status now. I've seen it compared to Dostoyevsky and Kafka. What accounts for the show's over-valuation? I think the clearest answer, the most simple, is that it flatters the intended audience. Network Demographics has it this way: AMC targets viewers 18-49, viewers 25-54, males 18-49 and males 25-54, according to its 2007 Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau profile. For full-year 2007 the network … [Read more...]

Whoosh

Christina West, after police beating

"...the certain realization that Kafka's entire work constitutes a code of gestures which surely had no definite symbolic meaning..." Walter Benjamin, On The 10th Anniversary of Kafka's Death I want to continue on fromn that last post, and also to incorporate some of the long comments thread, and also try to more specifically look at this idea of violence in the West, and its cultural expressions. The link below is almost a daily occurance now. http://www.commondreams.org/further/2013/09/12-1 The new theatre of violence is this temporary stage on the side of the highway. This mini drama encapsulates the thrust of the white male system of domination. The beating of a woman, … [Read more...]

It Cant Be Known

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"There is no need for you to leave the house. Stay at your table and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t even wait, be completely quiet and alone. The world will offer itself to you to be unmaksed, it can’t do otherwise, in raptures it will writhe before you." Franz Kafka "...we must acknowledge at the outset that our concept of 'social identity' is a product of that culture (American political culture) and that only within that culture can an author's racial, ethnic, or gender identity found a politics of cultural curricular revision." John Guillary Media today is the single most powerful force in shaping our sense of identity, and of socio-political reality. Mass … [Read more...]