Archive for August, 2010

Don’t Have Any

August 30, 2010
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The Green Line

August 27, 2010

Glenn Beck & Sarah Palin are hosting an MLK event on the Mall this weekend. Whatever. Al Sharpton is hosting a counter-rally. Whatever.

We should probably take the occasion to turn to Lil Wayne for commentary and remind ourselves what he thinks about Sharpton (@ 6:45) and Palin (@ :20) in these two not very high at all monologues.

And the verdict? Him does not care much for Sharpton! (“You are no MLK, you are no Jesse Jackson, you are nobody… to me. You’re just another Don King… with a perm. Just a little more political… and that just means you a little un-human”) And Palin? “Don’t she blow the flute or something?”

Doof

August 26, 2010

Doof

In Praise of and In Response to BOOK REVIEW

August 25, 2010

Excellent book review, sir.

Though Curle set out in To Tame the Hydra to write an idiosyncratic & “personal” book about the underpinnings of violence, I agree that his ruminations on the universal mind are unhelpful. (And I typically go in for this sort of stuff! [Though again, minus the poetry.])

Curle is interested in the complex nature of the culture of violence, so let us remind ourselves what we are talking about:

[Scholars of conflict make] the distinction between direct violence (children are murdered), structural violence (children die through poverty), and cultural violence (whatever blinds us to this or seeks to justify it).

–Contemporary Conflict Resolution (2nd edition), Ramsbotham et al. p. 30

But by talking about the universal mind lurking behind culture, Curle’s level of explanation goes one step too far—we need to speak of cultural violence directly, lest we further confuse an already convoluted subject. As Wittgenstein reminds us of tricky problem solving:

Not that it is easy to speak directly of kulture, or stanch its many toxic currents. (Keep on trucking, artists! Me love your new gallery space!) But to tame the hydra, I venture that its one immortal head isn’t to be found on the plane of the meta-mystical mind. A thought made concrete this morning by Toronto Tom’s good brains.

BOOK REPORT: Have You Ever Seen a Hydra Eat a Man?

August 24, 2010

Some useful context: The preface of Adam Curle’s To Tame the Hydra (link to awesome cover) describes his school years as spent “playing the flute (mostly Bach), writing poems, and reading the mystics.” He was appointed as “the first university lecturer in social psychology at Oxford” and was a soldier in World War II (achieving “senior rank”). For the last 50 years, he has devoted himself to large-scale conflict resolution in “a dozen war zones, mostly in Asia and Africa but also in Ireland, attempting to disentangle one lethal imbroglio after another.”

What a fucker! And he wrote letters, and he fished!

So essentially, the conceit of the book is using the mythical creature “hydra” as a metaphor for the manifold clusterfuck that is our contemporary cultural-socio-political economy; that we are all guilty, etc., etc.; points that bear repeating, of course. Representative excerpt describing said cultural/social/political economy since the Cold War era:

Statehood was growing weaker but often cruel and more tyrannical; gulfs between rich and poor were growing wider, both between and within nations; warlords were taking the place of statesmen; at the local and national levels desperate crimes of violence increased; the health of the environment was increasingly jeopardized and no political leader powerful enough to retard the deterioration was brave enough to do so; great transnational corporations, unaccountable save to their shareholders, had an increasing control over global markets; individual speculators acquired the ability to shake the world; everywhere it was the rich who had the power — they called, so to speak, the shots and in some places had little hesitation in shooting, literally or metaphorically, if their interests were challenged.

However, the chief characteristic of this emerging world is, I begin to see, the interconnectedness of the destructive forces, the interwoven and increasingly interacting worldwide forces of economic, political, and military power: a global culture of violence. This is fuelled at all levels, from individual to nation and perhaps even to international bloc, by the hope for power and profit. The greater the hope, the more urgent the craving. And the hope is intensified by a wealth of evidence showing amazing and unprecedented possibilities. By the same token, the fear of not gaining the advantages, or the dread of losing them, aggravates the despairing anger. These are explosive feelings.

And:

But millions of people — most of the rich in the G7P [G7 plus/G20] countries, with their clients, agents and representatives in the poor ones — get some spin-off from the collective wealth of the Hydra. Even if they don’t actively support it or participate in its activities, they share by osmosis much of its outlook and morality. Usually without fully realising the fact, they are accomplices in the execution of violent acts. The acceptance of violence in the schools, in the prisons, in the homes, on the television, and above all in the minds of most of us, represents the hidden core of the worldwide culture of violence richly nourished by the Hydra, particularly in the globalisation of the last decades.  Even the majority who gain absolutely nothing from the Hydra, who are indeed ground down by it, are profoundly influenced by their longing for what it offers: they and we, the more prosperous, are BOTH a part of the Hydra.

Familiar territories for the (as previously noted) modest readership of this blogpage. To add a wrinkle to the robe, Curle’s prescription for humanity is “happiness” (something I fully support), which  incorporates certain Buddhist philosophical elements, such as desire begetting suffering, the profound interconnectedness of existence, and the semi-illusory nature of individual consciousness, etc., leading to the one significant theme of the book that I’m uncertain about (besides the poetry), which is his concept of the “extended mind.”

For the most part, the “extended mind” business is  a Jungian collective unconscious sort of thing (reminiscent of the type of over-lapping consciousnesses that Douglas Hofstadter proposes in I Am a Strange Loop); a somewhat nebulous entity that Curle explicitly describes as “NOT something extraordinary, exceptional, mystical,” and yet in the following paragraph he relates an episode wherein the Dalai Lama communicates directly TO HIM BRAIN. To further complicate things, in one of the final pages of the book, he suggests that the Hydra may be “a feature of the extended mind.” Would that the book, and Adam Curle’s life, were longer!

Also, for auxiliary context, check out some of his poetry (both excerpts from untitled pieces):

Loosen those lips, that sphincter, redeem that heart. Imagine with the

inner eye opened, the multitude of refugees.

Consider:

the throngs of dispossessed criss-crossing each other’s trails

throughout the world, the ravening hunters ever closing in

with yelps of pleasure to drag them from their rickety shelters,

to strip them, dowse them with petrol, dance around excited,

masturbating, then strike a match


And/or:

The light at the end of the tunnel

flickers and dies out;

there is no healing night,

only cover for more killing.

Two for Tuesday (Part Two)(Adderall Edition)

August 24, 2010

1.

The System, “Don’t Disturb this Groove” (1987) [Big Ups to Ben Rollman!]

2.

Earlier this year G-Side put out a mixtape, Huntsville International, that had some real colorful bangers (including me & Durnan’s favorite club chorus in recent memory–& perhaps Tristan ibn Mutti’s theme song for next semester) as well as  some smoove numbers. One of those smoove jamns is a cover of a Ben Rollman classik and contender for best cover song / song to cover of the year.

[If yr heartbeats are accelerating & y’r protective of yr groove, you must’ve been to see Laugier]

Two for Tuesday (Adderall Edition)

August 24, 2010

1.

Zoo time is she and you time
The mammals are your favorite type, and you want her tonight
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat

2.

Love, love, where can you be?

Love, I am waiting

Heartbeats accelerating

[1. Sparks “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us”; 2. Kate & Anna McGarrigle, “Heartbeats Accelerating”]

Deep Cut

August 21, 2010

At the risk of eliciting more boos & snores from Mr. Strugar, Esq., I’d like to post another tune that hails from the fusty recesses of music history (i.e. prior to W.J. Clinton’s first term, Strugar’s avowed cut-off point) as part of a new doomspirals series: “Best R&B/Soul Song of All Time of the Month”. ((j/k Strugar! You = 1/5 of our readership — would never step on yr toes! — p.s. call me sometime!))

OK, heavy business.

Best R&B/Soul Song of All Time of the Month: Alice Clark “I Keep it Hid”.

Alice Clark had a short recording career in the late 60s / early 70s, producing only one album, the self-titled “Alice Clark” (1971).

Her voice is a powerful vehicle, with shades of Aretha (minus the lisp), tho less authorial & guarded, more vulnerable & pleading. What totally crushes on this track is the way the verse builds to the edge of the chorus, which then bursts forth in a half-time burn. And each returning chorus hits harder. Her performance totally slays.

[Thanks to Classic & Rare Soul Sisters for the download]

The letter, perhaps, but not the spirit of doomspirals, captured

August 20, 2010

What.

Some “bloke” has taken the trouble to read five new books on Samuel Beckett’s relationship with Ireland, and so TLS gave him space to write a boring book report. One book under review is a Beckett biography attempted in the style of Beckett. Reviewer Homeboy needs to tighten up his tone.

In writing such a biography, [the author] aims to take heed of the fact that Beckett distrusted life-writing generally, quoting his statement in Proust that it often reduced the “artist’s individuality” to a “cartoon”. He implies that this is the kind of biography Beckett would have written, one which does not valorize the human being but takes as its starting point (quoting Rockaby) the sentiment “Fuck life”.

NYT gone irie

August 20, 2010

According to the NYT, some number of Wyclef Jean’s fans are stoked about the prospect of Wyclef running for president. Seems, too, that the NYT’s grammar is caught up in the Caribbean enthusiasm:

Haiti waited anxiously on Friday for an announcement on whether Wyclef Jean, the hip-hop star, will be allowed to run for president of the country that he left as a child for the United States…

But with reports already circulating that he been barred from running, some tensions were evident.

He been barred, mon. Copy editors be jammin.

Ignore, never happened

August 7, 2010

please ignore/excuse this post–i just need to upload this image somewhere on the web so that it can be referenced by lindsey hall’s computer… teal is real, you can’t smoke a turkey with a hammer, etc. ANYHOW, AS YOU WERE!