Dialogue #4 / with Guy Zimmerman, Praise

Praise John, there’s a certain kind of art work I’ve been wanting to give public thanks for, and it’s a kind of work I associate with your plays generally – a work that’s defined by a fragmentary, elliptical quality that often gives it the sense of having happened by a kind of natural process rather than by an effort of will. In literature Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson is a great example, and so is Ondaatje’s The Collected Work of Billy the Kid. Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo is another example of this kind of wayward perfection – the lighting of a candle in a world that’s like a vast cathedral and somehow that candle is just enough to illuminate it perfectly. These works are so enjoyable … [Read more...]

A Brief Interlude on Being Reasonable.

Conditioning is hugely important. I've long noted just how deeply desirous of consensus the US populace is -- though this is true in Europe as well, but not to the degree one finds it in the US. The most egregious naked state theft or deceit will be discussed...certainly on corporate media outlets ... as if it WASN'T naked theft. This starts at the very top and trickles down to the basest most mundane levels. Iran Contra is to this day spoken of as a small indiscretion. Enron is an amusing bit of corporate shenanegans. Obama can lie, as Bush lied, and can stage manage his tiny paltry gifts to the liberal class, all the while bombing the poor and invading and stealing and signing away, … [Read more...]

Let the Games Begin

Samaranch & pals... --------------------------------------------------- A few disparate thoughts as the Olympics descend on us. The games of Dow Chemical, McDonalds, and British Petroleum. The games of UK swat teams on neighborhood roofs. The games of forced evictions. But anyway.... The "father" of the modern Olympics is Pierre deCourbetin. Born to parents Baron Charles Louis Frédy, Baron de Coubertin and Marie–Marcelle Gigault de Crisenoy, in 1863. Pierre's father was a royalist and dilettante painter; who's themes ran to the Roman Catholic Church and the royal family. Pierre developed an interest in education, fueled by a visit to England where he met Thomas … [Read more...]

The Unruly Crowd

I am always curious how narrative works....how it is imposed on events from the authority structure. Government, police, military, etc. Two stories recently: The Anaheim police assault: and the Aurora Colorado shooting. The Anaheim Police narrative is the most transparent. In fact, it's almost childlike. The "official" police narrative is always triggered by a few specific words ( crowd, unruly, melee, documented gang member, etc.). In this case the police narrative simply reads like a bad TV cop show. "The police were securing the area as they looked for evidence". However if one looks at the photos posted in several So Cal newspapers, a different narrative emerges. … [Read more...]

Why and What’s the Reason For?

The "Batman Massacre" is going to have media traction because its a compelling narrative. It's also something that happens on US soil to US citizens. Drone killing is far away, happens to "others" and is surpressed as a narrative by US corporate media. These are random stories, although they don't feel so random. The Penn State scandal. The janitor who saw Sandusky with a boy in the shower. Didn't want to cross Paterno...because, as he said, that would be like going up against the President of the US. The worker has no protection in the US. The janitor *would* have been fired. Penn State football was big business in an economically depressed part of the country (there are a lot of … [Read more...]

120 Days of Sodom, or How to Read a Can of Coke

A recent talk here on We Are Many (with China Mieville) touches on topics I think worth discussing. http://wearemany.org/a/2012/06/guilty-pleasures-art-and-politics Now, a good deal of this is very good. In fact it echoes a lot of what I've written myself over the years. It's also expressed through this mummified lens of the Trotskyest party in the UK. There is one area in all this which I want to focus on, and this is the idea of art as commodity. The fact that one pays to, say, see a film -- doesn't preclude an analysis that extends beyond its commodity form. In the end, there is importance in distinguishing the difference even among commodities. There are, if we push it a … [Read more...]

Pathology of Everyday Life/ part one

"Within the credit relationship, it is not the case that money is transcended in man, but that man himself is turned into money, or money is incorporated in him. Human individuality, human morality itself, has become both an object of commerce and the material in which money exists. Instead of money, or paper, it is my own personal existence, my flesh and blood, my social virtue and importance, which constitutes the material, corporeal form of the spirit of money. Credit no longer resolves the value of money into money but into human flesh and the human heart. Such is the extent to which all progress and all inconsistencies within a false system are extreme retrogression and the extreme … [Read more...]

Dialogue 3 / with Guy Zimmerman, Theatre & Tragedy

http://john-steppling.com/dialogue-3-with-guy-zimmerman-theatre/ … [Read more...]