June 30, 2003
Plateau # Deleuze & Guattari Meet Lakoff in an Airport...
Definitely learning Deleuze & Guattari strange language, I can finally read them at speeds approaching my normal quickness. Yes this is intoxicating stuff. Is it a recreational or medical drug though? Or maybe just food?
Wonder if D&G ever crossed paths with Mr. George Lakoff. The would seem to turn in quite separate academic circles, but perhaps on the airport tarmac they might meet for a second. And yes there are traces of Lakoff's Moral Politics in A Thousand Plateaus:
They have special relation to families, because they link the family model to the State model at both ends and regard themselves as "great families"...
Of course D&G are so dense you could probably find traces of anything in their work. Its sort of like the bible, whatever you want is in there...
General Sitiveni Rabuka: Commander, Armed Forces of Fiji
Digital Shoplifting: Cameraphones and Secret Social Rules
This is pretty fucking funny. People going into stores and taking pictures of magazines, and they call it stealing? I've been pretty surprised how fast these cameraphones have taken off. And I think a lot of people are going to be surprised how much they effect society. We are about to hit a point where almost every social interchange is going to be potentially recorded and broadcast. Stopping it will require big time effort on the part of government and corporations. I don't think they'll make the effort to stop it.
You are under surveillance, live with it. David Brin's The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? explores some of the potential effects. But its a bit bland, I still haven't finished it... It's hard to say exactly what will happen, but I am pretty sure some of the unspoken mores that govern our society will break.
Monogamous marriage for one is a prime candidate for shattering. Its already worn down with our divorce rates. And what happen's when you can tell where your spouse is at any given time? Cheating is supposed to be wrong, yet our society if rife with it. It falls into a shift gray zone, and is ignored in order to maintain a system of monogamy. What happens if technology makes it virtually impossible to cheat? Does monogamy break? Or do we change our codes of behavior? Society as a whole may be heading for some cognitive dissonance. Heads up y'all.
I'll Trade you Two Pinochets for One Franco
Remember the Friendly Dictators? Well America want's you to forget them. But way back in the day (1990) one of my favorite comic artists Bill Sienkiewicz illustrated a set of Friendly Dictator trading cards. Beautiful in that twisted dictator sort of way. Not sure if I used to own them, or just got to rub my grubby hands on them at some point, but they seem subtly pertinent in this day and age. How? Well, now we don't need to hire freelance friendly dictators in other countries, we just keep them in house. You know, the white one... Anyway enjoy em you sick mofos.
[via Social Design Notes]
June 29, 2003
Politics is So Gay...
Shit, damn, Kos is right the culture wars have begun and they are going help us take down the Bush/neoconservative regime. We all know Bush has failed at everything he's ever done. And he's failing at being president too. And not just from a liberal perspective. The past week has shown that he's effectively destroyed the supreme court majority that won him the 2000 election, through his madness. Justice's O'Conner and Kennedy are must be in shock over what their votes in 2000 brought on our country. And they conscience has risen to the surface. The Gay Rights and Affirmative Action decisions make it clear.
And as Kos points out in the above post the legitimization and constitutional protection of gay rights is going to polarize American politics. The arch conservatives are freaking out. They are going to demand Bush make a statement. If he's for gay rights he lose the Christian right. If he is against them he loses the moderates. He'll try and avoid the issue or play the middle, but its time for war and he's going to have to take some side at some point.
A shit, the time for homophobia is over in America. Not that its going to disappear entirely, but its just not a popular position. A decade of outing and the tide has turned. The old conservatives can hold onto their assholes in fear of sexuality, but pushing homophobic legislation ain't going to win them elections. This is a administration of fear, and nothing going to show that fear better then the irrational fear of gay men that clouds the minds of the right wing. So lets bring this issue to the forefront, and bring the conservatives back to reality the harsh way.
June 27, 2003
Plateau # rhizome
I've gotten further into A Thousand Plateaus then I was yesterday [Abstract Dynamics: A Few Plateaus]. Picked up speed actually, for the first time I think since first picked up a D&G a year and change ago. More comfortable with the rhizome, I think a lot of my resistance too it stems from the fact that I'm all too familiar with concept and have seen it articulated better then D&G do. But when the book was being written in the late 1970's it probably was pretty out there verging on revolutionary. That doesn't stop it from being a bit sloppy, but perhaps that is the authors intention?
MoveOn Primary Results
MoveOn.org PAC has posted the results of its primary. Dean comes in strong with 44%, but he needed 50% to get the nomination.
That's all good though. What's not is the 2nd place finish of Kucinich with 24% of the vote. WTF where they thinking? MoveOn of course represents the firmly left, but Kicinich? You could not build a better parody of the worst aspects of liberal America. Its like his sole purpose is the make the left look bad. Look at him, he's half man half rat. And filled with retarded ideas to boot. Didn't Cleveland go bankrupt when he was the mayor? Not to mention he was firmly anti-choice until about a minute before he announced his candidacy... Get this clown off the stage before he embarrasses us all. Please.
Kerry came in 3rd and he's not much better. All you need to do is look at him to know he's not fit to be president in the 21st century. You know, that time period where people have TV and actually have to look at candidates? I'm firmly convinced that if Kerry gets the nomination then the next 4 years are Bush's to lose. Thankfully Bush seems to be pretty good at failing, but I'm not counting on anything.
Sharpton came in dead last, which is sort of surprising. These are liberals voting, thought he go overwell. Course the voting is online, which means these are mainly white liberals. Bet there is a lot more unconscious racism then they'd like to admit...
Bush on 9-11 Video
It shows Andrew card telling Bush about the second plane hitting the World Trade Center and then staying the class room for 5 minutes. Pretty boring. But the conspiracy freaks seem to be interpreting this as signs of foreknowledge. What a bunch of crap. Not that it can't be true, but there are plenty of other interpretations. Perhaps its shows that Bush has full confidence in his advisors to take care of things (which of course usually means they fuck up our country). Or maybe it just shows that Bush is so medicated he has no clue what is going on. Sounds pretty likely actually. Anyway I like this video circulating, its not as damning as some may claim, but it doesn't make Bush look so good, that's for sure.
June 26, 2003
A Few Plateaus
I'm a whole 8 pages into A Thousand Plateaus, which is actually quite a bit of reading... So far its a whole lot more enjoyable then Deleuze and Guattari's first installment on capitalism and schizophrenia, Anti-Oedipus. Despite what the authors say about the book having no subject, the subject matter of A Thousand Plateaus is far more enjoyable. It took them a whole book to escape the spirits of Freud and Marx and the second book feels a lot more relaxed and free. Guess I'll find out how long that lasts.
8 pages is all it took for them to introduce two concepts that resonate loudly in today's environment. The abstract machine is a concept I'm pretty familiar with from reading De Landa its all good. The rhizome - the rat's nest, on the other hand I still treat with skepticism. I have doubts about its utility. But there are 500 more pages...
micro.culture at the semes ;; IASPM International, Montréal July 3-7
no way I can make it, but it looks fascinating. tobias' talk particularly;;
Hearing Difference: The Seme.
bq. tobias c. van Veen
The study of resistant musical practice has often theorised its status as a "subculture." Since the advent of global capitalism, however, underground anarcho-theorists and political philosophers alike have been struggling with theorising the new position of resistant subcultures. This new position is, by default, the opposition. No longer able to practice a politics of disappearance in the mode of a liberatory invisibility, "subcultures" have shifted through the same terrain as capital: networked globalisation. Hand-in-hand with the spread of tele-technologies, electronic music cultures have shifted from the practices of the Temporary Autonomous Zone to what we can begin to theorise as a network of "microcultures." No longer invisible, but weaved into the same global fabric as capital, the very terrain of politics is remixed as microcultures move from resistance to positive and affirmative ontological projects. At the same time, musical trends play out this shift as the postmodern aesthetic of sampling is complexified through the resurgence of computer music, including the digital processes of granulation and a return to an avant-garde aesthetics of failure. Spin that again, and we could say: from memes to semes.
Is it me or does tobias translate postmodern theory into human clarity better then anyone this side of De Landa? Can't make it to Montreal at that time unfortunately...
Earth to the RIAA
The Revolution Will Not Be Idealized
Damn, my friend Adam Greenfield is in a dystopian mood today. He writes from Seoul, South Korea:
Show me a case where e-mail or blogs or smart mobs really and unambiguously did bring down a tyrant. Show me a situation in which even one high-school bully was put in their place with the aid of this technology, let alone the pathetic tinhorn strongmen that still ru(i)n so much of this pretty sphere... I mean on the macro scale. Is the planet as a whole detectably better-off in the wake of a decade of decentralized, low-cost-of-entry information availability? Are we better informed, less superstitious, more open-minded, more curious, stronger, less afraid? Do we make better choices?
Christ Adam, take a deep breath. I almost bought the new PDA with the "end tyranny" button, but Howard dean outbid me... Seriously though, this is important; revolutions do not solve problems, they transform problems. The French didn't just wake up one morning in the late 1700's and say "we have no king, life is perfect". Gutenberg didn't print out his first bible and then kick back and watch the world fix itself while making love to Helen of Troy. We live in an imperfect world. Perfectly imperfect some would say.
Life is good, life is bad, times are good, times are bad. You still have the power to set your own pace. And no you aren't going to end poverty by building a website or chatting on IM. But a scream in Calcutta can now be heard in East New York and that means something. Think of baseball, think of averages, improving the world is not about instant ending of tyranny, its about subtly tipping the balance. Its about crafting systems that encourage positive behavior. Its about solving problems slightly faster then you create them. And make no mistake, humans are spectacular at problem solving, but they also are quite skilled at making new messes. That's reality for you.
But if we can solve 2 problems while only creating one, we are improving the world. The results might not be as instant as Viagra, but odds are they will be far more satisfying. One step, deep breath, the world is filled with inexplicable beauty set against the nastiest tragedy and mixed into a poetic swirl. There are moments of perfection and moments of despair. Enjoy them all, its more fun then giving up...
June 25, 2003
Sell Out! Sell Out! Sell Out!
Yeah there are Google AdSense ads on my page now. You got a problem? Give me some money. No seriously I'm just experimenting, and yeah I like money and could use more... So far its pretty interesting, if you get the Reconstructing Iraq ad its actually really interesting, some company set up to invest in Iraq. There was an ad for the Heritage Foundation too, scary on that one, wonder if they are going after new audiences or Google's filter just isn't so good at telling left from right?
Have to say Google made the process of setting this up absurdly easy. I've made a motion or two towards looking into other ways to get money from the site and Google's was the most seamless by far. And that's why they are on my site now. And why they are the number one search engine too. Smart people.
The Amazon ads are weird though, think they are all actually various Amazon affiliate members. Which means they actually compete with me. Not that I actually have ever made anything through that program.... Interesting none the less, wonder how much you can make with a well targeted google ad that drives traffic to Amazon?
Breaking Down the Bush Fear
George W Bush is generally regarded as a mangler of the English language. What is overlooked is his mastery of emotional language – especially negatively charged emotional language – as a political tool.
To create a dependency dynamic between him and the electorate, Bush describes the nation as being in a perpetual state of crisis and then attempts to convince the electorate that it is powerless and that he is the only one with the strength to deal with it.
Bush is a master at inducing learned helplessness in the electorate. He uses pessimistic language that creates fear and disables people from feeling they can solve their problems.
All political leaders must define the present threats and problems faced by the country before describing their approach to a solution, but the ratio of negative to optimistic statements in Bush's speeches and policy declarations is much higher, more pervasive and more long-lasting than that of any other President. Let's compare "crisis" speeches by Bush and Ronald Reagan, the President with whom he most identifies himself. In Reagan's October 27, 1983, televised address to the nation on the bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, he used nineteen images of crisis and twenty-one images of optimism, evenly balancing optimistic and negative depictions... George W Bush's October 7, 2002, major policy speech on Iraq, on the other hand, began with forty-four consecutive statements referring to the crisis and citing a multitude of possible catastrophic repercussions.
Bush's political opponents are caught in a fantasy that they can win against him simply by proving the superiority of their ideas. However, people do not support Bush for the power of his ideas, but out of the despair and desperation in their hearts. Whenever people are in the grip of a desperate dependency, they won't respond to rational criticisms of the people they are dependent on. They will respond to plausible and forceful statements and alternatives that put the American electorate back in touch with their core optimism. Bush's opponents must combat his dark imagery with hope and restore American vigor and optimism in the coming years. They should heed the example of Reagan, who used optimism against Carter and the "national malaise"; Franklin Roosevelt, who used it against Hoover and the pessimism induced by the Depression ("the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"); and Clinton (the "Man from Hope"), who used positive language against the senior Bush's lack of vision. This is the linguistic prescription for those who wish to retire Bush in 2004.
The Face of Fear (Bush2004 website)
Slate has what they claim to be a screenshot of the soon to be public Bush reelection website. It sure looks real to me, and in true W Bush fashion it scares me. Not the usual fear he likes to sow though. Scares me because its good, and it show just how well his team understands how to sell. Now the election is more then a year away, but this site just puts all the Dems to major shame. Its slick, uplifting and pushes just the right buttons, repeatedly. In true Bush form its also highly misleading. Scary shit.
"Keep America strong"
"President's tax relief helps working families, creates jobs"
"President signs jobs and growth act"
"Do you support a jobs and growth plan that gives taxpayers and average of $1,126 or more a year?"
"Do you stand by our President?"
No fucking wonder the Republicans are confident, for all their failures they have the selling game down pat. The Democrats need to step up hard and get their shiznit together. They have time, but not much of it... And they need to remember what sells to the left might not sell to the middle.
Who Watches the Watch Blog
Been watching (ironically) this site for a few days now. Concept is great, 3 blogs combined, one run by Dems, one Repugs and one Independents. Love the concept. Design is good looking too. Leaves me a touch frustrated though, I go to the front page I'm a bit overwhelmed. Don't read anything, its too noisy. I start wishing for a nice way to visually compare what all three sites are talking to. But that speaks to the need for this site to keep developing. Going to make the effort to put all 3 RSS feeds into my sidebar.
Hint to the creator though, be really nice to have all 3 feeds listed to together someplace, and better yet integrated. Still its a strong start, lets see what emerges.
Judith Miller Neocon Commander?
not much to say here other then WTF? Expect Judith Miller to get fired from the NYTimes quick. I hope. If not then the paper of record is due in for a credibility drop. Course they are coated in more teflon then Reagan, Clinton and W Bush combined...
[via Whiskey Bar]
June 24, 2003
Hallucinations & Antics . . ./ New Blog Alert
hot shit from the edges of music, design and culture. I blogged one of tobias' essays in the past and now he's got a weblog, check it. Good shit, and hopefully signs of new breed of blogs, ones tuned into hip hop and techno, electro and punk rock. Ones that look fresh and understand design (ie they aren't a generic template and they don't look at all like anything made by Kotke (sp?)). Fresh styles are emerging, watch out.
On the Web Art Roll...
Site Design Edits
As you may have noticed I've switched up the site design a bit. Just had too much stuff in the sidebar to leave it as two columns. Not 100% satisfied with the 3 column layout yet, but its coming along. Probably will have to redo the logo to make it meld with the 3 column better. Major design history props to anyone who can tell me where I borrowed the logo motif from, the name is a hint...
One minor hack to report if you really are interested. I had avoided a left hand column on the site because I browse a lot on my Treo, which renders all sites as one big column. Site's with big long left hand columns like Joi Ito's are extremely annoying to read on the Treo as it takes forever to render out all those sidebar links, so the real content takes forever to load. Pretty minor issue since Palm viewers make up only a minuscule portion of the people online, but I happen to be one of them... Anyway the hack. Discovered if I placed the main content before the left sidebar in the html, but used css to position the sidebar to the left of the main content, the main content would show up first when browsing on the Treo. Good for me, and hopefully totally unnoticeable to anyone else.
June 23, 2003
Flash Based MT Blog
Had a thought about making a flash interface for a Moveable Type blog. A quick google surf found Samuel Wan's prototype. Doubt I'll have time to do anything with this for a while, but here it is for archiving and you're pleasure.
Been moving away from Flash for a few years now. The purity of raw html and open standards was refreshing. But now I'm think I may be at a turning point. The need for open standards and compatibility is still there of course, but I think it can be maintained while being integrated into a more lush and developed flash landscape. Something to think about at least...
Register for the MoveOn Primary
MoveOn.org is holding a primary to see if they will endorse a Democratic primary candidate, who they will do extensive fundraising for. Its and interesting experiment. For this brief moment at least it looks like the left is utilizing the web better then the right in America. Lets hope it lasts for a bit. But let me reiterate that my support of the left right now is mainly a pragmatic choice. I'd love to move beyond this 2 party divide and left/right distinction, there are better ways ahead of us. But for now lets just get Bush out of office...
Insert Silence (latest version)
InsertSilence 2003 not sure how long this beauty from Amit Pitaru and James Paterson has been up, but its as sublimely beautiful as the rest of their work. So nice to be diving back into the design world a bit.
A Firebird Began
Westar, An Enron With Legs?
Daily Kos: What's this Westar thing all about? is an excellent write up of a scandal I hadn't even heard about. The Hollywood synopsis? Energy company bribes congressmen then gets caught on record when the board of directors gets sick of corruption caused by management. The key thing here is that they have a paper trail. The fucked up thing is that the justice department has yet to investigate, wonder if that has anything to do with the money that Ashcroft received from Westar?
Yeah its a little dry, but so was Watergate. Don't think this can touch Bush, but if its played right some key Republicans go down. But first there needs to be some more noise around it. Be interesting to see if blogs can have an impact here, I certainly wouldn't have known with out reading Kos.
June 22, 2003
Land of the Brave
Where once Americans were rugged individualists, risk takers who opened new frontiers, now they are a nation paralyzed by fear. What then happens when the fear expands to diminish economic risk-taking, erecting citadel walls as opposed to monuments dedicated to capitalism? Wallin offered this thought provoking paradoxical question: How do you stop the spiral of fear when you declare war against an unsolvable problem?
That's from ark Federman's What is The Message?. He's writing about a talk by Pamela Wallin Canada's Counsel-General in New York. And it drives home a point that has been pretty obvious to many of us since 9-11, that the Bush administration is having its way with America by filling them with fear. And the news media is all to willing to go along, its no secret that fear sells.
As we've noted before, Jim Moore has been dealing with different ways for the left and the Democrats to rebuild their image and strategy "for the new year" as they say. "Respect" and "Choice" are what he's put forward so far as "political touchstones". I've got another one to add to the list. An old one actually. Bravery. Bravery as in the opposite of fear. You know as is, "land of the free, home of the brave".
Now conservatives have long coopted the word bravery, but lets not forget that it was FDR who said "we have nothing to fear, but fear itself". And every time I see Bush on TV all I can see is the fear in his eyes. Now some people might construe invading Iraq as an act of bravery, but the truth is beating up on a crippled nation is an act worthy only of a scared bully. And shit, September 11th was fucking scary, I once worked on the 60th floor, believe me I know.
There are a lot of ways animals deal with fear. They lash out irrationally (Afghanistan? Iraq?), They ignore their opponents (Remember Bin Laden, seen him on the news much lately?), They make a lot of noise (WMD?), and curl up in balls (sure are making a lot of friends in Europe aren't we?) and throw on protective armor (missile shields that don't work?). September 9-11 scared us as a nation. And the Bush administration saw just how effective that fear was at furthering their goals and are now determined to keep us scared. More then that many of the administration members are naturally scared and paranoid (Cheney anyone?).
Who wants to live in fear? I sure don't and I'm damn sick of a government that continues to push it upon us. More then that I think its a major key to any successful attempt by the Democrats to get Bush out of the White House next year. Every time I see Bush I see the deep fear in his eyes, and I want a presidential candidate brave enough to point out that fear to the nation. Bush is afraid of something, and paranoid to boot. Its about time he get pushed on it. He maybe a liar, but going after people for lying isn't a great tactic. Its your word verse theirs, and Bush is great at getting people to trust him and his downhomeness. Going after people's paranoia is another matter, it tends to be self reinforcing. Especially given how hard Bush is bound to be running from any debates with the Democratic candidate. Scared to debate. Sacred to fix the economy. Scared to tell the American people the truth. That's our Bush. Its time for bravery, its time for a Democrat in the White House.
The Marketing of No Marketing
P.B.R. was starting to sound like some kind of small-scale National Endowment for the Arts for young American outsider culture, which seemed pretty cool, although not quite a marketing strategy. But think back to the notion of P.B.R. as a somehow ''political'' brand. It's a cliche to say that political parties operate like marketers. But here it's marketing that is like politics. When Pabst provides direct support to the subcultures that first embraced P.B.R., it is shoring up its new base. The brewer still needs the swing voters -- beer buyers whose loyalty is up for grabs, and who may latch on to a hot-button brand -- and hopes that its conspicuously cool base will influence them. But without the base, the whole structure comes down.
yep, yep, small tastes of the strange future.
Bruce Sterling takes a brief look at the various mechanisms that tie governments together. We can do better.
June 21, 2003
The Evolving Front Door
(no I didn't put my name there, although I may be guilty of a layer or two...)
Breakdancing with Scissors in Your Pocket
Just got back from my friend Brion Nuda Rosch's opening. He's one of the most talented young artists in the bay area, watch out for his work. A touch of Basquiat post graffiti , a bit of superflat and ton of originality.
Show is at Mimi Barr, 3153 16th St in San Francisco and it runs till August 20th.
Look out for a big group show (I Dart SF) on July 12th as well, Brion is in it, and its co-produced by Oliver Halsman Rosenberg, another talented young painter on the rise.
June 20, 2003
The Dark Lights of Los Vegas
Dinner and Drinks with the Good Dr Ellis
Met up with Josh Ellis of Zenarchery fame for dinner, drinks and wandering. He's up in the Bay to meet with his new employer and is moving here for good soon. We talked a lot about the old SF of 7 years ago when he lived here. I think he's in for some surprises given the mass exodus of the past few years.*
Josh has been mysteriously hyping up his new gig on his blog for a while, and while I'm not liable to reveal many details there is tremendous potential. Lets just say this company claims to have found one of the internet idealists' holy grails. I'm somewhat skeptical, but I do believe this particular change does have the potential to be revolutionary. More likely though it will successful and useful, but not quite as earthshaking as some cloudy eyed proponents make it out to be. Regardless its great news and exciting stuff, congratulations Josh, the bay area needs some new troublemakers.
We talked a bunch about SF rent, its ridiculously easy to find a nice space in SF right now, which makes it a once in a lifetime opportunity to move to the city. Jump in while you can kids, things are going to change. I just hope enough of the freaks pushed out by the dot com era move back. And yeah I still won't be making this place home, fear not, I'll be gone before you know it, hopefully to Barcelona.
While on the subject of places to live Josh has some crazy stories about people living in the storm drains below Los Vegas. They're 10 years old and already have a vibrant community of living in them, and a legendary Gollum like figure who is rumored to stalk down and kill strangers that come into his dark private space. Josh has written a few articles on these communities, which I need to track down and read. Sounds like a great book to me, but apparently there isn't much interest yet.
Interestingly I just started reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, which is about a world of people living beneath the streets of London. So far its quite good, although Gaiman's prose doesn't have nearly poetry of his comics. Fortunately his ideas are just as imaginative and inventive as ever.
*on a somewhat related note though, its good to read danah boyd's enthusiastic posts on how much she loves SF. This city will return to its former glories at some point.
June 19, 2003
Live from the Front Line we Bring You the Culture War
There was this drop in young support for the Democrats, it was dramatic. Clinton beat Bush Sr. by 12 points among the 18 to 24's in 1992. He beat Dole by 19 points among 18-to-24's in '96. In 2000, Gore was only able to tie Bush in that group. A 19-point drop! There were 9 million people in the 18-to-24-year-old group, so that's a couple million votes, at least. That obviously would have swung New Hampshire, it would have swung Missouri. I think it would have swung Florida, although I acknowledge that Lieberman picked up some Jewish votes in Florida.
Dispatches from the Culture Wars: How the Left Lost Teen Spirit by Danny Goldberg is now on top of my wish list. Salon has a great interview with Goldberg. Loaded with good quotes.
My experience of Washington is that it has people who are incredibly knowledgeable about federal policy, laws and political culture. They're experts in the business of a company town, which is business that affects everybody in the United States and everybody in the world. Culturally, it's a very unsophisticated place. It's not a place where you can see cutting-edge theater, eat in the greatest restaurants. It doesn't produce great poets. Yet people in Washington, because they have political power, believe that everything about them is the height of sophistication. They are incredibly sophisticated about tax policy and healthcare policy and Middle East policy. But they are not sophisticated about culture. So there's an arrogance there. I think they misread the country when it comes to culture. Not all of them do, but certainly the Lieberman types, and the people who think what Lieberman's doing is so pragmatic. I just think, if they're so pragmatic, how come they lost? They lost the Congress, they lost the Senate, they lost the presidency.
What's shocking about this stuff is how unshocking it is. This is straight common sense. But no one is talking about it in either the political world or the media world. I shouldn't have to wait 3 years after the election for some record producer to tell me about the dramatic shifts in the youth vote in 2000. Fuck why do you think so many people supported Nader in 2000? He ran in 1996 remember? Same issues, but he couldn't remotely match Clinton on culture. And in 2000 he blew the rest of field away on culture.
Time for the left to wake up. Its lost touch with the street. Jay-Z is out making antiwar records while serious Democratic presidential candidates attack hip-hop as a whole. As Chris Rock said, that ain't right.
The Bush team understands how to work the media. The left has somehow forgotten, despite having massive Hollywood backing. And then Lieberman wants to cut of the Dems from one of their biggest financial supporters by going after pop culture? That's sort of like chopping off your balls to impress a girl... I lean more and more towards Dean, just because he seems to be the only media savvy player in the group. Cept Sharpton of course, but he can't win in this racist nation of ours. Ok rant times up, over and out.
June 18, 2003
Keep meaning to post some book reviews, but it doesn't seem to be happening. So here is the quicky version.
The Stone Canal by Ken MacLeod
Good stuff, made me realize how little I've kept up with science fiction over the past few years. Lots of hardcore fringe politics mixed in with the space age. Lots of interesting speculative economics in the mix. Certainly will be reading more of his work.
War in the Age of Intelligent Machines by Manuel DeLanda
Not quite on the level of Thousand Years of Nonlinear History but excellent none the less. DeLanda's big trick is to take the theories of Deleuze and Guattari and very lucidly graft them into concrete real world history. Its far more impressive then it sounds at first. I reread this book mainly to get some insight into the Iraq war. And its scary. There is loads of background on the divide between the RAND corp theories exposed by Rumsfeld and dirty "intelligence" of the CIA. It sure doesn't make me feel anymore confident in the Rumsfeld doctrine that's currently hard at work losing the Iraq "peace". Be warned though, this is a somewhat dangerous book. In the end its really a critique of the military, but at time it makes the world of strategy quite seductive.
Btw DeLanda has a new book that I've yet to read. Soon.
Barcelona by Robert Hughes
Political Metaphors Round Up
The Lakoff and Political Metaphor discussion is spreading.
Marginwalker (started by your's truly)
Jim Moore (who is on a roll lately, every day another great post)
and last but not least Doc Searls
The Doc Searls post is filled with great links, and also answered a question I had be wondering about for a bit, how exactly did I learn about Lakoff? Why from Doc's weblog of course! I even blogged it. Then I forgot the source. I should have just searched this site for the answer to my question. The weblog really does make a good extended memory system. If you remember to use it that is... Anyway big thanks to Doc for pointing me to an idea that's stayed on my find for quite some time.
June 17, 2003
The Strange Story of the Bhutan and the TV
"Four years ago, Bhutan, the fabled Himalayan Shangri-la, became the last nation on earth to introduce television."
The Black Bloc is the New Punk Rock
As the music industry slowly kills itself worrying about file sharing, they've lost their core strength, the ability to generate youth culture. Music is no longer rebellion, the Black Bloc is rebellion. And since it no longer controls the distribution system the music industry is going to have a hard time bottling up the Black Bloc as a marketable product. They'll find a way of course to do it, but they're doomed to a far smaller role then they've ever played in the last 50 years of youth culture. So say bye to the industry and viva the Black Bloc!
Jim Moore on Lakoff and Metaphors for Politics
Jim Moore has a couple excellent posts on Lakoff's Moral Politics and the need for the Democratic Party (in America) to find a new guiding metaphor. Plus he's got some kind words for this very weblog, thanks Jim!
Lakoff has been on my mind a lot lately. I haven't been able to really push his theories in my mind to the point where I can say I fully support them, but so far they resonate pretty strongly with me. His conception of the liberal moral model for government as a family gels very well with my own liberal upbringing. And until reading Moore's posts I was mainly focusing on finding better ways to communicate Lakoff conception of the liberal moral view to the world. Now I thinking more along the lines of Moore, that we need a new moral model to guide 21st century politics.
June 14, 2003
Unbrand America (with another brand)
Ok, I have really mixed feelings about Adbusters. On one hand I think they are dealing with some very important issues in Western culture and are quite vigorous and creative in the way they push their ideals. On the other hand I think they are often just plain wrong in the way they look at the world and its economics. They are infected by a very serious case of blame the messenger and also suffer from a serious case of delusional hypocriticalness. But often I find myself supporting their individual causes.
Brands and advertising are not the problem. The problem is the way certain corporations use brands and advertising. A subtlety that seems to be completely lost in world of Adbusters and Naomi Klein. The Brand is a tool. Advertising is a tool. Both are extremely useful. And both are used far more effectively by corporations then by their opponents. Blaming brands and advertising for the ills wrought by the likes of Enron, Monsanto and Dow Chemical is like blaming steel for the fact that Hitler and Bush use it to build weapons.
Branding and advertising are powerful tools. And in the right hands they can be used for very positive effects. And while they might not admit it, Adbusters just launched a potentially powerful branding campaign, ironically entitled Unbrand America.
The brandmark is a black dot, simple, bold and effective. The goal is get people to put it everywhere, blacking out corporate logos by the ceo-load. Good stuff. I support it completely and hope it takes off. Its about time we reclaim the power of branding and symbols from the publicly traded corporations that have been using them against us for the past century.
So go ahead and savor the irony by Unbranding America, with another brand of course.
Once Again Billmon Makes Fun of the Many Misteps of the Bush Administration
If they didn't have all the power I might actually feel a tiny bit sorry for the neocons, given how thoroughly Billmon makes fun of their many blunders. But instead I just laugh and hope Billmon got a few more lined up in his sights...
June 13, 2003
Help End the Bush/Cheney Regime
Damn, a few years ago I don't think I'd ever be supporting an old school political party. And lets make it clear I still have a lot of problems with their approach. But its also crystal clear that Bush has got to go and go quickly. And that means supporting the Democrats. I just signed up for the DNC: ePatriots program. That means you should head over to my ePatriots page and give them some cool cash to help evict Herr Bush from his bright white house. Its time to end the era of fear and return to a prosperous America! Anyone but Bush in 2004. Don't be scared, lets do this.
More on the 1imc
The International Moblogging Conference webpage has been updated with more info. Looks like lots of fun. Unfortunately my budget doesn't have a space for a trip to Tokyo at the moment, but if anyone somehow wants to fly me there give me a holla. Hell, if anyone one wants to fly me anywhere let me know. Art, talks, VJing, rollercoasters, ice cream, long walks on the beach... Whatever, SF is dead and I'm ready to roll anyplace. Should be in NYC soon but that's it for the near future. Unless you want to change that ;o
Dali v. Disney
...two bizarre figures, humanoid heads deformed by "persuasive and triumphant madness" dali quotemounted upon the backs of tortoises. As they converge, the space between them takes on the shape of a bell that turns into a ballerina. In the last moment, her head abruptly becomes a baseball that disappears into the bleak, mountainous Catalonian landscape.
This 53-year-old snippet of nitrate film is all that remains from a forgotten animation project called Destino, a curious collaboration between Salvador Dali and Walt Disney that was never completed.
...As for the plot, it varied considerably, depending on which of the two men was doing the telling. "A magical exposition of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time," Dali expounded in his own publication, "Dali News."
"Just a simple story about a young girl in search of true love," Disney modestly described it.
[via the excellent fUSION Anaomalog]
The British Supreme Court?
Looks like Tony Blair is about to enact some pretty dramatic constitutional changes in the UK. 1400 years of precedent out the window, damn. Wonder if he's trying to distract attention away from his lies on Iraq?
Hacking the Art World
Bunch of art links:
and of course:
June 12, 2003
ePatriots is a new grassroots online campaign to raise money for the Democratic party. DailyKos is behind it and I like it so far. But note I'm not a member of the Democratic party, I just hate Bush. And I really like the way the fundraising operation is moving towards aggregating small contributions rather then focusing only on the big money. There is a real opportunity to change a bit of the political balance here, even if we are a long way from any real equality in the system. Check it out, I'll be exploring it more too.
Email and the Friendster Network
Over the last few days I've actually been using Friendster as a replacement for email for some of my friends. And its really nice. No idea if its sustainable, it requires people to check Friendster rather frequently to work. But in our increasingly spam filled world it makes a lot of sense. What better way to filter out spam, but to create a network where only your friends and friends of friends exist? My email filters create some of that functionality, making it easier to sort friend from spam. But I still get the crap. In Friendster I can be reasonably assured that no one is pushing breast implants on me. And if they did I could immediately identify their connection to me and let their friends know about the misbehavior. In other words the system is set up for social self regulation. Now if only that functionality was built into my mail client...
The Dark Side of New York
New Yorkers Have Growing Pessimism About the City according to the NY Times at least. And that should scare Karl Rove and George Bush. In 15 months they are coming to town for the GOP presidential convention. And you best believe us New Yorkers aren't going to be too happy about it. Especially if the economy keeps sucking as bad as it does. Unemployment is at 8% already friends. NY 2004 is looking more and more like Chicago 1968 by the minute. Now that $20 billion Bush promised NY right after 9-11 will probably materialize sometime next summer, but its too late already. New York is a liberal town and Bush is the enemy. And when Bush rolls in trying to capitalize on NY biggest tragedy do you think we are going to be happy? More soon.
June 11, 2003
The Worst RAVE
While we were all preoccupied with Iraq and recession, the federal government managed to pass one of the most odious acts of recent history. It makes property owners liable for any drug use that occurs on their premises allowing the feds to shut down all sorts parties, raves and gatherings. Like many drug laws the penalties are draconian. And now its being used for political purposes to prevent drug legalization organizations from meeting. Foul stuff from Ashcroft's already repugnant Justice Department.
There is an upside though, or at least I hope there will be. The absurd parody of justice that makes up America's drug laws just can't hold forever. How many people under 50 haven't used drugs at some point? The last US presidential election was between a former pothead and a former coke fiend. Its only so long before the politicians collectively wake up and realize drug legalization (or at least marijuana legalization) is a winning position, both politically and economically. Not to mention its the ethical position as well.
Anyway the absurd laws just increase the chance that the whole thing will just break one day. And hopefully that's better then a gradual erosion.
Big shout out to my friends at the Drug Policy Alliance who have been fighting this fight for a long time. Give them your support they need it.
Don't Ask Don't Tell
Well don't ever say the US Soldiers aren't doing anything to improve the lives of Iraqi citizens... And all this time I thought Bush was against gays in the military. Perhaps this is part of the new Rumsfeld "quick and easy" doctrine?
[via The Reverse Cowgirl]
Music Going Backwards Nowhere
Listening to I-F's
Mixed Up In the Hague vol 1 right now. Strange as it may seem 3 years ago this exploration of obscure 80's electro seemed fresh and new. It predated the electrocrash fad by a year and change. What's scary is that its better then anything the electroclash movement has produced, including any dj set I've heard. And it a movement can't make a single moment as good as its immediate predecessors something is wrong. Are all the young musical punks really choosing the Black Bloc over music?
June 10, 2003
The Social Web Hits Mainstream
Break For the New Music (Critics)
Sometime in the past year or so my favorite music critic Simon Reynolds has gotten miswired and now somehow thinks UK Garage is the only music that matters. Perhaps its an overdose of the post 9-11 patriotic air that's got him thinking only of his country? I don't know, hopefully he recovers soon and realizes that UK Garage is a crap imitation of hip hop on a similar level to say greek or russian hip hop. Lets face it every nation in the world has a bunch fools fusing their native music with bad rhymes, and it all sucks universally.
Thankfully we have Sasha Frere-Jones and now he's got a weblog, 2, 3, BREAK. Good stuff although his epic review of the new live Led Zeppelin album has disappeared somehow. Its good shit though, enjoy.
The Identity Commons is founded on the premise that the only way that digital identity infrastructure can be truly trusted, is if it is owned and operated by all the people who are using it.
Its mission is the nurturing of an "open source identity operating system", if you will. User-controlled identity, privacy, security, and reputation mean that information about users belongs to them, to be used, brokered, traded, etc. in their own interests.
These are examples of information that is neither worthy of interrupt (push), nor worthy of investing time (pull). This type of information should be glanceable, like a clock or barometer. We call this ambient information, and we've created the technology to deliver it.
Interesting. Ambient Devices is the company and I like what I've read. Course that's only their site and the "glowing" review in the NYT. Still as an information junkie and interface lover I'm super intrigued by where they are going. Rendering information as beauty, damn I hope this is the future.
June 09, 2003
Friendster just keeps on growing. Every day seems to see another social segment jump on board. And its getting a lot closer to being useful to. Not as a dating service mind you (does anyone know of someone who actually got some do to Friendster?), but as a way to connect friends and visualize social networks.
Its the way they've changed the bulletin board that really shows the way to the future. A few weeks back the Friendster bulletin board was filled with often obscene posts from people far off on the fringe of you're extended social network. And it turned people off. But today that problem is gone, and the bulletin board is suddenly an extremely potent tool.
The change? The bulletin board now only shows posts from your first degree friends, the people you have confirmed your linkage too in the system. And with that change the board suddenly has become an excellent way to exchange a level of mundane but useful information with your friends.
Imagine trying to tell your entire social network you plan to hang out at Bar X tonight, or see movie Y at 7:00. Obviously you can call a few friends, old school style, but its not going to cover much of your network. You could send out a mass email as well, but after a couple of those you are going to transform into a spammer. Better save those bulk mailings for the bigger events you want to booster. You could post to a blog too, but how many of your friends really read it daily?
The Friendster bulletin board fills a previously unoccupied space. A way to casually announce mundane events to your entire social network without working too hard, or transforming yourself into a spam farmer. Of course there is plenty of room for improvement, Friendster doesn't account for many of the subtleties of social dynamics that allow society to keep functioning. But its power as a tool seems to grow daily. There is something here and I think its quite potent. More soon.
Bush, You Can't Believe A Word He Says
"He's given his opponents a dream slogan - 'You can't believe a word he says'."
Now they are talking about Blair, but it may as well be Bush. I want to hear it repeated endless for the next 18 months. Repeat after me, "Bush, you can't believe a word he says."
Bush, you can't believe a word he says.
That's right, you heard me.
Bush, you can't believe a word he says.
June 08, 2003
Another Example of Internet Polarization
Don Park continues to see the darker potential of social software and the internet, a side that many seem content to ignore.
What I find interesting here is that two major groups emerged, both highly dependent on the Web and mobile networks for organization and communication. The two groups are not likely to merge at any time and, even if they do, another oppositional group is likely to emerge.
There is plenty of hype and noise about how the internet can bring people closer together, more open, more democratic, etc. But its increasingly apparent that the same tech can amplify differences and drive people apart. My gut is its pretty much a wash, for every marvelous advance, there is an equally troubling development. But with enough care and thought we can tip the balance slightly towards the positive.
June 07, 2003
Firebirds Against Redmond
Mozilla Firebird 0.6 is the latest version of Mozilla/Netscape/Phoenix/Whatever. Its also the first one I'm seriously considering making my default browser. Using it now. It actually starts up in a reasonible time, which is key. Added a couple extensions to emulate the Google toolbar and make tabs work the way I want them too. So far so good. Can I finally kiss Redmond good bye? Well I still use Windows, but otherwise I'm clean. Checked out Joe Kral's 17inch Powerbook today, big but sweet, maybe I'll be back on a Mac come next computer purchase?
June 06, 2003
Yahoo Buzz RSS Feeds
June 05, 2003
Reclaim the Public Domain
And don't just sign a petition. Release your work to the public domain. I've been doing that with windistheenemy for almost 2 years now. Not sure about you, but I like giving gifts. And who better to give a gift to then the whole world?
Right Wing Terror
There have been five major U.S.-based terror attacks over the past decade: the Unabomber's campaign; the original WTC attack; Oklahoma City; the Olympic pipe-bomb; and finally 9/11. So if you measure by number of high-profile attacks, and not by body count, it's basically a draw right now: two attacks by right-wing nuts, two by Islamic nuts, and one by a radical Luddite. If two attacks is enough to throw hundreds of innocent civilians with suspicious-sounding names into jail for months, what are Ashcroft and Ridge planning for the far right? Fundraisers perhaps?
June 04, 2003
Swimming on Oil
Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."
- Paul Wolfowitz in Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Wolfowitz: Iraq war was about oil
Christ, I almost have to respect Wolfowitz, despite all his evil, he at least shoots straighter then the rest of the Washington chickenhawk terror squad. The lies are coming out in the open. The question is, does anyone really care? My gut is that do care, but not on a scandal level. Come next years elections though, Bush is going to be in trouble convincing people to trust him though. He better pray for economic recovery fast...
June 03, 2003
Cedar Point Rocks
Driving back to Columbus right now. Cedar Point? Holy shit! I guess its the international roller coaster mecca, and the pilgrimage is well worth it. More when I recover. The new one (Dragway I think) is out of this world, pure amazement in 17 seconds.