Tuesday, December 31, 2013

a truly free pathology

[T]heir opponents were people who were content with their lives in the [internet], who felt no particular objection to an impersonal steel and concrete landscape, no qualms about the invasion of their privacy by government agencies and data-processing organizations, and if anything welcomed these invisible intrusions, using them for their own purposes. These people were the first to master a new kind of [twenty-first]-century life. They thrived on the rapid turnover of acquaintances, the lack of involvement with others, and the total self-sufficiency of lives which, needing nothing, were never disappointed.

Alternatively, their real needs might emerge later. The more arid and affectless life became in the [internet], the greater the possibilities it offered. By its very efficiency, the [internet] took over the task of maintaining the social structure that supported them all. For the first time it removed the need to repress every kind of anti-social behaviour, and left them free to explore any deviant or wayward impulses. It was precisely in these areas that the most important and most interesting aspects of their lives would take place. Secure within the shell of the [internet] like passengers on board an automatically piloted airliner, they were free to behave in any way they wished, explore the darkest corners they could find. In many ways, the [internet] was a model of all that technology and done to make possible the expression of a truly 'free' pathology.

~ J. G. Ballard (1975) High-Rise, term "high-rise" replaced with "internet" throughout.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

in your face

7 nation army - children medieval band. what it's all about.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

jazz band seen in a dream

The frontmen are two muscular identical brothers with close cropped hair. Perhaps they are Hawaiian, or Filipino? They play the melodic portion and sing in harmony.

Behind them, the rhythm section consists of seven majestic polar bears, standing on their hind legs and shuffling back and forth in unison. Each one wears an open breakfast cereal box on his left foot and a tambourine around his right ankle. As they shuffle together, the contrast between the shaking cereal and the rattling tambourines creates a subtle but grandiose rhythmic accompaniment.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

government is rape

Fascism and slavery are two sides of the same coin. Control implies the controlled; subjugation implies the subjugated.

When is this relationship legitimate? Only when the subjugation is agreed to by the subjugated starting from a position of equal power. Typically, this only occurs in the bedroom.

The relationship between the government and the citizen is one of unequal power. The government spies on, searches, taxes, controls the movements of, the employment of, the abilities to express oneself of the citizen. This power relation is one of slaver and slavee. But is it legitimate?

Never.

Because the citizen has never agreed to this subjugation beginning from a position of equal power—s/he was never in a position to spy on, tax, search, or control the movements of the government. The agreement was made from a position of power imbalance.

Just as one may "agree" to hand over ones valuables to a thief at gunpoint, we "agree" to hand over our autonomy to the government.

The situation here is not unlike statutory rape. Even "consensual" sex between an adult and a child is reprehensible because the child is in no position to give consent. This is because of the power imbalance between the two participants. The adult abuses the child no matter what the child thinks s/he may have consented to or not. Such "consent" cannot be legitimate.

It is incorrect to identify reason as the distinguishing factor. The child is in no position to rationally assess the consequences of hir actions, one might say, but the mature citizen is, and can legitimately decide to cede power to the government.

This is a red herring. It is completely incorrect.

The only analysis of rationality we have is means / ends rationality. But by this reasoning, it is rational for the slave not to run (because s/he will be whipped); it is rational for the unarmed at gunpoint to hand over hir wallet; and it is rational for the child to submit to the adult who controls hir future. Rationality does not coincide with legitimacy or morality. The means / ends reason for ceding power may nevertheless be morally illegitimate.

This also explains why the government systematically grants itself more power (greater powers to spy, to search, to tax, to control), and why this is so dangerous. Not just pragmatically dangerous (though it is), but morally dangerous. In doing so, the government distances itself further and further from the ideal of legitimacy. The more powerful the government, the less possible any legitimate moral mandate from the governed.

We are being systematically raped by a villain who uses the money from our pockets and tears licked from our cheeks to empower himself to rape us more easily and frequently.

We are slaves.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

dream

I'm backing a large red convertible slowly through dusty streets. Not quite the middle of nowhere - a water tower in the distance, the town just out of sight (across the tracks, over the hill, a presence in the background). The convertible is dusty and old and I'm backing it very slowly, uncertainly avoiding the occasional car parked by the side of the road. Becoming more steady I start to accelerate.

Suddenly, at the intersection at the end of the next block, I see a group of enormous figures slowly processing down the cross street - a giant human shaped figure with enormous antlers, four stories high; a couple of articulate stuffed-animals (a bear, a bird), almost as high (20 feet?); an animate stegosaurus skeleton, less majestic than the others, smaller, more ominous.

I leap from the car and huddle behind a rickety fencepost, a treetrunk, hoping I'm not noticed. A couple of the figures break from their majestic line and slowly start prowling down the street on which I abandoned the car. I run hunched and creeping from tree to tree through the undergrowth, the dusty half-park that fills the block, trying not to be seen.

Just out of sight, behind the tree in front of me, a munching sound, rustling, a large presence. I pick up a long, thin branch from amongst the many fallen and piled around the trees. Coming around the corner, I see it's the large stuffed bird, towering over me. I prod it with the branch which it snaps at hungrily, beginning to eat it.

I rush past with another branch, leaping ten feet into the air, but behind it, suddenly, the stegosaurus skeleton - attempting to feed it the branch, it clearly wants more, and its jaws snap dangerously close to my face as I fly by. Crashing to the ground, I run full tilt back toward my car, not looking back, uncertain if the stegosaurus follows or continues on its way.

In the distance, piles of much smaller stuffed birds arranged in rows, forming a tall triangle between the roots of a giant tree, sing a sad, wailing chorus. A similar pile, again organized into a triangle between the roots of another tree of stuffed teddy bears joins their voices. They are covered in dust, oversized, animate in a sad, slow manner. A dirty lament.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

killer mike live

. . . . like Church for Anarchists.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

england, 1802

It is not to be thought of that the flood
Of British freedom, which, to the open sea
Of the world's praise, from dark antiquity
Hath flow'd, 'with pomp of waters, unwithstood,'
Roused though it be full often to a mood
Which spurns the check of salutary bands,—
That this most famous stream in bogs and sands
Should perish; and to evil and to good
Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
Armoury of the invincible Knights of old:
We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held.—In everything we are sprung
Of Earth's first blood, have titles manifold.

~Wordsworth

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

abe kaoru

Live, 1977. . . . and then his soul screams.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

orange ripper

Start with a large, preferably chilled, champagne glass;

Add:

1 oz. sharp gin, e.g. Bombay Sapphire East,

one squirt agave nectar or other unprocessed sweetner,

3–5 dashes Peychaud's Bitters,

Vigorously stir ingredients until thoroughly mixed;

Fill glass 3/4 + full with dry champagne,

Top off with 1 oz. orange juice and a small ice cube:

Enjoy.

See also the orange zipper.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

jaun williams

On the Zimmerman / Martin trial:
The New York Times has referred to [Zimmerman] in unique racial terms as a “white Hispanic." The terminology was necessary to have the story fit into a well-worn news narrative throughout American history from the Scottsboro Boys to Emmett Till to Rodney King – the black victim of white racism. Hispanic people can be as racist as black or white people in a country with a deep history of racism. But, apparently for the Times, Zimmerman's whiteness was important. It fit their good versus evil tale of a white racist killing an innocent black man.

. . . .

Martin, the 17-year-old, is dead. But he has not escaped the racial slander attached to this case. Zimmerman’s backers note that Martin had smoked marijuana – as if that is unusual among American teenagers. They seem delighted to find online messages in which he took on a rapper, street-thug persona and posed as a tough guy.

These are all caricatures of two real people caught in a tragedy.

Zimmerman should have listened to the 911 emergency dispatch operator who told him to stop following Martin.

. . . .

Why didn’t Martin just walk away from Zimmerman?

. . . .

Whatever the final verdict on Zimmerman, the media is clearly guilty of playing on the most primitive racial divisions in our society to fuel racial animosity and boost ratings.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

snowden on us

From Edward Snowden's latest statement:
In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised—and it should be.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

vote for carlo

Mars One plans to establish a permanent settlement on Mars, funded through a reality show about the training process and the one way trip to get there. Potential settlers are posting videos on the Mars One homepage which can be rated by anyone who visits it. The team to be trained will be picked from amongst the top rated videos.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, response is quite diverse, ranging from obvious nutjobs, through undergrads with no prospects, to young career entrepreneurs with science or tech backgrounds. Included amongst applicants appears to be Carlo Rovelli, one of the most philosophically subtle theoretical physicists alive today. Rovelli works on "Loop Quantum Gravity," the prime competitor against the more widely known String Theory for reconciling the apparent contradictions between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. The motivation for his endorsement of Loop Quantum Gravity over the sexier String Theory is the philosophical position that scientific progress is made by building upon previous insights rather than making sharp and radical breaks with past theory.

In his Mars One video, Rovelli is self effacing and does not play up his importance in the field. Nevertheless, the frontier for humanity deserves to have intellects like his paving the way. See him here, and Vote for Carlo!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

koffka on comics

In discussing our ability to perceive emotions through the actions of others, Koffka (1935) references Mickey Mouse, alluding most likely to the animated films, but also obliquely perhaps the ability of comic strips to convey emotion:

The best examples for our argument are perhaps certain trick films after the pattern of Michey Mouse, for here there is objectively neither motion nor emotion, but a mere sequence of strange drawings. But this sequence gives rise to objects in the behavioral world of the observers which move, and are agile or clumsy, exuberant or dejected, and so forth. The merit of this example lies in the fact that here all these characters are only in the behavioral objects and entirely absent in the geographical ones. The "meanings" which those forms and motions possess for us are therefore most clearly aspects or results of the psychophysical organizations produced by the stimuli.

~ Kurt Koffka (1935) Principles of Gestalt Psychology

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

von der oberseite des reichstag



In ihrem gemeinsamen Mund
lebt ein "Kolibri"!



Mit jedem seiner Flügelschläge
dafür das Auge viel zu träge
Kulturen erblühen und vergehen
ganze Kontinente untergehen
Hier gibt es keine harmlosen Worte
alle viel zu gross . . . .


Wärend nur eines Augenaufschlags
haben sie geputscht!
die Regierung gestürzt
Parlament aufgelöst
haben Wahlen abgehalten
das Ergebnis annulliert


haben Wahlen wiederholt
sind letztendlich exiliert
von Geschichte ausradiert
Ich durch den Dreck bedeutender
Metaphern


Meta, Meta. Meta für Meter
mit Gesten viel zu breit
für die Imterimsliebenden

~ Blixa Bargeld, 1992

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

rand paul filibuster

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Rand Paul is an American hero.

[edit, April 25, 2013]

Monday, March 4, 2013

these still exist

Yes, that's a landline public telephone. In use. These still exist.

Photo taken in Scotland, Feb. 11, 2013.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

sublime sublimation

We all desire, but civilization requires sacrifice. It controls our most brutal aggressive and sexual instincts. Sublime sublimation. . . . Ads do not interrupt as they fill in the blanks. They fill the emptiness of our souls. Fundamentally we are empty. Nature abhors a vacuum. Civilization satisfies desires by inflating them. It's a trade-off. Society credits you life and security in exchange for repression.

. . .

Suddenly evolution makes sense. Protoplasmic capitalism. Protein currency. Amino acid exchange rates. Molecular surplus. Carnivorous conflict. Reptilian exploitation. Cold-blooded shopping. Paleolithic corporations. Cro-magnon capital. Neanderthal profits. Virile enterpreneurs.

Tom Kaczynski, Beta Testing the Apocalypse

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

the greatest comics you should be reading, but aren't

We're currently undergoing a bit of a renaissance in self-published / avant garde comics. The combination of the internet and the ease of desktop publishing has allowed small scale innovation to flourish.

We're at the same time at a bit of an all time low in the "mainstream" (i.e. "big 2" direct market) comics. The flow of information the internet allows has made it easy for readers to compare notes on the abundantly clear way in which comic content is driven by editorial rather than aesthetic decisions. This is bizarre actually, because it's made big 2 comics more like Hollywood, in the sense that a) repetition (read: third-rate mimicking) of past success and b) corporate second-guessing of the tastes of a demographic they are manifestly not themselves a part of drive content. This is especially strange because in Hollywood, the motivation for this behavior is the enormous amount of money at risk. Unlike movies, however, comics take very little money and very few participants to produce. So a strategy motivated by the economic structure of one medium seems to have bled into another with a totally different economic structure.

So, mainstream fans, who love i) superheroes, ii) action, and iii) clever exploitation have been left out to dry by their long time suppliers—yet, despite the abundance of other sources for comics, it's hard to tell which might appeal to that mainstream desire for fun exploitation and which will turn out to be too avant garde / weird / inaccessible for the mainstream fan.

So, here's a first pass at a list of comics that might fly under the radar of a mainstream fan, but are worth checking out if they're dissatisfied with the big 2, but want some kind of comic experience to satisfy that itch.

Some criteria I've attempted to satisfy:

1. Series must be ongoing - there must be at least the possibility of new volumes / issues appearing in the relatively near future.

2. Subject matter must be fun exploitation, in the sense of involving action, adventure, superheroes, but not also graphic weird sex and/or violence in too much excess (where we're setting the bar for "too much" here only a little lower than DC seems to find acceptable these days, but still significantly lower than many of the old school "underground comix").

3. Weirdness / "artsiness" must be low enough that one doesn't have to be excited about "use of form" or some other deconstructionist analysis in order to enjoy the comic.

Follow links from the titles if you want to hunt any of these down.

Self-Published:

1. Copra (Michel Fiffe)

A superhero comic modeled after the old Suicide Squad (back when it was good), but filled with non-stop psychedelic invention. This comic does everything the big 2 should be doing but aren't—suck Michel Fiffe's big fat dick, DC and Marvel!

2. Decadence Comics (various)

A "comic collective" with a flagship anthology and a bunch of miniseries and short comic collections. The key here is primary participants Lando and Stathis Tsemberlidis, who share an aesthetic commitment to cool Moebius-inspired, politically interesting, but also fun and compelling sci fi. Island 3 or Olympic Games by Lando are great places to start. Stathis' stuff may be a little too psychedelic to satisfy criterion 3, but if you have a high tolerance for psychedelia, check out MOA-192B. Warning = a lot of it's silent, but the images are great.

Small Publisher:

1. Dungeon Quest (Joe Daly / Fantagraphics)

South African Joe Daly's D&D-tribute / stoner adventure is amazingly drawn and super fun to read. Some of the humor is certainly on the weird side (you can't be down on pot smoking, for example, or tiny men who are horny in a "natural" way?) but none of the violence or sexual(?) imagery is anything like as offensive and mean spirited as what goes on in DC these days. bottom line - fun. Supposedly the next volume may be the last, but given the rate at which the series has been progressing, I find that hard to believe.

2. Cursed Pirate Girl (Jeremy Bastian / Archaia)

Beautiful, elaborate art; a fun Alice in Wonderland (with pirates!) story; clever and complex humor. This is ongoing, just incredibly slow (the first half took years, we'll see how long the second half takes).

European, waiting for translation:

1. Dungeon (Trondheim and Sfar / NBM)

I don't know what it is about this series. It's magical in the best kind of way. Maybe Bone is the closest comparison coming out of the US? Anthropomorphic monsters in a sprawling, multi-generational fantasy universe—there's something disney and cute, something dark and Game of Thrones, and something that's just pure fun about it. Just like Bone, Dungeon shows that excitement can be all ages, that it doesn't need to be "dark", that it doesn't need to involve weird sex and trashy behavior.

2. "Cities of the Fantastic" (Schuiten and Peeters / NBM)

So, this one's a bit of a stretch in several ways. It's a little less exploitation and more arty (although there are consistent stories in each issue, they do focus heavily on architecture as a central plot point). Also, although it's technically ongoing in the sense that new issues may (will?) appear, the current English language ones are all out of print, and there's no definitive promise of future translations (though NBM would be a likely source if there were). But these are beautiful, and very compelling in a "HItchcock presents" meets Salvador Dali kinda way. If you see anything in this series for a reasonable price, by all means pick it up. (Oh yeah, and I put the title in quotes since the translation is terrible—future post on that at some point.)

Honorable mention:

Night Business (Ben Marra / self published)

This one's a little too violent / sexually explicit to satisfy 2. On the other hand, it's super fun. Picture the best of the trashy 80s—King of New York meets Taxi Driver by way of Beat It. Marra's at the forefront of the new exploitation movement in self-published comics and Night Business has been his most consistent and wide-ranging title so far . . .though there are some worries about how it will all pan out. Anyway, issues 1 and 2 are supposedly out of print, but Marra showed up with some at a convention recently, so it's unclear how serious to take that. He claimed he was going to finish the story as a graphic novel (?). Bottom line: if you see 'em, grab 'em.