Friday, December 30, 2011

Top Ten Anti-Historical Characteristics of Top Ten Lists

10. What were your top ten seven minute walks of the year? Top ten mornings you woke up stressed about the day ahead? Top ten minor injuries that no one really knows about but acutely bothered you for a week or two?

9. Top ten awkward eye contacts with a stranger on the subway? Top ten mundane conversations with a coworker that you really wish you had skipped? Top ten moments of borderline suicidal depression?

8. The top ten list is a stopper in time, an anti-historical historical marker that produces what Debord referred to as psuedocyclical time.

7. "Pseudocyclical time is in fact merely a consumable disguise of the production system’s commodified time. It exhibits the latter’s essential traits: homogenous exchangeable units and suppression of any qualitative dimension. But as a by-product of commodified time whose function is to promote and maintain the backwardness of everyday life, it is loaded with pseudovalorizations and manifests itself as a succession of pseudoindividualized moments."

6. The top ten list is a key (anti)intellectual breaking of historical continuity by making the arbitrary calender year appear as a somehow relevant or meaningful aggregation of time and experience.

5. The top ten list encourages a particular form of acceptable nostalgia for past consumption, a nostalgia that reoccurs conspicuously simultaneous with the celebratory consumption period of the Holidays. The top ten list teams up with the always "anti-climatic" New Years Eve party and the ironically-indulged-in-but-designed-to-fail New Year's resolution to make the repetition of the same psuedo-experiences year after year after year seem historically differentiated.

4. The top ten list is often used to discuss cultural consumption: consumed, the film/book/blog post/song has become not a continuing art object which moves with us into the present and colors our experience, but rather becomes a singular (and hierarchichally rankable) past experience whose value becomes primarily its ability to appear on a top ten list for the year.

3. The top ten list functions to produce an anxiety about what cultural products or experiences were not had: this anxiety leads to, of course, consumption (maybe I should go see those movies after all!) and self-recrimination ("God I barely saw any great movies at all this year! I'm such a phony.")

2. The psuedo-rationality of the number ten (we operate in a base ten mathematics, after all) and the idea that a list of ten things can include all of the meaningful information helps to reproduce hierarchical and exclusive notions of the value of experience. Resistance to the idea of the top ten, then, can only think in terms of expanding the list (ten isn't enough! We need 20! 30! One hundred!), turning any grappling for meaning into a squabble over how many paper cuts are needed in order to kill the year.

1. The top ten list, then, functions to destroy any actual historical value of the experiences had over the 365 days by making those experiences 'history' in two senses: in the colloquial sense that gangsters use to mean dead, inert; and in the grade-school sense: something that happened, is over and is only of interest as a date or part of a pattern of progress. The top ten list takes events, products and experiences and makes them points on a time line in order to end any possibility of their continuing to exist meaningfully beyond January 1st.

0. The top ten list's relevance and production ends at the precise moment of its reenactment as the year-ending countdown. Dick Clark will ruin your shit. Till next year, fuckers!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hater of Two Evils

Dear Sir(s?),
In a change that will effect literally ones of people, I am going to be attempting to update this thing with a more controlled regularity. As a result, the need to produce will potentially involve more traditional topics as I ramp up. Like the following, about elections! That's how it's done around here baby. 
With infinite hate,
WHO was Here

The right wing hates Obama so much that, despite continuously ascendent conservative policy for 30 years, Obama-hate produced a spontaneous on-the-ground right wing protest movement, which succeeded in two years in bringing the Republican party even further to the fringey right.

Mitt Romney is like a stack of instant pancakes without any butter or syrup: you're hungry, it's breakfast time, you'll eat it, but your mouth is gonna be incredibly dry and you're really gonna have to force a swallow.

But you know what? You'll still eat it. You might not love it, but it's just hard to hate a stack of pancakes. Ambivalent? Sure. But hate?

No one, and I mean no one, is coming to the polls in 2012 for people they like. Even Michelle misses the house in Chicago and is only sorta half-heartedly smiling for those cameras on November 6.

The clown-car Chinese fire drill that has been the Republican nomination process sure makes it look like Obama could win this one on an anti-colonialist Kenyan-nationalism ticket, but remember, things are getting worse in America.

If ows generalizes and begins to look more like London, if unemployment continues to go up, if foreclosure chaos and student debt and health care costs continue apace, and they will, dear reader, saving some sort of catastrophic bubonic plague that wipes out everyone in the line for presidency up to Bernie Sanders, and that's ignoring the possibility of EU collapse, well, things aren't gonna look so good for Obama.

And honestly, is the Democratic base gonna freak out to stop Romney from getting elected? Sure, he's a milquetoast millionaire Mormon whose leadership qualifications are CEO-dom, but the dude ran Massachusetts for fucks sake. Romney-care precedes Obama-care. Hella liberal cred.

This dude is a boring, centrist piece of shit, which is to say, a wildly misanthropic neoliberal douchebag, which is to say, every president we've had since most of the people who ran Obama's campaign on the ground were born.

But you know what? Republicans hate Obama way more then Dems hate Romney. And when it comes time to step into that voting booth and pull that lever, only the most deluded liberals and 'moderate' republicans are going in there voting for their man.

And all those kids? Wild in the streets.

Hate will run the show this November, and this year hate runs red.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Anonymous Letter From Cairo

[Anonymous letter from a comrade in Cairo.  Crucial.  Please share and spread widely.]

Dear friends,

I am since 4 days in the middle of shooting and nerve gas, here in Bab El Louq square, 5 minutes behind Tahrir square, close to the Ministry of Interior. Right out of my window, I can see the fire of the guns and the gas cartouches and the motor cycles that take the injured out of the battle bringing them to the field hospitals, one after the other... hour by hour, day and night...There is shooting and this strange nerve gas all the time and at around 10:30 p.m. yesterday night the shebab were attacked for one hour by 30 unknown uniformed special forces in black with different live ammunition and gas, no street lightning at all, the scene only lit up by the fire of the guns, the dim light of the moon and some strange phosphoric light at the end of the street leading to the Ministry of Interior. After an hour, they reconquered Bab El Louq square where I am living with nothing than stones and unbreakable determination and solidarity. Into the face of the shooting and the attacks onto their bare bodies, the shebab were shouting into the night "hurriya" (freedom) and "madaniya" (civil state)... not "ilsamiya" (islamic)... In parallel, Tahrir square full with a millioniya (a million-man demonstration) was attacked at least twice during the night with a nerve gas which you cannot see or smell. I saw with my own eyes how people collapsed suddenly around me. As far as I understand, it's not clear yet from where the gas was coming - from an airplane, the metro air condition below the square or thrown from above the roofs of the surrounding buildings. It's war against the population, it's incredible, it's a crime. Me myself am full of gas and mentally and motorically slightly but continuously disoriented, respiration tract burning. I am deeply shocked. Whoever needs to understand: the Egyptian shebab will never give up, none of us will give up any more. This is about holding on to your remaining or may be first becoming a human being again.

Below a video of the Egyptian campaign "Occupy", a call to all Egyptians and everyone who understands that this is not about Egypt alone, that this is about the fight of all of us for freedom and for a future for everyone in this world to substitute the logic of accumulation and theft and the oppression needed to enforce it, a call to join the open-ended demonstration and sit-in in front of the Egyptian embassies all over the world starting at 3 p.m. next Friday in your countries. The video is in Arabic and English, the middle part is English.

Try to follow the news on the non-mainstream media (facebook and blogs) and the news on Al Jazeera, for those who speak Arabic preferably the Arabic version.

Also for those who speak Arabic below the link to one of the most important TV programs in Egypt after the revolution, the sequal that was broadcasted before yesterday. In it, the hosting journalist Youssri Foda gives space to three of our injured comrades to speak as well as to the well known journalist Bilal Fadl. The dentist Ahmed Harara, the blogger and activist Malek Mustapha and the photographer Ahmed Abdel Fattah of the Egyptian daily al-masry al-youm all lost their eyes due to deliberate shooting from close distances with what we call khartouche ammunition, a projectile with between 13 and 16 small bullets of different sizes, made of either hardened plastic or metal. Fired at close distances it can be lethal and if targeted at eyes, the eyes are destroyed. Ahmed Harara is a close friend of mine. He lost his right eye during the first revolution on 28 January 2011 and 4 days ago he lost his left eye. He will be forever blind but he went back into Tahrir square, right after his operation in the hospital. In the TV program you will see the young officer who fired the bullet and you will hear the voice of a shooting officer proudly reporting to his superior that he managed to get another was a premeditated campaign... targeting the eyes of the activists. But their response is to go back to Tahrir square, the square of liberation, because a shot eye is better than a broken eye as Ahmed Harara says in the program. They are not blind and they put everyone in front of the necessity to take position, no more lies, no more evasion. This is expressed very bluntly by the journalist Bilal Fadl in the program. The program also gives a good concise context of the events during the past month leading up to this second Egyptian revolution

part I with Ahmed Harrara and Bilal Fadl
Part II with Malek Mustapha and Ahmed Abdel Fattah
Warm greetings to all of you,

[reblogged from]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


“I really feel horrible for what happened on Friday...If you think you don’t want to be students in a university like we had on Friday, I’m just telling you, I don’t want to be the chancellor of the university we had on Friday. Our university has to be better than it is, and it needs all of the community to come together to do that. We need to work together."

-UC Davis Chancellor Katehi, Refusing To Quit, Nov 2011

“We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret, and we apologize." [Goldman Sachs is committed] “to working constructively with regulators and policymakers to address systemic weaknesses and gaps that may have contributed to the financial crisis.”

-Lloyd Blankfein, Refusing to Lower Goldman Sachs Bonuses, Nov 2009

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The First Shot of Occupied Cinema

The naked dialectics (riot police bisected by the graffitti that they can't see: "This is ours"), the earnest statement of legitimacy ("is this ok?"), the malicious systemic anonymity of police violence (You can see the rubber bullet's chem trail for fucks sake!).

The long, shaky single-shot that feels genuine but also visually purposed, well prepared and placed, the almost perfect conclusion of the shot's implicit (but mounting, because we've all seen the title of the video, and let's not pretend we didn't click through and don't know what the ending is gonna be) tension in the explosion of pain and the implosion of visual experience into empathetic anger and cursing.

The desire it creates to get out there and stop those fucking pigs.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what an Occupied Cinema would look like. I'm pretty sure this is the first we've seen of it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

To Jeremy Kessler, Cop Loving Sycophant and Classist Coward

Dear Jeremy,

I'm writing in response to your latest piece of drivel on Occupy Wall Street's relationship to the police, this time at LA Review of Books. I had hoped that Bernes, Clover, and McClanahan's completely excellent takedown of your bull shit meant we wouldn't have to hear from you for a while while you licked your wounds. Alas, we are not so lucky.

Your explanation of Washington Square Park reveals just how little you understand the relationship between protesters and the police. The protesters in the park (more like 1000, btw) were shown the spectacle of total force by police gathered at the North and South entrances. There were easily 300 cops, with horses, police buses, vans and cruisers massing around Washington Square Park from 11 pm onward. There was no media to film the arrests that were about to occur. The cops had their batons out. In other words, they were ready to beat the shit out of us and arrest us all. It was gonna be a massacre.

So what did protesters do? We made a decision. We took four snake marches out of the park, right past the piggies all in a row. The cops, prepared for a showdown in the park and wanting to evict us, let us march out, and then were stuck at the park, unable to catch up with our marches. We outmaneuvered them, and for an hour marchers took the streets of the Lower East Side, Chinatown and the Financial District with barely any police presence.

This is what resisting arrest means. Not waiting for the cops to come at you. Not 'resisting police violence' as you put it, but flanking it, escaping the possibility of it, outwitting the police and leaving them alone with nothing but their batons in their hands.

As for your disdainful, classist assumption that the people aren't ready for more serious action, and they just want to march on the sidewalk and hold hands with cops and sing about the 99%, well, who were all those hundreds on those marches? Why do actions like the Brooklyn Bridge or Tony-Baloney's pepper spray marathon increase numbers and coverage, while huge numbered but peaceful, sidewalk bound, sit-in style actions like the march to 1 Police Plaza do not?

Most notably absent (from both articles, actually) is the role of police violence in the lives of minorities, the poor, and women. The 'middle-class' that would be alienated by anti-police action is much smaller numerically and much less diverse than the group of people who see the cops (correctly) as a force of oppression and routinized daily violence in their lives.

There has been a lot of hand-wringing over the absence of genuine proletariat at OWS, and much of this has been ascribed to the lack of a coherent message. But that's goofy. One of the major reasons, if not the major reason, you don't have the poor and minorities at Zuccotti Park in high numbers is because it is completely ringed by police, because people dont stop cops from coming into the square and arresting protesters, because it is, in fact, an unsafe place if you feel even remotely unsafe around the police. Which, if you have lived the kind of life experienced by the vast majority of this city, you do. 

Cops, the only people in society who walk around with a utility belt of lethal weapons, produce violence. They make marches unsafe: so far no one has been hurt because they marched too fast into a wall. It is the police who make OWS unsafe, not the actions of the people, and to pretend otherwise is to collaborate.

That's how it works, Jeremy. The cops are not just the boys in blue. There's a little cop inside all of us, and we have to kill him. In your case, he seems to be at the controls. You might want to do something about that. If not, please spare us your belabored sincerity that amounts to little more than apologizing to the powers that be for protesting.

WHO Was Here

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Things are Getting Very Interesting Indeed

Wednesday, October 5th. 20,000 people gather for a Union rally in support of Occupy Wall Street, fed by a steady stream of students walking out of their colleges and high schools, who took the streets on their own marches to Foley Square. Permitted, the 20,000 were kept off the streets by police barricades, and shuffled slowly down sidewalks crammed with people towards Zuccotti Park. The numbers were incredible, but the march was boring, kind of wack.

A two hour general assembly.

Two snake marches take off from Zuccotti headed into the financial district. One stopped at Wall St. and Broadway, about 400 people milling around Broadway, sitting briefly, yelling at Wall St, then standing up again, working up the courage to try and take it. Someone tried to Mic Check (clearly now a tool of de-escalation, control) but they were drowned out by someone starting a countdown. "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. CHARGE!!!!" People surged forward, and knocked down one barricade. They were immediately met with a cloud of pepper spray. A white shirt, as fat as all of them are, started swinging his baton in a 180° arc, slamming anyone around him, including two reporters who got hit in the gut.

Police helicopters buzzed constantly, the chop chop chop echoing through the canyons of the financial district, making it feel like a war zone.

A pair of kids in goggles clambered on top of a police car and jumped up and down.

A line of about 10 police on vespas drove into a crowd of 70 protesters. Rather than flee, the protesters held their ground, and the police panicked, stepping off their bikes. Protesters began knocking over the bikes, kicking them, fucking up their shit.

Five breakaway marches, six breakaway marches, lines of protesters snaked nervously through the financial district in every direction. I peeled out of one, waited at a corner for friends, only to find another coming from the other direction.

The people's mic is failing in Zuccotti, so people set up projectors displaying 30 foot tall messages on the walls of Men's Warehouse. "Great job guys! These marches look great!"

A cop is caught on camera saying "my little nightstick is gonna get a workout tonight."

The cops beat a man with nightsticks so badly that major hematomas form on his forehead and cheek. As he's being lead into a cop car, he cant focus his eyes.

A group of kids sprint through the streets, followed half a block behind by wheezing fat cops.

The last march, heading back to Zuccotti up Broadway, is about 50 protesters and 60 police.

Back at Zuccotti, the night is relatively peaceful. People eat food, and snuggle up against the cold.

Something is happening in the Financial District, something more than just a General Assembly based sit-in calling itself an occupation. You should be there.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2012 Elections: The Candidates

Mitt Romney

Rick Santorum

Rick Perry

Michelle Bachman

Newt Gingrich

Ron Paul

Barack Obama

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fuck 9/11

Never Forget is a mass neurotic project, a prolonging of libidinal despair. Remember when we felt something, together, as a nation? Remember when those people died for us? Remember how fucking good it felt to feel so bad? So real? Never let that go.
Never Forget really means Always Be Ready to Re-Remember, be prepared to reactivate the fear, anger, and sexual anguish (what were the Twin Towers but two giant cocks?) of that day. 'Let's be who we were on September 12, 2001'.

Never Forget is a political project, the only successful justification for the War in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Bradley Manning, etc. 'Never Forget' we are reminded cyclically, annually, and in between anniversaries we forget, forget even about 'Never Forget', because we don't have jobs or futures or any goddamn money.

But then, right around the start of football season, we are reminded of our national impotence, we are asked to feel guilty about our failure to feel sad all the time, to be ashamed of our inability to be constantly, habitually enthralled to the erotics of national mourning. Never Forget is a sexual project. How dare you be aroused when New York was so violently, doubly castrated? You monster!

Our nation had its boner destroyed, and you need to be able to recall that on a moment's notice, so that when we strip a brown man nude put his head in a bag and put a leash around his neck, you'll understand that that's the only possible revenge, we need to retake erotic empowerment, we need to fuck our way through the globe, but we wont even cum, we can't anymore, we can just dress them up like Osama Bin-Laden and fuck them till their assholes bleed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Incredibly Important Talk From Evan Calder Williams and China Mieville

Salvage Punk from Mute Publishing on Vimeo.

Theorist Evan Calder Williams who blogs at Socialism and/or Barbarism and novelist China Mieville who writes at Rejectamentalist Manifesto (among many other excellent books and articles) present the birthgrave of Salvage Punk- a study they have built over the last couple of years and have come to reject, even as their book on the subject is being launched. In explaining their move away from Salvage Punk, they provide an incredible overview of the problems faced by and consuming leftist study, and provide tantalizing hints at left thought moving forward: swagger and sabotage.

Watch it. Watch all of it.

I won't address what they say, because they say it much better than I ever could, and you really need to watch this, but I will say that the Q + A section that makes up the last half of this video shows exactly why there's no reason left to talk to the academy. Imagine how much more productive this discussion would've been if they'd been talking to writers and artists involved in SalvagePunk rather than defensive, idiotic professors.

It's not Evan and China's fault, and I think they respond with more respect and serious consideration then their questioners earn--although I hope the next time they speak like this they're talking to intelligent people--but look how useless these academics are: they basically force Mieville and Williams to repeat themselves over and over again, unwilling to believe that limited cultural study is of limited use-value.

It's incredible to watch these two theorize us towards revolutionary action. In a year, these two will be calling us to the ramparts.

Monday, August 15, 2011

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(Punk Rock lyric, Godard film, Brecht reference, five year old Hollywood movie)

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(Foucault, Althusser, Badiou, Lenin, Zizek, Lacan, Trotsky, Mcluhan, Hardt + Negri)

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(Social Media, Cell Phones, 'The Internet', Television, Advertisement, News Media)

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's So Hot/All Over the World/My Sneakers Are Sinking/Right Into the Asphalt

The heat scrambles my brain and steals my sleep. Once an hour, the long naked overnight wakes me up with a chest shrinking into itself, a thousand malicious pounds squeezing against my lungs. "Fuck!" I shout, and throw my pillow over my head with both hands and off of the foot of the bed. I stand up, stumble into the bathroom, my nose clogged with humid snot and breathing weakly through my mouth, the bedroom is an oven, the hallway is an oven, the bathroom is a fucking accusation, I bend over weakly and stick my head under the bath tub faucet and turn on the cold water as high as it will go, leaning my hands against the slimy tile, unable to tell if the dizzy nausea is from the heat or the drunkenness or both, and I'm furious, just furious, the humid drunk heat is furious. I stomp back naked through the hallway, a goddamn hate dragon dripping water trails and flop down on my bed, unsure if sleep will ever be possible again until I wake up half an hour later, cursing, the sheets wet not with cold water but with sweat, fucking sweat, I'm dehydrating in my sleep, the fan pointed straight at my face offers no relief, just stuffs up my disgusting nose, so that I wake up panting, cursing, useless with anger and contrition.

And no matter how much you shower the headlines smell like sweat, and the city streets are shell-shocked, and watching their faces as they enter the air conditioning is all the proof you need of evolution--from chimp to man in 1 second flat--and I stomp naked through the hallway, more asleep than awake, my balls hanging vulgar and useless, lukewarm water dripping off them, water that rolls down from my face picking up sweat and grime and disgust and by the time it splashes onto the floor it's just a puddle of sleepless salt water that can't even evaporate right into the humid night air.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Solid Logic of the Revolutionary Right

First of all, it seems largely unlikely that the debt ceiling will not, in the end, be raised. This sort of edge-of-financial-apocalypse behavior by the right has almost always been political theater: the people who pay for these elections want a stable federal government to keep funneling them money (even if they want the funneling to happen as quickly and non-consensually as possible). But the astro-turf Tea Partiers are much more serious about anti-government sentiment, and their representatives are much dumber (and more revolutionary) than their 1995/1996 counterparts.

If that were the only difference between 2011 and 1996, then we'd be fine (to the extent that we've been fine for the interceding 15 years). When Gingrich and Clinton shut down the government over budget cuts, it was disastrous to social services, but by no means a fatal blow to American governance. This time, that's not so clear.

In 1995, the deficit was 2% of GDP; in 2011, it will be over 10%. Our debt was 67% of GDP then; it's about 100% now, a much larger percentage of which is financial capital to begin with: ie, highly at risk speculative capital. And no matter what it looks like on CNBC, the federal government in 2011 owns a huge percentage of our financial system, particularly in the forms of mortgage, credit card and student-loan debt. We also have a much more jittery global economy, a much more nervous fed, and a much more tenuous relationship to our debtors.

So, let's take what economists are saying seriously--that hitting the debt ceiling could remove global confidence in U.S government debt, the one sure-thing in a world of paper money--and could cause a renewed global financial crisis akin to 2007/8 (without the possibility of bail out- do not pass Go, do not collect $200). This could have unforeseen consequences globally; I don't have the know how to pretend to call how this would play out.

But here in the US, it would result in an immediate renewed crisis (which we've never really left, no matter how many times they rejigger the inflation or unemployment numbers) potentially sending us straight into another Great Depression. It would trigger immediate tremendous cuts (potentially on a level with Greece) that would deaden the possibility of even moderate recovery for years and years.* And war won't get us out this time- we're already in a few.

And that's all assuming that the financial sector behaves with a shred of humanity- they (or China) could make a run on US Debt and shake the Federal government to its very core. The Fed could panic and print money, and we could get explosive inflation, something we're beginning to witness already (and which has been hidden by 'improvements' to the Fed's method of evaluating inflation). Or global markets could grossly devalue the dollar, leaving us unable to import the things we need to continue to 'thrive'.

Even if none of these three worst-case scenarios occur, hitting the debt-ceiling will mean a plunge into much worse times for the US. And it would be the kind of sudden, financial, central government nose-dive that has, in other countries, in other times, given rise to Mussolini, Pol Pot and, yes, that sure fire argument killer- Hitler. The fact is, in two weeks, if the government shuts down, in two months we will have virulent unrest. But it will be chaotic, riotous unrest, violent and anarchic (in the perjorative sense, unfortunately) that will allow whoever is the most organized, best prepared, and deepest pocketed, to make a move.

Of course, the forces of stabilization in the US in 2011 are much greater than those of Italy 1924, Germany 1933 or Cambodia 1969. We are not on the brink of revolution, from either side. But this move, if pulled off, could successfully provide the groundwork for the kind of a-governmental chaos from which right wing revolutionary parties emerge. Tea partiers, emboldened by their success, flush with cash and organized to the gills, could use such a failure as an object lesson in anti-governmental rhetoric, and up the legitimacy of their fascistic impulses in not only their own hearts, but those of the public.

Hats off to an enemy that knows how to deploy their representatives to further their goals. Up with the debt ceiling.

*Any leftist who believes that the suffering of the people is not merely a necessary outcome of capitalism but a to-be-hoped-for good, who wants the next Great Depression to come right away, who hopes for chaos and total insecurity: he is truly an enemy of the people. Not only because he hopes ill on the people, he lacks the empathy and love required to truly build a better world, but because out of such pain and misery no real solidarity can emerge, no movement of the people comes from sudden chaos; only mythical, charismatic leaders.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm asking the wizard for courage!

If the Democratic party weren't a bunch of lily-livered corporate-kowtowing rat-soup-eating low-down insecure honky-tonk Motherfuckers, they could have a check mate in two moves in the current budget 'fight'.

Move One: Agree that the deficit needs to be solved, then point out that half of federal dollars are spent on military costs. Argue that an immediate end to the (3? 4?) wars, modernization of the military (ie: folding the Air Force into the navy, getting rid of beauracratic doubling) and reigning in of no-bid military contracts (Tomahawk missiles cost $1million per, which is outrageous, but I bet you the Chinese could make em for $50k each, because they wouldn't let the manufacturers set the goddamn price) would save trillions each year, ending the deficit w/out cutting vital services at home.

Move Two: When the Republicans balk, make it clear where there priorities lie, not with the budget deficit but the increase of human suffering for profit. Hammer this home to the public, constantly, that a proposal to drastically restructure (and here, you can use the euphemism of 'modernizing' the Military so that it can be more efficient, quick-response) the military and also end the wars, which everyone fucking hates, was rejected, when it was in fact the best way to both end the deficit and keep jobs and services here in America.

Check Mate.

But I think it's probably better to cut education, health care and infrastructure. Because Iraqi roads are more important than American ones. (See how easy it is to coopt the hysterical patriotism of the right wing? It's fucking page one of the goddamn political bullshit play book.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Things for Which I've Been Paid To Do

I've written serious articles for small money, spam movie reviews for decent money, and other people's papers for serious money. I've sold cds, DVDs, and drugs. I've helped a paranoid man research World War II and a blind man organize his photo slides. I've held five different positions at four different movie theaters in three different cities. I've gotten in a van with three other guys and driven around the country playing punk music. I've been the door guy at rock shows and gone door to door for political campaigns. I organized a Battle of the Bands to raise money for kids with cancer, I discussed my sexual history with a psychology professor, I built a website for an economics professor, and I took another student's entire semester of online courses. I've been a Key Grip, a Best Boy, and an editor. I've transcribed interviews for a TV documentary about bridges, and I've assistant taught at a Hebrew School. I've been a camp counselor, a babysitter, a house sitter, and a plant-waterer. I've digitized contracts, fundraised at a pre-teen gymnastics meet, and been a receptionist. I've voice acted in a cartoon, voice acted in radio ads, and been an extra on TV. I've grilled hot dogs, made coffee, and made hypothetical investment decisions based on little information.

I am 25 years old. This is what precarcity looks like.

Monday, May 16, 2011

'America, The Beautiful' Just Feels Quaint

So we here at W.I Enterprises and Associates Inc. LLC decided we would produce some potential new slogans for the greatest country on earth.

America: Making today feel like tomorrow, so tomorrow will look like today.

America: Virile, sexy and fat.

America: So you don't have to.

America: Got your nose!

America: Where everyone can act like a dad.

America: Home of Lebron James

America: Like you don't already know.

America: More than you want, less than you need

Saturday, May 14, 2011

You can't make this up

From the New York Times' online front page:

"Baghdad has weathered invasion, occupation sectarian warfare and suicide bombers. But the latest scourge, tastelessness, may prove the toughest to overcome. "

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Series of One Act Historical Plays

Take the A Train

The Blues: My suffering is so great that expressing it is its only relief.
Jazz: I can help you transcend that suffering.
Rock and Roll: But his pain is the only American art form!
Hip Hop: Duck motherfuckers!
The American People: Thanks a lot, now I'm fucking bored.

MOMA Mo Problems

The Art World: There are two kinds of images: the crass, commercial image and the beautiful, high art image.
Pop Art: The only thing dividing them are the walls of the museum.
Street Art: But look what I wrote on the walls!
The Art World: Thanks for all the t-shirt ideas you two.
The American People: Sorry, what was that? I was in the bathroom.

Champagne Trail

The Democratic Party: Yes!
The Republican Party: Yes!
The Democratic Party: Yes!
The Republican Party: Yes!
The American People: On second thought, I'm not gonna vote this year.

What the World Needs Now

The Thirties: We need workers' rights!
The Sixties: We need human rights!
Social Science: We need more information.
Post-Structuralism: There is no such thing as need, or information. There is only more.
The American People: Are you guys hiring?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oh giggle, tee hee, tee hee

Didn't have a gun?

Haha, hee hee, shoot him in the eyes, shoot him in the eyes, ooohohohoo, point blank through the eyes, yes, get him.

Teehee, taha, oh my, oh yes. Don't rationalize your celebration, beautiful executioners, please don't, so real, so erotic, your joy. No no no, laugh along: he was unarmed, oh my, oh me, Christmas early and often.

Yes yes yes, we kill our enemies, we kill 'em dead, armed or sick, tee hee, glory, strength, beauty, tee hee.

How brave a nation! Ten years to find a man, a man in the suburbs on dialysis, to shoot him in the face, celebrate in the streets.

Shot in the face! Shot in the face! Unarmed brown man shot in the face!

I love the way they handle their weapons in the field. One good killin, oh ho, one good killin's all we need, oh yes, one good one, yes sir, because a million mediocre dead ain't shit til you got one good one.

Put that damn camel-fucker beard on a pike, let's march through the streets and lust after everything, let's rape our way through the fucking phonebook, let's mingle our blood and our laughter so that fucking infidel, that garbage narcissist, Osama bin Laden, that little fleck of dog excrement on the boot of history, watching up from Hell, let's fucking show him now he won, that stupid evil nothing of a motherfucker.

Let's make the devil shake his hand and say well done well done my boy.

Osama was a tartar build up, we flossed him out, but after a decade's rot why are we surprised to find our breath still stinks of corpses?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Death is the Only Erotics

The news touched off an extraordinary outpouring of emotion as crowds gathered outside the Reichstag, in Alexanderplatz and at the Nuremberg Rallying Grounds, waving Nazi flags, cheering, shouting, laughing and chanting, “Heil Hitler, Heil Hitler!” In Munich, crowds sang “Deutschland Uber Alles.” Throughout downtown Berlin, drivers honked horns deep into the night.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Free Egypt, Free Palestine, Free Power

How long did it take? How long after US and IDF backed strongman Mubarak fell before Fatah and Hamas could meet in Cairo and agree on a coalition Palestinian government? One month, sixteen days.

The causes for the rupture are complex, but the sudden end to the bitter four year split has left commentators grasping at straws. Within 24 hours a media narrative will emerge giving credit to the Egyptian military, or the Israeli blockade, or some other pseudo-Machiavellian great leader narrative that gives credit back to the West. Already Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, Marwan Bishara, has stated that Fatah losing Mubarak and Hamas seeing instability in Damascus is the cause.

In other words, fear of Israel. Which makes sense, because fear of Israel has certainly kept Palestinian political leaders in line in the past.

Sorry fuckers, turns out that the emergence of new regimes, brought about by actual revolutions of the people, rupture dominant power relations in the direction of peace, unity, and political strength for the oppressed.

Democratic revolution in Egypt has already meant an end to a seemingly intractable stalemate in the most seemingly intractable political catastrophe in the globe. So fuck what you hear about fear of Israel, and notice that a free Cairo solved in one month what Mubarak, Al-Assad, Bush, Obama, Netenyahu, Sharon, Olmert, Abbas, Abdullah, Ahmedinejad, and all those other slimy shits couldn't budge in four years.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Die Bourgeois Pig

"We went right away to the hospital, and he showed me the baby. That was very moving. I'm a big baby fan. Then we went back to the studio and started discussing public sculpture and what would make sense for New York City. An art historian was with us. An auction of the Yves Saint Laurent estate was taking place at around the same time at Christie's in Paris. The zodiac clock had been installed in the Old Summer Palace, in Beijing, which was looted by the French and British in 1860. Two of the animal heads eventually wound up with Saint Laurent. Since these had been stolen, there was a huge controversy. Anyway, as we sat in the studio, Weiwei had his 'Aha!' moment. He would create full-size bronze derivations of all twelve of the animal heads."  -New Yorker

-Charlie Rose and Jonathan Waxman, edited for your pleasure

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pop Quiz!

1. Which cliché best describes Republican political philosophy?

A) The squeaky wheel gets the grease
B) One in the hand is worth two in the bush
C) A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
D) If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

2. The current state of the Democratic party is best described by the title of which Tennessee Williams play?

A) The Glass Menagerie
B) A Streetcar Named Desire
C) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
D) Suddenly, Last Summer

3. If Rand Paul were a seventies guitar solo, he would be:

A) The bridge from Pat Benatar's Hit Me With Your Best Shot
B) The lead electric from Boston's Long Time
C) The acoustic opening of Heart's Crazy on You
D) The third act of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody

4. Which famous movie quote best describes the odds of Donald Trump running for president in 2012?

A) "Show me the money!"
B) "Play it again, Sam."
C) "Hey you guuuys!"
D) "I am serious, and don't call me Shirley."

5. Senators from the current caucus drink white wine while discussing  _______; IPA while discussing ________; and Scotch while discussing _________.

A) Drug sentencing; abortion; affirmative action
B) Outsourcing; the minimum wage; unions
C) Torture; Muslims; Libya
D) Pork; income tax; capital gains tax

6. Meetings between Obama's cabinet and the joint chiefs of staff most resemble an episode of:

A) 24
B) Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
C) Tim and Eric's Awesome Show Great Job!
D) Wheel of Fortune

7. Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid will be modeled directly on which ad campaign?

A) McDonald's- "I'm Lovin' It"
B) Enzyte Natural Male Enhancement- "Bob"
C) Budweiser- "Clydesdales"
D) Apple- "I'm a Mac. I'm a PC."

8. Which city most reflects the true nature of American power?

A) Bagdhad, Iraq
B) Celebration, Florida
C) Havana, Cuba
D) Dubai, United Arab Emirates

9. Obama's 2012 State of the Union address will most resemble which Shakespeare monologue?

A) Lady MacBeth- "Out, out damn spot"
B) Shylock - "If you prick us, do we not bleed?"
C) Prospero- "My charms are all o'erthrown"
D) Richard III- "My conscience hath a thousand several tongues"

10. Bonus Mix and Match Round: Match the American political figure with the trio of Biography Writer/Biopic Director/Theme Song Performer they most deserve

1. Michael Bloomberg      A. Camille Paglia/David Cronenberg/Lady Gaga
2. Hillary Clinton              B. Ayn Rand/Zach Snyder/Kid Rock
3. Barney Frank                C. Thomas Friedman/Paul Haggis/The Eagles
4. Barack Obama              D. Bob Woodward/Oliver Stone/Sarah McLachlan
5. Sarah Palin                    E. David Sedaris/Gus Van-Sant/Tom Waits
6. Rand Paul                      F. David Brooks/Nancy Myers/Jay-Z
7. Mitt Romney                 G. Upton Sinclair/Frank Capra/Slayer
8. Scott Walker                  H. Henry Louis Gates Jr/Steven Sodebergh/Mos Def            

Monday, April 11, 2011

Shameless Self Promotion

My little (hahaha, little) blog post below titled "The Values of Secrecy in the Era of Excessive Sharing" has been severely edited (thank goodness) and now appears at The New Inquiry

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bob Herbert has left the New York Times

And in doing so has ended any hope I had for the venerable old rag.

But in his last column, he has pointed to this story.

It is just as unsurprising as it is unbelievable that this is not huge news. After decades of anti-tax rhetoric, it is hard to foment outrage when someone dodges taxes: precisely the goal of said rhetoric.

These men are criminals: their children go to our schools, they drive on our roads, their mail is delivered by our post, they enjoy all our freedoms and they give nothing back but the middle finger.

We must return to the rhetorical discussion of America as a democracy of the people, even as we know that reality gets further and further everyday.  We have to stress that these men don't steal from some shadowy "government", they steal from us, from every single responsible American who plans to pay their taxes this April, who has a child in school, who enjoys receiving mail, who is on unemployment because the colleagues of these men laid them off, who is on medicaid because they're too poorly paid or too old to work; they steal from the soldier in Iraq and the postal worker in Buloxi, the Detroit garbage man and the New York City sewer worker.   They steal from the woman sweeping clean the Lincoln Memorial and the public defender upholding its legacy; they steal from the San Fransisco tram driver, the Iowa corn farmer, the Texas roughneck and the Floridian retiree.  

These people are villains who are stealing right out of our pockets, and if we don't understand this there's no hope for us. It's time we ignited some populist rage, took it back from the right, and showed these men that stealing from us ends badly indeed.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Gentrification is Apartheid; The Housing Bubble: Class War

The base line criticism of gentrification is obvious: upper middle class (there's no such thing as middle class anymore, darling) college graduates move from all across this great nation into NYC, and, in need of cheap rent* move into once impoverished neighborhoods, now celebrated for their stock of beautiful old rowhouses, convenient access to the subway system and "genuine" "gritty" "New York" feel.

In short, predominantly white young people move into a neighborhood, landlords raise rents every May and September (the college year, dummy!), until rent in the area is too expensive for the predominantly black and Latino residents, driving them further from even marginally desirable neighborhoods, uprooting them from their homes and destroying their communities.

You can argue that gentrification helps increase economic activity in the neighborhood, brings down crime, and desegregates neighborhoods racially. You'd be wrong, but not only because organic grocery stores replace bodegas and cafes replace barbershops, so that old businesses are pushed out, creating a new local economy rather than helping the existent one; not only because (unofficially, of course) the punitive consequences for violent crime against white people are significantly more severe, so that more white people in a neighborhood means fewer targets for violent crime, which, combined with increased police presence, just moves crime towards less gentrified areas; not only because, despite the visible mix of skin tone on the street, the populations tend to favor totally different hang outs (in my neighborhood there is a hipster bar, Sweet Revenge, literally next door to an old neighborhood stalwart, Franklin Palace: crowds of white twenty somethings divided by twenty inches of plaster from a crowd of black locals).

No, even those who manage to hold on to their homes in gentrifying neighborhoods do not see their schools or services improve because of our totally perverse property tax code: and yes, I realize how much less sexy that is than racist culture war.

The Big Interview

In a huge coup for the fledgling blog, Wasted Ideology secured an exclusive round table interview with New York City, Washington D.C. and the United States of America!  The discussion began with a focus on law, but it opened up to include culture, economics and geography.  It has been edited for length and coherence.

Wasted Ideology: First of all, I just want to thank you three for taking the time out of your busy schedules to answer some questions.
New York City: No problem
Washington D.C: Sure thing
United States of America: I am the schedule, the answer and the question.    

W.I: When will marijuana be legalised?
NYC: When gentrification is complete.
D.C: Never
USA: When we find an easier way to throw young black men in prison.

W.I: Why is the drinking age 21?
D.C:  If your daddy doesn't have a cabinet full of scotch, who are you to desire anything?
NYC: Times Square is fun for the whole family!
U.S.A: So people under 21 will experience the thrill of rebellion while consuming pleasure rather than the pleasure of all consuming rebellion.

W.I: Why are corporations legally people?
NYC: So people will become corporations.
D.C: What, only your best friends get to be human?
USA: Corporations are people.

W.I: Why are flak jackets illegal?
NYC: So cops don't have to worry about aiming for the head.
D.C: So soldiers will keep them in their homes
USA: Scarcity produces value
W.I: What is class warfare?
D.C:100% voter turnout
NYC: Moving from Westchester to Brooklyn
USA: Taxes 

W.I: What is America's most significant export?
DC: Freedom
NYC: Culture
USA: Bosses

W.I: What is America's most significant import?
NYC: Labor
DC: Debt
USA: Fear

What city is the cultural capital of America?
NYC: New York City
DC: Los Angeles
USA: Las Vegas

What city is the center of American power?
DC: Washington D.C
NYC: New York City
USA: Celebration, Florida

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wasted Ideology: Brain Infection

Just now, packing my travel bag for the journey back, I placed a large pair of scissors I was taking from my desk here at home in my bag, and considered whether you could even bring scissors on the train.  Almost immediately I imagined (fantasized) a scene from tomorrow (granted I'm quite stoned right now) : an engineer is looking through my bag, and I am become frantic with anxiety but, out of respect for the quiet car, I stand silently and rock back and forth on my heels, saying "I've done nothing wrong.  You can't search my bag.  I've done nothing wrong" until the engineer finds a bunch of drugs, twists my arm and escorts me off to prison.

Why tell this rambling tale?  To show just how security ideology has infiltrated my brain?  To admit the deep self-surveillance I carry out on behalf of the NSA, or maybe to point to how intractable this knee jerk state-sponsored thinking is among we youth-2.0, post 9/11 babes?  To hope that by becoming aware of our ideological flinch, we will defeat it in the future? 

Well, obviously, but also to talk about how you've already dismissed the whole story as a joke or mere paranoia. It's true, that passage. "I'm quite stoned".  Indicating that someone is fucked-up (even yourself) has become shorthand for: "all surrounding sentiment is farce or madness."  Stoner comedies reenforce the idea that smoking weed is awesome, while also portraying weed smokers as bumbling idiots not to be taken seriously.  And alcohol?  Lordy lordy save us from our relationship to alcohol. We spend time in places we don't like saying things we don't mean in order to get sex we don't want, and then, analyzing this situation, say: "boy, I really shouldn't be held responsible for what I think or say or do when I'm under the bottle".  (Most frequently in response to accusations of sleeping/flirting/dancing with a girl/boy of low physical attractiveness/social stature/mind). We use it to numb ourselves from the seriousness of sex, in order to convince ourselves into bed with, ack! another human body, but then, when the sex is awful, we blame the booze.

Buying drugs teaches you to equate purchase with pleasure. With all other consumer goods, the pleasure is mediated, imagined, never to be achieved (maybe this vacuum will shut my fucking kids up so I can plan how to kill my husband in relative silence).  But with drugs (and don't fuck around and pretend I'm only talking "hard drugs" and that excuses your tobacco/alcohol/marijuana), what you're buying is quite directly pleasure.  There is no other use-value.   

And, with the illegal-er drugs, you also get (and pay for!) a tiny thrill from "undermining" the police state.  Like a balloon with a pin prick, each time you think fondly on the illegality of your doobie, a little bit of subversive energy is dissipated, a tiny false catharsis in the face of your total impotence.  The last three of our presidents have admitted to doing drugs, and Bush and Obama harder drugs than I have.  What could be less subversive than a "crime" that literally makes you more compelling to voters?

Yet I could still get put in jail for marijuana possession, although it's much more likely if I'm black or Latino. Beautiful: release the tension of the bourgeois leftist until he's a liberal, while allowing for the apprehension of any "troublemakers" (read: poor dark folk).  Try adding our prison population to our unemployment numbers sometime.  It adds 2, 300, 000 unemployed, or about 2.1% to our unemployment rate.  One poor minority pothead might not seem revolutionary to you, but 2,300,000 of them?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wasted Ideology: A Quiz

A quick, fun quiz for all you funheads out there.

Think of the person you love most in the entire world (other than yourself).  Now, imagine a situation, I don't care what it is, I am drunk, and I hate you, so imagine a situation in which you could literally achieve complete and total justice, peace, happiness, on all the Earth for every man, woman, child and mollusk, instantly.  Do you end climate change? You end climate change.  Do you end oppression, suffering, poverty and Muammar Gaddafi's life? Yes. All these things are achieved, perfect and total utopia, but to achieve it, you have to do one thing. You have to close your fingers around the throat of the person you're still thinking of, the one you love the most in the world, and strangle the life out of them.  Do you do it?

Correct answers after the jump!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

As much as I hate to repost from my overlords at If You Can Read This, You're Lying

What has congealed as an environment is a relationship to the world based on management, which is to say, on estrangement. A relationship to the world wherein we’re not made up just as much of the rustling trees, the smell of frying oil in the building, running water, the hubbub of schoolrooms, the mugginess of summer evenings. A relationship to the world where there is me and then my environment, surrounding me but never really constituting me. We have become neighbors in a planetary co-op owners’ board meeting. It’s difficult to imagine a more complete hell.

•   •   •
The West is a civilization that has survived all the prophecies of its collapse with a singular stratagem. Just as the bourgeoisie had to deny itself as a class in order to permit the bourgeoisification of society as a whole, from the worker to the baron; just as capital had to sacrifice itself as a wage relation in order to impose itself as a social relation – becoming cultural capital and health capital in addition to finance capital; just as Christianity had to sacrifice itself as a religion in order to survive as an affective structure – as a vague injunction to humility, compassion, and weakness; so the West has sacrificed itself as a particular civilization in order to impose itself as a universal culture. The operation can be summarized like this: an entity in its death throws sacrifices itself as a content in order to survive as a form.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

TV Stars are Eternal

The ideological comfort of the Television dramatic series is, as with the three camera sitcom, the promise of immortality. The highest drama makes this promise even more deeply and subtly than the lowest sitcom, where the plot and characters reset for every 22 minute episode: at least there is a weird discordant unreality to these shows as the actors age, or change.  Even the dumbest audience member doesn't believe anyone lives exactly that way: or at least they would claim that if asked.

Drama can claim a heightened realism, because characters die: they can pretend to address mortality.  The sitcom character is a bizarro vampire, the drama character always in Logan's Run: his end will only come when it is dictated by advertising revenue ("sweeps") or, should it be premium cable, dramatic cliche (at the end of a story arc/season).  Their deaths, though perhaps "painful" for the characters around them, actually increase the financial and critical success of the show as a whole.  Not only is the death of a character structurally foretold, but beneficial to the show in general. Death becomes a seasonal, foreordained, low-stakes result of the actions of individuals. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Value of Secrecy in an Era of Excessive Sharing

1) The euphemism is the art of the open secret. If translation means (among other things) transferring meaning from one linguistic context into another, and metaphor means (among other things) transferring and connecting meaning from one sensory/physical context to another, the euphemism is much cheaper, debased: saying one thing but meaning another. The metaphor, simile or translation's meaning can be obscured, but its nature as metaphor/simile/translation is never in doubt. The euphemism, however, has an incredibly clear meaning, but only once you recognize it as euphemism. When millions of voters talk about state's rights and small businesses they genuinely believe they are not talking about race and tax cuts for millionaires: because they do not access the embedded truth, for them the euphemism qua euphemism does not exist: it is only a lie. Just as internet data does not exist until it is called up by the user, a euphemism only becomes itself when its embedded truth is accessed. The euphemism is the lie that tells the truth. The euphemism is the criminal hidden in plain sight. The euphemism is the public secret.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Walkers of the World: Die!

Ryan Harvey is posting videos from the worker occupied capital building. Incredible stuff. The police have been ordered to remove protesters from the capital building at 4 O'clock today. While some (as above) have joined the protesters and are refusing the orders, it appears that others may well kick the people out. A vital revolutionary moment: are they Cops or workers? Each will have to make his choice.

Videos have shown joy reigning from Tahrir to Sanaa to Madison. Anger brings the crowd together, but the revolutionary crowd cleanses anger of its impotence, self-destruction, and futility, and reveals the truth: anger is happiness repressed. Remove societal denial and anger expresses itself as laughter, not violence.

I was a fool, believing in the joyous revolutionary expression of violence as the main tool. Where it is defensive it is right, but the idea that violent revolution is the only possible revolution comes from an impotent (if accurately targeted) rage. I can only speak for myself in this moment of revelation, but my belief in violent revolution had many critical weak points: a desire for self-destruction, suicide by cop; a misogynist appraisal of the possibility of class war; reading critical revolutionary material which at its newest was over 40 years old; the fascistic action movie fantasy that one man with a gun can change it all; the meeting of a personal failure, laziness viz responsibility, with a revolutionary theory that eschews work for pleasure; a knee jerk contrarianism to the pacifism that so badly failed our parents; a mythologizing of myself to hide my own existential meaninglessness.

If you look closely, you will see almost all of these failings emerge from the self-idolatrous bourgeois myth of the college student: I accepted violence into my heart when I was materially the furthest I would ever be from it. No one is more impotent, coddled, and confused than the American college student.

The people of the Middle East are holding a daily master's class. The people of Wisconsin reinvigorate democracy. No revolutionary violence except defensive violence. The strength of the people, silent, present, engaged, and joyous, is enough to overthrow any tyrant.

When change is power's mantra, consistency is strength.
When day old news is old news, we must become ancient.
When brevity is king, we must speak in paragraphs.
When discourse is a wall of noise, silence is power.
When the system is fast, fluid and strong as the wind, the people must become a forest.

Proletariat Grows Their Muscles

When public schools cut sports budgets, the kids still need, still want to exercise. But look around you, know any private soccer clubs? How many times you seen a football gym? Private sports means combat sports means the kids are learning to fight, they're learning the value in the fight and the strength in their hands.
Look around you, crumbling public structure tailspin, it destroys part of us yes but solutions arise in the gap left by tradition.
Show a man his weakness and he may crumble. Show a class their weakness and they'll find their strength.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We are all Slumlords

"If we choose to pry culture away from capitalism while the rest of life is still capitalistic, culture will become a slum." -Jaron Lanier, You Are Not A Gadget

We are witnessing the slumitization of culture, but Lanier, though he makes the vital observation, misses the cause, because, of course, he is a techno-capitalist. He argues that the structures of web design that have become embedded (as web 2.0) are the problem, and that a different web culture/design would save us from such de-capitalisation of culture. He argues again and again that such design (in particular its emphasis on free hive mind culture) is arbitrary, not inevitable. Fair enough, but we cannot refight the battles freedom has already lost. (The regret/nostalgia based desire to refight old battles reflects the inherent conservative bent within leftist thought). Lanier sees how intellectual tech savy leftists can so easily be coopted into a philosophy of repressive culture slumitization, but fails to understand that this slumitization in fact benefits techno-capitalism (because he believes that capitalism is basically benevolent), that capitalist society has been attempting to turn culture into a slum for 50 (if not 150) years, that culture was politically irrelevant well before the dot com bubble.

Of course, what Lanier wants is just the reestablishment of a capitalistic cultural middle class, the destruction of which the internet has certainly hastened. But true revolutionary art or culture may only become viable once middle class cultural production has been destroyed. The question is, are we in the techno-repressionary endgame (Skynet) or are we headed for 365 Tunisias?

Art is dead, but Lanier makes an excellent argument for protecting its corpse.

"Digital Maoism doesn't reject all hierarchy. Instead, it overwhelmingly rewards the one preferred hierarchy of digital metaness, in which a mashup is more important than the sources who are mashed. If you have seized a very high niche in the aggregation of human expression- in the way that Google has with search, for example- then you can become super powerful..."Meta" equals power in the cloud." -79

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wasted Ideology: Silence is Golden

In the 21st century, only one mode of address constitutes political strength: silence.

Talking about talking (or, if you prefer, discussing the discourse, taking on the media) is inherently conservative. You condone torture the minute you argue about what it is called. (And yes, that absolutely means this post is conservative.) By failing to discuss historical events, but rather addressing the discussion about them, the left has colluded with Fukuyama's premise. Rather than put events in historical context (even events as purely historical as 9/11 or Katrina) the impulse from the left has been punch-drunk argument about public discourse. Goebbels was a fool when he said "tell a lie big enough...", because that requires much too much effort. All you need to do is question the truth loud enough and long enough, especially when your enemies are naval gazing neurotic cowards.

Think of the silent treatment, used to torment children for generations. When applying the silent treatment, you do not shut up completely, but rather stop speaking to one person: the punished, the treated. Failing to respond is a show of strength, not apathy but power. Apathy means allowing the enemy to say whatever they want and receding from the public space. Power means silently rolling over their objections.

If we've learned one thing in the last 30 years its that arguing is useless. If we've learned one thing in the last 30 days, it's that true strength comes from abstaining from dialogue. Though the people in Tahrir and Tunisia were sonically loud, their statement was bodily, silent. "We will not leave until you go". That was all. Over and over Mubarak tried to address them, to appease them, to speak to them. They did not respond, except perhaps with boos. They said nothing until he had left, other than "we will not leave". And "we will not leave" was not said by leaders, or press releases, or fliers, or manifestos, or speeches. It was said by action alone. They did not leave, until he could not stand the silent treatment any more.

And in Wisconsin, when the vote to destroy public unions came around, did the Democratic congressmen argue their point rationally, hoping to sway Republicans? No, they fled to another state, thus not even having the silent presence to allow abstaining votes to allow a quorum. They disappeared completely, went as silent as possible, and suddenly the right was powerless. They couldn't shout them down, couldn't force them into agreement by public shaming, and Republicans were left with their shriveled white dicks in their manicured hands.

When discussion is loudest and most heavily valued, true power means never saying anything at all. One silent action is infinitely more valuable than a thousand blog posts. Be a tree.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Arabs Teach Americans How to Fight For Freedom

"The images from Wisconsin — with its protests, shutdown of some public services and missing Democratic senators, who fled the state to block a vote — evoked the Middle East more than the Midwest.

The parallels raise the inevitable question: Is Wisconsin the Tunisia of collective bargaining rights?"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Al-Shaab Yoread Isqat Al Nizam!

Though the chant remains the same in Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Iran, the New York Times has started translating it "The people want to topple the government" rather than its actual translation "The people want to topple the regime."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Revolution's Indelible Spread


Obama Recognizing Hypocrisy

President Obama accused Iran’s leaders of hypocrisy for first encouraging the protests in Egypt, which they described as a continuation of Iran’s own revolution, and then cracking down on Iranians who used the pretext to come out on the streets. He then urged protesters to muster “the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government.”

But speaking to other restive countries, including Bahrain, Mr. Obama directed his advice to governments, not protesters, illustrating just how tricky diplomacy in the region has become. He said his administration, in talking to Arab allies, was sending the message that “you have a young, vibrant generation within the Middle East that is looking for greater opportunity; and that if you are governing these countries, you’ve got to get out ahead of change. You can’t be behind the curve.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

Drunk Politics: The People Are Nothing Without TV

Look how eagerly the media claims credit for the work of the people.
The media is the most desperate watchdog of all. No story is about the actions of people, but about the "actions" of the media. Every narrative becomes either a "he said/she said" fight between "politicians" that appear on television or in writing, or an argument about which format of the media (Social Networking, Al Jazeera Television, Google, Twitter, Anderson Cooper, etc) was most directly responsible for the news.
What the Egyptians and Tunisians have shown us is that the media will bend to the will of the people when it is strong enough.
The people are the strongest force on earth, bar none. The right believes it is the military. They are ten times smarter than the left, who believe it is the media.

The right is more capable of effectively employing the media, because they do not give it a godlike status of truth and beauty (name a single lefty who wont wax fucking poetic about Edward Murrow or Bob Woodward or Jean-Luc Godard or Slavoj Zizek: but can't name a single politician or world leader who they admire in that time period) they merely embarrass the left by accusing them of predictability. The left, perverted by years of identity politics and self righteous 'counter-cultural' indivualism, hate to have someone else define their position. Because of the permanent adolescence of liberal cultural thought (ie: rebellion means just doing the opposite of what your parents say) the American right wing can win a fight just by taunting the left. The right can get the left to do whatever they want just by accusing them of the truth.
Here is the extent of the political dialogue between the right and the left over the last 20 years:

R: You support the poor!

L: How dare you! You don't know how I think. Watch this, I'll just end welfare and slash food stamps and raise consumer taxes and lower corporate taxes and cut funding to infrastructure while raising spending on pointless violence abroad.

R: You support the poor! And Blacks!

L: How dare you! You don't know how I think. Watch me endorse torture and smash whistle blowers and end unemployment insurance and lower corporate taxes and lower taxes on the rich and extend state secret privileges and fire teachers and firemen and policemen so that I can cut estate taxes.

R: You support the poor! And Blacks! And Mexicans! And women!

L: I've really had enough out of you! I am just absolutely not going to take these insults anymore! I am so sick of you bullying me, that I am just going to increase military spending and tighten border security, say nothing about gun control no matter how serious or dramatic the gun killing becomes, euphemistically reach out to small businesses, attack unions, and apologize for all the times I've ever masturbated.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Great Euphemisms of the 21st Century

Threat Level
No Child Left Behind
Change We Can Believe In
Homeland Security
Social Networking
Enhanced Interrogation
Jobless Recovery
Weapons of Mass Destruction
End of Combat Operations
Smart Phone
Small Businesses

"You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time." -Donald Rumsfeld

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011